[Dixielandjazz] New York City JVC Jazz Festival
Fri, 14 Jun 2002 14:45:25 -0400
Maybe not OKOM, but here's the line up at the JVC Jazz Festival in the
Big Apple. Perhaps the closest to OKOM will be John Bunch on June 25. He
is a little known treasure on the piano at 80 years young. Also, if in
town, give a listen to Bill Charlap on June 24. Or the farewell concert
of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band on 6/20 at Carnegie Hall.
In New York, a World of Jazz
By BEN RATLIFF NY TImes June 1`4, 2002
I 'VE seen the schedules for this summer's jazz festivals in Montreal,
Toronto, The Hague, Umbria. I've felt pangs of jealousy,
for in those places people throng to central spots around outdoor
stages, and the city officials are aware that jazz can create
revenue. The residents, welcoming the action, line up to see bands they
may never have heard of. It's not about phoning
Ticketmaster and driving in from the suburbs for a Cultural Event; it's
about people coming together where they live. Incredible,
In New York we have the annual JVC Jazz Festival, with fewer shows and
more big-name ones; as usual, there is no central area
in which to congregate. But you may be sure that no other city in the
world could match ours in the next two weeks for its vast
range and volume of improvised music, both within the JVC festival and
JVC, which starts on Sunday and runs through June 29, can't catch
everything, and hardly has to: musicians are on their
summer festival tours right now, and clubs are stocked with big fish.
George Wein, the head producer of JVC, has wisely made
a policy of bringing in a few major jazz clubs under the aegis of the
festival. This year they're the Village Vanguard and
Birdland, and they've been booked with different bands each night,
instead of the clubs' usual multiple-night runs.
But it's not just the Vanguard and Birdland; it's all over. From now
until the end of June, you can't swing a cat without hitting a
world-class musician, particularly one who doesn't come around here
Following is a checklist of highly recommended shows, both within the
JVC festival and outside it. There are sometimes more
than one a day, because you need options. Failing that, you need excess.
THE LEE KONITZ TRIO plays Iridium at 8, 10 and 11:30 (also tomorrow,
same times, and Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m.). Mr.
Konitz, the great alto saxophonist, who turns 75 this year, does
essentially the same thing in endlessly different contexts: lovely
melodic improvisation on a handful of well-loved standards, with a sound
full of cunning and silences. He plays here with the
bassist Drew Gress and the drummer Matt Wilson. Cover charge: $25.
GREG KELLEY, SEAN MEEHAN, ZACH WALLACE 37th Street under the F.D.R.
Drive (8 p.m.); Pier 84, at 44th Street
and the Hudson River (10 p.m.); end of the pier, at 70th Street, on the
Hudson River (midnight). Three high-concept
improvisers — on trumpet, drums and bass, respectively — are on a
guerrilla tour of outdoor sites. Please note that these are
unusual places to perform; don't expect much in seating or sound
systems. Of the three, Mr. Kelley is the best known; he's an
extended-technique trumpeter, the sort of musician who might spend a
full minute blowing on and around his valves instead of
the mouthpiece. He's good at his craft. All performances are free.
Information: (212) 221-1231.
CELIA CRUZ AND YERBA BUENA Central Park Summerstage, 3 p.m. From her
days singing with La Sonora Matancera,
Ms. Cruz, the Cuban singer, has been one of the greatest musicians in
the new world, with a hard swing and an outgoing
delivery; even in her 80's, she can astonish. Yerba Buena, a new band,
examines the international network of Yoruban culture,
from Nigeria to Cuba to the good old U.S.A., pumping out a party mix of
Afrobeat, Afro-Cuban religious music and funk.
JACKIE McLEAN Iridium, 8 and 10:30 p.m. (through June 23). You can't
underestimate Mr. McLean, the alto saxophonist; in
the 1950's and 60's he was known as one of the most passionate of the
players who arrived after the first cannon fire of bebop,
and when he's playing well, word gets around. What keeps him fresh is
his exposure to the steady stream of young talent at the
Hartt School in Hartford, where he's been teaching for more than 30
years. Cover charge is $20.
CECIL TAYLOR AND SOUND VISION ORCHESTRA Knitting Factory, 8:30 and 10:30
p.m. (also Friday). Mr. Taylor, the
pianist, is at his best in small groups (and even better solo), but
every once in a while he comes around with an ark full of
musicians after initiating them into his idiosyncratic style of
notation. The results are — well, it depends on who's playing, how
much rehearsal they've had and how you look at it. The concerts can be
raucous community events, with little of the rigors of
Mr. Taylor's own music shining through. Or with the right balance, they
can be revelatory. This is a world premiere of new
music by Mr. Taylor, written for a 25-piece orchestra. Each set is $25;
$20 in advance.
GREG OSBY QUARTET (JVC) Studio Museum in Harlem, 7:30 p.m. Mr. Osby's
hot streak has not abated since 1996, when
he reconfigured his music with a new acoustic band and hired the young
pianist Jason Moran. It's highly interactive,
serious-mainstream jazz, with great rhythm-section ideas about bending
and warping the music, and Mr. Osby's spotless
high-wire improvisations on top. Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the
door (limited availability).
CARNEGIE HALL JAZZ BAND/BRAD MEHLDAU (JVC) Carnegie Hall, 8 p.m. In
January, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band,
one of New York's two most visible jazz-repertory institutions (the
other is the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra), had its plug
pulled when a new regime came along at Carnegie Hall. The band seems
likely to last in jazz festival appearances here and there,
but its days of being a tightly run ship, with gleaming, brassy,
modernist rearrangements of older jazz works — not to mention
a steady lineup from show to show — are over, and this is its farewell
concert. Opening in his first big-theater show at JVC is
the admirable pianist Brad Mehldau, who has a wonderfully well-honed
trio. Tickets: $22 to $42.
JOÃO GILBERTO (JVC) Carnegie Hall, 8 p.m. Some of Mr. Gilberto's
pleasant mystery has been diminished by familiarity:
this will be his third JVC show in five years. The set list changes, but
not the presentation: Mr. Gilberto, alone, hunched over his
guitar, the tiny details of his voice and his bossa nova songs filling
up the vast space. Tickets: $25 to $65.
BILL McHENRY QUARTET Cornelia Street Café, 9 p.m. Bill McHenry, the
young tenor saxophonist, has a warm, mature,
velvety tone somewhere in the neighborhood of Don Byas's imperious sound
in the 1940's, and applies it to music that's as
modern and harmonically open as you want it to be; he is growing fast
and has his own sound, which is half the battle. He
thinks through solos on such a microscopic level that you feel hungry
for more. Call for admission.
BILL CHARLAP TRIO (JVC) Birdland, 9 and 11 p.m. Mr. Charlap, the
pianist, has a sense of balance and form that's quite
classical, and a list of American songs in his head that could mark him
as someone with an untoward fascination for the past.
But his improvisations are always fresh, and with the bassist Peter
Washington and the drummer Kenny Washington, he has
built a tight, swift machine. Admission is $35, with a $10 minimum.
OMAR SOSA Blue Note, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Mr. Sosa, the pianist, is Cuban,
but he has lived in Ecuador, France, Spain and the
San Francisco Bay Area. You guessed it: he's a hippie, and — right again
— his music is the unifying sort, yoking together
Africa and jazz and Latin America and hip-hop. He makes it work, being
one of those rare birds whose keyboard skills are near
those of Chick Corea or Chucho Valdés. He has never played in New York
before. Cover charge is $10, with a $5 minimum.
ISAAC DELGADO S.O.B.'s, 9 p.m. Once a singer in the Cuban timba/salsa
group NG La Banda, Mr. Delgado now runs one
of the world's great dance bands. His performances are full of
innovation, improvisation, high musicianship and hard
Afro-Cuban funk. Cover charge: $20.
CASSANDRA WILSON, PATRICIA BARBER (JVC) Carnegie Hall, 8 p.m. Both
singers are rooted in jazz and embrace a
more inclusive idea of the music than most performers. Ms. Wilson has
been spreading her ideas since the late 1980's. Ms.
Barber is a more recent phenomenon, who built her Chicago-based audience
by performing standards but has now turned her
hand to wry originals with lyrics on modern-day subjects. Tickets: $10
A SALUTE TO JOHN BUNCH (JVC) Kaye Playhouse, 8 p.m. There's an
underworld of jazz musicians whose renown is
nowhere near commensurate with their talent. They may have hidden their
light under a bushel while accompanying a singer or
a more famous bandleader, or they may have kept a low profile and
refused to go contemporary. Mr. Bunch, an excellent
pianist, who turned 80 in December, is guilty of both charges. Produced
by the bassist Jay Leonhart, this concert has guest
stars, including Mr. Bunch himself, Barbara Carroll, Bill Charlap, Benny
Green, Russell Malone and Marian McPartland.
THE BAD PLUS (JVC) Village Vanguard, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. Ethan Iverson
is one of the best young jazz pianists of the day,
and the bassist Reid Anderson has often worked with him. In this band
there's a humorous tension between the pianist, who
uses dry harmonies and improvisations running in and out of tonality,
and the nearly uncontainable drummer David King. The
Bad Plus, which tends to play at least one old rock-radio staple per
set, could be the group you use to turn your 17-year-old
cousin on to jazz. Cover charge, $15, with a $10 minimum.
KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK, JACK DeJOHNETTE (JVC) Carnegie Hall, 8 p.m.
Mr. Jarrett's concerts are always
serious affairs, and the excitement begins when you walk into the
theater. All jazz musicians concentrate, but Mr. Jarrett and his
longtime trio have fetishized concentration. When it's not a great
night, the band makes no bones about it, and when it is a great
night, you know you're in a special place. Tickets: $10 to $65.
WYNTON MARSALIS SEPTET, ROY HAYNES'S `BIRDS OF A FEATHER' (JVC) Beacon
Theater, 8 p.m. The
hard-swinging septet is probably the best of Mr. Marsalis's bands, and
its recorded work stands up better than almost anything
else he has recorded. Roy Haynes has fit in perfectly with Pat Metheny,
John Coltrane and Charlie Parker, and he still has
outgoing style to burn. He'll be playing music from his recent album,
"Birds of a Feather," which focuses on Parker's repertory.
Tickets: $25 to $65.
MARK TURNER TRIO (JVC) Village Vanguard, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. Mr.
Turner's best work as a saxophonist is still ahead
of him; he's more experimental than his records would lead you to
believe. And despite all his influence on younger musicians,
he has never really had a steady band. This new one might do the trick
for him and for the jazz audience; it's a cooperative trio
with Ben Street (substituting for Larry Grenadier) on bass, and Jeff
Ballard on drums, with all three contributing compositions.
Mr. Turner's musical affect is serene, but he can build to moments of
great intensity. Cover charge is $15, with a $10 minimum.
`DIRECTIONS IN MUSIC: THE MUSIC OF MILES DAVIS AND JOHN COLTRANE' (JVC)
Carnegie Hall, 8 p.m.
Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Roy Hargrove and a rhythm section play
the music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. How
utterly obvious. On the other hand, Mr. Hancock has created most of the
template for jazz harmony since 1963; Mr. Brecker is
a saxophonist of phenomenal organization and talent; and Mr. Hargrove's
fluegelhorn ballad-playing has real maturity. Tickets:
$15 to $65.
BEBEL GILBERTO, ANGELIQUE KIDJO (JVC) Beacon Theater, 8 p.m. Ms.
Gilberto, the daughter of João Gilberto, is
from Brazil, and Angelique Kidjo is from Benin, but it's a logical
double bill. Ms. Kidjo has been tracing the Old World-New
World route through her collaborations with Brazilians, and both have
their eyes on the main chance of funk and club-music
beats. Tickets: $25 to $55.
DAVE DOUGLAS NEW QUINTET (JVC) Village Vanguard, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. The
latest of Mr. Douglas's new bands,
and probably the best for a novice to approach, begins with the sound
model of the mid-1960's Miles Davis Quintet and
expands on it with the virtuosic improvisation of Mr. Douglas on trumpet
and Jerry Bergonzi on saxophone. Cover charge is
$20, with a $10 minimum.
OHAD TALMOR, STEVE SWALLOW SEXTET Cornelia Street Café, 9 p.m. (also
June 29). Mr. Talmor, a young Israeli
saxophonist, has an impressive résumé: he's part composer, part
arranger, part bandleader, and he has spent time in classical
music as well as jazz. This band will be heard on a forthcoming record
from the Palmetto label; it's a curious-sounding
chamber-jazz set-up, including the bassist Mr. Swallow, who has been on
the forefront of jazz for 40 years, as well as clarinet,
trumpet, trombone and violin. Call for admission.
IRENE REID Smoke, 9 and 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. (also June 29). Like the
late, lamented Etta Jones, Irene Reid has an
effortless Southern blues wail in her voice and oodles of old-school
personality; in her hands, a jazz set is a casual and knowing
thing. She is among the very best of the overlooked jazz singers in New
York, and she'll appear in her standard setting,
including Hammond organ, tenor saxophone and guitar. Cover charge: $18.
EDDIE PALMIERI Y LA PERFECTA II, ORQUESTA ARAGON (JVC) Carnegie Hall, 8
p.m. Mr. Palmieri is an excitable
pianist, given to outré fantasias and pulverizing percussive lines. He
has to rein in some of his more florid, mad-professor
tendencies with this band's music, which is tight and hard and
originally created for the dancers at the old Palladium ballroom in
the mid-1960's. It's a repertory project that sounds as alive as it did
the day it was born. Orquesta Aragon, a dynastic Cuban
dance band started in 1939, balances the courtly Cuban flutes-and-violin
charanga sound with impassioned percussion solos.
Tickets: $25 to $65.
JASON MORAN TRIO (JVC) Village Vanguard, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m.
If you want to know what's new in jazz, go
hear the group led by Mr. Moran, who also plays with Greg Osby (see
above). You'll hear devilish humor, some perversity,
some reverence. You may hear popular tunes from the 1920's and from the
late 1990's given a shake-up. And if he's previewing
music from his next album, "Modernistic," you may hear a prepared piano
version of Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock." Jazz
depends on talent but still needs ideas for fuel; Mr. Moran has a full
tank. Cover, $20, with a $10 minimum.