National Jazz Museum in Harlem 2010 May Schedule

We invite you to join us at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem as we venture to the very birthplace of jazz, New Orleans, for a month-long focus on the Crescent City of today.

We take our Jazz for Curious Listeners theme, “Tuning into Tremé,” as an allusion to the critically acclaimed new HBO series, which itself is named after one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the United States. Curated by Larry Blumenfeld of the Wall Street Journal, this journey will encompass the gumbo of cultures and musics that make New Orleans so special while pointing the way to its post-Katrina future. The Saturday Panel on New Orleans will extend and elaborate this critical inquiry.

Our flagship discussion series, Harlem Speaks, begins with Harlem resident and master tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, and ends with the veteran vibraphonist David Samuels, whose eclectic musical tastes will add spice to the conversation. Trumpet man Randy Sandke’s latest book is making waves in as a fresh and at times controversial look at race and economics in jazz history; he’ll share the whys and hows at Jazz for Curious Readers.

As always, we never just give you all talk and no play, so the instrumentalists will have their say on stage, as pianist Steven Schoenberg performs a solo concert for Harlem in the Himalayas and the NJMH All Stars blow their horns for dancers at Jazz at the Dwyer.

Mark your calendars today, tell some friends, don’t delay, so we can swing with you in May!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jazz for Curious Readers
Randy Sandke
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Trumpeter/author Randy Sandke, author of Where the Light and the Dark Folks Meet: Race and the Mythology, Politics and Business of Jazz (Scarecrow Press, 2010), has performed at festivals, clubs, and concerts around the world and has recorded over twenty albums as a leader as well.

As a composer, Sandke has had pieces performed at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd St. YMCA, and Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center. The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band performed six of his suites.

Tonight’s focus, however, is on Sandke’s literary achievement and insights.

Randy Sandke’s previous book, Harmony for a New Millennium, details a method of exploring non-tonal harmony in the context of both composition and improvisation. He has also written scholarly articles on jazz history for the Oxford Companion to Jazz and the Rutgers University Annual Review of Jazz Studies.

In his recently published work (see above) Sandke conjoins his experience as a working musician with his scholarship to produce a work that debunks many of the hoary myths surrounding the role of race in jazz history. In what promises to be an intriguing (and perhaps controversial) discussion, Sandke will explain his thesis and why he was inspired to write Where the Light and the Dark Folks Meet: Race and the Mythology, Politics and Business of Jazz.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Tuning in to Tremé: Big Chiefs and Second Lines
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Set in New Orleans, David Simon's new HBO series “Treme” picks up three months after the floods that resulted from the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina. Culture, which in New Orleans means a tight braid of music, cuisine, dance, visual art, and street life, is the primary focus of the series, as indeed it was and is the defining element of the city's identity and its recovery. Familiar faces from Simon's actors' troupe show up as fictional cultural fixtures: Wendell Pierce (detective Bunk Moreland on The Wire) plays Antoine Batiste, a trombonist we first encounter subbing with the real-life Rebirth Brass Band. Clarke Peters (detective Lester Freamon on The Wire) plays the Mardi Gras Indian Chief Albert Lambreaux, chanting out some of his best lines while beating a tambourine. The true-life heroes of New Orleans jazz figure prominently too: In addition to Rebirth, the list of musicians making cameo appearances, often in performance, includes trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, saxophonist Donald Harrison, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, and drummer Bob French.

These 90-minute conversations, led by writer Larry Blumenfeld, who has written extensively about New Orleans since the flood, will use the HBO series to frame a wide-ranging consideration of jazz culture in New Orleans and its role in recovery. Excerpts from the show will be screened, and special guests-musicians, participants in the series, and scholars-will join in the discussion.

In Sidney Bechet's memoir, Treat It Gentle, the late, great clarinetist's real grandfather is supplanted by Omar, a fictional figure based on a folk tale, all the better to convey stirring truths about the true origins of New Orleans jazz. Real and imagined intermingle pointedly in New Orleans, in all walks of life. What can the fiction of “Treme”-which is named for the “Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, long a hothouse for jazz culture-tell is about the city's real culture before and since the flood?

In our first session we will see the manner in which “Treme” plugs directly into an indigenous culture that has served as a lifeline for a New Orleans still inching toward recovery. That lifeline is extended principally by traditional jazz and brass-band musicians; the Social Aid & Pleasure Club members that mount Sunday parades; and-perhaps the most mysterious and essential group of all-Mardi Gras Indians, who dress in elaborate feathered and beaded suits four times a year. We'll consider the roots, traditions and depictions of these culture-bearers and their connections to familiar music.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Harlem Speaks
Wayne Escoffery, Saxophonist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Harlem resident Wayne Escoffery is one of the most talented rising stars and in-demand sidemen on tenor saxophone in jazz. Born in London, Escoffery grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, where he sang in a renowned local boy’s choir and began taking sax lessons. At 16 he attended JazzMobile in Harlem, and by his senior year in secondary school had met Jackie McLean at The Artist’s Collective in Hartford.
McLean gave Wayne a full scholarship to attend The Hartt School, where he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance, and became known as one of McLean's prize pupils. He went on to attend and graduate from The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at The New England Conservatory in Boston with a Masters degree.

Since then, he has performed with a plethora of internationally respected musicians and has become known for his beautiful sound, impressive technique and versatility. As well as performing with his quartet, his group Veneration and a collaborative group with vocalist (and wife) Carolyn Leonhart, Wayne Escoffery currently performs locally and tours internationally with Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, The Tom Harrell Quintet, and The Mingus Big Band/Orchestra/Dynasty.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas

Steven Schoenberg
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
For tickets: RMA Box Office
or call 212-620-5000 ext. 344

This solo piano performance marks Steven Schoenberg's first New York concert since the release of Steven Schoenberg Live: An Improvisational Journey. He’s a dynamic, award-winning composer/pianist whose talents cross into musical theater, classical compositions, film scoring, children's music, and solo improvisational piano performances. Schoenberg’s creativity as an improviser and composer shall be on full display as he spontaneously riffs on the Himalayan themes of the venue as well as the vibrations he picks up from the audience . . . so be a part of the experience!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Tuning in to Tremé: Hymns, Dirges and Misdemeanors
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

We continue tracking the acclaimed HBO series, noting that New Orleans jazz has always drawn upon and served both the secular and the sacred, and has been an important element of community organization. Yet, in the wake of Katrina, the often-strained relationship between the musicians and the police, the city and its culture, were starkly revealed: A city known for its culture did not so warmly welcome that culture back. Curator Larry Blumenfeld invites you to join the examination of this tension, and its portrayal in the series.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Panels
New Orleans
12:00 – 4:00pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Live music plus film and discussion about the Crescent City
New Orleans holds a special place in the history and mythos of the U.S.A. Its mix of southern, French, Spanish and African cultures, and a largely Catholic religious background—in a nation predominately Protestant—was a uniquely rich soil for the birth and early development of jazz. Today’s discussion will feature live music, film, recordings, and a lively discussion of the Crescent City from the 19th to the 21st centuries, when a post-Katrina New Orleans struggles to recover while maintaining its soul, style and dignity.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Tuning in to Tremé: A Rhythm-and-Blues Intervention
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Following the current HBO series, we note that perhaps more so than in any other American city, New Orleans represents the blending of African rhythms and forms with European harmonies and musical sensibility to transform our ideas about music and seed ongoing innovation. Looking at that lineage-from Congo Square to Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino to the Nevilles, Wynton Marsalis to Lil Wayne-and as portrayed in the series, Larry Blumenfeld and our live audience will consider what that mixture means.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Harlem Speaks
Dave Samuels, Vibraphonist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Veteran Dave Samuels is widely recognized for his fresh new sound and creative approach to both the vibraphone and marimba. Although he’s best known for work with his current ensemble, The Caribbean Jazz Project as well as for his long tenure with Spyro Gyra, Samuels has also worked with a broad scope of artists ranging from Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Carla Bley and Pat Metheny to the Yellowjackets, Bruce Hornsby, and Frank Zappa.

Samuels has been performing and recording with his group The Caribbean Jazz Project for over a decade; their most recent CD, Afro Bop Alliance, garnered a Latin Grammy and was also nominated for a Grammy. Some of his other recording projects include Remembrances, a percussion recording that features a commissioned marimba concerto for chamber orchestra and soloist composed by Jeff Beal, and Double Image—the vibe-marimba duo consisting of Dave Samuels & David Friedman—which is celebrating thirty years of performances. Double Image performs music which spans many styles - from jazz standards and original compositions to through-composed pieces and spontaneous improvisations, demonstrating Samuels deep versatility and spirit of collaboration.

In addition to his playing, Samuels is a respected educator and author and some of his new works can be found at MalletWorks.com and JazzBooks.com. Samuels has been voted “Best Vibes Player” in both Jazziz and Modern Drummer magazines, and was recently featured on the online jazz television show, Jazz it Up!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jazz at the Dwyer
Take The A Train: A Big Band Swing Dance
7:00 – 11:00pm
Location: The Dwyer Cultural Center
(258 St. Nicholas Avenue at W. 123rd Street)
$20 | More information: info@DwyerCC.org
, presented with Community Works and The Dywer Cultural Center.

Featuring the NJMH All Star Big Band directed by Loren Schoenberg

Last month, Jazz at the Dwyer featured a romping Caribbean band; this month we’ll swing you into good health with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All Star Big Band! The famed Big Band Swing era was full of dance bands that stomped and grooved with jitterbugging teens and adults following their every move. Tonight’s show is much more than nostalgia, it’s reclamation of an essential part of the dynamic that made jazz popular. Bring your dancing shoes!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Tuning in to Tremé: Deeper Than the Water
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Weeks into the current HBO series that observes a city built on culture must be rebuilt with culture. That's precisely what is happening in New Orleans. How is this happening? Who are the artists and activists and organizations behind this cultural rebirth? And what can we learn from this experience about the role of culture in our lives and the needs of every American city?

Larry Blumenfeld, curator of this four-part JCL series on New Orleans, writes about music and culture for The Wall Street Journal, Village Voice and many other publications, and is editor-at-large of Jazziz magazine. He is a former Katrina Media Fellow with the Open Society Institute, researching cultural recovery in New Orleans.

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