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National Jazz Museum in Harlem May 16 - May 22, 2011

Upcoming events at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for this week include:

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Tito Puente Month: Presented by Joe Conzo and special guests

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

The Jazz Years

The 60’s saw Puente fully immersed in his passion to combine Jazz and Latin music. A passion thatwas fueled by his mentors Machito and “Hall of Famer” Mario Bauza. It had been his belief that this “marriage” could become a powerful force in music, thereby enhancing the musical experience of the listener and dancer.

He teamed up with bandleader and trombonist Buddy Morrow and began a series of recording sessions where both of them performed with two full and completely different orchestras. The project culminated in the LP recording “Revolving Bandstand” under the RCA label.

With this recording, Latin Jazz received a shot in the arm. It would have a direct affect on some of the younger musicians that would be making a name for themselves in the years to come, notably, Ray Barretto, who first played with Puente in “Dance Mania” and also recorded on the “Revolving Bandstand” sessions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Harlem Speaks

Bennie Wallace, Saxophonist

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

Tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace made waves throughout the jazz world in the late 1970's with his debut recording, The Fourteen Bar Blues. Thereafter, with an unflagging respect and affection for classic jazz, he repeatedly represented his own progressive take on the music. His talent for composing and arranging music attracted the attention of Hollywood moviemakers in the late 1980's, which led him to spend nearly a decade in California composing and directing film soundtracks. Wallace's music has developed a more lyrical sense, yet his rhythms retained an authentic style that belonged uniquely to Wallace, according to critics. Winner of Germany's Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the jazz Grammy equivalent, and a five-time winner of the Down Beat magazine award for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, the full impact of Wallace's talent remained yet to unfold into the new century.

Born Bennie Lee Wallace Jr. on November 18, 1946, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wallace began playing clarinet in his youth from the age of 12 when a music teacher at his school started a jazz band and taught the group about great jazz musicians like Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Later, Wallace played in the high school band and added tenor saxophone to his teenage repertoire. Despite his youth, he learned his way around the after-hour jazz clubs even while he was still in high school in Chattanooga. During his late-night excursions, Wallace participated in jam sessions, playing bebop and blues most frequently. He went on to study music at the University of Tennessee and received a bachelor's degree in clarinet studies in 1968. After college during the mid 1970's, he did some composing for a German radio orchestra although his first love was jazz saxophone. Even during a stint in Hollywood during the late 1980s and into the 1990's, Wallace maintai ned to interviewer Zan Stewart of the Los Angeles Times that his horn remained the focal point of his music and of his life.

After his arrival in New York from Tennessee, Wallace spent 1973 studying the old jazz masters and their music to discover the essence of each, focusing heavily on Johnny Hodges and Coleman Hawkins. Yet despite his in-depth study of historical jazz, Wallace disliked repertory bands and eschewed revivalist groups equally. He remained committed to personal definition in everything that he performed. It became evident that Wallace moved in a direction different from the bandwagon that typified so many of his contemporaries, with his styles rooted more closely in the work of Coleman Hawkins than with John Coltrane. In 1985, Wallace signed with Blue Note Records. His debut album for that label, entitled Twilight Time, remained a favorite for many years

In 1991, in an unanticipated career shift, Wallace moved his residence to Pacific Palisades in Southern California to be near the Hollywood film industry as he became involved in composing for films. The opportunity came as a result of his 1985 Blue Note release, Twilight Time, which caught the ear of filmmaker Ron Shelton. Shelton requested that Wallace contribute to the soundtrack for the late-1980's film Bull Durham. Wallace obliged with "Love Ain't No Triple Play," written expressly for that movie. Also heard on the Bull Durham soundtrack was a reprise of Wallace's arrangement of "Try a Little Tenderness." Wallace went on to score the movie Blaze and served as musical director the film White Men Can't Jump.

During this time, Wallace worked extensively with pianist Tommy Flanagan in creating film music. Additionally, Wallace worked behind the scenes as a docent of pianist Jimmy Rowles after Wallace, having settled in California, contacted Rowles completely without introduction. Regardless, a comfortable relationship bloomed between the two, as Rowles mentored Wallace not only in the mechanics of playing the piano, but also in the fine points of harmony. In 1993, Wallace released The Old Songs, an album which represented a culmination of the wisdom and inspiration that he derived from Rowles. He’s now back on the East Coast, living with his wife in Connecticut.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Harlem in the Himalayas

Colin Vallon Trio

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

Colin Vallon, piano
Patrice Moret, double-bass
Samuel Rohrer, drums

Get an insight into the international sounds of cutting edge jazz with the music of this band, which belongs among the most remarkable and fascinating which the Swiss scene has to offer. The 29-year-old Colin Vallon has everything an extraordinary musician needs: brilliant technique, personal expression, a sense for perfect timing and a very individual, musical language which he creates through the unusual sounds from his prepared piano. Together with bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Samuel Rohrer, he has developed an exciting multiple stylistics based on modern jazz, but from which it steps out into all directions possible. The trio lives out its dramaturgically excellent compositions in sensitive interplay.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Panels
A Tito Puente Celebration
12:00 – 4:00pm

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

Join us for an afternoon with the music of the King of Timbales, Tito Puente.

El Rey de Timbales. Tito Puente more than earned first place among modern Latin jazz musicians, working continuously from 1937 to 2000, recording over 100 albums.

Puente started his professional career as a drummer in Noro Morales’ orchestra. He played briefly with Machito’s Afro-Cubans before being drafted into the U.S. Navy, where he played in a band led by famed swing band leader, Charlie Barnet. After his discharge, Puente took advantage of the G.I. Bill to study at the Juilliard School of Music, while working with a variety of Latin bands in New York.

Puente quickly became known as a sizzling arranger. Promoter Federico Pagani hired Puente after hearing him jamming with a group of players from Pupi Campo's band, and dubbed them the Picadilly Boys. Puente subsequently moved to Tico Records and changed the group's name to Tito Puente and his Orchestra. Through numerous changes in labels and musicians, Puente has been in front of his group ever since.

Puente's fame skyrocketed when promoter Max Hyman bought the Palladium dance hall and opened it as a nightclub just as the craze for dancing the mambo and cha-cha hit in the early 1950's. He recalled nearly 50 years later:

“It was the explosion of dance. Remember, the Palladium was a big dance hall. I've always maintained that without a dance the music cannot be popular. People became aware of a new dance--the Mambo--it was ‘in’ to learn to dance the Mambo no matter what part of society you came from. And so here was a place, the Palladium, where everybody could come to dance or learn the Mambo. Dance studios sent their students to the Palladium, where they could learn and see great dancers—ballet stars, Broadway stars, expert Mambo dancers—all in one place. And I geared my music to these dancers.”

Puente rode the wave on Tico, then switched to RCA for what some consider his best albums, including Top Percussion, Dance Mania, his top-seller, and Mucho Puente. In the early 1960's, he moved from cha-chas and mambos to the new pachanga style and rejoined Tico to record Pachanga Con Puente. His 1962 descarga (Latin jam) album, El Rey Bravo debuted Puente's composition, "Oye Como Va," which later became a huge pop hit for Carlos Santana. "Every time he plays 'Oye Como Va,' I get a nice royalty check," Puente said.

Puente suffered through the boogaloo craze ("Boogaloo meant nothing to me. It stunk.") and carried on into the rise of salsa in the early 1970's. He recorded several albums in collaboration with Celia Cruz, the "Queen of Salsa." In the early 1980's, he moved into more traditional Latin jazz for the Concord label, earning a Grammy award for Tito Puente and His Latin Ensemble on Broadway. Although he was criticized for leaning on a clichéd style in his performances and material, Puente rallied again in 1991 to capitalize on the popularity of Oscar Hijuelos' novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love with the album, The Mambo King: 100th Album. It was actually something like his 112th, but who was counting at that point? Ever a trend-rider, Puente made his prime-time television debut in 1995 on an episode of "The Simpsons."

In 1997 Puente recorded 50 Years of Swing, a compilation of hits that celebrate his fifty years in the Latin music industry, and in 1999, he won his fifth Grammy for Best Latin Performance for his CD, Mambo Birdland. In the late 1990's, he was designated as a "Legend" by the Hispanic Hall of Fame, inducted to the Jazz Hall of Fame, received a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, and received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award. He suffered a heart attack soon after his last public appearance, in April 2000, with the Puerto Rico Symphonic Orchestra at the "Centro de Bellas Artes" in Puerto Rico.

Conspirator Announces Important Venue Changes

On the heels of a successful northeast tour that included a sold out show in Syracuse, NY, Conspirator has announced that five scheduled performances have newly updated venue information, in addition to confirming drummers and support acts.

Friday 2/5 in Los Angeles has been moved to the HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET STRIP. Wednesday 2/9 in Portland has been moved to the ROSELAND THEATRE. Saturday 2/12 has moved from Oakland to across the bay at THE INDEPENDENT in San Francisco. Efforts are being made to schedule a performance in Seattle, WA, and the band plans to issue updates as soon as possible.

Saturday 2/19 in Albany is being rescheduled for a later date. Instead, Conspirator will be returning to THE STONE PONY in Asbury Park, NJ. On Saturday 2/26, instead of Urbana, Conspirator will be playing THE BLUEBIRD in Bloomington, IN.

All of the West Coast shows will feature Lane Shaw on drums, and Break Science featuring Adam Deitch opening. Piper will also be DJ'ing for both Montana shows.

February 16th through 20th will feature Darren Shearer of The New Deal on drums. February 24th through March 3rd will feature Mike Greenfield from Lotus on drums. Darren will again join us for the final two shows in NYC and Stroudsburg on March 4th and 5th.

The New Deal will be co-headlining February 24th in Detroit, and February 25th in Chicago.

While Disco Biscuits’ staples Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner have occasionally invited other musicians to their live shows, the “new Conspirator,” featuring Chris Michetti and a rotating cast of first-class drummers, has proven to be a new, “full band” sound emerging not only from the group’s mentality, but by featuring a solidified, returning, 4-piece lineup. In a recent band statement, Conspirator confirmed that they have been working to restructure their signature tracks in Ableton in order to create improvisational jams during live performances.

With a firmly set 4-piece band, fans can expect performances featuring increased live improv and a refreshing musical flow, peppered with some surprises. Inspired by new collaborations and the combined musical histories of the performers, Conspirator is set to get the scene talking in 2011.

“The energy coming off of the December Conspirator shows with Michetti was very exciting for Aron and I, and the fans have responded really well,” said Brownstein. “We knew right away we had to take this across the country. There are really exciting places a full band, this full band, can take the classic Conspirator sound. It’s a whole new show each night.”

Known throughout the live music world for high energy, creative guitar shredding with his band RAQ, Chris Michetti became much more familiar to Disco Biscuits fans throughout 2010 when he periodically accompanied the band on stage at places like Red Rocks, Camp Bisco, and on a number of Spring Tour performances. Michetti has been touring and creating music with Conspirator since late 2010, and anyone who has caught the early phases of the “new Conspirator” will undeniably be psyched for round two and beyond.

The current list of confirmed Conspirator dates is as follows:

FRIDAY 2/4/11 – Mystic Theatre, Petaluma, CA

SATURDAY 2/5/11 – House of Blues, West Hollywood, CA w/ Break Science

MONDAY 2/7/11 – The Filling Station, Bozeman, MT w/ Break Science

TUESDAY 2/8/11 – The Top Hat, Missoula, MT w/ Break Science

WEDNESDAY 2/9/11 – Roseland Theatre, Portland, OR w/ Break Science

FRIDAY 2/11/11 – The Red Fox Tavern, Eureka, CA w/ Break Science

SATURDAY 2/12/11 – The Independent, San Francisco, CA w/ Break Science

SUNDAY 2/13/11 – Moe’s Alley, Santa Cruz, CA w/ Break Science

WEDNESDAY 2/16/11 – The Met, Pawtucket, RI

THURSDAY 2/17/11 – Port City Music Hall, Portland, ME

FRIDAY 2/18/11 – Higher Ground, Burlington, VT

SATURDAY 2/19/11 – Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

SUNDAY 2/20/11 – The Note, West Chester, PA

THURSDAY 2/24/11 – Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, MI w/ The New Deal

FRIDAY 2/25/11 – Congress Theater, Chicago, IL w/ The New Deal

SATURDAY 2/26/11 – Bluebird Nightclub, Bloomington, IN

SUNDAY 2/27/11 – Majestic Theatre, Madison, WI

TUESDAY 3/1/11 – Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH

WEDNESDAY 3/2/11 – Mr. Small’s, Pittsburgh, PA

THURSDAY 3/3/11 – Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY

FRIDAY 3/4/11 – Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY

SATURDAY 3/5/11 – Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg, PA

Alex Winston To Release Debut "Sister Wife"

Alex Winston was given her first guitar when she was 7. When her Dad’s advances to teach music to her older brother fell on deaf ears, she was gladly the runner up. Sitting in the basement for hours practicing chord progressions and listening to songwriters like Carole King and Laura Nyro, she was taught the importance of her home city of Detroit’s musical history.
Classically trained in opera and bred on musical Americana, the beautiful Detroit-native would listen to the rock of Iggy Pop and The Stooges, The MC5 and the legendary Motown artists in equal measures. She opted out of college when she was given the opportunity to tour the US, and to this day still cherishes opening for Chuck Berry in St Louis.
Alex moved to New York earlier in 2010 and her upcoming mini LP, Sister Wife, has been produced by hot young New York producers The Knocks and Londoner Charlie Hugall (Florence and the Machine).
It will be preceded by a video for lead track "Locomotive". The songs on the album tackle a variety of interesting subjects; personal ambivalence, polygamy, the art of writing inebriated and more.
Alex recently released a limited edition run of 7" vinyl of Choice Notes, and sold out her debut live performance (with a seven piece band!) at this year's CMJ festival in New York.

Tea Leaf Green, Oct. 14 @ the Fox Theatre

San Francisco-based band Tea Leaf Green got their start in the relationship formed between guitarist Josh Clark and drummer Scott Rager, who played in a high-school band together in Arcadia, CA. After graduation, Rager enrolled at San Francisco State College, where he met bassist Ben Chambers. When Clark moved to San Francisco, the three began playing together as a trio. Their first paying gig was attended by Trevor Garrod, a singer/songwriter and keyboard player who had moved to San Francisco looking for other musicians to play with. Garrod met the three others, and soon they were playing together as a quartet. They built a following in Northern California and self-released the albums Tea Leaf Green, Midnight on the Reservoir (2001), Live at Slim's, San Francisco CA (2003), Living in Between (2004), and Live at the Independent (2004).

They issued their first national release, Taught to Be Proud, in 2005 and within a year they were opening for Gov't Mule, Trey Anastasio, Dave Matthews Band and a host of other lauded musicians. In 2007, longtime bass player Ben Chambers left the band and was replaced by Reed Mathis, formerly of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Mathis's stylistic versatility on bass proved to be the perfect fit for the band. In 2008, Tea Leaf Green went on to re-release their first three studio albums as the triple-CD compilation entitled Seeds. Later that year the band followed up with their next studio album Raise Up the Tent.

In June 2010 Tea Leaf Green released Looking West, their first studio album in 2 years. The release is a compilation of road-tested, fan favorite songs that the band has never recorded in the studio. The album marks a new chapter for Tea Leaf Green and represents the artistic and individual growth of the band since their formation more than a decade ago.

In a few short years, these road warriors have built a strong following, consistently filling venues across the country and becoming a warmly received, go-to band on the festival circuit with stand-out performances at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, 10K Lakes, and The Echo Project, among others. Sharing some of the style and substance of musical contemporaries My Morning Jacket, Wolfmother, and the Raconteurs, Tea Leaf Green conjures the spirit of bands like '70s Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and The Grateful Dead, taking classic sounds and giving them a present-day polish. Tea Leaf Green reminds us at every turn just how alluring rock 'n' roll can be.

All Ages / GA  / $15.00 adv / $18.00 DOS

Ornette Coleman Receives Honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Michigan

Music legend Ornette Coleman received an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  The Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance congratulates Mr. Coleman on this great honor, his 80th birthday, and for being one of the most important musicians and innovators of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  The event also included a commencement address by President Barack Obama.

THE OFFICIAL CEREMONY TEXT

“Mr. Coleman, your performances and your path-breaking theories of jazz and music have transformed how musicians play and what listeners hear.  Your self-taught musical education blossomed into a radically novel sound, giving the world musical styles it had never heard before.  In your long career of ongoing creativity, you have played a vital role in preserving and enhancing America’s cultural legacy, and you have cultivated the talent of the future.  The University of Michigan is proud to present you with the honorary degree, Doctor of Music.”


MORE ABOUT ORNETTE COLEMAN

Ornette Coleman is a leading composer and performer of jazz, whose remarkable artistry is admired around the world.  Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1930, he taught himself how to play the saxophone and had formed his first band by the age of fourteen.  After touring with a traveling ensemble, he moved to Los Angeles and began to teach himself music theory while working as an elevator operator.  During this period, he performed with a rehearsal ensemble that allowed him to experiment with the new theoretical concepts he was developing.  The result of his self-study was a new freedom in jazz performance that has been described as a radically new concept and style that originated from his musical intuition, combining southwestern country blues and his own highly personal interpretations of music theory.  The compositional voice that Mr. Coleman developed in the 1950s would remain his trademark style and sound throughout his career.  The first of his many influential albums was recorded in 1958, released under the title Something Else, which launched him as a major innovator of jazz, leading to many more albums and a famous breakthrough engagement at the Five Spot Café in New York City, where he moved permanently.  His music, freed from the conventions of harmony, rhythm, and melody, both polarized and transformed the jazz community, and he devoted decades to understanding and discovering the shape of not just jazz, but all music to come.  At the core of his music is his theory of Harmolodics, which addresses the question of the sound and performance of music beyond the melody.  Beyond the twenty albums he released in the 1960s, Mr. Coleman also began to write string quartets, woodwind quintets, and symphonies based on his pioneering theories of musical composition.  His remarkable contributions to music have been recognized by a multitude of honors, including several honorary degrees, appointment as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the presentation of the prestigious Praemium Imperiale Award of the Japanese government.  In 2007 he was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and won the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2007 for his album Sound Grammar.  In 2009 he became the 16th musician in history to be presented with the Miles Davis Award, in recognition for his regeneration of the jazz idiom.  His recent 80th birthday in March was marked with a variety of tributes, from articles, to concerts, to all-day broadcasts of his music.