National Jazz Museum in Harlem July Schedule

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem’s July programming covers the gamut, with programs showcasing all generations, from musical harmony to discussion and debate.

Two veterans of jazz grace the interview chair for Harlem Speaks, the museum’s flagship series: the first, Jon Hendricks, continues a highly entertaining and revealing conversation for archival video and audio capture in front of a live audience; the second, drummer Louis Hayes, will be the focus in conversation about his role as a sideman with several of the greatest soloists in jazz as well as his own direction of startlingly fresh ensembles with youthful players following his lead.

The career of the father of jazz, Louis Armstrong, from the revolutionary ‘20s through the resurgent ‘50s is the focus of Jazz for Curious Listeners. The Kataru jazz trio will bring experimental excursions of multi-layered sonorities to the wonderful all-acoustic venue at the Rubin Museum of Art for Harlem in the Himalayas, as will showcases for young musicians deserving greater recognition: Two Young Tenors and Two Young Pianists.

Author Stephanie Crease will discuss her recently published children’s book on Duke Ellington for Jazz for Curious Readers and will also lead a session with youth in Central Park.

Expect insights and the delights of debate at our monthly Saturday panel, as a group of scholars, journalists and musicians discuss the role of the critic in jazz, as help or perhaps as hindrance to the objective of increasing the audience of listeners and consumers of jazz music.

 
Monday, July 6, 2009

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

Tonight's program focuses on Stephanie Crease's book, Duke Ellington; His Life in Jazz.

Stephanie Stein Crease is the author of Gil Evans: Out of the Cool, a winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, and Duke Ellington: His Life in Jazz. She is a music journalist who has contributed to the New York Times, Down Beat, JAZZIZ, Pulse, and The Oxford Companion to Jazz.

Her large-format book combines an illustrated biography of Duke Ellington with activities designed to offer insights into Ellington’s era and his music. The main text presents Ellington’s life in a straightforward account, concentrating on his career as a jazz musician, composer, and band leader. Meanwhile, the many sidebars discuss related topics such as turn-of-the-twentieth-century music technology (piano rolls and phonographs) and the U.S. State Department’s “jazz ambassadors” program during the Cold War. Appearing throughout the book, the activities mentioned in the subtitle vary from “Learn to Read Drum Notation” to “Make Corn Bread for a Rent Party” to “Write Lyrics to an Ellington Tune.” The many black-and-white excellent photos show up well on the glossy pages. Appendixes include bibliographies and lists of recommended recordings, films, and Web sites.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Louis Armstrong: Fireworks: The '20s
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong – The ‘20s

Despite his battles with poverty and his struggles as a musician in New Orleans, Louis Armstrong spoke highly of his hometown's diversity and vitality, particularly appreciating the wide variety of music—from ragtime and blues to opera and church music—that permeated the streets. Still, Armstrong began to travel, playing with Fate Marable's riverboat band. During his two-year tenure cruising the Mississippi River Armstrong refined his ability to read music and reproduce songs requested of him.

King Oliver, Armstrong’s mentor in New Orleans, left town at this point a well-known and prolific musician in Chicago, and decided he wanted to add a second cornetist to his Creole Jazz Band. Until Armstrong eventually paved the way for the soloist, jazz music had emphasized the importance of the group as a whole, where each musician must fulfill a particular role.

But when Oliver requested Armstrong to join his band at Lincoln Gardens in 1922, Armstrong did not hesitate. "I felt it was a great break for me," Armstrong wrote in his 1954 autobiography Satchmo, "even to sit beside a man like Joe Oliver with all his prestige."

Indeed, Oliver provided Armstrong with a sterling mentorship and through his work with the Creole Jazz Band, Armstrong further honed his sense of harmony, developed his ear, and made his first recordings with the band at the Gennett Studios in Richmond, Indiana. However, Armstrong, an innovative musical genius, quickly exhibited his superiority over the other band members.

By now, the Creole Jazz Band's pianist Lil Hardin had become Armstrong's second wife, and she pressured Armstrong to leave the band and join Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra at the Roseland Ballroom in New York. Although he had to accept a pay cut to join Henderson, Armstrong seized the opportunity to play with such a well-known band.

During his period with Henderson's Orchestra, Armstrong's name became synonymous with the finest new 'hot' music of the day. His innovative use of syncopation, particularly in songs like "Shanghai Shuffle," had never been heard before. He also recorded with many blues singers, including Clara Smith and Trixie Smith, and his recording of "St. Louis Blues" with Bessie Smith had become a huge success.

In 1925, Armstrong returned to Chicago, switched from the cornet to the trumpet, and recorded the first album as leader of his own band, the Hot Five. The recordings Armstrong made with the Hot Five and its successor, the Hot Seven, at Okeh Records were—and still remain—some of the most influential jazz recordings in history. With Armstrong's masterful technique, pieces like "Cornet Chop Suey," "Potato Head Blues," and "West End Blues" helped give rise to the solo as the centerpiece in jazz music.

The original Hot Five included Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Kid Ory on trombone, Johnny St. Cyr on banjo, Lil Hardin on piano, and of course Armstrong on cornet. Eventually Lil was replaced with Earl "Fatha" Hines on piano and—with the addition of Pete Briggs on tuba and Baby Dodds on drums—the Hot Seven emerged. Neither the Hot Five nor the Hot Seven played live, but they recorded their extraordinary music for three years.

Not only did the Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings significantly influence all jazz instrumental music that would succeed them, but vocal music was also affected. In the 1926 recording of “Heebie Jeebies,” Armstrong sang but he did not use any words, a style popular in the New Orleans of his youth. Using vowels and consonants, Armstrong popularized a vocal style that became known as scat singing.

Meanwhile, Armstrong's source of income came from performances with his wife's band at the Dreamland Café and with the Carroll Dickerson Orchestra at the Sunset Café. While at the Sunset Café, he met his future manager Joe Glaser, an ex-convict who had ties to the Al Capone mob.

Armstrong moved to New York in 1929, and as hired to play in the orchestra of the Broadway musical Hot Chocolates, the creation of Fats Waller and Andy Razaf. The musical was well-received, and Armstrong's active participation in the theatrical arts had begun.

By the late 1920's, phonograph records started to replace sheet music, and many audiences worldwide could hear the music of Louis Armstrong. His 1929 recording of "Ain't Misbehavin" became his top selling record to date.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harlem Speaks
Jon Hendricks, Vocalist (Part 2)
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

In the first of our two-part exploration into the life and art of legendary vocalist and vocalese master Jon Hendricks, he discussed aspects of his early life in Toledo, Ohio, where he sang for change, rehearsed with Art Tatum, and watched Fats Waller steal a swig of alcohol as Hendricks’ father, a Christian minister, looked away. Hendricks also recalled memories of the personality and musical genius of Charlie Parker and Theolonious Monk; about the latter, Hendricks shared intimate and hilarious details of his collaboration as Monk’s lyricist. The early days of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross was also a topic of inquiry and conversation.
 
Part 2 promises to go even deeper into the mind and heart of long-time NEA Master Jon Hendricks, so come early and ready for swingin’ conversation!
 

Friday, July 10, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas
Jazz Festival: Two Young Tenors
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Musicians you SHOULD know about!
 
There have always been a tremendous amount of wonderful jazz players who arrive in New York to attain the seasoning needed to distinguish themselves in the leading rank of musicians. Meet two of them this evening that are ready for major careers:
 
Tom Gardner and our surprise special guest have equally original and contrasting styles on the tenor sax. Check out this musical debate that will be one of the memorable jazz evenings of this summer.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Special Event
110 on 110: A Clearing in the Forest
1:00 – 2:00pm
Location: Children's Glade
(inside Central Park from West 103rd St. to West 106th St.)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

With author Stephanie Crease

If you have children for whom you’d like to spark or nurture an interest in jazz, we invite you to bring them to an event based on Stephanie Crease’s book Duke Ellington: A Life in Music with 21 Activities. There will be activities for all children to participate in. This will be a memorable afternoon for kids and parents for sure. They’ll all leave with the following equation: JAZZ=FUN!
 
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Louis Armstrong: Swing That Music: The '30s
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong – The ‘30s

Between 1930 and 1934, Armstrong separated from Lil Hardin, hired Johnny Collins as his manager, and moved back and forth between Los Angeles, Chicago, and Paris. Around this time, many nightclubs were connected to the mob, and it was difficult for Armstrong to avoid interactions with gangsters. When Armstrong refused to return to Connie's Inn, thugs followed Armstrong and his musicians around the streets of New York, and Armstrong was forced to extend tours across the country and in England.

Armstrong briefly led the Sebastian New Cotton Club Orchestra in California, then toured throughout the United States and Europe. Eventually, Armstrong's nickname Satchmo (short for satchel mouth) became known around the world.

When Armstrong returned to the United States in 1935, he hired the Joe Glaser to be his manager and the Luis Russell Orchestra to be his backup band. Consisting of mainly New Orleans musicians, the Orchestra provided a very comfortable setting for Armstrong, and together they became known as Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra. In 1936, Armstrong recorded "Swing That Music," a song that was famous for the trumpeter's ability to hit forty-two high C's followed by a high E-flat. Later that year, Armstrong's autobiography Swing That Music was published.

In 1937, Armstrong hosted the Fleischmann's Yeast Show, a national network radio program, and a year later, he divorced Lil Hardin and married Alpha Smith shortly thereafter. His marriage to Alpha lasted three years, and in 1942 Armstrong married for the fourth time—his time to Lucille Wilson, who would remain his wife for the rest of his life.

Thursday, July 17, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas
Jazz Festival: Kataru
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Musicians you SHOULD know about!

Kaoru Watanabe
Tatsuya Nakatani
Adam Rudolph
 
KATARU, meaning “to speak” in Japanese, is a trio made up of Kaoru Watanabe on Japanese and Western flutes and taiko drums, Adam Rudolph on Handrumset and percussion and Tatsuya Nakatani on modified drumset , bowed gongs and percussion - three musicians of disparate musical backgrounds who, by seamlessly integrating abstracted Japanese Noh, Gagaku, festival and folk music components with traditional global percussion, free jazz and noise elements create ever shifting emotional soundscapes.  The spontaneity, delicacy and visceral intensity of the trio seeks to reflect, in a contemporary aesthetic, an ancient prototypical human expression.
 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Louis Armstrong: Gone Fishin': The '40s
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong – The ‘40s  -- By the 1940's, swing bands were losing their popularity and Armstrong was growing tired of leading a large group. In 1947, promoter Ernie Anderson introduced Armstrong to a small band, featuring Jack Teagarden on trombone, Earl 'Fatha' Hines on piano, Arvell Shaw on bass, and Velma Middleton on vocals. These musicians—with various changes including the addition of Barney Bigard on clarinet, 'Big' Sid Catlett on drums, and Trummy Young on trombone—formed the Louis Armstrong All Stars, which became one of the most well-known jazz outfits in history.

Armstrong's All Stars performed relentlessly all over the world in clubs, festivals, and concert halls. No matter where they performed, they were followed by admiring audiences. Armstrong made appearances at the Nice Jazz Festival, the first international jazz festival, and in Africa, where he was greeted and hailed by thousands.

An international celebrity, Armstrong's music and face began appearing everywhere. He was pictured on the cover of Time magazine on February 21, 1949. He made appearances in the musical High Society and on television shows such as Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. He collaborated with the Oscar Peterson Trio and with singers Bing Crosby, Louis Jordan, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas
Jazz Festival: Two Young Pianists
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Musicians you SHOULD know about!

There have always been a tremendous amount of wonderful jazz players who arrive in New York to attain the seasoning needed to distinguish themselves in the leading rank of musicians. Meet two of them this evening that are ready for major careers:

Kris Bowers and Brandon McCune pair off on a beautiful Yahama concert grand. Come watch the sparks fly.

Satruday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Panels
The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword
10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jazz Journalists in Conversation with Musicians/Writers

Moderator: Greg Thomas
 
Panelists to include: Gary Giddins, Steve Coleman

At the 2009 Jazz Journalists Association Award ceremony many musicians thanked the writers and critics present for connecting their work for and to a larger public. While the music and the musicians who play it are the best exemplars of the art form in action, jazz journalists play a key role in the mass and niche media by way of bridging the art and artists with consumers and listeners.

But in light of the downfall of Jazz Times, the cancellation of the major New York jazz festival, and, several years ago, the dissolution of the International Association of Jazz Educators, the state of jazz as a viable institutional force has been called into question.

However, jazz musicians and jazz journalists have confronted, decade after decade, the notion that jazz is on a death knell, while the number of students studying jazz in college continues to rise. Do journalists and musicians see eye-to-eye on a vision of a jazz future? What role does race and cultural background play into the often contentious discourse between and among musicians and journalists and critics?

These questions are just two of the many topics to be pursued in this Saturday panel. The present state of jazz journalism and the music will of course be discussed also.

To place the discussion in a historical context, scholar John Gennari, author of Blowing Hot and Cold: Jazz and its Critics, will provide a narrative of the key issues and questions that have arisen in jazz criticism.

Jazz Journalists Association president Howard Mandel, author of Miles Ornette Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz, is another panel guest.

Gary Giddins, considered by many the premier jazz critic in the nation, will also participate.

Steve Coleman, alto saxophnist, composer and band leader, is critical of aspects of jazz criticism and will bring his unique perspective to the discussion.

Several other jazz journalists and musicians of note are expected to confirm shortly. (Visit our website for updates.)
 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Louis Armstrong: La Vie En Rose: The '50s
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong – The 50s and beyond

The 50’s saw many Armstrong create many of his greatest masterpieces, from the recordings with Ella Fitzgerald to the W.C. Handy and Fats Waller tributes, to the films including High Society, and the musical autobiography done for Decca Records, where he revisited many of his earlier classics, creating updates that were anything but inferior to the originals. As for social issues, contrary to what his critics believed, Armstrong was deeply incensed by racial discrimination and often voiced his disapproval. Even though his popularity had spread across the world, Armstrong was not excluded from the racism and prejudices that were pervasive during his career. He felt alienated even in his hometown New Orleans, where he refused to visit because the Jim Crow laws were still being exercised after they were ruled illegal. "I don't care if I ever see that city again," Armstrong said. "They treat me better all over the world than they do in my hometown. Ain't that stupid? Jazz was born there and I remember when it wasn't no crime for cats of any color to get together and blow."

Not only was Armstrong the first prominent African-American celebrity of international acclaim, but he was the first jazz musician to tour Africa extensively and one of the first musicians to play for integrated audiences. In 1957, Armstrong cancelled his tour in Russia to speak out against President Eisenhower and the way desegregation was handled in a school in Little Rock, Arkansas. He then congratulated the President when the policy was reversed.  

Thursday, July 30, 2009

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

For more than forty years, drummer Louis Hayes has been a catalyst for energetic, unrelenting swing in his self led bands, as well as in those whose respective leaders reads like an encyclopedia of straight ahead post-bop modern jazz. Hayes, himself an authentic architect of post-bop swing, began his professional activities in 1955 at the tender age of 18. He started with tenor saxophonist, flautist and oboist Yusef Lateef, who like Hayes is a Detroit native. After the stint with Lateef, Hayes went on to propel groups led by pianist Horace Silver, legendary saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and pianist Oscar Peterson. These positions were augmented by countless recordings on the Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside and other labels with John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, Wes Montgomery, Cedar Walton, Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, and a plethora of others.

For the last twenty-plus years, Louis has led or co-led some of the most uncompromisingly swinging groups in all of jazz. Each unit has displayed tight-knit harmonic cohesion and hard-driving consistency as part of its signature.

With so much activity in his past, Louis could easily rest comfortably on his laurels. But being a forward thinker and doer, Hayes operates “in the present.” His recent groups contain some of the cream of the young jazz crop. Saxophonist Javon Jackson and Abraham Burton, young trumpeter Riley Mullins and other stellar players are among current members of the Louis Hayes Quintet. Louis Hayes possesses an embarrassment of riches. His story, still being told, contains a glorious past, a vibrant present and an ever promising future, all of which he'll discuss at this, the closing event of the month of July for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

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