Archives for posts with tag: Craig Harris

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.

We’re off this week, but if you missed our last show with saxophonist and flutist T.K. Blue, head over to our archives where you can hear that and 7 years of archived shows. Those of you following the news have likely heard of the station’s woes with the transmitter at the Empire State Building. If not, the summary is that the station’s in deep debt for seriously escalating rent. Anything you can pledge is needed now more than ever. And we have other listings for you.

Flutist and Saxophonist Jane Bunnett is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on August  14 with the Afro Cuban ensemble Maqueque.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on August 16 and leads a quintet at Smoke for a release party for his To Love and Be Loved CD from August 25-27.

Drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun is at The Cutting Room on August 16 for a discussion of the upcoming Shade album with Living Cölour bandmates.

Bassist Alex Blake is at Kitano on August 18 with Lynnette Washington.

Poet and vocalist Jesscia Care Moore is at the Blue Note on August 21 with saxophonist James Brandon Lewis as a guest.

Harpist Brandee Younger is at the Jazz Standard on August 22.

Saxophonist and flutist T.K. Blue has a free outdoor concert as part of the Jazzmobile series at Grant’s Tomb on August 23rd.

Flutist Bobbi Humphrey is at Harlem’s Ginny’s Supper Club on August 25.

Trombonist/ seashellist Steve Turre is at Iridium with the Saturday Night Live band from August 26-27.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science are at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park for the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival on August 26. Saxophonists “Sweet Poppa” Lou Donaldson and Tia Fuller lead ensembles at Tompkins Sq Park on August 27.

Master drummer Michael Carvin is at Harlem’s RAW Space on August 29 for a screening and Q&A of the documentary film No Excuses: Michael Carvin at the New York Jazz Film Festival. The film also screens on the 28th.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at Iridium with Sax Appeal from August 31 to September 2.

Bassist Alex Blake is at Medgar Evers College for a free outdoor concert on September 1 as part of the Jazzy Jazz series.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday August 20. 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

Advertisements

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.

We’ve been pre-empted this week for WBAI’s summer fund drive, but if you missed our last show with saxophonist and flutist T.K. Blue, head over to our archives where you can hear that and 7 years of archived shows. Those of you following the news have likely heard of the station’s woes with the transmitter at the Empire State Building. If not, the summary is that the station’s in deep debt for seriously escalating rent. Anything you can pledge is needed now more than ever. And we have other listings for you this week.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is at the Village Vanguard with a tribute to the late pianist Geri Allen from August 8-13. Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane appears as a special guest on the 12-13.

Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club with Ulysses Owens’s big band from August 9-11.

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis is at Mona’s Bar in the East Village on August 10.

Trombonist Craig Harris is at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park for a free outdoor concert as part of the Jazzmobile series on August 11.

Drummer J.T. Lewis is at Smoke from August 11-13 with Kevin Mahogany’s quartet.

Vocalist René Marie is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club from August 11-13.

Vocalist Catherine Russell is at The Side Door in Old Lyme CT on August 12.

Flutist and Saxophonist Jane Bunnett is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on August  14 with the Afro Cuban ensemble Maqueque.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on August 16.

Drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun is at The Cutting Room on August 16 for a discussion of the upcoming Shade album with Living Cölour bandmates.

Bassist Alex Blake is at Kitano on August 18 with Lynnette Washington.

Poet and vocalist Jesscia Care Moore is at the Blue Note on August 21.

Harpist Brandee Younger is at the Jazz Standard on August 22.

Saxophonist and flutist T.K. Blue has a free outdoor concert as part of the Jazzmobile series at Grant’s Tomb on August 23rd.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday August 20. 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 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 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.

We’re off the air this week, but if you missed last week’s show with bassist Ron Carter, head over to our archives where that and 7 years of other shows reside.  Speaking of bassists, Linda May Han Oh‘s Walk Against Wind is the current Listen. Hear. entry on our blog. You can stream the entire CD for a limited time!

Now let’s get to this week’s listings.

It’s the last call for director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane It’s showing at the IFC Center in Manhattan through May 9. See our review of the film for a preview.

Looking further ahead, pianist Vijay Iyer leads his trio at the Village Vanguard from May 9-14.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at The Stone on May 11-12 in their new location at the New School University’s Glass Box Theater.

Flutist Bobbi Humphrey is at Ginny’s Supper Club May 12.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on May 17.

Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs is at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on May 20.

Poet Carl Hancock Rux is at the Jazz Gallery as part of Joel Ross’ “Being a Young Black Man” on May 26-27.

Saxophonist Oliver Lake leads an organ quartet at Smalls on May 27.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on May 30-31 with pianist McCoy Tyner.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is at Birdland from May 30-June 3.

Finally, we announced this year’s Vision Fest a few weeks ago, but the full schedule is now up! Head on over to their site for the full schedule. We’ll return with our standard cheat sheet festival preview as the dates get closer.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday May 14. 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 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 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 show features bassist Ron Carter. He has an 80th birthday celebration at the Blue Note this week through May 7th with different guests each night.  Speaking of bassists, Linda May Han Oh‘s Walk Against Wind is the current Listen. Hear. entry on our blog. You can stream the entire CD for a limited time!

Now let’s get to this week’s listings.

It’s the last call for director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane It’s showing at the IFC Center in Manhattan through May 2. See our review of the film for a preview.

Saxophonist David Murray leads the Class Struggle ensemble at the Village Vanguard from May 2-7 with trombonist Craig Harris.

Hammond B3 Organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith leads a trio at Aaron Davis Hall on the City College of New York’s Harlem campus on May 5.

Vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dianne Reeves and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington are at the Abbey Lincoln tribute concert at the Apollo Theater on May 6.

Looking further ahead, pianist Vijay Iyer leads his trio at the Village Vanguard from May 9-14.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at The Stone on May 11-12 in their new location at the New School University’s Glass Box Theater.

Flutist Bobbi Humphrey is at Ginny’s Supper Club May 12.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on May 17.

Finally, we announced this year’s Vision Fest a few weeks ago, but the full schedule is now up! Head on over to their site for the full schedule. We’ll return with our standard cheat sheet festival preview as the dates get closer.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday May 14. 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 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 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.

We’re off this week, but if you missed last week’s show with bassist Linda May Han Oh, head over to our archives. For an extended preview of Oh, we’re streaming her just released Walk Against Wind as our next Listen. Hear. entry. You can stream the entire CD for a limited time as well as our previous entry with saxophonist Clare Daly’s 2648 West Grand Boulevard.

Now let’s get to this week’s listings.

Director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane is showing at the IFC Center in Manhattan through Thursday April 27. See our review of the film for a preview.

Also playing in New York City is Kaspar Collin’s Lee Morgan documentary I Called Him Morgan, which has been held over at the theaters at Lincoln Center. You can see our review of that, too.

Trombonist Craig Harris and Saxophonist David Murray are at the Jack Tilton Gallery in Manhattan on April 24 from 5:30-8 PM for a book release party for Butch Morris’s The Art of Conduction.

Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater is at WNYC Radio’s Greene Space for an Ella Fitzgerald tribute on April 24.

Trumpeter Hugh Masekela will be at the Town Hall on April 27th with the Jazz Epistles.

Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs is at Aaron Davis Hall on the City College of New York’s Harlem campus on April 28th.

Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah leads his Diaspora ensemble in a jazz opera titled Sun Ra Returns at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on April 29th.

Poet Abiodun Oyewole is at the Brooklyn Folk Festival with The Last Poets at St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn on April 30th.

Saxophonist David Murray leads the Class Struggle ensemble at the Village Vanguard from May 2-7 with trombonist Craig Harris.

Finally, we announced this year’s Vision Fest a few weeks ago, but the full schedule is now up! Head on over to their site for the full schedule. We’ll return with our standard cheat sheet festival preview as the dates get closer.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday April 30. 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 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 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 show features bassist Linda May Han Oh. Her CD release event for the brand new Walk Against Wind will be on Wednesday April 19 at the Jazz Standard. You can also see her on Tuesday April 18 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club with Jaleel Shaw or on the 21st at Cornelia St Café with Chris Dingman’s Trio.

For an extended preview of Oh, we’re streaming her just released Walk Against Wind as our next Listen. Hear. entry. You can stream the entire CD for a limited time as well as our previous entry with saxophonist Clare Daly’s 2648 West Grand Boulevard.

Now let’s get to this week’s listings.

We start with Director John Scheinfeld’s John Coltrane documentary film Chasing ‘Trane. It’s screening at the IFC Center in Manhattan through Thursday April 20. Also see our review of the film.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on April 17th with pianist McCoy Tyner.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on the 19th.

Bassist Christian McBride is at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem to talk about his recording and performing career for the third installment of the Session Stories series on April 20 and at Newark’s NJPAC on April 23rd with bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding.

Saxophonist Oliver Lake leads a big band at the Jazz Gallery from April 21-22nd.

Looking a little further ahead, drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun is in Montclair NJ at the Wellmont Theater with Paul Shaffer’s band on April 21 and at the Theatre at Westbury in Long Island on April 22nd.

Trombonist and seashellist Steve Turre leads a qunitet at Smoke from April 21-23.

Trombonist Craig Harris is at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on April 22nd.

Saxophonist Wayne Shorter is at Newark’s NJPAC on April 22-23rd.

Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater is at WNYC Radio’s Greene Space for an Ella Fitzgerald tribute on April 24.

Trumpeter Hugh Masekela will be at the Town Hall on April 27th with the Jazz Epistles.

Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah leads his Diaspora ensemble in a jazz opera titled Sun Ra Returns at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn on April 29th.

Saxophonist David Murray leads the Class Struggle ensemble at the Village Vanguard from May 2-7 with trombonist Craig Harris.

Finally, we announced this year’s Vision Fest a few weeks ago, but the full schedule is now up! Head on over to their site for the full schedule. We’ll return with our standard cheat sheet festival preview as the dates get closer.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday April 30. 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

DSC_0136Words by Hank Williams. Photos by Joyce Jones/SugaBowl Photography. | MAIN PHOTO: Jamaladeen Tacuma of the Young Philadelphians. Used with Permission. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.

The 13th edition of the annual Winter Jazz Fest officially wrapped up Tuesday night, bringing to an end a six-day extravaganza of music with a performance by the Liberation Music Orchestra closing the year’s festivities.

The festival clustered, as usual, around several different venues scattered throughout Greenwich Village. The historic center has been near Le Poisson Rouge and Zinc Bar on Bleecker Street. For the second year in a row, The New School provided several performance spaces, which are a welcome addition to the ever-expanding event. Smaller clusters of venues in both the East and West Village rounded out the list and had festival goers crawling between the different spots, adding somewhat of a logistical challenge to festival goers intent on seeing multiple acts.

The 2017 edition ran from January 5-10, with most the performances scheduled on the “marathon nights” Friday and Saturday the 7th and 8th.

This year also saw the addition of a festival theme: social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. According to festival organizer Brice Rosenbloom, inspiration for the theme came from the musicians themselves since so many sent proposals for performances that addressed the topic in one way or another. A festival-related Tumblr feed collected artists’ statements on contemporary political issues and an official festival statement explicitly staked out the political turf in the program guide, affirming that it “explicitly supports social and racial justice by presenting socially engaged artists who have urgent and beautiful messages to share.” In a nod to history, the statement also noted that “[p]rotest and resistance are central to jazz’s existence from its beginnings as the music of marginalized black Americans.”

Other touchstones were the celebration of pianist Thelonious Monk’s 100th birthday, which was officially acknowledged with an event on Sunday the 9th, with a dozen musicians, including guitarist Marc Ribot, pianist David Virelles, and drummers Hamid Drake and Andrew Cyrille interpreting Monk’s Solo Monk album in a variety of combos.

Lastly, Andrew Cyrille was this year’s artist in residence and the subject of an interview by a former student of his: fellow drummer Jonathan Blake. Cyrille also had several performances, including leading Haitian Fascination; a duo with saxophonist Bill McHenry; and a solo performance.

The official festival kickoff on Thursday evening started with two events in different venues. For the third year in a row, the festival hosted a Disability Pride benefit concert featuring several musicians raising funds to support the organization that works to instill a sense of pride in disabled people and create wider awareness for the issues they face. The brainchild of pianist Mike LeDonne, the organization’s key event is a summertime parade.

DSC_0615
Shabaka and the Ancestors

Thursday night also featured a concert at Le Poisson Rouge linking two generations of saxophonists: London-based Shabaka Hutchings, who opened the evening with his new group Shabaka and the Ancestors; followed by the legendary Pharaoh Sanders. The concert sold out early and left potential attendees scrambling for tickets; a sign that it should have been held in one of the festival’s larger venues, which is something that the organizers need to consider in the future since space concerns have dogged the festival as its popularity has risen.

The show was Hutchings’s first US appearance and the first of two performances, as they had a repeat appearance on Saturday night in the same space.

Hutchings’s Saturday performance was a fiery one before a crowd that again filled the space. Buoyed by Siyabonga Mthembu’s ethereal poetic vocals and Ariel Zomonsky’s frenetic, expressive bass, the group got the audience dancing—at least those who had enough space to do so. At the end of the set, Hutchings expressed gratitude for their embrace by the US audience. Hopefully we won’t need to wait long for their return.

DSC_0072
Pharaoh Sanders

In Sanders’s set, he again showed why he’s rightfully earned a solid place in jazz history and is still worth seeing, as he’s capable of playing with an astonishing combination of finesse and sheer, room-clearing power when he sees fit. Sanders’s current shows can involve a wide range of material and vary according to his mood and who accompanies him. A 2016 appearance at Dizzy’s saw a somewhat subdued, contemplative Sanders, while a spring set at the Red Bull Music Academy’s “Night of Spiritual Jazz” featuring the impressive lineup of Sanders, the Sun Ra Arkestra, and Kamasi Washington (another show that, frustratingly, sold out quickly, though was simulcast online) brought a Sanders who seemed inspired by the occasion and performed a stunning cover of John Coltrane’s “Olé”. Which one would appear at the festival?

It was the latter Sanders who took the stage. Sanders, buoyed by longtime pianist William Henderson, bassist Dezron Douglas, and drummer Jonathan Blake, had the backup he needed for an inspiring set and he delivered. Vocalist Tony Hewitt came onstage for a pleasantly mellow take of “The Creator Has a Master Plan”, though one without some of the edge and soul of the Leon Thomas original.

DSC_0138
Ravi Coltrane (left) and Pharaoh Sanders

The highlight of the set, however, was the performance of “Olé”, which had the touching addition of Ravi Coltrane, who Sanders spotted in the audience and called to the stage. Coltrane, prepared with soprano saxophone brilliantly played off Sanders’s sax while Henderson and Douglas’s rhythm section dutifully kept things in check as the dueling saxes explored. It was indeed a performance for the ages and a fittingly symbolic closing of the circle as they expertly worked through a composition of one of Sanders’s key mentors with the addition of Coltrane’s son, now a leader in his own right who’s also found his own voice as a player. It was the aural equivalent of seeing three generations of sax masters.

DSC_0229
Craig Harris

On Saturday night, trombonist Craig Harris found himself at the front of the stage and armed with sheet music and conducting duties instead of his instrument. His role was melding a cohesive sound from a collection of the roughly 3 dozen musicians and artists who answered his call last fall to “make[e] a sonic statement in response to current injustices inflicted on African American people”.

DSC_0210
Craig Harris’ Breathe fills the stage

“Breathe” had its premiere in October, 2015 and is a stunning multidisciplinary work of art. An expansive big band was accompanied by performance poet and multi-instrumentalist Ngoma Hill and a slide show by Bill Toles projected on a screen above the stage.

DSC_0199
Saxophonist Ras Moshe (left) and Ngoma Hill.

Hill read excerpts from his works “Blacktastik Funk Suite,” “Keep Calm,” “Cerebral Calisthenics,” and “I Need a Poem.” The words, images, and swirling sounds created an immersive experience that the audience into the interconnected suite.

Later, in the New School’s 12th Street auditorium, saxophonist David Murray’s set directly engaged the festival theme. Leading a version of his Class Struggle ensemble, Murray’s expressive sax playing was outstanding. Murray closed the set with a nod to the late Amiri Baraka, who he collaborated with on album releases and plays. “Class Struggle in Music” titled after one of Baraka’s famous poems, began with riffs of “Amazing Grace,” a fitting homage to the longtime activist writer.

DSC_0865
Zig Zag Trio.

Over in the West Village, the Zig Zag Trio of electric guitarist Vernon Reid, electric bassist Melvin Gibbs, and drummer Will Calhoun closed out the evening at SOB’s and provided one of the festival’s highlights. With two members drawn from the rock group Living Colour (Reid and Calhoun) and their common background in the Brooklyn based Black Rock Coalition, an electrifying set was a foregone conclusion.

According to Gibbs, Zig Zag resuscitates a combination that hadn’t played together since the 1990s and grew out of Reid’s curation of a series at the Iridium club. Reid thought it would be good for the three friends to play together again, thus the birth of the current trio roughly two years ago.

The vibe was similar to what it’s been in the previous shows: more like a jam session than an actual set. But with musicians like these who have been playing together for so long, the communication between them makes the process seem fluid and organic.

While the obvious connection is their rock heritage, ties to various musical forms are just as deep, which is reflected in their playing and the song selection. The late drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson is a major influence, as is the Blues, and the late avant garde jazz guitar mad scientist Sonny Sharrock. Reid and Gibbs are both alumni of Jackson’s band. Reid explained from the stage that they “always play a couple of Jackson’s pieces because Ronald changed our lives.”

The set started with a cover of bluesman Junior Kimbrough’s “I Love Ya’ Baby”.

That was followed one of the hardest rocking covers of Pharaoh Sanders’ “Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt” ever done. The infectious melody of the original soon fell away to Reid’s virtuosic improvisations on guitar, backed by Calhoun’s wide-open hard-hitting drumming. Gibbs, meanwhile was somehow able to resist the allure of going totally out with his band mates in the mayhem and kept a steady bass line that formed the heart of the piece. The trio created space for one of Calhoun’s stage-rattling drum solos near the end before the final statement of the theme.

There was a deeper meaning behind nearly every song in the set and that was true of “Upper Egypt.” It was one of the songs in Sonny Sharrock’s setlist and Gibbs played it several times with Sharrock’s band before he had deeply listened to the original. The song’s choice was both a tribute to Sharrock and a nod to Sanders, whose set opened the festival.

The trio gave a nod to Monk’s centennial with a cover of “Epistrophy” which was subjected to a similar treatment after a slight false start.

Gibbs was tasked with starting off the next piece: a cover of “King Tut Strut” that was the contribution of Will Calhoun. Again, his steadying rhythm at the center held things together for Reid to explore. Halfway through, the roles switched and Gibbs’s steady hand was rewarded with time to explore on his own while Reid temporarily assumed the rhythm duties. When Calhoun’s turn to solo came, the master drummer showed why his latest release as a leader is a tribute to the late drum great Elvin Jones. Like Jones, Calhoun plays with volume — but also impeccable finesse — and has the uncanny ability to create solos with narratives that can go on seemingly forever and still sound fresh.

Elements of the blues, jazz, rock, rhythm and blues, and West African traditions all comfortably fit—and peacefully coexist—within the framework of the Zig Zag Trio.

The set was easily one of the hardest rocking ones of the festival, yet, if one looks closer, underscores the range of the players and the Black musical tradition that they draw from. Elements of the blues, jazz, rock, rhythm and blues, and West African traditions all comfortably fit—and peacefully coexist—within the framework of the Zig Zag Trio. It’s the type of project that could only succeed with players this proficient and with the level of comfort and trust they have in each other, which is clear on stage.

A live recording session is planned sometime for the spring at Woodstock Studios, though has to be shoehorned between Reid and Calhoun’s busy Living Colour tour schedule and Calhoun’s own dates as a leader for his Elvin Jones tribute. Additional live dates are probably on hold until fall 2017, but they’re well worth looking out for.

Saturday night tested the stamina of festival goers with persistent snowfall extending halfway through the evening. While it didn’t pile up too much, it was enough to make things slippery, walking slow going, and shuttling between locations a bit of a slog.

DSC_1006
Jaimeo Brown and Transcendence

Fortunately, Jaimeo Brown and Transcendence braved the weather and took the stage at SOB’s for their early set with a stunning multimedia collage.

Brown’s released two thematically similar CDs: Transcendence and Work Songs.

Work Songs is an audio collage combining actual sampled work songs that was a very successful release and critically acclaimed. While the samples form the base of the audio collage, they function as a vehicle for Brown and his collaborators to improvise around, not a crutch as they might elsewhere.

Live, the content was even more powerful than expected. Brown and company presented a multimedia spectacle, with video and some of the sampled sounds from both releases accompanied by Jaleel Shaw’s sax solos, Brown’s drumming, and Chris Sholar’s electric guitar work.

“Be So Glad” from Work Songs started the set. Shaw’s soaring sax solos that melted into the audio collage and seemed to float at times with the addition of a touch of reverb while a continuously shifting photo stream played in the background.

DSC_1052
D.C. Focus and Transcendence

The addition of D.C. Focus’s dancing halfway through the set complemented the larger narrative in Transcendence of the African American experience as a complex journey of grit, struggle, pain and joy: sometimes juxtaposed or simultaneous. While popping, locking, and even crawling as a counterpoint to the music in front of the band, Focus seemed to amplify the intensity of the performance.

Musically, Brown’s work defies simple categorization (as if those were even simple to begin with) between hip hop, blues, work songs, electric blues, and jazz as they all blurred together. The result though was–as promised—a set that felt truly transcendental.

DSC_0046
The Young Philadelphians

Saturday night also marked the return of Marc Ribot and the Young Philadelphians to the festival. 2017 was their third appearance and showed how far the ensemble has come, as this time they came to the stage with a world tour under their belts and a CD release culled from live shows in Tokyo.

The Young Philadelphians could only be the brainchild of someone like Ribot. The group reworks classic 1970s disco and soul tunes through the lens of electric guitar leads Ribot and Mary Halvorson with backing from two alums of late saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time bands: electric bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma and drummer G. Calvin Weston. The entire cast of characters is then melded with a string section—Joanna Mattley (viola), Amy Bateman (violin), and Jeremy Harmon (cello)—in this case. As I said in my preview, it’s an idea that seems too crazy to work, but indeed it does.

Ribot, Tacuma, and Weston are steeped in Coleman’s signature Harmolodic musical approach while Halvorson adds coloring touches and density and the strings replicate their role in the original songs while their lushness acts in counterpoint to the sharpness of the guitars.

The Philly soul classic “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)”–known to many as the theme song from the TV show Soul Train –exemplifies the Young Philadelphians’ approach. The song began with a long introduction before the statement of the familiar melody. A signal from Ribot marked the spot for a Weston drum solo followed by a string section solo before the mayhem resumed.

Ribot strips the lyrics to their bare essence, delivering them like chants. “Let’s get it on! It’s time to get down” takes on a different meaning in the current climate and given the festival theme. Instead of the joyous invitation to party, they seem more like marching orders for the audience.

The Ohio Players’ high octane “Love Rollercoaster” followed immediately and provided ample space for a string solo in the middle followed by a Tacuma bass solo and a call-response section between bass and drums.

The disco hit “Fly Robin Fly” from the unlikely German group Silver Convention was next. Like most tunes in their repertoire, it took a sweet, innocuous pop song exploded it, then re-assembled into a full tapestry. The chant-like lyrics “Fly, robin, fly/ Way up to the sky!” were treated as a call and response by the band members and the sparse lyrics of the original are the perfect platform the Young Philadelphians’ treatment. Halfway though, the song broke down into a free-for-all with strings and guitars all improvising before re-assembling for the end.

“Love TKO” began as an antidote to the above, and remains a ballad with funked – up bass lines, though eventually that even succumbed at the end of the song to Ribot and Halvorson’s excursions.

An extended, melodious intro to “Do the Hustle” emphasized the lushness of the strings before Ribot’s angular interpretation of the theme, reliably set off, as usual, by Halvorson’s looping improvisation. The song ended with a majestic-sounding restatement of the intro theme, closing with a final cymbal clash by Weston.

“Love Epidemic” read as yet another command for the times. If there was ever a time it was needed the time is right now. Almost deliberately, the song preserved more of the original lyrics than others: “There won’t be no need for medication /There won’t be no discrimination/ All we need is your participation / Then we’ll be united as a nation!” sent out a corresponding call to “It’s time to get down”: if indeed it’s time to fight, then the love epidemic might be what we want to fight for.

Much of the Young Philadelphians’ appeal comes from their successful reworking of bygone hits, but with a sense of the larger than life, nearly epic scope of the 1970s soul era

If you were old enough to remember the original songs, they had one meaning that reached back to the memory bank. If not, it didn’t matter to the nearly packed crowd of various ages because they rock hard enough to move the crowd. Much of the Young Philadelphians’ appeal comes from their successful reworking of bygone hits, but with a sense of the larger than life, nearly epic scope of the 1970s soul era; one that’s best captured by live instrumentation and embrace of the outrageous, sometimes over-the-top performance style of the originals. Here, that’s transformed into avant garde improvisation.

The one disappointment of the festival was missing the performance of the AfroHORN Superband, led by drummer/ percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett. While a press pass got me into Zinc Bar ahead of a few others on line, I gave up and walked out. Packed to the gills, Zinc made an inhospitable place to hear the music: assuming you could even get close enough to the back room to do so. Actually seeing the performance was out of the question, as was taking any sort of notes.

Quite frankly, the festival needs to drop Zinc as a venue and has needed to for several years since lines outside the small space are routine. One can understand the possible reluctance: after all, Zinc presents jazz several nights a week throughout the year, not just when the big crowds are out, which is an ongoing commitment to the music. Unfortunately, Winter Jazz has simply gotten too big for it, and it’s time to move on.

The 2017 Winter Jazz Fest still must be looked at as a resounding success. The quality and variety of acts it attracts is top notch, the audience support is enthusiastic, as evidenced by the sold-out events and solid crowds even on the second marathon night with sketchy weather, and organization has improved every year.

How deeply the festival ingests and repeats this year’s commitment to social justice remains to be seen–the late spring-summer Vision Fest has that as an embedded part of its DNA—but the willingness to read and react to artists’ own messages says quite a lot. Nevertheless the Winter Jazz Fest still boldly forges ahead artistically and creatively year after year with a finely curated collection of artists who push and stretch the boundaries of jazz while staying firmly rooted in the musical traditions.
—-
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 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.
 
We’re off this week, but head on over to our archives for last week’s show with drummer/percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett and a quick discussion with trombonist Craig Harris and nearly 7 years of archived shows. Catlett and Harris are both at this year’s 2017 Winter Jazz Fest, which is the big news this week. You can see Harris lead his “Breathe” composition on the first marathon night of music on January 6th at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium. Catlett leads AfroHORN on the second marathon night at Zinc Bar on the 7th and later in the month at Clemente Soto Velez Center on the 19th. We recommend getting to Zinc Bar extremely early for the Catlett show and we’re told that WJF tickets are selling out fast. Check back on Monday for our annual in-depth Cheat Sheet festival preview! Now on to the rest of the week’s events.
 
Bassist Mimi Jones hosts a jam session in the late set at Smoke on January 2.
 
Pianist Harold Mabern joins Brandi Disterheft’s trio at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on January 4.
 
Saxophonist Billy Harper leads a quintet at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on January 4 and at Smoke on January 6.
 
Poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez reads and dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker performs in separate sets on January 7 at the Clemente Soto Velez Center as part of Arts for Art’s monthlong Justice is Compassion series.
 
Bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake team up for a Roy Campbell tribute on January 9 and again on the 16 and 18 at the Clemente Soto Velez Center as part of Arts for Art’s Justice is Compassion series.
 
artsforart_jan2016_banner_crop

Not to be outdone by the Winter Jazz Fest, Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art is again sponsoring a nearly monthlong series from January 2-22nd of music, poetry, dance, and visual art titled “Justice is Compassion/ Not a Police State” at the Clemente Soto Velez Center on the Lower East Side. Poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez, bassist William Parker, drummer Hamid Drake, drummer/percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett’s AfroHORN, and dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker are just a few of the many involved. See the full schedule of 65 performances at their website.
 
The annual Winter Jazz Fest blows through town from January 5-10. We already mentioned Francisco Mora Catlett and AfroHORN and Craig Harris’s “Breathe”. Other festival highlights include an opening concert by saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders on the 5th, a closing performance by the Liberation Music Orchestra led by pianist Geri Allen on the 10th as a tribute to the late bassist Charlie Haden, and two marathon nights of music on the 7th and 8th. Drummer Andrew Cyrille is artist in residence and the festival theme is social justice. There are way too many former show guests there to mention, the full schedule is already up and we’ll have our own annual Cheat Sheet festival guide up right here on Monday January 2nd.
 

 
Bassist Christian McBride has a 2-week run at the Village Vanguard, leading a trio from January 10-15 and returning with a quartet from the 17-22nd.
 
Drummer JT Lewis is at The Cell Theatre with Harriet Tubman on the 11th.
 
Drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun’s gallery exhibit of his visual art collaboration Aza is on view at the Bronx Music Heritage Center through February 11. We reviewed the show earlier this year.
 
That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on January 8th. 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

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 show continues our 2017 Winter Jazz Fest coverage with percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett and a brief visit by trombonist Craig Harris. You can see Harris lead his “Breathe” composition on the first marathon night of music on January 6th at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium. Catlett leads AfroHORN on the second marathon night at Zinc Bar on the 7th and later in the month at Clemente Soto Velez Center on the 19th. We recommend getting to Zinc Bar extremely early for the Catlett show.
 
Pianist Harold Mabern closes out the year at Smoke with a John Coltrane tribute through January 1st. Trombonist Steve Turre joins him as a special guest on the 29-30.
 
Blues vocalist Alexis P. Suter is at Iridium on the 27th.
 
Dr. Leonard Jeffries has 3 appearances this week at Kwanzaa events. You can catch him on the 27th in Harlem at the New Amsterdam Music Association and in Queens on the 30th at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, and on New Year’s Eve at the Dr. John Henrik Clarke House in Harlem.
 
Hammond B3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith leads an octet at the Jazz Standard from December 28-January 1.
 
Bassist Mimi Jones hosts a jam session in the late set at Smoke on January 2.
 
Pianist Harold Mabern joins Brandi Disterheft’s trio at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on January 4.
 
Saxophonist Billy Harper leads a quintet at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on January 4 and at Smoke on January 6.
 
Poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez reads and dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker performs in separate sets on January 7 at the Clemente Soto Velez Center as part of Arts for Art’s monthlong Justice is Compassion series.
 
Bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake team up for a Roy Campbell tribute on January 9 and again on the 16 and 18 at the Clemente Soto Velez Center as part of Arts for Art’s Justice is Compassion series.
 
Drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun’s gallery exhibit of his visual art collaboration Aza is on view at the Bronx Music Heritage Center through February 11. We reviewed the show earlier this year.
 
artsforart_jan2016_banner_crop

Not to be outdone by the Winter Jazz Fest, Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art is again sponsoring a nearly monthlong series from January 2-22nd of music, poetry, dance, and visual art titled “Justice is Compassion/ Not a Police State” at the Clemente Soto Velez Center on the Lower East Side. Poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez, bassist William Parker, drummer Hamid Drake, drummer/percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett’s AfroHORN, and dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker are just a few of the many involved. See the full schedule of 65 performances at their website.
 
Finally, the annual Winter Jazz Fest blows through town from January 5-10. We already mentioned Francisco Mora Catlett and AfroHORN and Craig Harris’s “Breathe”. Other festival highlights include an opening concert by saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders on the 5th, a closing performance by the Liberation Music Orchestra led by pianist Geri Allen on the 10th as a tribute to the late bassist Charlie Haden, and two marathon nights of music on the 7th and 8th. Drummer Andrew Cyrille is artist in residence and the festival theme is social justice. There are way too many former show guests there to mention, the full schedule is already up and we’ll have our own annual Cheat Sheet festival guide up right here after New Year’s.
 

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on January 8. 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

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.
 
We’re off this week, but head on over to our archives for last week’s show with pianist David Virelles and nearly 7 years of archived shows. And let’s get to our music listings.
 
Saxophonist Gary Bartz‘s John Coltrane tribute at Smoke ends December 19th.
 
Pianist Vijay Iyer is at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith on the 19th and the duo repeats the next night at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust on the 20th.
 
Looking ahead, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is with the James Carney Sextet at the Jazz Gallery on the 21st.
 
Organist John Medeski is at The Stone with Simulacrum from December 21-23.
 
Trombonist Craig Harris is at Harlem’s Mt. Olivet Baptist Church for a production of the James Weldon Johnson classic God’s Trombones on December 22-23.
 
Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on the 21st then closes out the year at Smoke with a John Coltrane tribute from December 22nd-January 1st. Trombonist Steve Turre joins him as a special guest on the 29-30.
 
Hammond B3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith leads an octet at the Jazz Standard from December 28-January 1.
 
Drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun’s gallery exhibit of his visual art collaboration Aza is on view at the Bronx Music Heritage Center through February 11. We reviewed the show earlier this year.
 
artsforart_jan2016_banner_crop

Not to be outdone by the Winter Jazz Fest, Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art is again sponsoring a nearly monthlong series throughout January of music, poetry, dance, and visual art titled “Justice is Compassion/ Not a Police State” at the Clemente Soto Velez Center on the Lower East Side. Poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez, bassist William Parker, drummer Hamid Drake, and dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker are just a few of the many involved.
 
Finally, looking much further ahead, the Winter Jazz Fest has released a teaser and preliminary lineup for the 2017 shinding from January 5-10! We’ll have a lot more to say about it, but for now, we’ll point you to their promo video with the highlights.
 

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on December 25 (yes, we’re working on Christmas Day). 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

%d bloggers like this: