Archives for posts with tag: Francisco Mora Catlett

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 on 2018 Grammy nominated vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, head over to our archives, where you can stream that and nearly a decade of archived shows. She’ll be at the Jazz Standard from March 1-4 and we have more listings for you. Be sure to check back for our review of the 2018 Winter Jazz Fest!

Saxophonist Kenny Garrett is at the Blue Note with Talib Kweli on January 28.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is at The Stone’s Lower East Side location on January 28.

Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin and poet Quincy Troupe are at the Schomburg Library on January 30 for a talk on James Baldwin and Miles Davis.

Pianist David Virelles leads Nosotros at the Jazz Standard on January 30-31.

Saxophonist David Murray leads the Infinity Quartet at Birdland from January 31-February 3.

Drummer Francisco Mora Catlett is at Brooklyn’s Sista’s Place on February 3 with Afro Horn.

Poet Carl Hancock Rux and vocalist/guitarist Toshi Reagon are at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts for a theatrical presentation of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower on February 3.

Vocalist Catherine Russell is at Port Washington LI’s Landmark on Main St on February 9 and leads a sextet at Birdland from February 13-17.

Vocalist Dianne Reeves is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on February 9-10.

Percussionist Steve Kroon leads a sextet at Brooklyn’s Sista’s Place on February 10.

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis is at the Zürcher Gallery with pianist DD Jackson on February 13. He also joins saxophonist Allen Lowe at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on February 20 for A Dixieland Love Supreme.

Vocalist Thana Alexa is at Brooklyn’s Kingsborough Community College for the Jazz at the Lighthouse series on February 14.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday February 4. 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

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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 focuses on 2018 Grammy nominated vocalist Jazzmeia Horn! She’ll be at the Jazz Standard from March 1-4 and we have more listings for you. Be sure to check back for our review of the 2018 Winter Jazz Fest!

Bassist Linda May Han Oh is at the Jazz Gallery with Jonathan Blake’s trio on January 21-22.

Saxophonist Salim Washington is at the Jazz Gallery on January 25.

Vocalist Lisa Fischer is at the Blue Note with Talib Kweli on January 25.

Saxophonist Kenny Garrett is at the Blue Note with Talib Kweli on January 28.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is at The Stone’s Lower East Side location on January 28.

Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin and poet Quincy Troupe are at the Schomburg Library on January 30 for a talk on James Baldwin and Miles Davis.

Pianist David Virelles leads Nosotros at the Jazz Standard on January 30-31.

Saxophonist David Murray leads the Infinity Quartet at Birdland from January 31-February 3.

Drummer Francisco Mora Catlett is at Brooklyn’s Sista’s Place on February 3 with Afro Horn.

Vocalist Dianne Reeves is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on February 9-10.

Percussionist Steve Kroon leads a sextet at Brooklyn’s Sista’s Place on February 10.

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis is at the Zürcher Gallery with pianist DD Jackson on February 13.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday February 4. 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

Words by Hank Williams. Photos © Joyce Jones/SugaBowl Photography. | MAIN PHOTO: The Sun Ra Arkestra’s Marshall Allen @ Vision Fest. Used with Permission. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.

Over here in Suga in My Bowl headquarters, we’re gearing up for the 2018 Winter Jazz Festival (preview coming!), an annual gathering that brings an enormous amount of music to New York in January, with the centerpiece being two “Marathon” nights of music—this year on the 12 and 13.

This post, however, is about two scrappy festivals that might get lost in the shuffle, which would be a shame because you’d miss lots of good music.

The Nublu Jazz Festival’s been running since 2009 with an impressive roster of artists—originally in their postage stamp-sized East Village space at 62 Avenue C, which has been supplemented by a new, larger spot on the second floor of 151 Ave C, where this year’s activity will happen while the former space closes temporarily for a makeover.

The festival runs until December 17th. The selection of acts is strong and thoughtfully chosen. As with many festivals, it leans more toward the free/avant garde/ experimental (choose your preferred adjective) end of the scale, though it can be argued that that’s the corner of jazz that needs this sort of exposure.

With that out of the way, here are a few highlights of particular interest to listeners of our radio show. You can also just jump directly to the full schedule.

Trombonist Craig Harris makes an appearance on the 16th. Later that night, The Sun Ra Arkestra led by saxophonist Marshall Allen returns to Earth with two sets. They’ve also just been added to the bill at the Winter Jazzfest in January after a satisfying set at this year’s BRIC Arts Jazz Festival. To make what could be a long discussion short: go see the Arkestra if you can. Yes, there are some kitschy aspects to their shows, but it’s all in good fun. The 93-year-old Allen still has serious chops and no problems hitting the upper register of the sax or pulling out the EVI (which he’s become a master at as well) to liven things up. The setlists are a fascinating blend of favorites from the Sun Ra songbook, standards, and even the occasional Blues tune thrown in for good measure. Additionally, vocalist Tara Middleton has embraced her role as the Arkestra’s main vocalist and, along with other younger members, are invigorating the ensemble while carrying on the important traditions.

Meanwhile, slightly further downtown at the Clemente Soto Velez Center at 107 Suffolk St, Arts for Art, the nonprofit artist-centered organization responsible for the annual late spring Vision Fest, comes roaring back with a series spanning more than a month.

“Justice is Compassion: Action is Power” runs from December 7- January 12 in Clemente’s Abrazo Interno Gallery and features a surprisingly strong lineup of musicians working primarily in the free/avant grade mode, including many familiar names from Vision.

With sets nearly every night, there’s too much to mention here, but you can browse the full schedule and here are a few highlights.

The incredibly prolific bassist William Parker is part of several sets in the show. On December 21, he’s there with saxophonist Dave Sewelson and drummer Marvin Bugalu Smith. The next night, he’s back with saxophonist Andrew Lamb and joined by trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah. If you missed Parker’s “Songs for a Free World” suite earlier this year, there’s a chance to catch a version of it on January 10.

Drummer Francisco Mora Catlett brings a version of his AfroHorn ensemble for the early set on December 16 and has trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah joining him. It will be a rare chance to catch a very solid group that got stuck in a comically small space at last year’s Winter Jazz Fest.

One nice thing about Arts for Art is that they remember those who’ve passed on. Pianist Connie Crothers and poet Amiri Baraka will both be honored as part of the series. December 19-20 will feature several different sets dedicated to Crothers, while Baraka gets the focus on January 2-3.

Poet/vocalist (and Baraka’s widow—and frequent collaborator) Amina Baraka fronts drummer John Pietaro’s Red Microphone ensemble on the 2nd. Baraka will read several of her own poems with accompaniment by the group which includes saxophonist Ras Moshe. On January 3, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis brings a version of his Heroes are Gang Leaders ensemble for what promises to be a high energy set.

Both festivals showcase the type of innovative music that’s on offer beyond the jazz mainstream and do so in low-key settings and with affordable admission prices. So bundle up and see some live music this winter: once you get inside the vibe will keep you warm.

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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 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 saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings! You can catch him in January at the Winter Jazz Fest. He’ll be at Le Poisson Rouge on the 10th with The Comet is Coming and leading Shabaka and the Ancestors on either the 12th or 13th. We’ll let you know when the schedule is finalized. And we have more listings for you this week.

Emma Franz’s documentary film Bill Frisell: A Portrait is showing at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village until December 14.

 

Vocalist Catherine Russell is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater from December 13-17 with Big Band Holidays.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz and drummer Lenny White are at Smoke for a John Coltrane tribute from December 14-17.

Drummer Francisco Mora Catlett leads AfroHorn with trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah at the Lower East Side’s Clemente Soto Velez Center on December 16. And that’s part of Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art’s monthlong Justice is Compassion festival.

Trombonist Craig Harris is at Nublu in the East Village on December 16 as part of the Nublu Jazz Festival.

The Sun Ra Arkestra led by saxophonist Marshall Allen returns to Earth at Nublu in the East Village on December 16 to close the Nublu Jazz Festival.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a quartet at Smoke from December 18-January 6.

Bassist William Parker and dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker are at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem on December 19 for a talk and performance about Jazz and social justice.

Vibraphonist Roy Ayers is at Iridium on December 26-27.

Vocalist René Marie is at the Jazz Standard from December 28-31.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday December 24. 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 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 legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette, head over to our archives to hear it and 8 years of archived programs. Before we get to our listings, a quick reminder that WBAI’s Fall Fund drive starts tomorrow and the station needs your help to stay on the air. See WBAI’s pledge site for ways to support the station. And we have many more listings for you this week.

Vision Fest promoters Arts Art’s “Race and Resistance Un-Columbus” weekend festival wraps up on October 9 at El Taller Latino Americano (215 E 99 St in Manhattan). Bassist William Parker’s “Songs of Freedom” featuring dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker and drummer/percussionist Hamid Drake closes out the evening.

 

Bassist Ron Carter leads a quartet at Birdland from October 10-14 and a trio from the 17-21.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is teaching a 6 session class on the Roots and Rhythms of Latin Jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University on Wednesday nights from October 4 to November 8.

Drummer JT Lewis is with Brandon Ross at Roulette in Brooklyn on October 10.

Pianist  David Virelles is at the Jazz Gallery on October 13 with Roman Filiu.

Vocalist Lisa Fischer is at NJ’s South Orange Performing Arts Center on October 14 with Grand Baton.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at the Blue Note on October 17 with McCoy Tyner.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on the 18.

Vibraphonist Roy Ayers is at the Blue Note on October 19-20.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is at the Jazz Standard with Chico Freeman’s Plus+Tet quartet from October 19-22.

Saxophonists Billy Harper and Howard Johnson are at the Jazz Standard from October 19-22 with Charles Tolliver’s Tentet.

Drummer JT Lewis, vocalist Lisa Fischer, pianist Marc Cary, and saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin are all at the Town Hall Theater on October 22 for City Suite.

Finally, the BRIC Arts Media Jazz Fest runs from October 14-21 at their downtown Brooklyn location starting with screenings of the documentary films Chasing Trane and I Called Him Morgan on the 14-15 and ends with 3 marathon nights of music from the 19-21. The Sun Ra Arkestra led by Marshall Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s Social Science, and pianist Viyay Iyer‘s sextet are all scheduled to appear. We’ll have full info on it next week and a preview is in the works.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday October 15. 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 legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette! He’ll be at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on October 6-7 with Hudson, the super group with organist and former Suga’ guest John Medeski, guitarist John Scofield, and bassist Larry Grenadier. Before we get to our listings, a quick reminder that WBAI’s Fall Fund drive starts tomorrow and the station needs your help to stay on the air. See WBAI’s pledge site for ways to support the station. And we have many more listings for you this week.

 

Drummer and percussionist Hamid Drake is with percussionist Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures at the Jazz Gallery from October 3-4.

Bassist Ron Carter leads a big band at Birdland from October 3-7, a quartet from the 10-14, and a trio from the 17-21.

Drummer Lenny White is at the Village Vanguard from October 3-8 with Renee Rosnes’s quartet.

Vocalist Kurt Elling is at Birdland for an early set on October 4.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is teaching a 6 session class on the Roots and Rhythms of Latin Jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University on Wednesday nights from October 4 to November 8.

Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art are sponsoring a “Race and Resistance Un-Columbus” weekend festival from October 7-9 at El Taller Latino Americano (215 E 99 St in Manhattan). Drummer Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afrohorn with trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah leads off on the 7th, with sets by poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez and trombonist Craig Harris later that evening. On the 8th, poet Quincy Troupe reads accompanied by guitarist Kelvyn Bell. Multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore has a set later that night. On Monday the 9th, the event wraps up with bassist William Parker’s “Songs of Freedom” featuring dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker and drummer/percussionist Hamid Drake.

Drummer JT Lewis is with Brandon Ross at Roulette in Brooklyn on October 10.

Pianist  David Virelles is at the Jazz Gallery on October 13 with Roman Filiu.

Vocalist Lisa Fischer is at NJ’s South Orange Performing Arts Center on October 14 with Grand Baton.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at the Blue Note on October 17 with McCoy Tyner.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on the 18.

Finally, the BRIC Arts Media Jazz Fest runs from October 14-21 at their downtown Brooklyn location starting with screenings of the documentary films Chasing Trane and I Called Him Morgan on the 14-15 and ends with 3 marathon nights of music from the 19-21. The Sun Ra Arkestra led by Marshall Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s Social Science, and pianist Viyay Iyer‘s sextet are all scheduled to appear. We’ll have full info on it next week and a preview is in the works.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday October 15. 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 percussionist Ray Mantilla, head over to our archives to check it out along with 8 years of shows. Meanwhile, we have plenty of listings for you this week.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at Mezzrow on September 26.

Drummer and percussionist Andrew Cyrille is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on September 26 with Bill McHenry.

Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders is at Birdland from September 26-30.

Vocalist Thana Alexa is at the Jazz Standard on September 27 and is joined by drummer Antonio Sanchez.

Pianist Randy Weston and saxophonist Billy Harper are at the Blue Note on October 1.

Drummer and percussionist Hamid Drake is with percussionist Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures at the Jazz Gallery from October 3-4.

Bassist Ron Carter leads a big band at Birdland from October 3-7, a quartet from the 10-14, and a trio from the 17-21.

Drummer Lenny White is at the Village Vanguard from October 3-8 with Renee Rosnes’s quartet.

Vocalist Kurt Elling is at Birdland for an early set on October 4.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is teaching a 6 session class on the Roots and Rhythms of Latin Jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University on Wednesday nights from October 4 to November 8.

Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art are sponsoring a “Race and Resistance Un-Columbus” weekend festival from October 7-9 at El Taller Latino Americano (215 E 99 St in Manhattan). Drummer Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afrohorn with saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah leads off on the 7th, with sets by poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez and trombonist Craig Harris later that evening. On the 8th, poet Quincy Troupe reads accompanied by guitarist Kelvyn Bell. Multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore has a set later that night. On Monday the 9th, the event wraps up with bassist William Parker’s “Songs of Freedom” featuring dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker and drummer/percussionist Hamid Drake.

Pianist  David Virelles is at the Jazz Gallery on October 13 with Roman Filiu.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday October 1. 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 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 guest is bassist Melvin Gibbs. You can catch him at at Brooklyn’s Shapeshifter Lab on February 16 or The Stone on February 18 with with drummer JT Lewis and Harriet Tubman. Now let’s get to our music listings.

Bassist Mimi Jones hosts a jam session in the late set at Smoke on January 23rd and 30th. You can also catch her leading her own sextet at Monmouth University in New Jersey on February 4th.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on the 18th.

Drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun has a CD release event for his Elvin Jones tribute at the Blue Note from the 24-26. Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane joins Calhoun as special guest on the 24th.

Drummer Andrew Cyrille is at the Whitney Museum on January 27th for the Sound and Colors studio session.

Master drummer Michael Carvin is at St. Peter’s Church as part of a musical tribute to the late vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson on the 28th.

Tubist Howard Johnson is at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for a 75th birthday performance on January 29th.

Bassist Christian McBride is also at the Jazz Museum to talk about his recording career for part 1 of the Session Stories on January 31st.

Vocalist Carmen Lundy is at Birdland from January 31-February 4 2017.
Organist

John Medeski has a residency at The Stone from January 31-February 5 2017.

Vocalist Catherine Russell is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre on February 4 as part of the Family Concert series: Who is Louis Armstrong?

Guitarist Marc Ribot is at Sunny’s in Red Hook Brooklyn on February 9th.

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 February 5th. 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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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 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 Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra with Ruth Cameron Haden and tuba player and long time Liberation Music Orchestra member Joseph Daley and nearly 7 years of archived shows.

Bassist Mimi Jones hosts a jam session in the late set at Smoke on January 16th, 23rd, 30th.

Bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake team up on the 16 and 18 at the Clemente Soto Velez Center as part of Arts for Art’s Justice is Compassion series.

Joseph Daley will be at Terra Blues with Hazmat Modine on the 21st.

Bassist Christian McBride has a 2-week run at the Village Vanguard, leading a quartet from the 17-22nd.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on the 18th.

Drummer/ percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett leads AfroHORN at Clemente Soto Velez Center on the 19th.

Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts leads a quintet with Ravi Coltrane on saxophone at the Jazz Standard from the 19th-22nd.

Guitarist Pat Metheny leads a quartet with drummer Antonio Sanchez at the Ridgefield Playhouse in CT on January 20th and at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ on the 22nd.

Vocalist Kurt Elling is with saxophonist Branford Marsalis’s quartet at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on the 20-21st.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in The Bronx with Larry Harlow on the 21st.

Guitarist Marc Ribot is at The Stone on January 22nd with fellow guitarist James Moore.

Drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun has a CD release event for his Elvin Jones tribute at the Blue Note from the 24-26. Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane joins Calhoun as special guest on the 24th.

Howard Johnson will be at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem as part of an extended 75th birthday celebration on January 29.

Vocalist Carmen Lundy is at Birdland from January 31-February 4 2017.
Organist

John Medeski has a residency at The Stone from January 31-February 5 2017.

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Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art is again sponsoring a nearly month-long 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.

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 22nd. 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 Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

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