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For New York City jazz fans and those who can get here, one of the things to look forward to in the summer are the music festivals and events. It’s a particularly good time of year with lots of shows—many of them free or low cost.

We’re far from summer, but as the weather thaws out this week, the big news is the 10th Anniversary of the at the Winter Jazz Fest, which is scattered throughout imultiple venues in Greenwich Village. While it officially started on the 7th, the real action is this weekend on the 10th and 11th.

With that in mind, we’ve assembled a “cheat sheet” of sorts of former Suga’ guests who will be performing. There are also a several other people we like (including a few we have on our radar for future shows), so we’ve added them at the end. And a reminder that you can go to the Suga’ in My Bowl audio archives, where all of our shows live on to check up on past guests. So with that out of the way, let’s dive in.

Friday January 10th Picks

At 9PM, singer Rene Marie takes the stage at the Zinc Bar. Diehard Marie fans should get there early, as the space is small and tends to fill quickly with the mix of people who are there as part of their regular hangout and people coming for the jazz fest.

We’ve featured Marie’s work twice on Suga’. First in March 2013 when she was the featured guest and then in November after the release of her Eartha Kitt tribute I Wanna Be Evil as part of our Eartha Kitt show.

Marie’s a deeply soulful singer and songwriter following in a long tradition of jazz balladeers. She’s no stranger to politics either, drawing heat for her rendition of the national anthem and then dedicating all the proceeds from her “This is Not a Protest Song” to homeless advocates.

Also at 9PM, veteran saxophonist Gary Bartz takes the Revive Music Stage with a quartet. Bartz was our guest in December 2010 and you can expect a strong set from him.

At 9:45 PM, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts and Lionel Loueke take the stage at Le Poisson Rouge. We covered Watts in July 2013.

Honorable mentions:

We might stop by guitarist Mary Halvorson’s Septet at the 10:00pm show at Judson Memorial Church. We’re fans of free jazz, and Halvorson’s guitar explorations have caught our eye in the past.

Following them at Judson is Peter Brötzmann’s 11:15pm set with drummer Hamid Drake and Jason Adasiewicz. Brötzmann’s an electrifying performer and been a free jazz stalwart for years. He doesn’t make it to the US that often, so this set is one to see if you’re a fan of his type of work.

Saturday January 11th Picks

The Saturday sets with Suga’ guests happen to be conveniently concentrated in 2 venues. Early action sets at the Bitter End, before heading to Zinc Bar.

Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba ensemble takes the Bitter End’s stage at 6:15. It’ll be a smaller ensemble than the full big band featured last fall at Dizzy’s Club and Rosewoman’s looking to fill the lead vocal role, but expect a performance that’s intensely spiritual, swings hard, and blends Afro-Cuban rhythms at the same time.

Howard Johnson & Gravity follow at 7:30, with their tuba prowess rumbling the venue. We featured Johnson in 2012 and he had so much to say that we actually posted a web extra. It’s a rare opportunity to catch the Gravity ensemble.

Switching gears to the Zinc Bar, we find drummer Terri Lyne Carrington teaming up with harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret at 10:15pm. Carrington’s another guest whose been with us a couple of times. First, in 2007 for a profile of her work and then in 2011 the context of the Mosaic Project release, featuring women from all over the jazz spectrum.

At 11:30pm saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin & Soul Squad will be sure to keep the party going. Benjamin’s been working the NYC area jazz scene for a while now and got a breakthrough last year with a spot in the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival.

In the fine tradition of the after hours jam sessions, you’ll have to stay up really late for Marc Cary’s Focus Trio, who don’t take the stage until 12:45 AM, but we think it’s worth it. We talked to Cary for our Abbey Lincoln special, as he was her pianist and released For the Love of Abbey, a solo piano CD dedicated to Lincoln, last year. You may hear some of those compositions, but definitely count on hearing material from the trio’s Four Directions release.

Honorable mentions:

Saxophonist Henry Threadgill‘s “Ensemble Double-Up” In Remembrance of Lawrence Butch Morris has 8 and 10 PM shows at Judson. Following them, the 11:45pm show at Judson featuring guitarist Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog ensemble with guitarist Mary Halvorson promises to be one that’ll satisfy electric guitar fans. If you’re already at Judson, then you might as well stay for pianist Matthew Shipp’s Trio’s 1:00am set. We probably can’t stay up late enough to catch Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s 1:30am set at Le Poisson Rouge, but the real night owls out there should consider giving them a look. We would if we could.

Hope to see you at the festival! What sets are you planning to or did you see? Let us know in the comments.

Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

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