Brooklyn Blowhards Navigate the Free Jazz of Herman Melville (via NY Times)

On Saturday afternoon Jeff Lederer could be found caterwauling with his tenor saxophone in an unlikely but meaningful setting: the grave of Herman Melville, in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. What brought Mr. Lederer there was the same confluence of interests that had created Brooklyn Blowhards, his newest band.

Performing near Melville’s granite headstone, he and the band put those interests front and center, tearing through a handful of rugged old sea chanteys, like “Haul in the Bowline,” and a few turbulent anthems by the 1960s free-jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler. If there’s a thread that ties all of that material together — while also roping in the great sweeping froth of “Moby-Dick” — it’s the byproduct of Mr. Lederer’s artistic temperament, which runs both frolicsome and determined.

“I definitely like putting disparate elements together,” he said in an interview the week before. “There’s no magic about it, but sometimes one thing can really inform another in ways that you didn’t see before.”

In the case of Brooklyn Blowhards, which made its self-titled debut on Mr. Lederer’s label, little (i) music, the elements come out of a tangle of associations. The album is not a formal Ayler tribute, precisely. Neither is it a full-blown conceptual analog to “Moby-Dick,” nor a jazz treatment of maritime folk songs.

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