griffin

Sid Griffin & the Coal Porters come to Western USA

Musician/writer/author/broadcaster Sid Griffin rose to fame in Los Angeles as leader of Island recording artists the Long Ryders, one of the first bands of the alt-rock era to incorporate the influences of Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds. Yet in recent years, he’s made his home in London, where he leads the Coal Porters. The band has played only a limited number of American shows since their formation in the 90s.

This spring, the Coal Porters will return to the scene of the crime — Los Angeles and the West Coast — where they will play three shows in the L.A. area, one in San Francisco and a coveted spot at the Stagecoach festival on Sunday, May 1.

When the Ryders ended, native Kentuckian Griffin formed the Coal Porters, which initially had a fluid lineup, and relocated from L.A. to London, where he hooked up with Scottish stand-up comedian Neil Robert Herd (sound engineer on Wasp, Best Live Action Short Film winner at the 2004 Academy Awards). The duo started out playing electric, but quickly tired of hauling around amps and drums. As a result of a dare, the Coal Porters decided to play acoustic bluegrass versions of their material at a charity concert in London. The crowd reaction affirmed that the band had found its true calling and said goodbye to electric instrumentation forever.  En route from then to now they picked up Canadian fiddle virtuoso Carly Frey and London’s noted local attorney and doghouse bassist Andrew Stafford. In 2010 they were blessed to secure the services of one of Britain’s best young banjo players, John Breese. With this impressive lineup, the Coal Porters were ready to take on the world.

With a published author, a professional comedian and a barrister in their ranks they are the only band who can sue themselves over copyright and joke about it.

In April 2009, after traveling halfway across the globe, the Coal Porters arrived outside of Durango, Colorado, played two killer shows at the famous MeltDown Festival (Colorado’s answer to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco), and laid down the tracks to their first album in two years. Durango was recorded in two weeks in the Colorado mountains at the Kozy Tone Studio of legendary producer Ed Stasium (Ramones, Mick Jagger, Phil Spector, Smithereens, Belinda Carlisle, Jeff Healey Band, and the Long Ryders).∂ƒƒ The entire album was cut Basement Tapes style, with the same authenticity of Dylan and The Band. Everyone crowded in one room. Overdubs were few and laughter frequent.

Durango was released in January 2010. It faithfully represents the Coal Porters’ hot live act, and creates new moods of its own. This highly anticipated follow-up to 2007’s Turn the Water On, Boy! is a clear country-mile step forward, evoking the sounds of a bluegrass Clash, or a Bill Monroe for the 21st century.

David Fricke wrote in Rolling Stone, “The Coal Porters [have] been going for nearly two decades . . . and [have] evolved from a deeper mining of the country in the Ryders’ acid-tinted drive to a pure acoustic bluegrass written and played with natural — in Griffin’s case, native — flair on Durango.”

Fricke appeared with Griffin in a one-on-one interview panel at the Americana Music Festival & Conference, held in Nashville in September 2010.

Awarding Durango four stars in March 2010, MOJO magazine said: “The audio equivalent of a feel-good movie . . . recorded all in one room, with everyone as much intent on capturing the vibes as much as the undoubted quality of the music . . . gorgeous.”

Blurt noted, “Seven albums on, the Coal Porters have a reputation they can bank on. And with Durango this durable bunch has successfully added even more fuel to their fire.”

The Coal Porters are five musicians from four different parts of the planet who came together as an incredibly powerful fusion of talent, the world’s first “alt-bluegrass” act.

“For all the satisfaction of success in Europe and becoming the UK’s leading ‘alt-bluegrass’ ensemble,” says Griffin, “there is nothing to compare to the Coal Porters heading for my musical home in California. My days in Los Angeles with the Long Ryders were so wonderful and I was so blessed with so many friends that it is high time I took the band to the left coast to show ’em all what we can do. I am extremely proud of my time in the Golden State and extremely proud of the music my Coal Porters are making right now so to put the two together is gonna be a true, true week to remember.”

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The Spring 2010 West Coast Tour

Fri., April 29  SAN FRANCISCO, CA Hotel Crescent/Burrit Room Lounge
Sun., May 1  INDIO, CA Stagecoach Festival (3 p.m. stage time)
Mon., May 2  LOS ANGELES/CULVER CITY, CA The Cinema Bar
Tues., May 3  LOS ANGELES/ALTADENA, CA The Coffee Gallery
Wed., May 4  LOS ANGELES/ECHO PARK, CA Taix, 321 Lounge

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.