Long Live The Village Voice





Frank Lacy’s Vibe Tribe

The trombonist’s big band pits thick blues riff and against thick blues riff, weaving lines and tying knots and waving the flag for brass ‘n’ reeds frenzy. If you’re feeling glum, they can be a cure-all.
Jazz Gallery Thursday, 17 & Friday, 18.  PICK


Marcus Strickland Quartet

One of the most respected new reed players around, he’s made hay with Roy Haynes and turned head with his drumming brother. His tenor playing brims with the kind of post-Wayne savvy it takes to wax both inside and out.
Jazz Gallery. Saturday, 19.


Larry Coryell, Badi Assad & John Abercrombie:

Their “Three Guitars” ensemble is a mix ‘n’ match endeavor that succeeds through breadth and bonding. A wordly chamber vibe arises when the group really unites.
Satalla. Saturday, 19

Anthony Coleman:

The canny pianist’s interests are many; his approach to Monk and Morton is both skittish and fetching, bring an ambitious modern sensibility that’s rooted in his own Jewish blues.

Barbes. Wednesday, 16


Freddy Cole:

His hushed voice has another, somewhat unusual attribute for a ballad singer – it’s naturally jaunty. That makes you trust him, which makes makes his standards register a bit more deeply than then otherwise might.At his best? Magical.

Smoke. Friday, 18 and Saturday, 19  PICK


Marty Ehrlich Trio

The recent *News On the Rail* explains what the multi reedist can do with a mid-sized ensemble. But smaller groups are a great way to hear just how rich his own horns are. With alto, bass clarinet and flute in the mix,this outing, with Susie Ibarra on drums, might stress color.

55 Bar. Wednesday, 16 PICK


Maria Schneider:

The utterly imaginative big band composer returns to the spot where she recorded her latest disc, and the large ensemble that has been winning polls in the jazz mags will be well-tuned – they’ve just completed a string of European dates.

Tuesday, 22. Jazz Standard. PICK



James Finn + Jason Hwang

Tenor player Finn takes his formidable outcat cues from Ayler & Shepp; his recent *Plaza Del Toros* alludes to the culture of bullfighting, and there’s derring to in the music. Violinist Hwang often investigates his Asian heritage in free-improv moves.

Thursday, 17. Jimmy’s Restaurant. 43 East 7th Street.


Wynton with Strings:

Hard-driving swing is where trumpeter Marsalis shines best, but his playing is so rich these days that its earthy tone should bring something unusually fetching to this collaboration with a string orchestra. Robert Sadin conducts.
Jazz at Lincoln Center.  Thursday, 17 – Saturday, 19.


Marcus Roberts Trio:

He raised a ruckus last time through town. Loads of splash, hard, hard groove. The nuances that define the pianist’s approach are in cahoots with a sensibility that ain’t afraid to swagger. That where the rhythm section comes in…

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Wednesday, 16 – Sunday, 20. PICK


Red Hot Holiday Stomp

Wynton’s *Crescent City Christmas Card* always makes the cut at my house during holiday time. This show looks to be a live update of same. Second-lining through “Sleigh Ride” could be a thrill, and I bet the team – which includes Gordon, Temperly, Goines, and a banjo player – will also romp through Jellyroll Morton.


Greg Osby:

Once a quiet renegade, now an icon of idiosyncrasy, the middle-age saxophonist has constructed his own career path and lined it with as much innovation as audiences could absorb. His choice of lines is both sage and squirrelly, and *Channel Three*, his long-awaited leap into the waters of sax trio, illustrates just how impressively odd turns can coincide with deep swing. His five night stint starts with a quartet you should try to catch and the premiere of the Tain-driven trio that’s a must.

Jazz Standard. Wednesday, 16 – Sunday, 20.


Michael Wolff & Impure Thoughts:

With tabla and tenor setting the tone, the pianist’s wide-angle view gets him to spots that others gloss over. They’ve romped through Sly, The Tempts, and Marvin Gaye himself, but as they do you hear nothing but intrepid improv in the mix.

Sweet Rhythm.  Friday, 11 & Saturday, 12. PICK



Rothenberg + Tronzo +Takeishi + Buck:

Can’t recall whether reedist Rothenberg and guitarist Tronzo have connected before, but I do know they share a dedication to flexibility. Their free jazz instincts are two of the music’s most reliable, so this quartet should catch fire quickly.
Issue Project Room. Sunday, 13. PICK


Dominique Eade:

The Boston vocalist has been covertly dropping into town of late; she’s fine-tuning a new book that blends poetic originals with personalized chestnuts, and her band is sweet indeed.
Sweet Rhythm. Tuesday, 15. PICK


Jeremy Steig

If the insistent push of swing didn’t mark each track on the new *Flute On The Edge*, I might say Steig’s current music was whimsical. It’s actually deeper and more judicious than that. But the art of play finds its way into every measure. Pianist Jim McNeeley will bring it to yet another level.

Cornelia Street. Friday, 11.


Frank Morgan

Plush bits of bop lingo stretched until their sensuousness is firmly in the foreground – the veteran alto saxophonist knows all about the dynamics of sound. And the subtleties of swing, as well.

Jazz Standard. Thursday, 10 – Sunday, 13 PICK.


Eli Degibri

Promising tenor players dot the land these days; the Israeli native sticks out because he has ways of demonstrating the heft of his lines without imbuing them with too much macho. Guitarist Peter Bernstein, who shares the front line tonight, will teach his cohorts a few lessons in lyricism.

55 Bar. Wednesday, 9


Wess Anderson – Kengo Nakamura Quintet

There’s plenty of derring do in Anderson’s alto lines; if you’re still buying his early-on marketing as a neo-con, you need to get hip.  His bassist-partner is always making the interesting harmonies bubble up, too.

Friday, 11 – Sunday, 12



The skronktronica created by Bobby Previte and Charlie Hunter occasionally gives itself over to groove. But nothing lasts forever in the very rich, mildly abstract world created by the guitarist and drummer – their intricacies are all about flux.

Tonic. Tuesday, 15.  PICK



Bebo Valdes

Now in his mid-80s, the astoundingly vital Cuban pianist is riding a bonafide come back. His simmering duet with flamenco crooner El Cigala turned lots of heads. His pairing with violinist Federico Britos was radiant, and his latest disc illustrates the continued eloquence of his big band charts and the unmistakable oomph of his descarga spirit. The term “legend” hovers over his performances, so don’t miss this rare siting. And keep an eye on that left hand.

Village Vanguard. Wednesday, 9 – Sunday, 13.


Hendrik Meurkens

In theory, the mix of Brazilian insouciance and harmonica twee that should spell trouble. But in practice Meurkens invests in enough subtlety to give his new *Amazon River* an enchanting vibe. On stage, there will an extra component to focus on: chops.

Jazz Standard. Tuesday, 8.


Ron Horton:

One of the most expressive freebop trumpeter players in town, Horton’s in the process of testing a book of tunes written for his new reeds, brass, vibes front line. A few weeks ago at Barbes, the music had a chamber-swing dignity and an explorer’s sense of vision. Trading brashness for balance, he comes up with a keen spin on animated introspection.

Kavehaz. Saturday, 5


Steve Coleman and Five Elements

Can a band be skittish and stable simultaneously? Coleman’s rigorous M-BASE antics – an amalgam of precise zig-zag melody lines and intricate cross-rhythms – offers a resounding “hell, yeah.” They’re one of the most self-assured outfits you’ll ever see.
Jazz Gallery. Thursday, 27 – Saturday, 29
Steve Swallow and the Ohad Talmor Sextet

Realized by a drummerless reeds, brass, strings ensemble, Swallow’s tunes have a chamber feel. They also have one of the most evocative natures to come down the third stream in ages. If I’m recalling correctly, they don’t play out much. Catch ’em now.
Jazz Standard, . Thursday, 27 – Sunday, 30.


Kenny Garrett Quartet

He remains one of the fiercest alto saxophonists around, a guy whose power and eloquence goad all those around him. His bandstands have a tendency to be storm centers, but isn’t having your head messed with why you hit the clubs in the first place?
Iridium. Wednesday, 26 – Sunday, 30

Nicholas Payton

Boasting the fattest trumpet sound this side of Wynton, Payton’s sleek nu-bop always guarantees one thing: a respect for sensuality. His a chops dude who’s addicted to interplay, so expect plenty of intra-band jousting.

Birdland. Wednesday, 26 – Saturday, 29.


James Carney

The pianist has swooped into town from the West Coast, hooked up with the best young jazzers we’ve got, and set up shop. He’s a breadth guy – one of his last disc’s defining tunes is entitled “Louisiana Raga” – and his horn band (Jerome Sabbagh & Josh Roseman) should elaborate on what that scope encompasses these days.

Cornelia Street. Saturday, 29


Agrazing Maze:

Drummer Allison Miller has spent 2005 stepping out as a leader and side(wo)man, and her working band can be both sketchy and thorough in an Andrew Hill kind of way. Friday, 28. Cornelia Street.


Slavic Soul Party:

For the past few weeks Matt Moran and exclamatory associates have been celebrating the release of *Bigger*. It cements their spirited Balkan/Gypsy brass band esthetic, but you’ve gotta catch ’em live to get the full hit. This is their home venue. Barbes. Tuesday, 2


Tom Harrell

One of the most beguiling trumpeters on the scene, Harrell has a 100 ways to approach the articulation of a line. That makes his modern hard bop tunes rich with options and peppered with surprise.

Village Vanguard. Wednesday, 26 – Sunday, 30 Continue reading


Ladies and Gentlemen, 15 Years Ago Today…

Sure Do Miss Him: Butch Morris Avec Baton And Words

In Case They Close Down SoundCloud Tomorrow. Here’s An Old Radio Show

Bill Frisell Solo – The Stone Residency

He helms a handful of bands, and boasts a keen sense of interplay that’s no doubt prompted by the joy of working with others. But Bill Frisell digs playing all by his lonesome too, and this stretch of solo shows is sure to capture the love of melody that drives much of his work. From “Nowhere Man” to “Surfer Girl” to “A Change Is Gonna Come” to “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” the guitarist is a sentimental boomer who brings lots of emotion to a songbook that he grew up on. But the glistening filigree at the heart of his approach, along with the meaty extrapolations that are the essence of his improvising, will make these interpretations more than valentines to yesteryear. And of course, this introspective mode may open the door to some ruminative abstraction – a Frisell forte that should never be discounted.

August 8-13

8:30 pm

The Stone


Newport Jazz 2017 – Tim Berne’s Snakeoil

The attractions of tumult are many, and as Tim Berne becomes a increasingly articulate composer with each passing year, the gnarled fantasias he pens for this far-reaching quintet take on an eloquence chock with idiosyncrasy. Textural breadth is key, especially on 2015’s You’ve Been Watching Me; please say hi to percussionist Ches Smith’s timpani, guitarist Ryan Ferreira’s string skronk and pianist Matt Mitchell’s left hand cannon blasts. But aura is just as exciting. Shards of minimalism, zig-zag melodies and great gusts of abstract noir unite to tell a larger story – each is driven by a mildly crazed sense of purpose. Some sections remind me of the images Berne shot for his project, Spare, a book of photos and drawings made in cahoots with his illustrator/designer mate, Steve Byram. Snakeoil has a live CD attached to that gorgeous package as well, and when played at the right volume, it can tear your head off.


If everything goes right, that live experience will parallel the group’s kick-off gig at the Quad stage. The band will hopefully apply itself to some of the new pieces from upcoming Incidentals (ECM) which furthers the intricacy and intensity while somehow providing more breathing room for the relentless thematic elaborations that mark the boss’s writing. I’ve been playing “Stingray Shuffle” on repeat for the last few days. Snakeoil gets better and better at calibrating momentum, and its collective whomp can be frightening.

Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Schedule  / Aug 4 – 6

Newport Jazz Fest 2017 – Vijay Iyer Sextet

Listening to the advance of the Vijay Iyer Sextet’s Far From Over (ECM) on the office stereo is one thing. The music is vivid, mysterious, roomy and imposing. Watching the pianist’s new group render the same music on stage via live stream from the Ojai Festival in early June using the family’s big-ass TV screen with audio pumping through an “entertainment” system is another. The action was kinetic, serrated, jostling, ecstatic, rife with creative friction and brimming with intent – volition has never been lacking in the pianist’s work. Meaning, catching this outfit in performance is a must. The alliance between horn players Steve Lehman, Mark Shim and Graham Haynes is fierce; seems like the leader’s arrangements script them discrete blasts of energy as often as they sketch out overt lines of melody. And the saxophonists’ solos are flat out fierce. Riding the industrious maneuvers of an established rhythm section like drummer Tyshawn Sorey, bassist Stephan Crump and Iyer himself, the three horns feel like they’re in a constant state of lift-off. Far From Over’s music gives itself some breathing room; “Wake” is a meditative mist. But the program puts its yen for propulsion up front. From the title track to “Into Action” to “Good On The Ground,” there are plenty of punches being thrown. The leader’s percussive approach to the piano, Sorey’s boom-bap punctuations – it’s a physical situation that you pretty much need to see to get the full hit. Meaning catch you at the Quad Stage at 12:40.

Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Schedule  / Aug 4 – 6