harlem

National Jazz Museum in Harlem April Schedule

Come pursue the varieties of jazz experience at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem! From conversations and live performances to educational sessions and panel discussions, you’re sure to have a ball and learn a lot too.

For Jazz for Curious Readers, scholar of jazz and saxophonist Salim Washington will discuss his co-authorship of a recent work delving into the Miles Davis/John Coltrane relationship and impact. Harlem Speaks features discussions with baritone sax master Joe Temperley, and critically-praised and provocative big band leader Darcy James Argue.

If live music performance is your bent, look no further than our three concert series:  Harlem in the Himalayas, which this month starts with a pairing of radically talented musicians Suphala, a tabla whiz, and jazz pianist Jason Lindner, to whom no style is foreign. The second featured artist for this series held at the Rubin Museum of Art is young trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, who has absorbed the jazz trumpet tradition and presents it with suave and vitality. Jazz at the Players has yet another young player making his mark, pianist Aaron Diehl, in a trio setting. And bring your dancing shoes, as trumpeter Etienne Charles, who recently (as did Diehl) graduated from Juilliard, inaugurates our newest series, right here in Harlem, with  an ensemble for Jazz at the Dwyer (where people come to dance and enjoy the music) that will embody the spirit of Trinidad within the frame of jazz.

This month the National Jazz Museum in Harlem puts special focus on the musical and cultural contributions of an important early jazz figure, Fats Waller. At Jazz for Curious Listeners (every Tuesday evening) we begin with his rich legacy as a composer of compositions key to the jazz dimensions of the American Song Book, and continue on with his place in American music as a pianist and organist. In the latter part of April we present a Saturday Panel on “Fat Waller’s Harlem: Reflections on the 1920s and 30s” and top it off with Fats on film for the last JFCL event of the month.

What are you waiting for? Mark your calendar!

Friday, April 2, 2010

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

Pianist Jason Lindner grew up in Brooklyn, NY, started playing piano by ear at age 2 and was playing jazz proficiently at 15. He apprenticed with master bebopper Barry Harris and the mystic master Chris Anderson (Herbie Hancock's harmonic guru), and worked as a journeyman with Junior Mance, Tardo Hammer, Harold Danko, Frank Hewitt and Jaki Bayard before exploring a world of Latin and African rhythms, Funk, R&B, Hip Hop, Electronica, and even Rock. He's been a fixture in the New York jazz scene since the mid-90s when the well-respected Greenwich Village club, Smalls, became home for a new generation of forward-thinking jazz musicians. There he led smaller ensembles and then a big band; Lindner regularly drew sold out crowds on Monday nights at Smalls, earning him an Impulse records debut on Jazz Underground/Live At Smalls, which led to a full-length release on Chick Corea’s Stretch label, Premonition.

He frequently performs in New York and around the world with Claudia Acuña, Meshell Ndegeocello, Baba Isreal, Dafnis Prieto, Omer Avital, Anat Cohen, Luisito Quintero, Malika Zarra, Juancho Herrera, and with his own groups the Ab Aetero, Now vs. Now, Progress Report, the JL-ECTRIK, Big Pump and the Jason Lindner Big Band, now celebrating its 12th year. He has also recorded with (and served as Musical Director for) Lauryn Hill and Amel Larrieux, toured with Roy Haynes, performed with and arranged for Arturo O'Farrill's Grammy-winning Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Orchestra, and shared both stage and studio with Chick Corea, Junior Cook, Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Hendricks, James Moody, Graciella (Machito Orchestra), Mark Turner, Lou Donaldson, Jimmy Cobb, Lou Donaldson, The Henry Mancini Orchestra, Mark Turner, Christian McBride, Vernel Fournier, and other artists. Jason Lindner also teaches internationally.

Suphala, one of the most versatile young tabla artists making music today, was raised in the U.S. by Indian parents, and began learning western classical music on the piano at age four, performing at age five, and as a teen transferred her passion to one of the world’s most complex percussion instruments: the tabla. She combines a prodigious technical command of her instrument with a playful sense of experimentation, switching effortlessly between composing, producing and performing

Suphala is a protégé of the great tabla masters Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain, whose constant inspiration compels her to dedicate herself to the study of Indian classical music while extending the reach of the tabla into a mosaic of musical genres and cultural contexts. Her fluency in a range of musical traditions informs her unique compositions and her highly improvisational performances, as you’ll witness at the Rubin Museum. The three albums she has released to date – Instru Mental (2000), The Now (2005) and Blueprint (2007) – go beyond a particular genre style while referencing such diverse influences as Western classical, Indian classical, jazz, folk and soul.

This pairing will be extraordinary. Don’t miss it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

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

Clawing at the Limits of Cool

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Salim Washington moved to Detroit, Michigan with his family at the age of eight. Early on he was drafted into the neighborhood gang; fortunately, the gang leader happened to play trumpet, which influenced Salim, ironically, to pursue music not gangs.  He began on trumpet, and then studied classical piano. By middle school, Salim was performing in school ensembles and student funk bands. His college years brought him to Harvard, after which he joined the Worlds Experience Orchestra under the leadership of Jamyl Jones, and then the Source of Life Arkestral Revelation (SOLAR) in Boston, touring with them extensively throughout the south. After returning to Detroit, he taught music in prisons and in public schools. He eventually returned to Boston to finish his degree. After completing his doctorate, he headed to New York to begin a professorship at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music. He has travelled extensively, playing music festivals throughout the US and Canada, Latin America, and Europe. He has also led music workshops for the Northern Ireland Arts Council in Belfast, the Bill Evans conservatory in Paris, and others. Salim Washington is a member of the Jazz Study Group at Columbia University and has participated on various committees and panels in service of jazz, including those convened by the Ford Foundation, the Boston Phoenix, the New England Foundation for the Arts.

In Salim’s collaboration with Farah Jasmine Griffin for the recently-published Clawing at the Limits of Cool, the two scholars chronicle the drama of the musical relationship between Miles Davis and John Coltrane, from their initial historic partnership to the interlude of their breakup, during which each man made tremendous progress toward his personal artistic goals. The book even continues with the last leg of their journey together, a time when the Miles Davis group, featuring John Coltrane, forever changed the landscape of jazz. Washington and Griffin also argue that Davis and Coltrane’s collaborations embodied important ideas about what it meant to be a black artist during the Civil Rights era. By insisting on the legitimate cultural value of their work, Coltrane and Davis challenged dominant images of black musicians as merely entertainers, earning the respect of blacks and whites alike for their accomplishments as artists.

From an idiomatic perspective, the authors also examine the profound implications that the Davis/Coltrane collaboration would have for jazz and African American culture, drawing parallels to the changing standards of African American identity with their public personas and private difficulties.

Find out more about the content and context of this important jazz work, and Salim Washington’s journey in jazz at Jazz for Curious Readers.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Joint is Jumpin': Fats Waller: The Composer
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

We focus on the composing genius of Fats Waller as we start a month-long series in his honor. In the American public memory, perhaps because of his filmic images, Fats Waller is known as a smiling, eyebrow raising entertainer who also played piano. Fact is that Waller was one of the best of the New York jazz pianists in the au courant styles of that day—from Stride to Swing. He was also a fabulous organist, having cut his teeth at the open air religious services led by his father, Edward Waller, a Baptist lay preacher. He played piano at his public school and at 15 became organist at the Lincoln Theatre on 135th Street.

His father hoped that Waller would follow a religious calling rather than a music career, but after his mother Adeline Waller died in 1920, he moved in with the family of the pianist Russell B. T. Brooks. Waller soon met James P. Johnson, under whose tutelage he developed as a pianist and through whose influence he came to make piano rolls—starting in 1922 with Got to Cool My Doggies Now. There’s even evidence to support Waller's claims that during his formative years as a pianist he studied with Leopold Godowsky and composition with Carl Bohm at the Juilliard School.

Waller wrote many pop hits – Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose, for example – but also explored extended compositions with this London Suite. We’ll look at the breadth of his compositions this evening.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

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

Scotland-born Joe Temperley first achieved prominence in the United Kingdom as a member of Humphrey Lyttelton's band from 1958 to 1965. He toured the United States with the band in 1959, and, in 1965, came to New York City, where he performed and/or recorded with Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Joe Henderson, Duke Pearson, the Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and with Clark Terry, among many others. In October 1974 he toured and recorded with The Duke Ellington Orchestra as a replacement for Harry Carney.

Mr. Temperley played in the Broadway show Sophisticated Ladies in the 1980s, and his film soundtrack credits include The Cotton Club, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, When Harry Met Sally, and Tune In Tomorrow, composed by Wynton Marsalis. Mr. Temperley is a mentor and a cofounder of the FIFE Youth Jazz Orchestra program in Scotland, which now enrolls 70 young musicians ages 7 to 17 playing in three full-size bands. Mr. Temperley has released several albums as a leader, including Nightingale (1991), Sunbeam and Thundercloud with pianist Dave McKenna (1996), With Every Breath (1998), and Double Duke (1999). He released two new recordings in September 2001. He is an original member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (now JALC Orchestra) and serves on the faculty of the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies, which opened in fall 2001. He has served on the Manhattan School of Music faculty since 1992.

Tonight Temperley, known too for his moving feature on Duke’s “A Single Petal of a Rose” with the JALC Orchestra, will discuss his tenure in this world-class jazz big band led by Wynton Marsalis as well as his previous decades of service in the vineyards of jazz.

Friday, April 9, 2010

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

For a soulful listen to the future of jazz now, you can’t miss with young trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, an exemplar of the brass tradition in jazz in full bloom. Last year, after having released six albums as a leader on a Japanese record label, Farinacci debuted with critical acclaim in the U.S., on the Koch label, with “Lovers, Tales, and Dances.”

He's won a variety of awards over the years in the States and in Japan—Farinacci received two Gold Disc awards (Record of the Month) from Swing Journal Magazine in Japan for his recordings of "Say It" and "Besame Mucho," for example. In 2003 he received the International New Star Award in Japan, an honor previously awarded to Diana Krall and Christian McBride, co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. In the United States, Dominick was the recipient of the ITG Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Competition in 2003.

At 15, he was "discovered" by Wynton Marsalis in Cleveland, Ohio, Farinacci’s place of birth. Wynton invited Dominick to appear as a featured soloist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra on a PBS broadcast, "Live from Lincoln Center." While studying with Warren Vache and Wynton Marsalis at the Juilliard School, Dominick was also featured at Lincoln Center on a tribute concert to Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, "Night of the Cookers." Over the years he has performed and/or recorded with many high-profile jazz artists such as Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis, Ira Sullivan, Mulgrew Miller, Carl Allen, Jason Miles, and Joe Labarbera.

Prepare to be dazzled by virtuosity and moved by the emotional weight of this young trumpet lion as he claws at the limits of cool with an intense yet relaxed approach to the jazz trumpet tradition.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Joint is Jumpin': Fats Waller: The Pianist
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Over sixty years after his death, the consummate artistry and high-spirited zest for living make pianist/composer Fats Waller one of the most celebrated artists in jazz history. His best-known compositions, such as "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Black and Blue," and "Jitterbug Waltz," long ago entered the canon of American music, as discussed in last week’s Jazz for Curious Listeners class.

Moreover, his skills as a pianist place him in the top tier of those who played the instrument, but this fact has been obscured by his greatness as an entertainer with a widespread following in the United States and Europe.

Tonight we focus on the art of Fats Waller as a pianist: his playing (and his songs) reverberates to this day amongst jazz fans and musicians cognizant of his influence and depth. As a pianist, Waller was the outstanding exponent of the Harlem Stride style of jazz piano, drawing together the innovations of Willie "The Lion" Smith and James P. Johnson into a coherent style.

And taken alone, the fact that he was a major influence on the peerless Art Tatum speaks to the eternal place Fats Waller will maintain among the pantheon of jazz greats. Come hear his piano mastery in all of its splendor at the Visitor’s Center of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Joint is Jumpin': Fats Waller: The Organist
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jazz organ fans of what some call the “modern” age of jazz—from bebop and beyond—often gravitate to Jimmy Smith as the icon of the Hammond B3. But if we go back, through the careers of Wild Bill Davis and Sarah McLawler, preceding Smith, we'd end up at the start of jazz organ: Fats Waller.

The son of a Baptist minister, Waller played church organ even before playing piano. During the silent film era he was a theatre organist in New York. Fats also taught Count Basie how to play the organ and he probably had the first recording featuring an electric Hammond organ.

However, it’s on the pipe organ that Waller made several recordings lost to obscurity that will be resurrected and placed properly in the light of recognition tonight, as we’ll hear rare Waller gems heretofore only recognized by the jazz cognoscenti.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jazz at the Players
Aaron Diehl Trio
7:00pm
Location: The Players
(16 Gramercy Park S. |  get directions)
$20 | Reservations or 212-475-6116

Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "The most promising discovery that [Wynton] Marsalis has made since Eric Reed," Aaron Diehl's distinctive interpretations of the music of Scott Joplin, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, and other masters pay homage to the tradition while establishing his own original voice.

He has performed with the Wynton Marsalis Septet, the JALC Orchestra, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Hank Jones, Wycliffe Gordon, Wessell Anderson, Benny Golson, NJMH executive director Loren Schoenberg, and has been featured on Marian McPartland’s NPR radio show “Piano Jazz.” His international touring includes major European jazz festivals as well as performances in South America and Asia. “Mozart Jazz,” his first CD as a leader, was released in 2006 on the Pony Canyon label (Japan). Recent performances include the Caramoor Festival and the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Diehl is a 2007 graduate of the Juilliard School, where his teachers included recent Harlem Speaks guest and NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, Eric Reed, and Oxana Yablonskaya. His honors include Lincoln Center’s prestigious Martin E. Segal award in 2004, winner of the 2003 Jazz Arts Group Hank Marr Jazz Competition, and Outstanding Soloist at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2002 Essentially Ellington Competition. Immediately following graduation from high school he toured with the Wynton Marsalis Septet.

Aaron Diehl currently resides in Manhattan where he serves as music director of St. Joseph of the Holy Family Church in Harlem. Check out a master-in-the-making playing live at Jazz at the Players.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

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

His debut recording, Infernal Machines, featuring his 18-piece big band, Secret Society, made Darcy James Argue one of 2009’s most talked-about jazz musicians. He was given a series of features in jazz and non-jazz publications alike, multiple nominations at the 2009 Jazz Journalists Association Awards, and a presence on more than 70 best-of-the year lists, including Best Debut honors in the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll.

Formed in 2005, Secret Society evokes an alternate musical history in which the dance orchestras that ruled the Swing Era never went extinct, but remained a popular and vital part of the evolving musical landscape. Adopting a steampunk-inspired attitude towards the traditional big band, Argue refashions this well-worn instrumentation into a cutting-edge ensemble. The band’s first studio recording takes its name from a John Philip Sousa quote about the dangers of music technology.

Secret Society holds the honor of being the first group to be announced for George Wein’s 2010 Newport Jazz Festival.

A native of Vancouver, and former member of the Montreal jazz scene, Argue moved to Brooklyn in 2003 after earning a Master’s Degree in Boston while studying with legendary composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer. He has also studied with Lee Hyla, Randall Woolf, Maria Schneider and John Hollenbeck. His awards include the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop Charlie Parker Composition Prize and the SOCAN/CAJE Phil Nimmons Emerging Composer Award.

Reward yourself by attending this conversation with one of the cutting-edge band leaders in the jazz idiom.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jazz at the Dwyer
Trinidad meets Jazz with the Etienne Charles Band
7:00 – 11:00pm
Location: The Dwyer Cultural Center
(258 St. Nicholas Avenue at W. 123rd Street)
$20 | More information: info@DwyerCC.org

A new series dedicated to jazz and dancing commences with this Friday evening’s JAZZ AT THE DWYER, held at Harlem’s new and vital community center.

In 2009, Etienne Charles brought a large ensemble to the Riverside Theatre in a National Jazz Museum in Harlem program that featured jazzed up versions of classic Caribbean sounds.

The result was so infectious that audience members leapt from their seats to dance.

Expect more of the same, as Trinidadian Etienne Charles and his company of musicians trumpet this mélange of styles to the grooving satisfaction of your ears and feet.

Born on the island of Trinidad in 1983, Etienne Charles’ musical lineage runs at least four generations deep. Yet perhaps it was his father, Francis, who influenced him most. Francis was a member of Phase II Pan Groove, one of Trinidad’s most progressive steel bands and one that Etienne would later join. Immersed in his father’s vast record collection, and suffused with the sounds of calypso, steel pan, and African Shango drumming, Etienne imbibed many of the influences that make up the colors of his harmonic palette.  An alumnus of the prestigious Juilliard School, Charles has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and a knack for connecting with audiences worldwide.
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Panels
Fats Waller's Harlem: Reflection on the 1920s and 30s
12:00 – 4:00pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

As was Fats Waller central to early jazz, Harlem was an epicenter of the music’s development as well as the stomping grounds for much of the growth of Waller’s aesthetic. Today we’ll examine the connection between Waller and Harlem, viewing Harlem from the vantage of Waller’s work, life and times.

Some historical backdrop of Waller’s career in the 20s and 30s will prepare you for this special afternoon, which continues our month-long investigation into the world of Fats Waller:

In October 1922, Waller made his recording debut as a soloist for Okeh with Muscle Shoals Blues and Binningham Blues, and began a series of recordings the same year as accompanist for several blues singers, including Sara Martin, Alberta Hunter, and Maude Mills. In 1923, a collaboration with Clarence Williams led to the publication of Waller's Wild Cat Blues, which Williams recorded with his Blue Five, including Sidney Bechet, that other great early jazz pioneer from New Orleans. Another composition, Squeeze Me, was published the same year; these began to establish Waller's reputation as a composer of material performed and recorded by other artists. 1923 also saw his broadcasting debut for a Newark local station, followed by regular appearances on WHN of New York. Waller continued to broadcast as a singer and soloist throughout his life, including the long-running Fats Waller's Rhythm Club and Moon River (on which he played organ). During the early 1920s, he continued as an organist at the Lincoln and Lafayette theaters in New York.

In 1927, Waller recorded his own composition Whiteman Stomp with Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra, one of the most significant large ensembles during the era of the dance bands. Henderson also made use of other works by Waller, including Crazy 'bout My Baby and Stealing Apples. Waller's other work as a composer with the lyricists Edgar Dowell, J. C. Johnson, Andy Razaf, and Spencer Williams produced such songs as Honeysuckle Rose and Black and Blue. With Razaf he worked on much of the music for the all-black Broadway musical Keep Shufflin' (1928). Their later collaborations for the stage included the shows Load of Coal and Hot Chocolates (which incorporated the song Ain't Misbehavin' as a vehicle first for Cab Calloway and later Louis Armstrong). Waller's Carnegie Hall debut took place on April 27, 1928, where he was a piano soloist in a version of his mentor James P. Johnson's fantasy Yamekraw, for piano and orchestra.

In 1926, Waller began his recording association with Victor, his principal record company for the rest of his life, with the organ solos St. Louis Blues and his own Lenox Avenue Blues. Although he recorded with various groups, his most important contribution to the Harlem stride piano tradition was a series of solo recordings of his own compositions: Handful of Keys, Smashing Thirds, Numb Fumblin', and Valentine Stomp (1929). After sessions with Ted Lewis (1930), Jack Teagarden (1931), and Billy Banks's Rhythmakers (1932), he began in May 1934 the voluminous series of recordings with a small band known as Fats Waller and his Rhythm.

In the mid-1930s, Waller worked on the West Coast with Les Hite's band at Frank Sebastian's New Cotton Club. He also appeared in two films while in Hollywood in 1935, Hooray for Love! and King of Burlesque. For tours and recordings, Waller often led his own big band. This began as an expanded version of the band led by his bass player (Charlie Turner's Arcadians), and in 1935, with most members of the Rhythm it made its first recording. The group's version of I Got Rhythm includes a cutting contest of alternating piano solos by Waller and Hank Duncan.

In 1938, Waller undertook a European tour, recording in London with his Continental Rhythm, as well as making solo pipe-organ recordings for HMV. His second European tour in 1939 was terminated by the outbreak of war, but while in Britain, he recorded his London Suite, an extended series of six related pieces for solo piano: Piccadilly, Chelsea, Soho, Bond Street, Limehouse, and White Chapel. It is Waller's longest composition and represents his aspiration to be a “serious” composer rather than only the author of a string of hit songs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Joint is Jumpin': Fats Waller: Film night
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

This month the National Jazz Museum in Harlem peered deeply into the artistry and legacy of Fats Waller, first as a composer, pianist, organist and then as one of the central figures of jazz in Harlem.

Tonight we’ll end where popular culture begins as regards Waller, with him on film playing music and mugging for the camera as a showman.

You’ll surely leave with a smile as we view clips from Waller’s Hollywood appearances in feature films and soundies, early versions of the music video. Soundies were three-minute musical films, produced in New York, Chicago, and Hollywood between 1940 and 1946, and often included short dance sequences.

Look out especially for the pairing of Waller and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, which captures a moment in jazz history where dance, song and improvisation were joined at the hip.

Consider yourself hip? Then we’ll see you at the Visitor’s Center of the National Jazz Museum . . . with Fats Waller on screen, you’re guaranteed that the joint will be jumping! 

National Jazz Museum in Harlem Events, March, 2010

In March 2010, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem presents public programming that brings jazz fans closer to artists—emerging to living masters—that embody the art form that defines America to itself and to the world.

Our live performance series, Harlem in the Himalayas, features three forward-thinking musical leaders grounded in the lessons of their forebears, yet who are only bound by the limits of their imaginations. Come see the boundless future their music beholds at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Come engage in conversation with Terry Teachout, author of a celebrated new bio of Louis Armstrong, at Jazz for Curious Readers, and find out details on the controversial 2009 Wall Street Journal article in which he lamented the declining audience for jazz.


Harlem Speaks, our flagship series, features recent NEA Jazz Master awardee Kenny Barron and trombonist Dick Griffin, whose career encompasses all from mainstream jazz to the avant-garde.

Art Blakey, the drum master who led one of the premier jazz ensembles of the 20th century, is the sole focus of our month long Jazz for Curious Listeners (JCL) series and a special Saturday panel discussion. Museum co-director Christian McBride will lead two of the free JCL sessions, and will spearhead a tribute to Herbie Hancock at Stanford University in California as well.

Come to listen, learn, engage and swing!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners The Big Beat: Art Blakey
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Art Blakey is undoubtedly one of the most influential and beloved percussionists and band leaders in the history of the music called jazz, his signature rolls and bandstand power accentuating the bandstands of countless groups as a sideman, and as leader of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

The Jazz Messengers was a major incubator for young talent. A list of the band's alumni is a who's who of straight-ahead jazz from the '50s on – Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Johnny Griffin, Jackie McLean, Donald Byrd, Bobby Timmons, Cedar Walton, Benny Golson, Joanne Brackeen, Billy Harper, Valery Ponomarev, Bill Pierce, Branford Marsalis, James Williams, and Chuck Mangione, to name only a few. In the '80s, precocious graduates of Blakey's School for Swing would continue to number among the movers and shakers in jazz, foremost among them trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who became the most visible symbol of the '80s jazz mainstream; through him, Blakey's swingin’ ideals came to dominate the public's perception of the music. At the time of Blakey's death in 1990, the Messenger aesthetic dominated jazz, and Blakey himself had arguably become the most influential jazz musician of the past 20 years.

Monday, March 8, 2010

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

Terry Teachout is a critic, biographer, blogger, and drama critic of The Wall Street Journal, the music critic of Commentary, and the author of Sightings, a column about the arts in America that appears biweekly in the Saturday Wall Street Journal.

And most significantly for tonight, Mr. Teachout is the author of the acclaimed new biography of the Father of Jazz: Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.

He blogs at About Last Night along with Chicago-based critic Laura Demanski (who writes under the name "Our Girl in Chicago"), contributes a weekly book-review column and a monthly videoblog to Contentions, the Commentary blog, and has written about the arts for many other magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and National Review.

Teachout grew up in Sikeston, Missouri. He attended St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland; William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where he received his B.S. in music journalism; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lived in Kansas City from 1975 to 1983, working as a jazz bassist and a music critic for the Kansas City Star. He moved to New York City in 1985, working as an editor at Harper's Magazine (1985-87) and an editorial writer for the New York Daily News (1987-93) and as the News' classical music and dance critic (1993-2000). In 2004 he was appointed by President Bush to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory and review panel of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Teachout is the author of All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine (2004, Harcourt), A Terry Teachout Reader (2004, Yale University Press), The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken (2002, HarperCollins), and City Limits: Memories of a Small-Town Boy (1991, Poseidon Press).

He is the editor of Beyond the Boom: New Voices on American Life, Culture, and Politics (1990, Poseidon, introduction by Tom Wolfe) and Ghosts on the Roof: Selected Journalism of Whittaker Chambers, 1931-1959 (1989, Regnery Gateway). In 1992 he rediscovered the manuscript of A Second Mencken Chrestomathy among H.L. Mencken's private papers and edited it for publication by Alfred A. Knopf (1995). He wrote the forewords to Paul Taylor's Private Domain: An Autobiography (1999, University of Pittsburgh Press), Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado (2007, New York Review Books), and William Bailey's William Bailey on Canvas (2007, Betty Cuningham Gallery) and contributed to The Oxford Companion to Jazz (2000, Oxford University Press). He has written liner notes for CDs by Karrin Allyson, Gene Bertoncini, Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Chanticleer, Julia Dollison, Jim Ferguson, Diana Krall, the Lascivious Biddies, Joe Mooney, Marian McPartland, Mike Metheny, Maria Schneider, Nickel Creek, Kendra Shank, Luciana Souza, and the Trio Solisti.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners The Big Beat: Art Blakey,
THE BANDLEADER
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Art Blakey's first musical education came in the form of piano lessons; he was playing professionally as a seventh grader, leading his own commercial band. He switched to drums shortly thereafter, learning to play in the hard-swinging style of Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. In 1942, he played with pianist Mary Lou Williams in New York. He toured the South with Fletcher Henderson's band in 1943-1944. From there, he briefly led a Boston-based big band before joining Billy Eckstine's new group, with which he would remain from 1944-1947. Eckstine's big band was the famous "cradle of modern jazz," and included (at different times) such major figures of the forthcoming bebop revolution as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker. When Eckstine's group disbanded, Blakey started a rehearsal ensemble called the Seventeen Messengers. He also recorded with an octet, the first of his bands to be called the Jazz Messengers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

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

According to writer Arwulf Arwulf (from whom this bio is adapted), a thorough examination of Kenny Barron's musical accomplishments over a span of 50 years requires a discography of more than 200 pages. That's because in addition to a distinguished career as soloist and leader he has served as one of the most dependable sidemen in all of post-bop mainstream modern jazz. More than 40 albums have appeared under his name, and his presence on literally hundreds of recordings by other musicians paints a panoramic picture of Kenny Barron's lifelong devotion to the music.

Born in Philadelphia, PA, on June 9, 1943, he took on the piano at the age of 12, with a little help from Ray Bryant's sister, known today as the mother of guitarist Kevin Eubanks. Three years later, on the recommendation of his own big brother, saxophonist Bill Barron (1927-1989), he joined Mel Melvin's rhythm & blues band. The aspiring pianist gained more experience while working with drummer Philly Joe Jones, saxophonist Jimmy Heath and multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef in Detroit. Lateef's album The Centaur and the Phoenix (1960) was Kenny Barron's first modern jazz recording project, though not as a performer (Joe Zawinul was the pianist on this date) but as composer and arranger.

His recording debut as an improvising artist took place shortly after he moved to New York in 1961 and cut the first of many albums with his brother, who often aligned himself with two graduates of the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop, trumpeter Ted Curson and saxophonist Booker Ervin. A session in 1962 found Barron working with trumpeter Dave Burns, one-time member of sax and flute man James Moody's exciting bop orchestra. Moody himself played an important role in Barron's career, first hiring him to perform at the Village Vanguard, then bringing him into Dizzy Gillespie's band. Barron stuck with Diz and Moody until 1966, performing at clubs and festivals on both coasts and touring through France and England.

Kenny Barron's first great year of independent recording activity was 1967. In addition to co-leading a band with trumpeter Jimmy Owens, the pianist made records with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and saxophonists Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Booker Ervin, and Eric Kloss. Barron seldom recorded with anyone just once. Examples of artists who made many records with Barron during the 1970s are  Moody and Lateef, and bassists Ron Carter and Buster Williams, and others such as Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson. Barron also worked regularly with saxophonists Chico and Von Freeman, John Stubblefield, Nick Brignola, and Stan Getz (with whom he toured extensively during Getz's twilight years). The stylistic range continued to widen as Barron sat in with violinists Michal Urbaniak and John Blake, drummer Elvin Jones, and singing trombonist Ray Anderson.

During the '80s, Kenny Barron played piano in the score for Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing, appeared on multi-performer tribute albums honoring composers Nino Rota and Thelonious Monk, and became a founding member (with Charlie Rouse, Buster Williams, and Ben Riley) of the definitive Monk legacy band, known as Sphere.

A respected educator who has taught at Rutgers, Juilliard, and the Manhattan School of Music, Kenny Barron continues to create music of exceptionally high quality and substantial depth, something he has done for half a century, whether using the Fender Rhodes electromechanical keyboard, a plugged-in harpsichord, a synthesizer, or his lifelong companion, that fundamental jazz instrument, the piano.

In January 2010 Barron was one of the esteemed recipients of the NEA Jazz Master’s honor, conferring an official recognition of what Barron’s fans have already known for 40 years. Come hear an musical master speak of his life and times in the art of jazz.

Friday, March 12, 2010

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

Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone
Dwayne Burno, acoustic bass
Otis Brown III, drums

One of the most thrilling young alto saxophonists on the jazz scene, Jaleel Shaw holds down the alto chair in the small ensemble of none other than the great Roy Haynes. Tonight see and hear him as he fronts his own band!

Jaleel Shaw grew up in Philadelphia, PA, where he studied with saxophone instructors Rayburn Wright and Robert Landham. As a teen, Jaleel performed, jammed and sat in at the many clubs in Philadelphia, honing his chops and developing strong relationships with the many great musicians there as well as the musicians that came to Philly from New York City.

Upon graduating from high school, Jaleel received a full tuition scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass, where he attended for four years and earned a dual degree in Music Education and Performance (in 2000). While attending Berklee, Jaleel studied privately with saxophonists Andy Mcghee, Billy Pierce, George Garzone, and Shanon LeClaire.

After graduating from Berklee, Jaleel attended the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he received his Masters in Jazz Performance in May 2002. During his time at the MSM, Jaleel was recruited by both the Mingus Big Band and Count Basie Orchestra. Jaleel appears on two Grammy Nominated CDs by the Mingus Big Band - "Tonight at Noon" and "I Am Three."

A year after finishing his graduate studies, Jaleel joined Temple University as a part-time private lesson and ensemble instructor, and soon thereafter began giving private saxophone lessons at The New School.

After being in New York for five years, Jaleel's debut CD "Perspective" was released in June 2005 to rave reviews. It was named one of the top 5 debut CDs of 2005 by All About Jazz and the Jazz Journalists Association. In the fall of 2005, Jaleel joined world renown drummer Roy Haynes' Quartet and recorded the Grammy nominated CD "Whereas" with the group for the Dreyfus Label.

In the beginning of 2008, Jaleel launched his own record label (Changu Records), on which he released his second CD – "Optimism." Today Jaleel continues to perform primarily in three groups - The Roy Haynes Quartet, the Mingus Big Band, and his own quartet and quintet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Panels
Orgy in Rhythm: An In-Depth Look and Listen to Art Blakey
7:30 – 9:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers served as a traveling finishing school for countless jazz musicians who later led their own groups and became composers and arrangers of note. Today, meet some of the alumni of the Messengers, and see film footage of Blakey in action as a drummer, band leader, and teacher.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Big Beat: Art Blakey
ALUMNI REUNION 7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

With Christian McBride

Christian McBride, co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, will host alumni of the Blakey band in an evening not to be missed. The spirit of Blakey will be summoned!   

Friday, March 19, 2010

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

Ambrose’s conceptual extension into a new musical language never excludes beauty. As one who listens intently, he values the fertility of a pause, of communication, of tension. Ambrose began conceptualizing early as a musician, theorizing and experimenting as a catalyst for development. He seeks other genres of music to analyze and expose, drawing inspiration from musicians ranging from Bjork to Chopin.

Before he was eighteen, Ambrose had already performed with such famed musicians as Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, Steve Coleman, and Billy Higgins. After graduating Berkeley High School, he moved to New York to begin a scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Vincent Pinzerella from the New York Philharmonic, Dick Oatts, Lew Soloff, and Laurie Frink.

Ambrose is a recent graduate of the Masters program at USC, and also the Monk Institute, where Ambrose’s instructors included Terence Blanchard, Billy Childs and Gary Grant. In the past several years, he has worked with such artists as Jimmy Heath, Jason Moran, Hal Crook, Bob Hurst, Terri Lynne Carrington, Ron Carter, and Wallace Roney, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. So it should come as little or no surprise that Ambrose was the winner of both the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners                               
The Big Beat: Art Blakey                                                                                 THE EARLY YEARS: with Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk and Billy Eckstine

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

Art Blakey's first musical education came in the form of piano lessons; he was playing professionally as a seventh grader, leading his own commercial band. He switched to drums shortly thereafter, learning to play in the hard-swinging style of Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. In 1942, he played with pianist Mary Lou Williams in New York. He toured the South with Fletcher Henderson's band in 1943-1944. From there, he briefly led a Boston-based big band before joining Billy Eckstine's new group, with which he would remain from 1944-1947. Eckstine's big band was the famous "cradle of modern jazz," and included (at different times) such major figures of the forthcoming bebop revolution as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker. When Eckstine's group disbanded, Blakey started a rehearsal ensemble called the Seventeen Messengers. He also recorded with an octet, the first of his bands to be called the Jazz Messengers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

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

In a career spanning over 30 years, Dick Griffin has performed with some of the biggest names in Jazz and Soul, and has appeared with several symphony orchestras as well. A short list of the luminaries Mr. Griffin has worked with includes: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Tito Puente, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Isaac Hayes, Dionne Warwick, and Lionel Hampton.

Griffin has developed a highly personalized playing style which he calls "circularphonics," a technique that combines the playing of chords on trombone with circular breathing. The expanded range of sounds Griffin creates through his multiphonic technique at times evokes the spirit of such experimental artists as John Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Sun Ra. Never a follower, however, Griffin has developed a unique style on and for the trombone that goes beyond the influence of even those great musicians.

James Richard Griffin was born and reared in Jackson, Mississippi. His first musical influence was a neighbor known simply as Mr. Jesse. At evening time, all the neighborhood children would stop by to hear Mr. Jesse's impromptu blues guitar compositions with lyrics describing the day's events in rhyme. Griffin began studying piano at age 11 and upon entering high school two years later joined the school's marching band where he learned trombone. His professional career began as a teenager, playing piano and trombone in clubs with drummer classmate Freddie Waits. While in high school he also sang in a doo-wop group which was invited to go on the road and perform with Sam Cooke. In junior college, Griffin won several awards for his arranging skills. In 1963, Griffin graduated from Jackson State University and then pursued graduate studies at Indiana University where he received a Masters Degree in Music Education and Trombone.

It was in Chicago, though, where Griffin met avant-garde jazz giant Sun Ra, that his professional career seriously took off. He spent several summers in the mid-1960s playing with Sun Ra's Arkestra. It was during this period that Griffin first met Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who became a close friend. After moving to New York City in 1967, Griffin made his recording debut with Kirk on the album "The Inflated Tear." As a member of the "Vibration Society," Griffin notated and transcribed music for the sightless Kirk. He went on to record several albums with Kirk, including "Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle," "Rahsaan, Rahsaan," "Left & Right," and "Volunteered Slavery." In the early 1970s, Griffin also played in a big band fronted by the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus. During this year-long association, Mingus provided priceless support by encouraging the young trombonist's writing endeavors. Griffin also spent three years in the house band of the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, playing for nearly all the Motown greats, including The Temptations, James Brown and Nancy Wilson.

In 1974, Griffin released his debut album as a leader, "The Eighth Wonder," for Strata-East Records, one of the most successful independent jazz labels of that period. Later, he released "Now Is The Time: The Multiphonic Tribe" for Trident Records. During this period, he also taught music theory and the history of Jazz at Wesleyan University (1975-77) and later at SUNY-Old Westbury (1981-83). In the 1980s, Griffin's career encompassed performances in a wide variety of settings with his own group and with others. As a sideman, Griffin performed with some of the best big band musicians of the time—Benny Bailey, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, and Slide Hampton—at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Later in the decade, Griffin toured and recorded with the internationally-renowned ensemble "Ekaya," led by South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (f/k/a Dollar Brand).

As a composer, Griffin completed the "World Vibration Suite," a work for symphony orchestra premiered by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. In 1986, his third album "A Dream For Rahsaan," was released by Ruby Records to critical acclaim. This inspired him to adapt the album for a symphony orchestra and three saxophones, which was the format he had previously employed for the "World Vibration Suite." During the 1990s, he performed in over a dozen international Jazz festivals, both as a leader and in the bands of such diverse talents as Illinois Jacquet, Sun Ra, Charles Gayle, Hilton Ruiz, and Lionel Hampton. Along with such notable artists as Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins, Griffin appeared in the Heineken Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and, in 1991, he traveled to Canada to headline Ottawa's International Jazz Festival. The German label, Konnex Records, re-released Griffin's first and third albums in 1994 with additional tracks. Griffin then released "All Blues," his fourth album (on Amasaya Records), which features he novel lineup of trombone, organ, guitar, and drums. In addition to the title track by Miles Davis, Griffin performs five originals plus tunes by Ellington, Horace Silver, and Hampton Hawes, paying tribute to the blues environment in which he was nurtured.

One of the most versatile and inventive musicians of today, Griffin has played with symphony orchestras such as The Harlem Philharmonic and The Symphony Of The New World, and has performed in several Broadway shows including "The Wiz," "Me & Bessie," "Raisin," and "Lena" (starring Lena Horne), as well as in the Paris production of "Black & Blue" (starring Linda Hopkins). He has made many television appearances in the U.S. on shows such as "The Today Show", "Soul", "Faces", "The Ed Sullivan Show", and "Like It Is". He also has appeared in the UK on the BBC and on TV programs in Germany, France, and Italy. Finally, he also appeared in the film "The Cotton Club" and performed on the soundtrack for the movie "Gordon's War".

During the past few years, Griffin has performed more extensively with his own group, the Dick Griffin Organ Ensemble, and he also played at the Uncool Jazz Festival in Switzerland with Charles Gayle in 2001. Griffin has also continued to devote his time to his artwork. His abstract paintings and works on paper have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, private and corporate collections in both the U.S. and Europe. Some of his early pieces grace the covers of each of his four CDs.

Tonight you can witness an artist not beholden to genre labels and engage in discussion with him during the audience Q&A portion of the evening.

Friday, March 26, 2010

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

If ever an artist could be called an octopus, Luis Bonilla is it. The California raised, Costa Rican trombonist, composer and arranger has sought out, taken in and mastered an incredible array of musical styles. His success as a sideman with such greats as McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Astrud Gilberto, Willie Colon and Toshiko Akiyoshi attests not only to the skill and variety of Bonilla’s talent, but also to a mind restlessly committed to exploring some of the most complex and demanding music of our time.

Yet there is nothing rarefied about the Bonilla experience. He has worked as a studio musician with Tony Bennett, Marc Anthony, La India and Mary J. Blige and understands and exploits the liveliness of pop as well as the rhythmic sway and punch of Latin Jazz. Currently a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra under Arturo O’Farrill’s direction  (both 2009 Grammy winners) and Dave Douglas’s latest group (Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy), Bonilla is one of those rare artists whose work is always expanding, taking in more and more while remaining singular and focused: “Bonilla may be a trombonist used to handling that big long sliding thing, but when it comes to execution of his ideas, he lets nothing slide” (All About Jazz).

Critics praised his first two albums on the Candid label, Pasos Gigantes (1998) and iEscucha! (2000), acknowledging Bonilla’s ability to give voice to radically different musical sensibilities with an ease and seamlessness that belies the rigor and sophistication of the music. Pasos Gigantes made Jazziz’s top ten Latin list of 1998. Even as early as these first two albums, critics noted Bonilla’s leadership and sophisticated use of tonal colors. As a faculty member at both Temple University and Manhattan School of Music, Bonilla has an intuitive sense in how to bring out the best in those working with him. Listen to any of his albums and you will hear an extraordinary level of trust and inspiration in each band member’s playing. As the critic for All About Jazz noticed, “Bonilla gives his colleagues ample space to breathe, adding momentum to the flow of his compositional ideas.”

His next album, 2007’s Terminal Clarity was a celebration, reflection and aesthetic extension of his years working with Lester Bowie. While retaining the brash harmonic structures of his mentor’s work from Brass Fantasy to his earlier and justly famous work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Bonilla adds a “contagious exuberance” (Jazzwise magazine) that is at the heart of his artistic vision. Without in any way diminishing Bowie’s audacity, Bonilla manages to balance “the cerebral and the down-and-dirty (Jazz Times), taking “bold steps to merge Latin genres, free jazz and a variety of other influences" (Latin Jazz Corner).

In Bonilla’s latest album, I Talking Now! (2009), he pushes these disjunctions even harder, politely demanding that we feel connections between wildly disparate styles of music. A heady mix of swing, rock, free jazz, funk, movie soundtracks, avant-garde noise and ballads, I Talking Now, for all its musical diversity, speaks with one voice. It is a distinctly American vision, a gentle craziness that suggests that every one and every sound can co-exist if we just keep on taking in more and more. Luis Bonilla is moving in directions that are expanding our notions of jazz and leading us into startling new realms with “remarkable creativity and versatility” (Newsday).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Christian McBride/Loren Schoenberg Duo/Informance
at Stanford University's Community School for Music and Arts, Mountain View

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | 6:00 pm

Community School for Music and Arts, Mountain View

The annual duo concert/lecture by the NJMH’s dynamic directors!
ALSO – SAME NIGHT: Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Big Beat:
Art Blakey  FILM NIGHT

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

Don’t miss this free session with one of the world’s best bass instrumentalists sharing his views on, and selections by, Art Blakey, in this last of a month-long series of events focused on the man affectionately called “Buhaina.”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A TRIBUTE TO HERBIE HANCOCK: CHRISTIAN McBRIDE AND FRIENDS

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | 8:00 pm
Stanford University's Dinkelspiel Auditorium

$34–38 (Adult) | $10 (Stanford Student)
$31–35 (Other Student)
$17–19 (Youth Under 18)
In a concert curated by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NJMH), museum co-director and bass phenom Christian McBride leads a tribute to the legacy of pioneering jazz composer/keyboardist Herbie Hancock. McBride has long embraced electric jazz, funk, and soul music as a vibrant part of the jazz mainstream. Here, he leads his versatile band through Hancock’s incredible body of work, from his years as a Miles Davis sideman and Blue Note Records solo artist in the 1960s, through his groundbreaking Headhunters fusion project in the ’70s, to his work with pop vocalists and producers in the ’80s and ’90s, and his current interest in young hip hop and techno artists. The concert is the culmination of a season of free public programs on jazz and technology, and a continuation of Lively Arts’ collaboration with NJMH and the Stanford Jazz Workshop, revisiting classic jazz repertoire from a fresh perspective.

***note: the JAZZ AT THE DWYER with Etienne Charles and his Trinidadian Jazz Band will occur on APRIL 23rd, not MARCH 23 as listed on our mailing card.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem February Schedule

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem's February 2010 schedule of events are chock full of choices for all from newcomers to the music to seasoned fans of music.

Three of the brightest emerging stars in jazz will be performing live—pianist Jonathan Batiste in a trio setting for the museum's latest public program, Jazz at the Players; and, on separate evenings, drummer Sunny Jain and bassist Ben Williams at Harlem in the Himalayas. These performances will display three approaches to modern jazz that may portend the future directions of the music!

Todd Bryant Weeks will discuss his work as a writer and author of a well-regarded bio of trumpeter/KC legend Oran "Hot Lips" Page for Jazz for Curious Readers. Veteran trumpeter Lew Soloff is the first guest of the flagship Harlem Speaks series this month, following by Harlem-based dancer and choreographer George Faison.

According to museum board member Dr. Billy Taylor, jazz is America's classical music. So it's no surprise that the jazz idiom touches other art forms such as dance and cinema. This month brings a particular focus on film, as Jazz for Curious Listeners features rarely seen footage and classic instances of Ornette Coleman, Sidney Bechet, Charles Mingus and Billie Holiday. Our monthly Saturday Panel focuses exclusively on the jazz/cinema dynamic. There's also a Special Event in which the Academy Award-nominated documentary, A Great Day in Harlem, will be screened, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jean Bach.

There's something for everyone, so mark your calendars!

Monday, February 1, 2010

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

Writer, educator and jazz historian Todd Bryant Weeks has taught Jazz History and Introduction to Music at Rutgers University-Newark and with the acclaimed Bard Prison Initiative. He has lectured at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, New Jersey and at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, New York. His writing has appeared in The Annual Review of Jazz Studies, Allegro, Uptown Magazine and in liner notes for Rhino/Warner Bros. Weeks also wrote the chapter on jazz in Harlem for the book Forever Harlem: Celebrating America's Most Diverse Community (2007). He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

But he may become best known for his first book, Luck's In My Corner: The Life and Music of Hot Lips Page, a comprehensive biography of one of the most compelling jazz musicians of the Swing Era, Oran “Hot Lips” Page, perhaps the greatest of the Kansas City trumpeters. Page blew a powerful, growling horn that made him the go-to man on that instrument during Count Basie's earliest days as a leader. Page went on to be a featured soloist with Artie Shaw, a star of New York's 52nd Street, and a pioneer of the burgeoning R&B scene of the 1950s.

Despite his many successes, Page's personal life was fraught with troubles. His father died when his son was eight, and the boy was forced to leave school and go to work to help support his family. Page's second wife, Myrtle, who by all accounts was the love of his life, died suddenly in New York in 1946 at the age of twenty-eight, leaving Hot Lips as the sole parent of their young son, Oran Jr. Throughout the 1940s, he struggled to maintain his audience as the popular style of music changed from Swing to Bebop to Rhythm and Blues. He died suddenly after a mysterious incident in 1954, at age forty-six.

Through interviews, anecdotes and oral histories, author Todd Bryant Weeks pieced together Page's personal story. He contacted dozens of people (many in their eighties and nineties) who knew Page personally, and spent many hours interviewing several of Page's family members, including his son, Oran Page, Jr., who is now a Municipal Judge in Jackson, Mississippi. Weeks was granted access to files, photographs and personal scrapbooks belonging to Page at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, New Jersey. The book includes dozens of unpublished photographs, musical transcriptions and analysis and a complete new discography of Hot Lips Page, who, as a result of Weeks' excellent investigative and journalistic efforts, should no longer be considered unsung.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz on Film: Ornette Coleman/Sidney Bechet
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Bechet was the first great saxophonist in jazz, Coleman a saxophone revolutionary in the second half of the history of jazz. From New Orleans to free jazz stylings, tonight's event covers a full range of the idiom.

Ornette Coleman --  Rarely does one person change the way we listen to music, but such a man is Ornette Coleman. Since the late 1950s, when he burst on the New York jazz scene with his legendary engagement at the Five Spot, Coleman has been teaching the world new ways of listening to music. His revolutionary musical ideas have been controversial, but today his enormous contribution to modern music is recognized throughout the world.

Coleman was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1930 and taught himself to play the saxophone and read music by the age of 14. One year later he formed his own band. Finding a troublesome existence in Fort Worth surrounded by racial segregation and poverty, he took to the road at age 19. During the 1950s while in Los Angeles, Ornette's musical ideas were too controversial to find frequent public performance possibilities. He did, however, find a core of musicians who took to his musical concepts: trumpeters Don Cherry and Bobby Bradford, drummers Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins, and bassist Charlie Haden.

In 1958, with the release of his debut album Something Else, it was immediately clear that Coleman had ushered in a new era in jazz history. This music, freed from the prevailing conventions of harmony, rhythm, and melody, often called 'free jazz', transformed the art form. Coleman called this concept Harmolodics. From 1959 through the rest of the 60s, Coleman released more than fifteen critically acclaimed albums on the Atlantic and Blue Note labels, most of which are now recognized as jazz classics. He also began writing string quartets, woodwind quintets, and symphonies based on Harmolodic theory.

In the early 1970s, Ornette traveled throughout Morocco and Nigeria playing with local musicians and interpreting the melodic and rhythmic complexities of their music into this Harmolodic approach. In 1975, seeking the fuller sound of an orchestra for his writing, Coleman constructed a new ensemble entitled Prime Time, which included the doubling of guitars, drums, and bass. Combining elements of ethnic and danceable sounds, this approach is now identified with a full genre of music and musicians. In the next decade, more surprises included trend-setting albums such as Song X with guitarist Pat Metheny, and Virgin Beauty featuring Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia.

The 1990s included other large works such as the premier of Architecture in Motion, Ornette's first Harmolodic ballet, as well as work on the soundtracks for the films Naked Lunch and Philadelphia.  With the dawning of the Harmolodic record label under Polygram, Ornette became heavily involved in new recordings including Tone Dialing, Sound Museum, and Colors. In 1997, New York City's Lincoln Center Festival featured the music and the various guises of Ornette over four days, including performances with the New York Philharmonic and Kurt Masur of his symphonic work, Skies of America.

There has been a tremendous outpouring of recognition bestowed upon Coleman for his work, including honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, California Institute of the Arts, and Boston Conservatory, and an honorary doctorate from the New School for Social Research. In 1994, he was a recipient of the distinguished MacArthur Fellowship award, and in 1997, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2001, Ornette Coleman received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale award from the Japanese government. Ornette won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2006 album, "Sound Grammar", the first jazz work to be bestowed with the honor. In 2008, he was inducted into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. The NEJHF honors legendary musicians whose singular dedication and outstanding contribution to this art shaped the landscape of jazz.

Sidney Bechet -- In 1919 Bechet was discovered by Will Marion Cook, who was about to take his large concert band, the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, to Europe. The orchestra played mainly concert music in fixed arrangements with little improvising, but featured Bechet (who could not read music) in blues specialties. In London the Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet heard the band, and in an article that has been widely reprinted referred to Bechet as "an extraordinary clarinet virtuoso" and an "artist of genius."

Bechet first discovered the curved soprano saxophone in Chicago; while in London he purchased a straight model and taught himself to play it. It became his primary instrument for the rest of his life, though he continued to play clarinet frequently. The soprano, although difficult to play in tune, has a powerful, commanding voice, and with it Bechet was able to dominate jazz ensembles.

In 1919 Bechet broke away from the Southern Syncopated Orchestra to work in England and France with a small ragtime band led by Benny Peyton; throughout the 1920s he traveled constantly between Europe and the USA, even touring Russia with a jazz band. Crucially, in 1924, he worked for two or three months in New York with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In 1923 the band had acquired the trumpeter Bubber Miley, a growl specialist under the influence of King Oliver. Miley had awakened Ellington's musicians to the new jazz music, but the band was in a transitional period, still playing much ordinary jazz-flavored popular music. Bechet had by this time acquired a capacity to swing that was matched only by that of Louis Armstrong, and his example led the band further towards jazz. Not long afterwards Bechet opened his own club, the Club Basha, in Harlem, and engaged Johnny Hodges from Boston to play in his band. Hodges was profoundly influenced by Bechet, and from his commanding position in the Ellington orchestra from 1928 he extended this influence widely and deeply.

In 1924 and 1925 Bechet made a group of recordings with Armstrong which were variously issued under the names Clarence Williams's Blue Five and the Red Onion Jazz Babies. These constitute one of the most important bodies of New Orleans jazz, and were influential with musicians of the time. Through the next few years Bechet continued to wander, traveling in Europe and the USA. In the 1930s, as hot dance music lost its popularity to more sentimental styles, Bechet dropped into obscurity, playing when he could find work. He organized the New Orleans Feetwarmers in 1932 with Tommy Ladnier, but largely owing to the group's musical style it was short-lived, and the following year the two men briefly managed a tailor's shop. However, with the New Orleans revival, from about 1939 Bechet was extolled by critics as one of the greatest jazz pioneers and his fortunes improved. He made several recordings, notably several fine titles with the Big Four and a series with Mezz Mezzrow for King Jazz. In 1949 he returned to Europe for the first time in almost 20 years. He was received there with adulation and reverence, and in 1951 he settled permanently in France, where he lived out his final years as a show business star.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Jazz on Film: Charles Mingus/Billie Holiday
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Hearing is one thing – seeing is another. What better to spend an evening that watching these two iconic figures in all of their originality and genius?

Charles Mingus -- One of the most important figures in twentieth century American music, Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Born on a military base in Nogales, Arizona in 1922 and raised in Watts, California, his earliest musical influences came from the church—choir and group singing—and from "hearing Duke Ellington over the radio when I was eight years old." He studied double bass and composition in a formally while absorbing vernacular music from the great jazz masters, first-hand. His early professional experience, in the 40's, found him touring with bands like Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Lionel Hampton.

Eventually he settled in New York where he played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950's—Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington himself. One of the few bassists to do so, Mingus quickly developed as a leader of musicians. He was also an accomplished pianist who could have made a career playing that instrument. By the mid-50's he had formed his own publishing and recording companies to protect and document his growing repertoire of original music. He also founded the "Jazz Workshop," a group which enabled young composers to have their new works performed in concert and on recordings.

Mingus soon found himself at the forefront of the avant-garde. His recordings bear witness to the extraordinarily creative body of work that followed. They include: Pithecanthropus Erectus, The Clown, Tijuana Moods, Mingus Dynasty, Mingus Ah Um, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Cumbia and Jazz Fusion, Let My Children Hear Music. He recorded over a hundred albums and wrote over three hundred scores.

In 1971 Mingus was awarded the Slee Chair of Music and spent a semester teaching composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In the same year his autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, was published by Knopf. In 1972 it appeared in a Bantam paperback and was reissued after his death, in 1980, by Viking/Penguin and again by Pantheon Books, in 1991. In 1972 he also re-signed with Columbia Records. His music was performed frequently by ballet companies, and Alvin Ailey choreographed an hour program called "The Mingus Dances" during a 1972 collaboration with the Robert Joffrey Ballet Company.

From the 1960's until his death in 1979 at age 56, Mingus remained in the forefront of American music. When asked to comment on his accomplishments, Mingus said that his abilities as a bassist were the result of hard work but that his talent for composition came from God.

Billie Holiday -- Billie Holiday, one of the first and greatest of early American jazz singers, was known for her unique and laconic timing, her wistful and brassy vocals, and her troubled personal life. Holiday began singing in Harlem clubs as a teenager, and first recorded (with Benny Goodman) in 1933. She was a sensation at Harlem's famous venue, The Apollo, and sang with the bands of Artie Shaw and Count Basie, among others. Holiday was nicknamed "Lady Day" during this era by saxophonist Lester Young, with whom she often recorded. In the 1940s she began using heroin and opium, and her last years, regretfully, were marked by her decline in health as a result of drink and drugs. Her most famous songs include "God Bless the Child," "Lover Man" and "My Man." She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence in the year 2000.

The films you'll witness tonight display the magic and artistic power of these two masters of jazz. Arrive early to get a good seat!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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

A consummate fixture on the New York jazz scene, Lew Soloff’s career is filled with a rich history of renowned sessions and world-class collaborations. From the time he eased into the east coast world of trend setting musicians in the mid 1960’s, Soloff’s creative ventures have resulted in a respected body of work that places him in a category of true accomplishment and keeps his elegant and lyrical signatures in constant demand. Soloff is known as a virtuoso with tremendous range and superior technical command, yet he exudes a exquisite taste for quietness and melody. Soloff’s expertise includes trumpet, flugelhorn, harmon mute, plunger mute and he is particularly recognized for his work on piccolo trumpet.

As a leader, Soloff puts his energy into some special projects including The Lew Soloff Quartet and Quintet. Lew Soloff Presents Sunday Jazz At Rhone was a weekly series he started for New York’s trendy lower west side lounge Rhone. The Sunday program included his own groups and surprise special guests. The artist has 8 solo recordings to his credit. "With A Song In My Heart, produced by Todd Barkan and Makoto Kimata, is probably my favorite personal project to date," comments Soloff. “We chose some wonderful songs for this CD and I was able to weave a tranquil spirit throughout the sessions.  My goal was to play the songs simply and beautifully.”  JazzTimes wrote about the release (Sept. 1999): “If this gem by Soloff, a musician at the peak of his maturity and expressiveness, is not one of the best records of the year, we have a surprising few months in store.”

His longtime collaboration with the late Gil Evans resulted in a new relationship with the Bohuslän Big Band in Sweden. The orchestra invited Soloff to perform George Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess, originally arranged by Evans for one of Soloff’s important influences, Miles Davis.  The suite was recorded and filmed live at The Göteborg Concerthouse in 2002. Besides his association with Gil Evans, Soloff considers his work with Ornette Coleman to be particularly pivotal.  In addition to being a featured trumpet soloist on several occasions with Coleman, he was also asked to perform with Coleman and The Kronos Quartet on a commission for trumpet and strings. Soloff was also the lead trumpeter of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band under the direction of Jon Faddis during its entire tenure and spent six years as first trumpet in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Born in Brooklyn, on February 20, 1944, Soloff was raised in Lakewood, New Jersey and started studying piano at an early age. He took up the trumpet when he was 10 and his interest in the instrument surged, thanks to the record collections of his grandfather and uncle. Exposed to artists such as Roy Eldridge and Louis Armstrong as a youngster, Soloff recalls, “there was a scale I remember from Armstrong’s recording ‘I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music.’  He played this run with such finesse and beauty, without any grandstanding–I wanted to play like that.”  Soloff spent several years at Juilliard Preparatory until he entered the Eastman School of Music in 1961. Already a professional musician, he had spent his summers as a teenager playing hotels and country clubs in the Borscht Belt (the Catskill Mountains of New York).  After graduating from Eastman (where he found himself in practice bands with fellow students such as Chuck Mangione), he spent a year in graduate school at Julliard. It was the mid-1960’s and the fertile jazz scene in New York City ignited Soloff’s full-time career.

By 1966, he was performing with Maynard Ferguson and soon became a regular in the Joe Henderson/Kenny Dorham Big Band. That year he also joined the Gil Evans Group, an affiliation he considers his most influential.  “I first met Gil Evans when I was 22 and he became my musical Godfather,” remembers Soloff. It was a creative relationship that lasted until Evans death in 1988. In the large bands of the 1960’s, Soloff received his continuing education, joining groups led by Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri including the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band.  But it was in the popular groundbreaking group Blood, Sweat and Tears that Soloff’s trumpet solos became an indelible part of American culture.  He was an integral part of the band from 1968 to 1973, racking up 9 Gold records worldwide, a Grammy for “Record of The Year” (1969) and creating those searing horn lines in “Spinning Wheel.”

A respected educator as well, he continues to appear as guest soloist at universities around the country where he utilizes the Gil Evans arrangements that have been an essential element of his repertoire through the years.  He has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music for 20 or so years and has been an adjunct faculty member at Julliard and the New School.  “I want to continue developing my own personal artistic ventures,” notes Soloff.  “There are a thousand ideas I have for collaborative efforts. Music can be choreographed or spontaneous and I am most inspired when I have the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

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

From the resounding hall of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, to the intimate setting of Smalls Jazz Club in New York City, to the massive applause on festival stages in India, Sunny Jain is a highly respected drummer, composer and educator.  Born to Punjabi immigrant parents and raised in Rochester, New York, Sunny has become an Indian-American musical trailblazer.

Sunny leads Red Baraat, a one-of-kind dhol 'n' brass band melding the infectious North Indian rhythm Bhangra with funk, soca, and dramatic improvisatory conducting.  His Sunny Jain Collective has been touted as a leading voice for the new music Indo Jazz (a movement of first-generation South Asians equally steeped in the jazz tradition and the music of their cultural heritage).

In 2002, Sunny was designated a Jazz Ambassador by the U.S. Department of State and The Kennedy Center. He then received the Arts International Award in both 2003 and 2005.  In 2005, Jazz Hot magazine (France) featured Jain in their drummer issue, along with Lewis Nash, Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez and Winard Harper.  He was noted as a rising star for his fusion of jazz and Indian music.  In 2006, Traps magazine highlighted Sunny as a top New York City world jazz drummer.  Sunny was commissioned in 2006 by Chamber Music America's New Works to compose new music for a project he later named, Taboo. He closed out 2007 with a milestone performance with the famed Sufi-rock group Junoon at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway, playing for Al Gore. In 2008, Sunny was commissioned by the Aaron Copland Fund to record Taboo.

Sunny also plays the indigenous drum of Punjab, dhol, and made his professional debut as dholi playing in the first ever Indian Broadway show, Bombay Dreams (2004).  He has since gone on to perform with Masala Bhangra fitness guru, Sarina Jain (“The Indian Jane Fonda”), jazz legend Dewey Redman with Asha Puthli, and will make his Hollywood debut playing dhol in the movie, Accidental Husband, starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, and Isabella Rossellini.

In 2007 Sunny became the first ever artist endorser for India’s largest and oldest musical manufacturer, Bina Music and he exclusively uses Vater drumsticks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz on Film: Rarities - Pt. 1
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Spend an evening watching rare film clips of Bill “Bogangles” Robinson, Sid Catlett, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Goodman, Christian McBride/Dave Holland, and others. Heaven!

Friday, February 19, 2010

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

Ben Williams, an acoustic and electric bassist, composer, and educator, is a native of Washington, DC, now living in New York City. He recently received a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School under the instruction of Ben Wolfe. He is a 2007 graduate of Michigan State University where he received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an emphasis in jazz studies under the instruction of Rodney Whitaker and Jack Budrow.

On October 11, 2009, Ben won the most prestigious award in the world for aspiring jazz musicians by winning first place at the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He was awarded a $20,000 Scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Records. The competition was judged by such iconic bassists as Ron Carter, Dave Holland and Christian McBride. Since the Monk competition, he debuted his band at the Jazz Gallery in New York, which received a great review in the New York Times by Nate Chinen.

Ben is currently touring with Stefon Harris and Blackout, and is featured on the group’s latest release “Urbanus,” which was recently nominated for a Grammy. He can also be heard on the newly released album by the Marcus Strickland trio entitled “Idiosyncrasies,” and will also be featured on the upcoming release by the Jacky Terrasson trio. He has traveled extensively over several continents with performances in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

Aside from the recent Monk Competition Award, he won first place in the International Society of Bassists Competition in 2005. He is a two-time winner of the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Awards Competition at the (now defunct) East Coast Jazz Festival, having won second place in 2002 and third place in 2000 when he was ages 15 and 17. He won first place in 1999 in the DC Piano Competition Scholarship Award in the Intermediary category and again first place in the Advanced category in 2000. In 2002 he was a scholarship recipient of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) at their annual conference in Long Beach, CA; and also in 2002 he was a scholarship recipient of the Duke Ellington Jazz Society Annual Awards of Washington. In 2003 he was a scholarship recipient of the Steans Institute in Chicago. Numerous awards and scholarships were also presented to him during his continuing education at Michigan State University.

Ben started his musical career at age 11 while studying bass under Martha Vance at the Fillmore Arts Center, a DC Public School program. He was introduced to jazz by Fred Foss, the director of the Fillmore Jazz Band. The Thelonious Monk Institute partnered with Fillmore's jazz studies program and provided him with weekly one-on-one jazz bass instructions under DC area jazz musicians like Keter Betts, Steve Novosel, Michael Bowie, Emphriam Wolfolk, James King, and Paul Robinson.

The Monk Institute's mentoring partnership program provided workshops to young students like Ben where he was able to participate. By age 12, Ben had received one-on-one instructions from the great Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others. Before he entered high school at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts he had already performed at numerous venues throughout the DC metropolitan area such as at the White House, the Vice President's House, the State Department, the Kennedy Center, Congressional Black Caucus, and many others. Following his first two years of jazz studies he decided he would make a "lifetime commitment of learning" for a career in music. He went to the Duke Ellington School prepared for rigorous bass instructions from Ms. Carolyn Kellock along with jazz studies and performance training from Davey Yarborough. He graduated in 2002 with academic honors as well as awarded the First Honors in Instrumental Music.

Ben is honored to have had the opportunity to perform with Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride Big Band, Roy Hargrove, Bilal, Mulgrew Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Wilson, Gretchen Parlato, Hamiet Bluiett, Eric Reed, Sean Jones, Ron Blake, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Donald Harrison, James Williams, Rodney Jones, and Steve Nelson, to name a few.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Jazz on Film: Rarities - Pt. 2
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Hosted by Loren Schoenberg, NJMH Executive Director

Another evening of rare film clips – bringing Bessie Smith, Eubie Blake/Noble Sissle, Zora Neale Hurston, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum, Django Reinhardt, Lucky Thompson, Ben Webster, Booker Little, Max Roach, and others back to Harlem.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jazz at the Playershttp://www.theplayersnyc.org/members/
Jonathan Batiste Trio
7:00pm
Location: The Players
(16 Gramercy Park S. | get directions)
$20 | Reservations or 212-475-6116

Jonathan Batiste is part of a culturally rich and significant lineage of musicians and musical families known worldwide: he is the most recent arrival from the Batiste family of New Orleans. At the age of 8, he was already featured singing with his family in Japan. He later performed with them on percussion, and by 12 had found his destiny—the piano. His family has been respected for generations as one of the top in the creation of the city's musical landscapes. These were the roots of his musical beginnings. Since then he has performed, recorded and toured over 30 countries with artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Abbey Lincoln, Jimmy Buffett, Lenny Kravitz, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, The Batiste Brothers, Alvin Batiste, and currently with Cassandra Wilson and Roy Hargrove. He has three CD releases under his own name, the first released when he was 17 and still studying at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) High School in New Orleans. Batiste is also a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City.

His ability to communicate to a wide range of audiences is apparent. He debuted at Carnegie Hall when he was 18 years old, has performed at major music festivals worldwide, and was the youngest featured performer at the 2008 NBA All-Star game alongside other New Orleans' musical icons on his instrument: Dr. John, Allen Tousiannt, Ellis Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr, and the Neville Brothers. He is a young man of poise, character, intelligence, charm, and sophistication, all of which will be clearly in evidence this evening at Jazz at the Players.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

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

Broadway dancer and choreographer George William Faison was born on December 21, 1945 in Washington, D.C. He attended Dunbar High School, where he studied with the Jones-Haywood Capitol Ballet and Carolyn Tate of Howard University. His first performance was with the American Light Opera Company. After graduating from high school, Faison attended Howard University with plans of becoming a dentist. He also worked in theater with the acclaimed African American theater director Owen Dodson.

In 1966, two years after he entered Howard, Faison saw a production of the Alvin Ailey Company. Within one week, he had decided to become a professional dancer and left Howard University to move to New York City. There, he studied at the School of American Ballet, where he took classes with Arthur Mitchell, June Taylor, Claude Thompson, Dudley Williams, Charles Moore and James Truitte, among others. He began his first professional jobs with the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, and continued studying dance with Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU) and Harkness House.

In 1967, Faison auditioned with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where he would remain for the next three years. In 1970, Faison left the Alvin Ailey dance company to pursue his own career. After a part in the Broadway musical "Purlie," Faison created the George Faison Universal Dance Experience with only $600 dollars. The group's dancers included such notables as Renee Rose, Debbie Allen, Al Perryman and Gary DeLoatch. Faison was the artistic director, choreographer and dancer for the group.

In 1972, Faison made his choreographic debut with Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope on Broadway, which was the start of a series of successful choreography jobs. These included Via Galactica, Tilt and 1974's all-black retelling of The Wizard of Oz entitled The Wiz. The Wiz was a huge success, and helped to launch the careers of singer Stephanie Mills and actor Geoffrey Holder. That year, Faison became the first African American to win a Tony award. The George Faison Universal Dance Experience disbanded the following year, and Faison began focusing on musical theater. He also worked as a choreographer for entertainers like Earth, Wind and Fire, Ashford and Simpson, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle and Cameo, among others. 1981 brought the massive critical success of Apollo, Just Like Magic, an off-Broadway production that transitioned him from choreographer to director. In 1997, he directed and choreographed King, a musical performed at President Clinton's inauguration. In 1996, he founded the American Performing Arts Collaborative (A-PAC). Since that time, Faison constructed an arts center called the Faison Firehouse Theater, a project of A-PAC which has committed its resources to Harlem.

Look for insightful discussion of the intersection between jazz music and American dance as well as Faison's plans for productions with jazz as a main theme.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Panels
Jammin' the Blues: A Look at Jazz and Cinema
Noon - 4PM
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jazz came to life in the 20th century, as did cinema, and the two have been intertwined ever since their earliest days. Whether it was as a subject, an influence, or the topic itself, jazz and cinema reflect upon each other in myriad ways.

Join us for screening of film, panel discussions, and more. Panelists to include: Herb Boyd, Jonathan Scheuer, Scott DeVeaux and others. Updates at www.jmih.org and in our weekly emails as well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Special Event
A Great Day in Harlem
1:00 – 3:30pm
Location: New York Historical Society
(170 Central Park West)
FREE | For more information: 212-485-9275

Interview with the filmmaker, Jean Bach by NJMH Executive Director Loren Schoenberg.

Come discover the rich story and hear the engrossing sounds behind the most famous photo in the history of jazz, in which photographer Art Kane coordinated a group photograph of many of the top jazz musicians in NYC in 1958 for Esquire magazine. The documentary features interviews of many of the musicians in the photograph who talk about the day the now iconic photograph was taken, and shows film footage taken that day by Milt Hinton and his wife. The film was nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

The photo was also a key object in Steven Spielberg's film, The Terminal,  starring Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski, a character who comes to the United States in search of Benny Golson's autograph, with which he can complete his deceased father's collection of autographs from the musicians pictured in the photo.

The afternoon screening of the documentary of the same title (1994) will be followed by an interview with the filmmaker, Jean Bach by NJMH Executive Director Loren Schoenberg.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem January Schedule

Swing into the New Year with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem! From live performances in downtown New York to intriguing discussions with authors, impresarios, artists and a legendary choreographer, we'll match your taste for cultural enrichment.

Our flagship series, Harlem Speaks, features conversations with pianist Connie Crothers, known for her association with Lennie Tristano, and Jack Kleinsinger, producer of the longest running jazz series in New York, Highlights in Jazz. Author and WBGO jazz radio host Sheila Anderson is our guest for Jazz for Curious Readers.

Visionary bassist Reggie Workman leads an evening Saturday panel and pre-screens a film presentation of a TRIO 3 performance. Workman will also partake in a discussion with choreographer Lar Lubovitch, whose masterful dance creations grounded and inspired by jazz music is the focus of three weeks of Jazz for Curious Listeners.

If you love the music, nothing is more important than supporting live jazz. Nurture yourself with the scintillating salsa jazz of Bobby Sanabria at Harlem in the Himalayas and the classic American Song Book sounds of Broadway interpreted jazz style at our new series, Jazz at the Players!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jazz for Curious Readers

7:00 – 8:30pm

Location: NJMH Visitors Center

(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

As host-producer of a TV and a radio program on jazz in the New York City area, Anderson, author of The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac, has met and interviewed musicians, composers, and other music industry professionals from all genres, classical to jazz. For her latest book, How to Grow as a Musician, she put her connections to good use and culled the wisdom and personal experiences of 30 prominent musicians, including Grammy Award-winning performer Al Jarreau; Paula Kimper, a composer of opera, theater, film, and dance music; and Eric Reed, a jazz pianist who has played with the Wynton Marsalis Septet, Joe Henderson, Cassandra Wilson, and a multitude of other masters. Anderson weaves together a comprehensive guide that reveals the fundamentals necessary for living a creative and successful life in music, with insights on getting started, developing as an artist, composing, recording, songwriting, preparing for performance, working with a manager, and signing contracts. She shares musicians' candid and poignant advice on triumph and failure, self-evaluation, ego checks, and personal growth.

In our discussion with this leading lady of jazz radio (nicknamed "The Queen of Hang"), expect not only musician quotes and advice on surviving a career in music, but loads of hilarious anecdotes from her decades of first-hand observation on the front lines of jazz music.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Panels

An Evening with the Visionary Reggie Workman and Friends

7:30 – 9:30pm

Location: NJMH Visitors Center

(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Pre-screening of the film, "Reggie Workman's Sculptured Sounds presents ... TRIO 3: At This Time”

Produced by the legendary bassist Reggie Workman, Reggie Workman's Sculptured Sounds Presents TRIO 3: At This Time” is a film documenting the celebrated 2009 performance of TRIO 3 (jazz legends Oliver Lake/Reggie Workman/Andrew Cyrille) plus noted pianist, Geri Allen, at the Birdland jazz venue. Experience interviews with these legendary artists, and commentary from noted jazz writers and artist colleagues. Watch this high octane collaboration on a journey through jazz to the edge and beyond!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Rhythm, Rhythm: Jazz and the World of Lar Lubovitch

7:00 – 8:30pm

Location: NJMH Visitors Center

(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Witness a discussion with Lar Lubovitch, Dr. Billy Taylor, and other guests as they pursue jazz culture and history as it intersects with choreography across jazz and ballet dance communities. Mr. Lubovitch will present excerpts of his work on film.

One of America's most versatile, popular and highly acclaimed choreographers, Lar Lubovitch founded the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company over 40 years ago. In the years since, he has choreographed more than 100 dances for his New York-based company, which has performed in nearly all 50 American states as well as in more than 30 foreign countries.

Lar's dances are renowned for their musicality, rhapsodic style and sophisticated formal structures. His radiant, highly technical choreography and deeply humanistic voice have been acclaimed throughout the world. Lar Lubovitch has been hailed by The New York Times as "one of the ten best choreographers in the world," and the company has been called a "national treasure" by Variety.

Born in Chicago, Lar Lubovitch was educated at the University of Iowa and the Juilliard School in New York. His teachers at Juilliard included Antony Tudor, Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow and Martha Graham. He danced in numerous modern, ballet, jazz and ethnic companies before forming the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in 1968.

Lubovitch made his Broadway debut in 1987 with the musical staging for the Stephen Sondheim/ James Lapine musical, Into the Woods, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. In 1993 he choreographed the highly-praised dance sequences for the Broadway show The Red Shoes. The final ballet from that show joined the repertories of American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada. For his work on that show, he received the 1993-94 Astaire Award from the Theater Development Fund. In 1996 he created the musical staging (and two new dances) for the Tony-Award-winning Broadway revival of The King and I. Most recently he devised the musical staging for Walt Disney's stage version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Berlin. In 2004 he was honored with the Elan Award for his outstanding choreography.

In 2007, to supplement the activities (creating, performing and teaching) of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, he founded the Chicago Dancing Company, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to present a wide variety of excellent dance and build dance audiences in his native Chicago. Initiated by Chicago-born Lubovitch (and  Chicago-based dancer Jay Franke), the Chicago Dancing Festival (CDF) was launched in cooperation with Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and the City of Chicago. The official premiere of the festival was a free one-night-only dance concert at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. More than 8,000 people attended the performance, which featured dancers from seven leading American companies. For 2008, CDF will be expanded to include three days of programming. For his visionary risk-taking in establishing the Festival, Lubovitch was named a "2007 Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jazz at the Players

'S Wonderful: Jazz meets Broadway

7:00pm

Location: The Players

16 Gramercy Park South, NYC

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem AllStars, featuring vocalist Champian Fulton, play the music of George and Ira Gershwin, Fats Waller, Cole Porter, and Duke Ellington for the very first Jazz at the Players event.

Born in 1985, Champian Fulton grew up in Norman, Oklahoma with her two loving parents, Stephen and Susan. Influenced at an early age by her father Stephen, a jazz trumpeter, she fell in love with the music. Surrounded by her father's musician friends, including Clark Terry and Major Holley, Champian learned the language of jazz firsthand. She began to study piano with her grandmother at age 5, and, as singing became more and more important to her, Champian began to play jazz piano to accompany herself at home.

Champian's family moved to LeMars, Iowa in 1994, when her father became the director of the Clark Terry Institute for Jazz Studies. She formed her first band at this time—"Little Jazz Quintet"—all of whose members were under the age of 10, except for the trumpeter - the elder of the group - who was 12 years old. The "Little Jazz Quintet" performed at many events in LeMars, including Clark Terry's 75th birthday party.

After a short move to New York, Champian and her family returned to Norman Oklahoma in 1998. Her full attention turned to jazz at this time, and by 1999 Champian was performing with her new band all around the region. 1999 included appearances at the Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival, the Corpus Christi Jazz Festival, and the Jazz in June Festival held in Norman, Oklahoma.

2001 marked the beginning of Champian's stint at Maker's Cigar & Piano Bar in Oklahoma City. The owner of Maker's, Clinton Greehaw, was very supportive of Champian as she grew musically as a professional performer. The Champian Fulton Trio would continue to perform at Maker's nearly every weekend through 2003, when she graduated from Norman North High School as valedictorian and made her move to NYC to attend SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory.

Since then, Champian has become a part of the jazz scene in the Big Apple. Besides leading her own gigs, Champian has been able to play with some world-class musicians, such as Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess, and Lou Donaldson. You can catch her and her trio/quartet at a number of different venues in Manhattan, including Birdland, where Champian has held a steady gig for the past 3 years.

A perpetual student of jazz piano and jazz singing, Champian mentions Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, Sonny Clark, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan as some of her main influences.

Champian graduated from SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor of Music Degree in May of 2006. Her new CD "Sometimes I'm Happy" was released in September 2008 on Venus Records. She currently resides in NYC and performs with her trio.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Harlem Speaks

Connie Crothers, Pianist

6:30 – 8:30pm

Location: NJMH Visitors Center

(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Connie Crothers is known for her association with Lennie Tristano, yet she is also recognized for her uncompromising spontaneous improvisation, originality, virtuosity and wide range of expression.

She leads a quartet, with alto saxophonist Richard Tabnik, drummer Roger Mancuso and bassists Ken Filiano or Adam Lane. In January 2007, this quartet released a CD, Music is a Place, on New Artists. It was chosen by Stuart Broomer for his list of the top ten recordings of the year, published on the website jazzhouse.com; the recording also received an honorable mention for best CDs of the year in All About Jazz/New York.

Crothers has performed extensively as a soloist. She appeared solo in the 2008 Vision Festival, and was presented in a solo capacity by the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall in 2006, where she also performed a duet with Roscoe Mitchell. Lennie Tristano produced her three solo concerts in Carnegie Recital Hall. John Sutherland chose her solo recording, “Music from Everyday Life,” for his list of the best ten recordings of the year in Coda.

Her most recent CD—Conversations—is a duet recording with clarinetist Bill Payne.

Crothers has recorded duo with Max Roach—"Swish"—and performed in a duo with Mr. Roach in Tokyo, Bologna, New Orleans and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Roach and Crothers were honored by Harvard University as Visiting Jazz Artists; during the ceremony they performed with the Harvard University Band and tap dancer Diane Walker. For this concert, Anthony Braxton wrote a composition for them.

She co-led an engagement at the Village Vanguard with Warne Marsh, in a quartet featuring drummer Peter Scattaretico and bassist Eddie Gomez, a recent guest of Harlem Speaks. Crothers performed with Marsh, with Roger Mancuso and bassist Joe Solomon in Carnegie Recital Hall.

When her first record, Perception, originally on SteepleChase, was reissued in 1983 on Inner City, it was selected as one of the ten best records of the year by Mark Weber in Coda.

Crothers has had the honor of being a guest on Marian McPartland’s radio show “Piano Jazz,” where the two ladies swung mightily. She is very proud of being selected in the list of the most important and influential musicians in the last twenty-five years of the 20th century in the centennial issue of Cadence magazine.

Crothers teaches jazz improvisation in her studio in Brooklyn, passing on a legacy of intellect and musicality that she inherited as a member of the Tristano school.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Rhythm, Rhythm: Lar Lubovitch and His Jazz Works

7:00 – 8:30pm

Location: NJMH Visitors Center

(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Lar Lubovitch and company present a lecture demonstration of excerpts of pieces from his latest jazz trilogy, which includes music by Kurt Elling, Dave Brubeck, and John Coltrane. Mr. Lubovitch will discuss how the music has informed his movements, and how he has collaborated with musicians (jazz and non jazz alike).

The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company will present a two-week season at The Joyce Theater, February 23–March 7, 2010. The jam-packed season is comprised of three programs, each featuring new and recent works by Lar Lubovitch, one of America’s most acclaimed and versatile choreographers.

Lubovitch’s recently completed jazz trilogy reimagines the choreographic possibilities of jazz. The program features the world premiere of Coltrane’s Favorite Things, set to an iconic 1963 recording of John Coltrane’s interpretation of the classic Richard Rodgers song My Favorite Things. The backdrop for the dance is a reproduction of Jackson Pollock’s landmark painting Autumn Rhythm. With this dance, Lubovitch creates a vibrant choreographic counterpart to the artistic impulsiveness of these two 20th century giants. Lubovitch’s jazz trilogy also contains the wildly popular Elemental Brubeck (2005), and Kurt Elling: Nature Boy, Lubovitch’s latest incarnation of 2005’s Love’s Stories, an unabashedly passionate work set to unique renditions of jazz standards by the Kurt Elling Ensemble.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas

Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Ache'

7:00pm

Location: Rubin Museum of Art

(150 West 17th Street)

$18 in advance | $20 at door |

Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Ache'

Peter Brainin - tenor, soprano sax, flute, percussion, vocals

Alex Hernandez - acoustic bass, percussion, vocals

Enrique Haneine - piano, percussion, vocals

Bobby Sanabria - musical director

Grammy-nominated on multiple occasions as a leader as well as on other projects as a sideman, Bobby Sanabria (drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, conductor, producer, educator, film-maker, bandleader, and multi-cultural warrior) has performed and recorded with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Paquito D’Rivera, Ray Barretto, Candido, Henry Threadgill, Larry Harlow, and Afro-Cuban jazz Godfather, Mario Bauzá. His first big band recording, Live & in Clave!!! was nominated for a mainstream Grammy in 2001. In 2003 he was nominated for a Latin Grammy for "50 Years of Mambo," A Tribute to Damaso Perez Prado. DRUM! Magazine named him Percussionist of the Year in 2005.

His latest recording is the 2008 Grammy nominated Big Band Urban Folktales, with his 19 piece big band, on the Jazzheads label. This South Bronx native of Puerto Rican parentage is a 2006 inductee into the Bronx Walk of Fame, and has a street named after him in his borough of birth.

He holds a BM from the Berklee College of Music, and is on the faculty of the New School and the Manhattan School of Music, where he conducts Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Bands. He is associate producer of “The Palladium: Where Mambo Was King,” a documentary shown on BRAVO, and winner of the IMAGINE award for best TV documentary of 2003. He served in the same capacity for “From Mambo to Hip Hop,” winner of the ALMA award for best documentary for TV shown on PBS in 2007. He is the author of the acclaimed video series, Getting Started on Congas and he is a featured performer on the DVD, Modern Drummer Festival 2006, from Hudson Music. Mr. Sanabria was featured in the documentary, LATIN MUSIC USA, which aired on PBS in October 2009.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Rhythm, Rhythm: Lar Lubovitch and the Music of John Coltrane

7:00 – 8:30pm

Location: The New School

66 W. 13TH St, 5th floor

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

In this final JCL for the month of January 2010, Lar Lubovitch will discuss his choreographic interpretation and inspiration of John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” with jazz bass legend and New School faculty member Reggie Workman. Workman played on the Copenhagen recording of “My Favorite Things,” the very same recording Lar is  using for his new dance premiering at The Joyce Theater in February 2010. The Lubovitch Dance Company will be there to demonstrate excerpts of this piece as various sections of the music are discussed.

The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company was founded by Lar Lubovitch in 1968 and is now celebrating its 40th anniversary with a national tour as well as a fall season at the New York City Center. Over the years, the company has gained a reputation as one of the world’s foremost modern dance companies, having performed in virtually every state of the US and in more than 30 foreign countries. Lar Lubovitch has been cited by The New York Times as “one of the ten best choreographers in the world.”

Based in New York, the company is internationally renowned, having toured extensively throughout America (virtually all 50 states) and the rest of the world (more than 30 countries). The company has been seen in live performances by more than a million people. On television it has been seen by millions more. In recognition of its work, the company has received many awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts and numerous foundations, including the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Harlem Speaks

Jack Kleinsinger, Impresario

6:30 – 8:30pm

Location: NJMH Visitors Center

(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)

FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jack Kleinsinger is the Producer/Director of HIGHLIGHTS IN JAZZ, New York City's longest-running jazz concert series, formerly performed at Theatre De LYS, Astor Place Theatre, Hunter College, NYU, Pace University, and currently at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan.

For over 35 years he has produced and hosted each year's series of 8 jazz programs--researching, selecting and contracting the 75 or more artists in each year's 8 concerts.  In addition, Mr. Kleinsinger designs and structures each of the programs, coordinating publicity, public relations, technical assistance and fund-raising, and is solely responsible for its smooth operation.

In addition to HIGHLIGHTS IN JAZZ, Jack Kleinsinger has also produced many concerts in New York City schools, colleges and prisons; he has co-produced programs for the Newport and the New York Jazz festivals; stage managed the Jazz Festival in Nice, France, and has taught Jazz courses at New York University.  He also volunteered his services as an instructor at the International Center in New York City.

He has served as a talent consultant and assistant for the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland and produced children's jazz programs for the Boston Globe Festival in Massachusetts and the Sarasota, Fl. Jazz Society.

Mr. Kleinsinger is an attorney, a former candidate for public office, a teacher and lecturer.  In August, 1991, he retired from his position as Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York.

On June 26, 1997, the JVC Jazz Festival presented a concert entitled "Thanks to Jack Kleinsinger for 25 years of HIGHLIGHTS IN JAZZ" at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York City.

On February 5, 1998, the Manhattan Borough President issued a Proclamation designating that date "JACK KLEINSINGER DAY" in the Borough.  This was in recognition of Jack Kleinsinger's contribution to the cultural life of New York City.

On September 6, 1998 Mr. Kleinsinger received the CHARLIE PARKER MEMORIAL AWARD at the 52nd Street Americana Festival.

On June 18, 2008, the JVC Jazz Festival presented a concert entitled "A CELEBRATION OF 35 YEARS OF HIGHLIGHTS IN JAZZ HONORING JACK KLEINSINGER" at New York Society for Ethical Culture. Tonight, we're honored to sit down with Mr. Kleinsinger, a pillar producer of jazz in its capital.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem December Schedule

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem invites you to join us in this final month of programming in 2009! The month begins and ends with the co-director of the museum, Christian McBride, who comes off the road for five free Jazz for Curious Listeners sessions focusing on the role of the bass in jazz history, the jazz ensemble, and in his illustrious career.

Drummer Ben Riley, first famous for his 1960’s tenure with Thelonious Monk, is the first guest of the flagship Harlem Speaks series. He remains one of the most important drummers on the scene today, so don't miss this rare discussion about his long and distinguished career. The second guest of Harlem Speaks is the saxophonist, composer and arranger Ray Santos, a true icon for over sixty years in the Latin jazz world.

Join for several panel discussions, one peering deeply into the past with a new look at ways jazz informed the work of writer Jack Kerouac, the other projecting a view to the future of jazz in the 21st century.

And so we can take out the old and bring in the new swingin’, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All Star Big Band, under the direction of Loren Schoenberg, will perform live at the Rubin Museum of Art for the Harlem in the Himalayas series.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: The Bass
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

The finest musicians to spring from the world of jazz have clearly had an advantage when it comes to branching into other genres of music. Their mastery of composition, arranging and sight reading coupled with their flair for improvisation and spontaneous creation make them possibly the most seasoned and adaptable musicians in the art. Grammy Award winner Christian McBride, chameleonic virtuoso of the acoustic and electric bass, stands tall at the top of this clique. Beginning in 1989 – the beginning of an amazing career in which he still has wider-reaching goals to attain - the Philadelphian has thus far been first-call-requested to accompany literally hundreds of fine artists, ranging in an impressive array from McCoy Tyner and Sting to Kathleen Battle and Diana Krall.

His clear mastery of the bass, undisputed respect and admiration of his peers, and acclaim in the media offers a unique opportunity for those in attendance at tonight’s session. Hear one of the greatest artists on his instrument discuss the role of the bass in the jazz ensemble throughout jazz history and also demonstrate on his own bass.

McBride often uses the analogy of the offensive linemen in football as being comparable to the role of the bassist in jazz. “Although most of the focus is on the quarterback, the leader of the team, he’s only as good as his offensive line. The bass player’s role isn’t glamorous or glorious, but it’s essential.”

Yet in McBride’s able hands the bass takes on a shine of glamour, and his insights will surely illuminate the glory of the bass in the heartbeat of jazz.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

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

Ben Riley was born on July 17, 1933 in Savannah, Georgia, and his family moved to New York four years later.  He began studying with noted Harlem band leader Cecil Scott while in junior high school, and in high school began playing in a school band.

In 1952 Ben Riley joined the army and began to perform with the army band, ramping up his learning curve several notches. Following his discharge from the army in the late 1950's, he began working in and around New York and developed long-lasting relationships with Randy Weston, Mary Lou Williams, Sonny Rollins, Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Billy Taylor, and many others. Yet the association that secured Ben's place in jazz history was his four year stint with the legendary Thelonious Monk. He toured extensively with Monk and recorded several now classic albums with the pianist, such as It’s Monk’s Time, Underground, and Straight, No Chaser. A marvelous example of Riley’s playing with Monk is also found in the black-and-white DVD released by Jazz Icons.

During his tenure with Monk, Riley also showcased his ability to play with a wide variety of musicians, including Earl "Fatha" Hines, Andrew Hill, Hank Jones, Barry Harris and Clark Terry. After leaving Monk in the late 1960's, Ben chose to take time off from the road and took a position with the Wyandanch, New York school district, where he remained for five years.

Then, during the mid-1970's, the call of music became too strong to resist and Riley began performing and recording once again, this time with Alice Coltrane and as a member of the New York Jazz Quartet. From the late 70's through the 80's he performed and recorded extensively with the Ron Carter Quartet, which included bassist Buster Williams and pianist Kenny Barron, whom Ben recommended for the band.

When Carter disbanded his quartet, the rhythm section of Riley, Williams and Barron remained intact, working as a trio and rhythm section for various touring artists visiting New York. Ben Riley suggested adding a permanent horn player to their trio; Charlie Rouse, Monk’s favorite tenor man in his band, joined and the cooperative band Sphere was the result. Upon Rouse’s death, Sphere disbanded but Riley continued to perform extensively with Barron. He also continued to develop musical relationships with Abdullah Ibrahim, Barney Kessel, Chet Baker, and Johnny Griffin, among several others.

In 1992, because of his vast contribution to jazz music, Riley was inducted into his hometown-based Coastal Jazz Hall of Fame in Savannah, Georgia.

Monday, December 7, 2009

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

Greg Tate was a staff writer at The Vil­lage Voice from 1987–2003. His writ­ings on cul­ture and pol­i­tics have also been pub­lished in The New York Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post, Art­fo­rum, Rolling Stone, VIBE, Pre­miere, Essence, Suede, The Wire, One World, Down­beat, and Jaz­zTimes. He was recently acknowl­edged by The Source mag­a­zine as one of the ‘God­fa­thers of Hiphop Jour­nal­ism’ for his ground­break­ing work on the genre’s social, polit­i­cal, eco­nomic and cul­tural impli­ca­tions in the period when most pun­dits con­sid­ered it a fad.

His pub­lished inter­views include dia­logues with Miles Davis, George Clin­ton, Richard Pryor, Car­los San­tana, Lenny Kravitz, Sade, Erykah Badu, Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Lisa Bonet, Samuel R Delany, Ice Cube, Dex­ter Gor­don, Betty Carter, King Sunny Ade, Chuck D of Pub­lic Enemy, Cas­san­dra Wil­son, Jill Scott, Wyn­ton Marsalis, Bran­ford Marsalis, Ornette Cole­man, Henry Thread­g­ill and Ver­non Reid of Liv­ing Colour.

Tate has also writ­ten for the Museum of Mod­ern Art, The Whit­ney Museum, ICA Boston, ICA Lon­don, Museum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Hous­ton, The Stu­dio Museum In Harlem, The Gagosian Gallery, Deitch Projects and the Tate Muse­ums Lon­don and Liv­er­pool. His writ­ing about visual art includes mono­graphs and essays about Chris Ofili, Wengechi Mutu, Jean Michel Basquiat, Ellen Gal­lagher, Kehinde Wiley and Ramm El Zee.

His books include Every­thing But The Bur­den, What White Peo­ple Are Tak­ing From Black Cul­ture (Harlem Moon/Random House, 2003), Mid­night Light­ning: Jimi Hen­drix and The Black Expe­ri­ence (Acapella/Lawrence Hill, 2003), and Fly­boy In The But­ter­milk, Essays on Amer­i­can Cul­ture (Simon and Shus­ter, 1993). Next year Duke Uni­ver­sity Press will pub­lish Fly­boy 2: The Greg Tate Reader. He recently com­pleted ‘The 100 Best Hiphop Lyrics’ for Pen­guin and is now work­ing on a book about the God­fa­ther of Soul, James Brown, for River­head Press.

His play My Dar­ling Grem­lin (with live music score by Lawrence Butch Mor­ris) was pro­duced at Aaron Davis Hall in 1993 and at The Kitchen in 1995. His short fea­ture film Black Body Radi­a­tion was com­pleted in 2006. He also col­lab­o­rated on the libret­toes for Juluis Hemphill’s opera Long Tongues (Apollo Pro­duc­tion) and for Leroy Jenk­ins’ Fresh Faust, (Boston ICA Production). Tate, who performs on guitar in his group Burnt Sugar, is currently teaching a course  as the Visiting Louis Armstrong Professor at Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: On Film
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 witness Christian McBride, co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, on film, with his own bands, as well as with legends such as Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hanock.

If you do you’ll see for yourself that the most awe-inspiring thing about Christian McBride is that his prowess as a player is only half of what makes him such a respected, in-demand and mind-bogglingly busy individual, taking time out to share with the audience of the museum.

The portrait is completed by a mere mid-thirty-something man who carved out time to speak at former President Clinton’s town hall meeting on “Racism in the Performing Arts.” He holds Artistic Director posts at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass summer program and the Dave Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. McBride participated in a Stanford University panel on “Black Performing Arts in Mainstream America.” He’s hosted insightful one-on-one “jazz chats” in Cyberspace on Sonicnet.com. He also scribed the foreword for pianist Jonny King’s book, What Jazz Is (Walker & Co., New York).

2005 witnessed his adding two more prestigious appointments to his resume. In January, he was named co-director of The Jazz Museum in Harlem. Christian has been focusing on a longtime concern: exposing jazz to young people.

“To a degree, jazz is non-existent in most major urban communities, which deeply saddens me,” McBride states. “Kids don't understand who our jazz greats were. My contribution towards rectifying this will be getting them to check out free events at the museum by inviting jazz and non-jazz musicians, athletes and speakers that they can relate to.”
While working for the museum in Harlem, McBride racked up frequent flyer miles as Creative Chair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which gave him a degree of influence over commercial and educational programs at the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Hall. The position was passed on to him by singer Dianne Reeves who held it for three years; McBride handed off the chair to none other than Herbie Hancock.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jazz Is: Now!
All about jazz in the 21st century – Part One with Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Over the course of one century, jazz transitioned from folk to pop to fine art status. In the U.S., where pop music commands the attention of millions, jazz seems to be off the radar of the mainstream media. Yet changes in the landscape of the music industry, driven largely by the Internet and technological innovation, bodes opportunity for jazz musicians, promoters, producers and presenters.

This evening pianist Jonathan Batiste brings together a panel to discuss the future of jazz in the 21st century.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: My Bands
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

As one of the most in-demand bassists in music, Christian McBride could make a good living as a sideman. However, not only does he refuse to rest on his laurels or sideman status, over the course of his 20 year career he has asserted his own prerogative as a leader. Come hear him discuss his own bands, both electric and acoustic, including his latest ensemble, Inside Straight, which headlined at the Village Vanguard in November.

Christian McBride was born on May 31, 1972 in Philadelphia. Electric bass was Christian's first instrument, which he began playing at age 9, followed by acoustic bass two years later. His first mentors on the instrument were his father, Lee Smith (a renowned bassist in Philly) and his great uncle, Howard Cooper (a disciple of the jazz avant-garde). While intensely studying classical music, Christian's love for jazz also blossomed. Upon his 1989 graduation from Philadelphia's fertile High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (C.A.P.A.), Christian was awarded a partial scholarship to attend the world-renowned Juilliard School in New York City to study with the legendary bassist, Homer Mensch. That summer, before making the move to the Big Apple, the already in-demand bassist got his first taste of touring going to Europe with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and traveling the U.S. with the classical jazz fusion group, Free Flight.

McBride never had a chance to settle into his Juilliard studies. Within the first two weeks of the semester, he joined saxophonist Bobby Watson's band, Horizon. He also started working around New York at clubs such as Bradley's and the Village Gate with John Hicks, Kenny Barron, Larry Willis and Gary Bartz. After one year at Juilliard, McBride made a critical decision to leave school to tour with trumpeter Roy Hargrove's first band, electing "experience with as many musicians as possible" as the best teacher. In August of 1990, he landed a coveted position in trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's band until January of 1993.
In 1991, legendary bassist Ray Brown invited the young wunderkind to join him and John Clayton in the trio SuperBass. After being hailed “Hot Jazz Artist” of 1992 by Rolling Stone, Christian continued to prove it as a member of guitarist Pat Metheny's "Special Quartet," which included drum master Billy Higgins and saxophonist Joshua Redman. While recording and touring with Redman the following year, McBride signed to Verve Records in the summer of 1994, recording his first CD as a leader, Gettin' to It. He also graced the big screen playing bass in director Robert Altman's 1940's period piece, Kansas City (1996).

Christian recorded three more career-shaping albums at Verve: Number Two Express (1996), the soul-jazz fusion project A Family Affair (1998 – featuring Christian’s first two songs as a lyricist), and the critically acclaimed SCI-FI (2000), marking the inaugural execution of Christian’s concept of music being boundless by genre. The following year, he continued to expand his audience with two endeavors. He dipped into hip hop with a side project dubbed The Philadelphia Experiment, a “jam band”-inspired CD that reunited Christian with his high school friend, drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson (leader of The Roots) and featured keyboardist Uri Caine and guitarist Pat Martino.

Later that year, pop star Sting invited Christian to become a key figure in his 2001 All This Time CD, DVD and tour. Then in 2002, Christian supported George Duke by becoming a member of his band and recording on his landmark album Face the Music: the legendary keyboardist’s first album on his own recording label, BPM. “Christian is a monster on that bass,” Duke states with pride. “It isn’t often these days to find a young musician so dedicated to his craft. Christian is my kind of musician, one that is open to new ideas, good at playing different styles, reads music prolifically and is dedicated to furthering the growth of music not only as a musician, but as a young representative of his profession. There isn’t anyone better. And besides that, he’s a great cat!”

In 2003, Christian released one album on Warner Bros. Records titled Vertical Vision, a blazing recording that introduced the current incarnation of the Christian McBride Band. Over the years, McBride has been featured on hundreds of albums, touring and/or recording with artists such as David Sanborn, Chick Corea, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, George Benson, and the late greats Joe Henderson, Betty Carter and Milt Jackson. He also undertook his first pop Musical Directorship at the helm of a Christmas show featuring gospel royalty BeBe Winans and pop star Carly Simon. The event marked stage-shy Simon’ first New York concert appearance in a decade and she expressly insisted that only McBride could be her MD.

Finally, as a composer, Christian has achieved several high watermarks. Among them is a commission from Jazz at Lincoln Center to compose "Bluesin' in Alphabet City," performed by Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. And in 1998, the Portland (ME) Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts awarded McBride with a commission to write "The Movement, Revisited," Christian's dramatic musical portrait of the civil rights struggle of the 1960's written and arranged for quartet and a 30-piece gospel choir.

There have been very few artists who truly embody the genuine, heart-felt passion for music in all areas as has Christian McBride. By boldly continuing to leave his mark in areas of musical performance, composition, education and advocacy, he is destined to be a force in music for decades to come. Tonight’s focus on his own groups will unequivocally show why.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jazz Is: Now!
All about jazz in the 21st century – Part Two with Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Thursday, December 17, 2009

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

For years, Ray Santos has been one Latin Music’s best kept secrets. Not anymore. His arrangement of “Beautiful Maria of My Soul” for the Hollywood movie, The Mambo Kings, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Song for a Movie Category (1992). He penned the arrangements for tunes such as “Perfidia” and “Quiereme Mucho,” sung on the movie soundtrack by Linda Ronstadt. Excited by the power of the Ray Santos arrangements, she quickly contracted him to arrange and conduct the material for an album of Latin standards.

The result of the Ronstadt/Santos collaboration was the release entitled Frenesi, a tour-de force production that earned the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album of the Year (1992). On Tito Puente’s 100th Album and Afro-Cuban Jazz progenitor Mario Bauza’s last three productions, Ray Santos’ musicality poured forth through his big band arrangements.

The Juilliard graduate has played, recorded, composed and arranged for the frontline orchestras in the Latin Music Industry over the past 50 years. Mr. Santos, born and raised in New York City, reveled in the atmosphere of the Big Band Era. During this period he absorbed the popular music of his folk from the Caribbean and the Swing Music of the ‘30s and ‘40s. One night, around 1948, while listening to Symphony Sid on the radio, he heard him announce in that familiar deep voice: “Now, here’s ‘Bird,’ Charlie Parker soloing with Machito and His Afro-Cubans.” The thrill of that moment still in his voice, Ray excitedly describes his reaction as “WOW, This is it! This is the real meeting between Jazz and Afro-Cuban Music.”

Creative determination compelled the young saxophonist of the ‘50s to arrange and compose music that captured the incessant rhythmic drive of the Afro-Cuban Sound fused with the power and sonority of Big Band Jazz. The ace arranger penned an extensive output of charts, recorded by two generations of the most influential musical figures in contemporary American and Caribbean music, such as Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. His career from the ‘60s into the early ‘80s matured in Puerto Rico where he wrote and directed music for television, produced recordings for established and emerging Salsa Bands, and played for many top stars in the business. Upon returning to New York, Santos contributed several arrangements to Eddie Palmieri’s 1986 Grammy-winning album in the Latin Music category. His career as a music educator at City College of New York has established him as an authority on Caribbean music, teaching a new generation of musicians. Media and film producers have contracted him as an arranger and music consultant and he remains an artistic innovator in the field.

In September of 1998, Mr. Santos was invited by Wynton Marsalis to conduct the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in a series of three concerts presenting “Con Alma/Jazz With A Latin Tinge.” These concerts were received with great enthusiasm by the audience and drew favorable reviews in the press. In 1999 Ray collaborated with Paquito D’Rivera in the production of Maestro D’Rivera’s album, Tropicana Nights, that was awarded a Tropical Latin Grammy. In December of 1999 he co/produced, with David Chesky, the CD titled The Conga Kings featuring Candido Camero, Carlos “Patato” Valdes and Giovanni Hidalgo, three world-class exponents of conga drumming. In 2000, Ray arranged for the Masterpiece production with Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri; this CD was awarded a Grammy. A second CD Conga Kings Jazz Descargas, with alto saxophonist Phil Woods was released in 2001 on Chesky Records.

Mambo’s resurgence heavily depends on those in the know. Ray Santos is riding, once again, on the crest of the new wave, experimenting with new ideas and musical approaches that will continue to enrich the popular art form, whether it is labeled salsa, Latin music or Afro-Cuban Jazz. “Mambo,” explains Ray, “is the interplay between a cooking rhythm section accompanying the saxes that lay down a melodic groove, over which the brass comes in blaring high powered riffs. The rhythm players, hearing this, step up the intensity of the beat while the dancers on the floor move with frenzy to this tremendous output. The musicians feed off the dancers’ reaction to the music, so it’s like a cycle of energy that goes back and forth between the music and the dancers.”

Proficient musicianship, the gift to express and write musical inspiration and a well-rounded persona has placed Ray Santos among the developers of the music. In turn, he is also preparing a new generation of musicians who will keep the traditions alive and contribute their own innovations. This unassuming gentleman will be, for days to come, a topic of conversation among musicologists, industry people and music lovers alike. And the recognition that Ray has and will continue to receive proves that even in the midst of a highly competitive music industry, nice guys need not finish last.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas National Jazz Museum in Harlem All Star Big Band
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 7PM
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344
Band includes: Seneca Black, John Eckert, Dominick Farinacci, Dion Tucker, Pete and Will Anderson, Jason Marshall, Keith Loftis, Ben Williams and Marion Felder.

Swing with executive director Loren Schoenberg and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem AllStar Big Band at our very last performance at the Rubin Museum of Art in 2009!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Panels
Jack Kerouac: What's New?
11:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Join scholar Sara Villa, poet Rueben Jackson and others on recent discoveries and jazz-related items in the Kerouac oeuvre.

When thinking of the relationship between Kerouac’s writings, the first things that generally come to mind are his major novels – most evidently On the Road and The Subterraneans – his poems, like the “Charlie Parker Choruses” of Mexico City Blues, or his poetical statements, such as his “Essential of Spontaneous Prose”.  If, however, we unite this specifically literary perspective to the analysis of his apparently most scattered writings on jazz, a new image of Kerouac is revealed. These texts, dating from 1939 to the late Fifties, include the articles Kerouac wrote for the Horace Mann Record dedicated to Count Basie, Glenn Miller and George Avakian’s Chicago Jazz album, essays on the hybridizing influences of contemporary classical compositions and on the evolution of bebop and cool jazz, poems and journal entries disclosing the poignant insight of a refined cultural critic, one who is extremely knowledgeable and refined in his embrace of jazz music and culture. These texts will be the beginning of a more expanded dialogue and discussion on Kerouac and jazz, with a special contribution of jazz, classical musician and composer David Amram on his jazz poetry performances with Jack Kerouac and on the creation of Pull My Daisy, directed by Robert Frank and Albert Leslie, ad-libbed by Jack Kerouac with original music composed by David Amram.

Sara Villa is a postdoctoral fellow in a joint program between Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies and the State University of Milan, where she received her PhD in 2008. Her research project is dedicated to Jack Kerouac’s manuscripts on jazz, from his youthful articles on Glenn Miller and Count Basie to the more mature production of essays on bebop and cool jazz. Dr. Villa is the translator into Italian of Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954, and the editor of a forthcoming collection of Kerouac’s music writings. She is the author of articles on Jack Kerouac, Virginia Woolf, and Anglo-American Contemporary Cinema. Her monographic volume on Woolf’s Orlando (I due Orlando: dal romanzo di Virginia Woolf all’adattamento cinematografico di Sally Potter/Two Orlandos: From Virginia Woolf’s Novel to Sally Potter’s Film Adaptation) has recently been published by CUEM, Milan.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: All-Star 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

This evening Christian McBride shall share audio and video clips from his tenure with truly all-star bands, such as Sting, trios led by Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny, groups fronted by Willie Nelson and Queen Latifah, as well as the Philadelphia Experiment and, very recently, the Chick Corea-John McLauglin Five Piece Band.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: Favorite Recordings
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

As the premier jazz bassist of his generation, Christian McBride is naturally associated with the jazz idiom. But his tastes in music are quite eclectic, as you will discover tonight at the very last public program of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in 2009.

The staff and board of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem wish you happy holidays and a prosperous New Year!

National Jazz Museum in Harlem September Schedule

This month the National Jazz Museum in Harlem features films galore, discussions with musicians, jazz educators and journalists, and live performances at one of the best acoustic halls in New York City.

Jazz for Curious Listeners will focus on the artistry of several of the most unique stylists and improvisers in jazz history as seen on film: pianists Dave Brubeck, Cecil Taylor and Art Tatum, saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk and guitarist Django Reinhardt. Our flagship series, the bi-weekly Harlem Speaks interview, is proud to bring jazz drummer and jazz education pioneer Clem DeRosa and the ingenious young jazz pianist Jason Moran to the forefront of discussion at our Visitor's Center. Journalist Ted Panken has been in the thick of the jazz journalist community for decades, and a respected jazz radio announcer to boot. He's featured at Jazz for Curious Readers.

Live performances, where music holds sway beyond words, are the attraction for Harlem in the Himalayas, where pianist Fred Hersch, and saxophonist David Binney will, respectively, hold court.

And don't miss an exclusive preview screening of the PBS documentary, "Latin Music U.S.A." at our Saturday Panel, hosted by one of its creators, musician and historian Bobby Sanabria.

Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009

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

Jazz on Film
Dave Brubeck has long served as proof that creative jazz and popular success can go together. Although critics who had championed him when he was unknown seemed to scorn him when the Dave Brubeck Quartet became a surprise success, in reality Brubeck never watered down or altered his music in order to gain a wide audience. Creative booking (being one of the first groups to play regularly on college campuses) and a bit of luck resulted in great popularity, and Dave Brubeck remains one of the few household names in jazz.

From nearly the start, Brubeck enjoyed utilizing poly-rhythms and poly-tonality (playing in two keys at once). He had classical training from his mother, but fooled her for a long period by memorizing his lessons and not learning to read music. He studied music at the College of the Pacific during 1938-1942. Brubeck led a service band in General Patton's Army during World War II and then, in 1946, he started studying at Mills College with the classical composer Darius Milhaud, who encouraged his students to play jazz. During 1946-1949, Brubeck led a group consisting mostly of fellow classmates, and they recorded as the Dave Brubeck Octet; their music (released on Fantasy in 1951) still sounds advanced today, with complex time signatures and some poly-tonality. The octet was too radical to get much work, so Brubeck formed a trio with drummer Cal Tjader (who doubled on vibes) and bassist Ron Crotty. The trio's Fantasy recordings of 1949-1951 were quite popular in the Bay Area, but the group came to an end when Brubeck hurt his back during a serious swimming accident and was put out of action for months.

Upon his return in 1951, Brubeck was persuaded by altoist Paul Desmond to make the group a quartet. Within two years, the band had become surprisingly popular. Desmond's cool-toned alto and quick wit fit in well with Brubeck's often heavy chording and experimental playing. Joe Dodge was the band's early drummer but, after he tired of the road, the virtuosic Joe Morello took his place in 1956; while the revolving bass chair finally settled on Eugene Wright in 1958. By then, Brubeck had followed his popular series of Fantasy recordings with some big sellers on Columbia, and had appeared on the cover of Time (1954). The huge success of Paul Desmond's "Take Five" (1960) was followed by many songs played in "odd" time signatures such as 7/4 and 9/8; the high-quality soloing of the musicians kept these experiments from sounding like gimmicks. Dave and Iola Brubeck (his wife and lyricist) put together an anti-racism show featuring Louis Armstrong (The Real Ambassadors) which was recorded, but its only public appearance was at the Monterey Jazz Festival in the early '60s.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet constantly traveled around the world until its breakup in 1967. After some time off, during which he wrote religious works, Brubeck came back the following year with a new quartet featuring Gerry Mulligan, although he would have several reunions with Desmond before the altoist's death in 1977. Brubeck joined with his sons Darius (keyboards), Chris (electric bass and bass trombone), and Danny (drums) in Two Generations of Brubeck in the 1970s. In the early '80s, tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi was in the Brubeck Quartet, and beginning in the mid-'80s, clarinetist Bill Smith (who was in the original octet) alternated with altoist Bobby Militello.

There is no shortage of Dave Brubeck records currently available, practically everything he cut for Fantasy, Columbia, Concord, and Telarc are easy to locate. Brubeck, whose compositions "In Your Own Sweet Way," "The Duke," and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" have become standards, remains very busy to the current day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

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

Jazz on Film
Soon after he first emerged in the mid-'50s, pianist Cecil Taylor may have been the most unique improviser in jazz; five decades later he is still the most radical. Although in his early days he used some standards as vehicles for improvisation, since the early '60s Taylor has stuck exclusively to originals. To simplify describing his style, one could say that Taylor's intense atonal percussive approach involves playing the piano as if it were a set of drums. He generally emphasizes dense clusters of sound played with remarkable technique and endurance, often during marathon performances. Suffice it to say that Cecil Taylor's music is not for everyone.

Taylor started piano lessons from the age of six, and attended the New York College of Music and the New England Conservatory. Taylor's early influences included Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck, but from the start he sounded original. Early gigs included work with groups led by Johnny Hodges and Hot Lips Page, but, after forming his quartet in the mid-'50s, Taylor was never a sideman again. The group played at the Five Spot Cafe in 1956 for six weeks and performed at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival (which was recorded by Verve), but, despite occasional records, work was scarce. In 1960, Taylor recorded extensively for Candid and the following year he sometimes substituted in the play The Connection. By 1962, Taylor's quartet featured his longtime associate Mimmy Lyons on alto and drummer Sunny Murray. He spent six months in Europe (Albert Ayler worked with Taylor's group for a time although no recordings resulted) but upon his return to the U.S., Taylor did not work again for almost a year. Even with the rise of free jazz, his music was considered too advanced. In 1964, Taylor was one of the founders of the Jazz Composer's Guild and, in 1968, he was featured on a record by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra. In the mid-'60s Taylor recorded two very advanced sets for Blue Note, but it was generally a lean decade.

Things greatly improved starting in the 1970s. Taylor taught for a time at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Antioch College, and Glassboro State College, he recorded more frequently with his Unit, and European tours became common. After being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973, the pianist's financial difficulties were eased a bit; he even performed at the White House (during Jimmy Carter's administration) in 1979. A piano duet concert with Mary Lou Williams didn't go too well but a collaboration with drummer Max Roach was quite successful. Taylor started incorporating some of his eccentric poetry into his performances and, unlike most musicians, he has not mellowed with age. The death of Jimmy Lyons in 1986 was a major blow, but Cecil Taylor has remained quite active up until the present day, never compromising his musical vision. His music remains as challenging and wondrous as ever.

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009


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

His career as a professional musician, educator, arranger, composer and orchestra leader spans 50 years. At the age of 15 Clem DeRosa's natural ability allowed him to perform with the best musicians in the New York metropolitan area. At age 18 his career was interrupted by World War II when he entered military service.

During his military career, Clem served with one of Glenn Miller's Air Corps Bands. After his discharge, he resumed his career as a professional drummer. Through the years he has recorded and/or performed with Charlie Mingus, Marian McPartland, Teo Macero, Teddy Wilson, Thad Jones, Ben Webster, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Coleman Hawkins, John LaPorta, Kenyon Hopkins, Bobby Hackett and more.

Clem had a strong desire to increase his musical knowledge, so he enrolled at The Juilliard School to study composition and conducting. He later transferred to the Manhattan School of Music, where he received his Master's degree.

During the next era of his life, Clem became deeply involved in music education as one of the leading pioneers of jazz education. Highlights of his achievements in education include co-founding and serving as president of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), teaching at Columbia University's Teachers College, performances with his student jazz ensembles on the Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin TV shows, receiving an honorary doctorate from Five Towns College, and being named to the IAJE Hall of Fame in 1990.

Throughout his years in music education he maintained his professional performing, arranging and conducting activities for many prominent artists. Eventually he became the respected leader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra (received gold record from GRP for assistance in production of "In The Digital Mood"), the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. Today Clem is one of America's leading conductors and producers of corporate events.

Friday, Sept. 11, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas
Fred Hersch, Pianist
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 and composer Fred Hersch has been called "one of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation" by Downbeat and has earned a place among the foremost jazz artists in the world today. From the late 70's onward as a sideman to jazz legends including Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and Stan Getz, he has solidified a reputation as a versatile master of jazz piano, as well as a relentlessly probing composer and conceptualist. He is widely recognized for his ability to steadfastly create a unique body of original works while reinventing the standard jazz repertoire – investing time-tested classics with keen insight, fresh ideas and extraordinary technique. Whether unaccompanied, in duo, working with trios and quintets, Hersch has explored the jazz tradition to its fullest even as he opens new and undiscovered doors. Hersch's numerous accomplishments include a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition, two Grammy® nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance and a Grammy® nomination for Best Instrumental Composition. He has appeared on over one hundred recordings, including more than two-dozen albums as bandleader/solo pianist.

His career as a performer has been greatly enhanced by his composing activities, a vital part of nearly all of his live concerts and recordings. In 2003, Hersch created Leaves of Grass (Palmetto Records), a large-scale setting of Walt Whitman's poetry for two voices (Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry) and an instrumental octet; the work was presented in March 2005 in a sold-out performance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall as part of a six-city US tour. Hersch has toured with concert pianist Christopher and he has also collaborated with artists ranging from Bill Frisell, Toots Thielemans and Charlie Haden to singers Renée Fleming, Norma Winstone and Audra McDonald. He has received commissions from The Gilmore Keyboard Festival, The Doris Duke Foundation, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, The Gramercy Trio and The Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Naxos Records has released Fred Hersch: Concert Music 2001-2006, a disc of his through-composed "classical" works.

Hersch is considered to be one of the most prolific and widely-praised solo jazz pianists of his generation. In 2006, Palmetto Records released the solo disc Fred Hersch in Amsterdam: Live at the Bimhuis; its release led to Hersch becoming the first pianist in the 70-year history of New York's legendary Village Vanguard to play an entire week as a solo pianist shortly after the disc's release. In addition, he leads a trio, a quintet and has ongoing special collaborations with jazz and classical instrumentalists and vocalists around the world. His newest project features an unconventional line-up of piano, trumpet, voice and percussion. The Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra: Live at Jazz Standard was released in April 2009 on Sunnyside Records.

Hersch has acted as a passionate spokesman and fund-raiser for AIDS services and education agencies since 1993. He has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and at numerous concerts for the charities Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS that have raised over $250,000 to date.

Hersch has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning with Dr. Billy Taylor and on a wide variety of National Public Radio programs including Fresh Air, Jazz Set, Studio 360 and Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. Hersch has also been awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship, grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer, and six composition residencies at The MacDowell Colony. He conducted a Professional Training Workshop for Young Musicians at The Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall in 2008 and was awarded the Branigan Lectureship at Indiana University in 2004. A committed educator, Hersch has taught at The New School and Manhattan School of Music; he is currently a visiting professor at Western Michigan University and is on the Jazz Studies faculty of The New England Conservatory.

Monday, Sept. 14, 2009

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

Ted Panken writes feature articles, reviews, and commentary for various print and online music publications, including Downbeat, Jazziz, and www.jazz.com, and won the 2007 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his Downbeat article “Smalls Universe.” He has annotated some 400 compact disk releases, and his work has also appeared in the New York Daily News, the Village Voice, and Tikkun. Between 1985 and 2008, Panken presented jazz and other jazz-related forms of improvised music on New York’s WKCR-FM, where he conducted hundreds of live, in-depth interviews with both established and [then] up-and-coming musicians.

His work at WKCR was integral to his becoming a writer. Musicians he met at the station, for instance Joe Lovano and James Williams, asked him to write liner notes for their recordings. As Panken put it, "word got around," and his career as a writer took off. In addition to the publications mentioned above, he has written program notes for concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center for many years.

A life-long New Yorker, who spent much of the ‘70s in Chicago, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter, dog, and cat.

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009

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

Jazz on Film
One of the most exciting saxophone soloists in jazz history, Rahsaan Roland Kirk was a post-modernist before that term even existed. Kirk played the continuum of jazz tradition as an instrument unto itself; he felt little compunction about mixing and matching elements from the music's history, and his concoctions usually seemed natural, if not inevitable. When discussing Kirk, a great deal of attention is always paid to his eccentricities -- playing several horns at once, making his own instruments, clowning on stage. However, Kirk was an immensely creative artist; he covered every aspect of jazz, from Dixieland to free -- and perhaps no other jazz musician has ever been more spontaneously inventive. His skills in constructing a solo are of particular note. Kirk had the ability to pace, shape, and elevate his improvisations to an extraordinary degree. During any given Kirk solo, just at the point in the course of his performance when it appeared he could not raise the intensity level any higher, he always seemed able to turn it up yet another notch.

Kirk was born with sight, but became blind at the age of two. He started playing the bugle and trumpet, then learned the clarinet and C-melody sax. Kirk began playing tenor sax professionally in R&B bands at the age of 15. While a teenager, he discovered the "manzello" and "stritch" -- the former, a modified version of the saxello, which was itself a slightly curved variant of the B flat soprano sax; the latter, a modified straight E flat alto. To these and other instruments, Kirk began making his own improvements. He reshaped all three of his saxes so that they could be played simultaneously; he'd play tenor with his left hand, finger the manzello with his right, and sound a drone on the stritch, for instance. Kirk's self-invented technique was in evidence from his first recording, a 1956 R&B record called Triple Threat. By 1960 he had begun to incorporate a siren whistle into his solos, and by '63 he had mastered circular breathing, a technique that enabled him to play without pause for breath.

In his early 20s, Kirk worked in Louisville before moving to Chicago in 1960. That year he made his second album, Introducing Roland Kirk, which featured saxophonist/trumpeter Ira Sullivan. In 1961, Kirk toured Germany and spent three months with Charles Mingus. From that point onward, Kirk mostly led his own group, the Vibration Society, recording prolifically with a range of sidemen. In the early '70s, Kirk became something of an activist; he led the "Jazz and People's Movement," a group devoted to opening up new opportunities for jazz musicians. The group adopted the tactic of interrupting tapings and broadcasts of television and radio programs in protest of the small number of African-American musicians employed by the networks and recording studios. In the course of his career, Kirk brought many hitherto unused instruments to jazz. In addition to the saxes, Kirk played the nose whistle, the piccolo, and the harmonica; instruments of his own design included the "trumpophone" (a trumpet with a soprano sax mouthpiece), and the "slidesophone" (a small trombone or slide trumpet, also with a sax mouthpiece). Kirk suffered a paralyzing stroke in 1975, losing movement on one side of his body, but his homemade saxophone technique allowed him to continue to play; beginning in 1976 and lasting until his death a year later, Kirk played one-handed.

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009

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

Jason Moran made his professional recording debut on Greg Osby’s 1997 Blue Note CD, Further Ado, which brought him to the attention of Blue Note executives who signed the pianist to his own record deal shortly thereafter. The association with Blue Note is fitting, placing Moran in the lineage of innovative pianist/composers whose career beginnings were nurtured by the veteran jazz label, musicians such as Monk, Herbie Hancock and Herbie Nichols.

Moran’s debut recording as a leader, Soundtrack to Human Motion, which found him in the company of Osby, Eric Harland, vibraphonist Stefon Harris and bassist Lonnie Plaxico, was released in 1999 to great critical praise (Ben Ratliff of The New York Times named it the best album of the year). The following year’s Facing Left found Moran stripping down to a trio with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, and prompted JazzTimes to declare the album "an instant classic." Moran augmented the trio for his third Blue Note release, Black Stars, adding avant-garde icon Sam Rivers, who plays saxophone, flute and piano on the recording. Gary Giddins of the Village Voice exclaimed "Black Stars is possibly a Blue Note benchmark, definitely one of the year’s outstanding discs."

Moran has performed as a sideman with such artists as Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Lee Konitz, Von Freeman, Ravi Coltrane, and Stefon Harris. He was the youngest honoree of the New Work Commission by the San Francisco Jazz Festival. He was also awarded a grant from Chamber Music America’s "New Works: Creation and Presentation" program, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. For these two grants Moran used sampled conversations as vocal triggers. These compositions would be the foundation for many of Moran’s new compositions. Jazziz magazine wrote “Moran is blessed with the courage of his own convictions—part scavenger and part seer, fluent in the cut/paste/splice devices of hip hop production....”

In 2002, Moran released his universally acclaimed solo piano disc Modernistic. The Cork Jazz Festival awarded Moran the 2002 Guiness Rising Star Award. 2003’s The Bandwagon, culled from the trio’s six-day stint at New York’s Village Vanguard, earned the team of Moran-Mateen-Waits a title as "the best new rhythm section in jazz" (The New York Times) and caused Rolling Stone to proclaim Moran "the most provocative thinker in current jazz."

Moran's sixth release on Blue Note, Same Mother, was released in February '05. This blues based recording adds guitarist, Marvin Sewell, to the Bandwagon. Same Mother is "a reconsideration of the blues that doesn't depend on clichéd dynamics and song structure' (The New York Times).

He has composed and performed extended works commissioned by New York City's Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Dia: Beacon in Beacon, New York. Duke University, Town Hall and Harlem Stages presented an ambitious multimedia work by Moran based on Thelonious Monk's historic 1959 concert at Town Hall in New York City, and rehearsal tapes and photographs taken that year by W. Eugene Smith.

Friday, Sept. 25, 2009

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

Saxophonist/composer David Binney was born in Miami, Florida and raised in Southern California. His parents were jazz fans, and introduced Binney to jazz greats such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, and Wayne Shorter. Binney's parents also exposed him to the music of Jimi Hendrix, Milton Nascimento, Sly Stone and a variety of other styles of music that helped foster an interest in a broad spectrum of music. He began to study the saxophone with various teachers in Los Angeles. At the age of 19 he moved to New York City, where he studied with Phil Woods, Dave Liebman, and George Coleman. In 1989, Binney was awarded an NEA Grant which he used to record his first album, Point Game on Owl Records.

Binney has performed in basement clubs in New York to jazz festivals in Europe, appeared on stage with Aretha Franklin at Carnegie Hall, and with Maceo Parker. He has produced all of his own albums, in addition to two of the Lost Tribe releases. Binney is a founding member of Lost Tribe and Lan Xang, and has recorded as a sideman for Uri Caine's Mahler Project, Drew Gress' Jagged Sky and Medeski, Martin and Wood. David started his record label, Mythology Records, in 1998.

David Binney performs regularly at the 55 Bar in New York City.

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009

Saturday Panels
Latin Music U.S.A.
11:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Musician and historian Bobby Sanabria hosts a screening of portions of the new PBS documentary along with the film’s producer Pamela Aguilar and director Dan McCabe as discussion guests.
Four Part Documentary Series Premieres on PBS Over Two Evenings October 12 and 19, 2009
Latin Music USA is a film about American music. Fusions of Latin sounds with jazz, rock, country, rhythm and blues — music with deeper roots and broader reach than most people realize. It's a fresh take on our musical history, reaching across five decades and across musical genres to portray the rich mix of sounds created by Latinos and embraced by all.
The four-hour documentary series premieres on October 12th (Episodes 1&2) and October 19th (Episodes 3&4) 2009, on PBS stations nationwide and on PBS.org/latinmusicusa. Produced by a team led by WGBH, in co-production with the BBC, Latin Music USA invites the audience into the vibrant musical conversation between Latinos and non-Latinos that has helped shape the history of popular music in the United States. Fittingly, the series launches in Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to recognize the contributions of Latinos to the United States and to celebrate Latino heritage and culture.

The series features the stories of an extraordinary range of artists, including salsa greats Willie Colón and Marc Anthony; the Latin-inflected sounds found in much of sixties rock and roll, from the Drifters to Motown to the Rolling Stones; jazz fused with Cuban rhythms from Mario Bauzá and Chano Pozo; the genius of Texas accordion player Flaco Jiménez; Carlos Santana; Linda Ronstadt; the legendary Chicano rock band Los Lobos; megastars Gloria and Emilio Estefan; Ricky Martin and Juanes; Miami rapper Pitbull; reggaetón performers Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón; and Lin-Manuel Miranda from the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights. The life experiences of these and many other unforgettable artists will reveal how Latinos have reinvented their music in the United States, while never losing sight of their own rich traditions.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Art Tatum / Django Reinhardt
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jazz on Film
 
Art Tatum has been a focus of several jazz museum events over the past several years, most recently a Saturday panel that also featured Ben Webster. Now he's paired with another pioneer who became known to jazz fans and writers in the 1930s, guitarist Django Reinhardt. Seeing each on film will bring their artistry to life!
Django Reinhardt

Reinhardt was the son of a traveling entertainer and the brother of Joseph Reinhardt. He grew up in a gypsy settlement outside Paris. Reinhardt first played violin and later took up guitar, and began working professionally in 1922 with the accordionist Guerino. In 1928, he was badly burned in a caravan fire, which resulted in the mutilation of his left hand. This deprived him of the use of two fingers and led him to devise a unique fingering method to overcome his handicap.

After a period of convalescence, he worked in cafés in Paris and in a duo with the singer Jean Sablon. In 1934, he was a founding member, with Stephane Grappelli, of the ensemble that became known as the Quintette du Hot Club de France. In the years before World War II the group gained considerable renown through its numerous recordings, and Reinhardt became an international celebrity. He appeared throughout Europe and recorded with many important American musicians who visited the Continent. During the war, while Grappelli lived in Britain, Reinhardt remained in France. He led a big band, then achieved considerable success as the leader of a new quintet in which the clarinetist Hubert Rostaing took Grappelli's place. He also became interested in composition and, with Andre Hodeir, arranged the music for the film Le Village de la Colere (1946). In 1946, he visited England and Switzerland, toured the USA as a soloist with Duke Ellington's band (playing an amplified guitar for the first time), and worked in New York.

After his return to France, he lived in Samois and toured and recorded with his quintet, which sometimes included Grappelli again. Reinhardt's grasp of harmony, remarkable technique, and trenchant rhythmic sense made him an excellent accompanist. His incisive support is heard to advantage on Stardust (1935), recorded with Coleman Hawkins. He later developed into a soloist of unique character, creating a deeply personal style out of his own cultural patrimony. By 1937, when he recorded Chicago with the Quintette, he was established as the first outstanding European jazz musician, a stylist with great melodic resourcefulness and a mastery of inflection. He was a gifted composer of short evocative pieces and had a flair for pacing a performance so the maximum variety could be wrung from it without compromising its homogeneity; an excellent example of this is St. Louis Blues (1937).

Endowed with remarkable sensitivity, he could work with visiting American performers without forsaking his own essentially romantic style. In the 1940s, he switched to the electric guitar. However, this did not coarsen his playing since he used its power with discretion. The rhythmic content of his work became more varied, as in Minor Swing (1947), and his improvised lines more flexible. The asymmetrical, occasionally violent playing heard in some later performances shows the continual widening of his expressive scope. A documentary film, Django Reinhardt (1958), was made after his death by the director Paul Paviot. It includes an introduction by Jean Cocteau and features music performed by Grappelli, Rostaing, and Joseph Reinhardt.

Django's two sons, Lousson and Babik, were both fine guitarists, and after their father's death, Babik established a reputation in his own right.

Art Tatum

Art Tatum is one of the greatest pianists to ever play the instrument. Despite seriously impaired vision (he was blind in one eye and had only partial sight in the other), Tatum received some formal piano training as a teenager at the Toledo School of Music and learned to read sheet music with the aid of glasses and by the Braille method. Other than that, he was self-taught, learning from piano rolls, phonograph recordings, radio broadcasts, and various musicians whom he encountered as a young man in the area around Toledo and Cleveland. Tatum acknowledged Fats Waller as his primary inspiration, with the popular radio pianist Lee Sims, whose interpretations contained many interesting harmonies, as an important secondary influence.

Tatum was playing professionally in Toledo by 1926 and performed on radio in 1929-30. In 1932, he traveled to New York as the accompanist for Adelaide Hall. There, in March 1933, he made his first solo recordings, for Brunswick. After leaving Hall, he worked in Cleveland from 1934-5 and led a group in Chicago from 1935-6. His reputation as an outstanding jazz pianist was consolidated in 1937 with his performances in various New York clubs and on radio shows. He toured England the following year and appeared regularly in New York and Los Angeles in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Taking Nat "King" Cole's successful jazz trio as a model, Tatum founded his own influential trio with Slam Stewart (double bass) and Tiny Grimes (electric guitar) in 1943. Grimes left the following year, but Tatum continually returned to this format, playing with Everett Barksdale in particular.

In 1944, Tatum played in a jazz concert at the Metropolitan Opera House, and in 1947 he made a cameo appearance in the film The Fabulous Dorseys. Although he was regularly active in nightclubs, radio shows, recording studios, and was lionized by jazz musicians and critics, he did not acquire a large popular following during this period and was bypassed in jazz popularity polls. In 1953, he began an association with the record producer Norman Granz that led to a number of outstanding small-group recordings with such mainstream musicians as Benny Carter, Roy Eldridge, and Ben Webster. More importantly, he was recorded in a long series of solo performances, which indicated both the extent of his repertory and his extraordinary imagination. Tatum remained active and constantly improving his art until shortly before his death.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem August Schedule

The August 2009 public programs of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem present a diverse selection of events. For instance, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’s compositional range and depth will be the focal point of a four-part series on Tuesdays. From his writings for small and large ensembles, to his forays into long-form and chamber composition, this free program will provide depths of musical analysis of Marsalis’s compositions unavailable even in most university settings.
 
One Saturday per month we delve deeply into a jazz topic of interest, often of musical artists of yesteryear deserving more attention. This month the pioneering drummer Papa Jo Jones is the focus of the Saturday panel, and will contain the viewpoints of senior statesmen of the music, as well as scholar Paul Devlin, who has spent many years working on a Jones biography.
 
On two Wednesdays this month we will pursue the current relevance of jazz culture via a forward-looking panel discussion and live performance moderated by one of the most exciting young pianists to hit
the scene in decades, Jonathan Batiste. This new program will accentuate the perspective of emerging jazz artists on the present and future valence of jazz music in modern society and culture.
 
Batiste will also lead a trio at
the Rubin Museum of Art, where the music will speak for itself.
 
Another angle into the genius of Duke Ellington will be explored as we investigate his efforts with the written word. Our flagship series, Harlem Speaks, now in its fifth year, has two musicians of appeal across generations and style.
 
The first, pianist Vijay Iyer, is a polymath with musical talent who has garnered winning attention from jazz critics far and wide for his compositional daring and integration of elements ranging from Indian music to free jazz. The second, bassist Eddie Gomez, has been a standard-bearer in countless rhythm sections of note since the ’60s. Both combine intellect and soulfulness in their musical and verbal conversations. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to spend time with them as they stretch out.

Monday, August 3, 2009

 
Jazz for Curious Readers

Ellington: The Author
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Tonight's program focuses on Duke Ellington’s written words.

Duke Ellington is best known as a composer, band leader and pianist. His musical oeuvre is second to none among American composers. Much less known is his writings, which include occasional responses to critics and his only book-length work, Music is My Mistress. Join us for this in-depth exploration of his original writings.
 
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Wynton Marsalis: Small Groups
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
                                                                    
Wynton Marsalis: The Composer
 
Wynton Marsalis is the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Mr. Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12 and soon began playing in local bands of diverse genres. He entered The Juilliard School at age 17 and soon joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Mr. Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and since he has recorded more than 40 jazz and 11 classical recordings, which have garnered him nine GRAMMY Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMYs in the same year; Mr. Marsalis repeated this feat in 1984.

Mr. Marsalis’s rich body of compositions includes Sweet Release, Jazz: Six Syncopated Movements, Jump Start, Citi Movement/Griot New York, At the Octoroon Balls, In This House, On This Morning, and Big Train. In 1997, Mr. Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music, for his oratorio Blood on the Fields, which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 1999, he released eight new recordings in his unprecedented “Swinging into the 21st” series, and premiered several new compositions, including the ballet Them Twos, for a June 1999 collaboration with the New York City Ballet. That same year he premiered the monumental work All Rise, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Morgan State University Choir in December 1999. Sony Classical released All Rise on CD October 1, 2002. Recorded on September 14 and 15, 2001 in Los Angeles in those tense days following 9/11, All Rise features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra along with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Morgan State University Choir, the Paul Smith Singers and the Northridge Singers.
 
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Wynton Marsalis: Big Band
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Wynton Marsalis: The Composer

 
On March 6, 2007 he released From the Plantation to the Penitentiary on Blue Note Records, the follow-up CD to his Blue Note Records releases The Magic Hour and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, the companion soundtrack recording to Ken Burns’ PBS documentary of the great African-American boxer, and Wynton Marsalis: Live at The House Of Tribes.

Mr. Marsalis is also an internationally respected teacher and spokesman for music education, and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of universities and colleges throughout the U.S. He conducts educational programs for students of all ages, and hosts the popular Jazz for Young People concerts and the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mr. Marsalis has also been featured in the video series Marsalis on Music and the radio series Making the Music.  

He has also written four books: Sweet Swing Blues on the Road in collaboration with photographer Frank Stewart, Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life with Carl Vigeland, Marsalis on Music which was the companion book for the PBS television series of the same name, and recently released To a Young Musician: Letters from the Road with Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, published by Random House in 2004. He was also one of three contributing authors to a children's book called Listen to the Storyteller and, in October 2005, Candlewick Press released Marsalis’s Jazz ABZ, an A to Z collection of 26 poems celebrating jazz greats, illustrated by poster artist Paul Rogers.
 
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jazz Is: Now!

Jazz Culture I
Host: Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

NEW PROGRAM

Join pianist/composer/bandleader/phenom Jonathan Batiste with an open panel discussion on jazz culture and its relevance in today's society, with special musical guest performances.
 
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Harlem Speaks

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

Voted the #1 Rising Star Jazz Artist and #1 Rising Star Composer in the Downbeat Magazine International Critics' Poll for both 2006 and 2007, VIJAY IYER was described in The Village Voice as "the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years." The son of Indian immigrants, he is a largely self-taught creative musician grounded in the American jazz lexicon and drawing from a range of Western and non-Western traditions. His widely acclaimed recordings include Panoptic Modes (2001), Blood Sutra (2003), Reimagining (2005), and Tragicomic (2008) with his trio/quartet; Your Life Flashes (2002), Simulated Progress (2005), and Door (2008) with the experimental three-piece unit Fieldwork; Raw Materials (2006) in his longstanding duo with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and In What Language? (2004) and Still Life with Commentator (2007), his large-scale works in collaboration with poet-performer Mike Ladd.
 
As a composer/performer, Iyer has received commissioning grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund (2000, 2001, 2005), the New York State Council on the Arts (2002), Creative Capital Foundation (2002), Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust (2002, 2004), American Composers Forum (2005), Chamber Music America (2005), and Meet The Composer (2006). He received the prestigious 2003 CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts, the 2004 Up & Coming Musician of the Year Award in the Eighth Annual Jazz Awards, a 2006 Fellowship in Music Composition from New York Foundation for the Arts, and a 2007 Artist Residency at Harvestworks.
 
Iyer's first orchestral work, Interventions, was commissioned and premiered by the American Composers Orchestra in March 2007 under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies for the ensemble's 30th anniversary gala concerts. It was praised by Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times as "all spiky and sonorous," and David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that the piece "immediately proclaimed its importance." Peter Burwasser wrote in the Philadelphia City Paper, "[Iyer] brings it off with a heft and dramatic vision and a daring sense of soundscape."
 
Iyer has collaborated in performance and on disc with a wide range of contemporary artists, including Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Amiri Baraka, Wadada Leo Smith, Dead Prez, Amina Claudine Myers, Butch Morris, George Lewis, Miya Masaoka, Trichy Sankaran, Samir Chatterjee, Pamela Z, Imani Uzuri, Will Power, Suphala, Dafnis Prieto, Burnt Sugar, Karsh Kale, Ibrahim Quraishi, DJ Spooky, John Zorn, and many others.
 
A polymath whose work has spanned the sciences, arts, and humanities, Iyer holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Yale College, and a Masters in Physics and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Technology and the Arts from the University of California at Berkeley. He was chosen as one of nine "Revolutionary Minds" in the science magazine Seed, and his research in music cognition has been featured on the radio programs This Week in Science and Studio 360. He has given master classes and lectures in composition, improvisation, cognitive science, jazz studies, and performance studies at New York University, The New School University, California Institute of the Arts, Columbia University, Harvard University, Manhattan School of Music, and the School for Improvisational Music, among others. His writings appear in Music Perception, Current Musicology, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Critical Studies in Improvisation, Journal of the Society for American Music, and the edited anthologies Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia Univ. Press) and Sound Unbound (MIT Press). He is a Steinway artist.
 
Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Jazz for Curious Listeners

Wynton Marsalis: Orchestral
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Wynton Marsalis: The Composer

 
In 2001, Mr. Marsalis was appointed Messenger of Peace by Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and he has also been designated cultural ambassador, in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center touring, to the United States of America by the U.S. State Department through their CultureConnect program. Mr. Marsalis was instrumental in the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief concert, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, which has raised over $3 million for the Higher Ground Relief Fund to benefit the musicians, music industry related enterprises and other individuals and entities from the areas in Greater New Orleans who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. He helped lead the effort to construct Jazz at Lincoln Center’s new home – Frederick P. Rose Hall – the first education, performance, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz, which opened in October 2004.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jazz Culture II
Host: Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

NEW PROGRAM

Join pianist/composer/bandleader/phenom Jonathan Batiste with an open panel discussion on jazz culture and its relevance in today's society, with special musical guest performances.
 
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Wynton Marsalis: Chamber
Instructor: Ethan Iverson
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Wynton Marsalis: The Composer

 
Small ensemble jazz is comparable to chamber classical music in the intimate settings in which they are often performed and the conversational nature of the interaction among the musicians. Wynton Marsalis has innovated a unique compositional style for small jazz ensembles that makes for an intriguing study of comparison to his writings for the classical chamber ensemble. Join Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus fame for an in-depth look and listen to some challenging and innovative music.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Harlem Speaks

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

Eddie Gomez (born October 4, 1944) is a jazz bassist born in Santurce, Puerto Rico; he emigrated with his family at a young age to the United States and grew up in New York. He started on double bass in the New York City school system at the age of eleven and at age thirteen went to the New York City High School of Music and Art. He went on to study with Fred Zimmerman. He played in the Marshall Brown-led Newport Festival Youth Band from 1959 to 1961, and was later educated at Juilliard.
 
His impressive resumé includes performances with jazz giants such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Benny Goodman, Buck Clayton, Marian McPartland, Paul Bley, Wayne Shorter, Jeremy Steig, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Chick Corea and Carli Muñoz. Time Magazine lauded: “Eddie Gómez has the world on his strings”. Eddie Gómez would spend a total of eleven years with Bill Evans Trio which included performances throughout the United States, Europe, and the Orient, as well as dozens of recordings. Two of the Trio's recordings won Grammy awards. In addition, he was a member of the Manhattan Jazz Quintet.
 
Simply put, Gomez is one of jazz’s great veterans and this is a rare opportunity to hear him speak at length about his long and distinguished career.
 
In addition to working as a studio musician for many famous jazz musicians, he has recorded as a leader for Columbia Records, Projazz and Stretch. Most of his recent recordings as a leader, are co-led by jazz pianist Mark Kramer.

 
Friday, August 28, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas

Jazz Festival: 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

Musicians you SHOULD know about!


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 the percussions at the age of 8, switching to the piano at age 11. A student of jazz and classical music, Jonathan has been mentored by his musical family and other great musicians and is a poised and talented pianist of his generation. "An extremely rare talent. His feeling, originality, humor, boldness of conception and deep swing are an absolute joy" says pianist Benny Green.
 
By the age of 16 years old, Jonathan had, and can be seen, performing with some of New Orleans' most outstanding and respected musicians including the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Irvin Mayfield, Nicholas Payton, Alvin Batiste, Cyril Neville, Donald Harrison, Greg Tardy, Maurice Brown, Russell Batiste, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and other great musicians. He has been performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for years and in 2005 headlined his show in the WWOZ Jazz Tent. He can be seen performing around the city at venues such as New Orleans' Snug Harbor, Tipitinas, Funky Butt as well as other venues and festivals worldwide.
 
His skills range from gifted performer and recording artist to composer and arranger as well. At the age of 17, Jonathan wrote the score for the Arts Council of New Orleans. His score will be played every day and all day as background music at the Louisiana Arts Work Museum in New Orleans.
 
The year of 2004, Jonathan graduated from St. Augustine High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). 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. He studied Jazz at NOCCA in which he received education in ear training, big band, combo playing and private lessons in which he studied with Michael Pellera, a prominent pianist/composer and educator. He also studied with Alvin Batiste, New Orleans clarinetist/composer who is head of the jazz studies department at NOCCA. Jonathan received a letter from the State of Louisiana Governor Office acknowledgement of outstanding NOCCA student. Jonathan was selected to the National Beta Club at St. Augustine High School, which is the academic high school he attended.
 
Upon graduating from high school he was the talk of many throughout New Orleans and even the country. Many people believe in the talent of this youth. "Full understanding of the harmonic approach to the piano. His solos, almost Monk-like, are inventive and unpredictable" says the great Benny Golson. The next move was New York City.
 
Jonathan auditioned at The Juilliard School for the 2004-2005 school year and was accepted. He is presently studying Jazz Piano at The Juilliard School of music in New York. Since his arrival to New York he has already began to make his mark on the music scene, from performing regularly around the city with his groups and others to debuting at Carnegie Hall in November of 2005.

Jonathan is already considered to be one of the of the next generation of young lions who will carry on the legacy of New Orleans' composers/piano wizards such as Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair, and James Booker to New Orleans and the world over. He is establishing his own unique voice in the epically diverse world that we call music.
 
Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Panels

Jo Jones
10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

The Man Who Played Like The Wind

Paul Devlin, a literary scholar with a strong basis in jazz, has been working with Albert Murray on a biography of Jo Jones for many years. He will be sharing many of his insights, along with musicians who have found much to study, revere, and love about the music of this percussionist pioneer.
                           
Jo Jones shifted the timekeeping role of the drums from the bass drum to the hi-hat cymbal, greatly influencing all swing and bop drummers.  Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson were just two who learned from his light but forceful playing, as Jones swung the Count Basie Orchestra with just the right accents and sounds. After growing up in Alabama, Jones worked as a drummer and tap-dancer with carnival shows. He joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in Oklahoma City in the late '20s. After a period with Lloyd Hunter's band in Nebraska, Jones moved to Kansas City in 1933, joining Count Basie's band the following year. He went with Basie to New York in 1936 and with Count, Freddie Green and Walter Page he formed one of the great rhythm sections. Max Roach said on many occasions that if a drummer played three beats, he owed two of them to Jones.
 
Jones was with the Basie band (other than 1944-46 when he was in the military) until 1948 and in later years he participated in many reunions with Basie alumni. He was on some Jazz at the Philharmonic tours and recorded in the 1950s with Illinois Jacquet, Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington among others; Jones appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival with both Basie and the Coleman Hawkins-Roy Eldridge Sextet. Jo Jones led sessions for Vanguard (1955 and 1959) and Everest (1959-60), a date for Jazz Odyssey on which he reminisced and played drum solos (1970) and mid-'70s sessions for Pablo and Denon. In later years he was known as "Papa" Jo Jones and thought of as a wise if brutally frank elder statesman. This is a wonderful chance to focus in on one of the greatest jazz innovators and philosophers.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem July Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

 
Monday, July 6, 2009

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong – The ‘20s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 9, 2009

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

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

Friday, July 10, 2009

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

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

Saturday, July 11, 2009

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

With author Stephanie Crease

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

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

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong – The ‘30s

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 17, 2009

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

Musicians you SHOULD know about!

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

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

Musicians you SHOULD know about!

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

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

Satruday, July 25, 2009

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

Jazz Journalists in Conversation with Musicians/Writers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

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

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

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

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

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.

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.