jazz

Winners, 2009 Jazz Awards

A bevy of jazz's best singers convened  at the 13th annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards at the Jazz Standard (June 16) as Kurt Elling, Sheila Jordan, Roberta Gambarini, Giacomo Gates and Venissa Santî gathered around bebop-vocalist Mark Murphy to wish him well. Murphy, age 74, was recipient of the first "Words and Music" Awards, co-presented by the JJA and the Jazz Foundation of America, whose director Wendy Oxenhorn made an appeal for $20 donations to cover the crisis in housing and health care for musicians in need.

kris-kingBesides the singers (Elling was named Male Vocalist of the Year, Gambarini was Female Vocalist of the Year 2008)  the following Awards winners were in attendance: Trumpeter Terrence Blanchard, alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, Latin jazz bandleader Arturo O'Farrill, trombonist Roswell Rudd, violinist Billy Bang, reeds player Frank Wess, clarinetist Anat Cohen, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and producer of the year George Wein. Nominees including vibeist Stefon Harris, saxophonist Noah Preminger, trombonist Clifton Anderson, flutist Jamie Baum, pianist Vijay Iyer, baritone saxophonist Claire Daly,  multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, drummer Harris Eisenstadt and big band composer-conductor Darcy James Argue and Karen Mantler were in attendance. So were a multitude of jazz journalists from the U.S. and overseas, including Gary Giddins, Dan Morgenstern, Ira Gitler, Arnold J. Smith, Francis Davis, Doug Ramsey, Dan Ouellette, Bill Milkowski, Marc Myers, David Hajdu, David Adler, Art Lange, Fred Kaplan, Laurence Donohue-Greene, Chris Kelsey, Tim Wilkins, Nate Chinen, Ben Ratliff, Marcia Hillman, Hank Shteamer, Christian Broecking (Germany) and Cyril Moshkow (Russia), photographers John Abbott, Fran Kauffman, Enid Farber, Steven Sussman and broadcasters Linda Yohn (WEMU-Ypsilanti), Ben Young (WKCR-Columbia University and Becca Pulliam (WBGO-Newark) along with program director Thurston Briscoe and general manager Cephas Bowles.

Music was provided by the Charles Tolliver Big Band, Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, pianist Marian Petrescu and guitarist Andreas Öberg, saxophonist Carol Sudhalter and singer-pianist Daryl Sherman, and saxophonist Matt Miller's trio. Jazz Awards winners receive engraved statuettes, having been voted upon by professional members of the Jazz Journalists Association, a world-wide non-profit organization. For further information about the Jazz Awards go to www.JazzJournalists.org http://www.JazzJournalists.org , and for further information about the JJA go to http://www.Jazzhouse.org

A complete list of Jazz Awards winners follows.

Winners, 2009 Jazz Awards


Lifetime Achievement in Jazz

Lee Konitz

Musician of the Year

Sonny Rollins

Composer of the Year

Maria Schneider

Up & Coming Artist of the Year

Esperanza Spalding

Events Producer of the Year

George Wein

New Festival Productions

Record of the Year

Appearing Nightly

Carla Bley Big Band

(Watt/ECM)

Latin Jazz Album of the Year

Song for Chico
Arturo O'Farrill


(Zoho)

Historical Recording/Reissue of the Year

Road Shows, Vol. 1

Sonny Rollins

(Doxy)

Historical Recording Boxed Set

The Lester Young/Count Basie Sessions 1936-40
(Mosaic)

Record Label of the Year

Mosaic

Female Singer of the Year

Cassandra Wilson

Male Singer of the Year

Kurt Elling

Instruments Rare in Jazz

Richard Galliano, accordion

Large Ensemble of the Year

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Arranger of the Year

Maria Schneider

Small Ensemble Group of the Year

SF Jazz Collective

Trumpeter of the Year

Terence Blanchard

Trombonist of the Year

Roswell Rudd

Tenor Saxophonist of the Year

Sonny Rollins

Alto Saxophonist of the Year

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Flutist of the Year

Frank Wess

Baritone Saxophonist of the Year

Gary Smulyan

Soprano Saxophonist of the Year

Branford Marsalis

Clarinetist of the Year

Anat Cohen

Guitarist of the Year

Bill Frisell

Pianist of the Year

Hank Jones

Organist of the Year

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Strings Player of the Year

Billy Bang

Bassist of the Year

William Parker

Electric Bassist of the Year

Steve Swallow

Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year

Joe Locke

Percussionist of the Year

Hamid Drake

Drummer of the Year

Brian Blade

Periodical of the year

Jazz Times

Website of the Year

AllAboutJazz.com

Blog of the Year

Jazz Beyond Jazz

By Howard Mandel

www.artsjournal.com/jazzbeyondjazz

Best Book about Jazz

A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music

By George Lewis

(University of Chicago Press),

Best Photo of the Year

Hank Jones, Montreal Jazz Festival 2008

By Kris King

The Lona Foote–Bob Parent Award

for Photography

John Abbott

The Willis Conover–Marian McPartland Award

for Broadcasting

Ben Young, Director, WKCR

(Columbia University)

The Helen Dance–Robert Palmer Award

for Review and Feature Writing

Nate Chinen

Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism

Mike Zwerin

The Jazz Foundation of America
                                      and the
   Jazz Journalists Association
      Special Career Honors
            for Words with Music
            
                   Mark Murphy

A Team Awards for:

Herb Alpert

Musician, Producer, Jazz Supporter

Dr. Agnes Varis

Jazz Angel

Bruce Lundvall

Record Man

David N. Baker

Jazz Educator

Timuel Black

Cultural Historian

Steven Saltzman

Chicago Jazz Advocate

Ruth Price

The Jazz Bakery

Clarence Acox

Garfield High School

Jazz Band Leader

Scott Brown

Roosevelt High School

Jazz Band Leader

Peter Levinson

Author and Publicist

Richard Sudhalter

Author, Journalist, Musician

National Jazz Museum in Harlem June Schedule

We launch an exciting month of programming in conversation with Will Friedwald, one of the nation’s top jazz critics and authorities on jazz singing, for Jazz for Curious Readers. Next, we present a listening and learning session on a classic album by Bill Evans, the first of five classic recordings for discussion at Jazz for Curious Listeners in June.

Living legend Jon Hendricks, the reigning master of vocalese, truly embodies the notion of “living history.” Hear history come alive at Harlem Speaks with Hendricks, and, later in the month, the legendary bassist/educator Rufus Reid.

A special session of Harlem Speaks will be held at The Riverside Theater, as part of its annual Family Arts Festival. Young New Orleans trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles will lead the NJMH All-Stars in a groove we call Caribbean Swing.

Come to Connecticut to hear the NJMH All-Stars celebrate the music of Benny Carter and swing back to Harlem in late June as they focus their fire on the music of Duke Ellington. Our Saturday Panel discussion celebrates the centennial of the peerless pianist Art Tatum and the mighty tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, and their continued relevance ion the 21st century.

Our Harlem in the Himalayas concert features one of the younger stars in jazz, pianist Kevin Hays, in a wonderful acoustic setting at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Whether it’s live performance or discussion, our public programming guarantees you a good time in the joyful spirit of swing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

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

Dubbed (by Past Times magazine) as "The Poet Laureate of vintage pop music," Friedwald is internationally recognized as the leading authority on jazz singing and "adult" pop music. He is the author of three books on the subject, the most recent of which is Tony Bennett's autobiography, The Good Life (1998, Pocket Books) and also include Jazz Singing and Sinatra! The Song is You, both published in hardcover by Scribners (Simon and Schuster) and in paperback by Da Capo Press. Sinatra! The Song is You is the first full-length musical biography of Frank Sinatra and was hailed by The New York Times Book Review as the "single most important book on Sinatra ever published." In 1996, Sinatra! Received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Excellence In Music Criticism.

Since 1984, Friedwald has written regularly about music for The Village Voice and also appears frequently in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, Oxford American, New York, Entertainment Weekly, New York Newsday, L. A. Weekly, Mojo, BBC Music Magazine, Stereo Review, Fi(Delity), The New York Observer (where he was the resident jazz critic), Seven Days and numerous music and film journals.

With prolific television and radio experience under his belt, Friedwald has appeared on hundreds of programs in both mediums. He has served as a consultant and on-screen commentator on many television documentaries and news programs (including ABC Nightline, The MacNeil Lehrer Report, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, and A&E Biography's profiles of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Mel Tormé). On the radio, he has hosted many of his own regular disc jockey radio shows, and has also served as a commentator / "columnist" on the National Public Radio program Artbeat. He was a frequent guest with Stan Martin and Jonathan Schwartz on WQEW, and was the subject of an hour-long interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He served as a consultant and interviewee on NPR's massive Ellington project as well as on dozens of installments of Jazz Profiles and other NPR documentary programs.

In addition, Friedwald has produced and annotated hundreds of compact disc reissues, including several Grammy-winning packages (out of a total of six Grammy nominations). Expect an insightful and humorous evening of wit and historical depth.

 
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Special Event
Dine Around Downtown with the NJMH All-Stars 11AM – 3PM

Location: Chase Manhattan Plaza, between Liberty & Pine and Nassau & William Sts.  The Downtown Alliance is pleased to present Dine Around Downtown 2009.

Savor some of the best food in town at the 11th annual Dine Around Downtown - a Downtown tradition showcasing over 50 of the finest restaurants in Lower Manhattan. Sample signature menu items for $3 to $6 while enjoying an array of live entertainment and music by the Jazz Museum throughout the day. Rain date is Wednesday, June 3.

Jazz for Curious Listeners
5 Classic Albums: Bill Evans Trio at the Village Vanguard
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Learn how to listen to classic jazz albums from a musician’s perspective. This live recording by the Bill Evans Trio at the Village Vanguard on June 25, 1961, marked the end of one of the most sublime instrumental combinations in jazz history when bassist Scott LaFaro died in a car accident 10 days later. This unit is underdocumented because Evans, a notorious perfectionist, was reluctant to record. The interchange between Evans on piano, LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums is balletic in its balance of emotional beauty and technical precision. Multiple takes of "Gloria's Step," "Alice in Wonderland," "All of You," and "Jade Visions" show how the invention these players brought to each performance makes repeated material sound like movements in a suite.
 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Harlem Speaks

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

Jon Hendricks has been called the "James Joyce of Jive" by Times Magazine and "The Poet Laureate of Jazz" by jazz critic and historian Leonard Feather. He has distinguished himself as a vocalist capable of transforming instrumental choruses into lyrically rich voices, an art form called vocalese.

Before Hendricks reached his teens, his family moved to Toledo, Ohio, where he began appearing on radio and where he encountered the pianist extraordinaire Art Tatum, who took a keen interest in Hendricks’ musical development. A brief encounter with another iconoclastic musical genius—Charlie Parker—caused Hendricks to pursue music professionally.

He was the key lyricist and principal member of the trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross formed in 1958. The group remained together for 6 years, during which time the trio toured widely and recorded extensively, featuring a repertory of jazz vocalese. The trio mastered the technique of adding words to jazz instrumental classics, including those of Basie and Ellington. After that, Hendricks performed with the new group, Jon Hendricks and Company. He moved to London in 1968 and performed in Europe and Africa for five years. He frequently performed on British television and appeared in the British film "Jazz is our Religion" and the french film "Hommage a Cole Porter".

He then moved to California where he was a jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and taught classes at California State University at Sonoma and the University of California at Berkeley. His 1985 album Vocalese, featuring the Manhattan Transfer, won five Grammy Awards. His television documentary, Somewhere To Lay My Weary Head, received an Emmy, Iris and Peabody Award. His stage work, Evolution of the Blues, ran an unprecedented five years at the Broadway theatre in San Francisco.

Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Buck Clayton, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Wynton Marsalis, and Bobby McFerrin are among those with whom he has worked. As written in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, "He is a fine scat singer, and is also adept at imitating instrumental sounds that his improvisations often surpass the solos played by his accompanists." None other than Al Jarreau declared that Hendricks is “pound-for-pound the best jazz singer on the planet—maybe that's ever been.”

His legacy of song, scat and puissant lyricism is perhaps matched only by his story-telling talents, as you will find out in this historic discussion. Come early: we expect a full house.

 
Friday, June 5, 2009

Harlem Speaks
Caribbean Swing with Etienne Charles and the NJMH All-Stars
7:00 – 9:00pm
Location: The Riverside Theater
(91 Claremont Avenue)
FREE | Family Arts Festival box office: 212-870-6784

Join us for an interview with and then music from 2006 National Trumpet Competition winner Etienne Charles. One listen to his debut recording Culture Shock shows the depth and breadth of his varied musical heritage. From the Calypso and Caribbean steel pan grooves of his native Trinidad, to sophisticated swing firmly rooted in the jazz tradition, Charles deftly incorporates a multitude of styles while maintaining continuity, freshness, and maturity in his sound.

Charles comes from a rich legacy of musical tradition. His grandfather was seldom seen without his cuatro or guitar.  His father Francis was a member of Phase II Pan Groove, one of the world’s top steel bands and one that Etienne would later join himself. Music surrounded Charles as a child, emanating from his father’s record collection, and the sounds of calypso, steel pan, and African shango and tassa drumming.  These formative years inform Charles’s playing and are evident in his sound today.

For his first album, Culture Shock, Charles assembled an outstanding and seasoned band of veteran musicians to help him bring his vision of jazz fused with Afro-Caribbean rhythms to fruition. Pianist extraordinaire Marcus Roberts is featured, with Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra trombonist Vincent Gardner, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Ralph MacDonald, vocalist Pam Laws, saxophonist Dayve Stewart, and the hard swinging and solid rhythm section of Rodney Jordan and Leon Anderson on bass and drums respectively. This all-star cast brings together Charles’s diverse influences and creates a unified, fresh, and urgent musical presentation on par with the best jazz being made today. Etienne Charles is a talented, creative soul with a vision and the will to bring it to the world, as heard on his most recent recording, Folklore, a suite of jazz-oriented compositions that address the mythical heritage of the Caribbean region.
 
 
Saturday, June 6, 2009

Special Event
Benny Carter Memorial Concert, NJMH All-Stars

Loren Schoenberg, tenor saxophone; Kris Bowers, piano, Yasushi Nakamura, bass; Marion Felder, drums

1:00pm
Location: Jewish Community Center
(9 Route 39 S Sherman, CT 06784-2026)
FREE | For more information: 860-355-8050

Join the NJMH All-Stars in a tribute to jazz giant Benny Carter, an original and influential alto saxophonist, who was also a masterly composer and arranger and an important bandleader, trumpeter, and clarinetist. Along with Johnny Hodges and Charlie Parker, he is considered one of the three most influential alto sax stylists of the jazz idiom.

Carter grew up in New York City and attended Wilberforce College briefly before joining, as alto saxophonist and arranger, a series of big bands, including those led by Charlie Johnson, Horace Henderson, Chick Webb, and Fletcher Henderson.

Carter had learned the trumpet during his youth and began doubling on that instrument while leading McKinney's Cotton Pickers (1931–32); he then led his own big band in 1932–34. He spent most of 1935–38 playing and arranging in Europe. When he returned to the United States, he formed big swing bands in New York and California. Carter settled permanently in Los Angeles in 1945, where he concentrated largely on compositions for films and television, though he sometimes played alto saxophone on jazz tours and recordings.

Carter's saxophone work at its best is characterized by purity of tone, elegant ornamentation, rhythmic precision and swing, and diatonic phrasing; often it features closely constructed lines based on the development of simple musical motifs. As an arranger he was especially noted for his scoring for woodwind sections, and he composed attractive songs such as “Waltzing the Blues,” “Blue Star,” and “When Lights Are Low.” Among Carter's most acclaimed recordings are of the songs “Six or Seven Times,” “Dee Blues,” and “I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me,” all of which were performed with the Chocolate Dandies; “Crazy Rhythm,” with Coleman Hawkins; “Shoe Shiner's Drag,” with Lionel Hampton; and a 1961 album led by Carter, Further Definitions.

Carter focused on composing and arranging during the 1960s, but he played with greater frequency from the mid-1970s. He maintained a highly active career well into the 1990s, when an octogenarian Carter was still regarded as one of the top alto saxophonists in the jazz world. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2000.
 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
5 Classic Albums: Wayne Shorter, Speak No Evil
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Learn how to listen to classic jazz albums from a musician’s perspective. Tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter came into his own in 1964, the year of this classic recording as well as the year Miles Davis hired him away from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Up until that time he was known primarily through his association with Blakey, but the combination of three Blue Note albums in one year as a leader, and his new gig with the Miles Davis Quintet left no doubt about his unique abilities as a player and composer.

Speak No Evil is comprised of six original tunes written by Shorter and played by Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, and Elvin Jones. Herbie Hancock's classic Maiden Voyage was recorded just a few months earlier with the same basic group, and in many ways they are two sides of the same coin, with Shorter's collection having a darker tone. Over the next 40 years, Wayne Shorter would continue to explore the boundaries between traditional, free, and pop styles with Miles Davis, Weather Report and solo recordings, extending concepts that first came to light during this period in the early '60s.
 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
5 Classic Albums: Louis Armstrong plays W.C. Handy
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Learn how to listen to classic jazz albums from a musician’s perspective. A wonderful meeting of two institutions of American music, this 1954 album was perhaps the finest recording of Louis Armstrong's later career, with the great trumpeter-singer turning to material that was very close to his roots. Both W.C. Handy and Armstrong had a complex relationship with the blues, an essential source for both Handy's popular songs and Armstrong's improvisational art, and these recordings touch on the heart of the matter. On "Yellow Dog Blues," a product of Handy's own early and chance encounter with the rural blues, there's a majesty that recalls Armstrong's early recordings with Bessie Smith. Armstrong is clearly inspired by the classic material and the chance to stretch out on record, and his regular band of the period joins in perfectly. Trombonist Trummy Young, clarinetist Barney Bigard, pianist Billy Kyle, and singer Velma Middleton contribute stellar solos and support, while bassist Arvell Shaw and drummer Barrett Deems do an exceptional job of keeping the slower tempos rock steady. This is a deeply moving and consummately executed performance, as you will readily hear in this session of Jazz for Curious Listeners.
 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Panels
Art Tatum and Ben Webster: A 2009 Centennial Celebration
10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Tatum was blessed a prodigious technique and ironic sensibility that remained unsurpassed; Webster played in a fashion that exuded warmth, strength, passion and simplicity, but they were close friends and made one of the great albums of all times together, just months before Tatum died. Join us for panel discussions, rare film, and a lot of love directed at these two masters.

Art Tatum was among the most extraordinary of all jazz musicians, a pianist with wondrous technique who could not only play incredibly rapid lines with both hands (his 1933 solo version of "Tiger Rag" sounds as if there were three pianists jamming together) but was harmonically 30 years ahead of his time; all pianists have to deal to a certain extent with Tatum's innovations in order to be taken seriously. Able to play stride, swing, and boogie-woogie with speed and complexity that could only previously be imagined, Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries.

Born nearly blind, Tatum gained some formal piano training at the Toledo School of Music in Ohio but was largely self-taught. He first played professionally in Toledo in the mid-'20s and had a radio show during 1929-1930. In 1932 Tatum traveled with singer Adelaide Hall to New York and made his recording debut accompanying Hall (as one of two pianists). But for those who had never heard him in person, it was his solos of 1933 (including "Tiger Rag") that announced the arrival of a truly major talent. In the 1930s, Tatum spent periods working in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and (in 1938) England.

Although he led a popular trio with guitarist Tiny Grimes (later Everett Barksdale) and bassist Slam Stewart in the mid-'40s, Tatum spent most of his life as a solo pianist who could always scare the competition. Some observers criticized him for having too much technique (is such a thing possible?), working out and then keeping the same arrangements for particular songs, and for using too many notes, but those minor reservations pale when compared to Tatum's reworkings of such tunes as "Yesterdays," "Begin the Beguine," and even "Humoresque." Although he was not a composer, Tatum's rearrangements of standards made even warhorses sound like new compositions.

Art Tatum, who recorded for Decca throughout the 1930s and Capitol in the late '40s, starred at the Esquire Metropolitan Opera House concert of 1944 and appeared briefly in his only film in 1947, The Fabulous Dorseys (leading a jam session on a heated blues). He recorded extensively for Norman Granz near the end of his life in the 1950s, both solo and with all-star groups; all of the music has been reissued by Pablo on a six-CD box set. The best of these feature a collaboration with tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, “whose economy of means made for a perfect contrast with Tatum,” writes Executive Director Loren Schoenberg in his The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Jazz. Tatum’s premature death from uremia has not resulted in any loss of fame, for his recordings still have the ability to scare modern pianists.

Ben Webster was considered one of the "big three" of swing tenors along with Coleman Hawkins (his main influence) and Lester Young. He had a tough, raspy, and brutal tone on stomps (with his own distinctive growls) yet on ballads he would play with warmth and sentiment and deep romanticism.

After violin lessons as a child, Webster learned how to play rudimentary piano (his neighbor Pete Johnson taught him to play blues). But after Budd Johnson showed him some basics on the saxophone, Webster played sax in the Young Family Band (which at the time included Lester Young). He had stints with Jap Allen and Blanche Calloway (making his recording debut with the latter) before joining Bennie Moten's Orchestra in time to be one of the stars on a classic session in 1932. Webster spent time with quite a few orchestras in the 1930s (including Andy Kirk, Fletcher Henderson in 1934, Benny Carter, Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway, and the short-lived Teddy Wilson big band).

In 1940 (after short stints in 1935 and 1936), Ben Webster became Duke Ellington's first major tenor soloist. During the next three years he was on many famous recordings, including "Cotton Tail" (which in addition to his memorable solo had a saxophone ensemble arranged by Webster) and "All Too Soon." After leaving Ellington in 1943 (he would return for a time in 1948-1949), Webster worked on 52nd Street; recorded frequently as both a leader and a sideman; had short periods with Raymond Scott, John Kirby, and Sid Catlett; and toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic during several seasons in the 1950s. In this period, Webster's work on ballads became quite popular and Norman Granz recorded him on many memorable sessions.
Webster recorded a classic set with Art Tatum and generally worked steadily, but in 1964 he moved permanently to Copenhagen where he played when he pleased during his last decade. Webster could swing with the best and his tone was a later influence on such diverse players as Archie Shepp, Lew Tabackin, Scott Hamilton, and Bennie Wallace.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
5 Classic Albums: Paul Motian on Broadway
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Learn how to listen to classic jazz albums from a musician’s perspective. Paul Motian's On Broadway, Volume 1, released in 1989 is one of the best albums in Motian's long and varied career. Paul Motian is the drummer who played in Bill Evans' trio on such legendary albums like Waltz For Debby, Sunday Afternoon At The Village Vanguard, and Portrait In Jazz, to name a few. Motian has also recorded three more "On Broadway" sessions.

Motian is joined by guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist Joe Lovano, and bassist Charlie Haden. This recording is critically acclaimed for its fresh takes on jazz standards. Come discover why this modern recording deserves the designation of “classic.”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

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

Rufus Reid, one of today's premiere bassists on the international jazz scene, with his reputation firmly established in the education arena, now adds composition to his vitae. For several years, Reid has been a participant in the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop which has empowered him to move more deeply into the composing arena. He won the Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Award for his composition, "Skies Over Emilia." His composition, "Whims of the Blue Bird" is the result of this award's commission. This has led to further commissions. He is writing for string orchestra, jazz ensembles large and small, and double bass ensemble pieces.

Rufus Reid received a 2006 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to enable him to continue composing, and he received The ASCAP/IAJE Commission for Established Jazz Composers, which was premiered at the 2007 IAJE Conference in New York City.

The 2006 Sackler Commission Prize was awarded to Rufus which allowed him to fulfill a dream he has had to compose a work dedicated to the artist, Elizabeth Catlett. Her life and work inspired in Rufus a desire to honor her and introduce her to people who might not know about her. This four movement work for Jazz Big Band, inspired by four of her sculptures, premiered at The University of Connecticut at Storrs and at Stamford in March, 2007.

Reid's book, The Evolving Bassist, published since 1974, continues to be recognized as the industry standard as the definitive bass method. As of January, 2000, the book is available in its millennium edition.

Rufus Reid is equally known as an exceptional educator as well, teaching clinics since 1971, holding associations with Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, the Stanford University Jazz Workshop, and the Lake Placid Institute, to name a few. Reid was on the faculty of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, as Full Professor and Director of the Jazz Studies and Performance program for twenty years completing his tenure in 1999.

Rufus Reid's major professional career began in Chicago and continues, since 1976, in New York City. Along with performing and recording with the remaining giants of jazz of today, he was privileged to share many musical moments with some that have passed on: Gene Ammons, Kenny Dorham, Eddie Harris, Sonny Stitt, Don Byas, Philly Joe Jones, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, and Art Farmer.

Born on February 10, 1944 in Atlanta, GA, Rufus Reid was raised in Sacramento, California where he played the trumpet through junior high and high school. Upon graduation from Sacramento High School, he entered the United States Air Force as a trumpet player. During that period he began to be seriously interested in the bass. After fulfilling his duties in the military, Rufus had decided he wanted to pursue a career as a professional bassist. He moved to Seattle, Washington, where he began serious study with James Harnett of the Seattle Symphony. He continued his education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied with Warren Benfield and principal bassist, Joseph Guastefeste, both of the Chicago Symphony. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Music Degree as a Performance Major on the Double Bass.

In 1997, The International Association of Jazz Educators awarded Rufus with the Humanitarian Award. BASS PLAYER magazine, awarded Rufus the 1998 Jazz Educator Achievement Award, and DOWN BEAT magazine in March 1999, had a feature story on Rufus Reid as a legendary thirty year veteran. In November 1999, The New Jersey Chapter of the IAJE named him OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR of 1999.

Rufus Reid's new CD/DVD recording, Live at Kennedy Center, by noted Independent label, Motema Music was recorded October 13, 2006, at Washington, DC's venerable national home for the performing arts, and released May 29, 2007. This CD/DVD set features diverse moods and textures ranging from his dynamic opening jaunt "Come Out and Play," one of many compelling, accessible original compositions on the disc to "Ode to Angela," by Harold Land, "Heroes" by Billy Childs, and a sensitive solo bass interpretation of Duke Ellington's classic, "Sophisticated Lady." This package also includes a special in-depth feature, "Meet Rufus Reid," our sentiment exactly for this session of Harlem Speaks.
 

Friday, June 26, 2009

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

Pianist/Composer Kevin Hays has recorded 10 CDs as a leader and is featured on dozens of recordings with a variety of leading jazz artists. Included in his leader discography are 3 critically acclaimed recordings for Blue Note Records. His 'Seventh Sense' was praised by The New York Times and recognized as one of the “Top 40 Jazz Releases of the Year” by Musician Magazine.

Kevin has performed and recorded with some of the most prominent and influential musicians in Jazz, including Sonny Rollins, John Scofield, Benny Golson, Roy Haynes, Chris Potter, Al Foster, Joe Henderson, Buster Williams, Art Farmer and Joshua Redman.

Born May 1st of 1968 in New York City and raised in Connecticut, he began studying piano at the age of 6 and was playing professionally by 15. At 17 he began playing with baritone saxophone great Nick Brignola. After spending a year at The Manhattan School of Music, he began traveling in the U.S., Japan, and Europe with various bands including The Harper Brothers, Benny Golson, Joe Henderson and Eddie Gomez. In 1995 Sonny Rollins invited him to join his group; a year and a half later he began touring with guitarist John Scofield in his celebrated “Quiet” band.

Today, Kevin continues to perform worldwide in Solo concerts, with his Trio which includes bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Bill Stewart, and with The Sangha Quartet which features Seamus Blake, Larry Grenadier, and Bill Stewart. He also conducts Master Classes in the U.S. and overseas.

Kevin's recent recording activity includes a new Solo Piano CD Open Range on the ACT label; the launching of PinonDisk Records, his own label on which he has released his latest Trio CD What Survives; a new trio project with the groundbreaking web-based company, and two releases under the JazzEyes label: For Heaven's Sake (2006) and the recently released You've Got a Friend.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Special Event
NJMH Big Band Ellington Tribute
2:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Harlem Meer, just outside The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (Central Park at 110th between Lenox and 5th Avenues)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Featuring the NJMH All-Star Big band directed by Loren Schoenberg

As a fine art, jazz is timeless. What makes this so? One great example is Duke Ellington’s genius as a composer, arranger, big band leader, and pianist. Duke’s compositions, which capture the spirit of America in sound, will be the focus of this free Saturday concert. Come, bring some friends, and don’t forget your dancing shoes!
 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
5 Classic Albums: Common, Like Water for Chocolate
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Learn how to listen to classic jazz albums from a musician’s perspective. Common is a hip hop lyricist and spoken word artist known for his integration of political, cultural and educational themes in a socially conscious musical package that eschews the necessity of a “gangsta” pose for legitimacy or to cow-tow to a minstrel aesthetic.

As is the case with his Brooklyn homeboy, Mos Def, Common draws from a wide palette of musical styles in his recordings, including jazz. The title Like Water for Chocolate, is a double entendre: one meaning is derived from the movie of the same title, the other from the Gordan Parks photo of a black girl drinking from a “Colored Only” water fountain, used as the CD cover.

The recording is known for its Afrocentric focus, and features collaborations with guest stars from rap, eliciting a range of themes from love songs (“The Light,”) to a flip-the-script discussion between a pimp and a potential employee that humorously belies his rep as a “conscious rapper,” to a tribute to real hip hop history (“Nag Champa”), as well as a hat’s off to Fela Kuti and Assata Shakur.

This album was Common’s commercial breakthrough recording in 2000; he demonstrated that he could maintain his artistic integrity and get “large” at the same time. Come discover a jazz perspective on a hip hop classic.

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Summer Tour

Evolution defines the spirit of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. In fact, evolution is what allows this Tulsa, Oklahoma institution to thrive. Greater than the sum of its parts, JFJO is hitting new creative peaks in an already historic 15-year career. Founding pianist Brian Haas and drummer Josh Raymer made the decision at the outset of 2009 to expand what was one of the fiercest modern jazz trios in recent memory to a quartet by adding lap steel guitarist Chris Combs and upright bassist Matt Hayes. Upon the departure of original bassist Reed Mathis at the end of '08, longtime JFJO fans wondered aloud what might become of JFJO. The new line-up quickly laid all fears to rest as they re-emerged with a bristling energy and an invigorated sound. Hitting the road with something to prove, they toured the U.S. for the better part of early '09, even visiting cities they hadn't played in years. In addition, as a thank you to fans for their loyal support, they released their final album with Mathis, entitled Winterwood, as a free download on their website.

Jacob Fred JazzFor those yet to hear the latest incarnation of JFJO, a description of their new sound is in order--after all this is a band once described by Signal To Noise as having "a breadth and vision nearly untouched in modern jazz except by the likes of Wayne Shorter and Bill Frisell." With the addition of Combs on lap steel and Hayes on acoustic bass, JFJO has perhaps invented its own genre: red dirt jazz, equal parts earthy and nimble, pastoral and sweeping, elegant and rollicking.  The quartet taps into their birthright, drawing upon "The Tulsa Sound" born of hometown heroes like JJ Cale and Leon Russell. These roots grow up into a jazz foundation that's built firmly upon the influence of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk among others.

Last month JFJO began documenting its rebirth at 58NS Studios in Brooklyn. The sessions are currently being mixed in Tulsa for an EP to be released in late summer on the quartet's own Kinnara Records. Until then JFJO will be playing select club dates and festivals around the country. While nothing is ever certain in the JFJO universe, it's clear for the time being that their fearless vessel has navigated the storm to arrive beneath sunshine and blue skies on the high and open seas.  The odyssey continues.

Upcoming Tour Dates are:

June 4 | Wakarusa Music Festival | Ozark, AR
June 12 | Jardine's | Kansas City, MO
June 13 | Jardine's | Kansas City, MO
June 17 | Elbo Room | San Francisco, CA
June 18 | Starry Plough | Berkeley, CA (w/ Antioquia)
June 19 | Starry Plough | Berkeley, CA
June 20 | Jambalaya | Arcata, CA
June 24 | First Street Pub & Grill | Nederland, CO
June 25 | B-Side Lounge | Boulder, CO (w/ Fareed Haque's Flat Earth Ensemble)
June 26 | Owsley's Golden Road | Denver, CO (w/ Fareed Haque's Flat Earth Ensemble)
July 9 | Piazza at Schmidt's | Philadelphia, PA
July 10 | The Lizard Lounge | Boston, MA (w/ Club D'Elf)
July 11 | The Lizard Lounge | Boston, MA (w/ Club D'Elf)
July 14 | The Iron Horse | Northampton, MA
July 17 | Downright Music & Arts | Collinsville, CT
July 18 | Joe's Pub | New York, NY

Jazz Fest At Sea 2009

jazzatseaThe year 2009 marks the 100th birthday of jazz legend Benny Goodman. We are very proud to announce that clarinetist Allan Vache has been given permission by the Goodman Estate and Bill Hyland, its executor, to present "A Benny Goodman Centennial Tribute" show. In addition to the Tribute show, Banu Gibson and her New Orleans Hot Jazz band will be headlining our jazz cruise. And our special guests from the West Coast, BED will be on board for your listening pleasure. We will be departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to the Southern Caribbean on the MSC Poesia for 10-nights of jazz and fun. Not only will you have your choice of amazing performances each evening, but you are also invited to the afternoon sessions on days at sea. Take a look at the fantastic schedule! But remember, only those who book with Cruise & Vacation Depot will be allowed to participate!

Our JazzFest at Sea promises to be the Ultimate Jazz Cruise of the year for all Classic and Dixieland Jazz fans. Don't miss the boat! Our staterooms are in limited supply. Simply call 1-800-654-8090 or email JazzFest at Sea for more information.

The schedule is subject to change. Check back often or call us at 1-800-654-8090 for updates!

Monday - November 30

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
8:00 PM - Banu Gibson & The New Orleans Hot Jazz featuring Banu Gibson, Randy Reinhart, Marc Phaneuf, David Sager, David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate and Jeff Hamilton
9:00 PM - A Benny Goodman Centennial Tribute featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bill Allred, Matt Hoffmann, Mark Shane, Bob Leary, Charlie Silva, Ed Metz Jr. and Terry Blaine
10:00 PM - B.E.D. featuring Rebecca Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Dan Barrett and Joel Forbes

Tuesday - December 1

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
1:00 PM - "Meet the Musicians" Cocktail Party
2:00 PM - Diva Duos featuring Rebecca Kilgore & Eddie Erickson, Terry Blaine & Mark Shane, Banu Gibson & David Boeddinghaus
8:00 PM - Dem Bones featuring Bill Allred, Dan Barrett, David Sager, Mark Shane, Joel Forbes, Bob Leary and Jeff Hamilton
9:00 PM - Allan Vaché's Swingtet featuring Allan Vaché, Randy Reinhart, Frank Tate, Matt Hoffmann, Eddie Erickson and Ed Metz Jr.
10:00 PM - Chicago Jazz featuring David Jones, Marc Phaneuf, Dan Barrett, David Boeddinghaus, Charlie Silva and Jeff Hamilton

Wednesday - December 2

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
1:00 PM - Musical Memories featuring Ed Clute on the piano playing your requests
2:00 PM - Allan Vaché's Big 4 featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bob Leary and Charlie Silva
3:00 PM - 3 Girls 3 featuring Terry Blaine, Banu Gibson, Rebecca Kilgore, Mark Shane, Eddie Erickson, Joel Forbes and Ed Metz Jr.
8:00 PM - B.E.D. featuring Rebecca Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Dan Barrett and Joel Forbes
9:00 PM - Banu Gibson & The New Orleans Hot Jazz featuring Banu Gibson, Randy Reinhart, Marc Phaneuf, David Sager, David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate and Jeff Hamilton
10:00 PM - A Benny Goodman Centennial Tribute featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bill Allred, Matt Hoffmann, Mark Shane, Bob Leary, Charlie Silva, Ed Metz Jr. and Terry Blaine

Thursday - December 3

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
8:00 PM - Cornet Chop Suey featuring Randy Reinhart, Dan Barrett,David Jones, David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate amd Jeff Hamilton with guest Banu Gibson
9:00 PM  - With Benny in Mind featuring Allan Vaché, Matt Hoffman, Mark Shane, Bob Leary, Charlie Silva and Ed Metz Jr. with guest Terry Blaine
10:00 PM - Bill's Classic Jazz featuring Bill Allred, Randy Reinhart, Mark Phaneuf, Eddie Erikson, Joel Forbes and Ed Metz Jr. with guest Rebecca Kilgore

Friday - December 4

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
8:00 PM - A Benny Goodman Centennial Tribute featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bill Allred, Matt Hoffmann, Mark Shane, Bob Leary, Charlie Silva, Ed Metz Jr. and Terry Blaine  
9:00 PM - B.E.D. featuring Rebecca Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Dan Barrett and Joel Forbes
10:00 PM - Mostly Mercer - A Johnny Mercer Centennial Tribute featuring Banu Gibson, Randy Reinhart, Marc Phaneuf, David Sager, David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate and Jeff Hamilton

Saturday - December 5

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
8:00 PM - The Matt Hoffmann Quartet featuring Matt Hoffmann, Mark Shane, Joel Forbes and Jeff Hamilton with guest Terry Blaine  
9:00 PM - Switch Hitters featuring Dan Barrett (cornet & trombone), Randy Reinhart (cornet & trombone), David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate,
Bob Leary and Ed Metz Jr. with guest Banu Gibson
10:00 PM - Dixieland USA featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bill Allred, Mark Phaneuf (saxophone), Mark Shane, Eddie Erikson (banjo), Charlie Silva and Jeff Hamilton with guest Rebecca Kilgore

Sunday - December 6

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
8:00 PM - B.E.D. featuring Rebecca Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Dan Barrett and Joel Forbes
9:00 PM - Banu Gibson & The New Orleans Hot Jazz featuring Banu Gibson, Randy Reinhart, Marc Phaneuf, David Sager, David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate and Jeff Hamilton
10:00 PM - A Benny Goodman Centennial Tribute featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bill Allred, Matt Hoffmann, Mark Shane, Bob Leary, Charlie Silva, Ed Metz Jr. and Terry Blaine

Monday - December 7

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
8:00 PM - Reedmen featuring Allan Vaché, Mark Phaneuf, David Boeddinghaus, Joel Forbes, Eddie Erikson and Ed Metz Jr.
9:00 PM - Brass Masters featuring Randy Reinhart, Bill Allred, David Sager, Dan Barrett, David Jones, Mark Shane, Frank Tate and Jeff Hamilton
10:00 PM - Ladies Sing (and play) the Blues featuring Banu Gibson (banjo & vocal), Terry Blaine (flute & vocal) and Rebecca Kilgore (guitar & vocal) with guests Bob Leary, Charlie Silva and Ed Metz Jr.

Tuesday - December 8

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
1:00 PM - The Bob & Eddie Show featuring Bob Leary (banjo, guitar & vocal), Eddie Erikson (banjo, guitar & vocal), Charlie Silva and Jeff Hamilton
2:00 PM - The Piano Men featuring Mark Shane and David Boeddinghaus
3:00 PM - CD Signing and Autograph Session with personal photo opportunities
8:00 PM - Banu Gibson & The New Orleans Hot Jazz featuring Banu Gibson, Randy Reinhart, Marc Phaneuf, David Sager, David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate and Jeff Hamilton
9:00 PM - B.E.D. featuring Rebecca Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Dan Barrett and Joel Forbes
10:00 PM - A Benny Goodman Centennial Tribute featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bill Allred, Matt Hoffmann, Mark Shane, Bob Leary, Charlie Silva, Ed Metz Jr. and Terry Blaine

Wednesday - December 9

Le Moulin Rouge (Pigalle) Lounge - Deck 7 Aft
8:00 PM - B.E.D. featuring Rebecca Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Dan Barrett and Joel Forbes
9:00 PM - Final All-Star Jam Session featuring Allan Vaché, David Jones, Bill Allred, Matt Hoffmann, Mark Shane, Bob Leary, Charlie Silva, Ed Metz Jr., Terry Blaine, Banu Gibson, Randy Reinhart, Marc Phaneuf, David Sager, David Boeddinghaus, Frank Tate, Jeff Hamilton, Rebecca Kilgore, Eddie Erickson, Dan Barrett and Joel Forbes (Bring your Ax if you want to join in!)

Lambchop completes line-up of the Gent Jazz Festival

The last group for the Gent Jazz Festival (July 8th to 19th inclusive) is Lambchop. This American band completes the line-up of Friday, July 17th, featuring José James and Rodrigo y Gabriela. As we had already announced, BB King, Jamie Cullum, George Benson, Jamie Lidell, Marianne Faithfull, McCoy Tyner Trio feat. Bill Frisell and Joe Jackson will also be present.

Over the past 15 years, Lambchop has become one of the most exciting bands within the Americana genre. With their subtle mix of country, rock, pop, folk and soul, the group centered by Kurt Wagner has released 10 albums. Year by year, Lambchop has developed into a musical collective built around front man and creative mastermind Kurt Wagner, one of the best song writers of his generation. The driving force behind Lambchop has one of the most recognizable, warm and serene voices and at the same time. He writes ironic lyrics in which the melancholy is never far away and Wagner reveals himself as a wonderful narrator.

Info & tickets:www.gentjazz.com. Gent Jazz Festival from July 8th to 19 inclusive, Bijloke, Gent, Belgium. Tickets cost 27 euros per evening (excl. booking costs), except for those for July 8 (concert day with BB King) which cost 37 euros (excl. booking costs). A Three-Day Pass costs 68 euros (excl. booking costs). Tickets can be booked via www.gentjazz.com, via Uitbureau Gent (www.uitbureau.be or +32(0)9 233 77 88) or at FNAC. Just as it did last year, the final festival weekend coincides with the opening weekend of the Ghent Festivities.

15th Annual West Coast Jazz Party Sept. 3-6

4 Nights and 3 Non-Stop Days of America’s Best Mainstream Jazz Party featuring Three Big Bands, Nightly Ballroom Concerts, Outdoor Pool Sessions, a Saturday Night Dance and a unique Newport Harbor Jazz Brunch Cruise!   Helping celebrate 15 swingin’ years will be the Four Freshmen, Terry Gibbs, Jack Sheldon, Ken Peplowski, Ernie Andrews, Houston Person, Marilyn Maye, Paul Smith, Peter Erskine, Frank Capp Juggernaut plus special tributes by Debby Boone, Charlie Shoemake and Byron Stripling with his All-Star Orchestra featuring Butch Miles on drums!

With Orange County’s wonderful weather in September, this year’s party will feature Pool Sessions on Friday and Saturday, both days  from 12 noon until 3:15pm including on Friday the JazzAmerica Big Band directed by Richard Simon and the Dave Tull Quartet plus a special act to be announced. On Saturday- two sets with the celebrated Frank Capp Juggernaut Orchestra featuring Ernie Andrews plus Guitar Summit with Mundell Lowe, Mimi Fox & Ron Eschete supported by Jon Mayer, Hassan Wiggins and Harold Jones.                   

The Sunday Jazz Brunch Cruise on Hornblower Yacht’s Entertainer will again be a highlight of the 3 day event.   Attendees and the artists will transition from the Marriott to Newport Harbor, where 3 decks of  specially designed “jam sessions” with over 20 All-Stars, including Terry Gibbs, Marilyn Maye, Guitar Summit and the Peter Erskine Trio will be featured during the champagne brunch cruise which will take place from 11:00am until 2:00pm.

September 3-6, 2009 is the weekend for the West Coast Jazz Party & Brunch Cruise, to again be held over Labor Day Weekend at the Irvine Marriott Hotel and Hornblower Yacht’s Entertainer.

The party will center on a large stage nightly at 7:00pm (8:00pm on Thursday night only) with reserved seating, and conclude each night with an “up close & personal” acoustic lobby bar session, wrapping up well after midnight.   Late afternoon lobby sessions will also feature artists in an acoustic setting.

*Kicking off this 15h year will be the Grand Opening Sessions on Thursday evening featuring two sets with the Four Freshmen, including 5 Trombones and the Ken Peplowski All-Stars!

*Featured on Friday evening will be legendary vibist Terry Gibbs and his quartet with Ken Peplowski, the Grant Stewart Quartet, Byron Stripling Quintet and closing the night- Ernie Andrews & Houston Person-Together Again!

*Saturday evening will feature the Paul Smith Trio, Ken Peplowski, Houston Person, Byron Stripling, Harold Jones followed by Marilyn Maye and her trio featuring Tedd Firth plus the Jack Sheldon California Cool Quartet.

*Sunday night’s closing sessions will include the Ken Peplowski Quartet, a Tribute to Rosemary Clooney by Debby Boone with Musical Director- John Oddo, Charlie Shoemake’s Tribute to George Shearing with Terry Trotter, Luther Hughes, Colin Bailey & Ron Anthony plus BIG BAND MEETS BROADWAY with Byron Stripling’s All-Star Orchestra featuring Butch Miles on drums!

Also featured  during this Labor Day Weekend jazz Celebration will be Dan Barrett, Chuck Berghofer and his Midnight Jazz Band,  Jim DeJulio, Matt Finders, Gary Foster, Paul Kreibich, Andy Martin, Jon Mayer Trio, Roy McCurdy, Ira Nepus, Tom Ranier, Bob Summers, Terry Trotter, and Scott Whitfield!

Tickets are now available for the complete four night, three-day package (Over 33 hours of jazz!) including the Sunday Jazz Brunch Cruise. Prices are $335/375. Individual reserved seats are priced at $60/$75 for evening performances and $40/50 for the Grand Opening Sessions,  $30 each  for “Friday & Saturday By the Pool” and $79 for the Jazz Brunch Cruise (space available). For tickets to the West Coast Jazz Party & Brunch Cruise, call the Jazzline at 949.759.5003 or for complete artist appearance times and an order form  visit our website at: http://westcoastjazzparty.com/ . Those wishing to have a weekend getaway may also enjoy the Irvine Marriott’s special rate of $135 per night and $165 for concierge.  For hotel reservations call the Irvine Marriott Hotel at 949.553.0100 and ask for the WCJP rate.   The Irvine Marriott is located at 18000 Von Karman Ave., five minutes from the John Wayne/Orange County Airport, with free shuttle service.  Free self-parking will also be available for attendees.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem April 21-25 Events

We are bubbling over this week as we salute Quincy Jones and his great early 60’s big band Tuesday evening at Jazz For Curious Listeners, followed two days later by a contemporary big band leader/composer/trumpeter, Charles Tolliver, who will be our subject for an extended interview at Harlem Speaks. Friday night’s Harlem In The Himalayas will be an acoustic treat as the legendary guitarist Gene Bertoncini plays duets with his younger counterpart, Roni Ben-Hur. Our Saturday Panel will feature the provocative cultural critic Stanley Crouch and Stony Brook Professor of Ethnomusicology Frederick Moehn as we take an in-depth look at The Unfinished Emancipation: Jazz and Freedom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Jazz World of Quincy Jones: The Big Band Years
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

In 1956, Quincy Jones toured again as a trumpeter and musical director of the Dizzy Gillespie Band on a tour of the Middle East and South America sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Upon his return to the states, Jones  got a contract from ABC-Paramount Records and commenced his recording career as the leader of his own band.

He organized a tour of North America and Europe, and though the tour was a critical success, poor budget planning made it an economic disaster and the fallout left Jones in a financial crisis.

Though it didn't make sense economically, didn't make sense logistically, didn't provide ego satisfaction for star players, because of their love for Quincy, an exceptional group of musicians signed on for the tour, some of them literally traipsing all over Europe to find venues that could house them and bandstands that could squeeze them all in. There was never any problem finding audiences eager to hear what Quincy was thinking, or what musicians like Art Farmer, Zoot Sims, Curtis Fuller, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Art Blakey, and Hank Jones were blowing. And those who attend tonight’s Jazz for Curious Listeners session will discover just the same joy.

A 1956 date for an ABC-Paramount release was a masterpiece of arranging and band leading. You will hear Quincy creating his new sound in the 1959-60 studio recording that comprised Quincy's "The Birth of a Band" release and later sessions. In writing for the big band, Quincy concealed a great deal of harmonic and rhythmic complexity in his charts. He really was reinventing big band music for a new decade and a new generation of listeners. His pieces sounded youthful and vibrant, and could be technically demanding almost beyond belief; more the writing you'd expect a five-piece band to conquer, not one comprising 17 or 18 or 20 musicians. But his bands rose to the challenge, showing there is great swing in precision, and a way of creating excitement by playing both loose and tight at the same time.

Quoted in Musician magazine, Jones said about his ordeal, "We had the best jazz band in the planet, and yet we were literally starving. That's when I discovered that there was music, and there was the music business. If I were to survive, I would have to learn the difference between the two." Irving Green, head of Mercury Records, got Jones back on his feet with a loan and a new job as the musical director of the company's New York division. In 1964, Jones was promoted to vice-president of the company, thus becoming the first African American to hold such a position.

One of his popular songs, "Soul Bossa Nova", was released in 1962 as a track on the album Big Band Bossa Nova, which was also released that year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

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

Self-taught as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger, Charles Tolliver seems constitutionally averse to doing things the easy way. “I like to rumble,” he told Down Beat. “I take the most difficult routes for improvisation. It's easy to play a number of choruses effortlessly and never make a mistake, never break down. That's no fun. You need to get in hot water by trying something out right from the jump, get yourself out of that, and move on to the next chorus”.

Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean launched Tolliver's career in 1964 by hiring him as a sideman on his Blue Note album It's Time, used him on the subsequent albums Action and Jacknife, and made his composition “Right Now” the title track of a 1965 quartet date. As the '60s progressed Tolliver also appeared with Blue Note heavyweights Horace Silver (Serenade to A Soul Sister) and Andrew Hill (One For One, Dance With Death), as well as sessions for other labels with Max Roach, Booker Ervin, Gerald Wilson, and Gary Bartz. In 1969 he formed the innovative quartet Music Inc., which he documented on four albums for Strata-East.

Born in 1942 in Jacksonville, Florida, Tolliver moved to Harlem with his family at ten and to Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood, then a musical hotbed, in 1958. He matriculated at Howard University as a pharmacy major, but the pull of music was too strong.

“If I could have brought my classroom from Howard University to New York with me while I was trying to get into the scene, I probably would have done both at the same time,” Tolliver says. “But I felt I was ready to try this thing, and there was no way to stay in Washington, D.C. and finish my studies. I was lucky to get in with Jackie McLean almost instantaneously when I got back to New York, so there was no need to go back to school”.

Adamant that “small group is my first love,” Tolliver cites Gillespie-Basie arranger Ernie Wilkins' arrangements for Sonny Rollins” 1958 album The Big Brass [Verve] as a formative big band influence. “I got hold of an arrangement from that record, and analyzed how Ernie Wilkins placed the horns and left the space to get a small group sound,” he relates. As the '60s progressed, Tolliver studied Thad Jones closely at his Monday night Village Vanguard sessions; during a sojourn to California around 1966, he played and recorded with harmony masters Gerald Wilson and Oliver Nelson.

After Tolliver and Stanley Cowell presented their early charts on the 1970 recording Music Inc. And Big Band, Max Roach commissioned Tolliver to write a long suite to be performed at the 1972 Montreux Festival. “That's when I started to really get into writing,” Tolliver recalls. “For both Stanley and I, the idea was to write for big band and keep the small group energy inside it somehow”.

Tolliver continued to evolve his concept through the '80s and '90s on various engagements as a soloist with European radio orchestras; after the 2003 rebirth of the big band, he resumed writing and arranging full force.

“Big band jazz is not about over-writing to the point where all these different sections are playing in different time signatures and all that nonsense,” Tolliver says. “It doesn't have to sound like you're writing for a symphony. After all, we are playing this so-called thing named jazz. Jazz is about theme, melody, call-and-response, counterpoint if you want, but not overly done--and always improvising. If you take away improvising and swing, then it seems to me that you are removing two of the prime elements that allow us to call ourselves jazz musicians. You know what jazz is because of the way the drummer plays. I take careful consideration in selecting the drummer, and anything I write will be drumcentric.”

Catch more of Tolliver’s strong views on music and jazz as well as discussion of his recent Town Hall concert in honor of Thelonious Monk’s famous performance there 50 years ago.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas
Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Master guitarists Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur's new CD Smile is the first in the Motéma Music’s new ‘Jazz Therapy’ series of charitable fund raising CDs produced in association with the Jazz Foundation of America. Jazz Therapy, Volume 1: Smile, will benefit the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center which, under the leadership of Dr. Frank Forte, has been responsible for providing millions of dollars of free care to jazz musicians.

Gene Bertoncini is one of the pre-eminent jazz guitarists active today. His fluid technique and lyricism have won him international praise and accolades as the "Segovia of jazz." An eloquent and versatile improviser, Mr. Bertoncini has been heard with an extraordinary range of jazz greats, including performances and recordings with Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Wayne Shorter, Hubert Laws, Paul Desmond among others, as well as such distinguished singers as Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Vic Damone, and Eydie Gorme. Bertoncini honed his professional chops as a member of the Tonight Show band during Johnny Carson's tenure, and he has worked with composers and arrangers such as Lalo Schifrin and Michael Legrand as well with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In addition to an active performing and recording schedule, Gene teaches at the Eastman School of Music and William Paterson University. A New York City native, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in architecture. According to the New Yorker magazine, "Bertoncini is an affecting, highly original guitarist how moves easily back and forth between classical and jazz guitar."

Respected internationally as one of the elite players jazz, Roni Ben-Hur has recorded six albums as a leader and has a key band member for such jazz luminaries as Barry Harris, Chris Anderson, Rufus Reid, Walter Booker, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton and Etta Jones. His Mel-Bay instructional book, Talk Jazz Guitar, has established him as a top jazz guitar guru. Ben-Hur fell in love with jazz in his native land of Israel. Upon moving to New York City, his career quickly took root as he landed the cherry position of first-call guitarist for the legendary Barry Harris. His 1998 release Sofia's Butterfly earned him the title "Best New Artist" in the Jazziz Annual Reader's poll, and 2001’s bop-oriented Anna's Dance was selected by award-winning critic Gary Giddins as "One of The Best Jazz CD's of 2001." Ben-Hur's 2004 outing, Signature was a critical sensation that firmly established his singular voice as a composer and band leader and led to his new recording home, Motema Music, where he released Keepin’ it Open in 2007, to unanimous critical acclaim, initiated this new Jazz Therapy series and is working on plans for a variety of innovative releases in the coming years.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Panels
The Unfinished Emancipation: Jazz and Freedom
10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

In many ways, jazz and freedom are synonymous. Jazz improvisation relies on the structure of melodies and chord changes for the purpose of individual and group expression. “Freedom,” within the context of the United States, is an idea based on individual and group expression within the political and social framework of democratic ideals. Freedom without structure, however, is chaos that can descend into anarchy and anomie.

The history of the United States is a bittersweet tale where the founding of the country was based on emancipation from the bonds of mother-country England, yet with the tragic irony of enslavement of African-Americans and Jim Crow laws, the promise of emancipation from the fetters of birthright based on aristocracy and royal bloodlines became muddied by hypocrisy and greed.

Today’s panel discussion will confront the intersection of ideals and history, aspiration and disappointment, art and politics, and the role of jazz as a cultural response and reflection of the human desire for freedom in the 20th century and beyond.

Our panelists this month will be author and critic Stanley Crouch, along with Professor of Ethnomusicology at Stony Brook University Frederick Moehn. Observing and writing about American culture for the past three decades, Mr. Crouch has authored numerous volumes, and is currently a weekly columnist for the New York Daily News, as well as a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast websites. Professor Moehn teaches courses such as "Jazz Historiography and Discourse" and "Music and Race" at Stony Brook, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.

Arturo Sandoval Opening Tonight At The Iridium Jazz Club

IRIDIUM JAZZ CLUB
1650 BROADWAY (Corner of 51st)
NEW YORK, NY 10023
RESERVATIONS: 212-582-2121
http://www.iridiumjazzclub.com/
Sets At 8:30 & 10:30PM

APRIL 16-19 ARTURO SANDOVAL

"Latin Grammy award-winning Arturo Sandoval is fluent in at least four musical languages. He can burn through an Afro-Cuban groove, tear up a bebop
tune, soar over a Mozart concerto and soothe you with a luscious ballad; with equal power and grace."

National Jazz Museum in Harlem April Schedule

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem invites you to join us this month as we explore the jazz world of Quincy Jones (including a concert of his music in Central Park); engage in in-depth discussions with musical icons Randy Weston and Charles Tolliver, and author Karen Chilton; experience the live guitar duo of Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur; and investigate how Jazz and Freedom are intertwined yet represent an “unfinished emancipation.”
 
Plus, there’s a special event at Stanford University featuring the brilliant pianist Jonathan Batiste with a band of superb young musicians reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’s classic Kind of Blue recording session from 50 years ago.
 
Jazz is best experienced live, so whether it’s a discussion or live performance, we hope you’ll come and swing with us, and bring some friends along.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

The Jazz World of Quincy Jones: Early Days
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder and multi-media entrepreneur. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.

Quincy Jones was born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago and brought up in Seattle. While in junior high school, he began studying trumpet and sang in a gospel quartet at age 12. His musical studies continued at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he remained until the opportunity arose to tour with Lionel Hampton’s band as a trumpeter, arranger and sometime-pianist. He moved on to New York and the musical “big leagues” in 1951, where his reputation as an arranger grew. By the mid-50’s, he was arranging and recording for such diverse artists as Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Big Maybelle, Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderly and LeVern Baker.

When he became vice-president at Mercury Records in 1961, Quincy became the first high-level black executive of an established major record company. Toward the end of his association with the label, Quincy turned his attention to another musical area that had been closed to blacks–the world of film scores. In 1963, he started work on the music for Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker and it was the first of his 33 major motion picture scores.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Quintessence: THE NJMH All-Stars Play Quincy Jones
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online


Come join us at The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at the Harlem Meer in Central Park to hear live music, as the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars play the music of Quincy Jones, the subject of this month's Jazz for Curious Listeners series.

Thursday, April 16, 2009                        

Harlem Speaks

Randy Weston, Pianist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jazz and world-music pianist/composer Randy Weston boasts a range of musical influences. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he later lived in Africa for many years, both playing and studying African music. The result of his lifelong work and his far-reaching adventures is a beautiful and balanced hybrid of classic American jazz and ancient African rhythms and tonalities.

Weston grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where his father, the owner of a soul food diner, emphasized to his son, "You are an African born in America." The elder Weston laid down a strict rule for Randy: Practice the piano at home each day or feel the edge of a ruler on your knuckles. When the now six-foot- eight Weston was in his early teens he was already six- feet-two-inches tall and eager to play basketball, but his father ensured that he did not stray too far from his piano. Passing along his vast knowledge of calypso, jazz, and blues on to his son, Weston's father frequently took him to see bandleader Duke Ellington at the Sonia Ballroom or Brooklyn Palace, as well as to Harlem to hear calypso. In addition, Weston's mother, who was from Virginia, exposed her young son to spirituals.

While Weston was a youngster in Brooklyn in the 1930s and 1940s, musicians Miles Davis, Max Roach, and George Russell all lived in the borough at one time or another, and each had stopped into the elder Weston's luncheonette for soul food. Weston felt steeped in the African American music community as a teenager; he especially made a point of seeing Coleman Hawkins perform whenever possible, and through Hawkins, was able to meet pianist Thelonious Monk. Weston spent many hours at home listening to Monk's recordings.

At the age of 14, Weston was taught by drummer Al Harewood (a fellow Harlem Speaks honoree) how to play a tune on the piano by ear; Weston was then able to imitate current releases by Ellington, Hawkins, and Count Basie. Weston used to go to the Atlantic Avenue section of Brooklyn to hear Arabic musicians play the oud, a type of lute. He told Down Beat's Fred Bouchard, "We were searching for new sounds. We'd get into quarter and eighth tones. But here was Monk doing it, with spirit power, with magic!... For me it was pure African piano." Besides Monk, Basie, Hawkins, and Ellington, jazz greats Nat King Cole and Art Tatum were also early influences for Weston.

Voted "new star pianist" in a 1955 Down Beat critics' poll, Weston spent most of the 1950s playing in clubs around New York City with Cecil Payne and Kenny Dorham. He also toured colleges with historian Marshall Stearns, who lectured while Weston and a few other musicians performed African, calypso, Dixieland, and bebop music. Weston wrote a string of popular songs, including "Saucer Eyes," "Pam's Waltz," "Little Niles," and his best-known tune, "Hi-Fly," which is about being six-foot-eight and looking at the ground. Among the 11 albums he released during the fifties were Cole Porter in a Modern Mood (1954), Randy Weston Trio (1955), Piano a La Mode (1957), and Little Niles (1958).

In 1960 Weston recorded Uhuru Africa with composer, arranger, and trombonist Melba Liston, and narration by writer Langston Hughes. The recording featured  African traditional styles with a jazz orchestra. Weston told Down Beat, "I developed a lot playing with African drummers: Candido, Chief Bey, Big Black, Olatunji."

Weston's first encounter with African musicians was in Lagos, Nigeria. The rhythms impressed themselves on Weston's psyche, and he eventually traveled and played in 18 African nations. In 1966 he visited 14 African countries while on a U.S. State Department tour. Finally deciding to settle in Tangiers, Morocco, he owned a nightclub there from 1968 until 1972. He then lived in Paris during the mid- to late 1970s, and his recordings—frequently licensed from European labels—appeared sporadically throughout the decade. He continued to perform in Africa, including at the 1977 Nigerian Festival, which attracted musicians from 60 different cultures.

The 1980s saw Weston receive recognition for his unique style of blending various cultures in his music. In 1982 the televsion special Randy Weston: A Legend in His Own Time was filmed for WGBH-TV in Boston. Randy Weston Week was declared in 1986 by the Brooklyn Borough President's Office and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1986. And, between 1987 and 1989, Weston was the subject of three documentary films: Jazz Entre Amigos, for Spanish television, Randy in Tangiers, for Spanish and French television, and African Rhythms, for WGBH-TV.

The early to mid-1990s were busy years for Weston, whose appearances included a tour with a Moroccan Gnawa group, a troupe of dancers and musicians traveling from Morocco to the Niger region. In 1992 the pianist released another album, Spirits of Our Ancestors, underscoring the African link between forms of modern-day American music and featuring musicians Melba Liston, Pharoah Sanders, Dizzy Gillespie, and Dewey Redman. Volcano Blues was released a year later and was followed by Weston's Monterey '66 in 1994. Two albums were cut in 1995, The Splendid Master Musicians of Morocco and Marrakesh: In the Cool of the Evening.

Weston's music reflects his diverse paths in life and his desire to interweave the past with the future, and traditional with new sounds. Like Morocco and Africa itself, his music sounds both mysterious and beautifully simple.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Special Event
50 Years of Kind of Blue: A Live Jazz Laboratory
8:00pm
Location: Kresge Auditorium
(Stanford University, 537 Lomita Mall, Stanford, CA 9430 | get directions

$34 (Adult), $17 (Stanford Student) | 650-725-ARTS (2787) or order online

Widely considered the greatest jazz album of all time, Miles Davis’ 1959 Kind of Blue is a cornerstone of “modal jazz”—an approach in which songs are based on modal scales in lieu of chord progressions. The record is also a marvel of performance “in the moment”: trumpeter Davis unveiled the musical outlines and improvising instructions for each of Kind of Blue’s all-new songs in the recording studio to his now-iconic roster of musicians.
 
In this unique concert in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem,pianist Jonathan Batiste leads a young band through this familiar territory with new and creative arrangements of the iconic pieces that made the album a classic.
 
Jonathan Batiste, music director/piano; Dominick Farinacci, trumpet; Dayna Stephens, saxophone; Vasko Dukovski, clarinet; DavidEwell, bass; and Darrell Green, drums
 
Generously supported by Abraham and Marian Sofaer. Presented in partnership with Stanford Jazz Workshop.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

The Jazz World of Quincy Jones: The Big Band Years
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

 
In 1956, Quincy Jones toured again as a trumpeter and musical director of the Dizzy Gillespie Band on a tour of the Middle East and South America sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Upon his return to the states, Jones  got a contract from ABC-Paramount Records and commenced his recording career as the leader of his own band.

He organized a tour of North America and Europe, and though the tour was a critical success, poor budget planning made it an economic disaster and the fallout left Jones in a financial crisis.

Though it didn't make sense economically, didn't make sense logistically, didn't provide ego satisfaction for star players, because of their love for Quincy, an exceptional group of musicians signed on for the tour, some of them literally traipsing all over Europe to find venues that could house them and bandstands that could squeeze them all in. There was never any problem finding audiences eager to hear what Quincy was thinking, or what musicians like Art Farmer, Zoot Sims, Curtis Fuller, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Art Blakey, and Hank Jones were blowing. And those who attend tonight’s Jazz for Curious Listeners session will discover just the same joy.

A 1956 date for an ABC-Paramount release was a masterpiece of arranging and band leading. You will hear Quincy creating his new sound in the 1959-60 studio recording that comprised Quincy's "The Birth of a Band" release and later sessions. In writing for the big band, Quincy concealed a great deal of harmonic and rhythmic complexity in his charts. He really was reinventing big band music for a new decade and a new generation of listeners. His pieces sounded youthful and vibrant, and could be technically demanding almost beyond belief; more the writing you'd expect a five-piece band to conquer, not one comprising 17 or 18 or 20 musicians. But his bands rose to the challenge, showing there is great swing in precision, and a way of creating excitement by playing both loose and tight at the same time.

Quoted in Musician magazine, Jones said about his ordeal, "We had the best jazz band in the planet, and yet we were literally starving. That's when I discovered that there was music, and there was the music business. If I were to survive, I would have to learn the difference between the two." Irving Green, head of Mercury Records, got Jones back on his feet with a loan and a new job as the musical director of the company's New York division. In 1964, Jones was promoted to vice-president of the company, thus becoming the first African American to hold such a position.

One of his popular songs, "Soul Bossa Nova", was released in 1962 as a track on the album Big Band Bossa Nova, which was also released that year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Harlem Speaks

Charles Tolliver, Trumpeter
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Self-taught as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger, Charles Tolliver seems constitutionally averse to doing things the easy way. “I like to rumble,” he told Down Beat. “I take the most difficult routes for improvisation. It's easy to play a number of choruses effortlessly and never make a mistake, never break down. That's no fun. You need to get in hot water by trying something out right from the jump, get yourself out of that, and move on to the next chorus”.

Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean launched Tolliver's career in 1964 by hiring him as a sideman on his Blue Note album It's Time, used him on the subsequent albums Action and Jacknife, and made his composition “Right Now” the title track of a 1965 quartet date. As the '60s progressed Tolliver also appeared with Blue Note heavyweights Horace Silver (Serenade to A Soul Sister) and Andrew Hill (One For One, Dance With Death), as well as sessions for other labels with Max Roach, Booker Ervin, Gerald Wilson, and Gary Bartz. In 1969 he formed the innovative quartet Music Inc., which he documented on four albums for Strata-East.

Born in 1942 in Jacksonville, Florida, Tolliver moved to Harlem with his family at ten and to Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood, then a musical hotbed, in 1958. He matriculated at Howard University as a pharmacy major, but the pull of music was too strong.

“If I could have brought my classroom from Howard University to New York with me while I was trying to get into the scene, I probably would have done both at the same time,” Tolliver says. “But I felt I was ready to try this thing, and there was no way to stay in Washington, D.C. and finish my studies. I was lucky to get in with Jackie McLean almost instantaneously when I got back to New York, so there was no need to go back to school”.

Adamant that “small group is my first love,” Tolliver cites Gillespie-Basie arranger Ernie Wilkins' arrangements for Sonny Rollins” 1958 album The Big Brass [Verve] as a formative big band influence. “I got hold of an arrangement from that record, and analyzed how Ernie Wilkins placed the horns and left the space to get a small group sound,” he relates. As the '60s progressed, Tolliver studied Thad Jones closely at his Monday night Village Vanguard sessions; during a sojourn to California around 1966, he played and recorded with harmony masters Gerald Wilson and Oliver Nelson.

After Tolliver and Stanley Cowell presented their early charts on the 1970 recording Music Inc. And Big Band, Max Roach commissioned Tolliver to write a long suite to be performed at the 1972 Montreux Festival. “That's when I started to really get into writing,” Tolliver recalls. “For both Stanley and I, the idea was to write for big band and keep the small group energy inside it somehow”.

Tolliver continued to evolve his concept through the '80s and '90s on various engagements as a soloist with European radio orchestras; after the 2003 rebirth of the big band, he resumed writing and arranging full force.

“Big band jazz is not about over-writing to the point where all these different sections are playing in different time signatures and all that nonsense,” Tolliver says. “It doesn't have to sound like you're writing for a symphony. After all, we are playing this so-called thing named jazz. Jazz is about theme, melody, call-and-response, counterpoint if you want, but not overly done--and always improvising. If you take away improvising and swing, then it seems to me that you are removing two of the prime elements that allow us to call ourselves jazz musicians. You know what jazz is because of the way the drummer plays. I take careful consideration in selecting the drummer, and anything I write will be drumcentric.”

Catch more of Tolliver’s strong views on music and jazz as well as discussion of his recent Town Hall concert in honor of Thelonious Monk’s famous performance there 50 years ago.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas

Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Master guitarists Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur's new CD Smile is the first in the Motéma Music’s new ‘Jazz Therapy’ series of charitable fund raising CDs produced in association with the Jazz Foundation of America. Jazz Therapy, Volume 1: Smile, will benefit the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center which, under the leadership of Dr. Frank Forte, has been responsible for providing millions of dollars of free care to jazz musicians.

Gene Bertoncini is one of the pre-eminent jazz guitarists active today. His fluid technique and lyricism have won him international praise and accolades as the "Segovia of jazz." An eloquent and versatile improviser, Mr. Bertoncini has been heard with an extraordinary range of jazz greats, including performances and recordings with Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Wayne Shorter, Hubert Laws, Paul Desmond among others, as well as such distinguished singers as Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Vic Damone, and Eydie Gorme. Bertoncini honed his professional chops as a member of the Tonight Show band during Johnny Carson's tenure, and he has worked with composers and arrangers such as Lalo Schifrin and Michael Legrand as well with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In addition to an active performing and recording schedule, Gene teaches at the Eastman School of Music and William Paterson University. A New York City native, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in architecture. According to the New Yorker magazine, "Bertoncini is an affecting, highly original guitarist how moves easily back and forth between classical and jazz guitar."

Respected internationally as one of the elite players jazz, Roni Ben-Hur has recorded six albums as a leader and has a key band member for such jazz luminaries as Barry Harris, Chris Anderson, Rufus Reid, Walter Booker, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton and Etta Jones. His Mel-Bay instructional book, Talk Jazz Guitar, has established him as a top jazz guitar guru. Ben-Hur fell in love with jazz in his native land of Israel. Upon moving to New York City, his career quickly took root as he landed the cherry position of first-call guitarist for the legendary Barry Harris. His 1998 release Sofia's Butterfly earned him the title "Best New Artist" in the Jazziz Annual Reader's poll, and 2001’s bop-oriented Anna's Dance was selected by award-winning critic Gary Giddins as "One of The Best Jazz CD's of 2001." Ben-Hur's 2004 outing, Signature was a critical sensation that firmly established his singular voice as a composer and band leader and led to his new recording home, Motema Music, where he released Keepin’ it Open in 2007, to unanimous critical acclaim, initiated this new Jazz Therapy series and is working on plans for a variety of innovative releases in the coming years.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Panels
The Unfinished Emancipation: Jazz and Freedom
10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

In many ways, jazz and freedom are synonymous. Jazz improvisation relies on the structure of melodies and chord changes for the purpose of individual and group expression. “Freedom,” within the context of the United States, is an idea based on individual and group expression within the political and social framework of democratic ideals. Freedom without structure, however, is chaos that can descend into anarchy and anomie.

The history of the United States is a bittersweet tale where the founding of the country was based on emancipation from the bonds of mother-country England, yet with the tragic irony of enslavement of African-Americans and Jim Crow laws, the promise of emancipation from the fetters of birthright based on aristocracy and royal bloodlines became muddied by hypocrisy and greed.

Today’s panel discussion will confront the intersection of ideals and history, aspiration and disappointment, art and politics, and the role of jazz as a cultural response and reflection of the human desire for freedom in the 20th century and beyond.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

The Jazz World of Quincy Jones: Recent Projects
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

In 1985, Quincy Jones co-produced Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which won eleven Oscar nominations, introduced Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to film audiences, and marked Quincy’s debut as a film producer.

In 1990, Quincy Jones formed Quincy Jones Entertainment (QJE), a co-venture with Time Warner, Inc. The new company, which Quincy served as CEO and chairman, had a broad ranging, multi-media agenda which encompassed programming for current and future technologies, including theatrical motion pictures and network, cable and syndicated television. QJE produced NBC Television’s Fresh Prince Of Bel Air (now in syndication), and UPN’s In The House and Fox Television’s Mad TV.  Quincy Jones, is also the publisher of VIBE, SPIN and Blaze magazines.

In January 1992, Quincy Jones executive produced the An American Reunion concert at Lincoln Memorial, an all-star concert and celebration that was the first official event of the presidential inaugural celebration and drew widespread acclaim as an HBO telecast.

On March 25, 1996, Quincy Jones, executive produced the most watched awards show in the world, the 68th Annual Academy Awards.  The show received widespread acclaim as one of the most memorable Academy Award shows in recent times.

In 1997, Quincy Jones formed the Quincy Jones Media Group.  QJMG’s feature film projects in development include such highly anticipated films as the adaptations of the Ralph Ellison novel Juneteeth, David Halberstam’s The Children for Home Box Office in association with producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, a bio-pic on the 19th century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, Pimp and Seeds of Peace for Showtime, among others.  For television, QJMG is developing the sit-com The White Guy. QJMG is also active in live entertainment, direct response marketing, and cross-media projects for home entertainment and educational applications. Jones is currently collaborating with Leslie Bricusse on the libretto and songs for a Broadway play based on the life of Sammy Davis, Jr. and recently, along with Harvard University and MicroSoft, produced the complete encyclopedia of African and African-American culture, Encarta Africana.

As a record company executive, Quincy remains highly active in the recording field as the guiding force behind his own Qwest Records, which currently boasts such important artists as New Order, Tevin Campbell, Andre Crouch, Gregory Jefferson and Justin Warfield. New Order’s album, Substance earned Qwest a gold album in 1987. Tevin Campbell’s T.E.V.I.N was both a critical sensation and major commercial success, and the label’s release of the Boyz N The Hood soundtrack album was among the most successful soundtrack recordings of 1991. Qwest Records also released soundtrack albums from the major films Sarafina! and Malcolm X.

In 1994, Quincy Jones led a group of businessmen, including Hall of Fame football player Willie Davis, television producer Don Cornelius, television journalist Geraldo Rivera and businesswoman Sonia Gonsalves Salzman in the formation of Qwest Broadcasting, a minority controlled broadcasting company which purchased television stations in Atlanta and New Orleans for approximately $167 million, establishing it as one of the largest minority owned broadcasting companies in the United States.  Quincy served as chairman and CEO of Qwest Broadcasting.  In 1999, taking advantage of the rapid escalation of broadcast station values, Jones and his partners sold Qwest Broadcasting for a reported $270 million.

The laurels, awards and accolades have been innumerable: Quincy has won an Emmy Award for his score of the of the opening episode of the landmark TV miniseries, Roots, seven Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, 27 Grammy Awards, and N.A.R.A.S.’ prestigious Trustees’ Award and The Grammy Living Legend Award. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 Grammy nominations. In 1990, France recognized Quincy with its most distinguished title, the Legion d’ Honneur. He is also the recipient of the French Ministry of Culture’s Distinguished Arts and Letters Award. Quincy is the recipient of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s coveted Polar Music Prize, and the Republic of Italy’s Rudolph Valentino Award.  He is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from Howard University, the Berklee College of Music, Seattle University, Wesleyan University, Brandeis University, Loyola University (New Orleans), Clark Atlanta University, Claremont University’s Graduate School, the University of Connecticut, Harvard University, Tuskegee University, New York University, University of Miami and The American Film Institute.  Most recently, Jones was named a 2001 Kennedy Center Honoree, for his contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States of America.

In 1990, his life and career were chronicled in the critically acclaimed Warner Bros. film, Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones, produced by Courtney Sale Ross, a film which helped illuminate not only Quincy’s life and spirit, but also revealed much about the development of the African American musical tradition.

In 2001, Quincy Jones added the title “Best Selling Author” to his list of accomplishments when his autobiography Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones entered the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Sellers lists. Released by Doubleday Publishing, the critically acclaimed biography retells Jones’ life story from his days as an impoverished youth on the Southside of Chicago through a massively impressive career in music, film and television where he worked beside legends such as Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Jackson, among many others.  In conjunction with the autobiography, Rhino Records released a 4-cd boxed set of Jones’ music, spanning his more than 5 decade career in the music business, entitled Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones. The audio recording of the book earned Jones his 27th Grammy Award, in the Best Spoken Word Category, while the boxed set garnered him a 15th NAACP Image Award, in the category of Outstanding Jazz Artist.

In 2008, Insight Editions published his latest tome, The Complete Quincy Jones: My Journey & Passions, a coffee-table work of Jones’s photos, letters and memories from his personal collection.

31st Cape May Jazz Festival

Discover Jersey Arts People’s Choice Award for The Favorite Music Festival went to the Cape May Jazz Festival January 8, 2009.  Festival’s organizers wish to thank all the friends and supporters who voted for the festival.

The 31st Cape May Jazz Festival “Legends….and more Blues” April 17-19, 2009 presented by NJ Division of Travel and Tourism and Bank of America promises to be one of the best.  A Tribute to Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan with “Have a Song on Me Celebrating Mr. B” and the Big Band Music of the 40s and 50s with the B Swingers Big Band and Steve Butler. Billy Eckstine, known as Mr. B, became the most influential ballad singer during this era with an appealing baritone voice.  It has been said Steve Butler “looks and sounds hauntingly similar to Billy Eckstine…capable and convincing” and the Big Band one of the best.

More Blues Saturday night with Grammy Award winner James “Superharp” Cotton whose pedigree is a veritable who’s who in the world of Blues. Cotton and his Blues Band continue to showcase his immense talent and keep him one of the most sought-after, hard-driving blues musicians touring the world today.  More Blues continues all weekend at Cabanas with Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang, Alan Weber and Frenz and Juke Joint Central.

Legendary Odean Pope, known for his fiery, often intense solos, dazzling elevations and throbbing, husky sounds, opens Aleathea’s Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May for an 8:30pm Jazz Dinner and late Show with open seating available.  Barbara King will continue the legends with a Tribute to Sarah Vaughan.  “Barbara King’s dusky, Sarah Vaughan-like qualities mark her as a talent to watch” says Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Sun-Times.

Opening up Carney’s Main Room Saturday night, Cuban percussionist Mayra Casales brings her band “Women on Fire” with Cuban Francois Zayas on drums. Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, her earlier influences began with the Afro-Cuban musical culture of her surroundings.

DC Sharon Clark returns by popular demand for the Jazz Dinner and late show in Aleathea’s Saturday night.  Sharon is an amazing, exceptionally gifted talent with performances including jazz standards but also lesser known songs performed by Ella, Sarah, Johnny Hartman and Nancy Wilson.

Performing in Carney’s Other Room is guitarist Roni Ben-Hur, a very charming, talented guitarist and composer offering creative melodies, brilliant solos and dazzling original compositions.  As a leader he has won high praise from jazz critics around the world.

Sylvia Cuenca opens Carney’s Main Room Friday night with her organ quartet.  Sylvia swings impeccably with her authentic feel for the Latin genre.  Performing in the Boiler Room at Congress Hall Saturday night, the Michael Thomas Quintet is a powerful and energetic group that is deeply rooted in the rich tradition of hard-bop and blues with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers their major influence.

Along with the usual high energy jams Saturday and Sunday in Carney’s, the complimentary workshops and Saturday CD Signing Party, Juke Joint Central will be in Cabanas Sunday afternoon.  This is a fun, stimulating band with a juke joint jamming feel that is mainly blues -- a not to be missed experience.

The schedule, musician’s information and sounds bytes are found on the web at www.capemayjazz.org.  For more information or to be put on the mailing list please call       609-884-7277.  An All Event Weekend Pass to attend 18 events beginning 8pm Friday through 4pm Sunday is $150 general admission.  Individual Friday or Saturday Night All Event Wristbands are $55.  Saturday Afternoon Jam Wristbands are $35, Sunday Jams $25.  Reserved Seating is available at the Theatre at Lower Regional High School for an additional $25 per person .  Complimentary Festival Transportation running every 10 minutes is available between venues all weekend.

The 31st Cape May Jazz Festival is presented by New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism VisitNJ.Com and Bank of America and sponsored by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, Barefoot Wines, Jazz Times, WRTI Temple Public Radio, WBGO Jazz 88, WMGM  TV40, WCFA 101.5, WTTH the Touch, Cape May Star and Wave, Verizon Wireless with generous support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, local businesses and donors.