Archives for category: Jazz Festivals

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio every Tuesday night from 10 PM -12 midnight. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

This week’s show presents an interview Joyce did with the late drummer Alphonse Mouzon! Be sure to tune in Tuesday night. Meanwhile, we have more listings for you this week.

Sophie Huber’s documentary film Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes has been extended at Metrograph in Manhattan through July 1.

Bassist William Parker leads the In Order to Survive ensemble with drummer Hamid Drake and multi-instrumentalist Cooper Moore at Brooklyn’s Shapeshifter Lab on July 1.

Trombonist/seashellist Steve Turre leads a quintet in an afternoon set at Zinc Bar as part of the VTY Jazz series on June 30.

Bassist Linda May Han Oh is at the Village Vanguard from July 2-7.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is at the International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park in downtown Brooklyn on July 4.

Saxophonist Billy Harper leads a quintet at Smoke with trumpeter Freddie Hendrix from July 4-6.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions series continues with weekly late Saturday night sets at Smoke on July 6 and 13.

Saxophonist T.K. Blue leads a Randy Weston tribute band with bassist Alex Blake and percussionist Baba Neil Clarke at the International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park in downtown Brooklyn on July 7.

Organist Dr. Lonnie Smith is at the Jazz Standard from July 2-7. He leads a trio on the first 3 nights and an octet on the final 3.

Bassist Ron Carter is at the Blue Note from July 9-14.

Bassist Mimi Jones leads an ensemble at Red Bank NJ’s Two River Theater on July 5 and 6 and is at Smalls leading an after hours set on July 11.

Pianist Billy Childs is at the Jazz Standard from July 11-14.

Vocalist Charenee Wade is at Harlem’s Ginny’s Supper Club on July 12 and 13.

Vocalist Carmen Lundy is at Jazz Forum Arts in Tarrytown NY on July 12 and 13.

Poet and multi-instrumentalist Ngoma Hill is at Sister’s Uptown Bookstore in Harlem on July 16 and the third Tuesday of every month for the Fat Tuesdays poetry and music showcase.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington leads an ensemble at Grant’s Tomb in a free outdoor concert as part of the Jazzmobile series on July17.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls in a late set on July 17.

Check back this week for our review coverage of the 24th annual Vision Festival!

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Tuesday July 2 in our new weekly 10 PM slot! We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
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 Lehman College. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio every Tuesday night from 10 PM -12 midnight. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’ve been pre-empted this week for special news programming. See you next week. Meanwhile, we have more listings for you this week.

Sophie Huber’s documentary film Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes has been extended at Metrograph in Manhattan through June 27.

Bassist Charnett Moffett is at Birdland on June 26.

Bassist Mimi Jones is at Smalls leading an after hours set on June 26.

Drummer Antonio Sanchez leads the Migration ensemble at Le Poisson Rouge on June 28.

Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix is at Smoke with Stanley Cowell’s Quintet from June 28-30.

Bassist Melvin Gibbs is at The Stone with Wadada Leo Smith on June 29.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions series continues with weekly late Saturday night sets at Smoke on June 29 and July 6.

Trombonist/seashellist Steve Turre leads a quintet in an afternoon set at Zinc Bar as part of the VTY Jazz series on June 30.

Bassist Linda May Han Oh is at the Village Vanguard from July 2-7.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is at the International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park in downtown Brooklyn on July 4.

Saxophonist Billy Harper leads a quintet at Smoke with trumpeter Freddie Hendrix from July 4-6.

Saxophonist T.K. Blue leads a Randy Weston tribute band with bassist Alex Blake and percussionist Baba Neil Clarke at the International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park in downtown Brooklyn on July 7.

Organist Dr. Lonnie Smith is at the Jazz Standard from July 2-7. He leads a trio on the first 3 nights and an octet on the final 3.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls in a late set on July 17.

Check back this week for our review coverage of the 24th annual Vision Festival!

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Tuesday July 2 in our new weekly 10 PM slot! We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
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 Lehman College. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio every Tuesday night from 10 PM -12 midnight. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

Tune in Tuesday June 16 as we return with part 2 of our interview with drummer Andrew Cyrille. Meanwhile, we have more listings for you this week.

Sophie Huber’s documentary film Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes is showing at Metrograph in Manhattan through June 20.

Poet and multi instrumentalist Ngoma Hill is at Sister’s Uptown Bookstore in Harlem on June 18 and the third Tuesday of every month for the Fat Tuesdays poetry and music showcase.

Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn is at the Jazz Standard from June 18-23.

Drummer Leon Parker is at the Village Vanguard with Brad Mehldau from June 18-23.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls in a late set on June 19.

Vocalist Kurt Elling is at Birdland from June 19-22.

Vibraphonist Roy Ayers has a free outdoor lunchtime concert at Brooklyn’s Metrotech Center on June 20.

Saxophonist T.K. Blue, percussionist Baba Neil Clarke, bassist Alex Blake, and trombonist/seashellist Steve Turre are at the Tribeca PAC at Borough of Manhattan Community College for a Randy Weston tribute on June 20.

Bassist Christian McBride is at Dizzy’s Club with Tip City from June 20-23.

Vocalist Ms. Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton are at the Blue Note from June 20-23.

Drummer Craig Haynes is at Zinc Bar on June 22.

Saxophonist Rene McLean is at The Side Door in Old Lyme CT on June 22.

Vocalist Charenee Wade is at Harlem’s Ginny’s Supper Club on June 22.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions series continues with weekly late Saturday night sets at Smoke on June 22 and 29.

Bassist Charnett Moffett is at Birdland on June 26.

Bassist Mimi Jones is at Smalls leading an after hours set on June 26.

Drummer Antonio Sanchez leads the Migration ensemble at Le Poisson Rouge on June 28.

Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix is at Smoke with Stanley Cowell’s Quintet from June 28-30.

Bassist Melvin Gibbs is at The Stone with Wadada Leo Smith on June 29.

Trombonist/seashellist Steve Turre leads a quintet in an afternoon set at Zinc Bar as part of the VTY Jazz series on June 30.

The 24th annual Vision Festival wraps up tonight! We’ve got a review coming soon.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Tuesday June 16 in our new weekly 10 PM slot! We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
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 Lehman College. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

Words by Hank Williams | Photos by Joyce Jones & Hank Williams

The annual Vision Fest returns his year for its 24th edition and as usual provides a week full of avant garde jazz, dance, poetry, and visual art all under the same roof and available for the same admission fee. Single day passes are available and it’s probably a good idea to grab them in advance since the individual evenings can sell out. It’s worth considering a full festival pass, which gets you entrance to all six nights.

The 2019 event moves back to a more traditional calendar slot, running from June 11-16 and returns to Roulette in downtown Brooklyn. Roulette’s extremely easy to access, though: it’s one long block from the Atlantic Avenue subways and LIRR station.

The festival officially started on Sunday June 9 with film screenings at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.

This post will highlight a few key performances to look forward to, but you can (and should) look at the full schedule since it’s not possible to focus on every performance there in a single post and one of the wonderful things about the festival are the sets that take you by surprise.

Andrew Cyrille | Joyce Jones/Sugabowl Photography

As is Vision’s tradition, the opening night on Tuesday June 11 is centered around an artist that Vision bestows with a lifetime achievement award. This year’s honoree is drummer Andrew Cyrille. As is Vision’s tradition, Cyrille will perform in multiple ensembles during the course of the evening with collaborators chosen by the honoree. Cyrille’s going for quantity this time and will be part of eight different ensembles throughout the evening.

Cyrille’s Haitian Fascination ensemble starts off the night, and here he’s joined by poet Quincy Troupe. Later on is a duet with saxophonist and frequent Vision participant saxophonist Kidd Jordan. Jordan’s wide-open, bluesy style should mesh well and will push the limits as both are consummate improvisors. Following that, drummer Milford Graves joins Cyrille for another duo that recalls the conversation between them in a live performance captured on their 1974 Dialogue of the Drums release.

In the second half of the evening, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Brandon Ross join Cyrille for a trio. But one of the highlights of the night not to be missed is Cyrille’s duo with saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. Again, it reunites collaborators from an old recording, this time recalling the 1982 Andrew Cyrille Meets Peter Brötzmann release. Brötzmann rarely plays in the US these days, so any opportunity to see him is worth it.

Henry Grimes (left) and Marc Ribot at the 2016 Vision Fest. | Joyce Jones/Sugabowl Photography

Wednesday night kicks off with the return of guitarist Marc Ribot, who leads a quartet here along with drummer Chad Taylor–a frequent collaborator who was part of Ribot’s trio with bassist Henry Grimes. Nick Dunston (b) and Jay Rodriguez (sax, flute) round out the ensemble. Ribot’s set should be an evolution of his work with the Spiritual Unity ensembles and be a highly experimental, energetic show.

Later on Wednesday night, the stage gets turned over to poetry as Edwin Torres and Fred Moten’s words are accompanied by Brandon Lopez (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums). It should be on the more experimental, “out” end of the spectrum, but that’s one hallmark of Vision: not only does it give space to poets, but it gives them prime time slots, doesn’t relegate them to a secondary stage (which there hasn’t been for several years now), and doesn’t shy away from performances that may be conceptually difficult.

                                            (L-R) Kidd Jordan, Michael Bisio, Hamid Drake | Joyce Jones/Sugabowl Photography

Saxophonist Kidd Jordan earns the closing slot on Wednesday night. Here, he’s joined by frequent Vision collaborators in bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake along with pianist Joel Futterman in a tribute set dedicated to the late AACM member Alvin Fielder. This is another attribute of Vision: the constant reminders of those who’ve passed on and the commitment to continue their legacy through new and revisited work. Jordan’s set should be one of the highlights of the festival, though. While Jordan’s work fits in with the avant garde slant of the festival, it draws equally deeply from the blues and sacred music. One of the most impressive things is his ability to move seamlessly between points of inspiration and create improvised free-form narratives. Parker and Drake are perfect partners here as both have the flexibility to respond to whatever Jordan does and create moods of their own for Jordan to answer.

Melvin Gibbs at the 2016 Vision Fest | Joyce Jones/Sugabowl Photography

Thursday night again features a full night of performances, bookended by two particularly worth paying attention to. The God Particle ensemble brings together Melvin Gibbs (electric bass), Stephon Alexander (sax, laptop, EWI), James Brandon Lewis (sax), Luke Stewart (bass), Marc Cary (piano, synth), Graham Haynes (tpt), Will Calhoun (d), and David Pleasant (d, body perc). Gibbs’s ensemble builds on his interest in physics and collaborative work with Alexander, who’s a theoretical physicist and author of The Jazz of Physics. Their description probably sums up the set best: “God Particle will premiere a new work, Ogodo, the Cosmic Fabric, which examines the similarities between theoretical physics and African cosmology in relation to the concept of the “cosmic fabric” of space-time.”

To close Thursday evening, saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc leads Alto Gladness, featuring a trio of saxophonists along with William Parker (b) and Gerald Cleaver (d) in a tribute to Cecil Taylor that looks to be loud, boisterous fun.

Friday begins the first of a trio of afternoon panel discussions, held at 3 PM before the evening’s main performances start. This afternoon’s focus will be on Race and Gender in music and how it reflects economics and available resources for artists.

Later on Friday night, the duo of bassist William Parker and pianist Matthew Shipp hits, in what they say is their first duo appearance in the US in a decade. Expect intense and nuanced conversation between the two from this intimate set.

Saturday starts off with another rountable discussion (this time at 1 PM) on Practical Concerns of FreeJazz Artists). A large panel takes on a range of issues including housing, funding opportunities, education, and performance opportunities.

James Brandon Lewis at the 2016 Vision Festival | Hank Williams

Saturday night features a solid lineup as well, with several acts worth seeing. Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis’s Unruly Quintet takes the stage at 9:30 PM. The lineup is the same one as the critically acclaimed Unruly Manifesto released earlier this year: Luke Stewart (b), Warren “Trae” Crudup (d), Anthony Pirog (elec guitar), and Jaimie Branch (tpt). Pirog and Branch add depth to the already tight, hard-hitting trio that played Vision in 2016 and made a big impression with their raw energy and Lewis’s incredible honesty. Lewis brings the same raw power and finesse to the stage and the colors and textures Pirog and Branch add to the mix promise an extremely enjoyable and challenging set of music.

Douglas R. Ewart closes out Saturday night with a set that should be a little less high energy than the previous one, but still extremely satisfying as well, with bassist Luke Stewart returning and guitarist Brandon Ross joining the cast to pay tribute to Joseph Jarman.

Sunday starts with the final afternoon panel discussion on Understanding and Achieving Cultural Equity at 3 PM followed by several strong closing night sets. Heroes are Gang Leaders, led by James Brandon Lewis and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis, takes the work of the late poet, writer, music critic, and Vision performer Amiri Baraka as a starting point for their own combination of words and music that serves as a fitting follow-up to Baraka’s own Blue Ark ensembles that graced the Vision stage many times in the past.

Pianist D.D. Jackson draws the honor of closing out the entire festival on Sunday night with a band formed in tribute to the late saxophonist Hamiett Bluiett.

That’s a lot–and it still just scratches the surface of what’s on offer at Vision. Again, it’s worth jumping to the full schedule to see everyone scheduled to perform.

For a deeper dive into this year’s honoree Andrew Cyrille, check out our show that aired on June 4 on WBAI, which was actually the first of two parts. We’ve also previously profiled several of the artists highlighted in this piece.

Constants of the festival are the open atmosphere, where artists mingle before and after sets and outside the venue and the vending area with releases from the artists you’ve just heard–often on small or obscure labels–that you can likely have autographed on the spot to taker home and all sorts of other related things.

With as much change as there is every year in the arts scene and the continuing reports of either the resurgence or death of jazz (depending who you read), the Vision Festival endures as a reassuring institution that’s seemed to survive by keeping true to its roots and taking real ethical and artistic principles that it sticks to no matter what. For an impressive 24 years, that’s been the secret to success, if only by sheer force of will, lots of community support, and tons of behind-the-scenes and often donated labor that substitutes for corporate underwriting. But the above is simply an embodiment of the festival’s name: it creates one vision of what we might want the artistic world to look like and a template for bringing it closer to fruition.

We’ll also check back in with a review and photos after Vision wraps up.

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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. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio every Tuesday night from 10 PM -12 midnight. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

Tune in Tuesday June 9 as we focus on Sophie Huber, director of the documentary film Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes! Screenings start at Metrograph in Manhattan from June 14-20 and Huber will be on hand for a question and answer session on the opening night. The other big news is  the opening the annual week-long 2019 Vision Festival on June 11 at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn.  More Vision details are at the bottom of this post after our other listings.

Drummer Roy Haynes is at the Blue Note from June 10-12.

Pianist Harold Mabern is at the Village Vanguard with Peter Bernstein from June 11-16 and leads a trio at Smalls in a late set on June 19.

Bassist Christian McBride brings a big band to Dizzy’s Club from June 11-16, and returns to Dizzy’s with Tip City from June 20-23.

Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Camille Thurman is at Aaron Davis Hall at the City College of New York’s Harlem campus on June 12.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson is at The Stone with Myra Melford on June 13.

Drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, and harpist Brandee Younger are at Central Park’s Summerstage for a free outdoor concert on June 15.

Vocalist Melanie Charles is at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Café with special guest Marc Cary on keyboards on June 15.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions series continues with weekly late Saturday night sets at Smoke on June 15 and 22.

The Sun Ra Arkestra returns to Earth at Union Pool in Brooklyn for a free afternoon set on June 16.

Poet and multi instrumentalist Ngoma Hill is at Sister’s Uptown Bookstore in Harlem on June 18 and the third Tuesday of every month for the Fat Tuesdays poetry and music showcase.

Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn is at the Jazz Standard from June 18-23.

Drummer Leon Parker is at the Village Vanguard with Brad Mehldau from June 18-23.

Vocalist Kurt Elling is at Birdland from June 19-22.

Vibraphonist Roy Ayers has a free outdoor lunchtime concert at Brooklyn’s Metrotech Center on June 20.

Vocalist Ms. Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton are at the Blue Note from June 20-23.

Saxophonist Rene McLean is at The Side Door in Old Lyme CT on June 22.

Vocalist Charenee Wade is at Harlem’s Ginny’s Supper Club on June 22.

Bassist Charnett Moffett is at Birdland on June 26.

Bassist Mimi Jones is at Smalls leading an after hours set on June 26.

Drummer Antonio Sanchez leads the Migration ensemble at Le Poisson Rouge on June 28.

Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix is at Smoke with Stanley Cowell’s Quintet from June 28-30.

The 24th annual Vision Festival showcase of avant garde Jazz, poetry, dance and visual art returns to Roulete in Brooklyn from June 11-16. Highlights include an opening night lifetime achievement award for drummer Andrew Cyrille, who will be part of eight—yes, eight—different ensembles that night and sets by several former Suga’ guests during the nightly concerts at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn during the week. You can jump to the full schedule right now and we’ve got a preview coming soon and continuing event coverage after that.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Tuesday June 9 in our new weekly 10 PM slot! We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
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 Lehman College. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio every Tuesday night from 10 PM -12 midnight. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re finally back on air this week following WBAI’s Spring Fund Drive! Tine in Tuesday June 4 as we focus on drummer Andrew Cyrille! He’s getting a lifetime achievement award at the opening night of the week-long 2019 Vision Festival on June 11 at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn and will be part of eight—yes, eight—different ensembles that night. We’ll have more Vision details at the bottom of this post after our other listings.

Before we get to the rest of this week’s listings, thanks to those of you who pledged during WBAI Radio’s Spring Fund Drive! Your support really helps the station and helps send a message that jazz is important to the station management. If you missed out, it’s not too late to give whatever you can and it’s particularly helpful to become a sustaining member with a monthly pledge, which we call a BAI Buddy. and gets you a few perks–including a members’ discount card useful for several places around NYC–in addition to giving the station a predictable, stable source of support.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and pianist David Virelles are at Birdland from June 4-8.

Bassist Christian McBride leads Tip City in Connecticut at the Ridgefield Playhouse on June 5, brings a big band to Dizzy’s Club from June 11-16, and returns to Dizzy’s with Tip City from June 20-23.

Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Camille Thurman is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater with the JALC Orchestra on June 7. She’s also at Aaron Davis Hall at the City College of New York’s Harlem campus on June 12.

Vocalist Carol Maillard is at Sony Hall in Manhattan with Sweet Honey in the Rock on June 7.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions series continues with weekly late Saturday night sets at Smoke on June 8 and 15.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at the Village Vanguard with John Zorn on June 9.

There’s a John Coltrane festival at Symphony Space on June 9 and admission is free. Guests include writer Ashley Kahn, poets Abiodun Oyewole and Carl Hancock Rux, vocalist Melanie Charles, bassist Reggie Workman, harpist Brandee Younger, guitarist Marc Ribot, saxophonist Gary Bartz, and saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin and the Soulsquad in separate performances throughout the day.

Drummer Roy Haynes is at the Blue Note from June 10-12.

Pianist Harold Mabern is at the Village Vanguard with Peter Bernstein from June 11-16 and leads a trio at Smalls in a late set on June 19.

Bassist Mimi Jones is at Smalls leading an after hours set on June 12.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson is at The Stone with Myra Melford on June 13.

Drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, and harpist Brandee Younger are at Central Park’s Summerstage for a free outdoor concert on June 15.

Poet and multi instrumentalist Ngoma Hill is at Sister’s Uptown Bookstore in Harlem on June 18 and the third Tuesday of every month for the Fat Tuesdays poetry and music showcase.

Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn is at the Jazz Standard from June 18-23.

Drummer Leon Parker is at the Village Vanguard with Brad Mehldau from June 18-23.

The 24th annual Vision Festival showcase of avant garde Jazz, poetry, dance and visual art returns to Roulete in Brooklyn from June 11-16 and starts with a film festival on June 9 at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan, including a screening of Milford Graves: Full Mantis, which we highly recommend. Highlights include a lifetime achievement award for drummer Andrew Cyrille and sets by several former Suga’ guests during the nightly concerts at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn. You can jump to the full schedule right now and we’ve got a preview coming soon and continuing event coverage after that.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Tuesday June 4 in our new weekly 10 PM slot! We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
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 Lehman College. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot


Words by Hank Williams

This week, the annual Winter Jazz Fest is on and in full swing. The 15th edition of the increasingly popular showcase expanded again, with a third “mini marathon” night of music on Saturday January 5th and several standalone events, which we previewed here. In this post, we’ll take a look at the two marathon nights of music on Friday January 11th and Sunday January 12th in venues scattered around the heart of Greenwich Village.

As we’ve done for the past few years, we’ll go through a shows with a viewers’ guide to some of our preferred picks, with an admitted lean toward former guests on the Suga in My Bowl radio show.

I’ll point you toward the Friday and Saturday schedules and artist lineup, but hopefully this will help wade through the myriad choices available each night. Obviously, there are several ways to experience the festival. You can either pick and choose key acts, take a more eclectic approach and see what you find, or some combination of the two. It’s all good.

FESTIVAL THEME AND FOCUS

The theme is again on social justice, as it has been for the last few years. This year, following on the heels of #MeToo, the spotlight has shifted to women’s role in music. The We Have Voice Collective was initiated by several female musicians, including Fay Victor, Nicole Mitchell, Linda May Han Oh, Jen Shyu, Imani Uzuri, and Tia Fuller. Their open letter calls for a code of conduct, establishing safe spaces for women, LGBTQIA, transgender, and non-binary artists working in music and more opportunities for work in a field that’s often dominated by men. Festival co-organi   and support of the broader discussion around Black Lives Matter, a theme that festival producer Brice Rosenbloom has committed to gender parity for the festival, noting in an essay in the 2019 program that while WJF has taken steps of its own, he sees that there’s still more work to be done and that the next step is pushing individual bandleaders to commit to more gender balance in their groups.

This year’s artist-in-residence is Meshell Ndgeocello, who has several sets of her own and will be part of an afternoon panel discussion on Saturday January 12.

TICKETS AND ADMISSION

WJF has ticket options for either the Friday or Saturday marathon nights–or both–but they don’t offer tickets for individual sets. That said, they’re a pretty good deal for how much music you get if you see more than a single show and there’s likely something to suit almost everyone’s taste. The one constant is that we strongly recommend getting tickets in advance, since the festival’s popularity does lead to sellouts.

LOCATIONS AND LOGISTICS

The WJF’s heart is still in the center of the Village: with venerable institutions Zinc Bar, The Bitter End, and Le Poisson Rouge returning, but the spaces at the New School that have been used for the last two years are gone and as a result the festival’s more scattered, with poles in the West and East Village also.

Zinc Bar is small and popular, so be warned that seeing an act scheduled there means getting there very early, and possibly skipping something else in the process.

On the western frontier of the Village and Tribeca are SOB’s and the SOHO Playhouse.

Nublu, Bowery Ballroom, Subculture, The Sheen Center, Public Arts, Mercury Lounge, and Bowery Ballroom are clustered together on the East Village/Lower East Side

Obviously, figuring out what one wants to see also means taking into account the logistics of who’s playing where and getting between venues, which requires more planning with the larger distances this year. It’s still very possible to venue-hop since most are a brisk walk, Citibike, or cab ride away.

 

Photo credit: Winter Jazz Fest (screenshot)
You can download the map here and there’s a copy in the festival program. Pickup of wristbands for marathon nights is at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St).

HOT TIP: Use the WJF’s crowd estimator to see how much space a venue has before deciding to leave where you are. It’s at: https://www.winterjazzfest.com/crowds

FRIDAY JANUARY 11

Zinc Bar has an enticing lineup for the night and one good enough to consider staying put. The caveat is that it’s been too small for the festival for a long time, which means long lines to get in and a tight, crowded experience once you’re there. Should you decide to go, however, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen opens the night with a 6:40 PM set and at 9:20 PM the Borderlands trio takes the stage with pianist Kris Davis, bassist Stephen Crump, and drummer Eric McPherson. The following 10:40 PM set with the Artifiacts Trio featuring flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid, and drummer Mike Reed should be an extremely satisfying one.

Over at the Sheen Center, guitarist Mary Halvorson brings her Code Girl project to the stage at 8:40 PM. Halvorson’s dense, looping electric guitar style’s attracting more fans, both as a side player and as a leader. Her collaborations with fellow guitarist Marc Ribot and others showcase her ability as a collaborative player capable of adding dense textures to an ensemble, which she’s continued in her own projects as a leader. For a deep dive, see our March 2018 show with Halvorson.

Meanwhile at Subculture in the 9:40 PM set, pianist Aaron Parks will work through his 2018 Little Big release, which is gaining a lot of deserved attention.

Over at Mercury Lounge, saxophonist Marcus Strickland‘s Twi Life is a solid pick in the 10:40 PM slot for anyone looking for a fresh take on the music rooted in the jazz tradition, yet incorporating funk, soul, and elements of hip hop. For a deeper dive see our recent show with Strickland as part of our 2019 WJF coverage.

For you real night owls or hardcore fans of the after-hours scene, Nublu‘s 1 AM Late Night Jam Session led by trumpeter Jamie Branch is worth making your way over to the Lower East Side for. Branch’s debut 2018 Fly Or Die release gained the attention of a lot of people who might not have caught her while woodshedding at the Vision Festival or other venues.

SATURDAY JANUARY 12th

The piano duo of Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn kick things off with a 6:20 PM set at Le Poisson Rouge. Iyer shouldn’t need much introduction at this point, but his densely layered, nearly cinematic works have kept him busy touring when he’s not teaching at Harvard. The conversation between the two should yield a heady, exciting set that will reward close listening yet still being accessible. For a much deeper dive, see our 2015 show featuring Iyer.

 

Later on at LPR, veteran drummer Billy Hart‘s quartet sets up in the 9 PM time slot. Hart, who earned his chops as a member of Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking and forward-looking 1970s Mwandishi band is now a key member of The Cookers superband when not helming his own ensemble. Expect a high energy straight ahead set that’ll swing hard.

 

Over at SOB’s, vocalist Fay Victor and saxophonist Nubya Garcia present compelling cases for going there. Victor’s 6:40 PM set with Mutations for Justice reprises the concept she’s workshopped over the past year and done versions of at last year’s Winter Jazz and Vision Festivals. Victor’s avant-garde vocal style meshes well with that of her band and speaks directly to the current political period, with some of her lyrics sounding like a stream of consciousness voice from Trump’s brain and critiquing the absolute absurdity of it all. Nubya Garcia’s 9:30 PM set might provide some revelations, as it did for me when I heard her open for Thursday night’s concert with sax greats Gary Bartz and Pharoah Sanders. When asked about how it felt to open for them, she said: “I can’t really put that into words. It’s very surreal and a huge honor.” Garcia’s style seemed a natural pairing and her set was an energetic one led by her playing paired with strong, bass-heavy drumming and trippy, dub-inflected keyboards. If you want to see one possible future of what jazz looks like, see her.

Over on the east side, Subculture has some appealing sets with Liebman, Rudolph, & Drake combining the powers of Dave Liebman and percussionists Adam Rudolph and Hamid Drake at 9:20 PM. Expect, obviously, a percussion-heavy set but one marked by African rhythms and rich textures set off by Liebman’s work on sax and piano.

You may want to stay put for J.D. Allen and David Murray‘s midnight set, which should keep you alert with the dueling tenor saxophones of the co-leaders. Murray’s capable of playing both “in” and “out” and matching lyricism with pure energy.

To tip my hand somewhat, I’ll probably post up at The Sheen Center, a new venue this year. If you missed saxophonist Gary Bartz‘s historic Thursday night set with Charles Tolliver and Pharoah Sanders, you have another chance to catch him in the 8:20 PM set with Pocket Science, where he teams up with colorful (in every sense of the word) electric bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma. I’m not quite sure what to expect, but Tacuma’s funk and harmolodics-inspired riffs should give Bartz a nice foundation to launch from.

If you’re inclined towards Pocket Science, stick around for the 9:40 PM set intriguingly titled Impressions of Pepper Round Robin with an all star cast of drummers Mark Giuliana, Makaya McCraven, and Nate Wood; electric guitarist Liberty Ellman; keyboardists Brian Jackson (best known for his Gil Scott Heron collaborations) and Matthew Whittaker; pianist David Virelles; trumpeter Keyon Harrold; harpist Brandee Younger; trombonist Clark Gayton; and saxophonist JD Allen. Admittedly I don’t know exactly what to expect here, but it’s certain to be a wild, loud, electronic ride.

At 11 PM, pianist/vocalist Amina Claudine Myers slows things down a bit with a quieter, more contemplative set that’ll showcase her thoughtful lyrics and vocal ability. Myers is joined by three other vocalists here, so expect some interesting interplay between them.

That’s a lot! But the nice thing about Winter Jazz is that it presents you with a good dilemma: who to choose from the sheer amount of interesting acts. We’ll check back in after it’s all wrapped up.

Are you planning to go? Who are you looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments.

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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 Lehman College in The Bronx.

Now that the dust has settled on the holiday and New Year’s festivities, it’s time to refocus on music and what’s become a refreshingly busy season in New York for jazz and improvised/creative music.

The Winter Jazz Fest returns for its 15th year in 2019 with the usual staggering array of sets, stages, and ancillary events. Not to be outdone, however, Arts for Art–the scrappy organizers best known for the annual Vision Fest (already scheduled for June 11-16 2019: save the dates)–have fired back with a week of events of their own from the 16-21 at Nublu, which will be covered in a later post. Right now’s a good time to look at WJF’s first “mini marathon” day and a few of the standalone events next week. Look for a deep dive into the marathon days on the 11-12th in our annual Cheat Sheet early next week.

Winter Jazz runs from January 4-12 2019 at a series of venues scattered around its traditional nucleus of Greenwich Village. The traditional “marathon nights” are on the 11th and 12th and it’s best to reserve tickets for them early since they might sell out due to festival’s popularity.

WJF dubs Saturday January 5th as a “mini marathon” with a range of acts in multiple venues. Me’shell Ndegeocello’s this year’s artist-in-residence and has multiple appearances at the fest, including at 7:50 on Saturday at Le Poisson Rouge. I’m particularly looking forward to the Zig Zag Power Trio, which has a 12:20 AM (technically Sunday morning) show at the Bitter End. The trio of Living Colour alums Vernon Reid and Will Calhoun teamed up with bassist Melvin Gibbs put out a fantastic release last year that got nowhere near the attention it should have, but will certainly have a high energy mix of free improvisation pulled from their various influences of jazz, blues, and rock on offer. I’ve written about them here and here, so I’ll send you to those write-ups.

Zinc Bar’s Saturday line-up features the Dave Liebman Group at 8 PM and saxophonist Tia Fuller presents work from her 2018 Diamond Cut album at 10:40 PM. One word of caution, though: Zinc’s a very small venue and gets packed quickly, so be prepared to get there very early.

This is just a sample of all the Saturday night shows; head over to the full schedule for the rest.

With Winter Jazz Fest’s continued popularity and expansion, they’ve also introduced several smaller standalone shows during the week.

Sunday January 6th features several acts at Le Poission Rouge with a return by festival regular guitarist Marc Ribot, who presents work from his 2018 Songs of Resistance release; pianist Samora Pinderhughes’s Transformations Suite; and Toshi Reagon’s annual Word*Rock*Sword event, dedicated to women’s lives.

Monday January 7th features several more sets at Le Poission Rouge, with The Bad Plus, Terri Lyne Carrington‘s Social Science, and Terrence Blanchard’s E-Collective taking the stage. Here, Blanchard does a follow-up to his performance at last fall’s BRIC Jazz Fest, which was one of the best shows I saw all year. Blanchard’s sweeping cinematic arrangements meld together almost seamlessly with nods to late career Miles Davis. Charles Altura’s stirring electric guitar work helps bind the collage together.

On Wednesday January 9th, you’ll have to head to Brooklyn Steel, but will be rewarded by a performance by Medeski, Martin, and Wood, who routinely sell out shows when they appear in New York nowadays and sound as good as they ever have.

On Thursday January 10th, you have a choice between Ndegeocello, who graces the stage of Nublu’s larger space at 151 Avenue C and Gary Bartz, who’s doing a 50th anniversary tribute of his Another Earth album at Le Poisson Rouge with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders.

Here, Sanders and Bartz get the chance to recreate some of the magic of a half-century ago. Both are still strong players and still in good form, if shaped by long careers. Sanders last graced the WJF stage two years ago in a phenomenal performance that saw Sanders call fellow saxophonist Ravi Coltrane to the stage for a stirring rendition of John Coltrane’s Olé.

Trumpeter Charles Tolliver–who celebrated a milestone of his own last year with the 50th anniversary of Paperman–also rejoins Bartz for the performance.

It promises to be an inspired performance and one not to be missed. Be sure to tune in to our show this Sunday for more Wintter Jazz coverage when Joyce Jones interviews saxophonist Marcus Strickland on Suga’ in My Bowl at 11 PM on WBAI Radio and streaming online.
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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 Lehman College.

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

This week’s guest is trumpeter Freddie Hendrix. Hendrix will be at the closing night of this year’s Vision Fest at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn on Memorial Day–May 28–with saxophonist Oliver Lake’s big band. Vision’s remains the big story this week; scroll to the bottom for more Vision Fest info.

WBAI Radio’s Spring Fund Drive is underway and it needs your support to stay on the air and keep this show on the air. You You can pledge as little as $5 online and we encourage you to consider becoming a sustaining member with a monthly pledge. The proceeds support WBAI Radio–not us–and will help ensure the survival of listener supported non-commercial radio in New York! We’re grateful for any gift you can give the station.

Drummer Will Calhoun leads a quartet at Dizzy’s Club on May 28.

The Sun Ra Arkestra led by saxophonist Marshall Allen returns to Earth on May 30 at Iridium to celebrate Allen’s 94th birthday.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions returns as a Friday night series with late sets at Smoke on June 1 and 8.

Vocalist Lizz Wright is at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank NJ for the Basie Summer Jazz Fest on June 2.

Percussionist Ray Mantilla is at Gateway Center in downtown Newark NJ for a free outdoor lunchtime performance on June 6 as part of WBGO Radio’s concert series.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson is at the Jazz Gallery with Ben Goldberg’s Quintet on June 7.

Flutist Bobbi Humphrey is at Ginny’s Supper Club on June 8.

Bassist Linda May Han Oh is at the Jazz Gallery with Ben Goldberg’s Quintet on June 8 and at the Village Vanguard with Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas from June 12-17.

Drummer Lenny White is at Smoke with Buster Williams from June 8-10.

Trombonist Craig Harris is at Sista’s Place on June 9.

Blues vocalist Alexis P. Suter is at Van Vleck Gardens in Montclair NJ on June 10 and at Caramoor in Katonah NY for the American Roots Music Festival on June 23.

The 23rd annual Vision Festival showcase of avant garde Jazz, poetry, dance and visual art wraps up on May 28, Memorial Day at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn. The last day starts with an afternoon panel discussion on the topic of the struggle for cultural equity in New York’s music communities with Dave Burrell, William Parker, Craig Harris among the speakers. Trombonist Craig Harris’s Brown Butterfly suite and saxophonist Oliver Lake’s Big Band are highlights of the night’s performances. You can jump to the full schedule right now or see our preview. We’ll also have a review when it wraps up if you can’t make it and need to live vicariously through us.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday June 10. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

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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 Lehman College and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

The annual Vision Fest returns his year for its 23rd edition and as usual provides a week full of avant garde jazz, dance, poetry, and visual art all under the same roof and available for the same admission fee. Single day passes are available and it’s probably a good idea to grab them in advance since the Wednesday night opening is already sold out.

The 2018 event is much earlier than usual: running from May 23-29, wrapping up on Memorial Day. It also features a return to Roulette in downtown Brooklyn after 3 years at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. Roulette’s extremely easy to access, though: it’s one long block from the Atlantic Avenue subways and LIRR station.

The festival officially started on Monday May 21 with films at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.

As is Vision’s tradition, the opening night on Wednesday May 23 is centered around an artist that Vision bestows with a lifetime achievement award. This year’s honoree is pianist Dave Burrell. As is Vision’s tradition, Burrell will perform in multiple ensembles during the course of the evening.

Burrell’s Harlem Renaissance suite featuring drummer Andrew Cyrille should be worth a look, and emanates from the intersection of his family’s history with the era.

Next up is what promises to be a historic reunion of former bandmates when Burrell joins legendary saxophonist Archie Shepp along with drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker; the latter two are both familiar names to the Vision crowd. Burrell appears on several of Shepp’s classic early 1970s albums, including Live at the Pan African Festival, Blasé, Kwanza, and Attica Blues. Additionally, he’s been a more recent collaborator with Drake and Parker. The set promises to be a memorable one, as Shepp doesn’t gig too often in the US now.

Wednesday night’s closing set promises to be an exceptionally exhilarating ride, with Burrell leading a quintet with dual tenor saxophonists in Kidd Jordan and James Brandon Lewis, bassist William Parker, and drummer Hamid Drake. Jordan and Lewis are at opposite ends of the age spectrum, but both have a free-flowing wide open playing style and with Jordan drawing from the deep wells of the southern Blues for much of his inspiration, the pairing with the rising star Lewis should be special for all involved.

Thursday night kicks off with a panel discussion on the topic of “Creating Safe(r) Spaces in the Performing Arts,” featuring members of the We Have a Voice Collective, who released an open letter on sexism in Jazz.

Electric guitarist Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl ensemble starts Thursday night, followed by Vision veteran Whit Dickey’s trio. The Women With an Axe to Grind ensemble is something not to be overlooked, though. Bassist Jöelle Léandre will be making a rare US appearance and is joined by flutist Nicole Mitchell and violist Melanie Dyer.

Friday night brings pianist Matthew Shipp in different ensembles. Shipp teams up with Daniel Carter on saxophone/trumpet/flute and ever-present bassist William Parker for “Seraphic Light” early in the evening and leads the “Acoustic Ensemble” for the closing set. In between that, drummer Nasheet Waits’s “Equality” ensemble has a set that will be worth catching.

On Saturday, vocalist Fay Victor’s “Mutations for Justice” hits early in the evening. Victor’s freeform vocals are nearly otherworldly at times, creating a sonic palette for improvisations reminiscent of reed instruments. Slightly later, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire joins pianist Kris Davis and drummer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey for another highly anticipated experimental set. Drummer/percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett draws Saturday night’s cleanup slot with a variation of his long-running Afro-Horn ensemble with trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah as a special guest.

Sunday starts with an afternoon panel discussion moderated by writer Scott Currie, this time for part one on the topic of “The Ongoing Struggle for Cultural Equality in NYC Music Communities” with poet Steve Cannon, pianist Dave Burrell, bassist William Parker, trombonist Craig Harris, Bernadette Speach, and Adam Shatz. Later on, Harris closes out the evening with his “Brown Butterfly” suite.

Memorial Day Monday brings another afternoon panel discussion and continues Sunday’s theme. Mike Heller moderates a panel of bassist Reggie Workman, trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, bassist Luke Stewart, drummer Warren Smith, and dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker.

Fly or Die, Trumpeter Jamie Branch’s first release as a leader, gained favorable reviews last year. You get a chance to see her ensemble live in the evening’s first set of music. Slightly later Cooper-Moore gets a solo piano set followed by saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc’s “New World Pygmies.”

Finally, saxophonist Oliver Lake’s big band closes out the entire festival on Monday night. The final festival set is traditionally a large affair and this year should be no different, especially for someone with the compositional skills of Lake. People unfamiliar with Vision might have different ideas of what a big band sounds like, but Lake’s effort here is likely to be one that swings hard while creating multiple spaces for free improvisation and pushes the boundaries.

One unique attribute of Vision is the atmosphere it intentionally creates be breaking down boundaries between audience and musicians and even musicians themselves: it’s not uncommon to see musicians attend on different days simply to watch the other sets as audience members. There’s also a vending area open every night that provides the opportunity to take home some of the music one hears and possibly even get it autographed on the spot.

Vision’s one of the most highly anticipated festivals on our calendar every year at Suga’ in My Bowl radio, and for good reason. It’s a festival of Jazz that intentionally brings one back to the roots of what the music should be about: improvisation, community, and creativity.

For a deeper dive into this year’s honoree Dave Burrell, check out our show that aired on May 13 on WBAI. Our May 27 show will focus on trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, who’ll be part of Oliver Lake’s big band on the same night. It will air on WBAI (and stream online) from 11 PM-1 AM on the 27th and be archived on our site afterwards.

We’ll also check back in with a review and photos after Vision wraps up.

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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. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

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