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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.

The Pretty Lights National Tour Underway

After blowing out box offices across the country for the first few months of 2009, Pretty Lights is primed for a large national summer tour. With sellout after sellout across the country, the innovative electronic duo has scheduled 16 shows between now and their triumphant performance at Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado. With dates spanning New York City, San Francisco and Norfolk, VA --- Pretty Lights will be pumping out of speakers from coast to coast, re-shaping the standard of electronic music.

Pretty Lights is the musical vision of the ultra-versatile Colorado based producer Derek Vincent Smith, accompanied in the live setting by drummer, Cory Eberhard. Together these two achieve a raw energy rarely reached in the realm of electronic music. At a time when music lovers from almost all subcultures and genres are finding common ground in the basic form of bangin' beats, Pretty Lights is giving the people what they want; electro organic, cutting-edge party rocking beats, that fill venues with energy and emotion and send dance floors into frenzies. What makes Pretty Lights truly different though, is that the beats carry serious soul.

Fans across all genres are coming together to fuel the Pretty Lights movement. One only need to download Filling up the City Skies, the free double disc that was released for download only a few short months ago at www.prettylightsmusic.com, to see what the hype is about. The two-disc release is a 26 track journey through past, present, and future. Smith juxtaposes collages of beautiful vintage samples against backdrops of futuristic synthesis and dirty broken beats, creating a sound that can snap your neck while simultaneously shedding your tears. The album has been downloaded well over 50,000 times from the Pretty Lights website in the few months since its release, proving that the PL sound is not only getting around, it's spreading like a virus.

What makes the next summer set of shows all the more intriguing is that, somehow, amidst the relentless touring, Smith is nearing completion of the next Pretty Lights album. Scores of unheard new material is sure to be dropped along the way, considering a quote direct from Smith’s own blog, “Maintaining productivity, and striving to constantly create fresh new music is the only way to keep this adventure exciting for myself…I couldn’t bear to tour on the same record for more than a few months…”

Pretty Lights will be continuing to make its name on the festival circuit this summer which will include appearances at Bonnaroo, 10k Lakes, Rothbury, High Sierra, Wakarusa, and Camp Bisco.

May 14 The Masquerade - Atlanta, GeorgiaV May 15 Valarium - Knoxville, Tennessee
May 16 Visulite Theatre - Charlotte, North Carolina
May 22 The Music Farm - Charleston, South Carolina
May 23 KEFI Wilmington - North Carolina
May 24 The Norva - Norfolk, Virginia
May 30 The Independent - San Francisco, California
Jun 4 Wakarusa Music Festival - Ozark, Arkansas
Jun 6 High Noon Saloon - Madison, Wisconsin
Jun 12 Bonnaroo - Manchester, Tennessee
Jul 2 High Sierra Music Festival - Quincy, California
Jul 3 High Sierra Music Festival - Quincy, California
Jul 4 Rothbury Music Festival - Rothbury, Michigan
Jul 10 Forecastle Festival - Louisville, Kentucky
Jul 17 Camp Bisco - Mariaville, New York
Jul 22 10K Lakes Festival - Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Jul 25 Red Rocks Ampitheatre - Morrison, Colorado
Jan 3 Jam Cruise 8 - Carribean Ocean, Florida

To find out more about Pretty Lights or to download the album visit: www.myspace.com/prettylightsmusic or www.prettylightsmusic.com

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.

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.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem March Schedule

A weekful of events kicks of with a great honor: a program presented in conjunction with the legendary Apollo Theater. Jazz for Curious Listeners celebrates the Apollo Theater’s 75th Anniversary with a session including film and an interview with Tajah Murdock, who danced there in the 1940’s.
 
The legendary jazz advocate Phoebe Jacobs graces Harlem Speaks on Thursday evening, recounting her close associations with Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and others.
 
Downtown, at the Rubin Museum of Art, Harlem in the Himalayas continues with bassist Henry Grimes in duo with guitarist Marc Ribot.
 
And the week ends with our third Saturday Panel, dedicated to a pair of true jazz iconoclasts, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell and trumpeter Frankie Newton. Our guests that day will include Dan Morgenstern, George Avakian, George Wein, Nat Hentoff, and a film show hosted by Hank O’Neal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SPECIAL

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz at the Apollo
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: The Apollo Theater
(253 West 125th St.)
FREE | Seating is limited. Please call to reserve a seat.

The world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem is a testament to the great African-American musical performers of the 20th century, regardless of genre. Yet the connection between this landmark venue and jazz is special. Rare if ever does a month go by during the various public programs at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem when senior music lovers and musicians don’t recall witnessing, for instance, the great Ellington and Basie big bands swinging with down-home majesty and emotive grace. The Apollo Theater is essential to the living history of jazz, and to the careers of legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Gloria Lynne, each of whom won the Amateur Night competition, launching their illustrious careers. Tonight’s Jazz on Film will take place at the Apollo Theater, for free! See you there. (Seating is limited. Please call to reserve a seat.)  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Harlem Speaks
Phoebe Jacobs, Jazz Advocate
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Phoebe Jacobs, born in 1918 in the Bronx, began her career in jazz as the hat check girl at her uncle’s club, where she met and worked with jazz greats such as Sarah Vaughan, Eubie Blake, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Ella Fitzgerald. “Sarah would say to me, ‘Gee, do you know where I can get my dress shortened’ or where can I have my nails done?’ They use to ask me things and I would do them for them. Then over the years they began to count on me.”

That’s an understatement, considering her work with and on behalf of the father of jazz. See, Jacobs worked in public relations for various jazz record labels and clubs, and became Louis Armstrong’s publicist, and, eventually, the Executive Vice President of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.

In her role with the Armstrong Foundation, Jacobs was instrumental in efforts to honor his legacy, including the drive for the 1995 Louis Armstrong postal stamp. She is also a founding member of the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA), an organization devoted to aiding older jazz and blues musicians in financial difficulty or those experiencing health problems. (JFA’s Executive Director, Wendy Oxenhorn, was the  guest of Harlem Speaks on February 26, 2009.)

In 2003, Jacobs was honored with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Award for Leadership which she received at the concert “Here’s to the Ladies: A Celebration of Great Women in Jazz.” In 2007, her 89th birthday was celebrated at a JVC Jazz Festival concert at the Danny Kaye Playhouse.

What better way to honor Women’s History Month than to be present tonight, as the National Jazz Museum in Harlem presents an interview with Phoebe Jacobs?    

Friday, March 27, 2009                   

Harlem in the Himalayas

Henry Grimes and Marc Ribot
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

HENRY GRIMES

Master jazz musician (acoustic bass, violin) Henry Grimes has played more than 300 concerts in 23 countries since May of 2003, when he made his astonishing return to the music world after 35 years away.

He was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended the Mastbaum School and Juilliard. In the '5O's and '6O's, he came up in the music playing and touring with Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson, "Bullmoose" Jackson, "Little" Willie John, and a number of other great R&B / soul musicians; but, drawn to jazz, he went on to play, tour, and record with many great jazz musicians of that era, including Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Sunny Murray, Sonny Rollins, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, and Rev. Frank Wright.

Sadly, a trip to the West Coast to work with Al Jarreau and Jon Hendricks went awry, leaving Henry in Los Angeles at the end of the '60's with a broken bass he couldn't pay to repair, so he sold it for a small sum and faded away from the music world. Many years passed with nothing heard from him, as he lived in his tiny rented room in an S.R.O. hotel in downtown Los Angeles, working as a manual laborer, custodian, and maintenance man, and writing many volumes of handwritten poetry.

He was discovered there by a Georgia social worker and fan in 2002 and was given a bass by William Parker, and after only a few weeks of ferocious woodshedding, Henry emerged from his room to begin playing concerts around Los Angeles and shortly afterwards made a triumphant return to New York City in May 2003 to play in the Vision Festival.

Since then, often working as a leader, he has played, toured, and/or recorded with  musicians such as Rashied Ali, Marshall Allen, Fred Anderson, Marilyn Crispell, Ted Curson, Andrew Cyrille, Bill Dixon, Dave Douglas, Andrew Lamb, David Murray, William Parker, Marc Ribot, and Cecil Taylor. Henry has also given a number of workshops and master classes on major campuses, released several new recordings, made his professional debut on a second instrument (the violin) at the age of 7O, has now published the first volume of his poetry, "Signs Along the Road." He has also been creating illustrations to accompany his new recordings and publications. He has received many honors in recent years, including four Meet the Composer grants and a grant from the Acadia Foundation. He can be heard on more than 8O recordings on various labels. Henry Grimes now lives and teaches in New York City.

MARC RIBOT                            

Marc Ribot (pronounced REE-bow) was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954. As a teen, he played guitar in various garage bands while studying with his mentor, Haitian classical guitarist and composer Frantz Casseus. After moving to New York City in 1978, Ribot was a member of the soul/punk Realtones, and from 1984 - 1989, of John Lurie's Lounge Lizards. Between 1979 and 1985, Ribot also worked as a side musician with Brother Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Chuck Berry, and many others.

Ribot's recording credits include Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithful, Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson, McCoy Tyner, T-Bone Burnett, The Jazz Passengers, The Lounge Lizards, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Medeski Martin & Wood, James Carter, Alan Toussaint, Allen Ginsburg, Madeline Peyroux, and many others, many of whom hail from other countries and continents. Ribot frequently collaborates with producer T Bone Burnett, most recently on Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's Grammy award winning Raising Sand and regularly works with composer John Zorn.

Marc's talents have also been showcased with a full symphony orchestra. Composer Stewart Wallace wrote a guitar concerto with orchestra specifically for Marc. The piece was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC in July of 2004 and also appeared at The Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, CA in August of 2005.

Marc is currently touring with two bands, the Albert Ayler tribute project "Spiritual Unity" (Pi Recordings), featuring original Ayler bassist Henry Grimes, and Ceramic Dog featuring bassist Shahzad Ismaily an drummer Ches Smith. Ceramic Dog will release their debut album "Party Intellectuals" this May on Pi Recordings in the North America, and Enja in Europe and Japan.

Saturday, March 28, 2008

Saturday Panels
We Remember Frankie Newton and Pee Wee Russell: A day with George Wein, Dan Morgenstern, George Avakian and Nat Hentoff
10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Join us for our Saturday panel, where George Wein, Dan Morgenstern, George Avakian and Nat Hentoff will share their memories of trumpeter Frankie Newton and clarinetist Pee Wee Russell.  
PEE WEE RUSSELL     

Clarinetist Pee Wee Russell was born Charles Ellsworth Russell in St. Louis and began playing clarinet in Muskogee Oklahoma, famous for giving the jazz world pianist Jay McShann. Pee Wee's career in jazz began in the early 1920's in Chicago with Bix Beiderbecke and Frank Trumbauer, and he cut his first sides with Red Nichols and his Five Pennies in 1929. The band also featured Glenn Miller and Jack Teagarden on trombones, Bud Freeman on tenor sax and Eddie Condon on guitar.

By the early 1930's, Pee Wee moved to New York where he found a steady home in the bands of Eddie Condon and jamming with a roster of hot jazz players including Bobby Hackett, Red Allen, Edmond Hall, Hot Lips Page, Jack Bland, Buster Bailey and Vic Dickenson. Pee Wee played in the all-star band put together by Eddie Condon for Fats Waller's Carnegie Hall debut in 1942, which also included Bud Freeman and Gene Krupa. Throughout most of the 1940's Pee Wee could be found playing at Nick's, the popular Greenwich Village restaurant/club that was a mainstay for hot musicians as the swing era evolved into bop. During this period Pee Wee was recording sides for Milt Gabler's Commodore label under his own name and as a sideman.

In 1951 after years of heavy drinking and not taking care of himself, Russell fell ill and so near death that a benefit concert was held in his honor. After weeks in the hospital, including several blood transfusions, Pee Wee returned to New York and played a well received set at the Newport Jazz Festival with Thelonious Monk thus proving his talent for all music whether traditional or bop.

Pee Wee was a consummate small group player. Although he was offered jobs with many of the top-name big bands of the day, Pee Wee preferred the small group swing that he had been playing all his life, and with the exception of a short stint with Bobby Hackett's Big Band played exclusively in small groups. Russell was a mainstay in traditional jazz bands along the east coast until his death in 1969.

FRANKIE NEWTON
 
Admired by both Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, trumpeter Frankie Newton had a relatively brief but artistically rewarding career. He had stints with Lloyd Scott (1927-1929), Cecil Scott (1929-1930), Chick Webb, Elmer Snowden, Charlie Johnson, and Sam Wooding, and appeared on Bessie Smith's final recording session in 1933. Newton worked with Charlie Barnet's short-lived integrated band in 1936 and with Teddy Hill, before briefly becoming closely associated with bassist John Kirby and his associates. The eventual John Kirby Sextet would have been the logical place for the trumpeter, but a falling out in 1937 ended up with the younger Charlie Shavers getting the spot in the commercially successful group. Newton instead played for Mezz Mezzrow and Lucky Millinder, led a few record dates (including participating in a set for Hugues Panassie), and worked at Cafe Society, accompanying Billie Holiday on several of her records (most notably "Strange Fruit"). As the 1940s progressed, Newton became less interested in music and gradually faded from the scene, painting more than playing.
 
Nat Hentoff has written that Newton was “matched only by Miles Davis for intimately evocative and lyrical storytelling.” Morgenstern has declared that “he was no ordinary man, and the music he made was no ordinary music. He was a poet; his recorded solos have a poignant lyricism of their own.” Come hear and witness the proof, as Loren Schoenberg and his venerable guests delve into the archives of their memory and record collections.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem Events

Two brilliant pianists sparkle across the Jazz Museum’s transom this week. Toshiko Akiyoshi joins us for an extended interview at Harlem Speaks about her fabled career as an influential bandleader/composer. And Onaje Alan Gumbsjoins us for Harlem in the Himalayas in a sublime concert setting along with bassist Avery Sharpe.  
 
Add to that our weekly Jazz for Curious Listeners, which focuses on jazz on film in the 1930’s (Ellington, Billie Holiday, Goodman, Lunceford for starters) and you’ve got a typically exciting menu of jazz to contemplate.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Jazz for Curious Listeners

Jazz on Film: The '3Os
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | 
register online

Known as the “Swing Era” by historians of jazz, the 1930s heralded the primacy of the big band in American popular culture. Orchestras led by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers and Cab Calloway, among others, gave millions a soundtrack for the period, as radio shows spread the joy of jazz across the nation. But jazz was also caught on film, as this evening’s discussion and videos will make abundantly clear. 
 
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Harlem Speaks

Toshiko Akiyoshi, pianist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more info: 212-348-8300

Toshiko Akiyoshi's unique contributions to the jazz world have evolved like falling dominoes through a series of events that started with a piano-loving little Japanese girl in Manchuria and brought her to prominence as an unparalleled pianist, composer and leader of the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. 
Akiyoshi's interest in the piano started at age six, and by the time her family had moved back to Japan at the end of World War II.  She had developed a real love for music, and soon began playing piano professionally, which eventually led to her being discovered by pianist Oscar Peterson in 1952 during a Norman Granz Jazz at the Philharmonic tour of Japan. On Peterson’s recommendation, Toshiko recorded for Granz, and not long after, she went to the U.S. to study at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

Her years in Boston, and later on in New York, developed her into a first class pianist. Her interest in composing and arranging came to fruition when she moved to Los Angeles in 1972 with her husband, saxophonist/flutist Lew Tabackin. The following year they formed the world-renowned big band that became known as the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin. The band, which began as a vehicle for Toshiko's own compositions, grew in stature during its 10 years on the west coast and gained a reputation as one of the most excellent and innovative big bands in jazz. In 1976 the band placed first in the Down Beat Critics' Poll and her album, Long Yellow Road, was named best jazz album of the year by Stereo Review. 

In 1982 the couple returned to New York, where Toshiko reformed her band with New York musicians, In 1983 the new Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin had a critically successful debut at Carnegie Hall as part of the Kool Jazz Festival. That same year a documentary film by Renee Cho depicting the Akiyoshi/Tabackin move from L.A. to New York was released, entitled "Jazz is My Native Language" (Rhapsody Video).

Toshiko recorded 18 albums with the Jazz Orchestra, garnering 14 Grammy Award nominations since 1976. The band was also voted #1 in Down Beat magazine's Best Big Band category, and Toshiko has placed first in the Best Arranger and Composer category in the Down Beat Readers' Poll, making her the first woman in the history of jazz to have been so honored.

Toshiko realized a long time dream in 1996 when she completed her autobiography. "Life With Jazz." The book is now in its third printing in Japanese and will soon be translated into Korean. 

The Orchestra followed the great Duke Ellington tradition of using each musician's individual sound and style as an integral part of the ensemble's musical identity. To this Akiyoshi adds her own complex, boppish lines and contemporary colors and textures, mingled with elements of her Asian roots to produce a sound that has no equal in jazz.

Summing up her own career, Toshiko, with characteristic modesty commented in an interview with the San Bernardino Sun, "I would hope that my work might have more substance and more quality rather than quantity of notes. And I hope the notes I produce today are more selective than 20 years ago."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas
Onaje Allan Gumbs with Avery Sharpe
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Onaje Allan Gumbs, a guest of Harlem Speaks in July 2007, is one of the industry’s most respected and talented musical collaborators. He has worked for more than 30 years with an illustrious list of jazz, R&B and pop artists. In 1974, he created a special arrangement of “Stella By Starlight” for the New York Jazz Repertory Company as part of a concert honoring Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall. He followed that with live and recorded performances with such artists as Lenny White, Buster Williams, Cecil McBee and Betty Carter. In 1975, Onaje joined forces with trumpeter, Nat Adderley as part of his quintet contributing to the group’s releases on Atlantic and Steeplechase Records. Producer Nils Winter of Steeplechase upon hearing Onaje’s improvisations, invited the young pianist to record a solo piano project entitled Onaje.

In 1976, he provided the arrangement for the song that was to become the signature piece for the late great vocalist Phyllis Hyman, “Betcha By Golly Wow.” In 1978, the Woody Shaw Group, for which Onaje was pianist, won the Down Beat Reader’s Poll for Best Jazz Group and for Best Jazz Album (Rosewood).The album was later nominated for a Grammy. In 1985, Onaje lent his keyboard and arrangement skills to “Lady In My Life” on guitarist Stanley Jordan’s widely acclaimed debut album, Magic Touch on Blue Note Records.This was the first jazz album in history to maintain the #1 spot atop Billboard Magazine’s jazz charts for more than 50 weeks.

In 1986, Onaje received the “Min-on Art Award”...”in recognition of his great contribution to the promotion and development of a new musical movement for people with the aim of the creation of Peace...” Previous recipients of this prestigious honor include Tina Turner, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Buster Williams. Motivated by the goal for World Peace, Onaje uses the practice of Nicherin Daishonin’s Buddhism as a philosophical, spiritual and technical approach to his life and his music. 

Onaje Allan Gumbs, whose most recent recording is titled “Sack Full of Dreams,” continues to contribute his talents as a keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer. As he states: “Music has a healing force that is immeasurable and I am committed to being a part of it.” 

Bassist Avery Sharpe was born in Valdosta, Georgia on August 23, 1954. His first instrument was the piano. “I started playing when I was eight years old,” he recalls. “My mother was a piano player in the Church of God in Christ, and she gave lessons to everybody in the family — I'm the sixth of eight children — but it didn't stick until it got to me.” He moved on to accordion and then switched to electric bass in high school. 

In 1972, Sharpe enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, where he majored in Economics and minored in music, and continued to play electric bass in gospel, funk, and rock groups. While at UMass, he met the jazz bassist Reggie Workman, who encouraged him to learn the acoustic bass. Sharpe adapted quickly to the big instrument, and within a few years he was performing with such notables as Archie Shepp and Art Blakey. Shepp and Max Roach, his professors at the time, had a major influence on him. Sharpe also performed in orchestra and chamber groups at UMass, and completed one year of graduate school in Music Performance. In 1980, he auditioned with McCoy Tyner and won a spot in the pianist's group. He has worked with Tyner almost continuously since then, playing hundreds of live gigs and appearing on more than 20 records with him. 

Sharpe's credits also include sideman stints with many other jazz greats, from Dizzy Gillespie to Pat Metheny, as well as leading his own groups. His first recording as a leader was the 1988 album Unspoken Words on Sunnyside Records, which was praised by critic Jim Roberts as “a diverse, challenging record that rewards repeated listening.” In 1994, he recorded Extended Family, the first CD of a trilogy released on Sharpe's own label, JKNM Records. 

In 1989, he wrote and conducted the soundtrack for the movie An Unremarkable Life; a decade later, his six-movement piece America's Promise debuted in a concert-hall performance that featured Sharpe's quintet and a gospel choir backed by the Springfield (Mass.) Symphony Orchestra. In the 1990's Sharpe was commissioned by the Classical group Fideleo to write 3 extended works for them. 

Regardless of the setting, Avery Sharpe always brings both exceptional musical skill and unswerving honesty to the endeavor. His duo performance with Onaje Allan Gumbs promises to render the immeasurable healing and empowering wonder of jazz.

                   ______________________________________________

Visitors Center
104 East 126th Street, Suite 2C
Monday through Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m
close to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 trains to 125th Street

We’re waiting for you! Yes, that’s right. Our new Visitors Center is now open Monday through Friday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and chock full of books, CDs and DVDs for your perusal. There is also a first-class exhibit of photos on the walls, so we hope you will come up and see us and also spread the word to any other curious folk who want to spend some time getting jazzed in Harlem.
Also, to find audio and video clips, event summaries, program updates and photographs galore from our previous events, venture here:

http:///www.jazzmuseuminharlem.org

The National Jazz Museum Events | February 16 - 21

Forrest

As a young man in Los Angeles, Drummer Forrest "Chico" Hamilton was entranced by Count Basie's band, especially his drummer Jo Jones, and the band's featured soloists, tenormen Lester Young and Herschel Evans. Join us for this week's  Jazz for Curious Listeners dedicated to Evans, the soulful titan of the Texas tenor. Chico Hamilton, still going strong as he approaches 90, is leading his famous band at Friday's Harlem in the HImilayas. We conclude the week on Sunday when the JAZZ MUSEUM IN HARLEM ALL-STAR BIG BAND joins the celebration of African-American Heritage Day at the Museum of Natural History.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Herschel Evans
with Loren Schoenberg

7:00 – 8:30pm         
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300 or register online

Join us for an evening celebrating one of the lesser known giants of jazz, the earliest "Texas tenors," Herschel Evans, whose soulful sound was a perfect contrast to that of the cool-toned Lester Young in the Count Basie Orchestra. Evans started out playing in territory bands, including Troy Floyd (1929-1931) with whom he made his recording debut, and Benny Moten (1933-1935). In 1936, Evans had stints with Lionel Hampton and in Los Angeles and then joined Count Basie just in time to enjoy the band's success and participate on many recordings; his most famous solo was on a ballad feature "Blue and Sentimental" from 1938. Sadly, Herschel Evans died of a heart ailment before his 30th birthday.

He may be gone, but certainly not forgotten, as you'll discover!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas
Chico Hamilton
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Chico Hamilton, drums
Cary DeNigris, guitar
Paul Ramsey, bass
Evan Schwam, flute, tenor & soprano saxophones
Eddie Barbash, flute, soprano & alto saxophones
Jeremy Carlstedt, percussion 

Legendary jazz drummer and bandleader Chico Hamilton, born September 21, 1921 in Los Angeles, had a fast track musical education in a band with his schoolmates Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jack Kelso. Engagements with Lionel Hampton, Slim & Slam, T-Bone Walker, Lester Young, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Barnett, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and six years with Lena Horne established this young West Coast prodigy as a jazz drummer on the rise, before he struck out on his own as a bandleader in 1955.

Chico's impact upon jazz includes the introduction of two unique and distinct sounds: first in 1955 with his Original Quintet which combined the sounds of his drums, the bass of Carson Smith, the guitar of Jim Hall, the cello of Fred Katz, and the flute of Buddy Collette; and the second in 1962 with his own drums, the bass of Albert Stinson, the guitar of Gabor Szabo, the tenor sax of Charles Lloyd, and the trombone of George Bohanon.

In 1997, Chico received the New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music Programs Beacons in Jazz Award in recognition for his "significant contribution to the evolution of Jazz". In 2002, Chico was awarded the WLIU-FM Radio Lifetime Achievement Award. At the IAJE in NYC January 2004, Hamilton was awarded a NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, presented to him by Roy Haynes. In December 2006, Congress confirmed the President's nomination of Chico to the Presidents Council on the Arts. And in 2007, Chico received a Living Legacy Jazz Award as part of The Kennedy Centers Jazz in Our Time Festival, as well as receiving a Doctor of Fine Arts from The New School.

Still swingin' at the age of 86, Chico Hamilton has a resume that includes scores for film, original compositions, commercial jingles, 50 + albums as a leader, and countless international tours. Come witness a living legend in collaboration with his young ensemble members, heard on Hamilton's most recent recordings, "Chico Hamilton Trio!," "The Alternative Dimensions of El Chico," and "It's About Time!"
Friday, February 21, 2009

Special Event
African-American Heritage Day
1:00 – 5:00pm
Location: American Museum of Natural History
(Central Park West @ 79th Street | get directions
Free with Museum admission

The National Jazz Museum All Star Big Band will be performing as part of

HARLEM SERENADE: A MOMENT IN TIME

This event is co-produced by Community Works and the New Heritage Theatre Group.
           
"A" Train to the Harlem Renaissance
 
Performance • 1:00-2:45 pm, Kaufmann Theater, first floor
 
Artistic Director and host James Stovall narrates an afternoon of musical performances by the All-Star Orchestra of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
 
The Jazz Orchestra will be joined by members of the Silver Belles – 2nd Generation, a group of exceptional senior female dancers inspired by the original Silver Belles, who appeared in the choruses of the prestigious Cotton Club and Apollo Theater during Harlem's heyday. Also joining them will be the Jitterbug Kids, a group of young dancers who recapture Harlem's Swing era. The performances will be woven together with classic film clips from Harlem's Golden Era.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem December Schedule

Heribe Nichols- for the Grateful Web

Coming off of its very successful November 25th 2008 Gala Fundraiser which raised over $200,000, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem spends December explores the variegated personalities and styles of jazz music through discussions with trombonist and experimental composer George Lewis, drummer Andrew Cyrille and pianist Larry Willis. 
 
Two special events leaven our free public programming this month. How Paris influenced the development of jazz is the topic of the first, whereas "Jews and Jazz" will delve into the intersection of Harlem, ethnicity, race, culture, business and the way jazz has served as a magnet for members of the Jewish community. A live performance promises to demonstrate musically the insights related in the discussion between musicians Yale Strom and Loren Schoenberg.
 
As a museum dedicated to codifying the grand legacy of the living art form of jazz, we believe it necessary to highlight the contributions of unsung contributors to the idiom. Our classes will delve into the musical legacies of three pianists curious listeners will be pleased to discover more about: Herbie Nichols, Andrew Hill, and the French virtuoso Martial Solal. 
 
The National Jazz Museum staff, board, and volunteers invite you to attend these free sessions, and to share the wealth and glory of this music to those closest to you in this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Jazz for Curious Listeners

Deserving Wider Recognition: Herbie Nichols 
7:00 – 8:30pm
Instructor: Frank Kimbrough

Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300 or register online

Herbie Nichols is a perennially neglected jazz pianist and composer. He recorded less than half of his 170 compositions on three classic trio albums for Blue Note and one for Bethlehem before dying of leukemia at the age of 43 in 1963. He is often compared to Thelonious Monk, and his piano playing and compositions certainly do have some of the harmonic angularity people associate with Monk. But he had a very distinctive sound of his own, more melancholy and, for lack of a better word, poetic than Monk in many ways. In fact, Nichols was something of a poet, as the titles to his tunes suggest. And he was fully Monk's equal in the quality and individuality of his tunes. He is held in high critical esteem within jazz, although his tunes are still not widely recorded. Outside of jazz circles, the only tune of his anyone is likely to know is "The Lady Sings the Blues," which Billie Holiday set lyrics to and adopted for the title of her autobiography.

Nichols was born in New York in 1919 and died there forty-four years later. In the course of his brief life he was for a time an associate of Monk's, though to consequently call his music Monk-like is to do it a grave disservice. He played with, amongst others, Milt Larkin and Rex Stewart out of economic necessity. His own harmonically extraordinary music was no small distance removed from theirs. This is not to imply however that his music amounted merely to an academic exercise. As it was to be with Andrew Hill some years later, Blue Note records afforded Nichols an unprecedented opportunity to record his own music, and he made full use of it, as the three CD set of "The Complete Blue Note Recordings" shows. The music found here comes exclusively from his pen and it was recorded in a bout of concentrated recording activity between May 6, 1955, and April 19, 1956. It was all performed in the trio setting, and throughout Nichols plays with a variety of virtuosity that couldn't be included in any jazz curriculum. As a player he has capable not only of dark lyricism but also of writing melodies so harmonically adventurous that they can make the listener laugh out loud over their audacity.

Furthermore, his music was in a rhythmic league of its own, and Nichols was indeed fortunate in the drummers he worked with in his brief recording career these Blue Note sides find him in the company of both Art Blakey and Max Roach.

In his lifetime Nichols only put out four records under his own name, three for Blue Note and one for the even smaller Bethlehem label, this time in the company of Dannie Richmond, Charles Mingus's drummer of choice. This date offers listeners evidence of his way with a standard song or two.

The music of Herbie Nichols is undoubtedly an acquired taste. Whilst he plowed an individual furrow he did so with clarity of purpose and vision. The irony of it is that if he were alive today he would probably have to work outside of music in order to make a living. The passing of time has moved several steps away from the recording and marketing of music as idiosyncratic as his. As such, his life was and is a stark example of the gulf between art and commerce.

Our session will be led by Frank Kimbrough, a leader jazz composer who helped create the Herbie Nichols Project. Frank Kimbrough is a New York City based jazz pianist, educator, founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective (est. 1992). He has recorded as a leader for OmniTone, Palmetto, Soul Note, Igmod, and Mapleshade.  His most recent duo project with vibist Joe Locke is Verazzano Moon (OmniTone), recorded live in concert, which follows the duos previous OmniTone recordings, The Willow and Saturn's Child, and the Frank Kimbrough Trio (with Ben Allison and Jeff Ballard) recently made its OmniTone debut on the brilliant, live recording Quickening.

As a recipient of funding from Meet the Composer, Kimbrough's own compositions have been the focus of concerts presented by the Jazz Composers Collective, a musician-run, non-profit organization dedicated to presenting original music. These concerts have featured several groups led by Kimbrough, most notably his trio with bassist Ben Allison and drummer Jeff Ballard; and his Noumena group with guitarist Ben Monder, saxophonist Scott Robinson, and drummer Tony Moreno. He is also active in the realization of music composed by other members or guest composers of the Collective, including Ted Nash, Ben Allison, Ron Horton, Michael Blake, Eddie Gale, Joe Locke, Jon Gordon, and the Collective Big Band.

An authority on the music of the late pianist/composer Herbie Nichols, he was awarded a Jazz Performance Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1995 to fund two concerts in New York City featuring 24 of Nichols' compositions as played by a dozen musicians in 16 different ensemble configurations. The Jazz Composers Collective's Herbie Nichols Project, with Kimbrough and Ben Allison as co-leaders, has toured the U.S., Portugal, Wales, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and England, and has documented its work with one CD for Palmetto (Strange City) and two CDs for Soul Note Records (Love Is Proximity), Dr Cyclops Dream.  Kimbrough has also written about Nichols' life and work for the journal O Papel do Jazz (Portugal), the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, and liner notes for The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Herbie Nichols.

Since 1993, Kimbrough has toured with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra in the U.S., China, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, France, and Finland, as well as participating in her five-year (1993-98) residency on Monday nights at Visiones in Greenwich Village.  He also appears on her Grammy-nominated CD, Coming About, and contributed to Schneider's collaborations with the Pilobolus Dance Company in 1998 at the American Dance Festival, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Since 1996, Kimbrough has served on the faculty of New York University's Department of Performing Arts Professions, teaching jazz piano, improvisation, and leading student ensembles. He has conducted workshops at the Paris Conservatory (with Maria Schneider), Oxford University (with the Herbie Nichols Project), The New School, Berklee College of Music, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Indiana State University, the University of Iowa, the University of North Florida, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also served on the faculty of Cannon Music Camp at Appalachian State University from 1989-1996.
 
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Special Event
Paris and the Development of American Jazz: How the French Influenced American Jazz
6:30pm
Location: Museum of the City of New York
(1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St. | get directions
$9 General admission, $5 Museum members, seniors, and students | Reservations: 212-534-1672 x3395

During the years between the world wars, a small but dynamic community of African American jazz musicians left the United States and settled in Paris, creating a vibrant expatriate musical scene and introducing jazz to the French. While the Harlem Renaissance was taking off across the Atlantic, entertainers such as Sidney Bechet, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, Django Reinhardt, and Josephine Baker were performing in Montmartre, the epicenter of the Parisian jazz scene.

Charles Hobson, filmmaker and contributor to Channel 13's Great Performances, will show excerpts from his forthcoming film Harlem in Montmartre based upon William A. Stack's bookHarlem In Montmarte: A Paris Jazz Story Between the Great Wars (University of California press, 2001) to be followed by a discussion between the filmmaker and jazz historian and author Jason Weiss.

Click for more information or to purchase tickets. 

Monday, December 8, 2008
Jazz for Curious Readers
George Lewis, Trombonist and Director of Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies, in discussion with Jonathan Scheuer
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300 or register online

The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002, an Alpert Award in the Arts in 1999, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, George Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work as composer, improvisor, performer and interpreter explores electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, text-sound works, and notated and improvisative forms, and is documented on more than 120 recordings. His published articles on music, experimental video, visual art, and cultural studies have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and edited volumes.

Professor Lewis came to Columbia in 2004, having previously taught at the University of California, San Diego, Mills College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Simon Fraser University's Contemporary Arts Summer Institute. He has served as music curator for the Kitchen in New York, and has collaborated in the "Interarts Inquiry" and "Integrative Studies Roundtable" at the Center for Black Music Research (Chicago).His oral history is archived in Yale University's collection of "Major Figures in American Music." 

Lewis has worked closely with film/video artists Stan Douglas and Don Ritter, as well as with contemporary musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Anthony Davis, Bertram Turetzky, Count Basie, David Behrman, David Murray, Derek Bailey, Douglas Ewart, Evan Parker, Fred Anderson, Frederic Rzewski, Gil Evans, Han Bennink, Irene Schweizer, J.D. Parran, James Newton, Joel Ryan, Joelle Leandre, John Zorn, Leroy Jenkins, Michel Portal, Misha Mengelberg, Miya Masaoka, Muhal Richard Abrams, Richard Teitelbaum, Roscoe Mitchell, Sam Rivers, Steve Lacy and Wadada Leo Smith.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Jazz for Curious Listeners
Deserving Wider Recognition: Andrew Hill
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300 or register online 

Recognized by Blue Note Records' founder Alfred Lyon as his "last, great protégé," pianist Andrew Hill spent 40 years composing, performing, recording, and mentoring young musicians. Born in Chicago in 1931, Andrew Hill began teaching himself to play piano at age 10, and was later introduced to German composer and music theorist-in-exile Paul Hindemith. He started performing in 1952 with touring jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker, Dinah Washington, Coleman Hawkins, and Miles Davis.

He moved to New York in 1961 and shortly thereafter was contracted by Alfred Lyons at Blue Note Records as a leader and a sideman, producing his early classics for the label, such as Point of Departure and Black Fire. Hill's Blue Note sessions with acclaimed musicians such as Eric Dolphy, Kenny Dorham, John Gilmore, Roy Haynes, Joe Henderson, and Elvin Jones cemented his reputation as a musician and composer of some renown.
Hill served as composer-in-residence at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York from 1970-72. In California, he performed in concert and taught classes at public schools and social service institutions before becoming an associate professor of music at Portland State University, where he established the successful Summer Jazz Intensive. He also performed and taught at Harvard and Wesleyan universities, among others.

He returned to New York City in the 1990s, reestablishing himself as a pianist, ensemble leader, and composer. In 2000, Hill released "Dusk," a song cycle loosely based on Jean Toomer's 1923 book Cane, with yet another phenomenal band. The album brought him to the attention of and garnered him acclaim from a larger jazz audience, claiming a place on best-album-of-the-year lists with Fortune Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, JazzTimes, and Down Beat.

The new attention led to reissues of his classic Blue Note recordings of the 1960s and new issues of some previously unreleased recordings from that time period. One of the most interesting was Passing Ships, a previously unknown nonet recording that prefaced his big band recording in 2002, A Beautiful Day, by more than 30 years. In 2003, he received the prestigious Danish award, the JAZZPAR Prize.  And just this year, Joyous Shout Records released a 1993 duet collaboration between Hill and drummer Chico Hamilton. Liner notes writer Gene Santoro: "How they prod and jab and lure each other, is a marvel to hear."

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Harlem Speaks

Andrew Cyrille, Drummer/educator
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Andrew Cyrille was born in Brooklyn, NY. As well as studying privately, he attended the Juilliard and Hartnett schools of music. He has performed with jazz artists ranging from Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet and Mary Lou Williams to Kenny Dorham, Muhal Richard Abrams, Horace Tapscott, John Carter, Mal Waldron and David Murray. In 1964 he formed and association with pianist Cecil Taylor that would last for 11 years. He played drums for many notable dancer-choreogrphers from the mid to late 1960's.

He was artist-residence and teacher at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio from 1971 to 1973. Cyrille has also taught at the Graham Windham Home for Children in New York. He is currently a faculty member at the New School University (formally The New School for Social Research) in New York City. His sterling work has earned him a number of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer, including a commission to create a new work for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company in 1990. In 1999, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition.

Starting in 1969, Cyrille began to organize the first of several percussion groups, including Dialogue of the Drums, Pieces of Time, and Weights and Measures. Some of the distinguished artists who played in these groups were Kenny Clark, Milford Graves, Famoudou Don Moye, Michael Carvin and Obo Addy. Starting in 1988 through the present time, he has toured and performed here and abroad with the renowned Russian percussionist, Vladimir Tarasov.

In 1975, Cyrille formed a band called Maono (feelings) featuring various instrumental voices determined by his compositions. He is a member of Trio 3 featuring alto saxophonist, Oliver Lake and bassist, Reggie Workman. Also, from time to time, he leads another group called Haitian Fascination, playing music inspired by the musical tradition from Haiti. Within the past several years, he has been collaborating and working with musicians such as saxophonist Archie Shepp, trombonist Roswell Rudd, trumpeter Dave Douglas, bassists Henry Grimes and William Parker, pianists Dave Burrell and Marilyn Crispell, and vibraphonist Karl Berger. He continues to record and perform with duo, trio, quartet, quintet and big band formations.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Jazz for Curious Listeners
Deserving Wider Recognition: Martial Solal
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300 or register online

Considered one of Europe's best jazz musicians, pianist Martial Solal is relatively unknown in the United States. Solal was born in Algiers, Algeria, North Africa, where he grew up listening to jazz pianists Fats Waller and Art Tatum and was exposed to bebop. In the forties Solal worked in Algiers as a pianist before settling in Paris in 1950. During the fifties he performed in Parisian clubs, often as backup, with many American expatriate jazz musicians.

The early 1960s were productive years for Solal. He performed for several months at the Hickory House, a club in New York City, and appeared at jazz festivals in Newport, Rhode Island; Montreal, Canada; and Berlin, West Germany. When asked in the sixties what he thought the future of jazz and his place in it would be, Solal recalled to Jerome Reese of Musician, "I said that in order for jazz to survive it had to have a repertoire; jazz musicians had to write important works. Just after that stupid declaration everyone did exactly the opposite, playing totally improvised music. Presently there is a return to traditionalism, and I persist in believing that the future of jazz lies in written music, in longer and longer written sequences, which does not exclude improvisation, of course. I also believe that once one has a very definite style, the only way to evolve is through composing."

While most jazzmen went the alternate route, emphasizing improvisation, Solal has scored pieces for big band and various trios with which he has performed since the sixties. "Freedom, for me, means being able to go as far as possible in a certain direction, established and prepared in advance," he told Reese. "But I don't like the idea of 'anything goes.' That's why I play jazz standards, which give the audience something they can follow more easily and which will perhaps entertain them while having to put up with my, shall we say, busy style. Even when playing my own pieces, a major part of my performance consists of humourous musical citations I'll throw in as they pop into my head. But this humorous aspect can only be appreciated if the audience knows the standards I'm quoting. I like music that can surprise you at any given moment, not to show off, but in order to produce something different each time."

At one point in his career, Solal seriously studied classical music to help perfect his technique. Regular daily practice, often consisting of scales, maintains the virtuoso technique that has given him the ability to express whatever he has to say musically. When improvising he explores a melody in a seemingly endless stream of variations, which has given rise to his reputation as a highly technical musician. When the French government commissioned a work from Solal in the early eighties, Solal composed a concerto for piano and orchestra that was played by the big band that eventually involved into the government-supported Orchestre National de Jazz.
While Solal is best known in France for his duo albums with saxophonists Sidney Bechet and Lee Konitz and violinist Stephane Grappelli, he has also composed more than thirty movie scores, including the original French version of Breathless, conducted by Jean-Luc Goddard and starring Jean Paul Belmondo. With the advent of pop music and highly improvisatory jazz in the late sixties, the opportunities for film-score composing vanished.

Through his composing, arranging, and performing, Solal seems to want to legitimize jazz in Europe in general and his distinct style of jazz in particular. "Even if it doesn't sound modest, I think that one must listen to my music several times because of its density," Solal declared to Reese. "If you are surprised by the technical aspect, then the musical content may escape you on the first listening. I have always had very high hopes for jazz. I want people who love classical music to find that same perfection in jazz, and 90 percent of jazz doesn't satisfy that demand."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Special Event
Jews & Jazz
7:00pm
Location: Museum at Eldridge Street
(12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY | get directions
Adults: $12 | Students & Seniors: $10 | 212-219-0888

Musicians Yale Strom and Loren Schoenberg will talk about the longstanding connection Jews have with jazz and its Harlem lineage beyond the stereotypes found in movies and popular culture. Roof-raising performances by Hot P'stromi and special guests will illustrate the intermingling of cultures.

Thursday, December 18, 2008
Harlem Speaks
Larry Willis, Pianist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Once identified with on-the-edge free music, keyboardist Larry Willis had a profitable flirtation with fusion in the '70s, then moved to hard bop in the '80s and '90s. Willis' playing has been frenetic, ambitious and interesting, but during his jazz-rock and fusion days was funky but greatly restrained and simple. A devotee of Herbie Hancock, Willis has found a good balance, with expertly constructed modal solos and also lyrical, relaxed statements. 

Willis graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in the early '60s, then played with Jackie McLean and Hugh Masekela. He recorded with Lee Morgan and McLean in the mid-'60s, and worked with Kai Winding and Stan Getz, as well as recording with Robin Kenyatta in 1969. Willis turned to synthesizer and electric piano in the '70s, doing sessions with Cannonball Adderley, Earl May, Joe Henderson, Groove Holmes and Masekela again. He joined Blood, Sweat And Tears in 1972, recorded with Alphonze Mouzon in both 1972 and 1973, and did dates as a leader and freelance session musician. Willis also recorded with Ryo Kawasaki and Sonny Fortune in the late '70s, and with David "Fathead" Newman and Carla Bley in the '80s. Willis toured and recorded with Nat Adderley in the '80s, and joined Woody Shaw's quintet in 1986. He's done sessions as a leader for Groove Merchant, Steeplechase, Audioquest, Brunswick and Mapleshade, among others.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem November Schedule

Thelonious Monk- for the Grateful Web

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem's first event in November 2008 takes place a week after the presidential election, focusing on The World of Thelonious Monk for Jazz for Curious Listeners.
 
Now in its fifth year, the Harlem Speaks interview series continues strongly this month, with relaxed talks with photographer and producer Hank O'Neal and educator and drummer Justin DiCioccio. Best-selling author and jazz musician James McBride comes through to the Visitor's Center for Jazz for Curious Readers.
 
Live performance takes no back seat, as Harlem in the Himalayas presents several concerts boding experimental approaches (see details below.) 
 
If you've attended any of our events, or even have read our weekly and monthly press releases, you know that most of our programming is free to the public. Please consider giving your financial support to the National Jazz Museum in Harlem at our Gala 2008 fundraiser on November 25, 2008. 
 
That way, we can continue sharing the legacy and contemporary value of jazz, and keep swingin'!
 
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Jazz for Curious Listeners
The World of Thelonious Monk: The Minton's Years
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online
            
In the 1940s pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk was a house pianist at Minton's uptown in Harlem, a hotbed locale for the adventurous sound style that became known as bebop. Way before his wider popularity and critical recognition, his tenure at Minton's established his reputation among his musician peers, some of whom even questioned his approach. One man whose imprimatur stood Monk in good stead during this period was Coleman Hawkins, the "father" of the jazz tenor saxophone. 
 
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Harlem Speaks
Hank O'Neal, Author/producer
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

His mother, Sarah Christian O'Neal was a musically and intellectually inclined housewife from Tyler, Texas.. His father was a professional soldier and educator in the US Army in Texas and the Pacific (1929-1947) and, following World War II, an educator and public school superintendent in upstate New York (1953-72). O'Neal was raised throughout Texas, primarily, and Syracuse, NY. After first attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he graduated from Syracuse University in 1962.

In 1960 O'Neal was introduced to a representative of the CIA and ultimately accepted employment with that organization. He reported for duty in January 1963 and remained with the CIA in Washington D.C. and New York City until 1976. He served in the US Army during the same period (1962-1967), rising to the rank of Captain. The nature of his employment allowed him the flexibility of pursuing other interests during these years.

During a forty year career in music, he formed two record companies, Chiaroscuro Records and Hammond Music Enterprises, built two recordings studios (WARP and Downtown Sound), produced over 200 jazz LPs/CDs and - in conjunction with his business partner, Shelley M. Shier and their production company, HOSS, Inc. - over 100 music festivals (The Floating Jazz Festival, The Blues Cruise, Mardi Gras At Sea, Big Bands At Sea and others from 1983-2002), published a number of books and articles on jazz, photographed most of the giants of jazz from the second half of the 20th Century, exhibited these photographs regularly and served on the boards of various non-profit organizations that serve the jazz community, including the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program of The New School (1985 to present), the Jazz Foundation of America (1993 to present) and more recently The Jazz Gallery (1995 to present).

As a photographer, O'Neal didn't begin to pursue photography seriously until 1969 when he acquired a professional camera and began documenting recording sessions and jazz concerts he was producing. Long before Berenice Abbott admonished him to always have a project, he undertook his first, in rural East Texas during the years 1970-1973. These photographs led to his first exhibition in September 1973, at The Open Mind Gallery in New York City.

In the 1970s he became friendly and associated with a diverse group of photographers, notably Walker Evans, André Kertész and, most importantly, Berenice Abbott, with whom he worked for the last 19 years of her life.

Between the years 1970 and 1999, in addition to undertaking many photographic projects, O'Neal also published numerous books related to photography. In 1999, at the urging of Evelyn Daitz, the gallery director, he had a major retrospective of his work to that point at The Witkin Gallery. The focus of his activities have been more directed towards photography since then. He has had many exhibitions since that time. In 2003 his photographic career was summarized in a major profile in the New York Times.

Friday, November 14, 2008
Harlem in the Himalayas
Anat Fort and Paul Motian
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

With Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, Elvis Costello, John Coltrane and Egberto Gismonti among her many formative influences, Anat Fort's music can also subtly hint at her geographical origins. Born near Tel Aviv, she studied classical piano as a child and began improvising from an early age, all the while remaining open to the many musical sounds of her environment. 

In the early 1990's, Anat came to the United States to study jazz, looking to balance a natural tendency towards freer playing with a firm grounding in the tradition. Her sojourn resulted in her self-produced debut album Peel, and commissions to write for various ensembles including chamber and chorus and orchestra. Her most recent commission was premiered at the Opera House in Tel Aviv in January 2006. Anat received two artist-in-residence grants from the Jerome Foundation as well as the Creative Connections award from Meet the Composer. A session recorded with drummer Paul Motian, with whom she's performing this evening, bassist Ed Schuller, and clarinetist Perry Robinson was brought to the attention of the legendary producer Manfred Eicher ECM Records, and the resultant CD was released in 2007 as A Long Story

An important presence on the NYC alternative jazz scene and equally highly regarded in her homeland, Anat currently splits her time between Israel and the US and performs with bassist Gary Wang and drummer Roland Schneider in her touring band, the Anat Fort Trio.

Stephen Paul Motian was born on March 25, 1931 in Providence, Rhode Island. Motian played guitar in Providence in his teens, then served a term in the US Army. On his discharge in 1954 he went to New York to study music at the Manhattan School of Music. By 1956 he was playing drums for George Wallington and Russell Jacquet. Between 1956 and 1958 he worked with Tony Scott, with whom he met the pianist Bill Evans. His work in the Evans trio (1959-64) has since achieved legendary status for its delicacy and balance. Motian also played with Oscar Pettiford, Zoot Sims and Lennie Tristano in the late 50s. In the mid-60s he worked with singers Mose Allison and Arlo Guthrie and was part of the Paul Bley trio in 1964. Motian had met Ornette Coleman's bass player Charlie Haden in 1959 and had a chance to work with him in Keith Jarrett's band with Dewey Redman (1967-76); he also joined Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra for its debut recording in 1969 and toured with the re-formed Orchestra in the 80s. In the 70s he was active in the Jazz Composers' Orchestra and played on Carla Bley's Escalator Over The Hill in 1972.

Motian emerged as a leader in 1974, since which time he has released an impressive series of albums on the ECM Records, Soul Note Records, and JMT labels that have confirmed his stature as a drummer and composer. Tribute (1974) featured Carlos Ward on alto, while Dance and Le Voyage from the late 70s boasted rare appearances by saxophonist Charles Brackeen. In the 80s, Motian began long-term associations with guitarist Bill Frisell, whose arching, tremulous interpretations of Motian's melodies are particularly sympathetic, and the inventive tenorist Joe Lovano. In the late 80s, he renewed his acquaintance with Paul Bley on a marvelous album of improvised duets (Notes), and joined with Haden and pianist Geri Allen to form one of the most thoughtful of contemporary piano trios; a guest appearance with Marilyn Crispell's trio (Live In Zurich, 1991) proved he was also at home in more exploratory modes. Motian's examination of Thelonious Monk (Monk In Motian), standards (Motian On Broadway) and his piano-less tribute to Bill Evans (1991) show a questing musical mind, still working as keenly as ever. He recorded with his Electric Bebop Band (E.B.B.B) in the 90s and into the new millennium, which included Steve Swallow and Don Alias.

Monday, November 17, 2008
Jazz for Curious Readers
James McBride
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

James McBride is an award-winning writer and composer. His critically acclaimed memoir,The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, explores the author's struggle to understand his biracial identity and the experience of his white, Jewish mother, who moved to Harlem, married a black man, and raised 12 children.  The Color of Water won the 1997 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Literary Excellence, was an ALA Notable Book of the Year, and spent more than two years on the bestseller list. Chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the 25 books of 1996 to remember, The Color of Water has sold more than 1.3 million copies in the United States alone and is now required reading at numerous colleges and high schools across the country. It has also been published in 16 languages and in more than 20 countries. 

After the success of The Color of Water, McBride turned to fiction, albeit inspired by his family's history. "My initial aim was to write a novel about a group of black soldiers who liberate a concentration camp in Eastern Europe," McBride explains on his web site. "I read lots of books and spent a lot of time researching the subject but soon came to the realization that I'm not qualified to write about the holocaust. It's too much."  So, instead, he recalled the war stories of his uncle and cousin, who served in the all-black 92nd Infantry Division, and began researching World War II in Italy - particularly the clashes between Italian Partisans and the German army. Miracle at St Anna was published in 2002. His second novel, Song Yet Sung, was published in 2008.

McBride is a former staff writer for The Washington Post, People Magazine and The Boston Globe. His work has also appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. Aside from his literary honors, McBride is the recipient of several awards for his work as a composer in musical theater, including the 1996 American Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award, the 1996 ASCAP Richard Rodgers Horizons Award, and the American Music Festival's 1993 Stephen Sondheim Award. He has written the score for several musicals, including the highly acclaimed, award-winning show "Bobos." 

McBride, an accomplished saxophonist who has toured with renowned jazz singers and musicians, has written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington, Jr., Gary Burton, Silver Burdett Textbooks, and for the PBS television character "Barney." He is a graduate of New York City's public schools, studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, and received a Masters in journalism from Columbia University in New York at age 22. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Whitman College. He lives in Pennsylvania and is currently a Distinguished Writer-In-Residence at New York University.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Jazz for Curious Listeners
The World of Thelonious Monk: With Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online

The pianist Eric Reed once said that "When you playing Monk's compositions, you're kind of playing Monk. His compositions and improvisations are completely integrated." Such is the nature of his compositions, so intertwined with his quirky, singular and ingenious style of playing and composing jazz. 

The two foremost giants of jazz tenor saxophone in the 1950s, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, were a part of Monk's band at signal moments in the development of their styles and careers. This promises to be a night of swingin' revelation, so don't miss it. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Harlem Speaks
Justin DiCioccio, Drummer/educator
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Justin DiCioccio is internationally recognized as one of the foremost jazz educators of our time. In January 2001, he was inducted into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame, which took place at the 28th Annual International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) conference in New York City. His keen insight into the teaching of conceptual and inventive ideas has earned him the title of "the musician's teacher." His performances, guest conducting appearances, adjudications, jazz and percussion clinics and workshops are numerous and widely recognized in the professional and educational fields. 

Mr. DiCioccio was named assistant dean of Manhattan School of Music in June 2002, where he chairs the School's jazz department, a position that he has held since 1999. In addition, he has been a member of the School's jazz faculty since 1984, teaching percussion and coaching ensembles. Under his leadership, a complete restructuring of the jazz curriculum has taken place, which includes the creation of a new Jazz DMA program. His goal is to initiate and put into action the concept of the complete artist musician – performer, composer, and pedagogue – as well as the creation of working partnerships with public schools, community organizations, institutions and the music industry. He also directs international summer jazz programs in partnership with Manhattan School of Music that take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and at the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina.

Mr. DiCioccio works actively in Manhattan School of Music's educational outreach program bringing jazz education to hundreds of New York City public school children. In addition, Mr. DiCioccio has initiated the creation of a jazz component to the School's already existing Preparatory Division, open to students ages 10 to 18, making Manhattan School of Music on of the few institutions in the country to offer jazz programs at the elementary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels.

Mr. DiCioccio serves as program director for Carnegie Hall Jazz Education and under his direction in January 2001, the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall as part of its Family Concert Series. He also acts as a consultant to Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, with whom he also performs and gives clinics, as well as conductor of the Henry Mancini Summer Institute in Los Angeles, CA. He designed, developed and directed the internationally known and award-winning LaGuardia High School of the Arts jazz program, the first fully accredited secondary jazz program in the United States.

Mr. DiCioccio is the recipient of a citation from the mayor of New York for "Distinguished and Exceptional Service to Young Instrumentalists" and is currently active with the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Music for Youth Foundation and the National Foundation for Jazz Education. He is a three-time recipient of the Presidential Scholars teaching recognition award in the jazz field by the U.S. Department of Education. In May 1998, The Commission Project, in partnership with the New York City Board of Education, created the JD Award for Outstanding Service to Music in New York City Schools. The award, presented annually, recognizes and celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions to the world of music education and honored Mr. DiCioccio as its first honoree. In June 2003, Mr. DiCioccio received an Achievement Award from Downbeatmagazine.

Friday, November 21, 2008
Harlem in the Himalayas
Bern Nix and Francois Grillot
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Bern Nix has played the guitar since the age of 11. Bern studied music and graduated with a degree in music education from the Berklee College of Music. Since 1985, he has led The Bern Nix Trio. Before leading his Trio, Bern performed and recorded with Ornette Coleman from 1975 to 1987 as an original member of the Prime Time Band. The Prime Time Band recorded six albums including Dancing in Your HeadOf Human Feelings and Body Meta and performed hundreds of concerts around the world. The Bern Nix Trios first recording, Alarms and Excursions (New World Records) was released in 1993, making many top ten critics lists. Bern has performed with artists such as, Ornette Coleman, John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, Jemeel Moondoc, Ronald Shannon Jackson, James Chance, Jayne Cortez and Kip Hanrahan. Hailed as one of the greatest jazz guitarists of our time, Bern was voted among the top ten jazz guitarists in a poll by Down Beat magazine. Most recently, Bern composed and recorded the score for the feature length documentary, A James Lord Portrait. Bern has a solo album coming out this fall on Tompkins Square Records.

Francois Grillot, born in Burgundy France, began studying trumpet, then guitar and electric bass. He recorded with Edition Speciale, on RCA, touring throughout France. Other credits include recordings with Mama Bea Teckelsk (RCA) and Serge Bringolf (Strave on Musea Records). Upon moving to New York he has been playing along side a number of notable musicians including Bill Bickford, Ken Hatfield, Adam Naussbaum, Harold Danko, and Mike Clarke. In 2001 his music took a turn with collaborators Matt Lavelle, Steve Swell, Daniel Carter, Matt Maneri, Roy Campbell, Mark Edwards, Jackson Krall, Lou Grassi, Jason Kwang, Robert Dick, Daniel Levin, William Hooker, Charles Burnham, Louie Belogenis, Bern Nix, Michael Marcus, Ken Filiano and a many others

Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Special Event
Gala 2008 Fundraiser
6:30 – 9:30pm
Location: Players Club
(16 Gramercy Park South, New York, New York)
Tickets: $250 / $1000, Tables of 10: $2,500 / $10,000 | 
RSVP online

Honoring:
Representative Charles B. Rangel
Chairman, Ways and Means Committee
U.S. Congress
Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Billy Taylor
Pianist, Composer and Educator
Radio and Television Personality
Artistic Advisor, Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
Lifetime Achievement Award

Music by:
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars
featuring Junior Mance, Reggie Workman,
and Dominick Farinacci

Reception: 6:30 pm
Awards: 7:30 pm
Dinner: 8:00 pm

Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Jazz for Curious Listeners
The World of Thelonious Monk: The Pianist
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online

Some listeners today, and even some critics back in his days, thought that Thelonious Monk wasn't a complex piano player. Yet Monk was steeped in the stride and swing piano styles of his forebears, and sprinkled his compositions and improvisations with flourishes that clearly demonstrated his prowess. In fact, Dr. Billy Taylor has informed the audience at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, that early on Monk was an acolyte of Art Tatum, a man whose florid style can be posed as diametrically different than Monk's mature approach. 

Come get the real scoop on Thelonious Monk . . . as a pianist.

Friday, November 28, 2008
Harlem in the Himalayas
Grace Kelly
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Grace Kelly, saxophones/vocal
Jason Palmer, trumpet
Jake Sherman, piano
Evan Gregor, bass
Jordan Perlson, drums
 
Born Grace Chung on May 15, 1992 in Wellesley, Massachusetts to Korean parents, Grace moved to Brookline, MA when she was two years old with her mother and sister after her parents divorced. Grace's mother married Robert Kelly in 1997 and a few years later Grace and her sister Christina were legally adopted by her stepfather and thus her name became Grace Kelly. Grace was brought up by a family that greatly appreciates music and the arts. When she is not busy with her burgeoning musical career, Grace likes to dance, act, and hang out with her friends.  She picked up the acting bug from her sister Christina, currently a student at Harvard University.  Grace also has two stepsisters and a stepbrother: Heather, Sara and Tim. Tim was a sergeant in the Marines and served twice in the war in Iraq.

Mother Irene Chang Kelly believes that learning piano is the best way to prepare for a lifetime of music, and so Grace began piano lessons at age six. She began with classical training but soon changed to jazz because she had the propensity not to stick to the notes on the page but wanted to make up her own melodies. Grace wrote her first song "On My Way Home" at age seven.  

All public school students in Grace's hometown are required to choose an instrument and take a year of school-sponsored instruction in fourth grade, and Grace chose the clarinet.  But this fourth-grader had already gotten hooked on another sound: the warm, almost-human voice of the saxophone. Her mom always loved [saxophonist] Stan Getz and would be playing him at home when they had Sunday brunch.  Grace always wanted to play saxophone, but they didn't let you take it until fifth grade.  So she started on clarinet. Grace couldn't wait until fifth grade, so halfway through fourth grade she started private lessons on the saxophone. When Grace was 12 she met Ann Hampton Callaway, a renowned cabaret artist, prodigious recording artist and award-winning songwriter. Seeing all that Grace had accomplished in those two short years, it is no wonder that when Ann Hampton Callaway met Grace she declared of Grace that "her sensitivity, control and focus as an alto saxophonist is impressive.  When I played some songs of hers for the legendary drummer Victor Lewis [who has played with Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, and many more], he said, 'Wow, I love her sound.'"  

Grace currently studies saxophone with Jerry Bergonzi, Lee Konitz, and Allan Chase. She also studies composition, arranging, flute, drums, and piano. Having participated in the certificate programs at both Brookline Music School and the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Grace is the youngest ever to complete the four year Jazz Studies Certificate Program at New England Conservatory Prep School.
Grace began taking voice lessons this past year although she has been singing since she could talk; her soulful, versatile voice is quickly becoming one of her trademarks whether she's crooning a love song or belting out the blues.  She has kept up with piano all of these years, but now mostly uses those skills in conjunction with her creativity to write original songs. A visit to the Kelly's proves this very quickly, for Grace is frequently trying out a new idea for a song on the piano or guitar or listening to one of her creations via Sibelius, a music notation program, connected to her keyboard.  "Grace has always had an innate creativity.  When she was younger she never really needed toys because she could make up stories, songs, and dances – entertaining herself for hours by standing in front of a mirror and performing for her own reflection.  She remembers Grace practicing piano and ten minutes later she'll be making up songs instead of practicing. She's a very creative being," remarked Mrs. Kelly.

Grace plays the alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, some clarinet, flute, drums, bass and sings. The styles of music that intrigue Grace are many. Although jazz is her first love she embraces blues, funk, rock and contemporary styles. Some of the artists on Grace's nightstand are Paul Desmond, Joshua Redmond, Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Brad Meldau and Pat Metheny, Dave Brubeck, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Billy Childs, Steve Wilson and Frank Morgan. Grace is also inspired by Ella, Sarah, Billy, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn, Dianne Reeves, Ann Hampton Callaway, among others. Grace loves old movies and more recent romantic comedies. Some of her favorite actors are  Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Orlando Bloom, Cary Grant, and of course Princess Grace Kelly.

What does the future hold for this emerging musical powerhouse?  Grace says she hopes to become better and better at playing all her instruments and to do a lot more composing and arranging. "I just want to share my music with as many people as I can, hoping that my music gives as them joy and pleasure."

National Jazz Museum in Harlem October Schedule

Jonathan Batiste- for the Grateful Web

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem covers the gamut in October 2008, with live performances for the Harlem in the Himalayas series featuring elder masters and young artists who defy the constraints of genre through style as well as discussions with three notable media standard-bearers: WBGO's velvet-voice Rhonda Hamilton, and two living legends of journalism, Evelyn Cunningham and Nat Hentoff. (NOTE: the Harlem Speaks interview series will return this month to the Harlem School of the Arts).         
 
Our adult ed class, Jazz for Curious Listeners, explores the impact of jazz around the world as well as the influence of Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and the Americas on the preeminent United States musical idiom, jazz. And don't miss a special National Endowment of the Arts discussion on the future of jazz with a panel that includes executive director of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Loren Schoenberg. 
 
And to wrap up September, our last Classic Album analysis (of Andrew Hill's "Point of Departure") will be held on September 30th at the Visitor's Center. 
 
As you'll see below, our claim above of covering "the gamut" is far from a public relations ploy. Whatever your taste or level of interest in jazz, you'll find programs to satisfy your longing for artistic nourishment.
 
September 30, 2008
Jazz for Curious Listeners
What Makes it Tick? Five Classic Albums
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online 

Andrew Hill: Point of Departure

Alfred Lion, founder of Blue Note Records, considered Andrew Hill his last major discovery, for Hill's rich, rhythmic piano and utterly unique compositions stand alone. "Point Of Departure" is Hill's masterpiece, with rich three-horn arrangements for Kenny Dorham, Eric Dolphy and Joe Henderson. Richard Davis and Tony Williams complete this high level ensemble of musicians with a wide range of approaches, but who, on this classic date, created a unified aesthetic whole.
October 3, 2008

Harlem in the Himalayas
Reggie Workman, Oliver Lake & Andrew Cyrille
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Oliver Lake, saxophone
Reggie Workman, bass
Andrew Cyrille, drums
 
Trio 3 celebrates 20 years of performances in 2008. Jazz critic Gary Giddins, in his liner notes for one of the group's recordings, wrote that their ". . . cumulative experience involves the assimilation of every kind of jazz, from pre-bop mainstream to the furthest reaches of the avant-garde to sundry precincts on the world music front." 

Reggie Workman has long been one of the most technically gifted of all bassists, a brilliant player whose versatile style fits into both hard bop and very avant-garde settings. After working regularly with Gigi Gryce (1958), Red Garland, and Roy Haynes, he was a member of the John Coltrane Quartet for much of 1961, participating in several important recordings and on television. Workman then became a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1962-1964) and was in the groups of Yusef Lateef (1964-65), Herbie Mann, and Thelonious Monk (1967). He recorded frequently in the 1960s (including many Blue Note dates and Archie Shepp's classic "Four for Trane").

Since that time, Workman has been both an educator and a working musician, and has played with numerous legendary jazz musicians including Max Roach, Art Farmer, Mal Waldron, David Murray, Sam Rivers, and Andrew Hill. In the 1980s, Workman began leading his own group, the Reggie Workman Ensemble. He also began a collaboration with pianist Marilyn Crispell that lasted into the next decade. During the '90s, Workman was not only active with his own ensemble, but also in Trio Three (with Andrew Cyrille and Oliver Lake), and Reggie Workman's Grooveship and Extravaganza.

In recognition of Workman's international performances and recordings spanning over 40 years, he was named a Living Legend by the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum in his hometown of Philadelphia; he is also a recipient of the Eubie Blake Award, and serves as an Associate Professor at New York's famed The New School (Jazz and Contemporary Music Department) where, in 2007, he celebrated his twentieth-year and was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award.
 
Andrew Cyrille enrolled in Juilliard School of Music in 1958. In the late '50s and early '60s, he worked with such mainstream jazzers as Mary Lou Williams, Roland Hanna, Roland Kirk, Coleman Hawkins, and Junior Mance. He recorded with Hawkins, as well as tenor saxophonist Bill Barron, for the Savoy label. Then Cyrille succeeded Sunny Murray as Cecil Taylor's drummer in 1964. He stayed with the pianist until 1975, during which time he played on many of Taylor's classic albums. During that period he played with many other top players, including Marion Brown, Grachan Moncur III and Jimmy Giuffre. He also served for a time as artist in residence at Antioch College and recorded a solo percussion album, 1969's "What About?". Cyrille, Rashied Ali, and Milford Graves collaborated on a series of mid-'70s concerts entitled "Dialogue of the Drums." Cyrille is perhaps the preeminent free-jazz percussionist of the 1980s and '90s. 

Oliver Lake is an explosively unpredictable soloist, somewhat akin to Eric Dolphy in the ultra-nimble manner in which he traverses the full range of his main horn, the alto. Lake's astringent saxophone sound is his trademark - piercing, bluesy, and biting in the manner of a Maceo Parker, it was a perfect lead voice for the World Saxophone Quartet, the band with which Lake has made his most enduring mark on jazz.

From the late '60s to the early '70s he taught school, played in various contexts around St. Louis, and led—along with Julius Hemphill and Charles "Bobo" Shaw, among others—a musician's collective, the Black Artist's Group (BAG). In 1976, with Hemphill, Hamiet Bluiett, and David Murray, he founded the World Saxophone Quartet (WSQ). Over the next two decades, that band reached a level of popularity perhaps unprecedented by a free jazz ensemble. Its late-'80s albums of Ellington works and R&B tunes attracted an audience that otherwise might never have found its way to such an esoteric style. 

Lake continued working as a leader apart from the WSQ, he made excellent small-group albums in the '70s and '80s for Arista/Freedom and Black Saint. In the '80s, Lake led a reggae-oriented band, Jump Up, that had a degree of pop success. In the '90s, Lake continued to stretch creatively; a duo album with classically trained pianist Donal Fox set him free to explore the more fanciful side of his musical personality.

October 7, 2008

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz Around the World: Asia
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online

Go to almost any of the major jazz clubs in New York, and look at the audience. Very likely you will see persons from various Asian countries in rapt attention. What is the draw for Asians to jazz? Explore the answers with Loren Schoenberg.

October 14, 2008

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz Around the World: Europe and Australia
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online

Jazz has been accorded a level of respect and admiration in Europe since the 1930s rivaling the reception to jazz found anywhere, including the U.S. Many black American jazz musicians so appreciated the social acceptance of the music in Europe that they became expatriates. Come discover the cultural and social ties between American jazz and Europe, and Australia too.

October 16, 2008

Harlem Speaks
Rhonda Hamilton, Jazz Broadcaster
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: Harlem School of the Arts
(645 St. Nicholas Avenue, off 141st street)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Please note our new location this month.
Rhonda Hamilton, a native New Yorker, is the host and producer of a popular jazz program which airs weekdays, 10AM - 2PM, on WBGO/Jazz 88FM in Newark, NJ. 

In 1976, Ms. Hamilton graduated from Boston University's School of Public Communication, receiving a B.S. in Broadcasting and Film. She also studied acting at the Actor's Studio in Boston. She began her career in radio in 1975 as a jazz announcer/producer at WBUR-FM in Boston. She later became the music director for WBUR. At WBZ-TV in Boston, she worked as a music reviewer and commentator on the public affairs program, "Mzizi Roots." 

Returning to the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area in March 1979, Ms. Hamilton came to WBGO at the station's inception and has played a key role in making Jazz 88 one of the finest and most listened to jazz stations in the world. In 1979 and 1980, she won the New York Jazz Award for Best Jazz DJ "in appreciation of a major contribution to the cultural life of our region." 

In 1995 she was recognized "for her achievements in the world of jazz" as the recipient of The Ladies in Jazz Award from Mayor Giuliani of New York and the Harlem Chamber of Commerce. 

Ms. Hamiton's work has taken her to three continents. In 1984 she was invited to attend the first Senegalese Festival of Jazz and African Music. While in Dakar, Senegal, Ms. Hamilton was interviewed as a featured guest on a national TV news program. In 1985 she was invited to Europe by the Danish Tourist Board to document the Scandinavian jazz scene. After traveling to Brazil, Ms. Hamilton exposed the American public to various aspects of Brazilian culture - music, dance, film, food, religion, etc. - when she hosted a series of 36 programs called "Brazil/New York" which aired on WNYC-TV in 1985 and 1986. 

In addition to her work at WBGO, Ms. Hamilton also does commercial and industrial voice-overs and is often called upon to host/narrate film, video and radio productions for such organizations as WNET-TV PBS/Channel 13 in New York, National Public Radio, Columbia Records and Japan Television NHK. She was the host of the nationally syndicated radio series "Big Apple Jazz", "American Women in Jazz" and "The Voices of Jazz," which she also co-produced. 

Ms. Hamilton frequently hosts special music and cultural events in such historic places as the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Beacon Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 1993 she produced and moderated a Symposium on Women in Jazz for the Newark Jazz Festival and in 1996 she was a guest speaker on "Jazz and The Media" at the first annual Mary Lou Williams Women's Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. 

October 17, 2008

Special Event
NEA Jazz Symposium: The Future of Jazz
9:00 – 11:30am
Location: Langston Hughes Auditorium
(Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard)
FREE | r.s.v.p. by October 10

Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, invites you to participate in a lively conversation on the future of jazz, jazz education, and jazz audiences.

Panelists will include: 
Dr. David Baker, NEA Jazz Master
Dr. Billy Taylor, NEA Jazz Master 
Adrian Ellis, Executive Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Nicole Mitchell, flutist and composer
Loren Schoenberg, Executive Director, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
Helen Sung, pianist and composer

Moderated by A.B. Spellman, author, poet, and critic

This symposium launches the 2009 NEA Jazz Masters celebration, taking place in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center.

October 17, 2008

Harlem in the Himalayas
The Jonathan Batiste Trio
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

Jonathan Batiste was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1986. He was first introduced to music through his family's band, the Batiste Brothers Band, in which he played percussion at the age of 8, switching to the piano at age 11.  

By the age of 16 years old, Jonathan could be seen performing with some of New Orleans' most outstanding and respected musicians, including the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Irvin Mayfield, Nicholas Payton, Alvin Batiste, Cyril Neville, Donald Harrison, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews at venues such as New Orleans' Snug Harbor, Tipitinas, Funky Butt as well as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival where he debuted his band in 2005. By the age of 17, he released his first CD as a leader entitled "Times in New Orleans." Also that year, Jonathan was selected through a nationwide search to be a member of the 2004 Gibson/Baldwin Grammy High School Jazz Ensembles in which he performed, in trio format, at the Grammy week of events as well as the Grammy pre-telecast and post celebration in Los Angeles. 

In 2004, Jonathan graduated from St. Augustine High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) under the tutelage of Alvin Batiste, Michael Pellera, and others. NOCCA is a high-level fine arts conservatory that has produced alumni such as Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Terrence Blanchard and many more. Jonathan auditioned at The Juilliard School for the 2004-2005 school year and was accepted. He graduated from Juilliard in 2008. Since his arrival to New York he has been performing regularly around the city with his trio. His most recent release entitled "Live In New York: At The Rubin Museum Of Art" features the talents of his trio (Phillip Kuehn and Joe Saylor), as well as his skills as a pianist and composer in a live acoustic setting.

He recently was awarded the "Movado Future Legend" award in jazz and has been playing around the world with his trio from Portugal to New York. He joined his fellow Juilliard piano colleague Aaron Diehl and one of his key influences, Marcus Roberts, on stage at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Allen Room for a solo piano recital titled, "Ragtime, Stride and Stomp."

October 21, 2008

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz Around the World: Africa
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online

Jazz was founded by descendants from the continent of Africa, who retained certain features that found its way into jazz, such as a dance-beat orientation to movement. But jazz has also influenced the music of Africa, and some noted African pop stars such as Fela Kuti, founder of the Afrobeat style. Cross-cultural influence is the theme tonight, as we continue to explore Jazz Around the World.

October 27, 2008

Jazz for Curious Readers
Nat Hentoff
6:30 – 8:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300 or register online

Nat Hentoff was born in Boston in 1925. He received his B.A. with the highest honors from Northeastern University and did graduate work at Harvard. He was a Fulbright fellow at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1950. From 1953 through 1957 he was associate editor of Down Beat magazine. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in education and an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award in 1980 for his coverage of the law and criminal justice in his columns. In 1985 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by Northeastern University. 

He has published many books on jazz, biographies and novels, including a number of books for children. Among his works: "Does Anybody Give A Damn?: Nat Hentoff on Education," "Our Children Are Dying," "A Doctor Among Addicts," "Peace Agitator: The Story of A. J Muste," "The New Equality," "The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America," "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book," "The Man from Internal Affairs," "Boston Boy," "John Cardinal O'Connor: At The Storm Center of a Changing American Catholic Church," "Free Speech for Me and Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other,"  "Listen to the Stories: Nat Hentoff on Jazz and Country Music," and the celebrated young people's book on race and jazz, "Jazz Country." 

In addition to his weekly Village Voice column, Hentoff writes on music for the Wall Street Journal. Among other publications in which his work has appeared are the New York Times, the New Republic, Commonweal, the Atlantic and the New Yorker, where he was a staff writer for more than 25 years. 

Hentoff's views on journalistic responsibility and the rights of Americans to write, think and speak freely are expressed in his weekly column, and he has come to be acknowledged as a foremost authority in the area of First Amendment defense. He is also an expert on the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court, student rights and education. 

October 28, 2008

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz Around the World: The Americas
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | register online

Jazz is a North American export with strong South American "tinges," to paraphrase Jelly Roll Morton. From Brazil to Argentina, Cuba to Puerto Rico, are musicians who have incorporated jazz into their native sounds and grooves. And the presence of musicians from the Caribbean is one of the best kept secrets in jazz. Uncover the truth tonight.

October 30, 2008

Harlem Speaks
Evelyn Cunningham, Journalist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: Harlem School of the Arts
(645 St. Nicholas Avenue, off 141st street)
FREE | Reservations: 212-348-8300

Reporter, editor, columnist, radio host, special assistant to governors, member of various  task forces, Evelyn Cunningham has been involved in much of the reporting and shaping of American civil rights. She covered the Civil Rights Movement as a reporter for one of the foremost African American newspapers the Pittsburgh Courier. Cunningham has also served underrepresented Americans through seeking to improve opportunities and increase rights for African Americans, women and poor citizens, through public and private positions within the government and various organizations.

Evelyn Elizabeth Long was born on January 25, 1916, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina in Pasquotank County. Her mother, Mary Whitehurst Long, a dressmaker, and father, Clyde Long, a cabdriver, were very involved in their children's (Cunningham has a brother, Clyde Whitehurst) education. When her parents heard their daughter say she wanted to pick cotton when she grew up, they moved the family from North Carolina to Harlem, New York, where African Americans were progressive. Upon reaching New York, Cunningham did well in school and graduated from Hunter College High School in 1934. She later went to Long Island University where she graduated with a BA in the social sciences in 1943.

In 1940, Cunningham began to work for the Pittsburgh Courier by clipping stories from the New York Times that were relevant to blacks and rewriting these stories for the Courier. She was a reporter, columnist, editor and city editor with the Pittsburgh Courier from 1940-1962. Cunningham covered lynchings, major events, protests, and key figures such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X during this era. She was known for getting people to open up and tell her things, stories they might not tell others.

In 1961, interested in being involved in direct action while reporting, Cunningham traveled with Percy Sutton and other NAACP members to the Double T Diner in Rosedale, MD to stage a sit-in protesting segregation practices in restaurants. The group was arrested, found guilty of trespassing and fined $101.

In this same year, Cunningham began hosting "At Home With Evelyn Cunningham," a half hour radio show on WLIB in New York. During the show's five years and popularity, Cunningham interviewed significant figures within the African American community in New York. 

Evelyn Cunningham's post-journalistic career developed when she became special assistant to Jackie Robinson, former baseball player and political consultant to Governor Rockefeller. In this position and others that followed, she continued her service to the American public. Cunningham was the special assistant to New York Governors Nelson A. Rockefeller and Malcolm Wilson, and director of the Women's Unit in the office of the Governor between 1969-1974. In 1969, Cunningham accompanied Rockefeller to several Caribbean countries in order to research and write a report on racial problems and women's problems in that region. Under President Richard Nixon, Cunningham was appointed to the Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities (1969). From 1975-1976, she also served as special assistant to U.S. President Gerald Ford, office of Vice President Rockefeller. In 1970, Cunningham helped to found the New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women, a nonprofit organization which seeks to improve the lives of black women and their families through implementing initiatives and services to address important social, economic, political, cultural issues. She has belonged to many feminist organizations throughout the years and has had a special interest in working within the government and in nonprofits on addressing major issues that concern women.

Evelyn Cunningham was one of five former reporters of the Pittsburgh Courier to receive the prestigious George Polk Award in 1998 on behalf of the newspaper. It was the first time the award, usually reserved for an individual, had been given to a newspaper. She also won the Women of the Century Award from the Century Club, (NYC) in 1998. A nonagenarian, Cunningham serves on different boards and on keeping young people involved in the arts.