museum

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.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem April Schedule

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

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


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

Thursday, April 16, 2009                        

Harlem Speaks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 18, 2009

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Harlem Speaks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 24, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Jazz Museum in Harlem March Schedule

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SPECIAL

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

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

Thursday, March 26, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 27, 2009                   

Harlem in the Himalayas

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

HENRY GRIMES

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

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

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

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

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

MARC RIBOT                            

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 28, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Jazz Museum in Harlem Events

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


Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Jazz for Curious Listeners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 13, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http:///www.jazzmuseuminharlem.org