The Jazz Scene: Conference Calls, Brass Bands, Free Thinkers

Cristina Pato
The Wall St. Journal

Cristina Pato
Jazz Standard

By Will Friedwald

The 32-year-old Spanish virtuoso makes unique music on an uncommon instrument: She's one of the major living masters of the gaita (though she also plays piano and flute, and sings), and her performances feature elements of world and folk music, pop, classical (often in the company of Yo Yo Ma) and even choreography. So where else would she appear in New York but Jazz Standard? The gaita is sometimes described as the Galician equivalent of the bagpipes, yet the sound Ms. Pato extracts from this device (though it often looks like she's wrestling an octopus) is more a cross between a soprano saxophone and an accordion. Tuesday's show marks the release of her new album, "Migrations," which, on tracks like Bill Evans's "Blue in Green" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi," demonstrates the transmutability of Ms. Pato's playing and singing, as well as why she belongs in a jazz club as much as anywhere else.