Archives for posts with tag: Nicole Mitchell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 of 2018 Winter Jazz Fest preview coverage with vocalist Fay Victor, head over to our archives to hear it. Be sure to tune in next week, when vocalist Jazzmeia Horn’s our guest! Keep an eye out for our review this week.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Vijay Iyer are at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium for a discussion on sexism in jazz on January 15 as part of the Winter Jazz Fest. Admission is free with RSVP.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Linda May Han Oh, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin, drummer Jeff Tain Watts, saxophonist Tia Fuller and many more will be at the the New School’s Tishman Auditorium for a tribute to pianist Geri Allen on January 16 as part of the Winter Jazz Fest. Event proceeds go Geri Allen’s estate.

Saxophonist Archie Shepp and Flutist Nicole Mitchell are at Le Poisson Rouge for a discussion on jazz and protest moderated by saxophonist Ras Moshe on January 16 as part of the Winter Jazz Fest. It precedes a concert by Mitchell.

Flutist Nicole Mitchell has two shows this week at Le Poisson Rouge to wrap up the Winter Jazz Fest, where she’s this year’s artist in residence. On January 16, she presents the Afrofuturist Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds.  On January 17, Maroon Cloud with vocalist Fay Victor ends the festival.

Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater is at the HarlemStage Gatehouse on January 16 for an Ella Fitzgerald celebration.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is at the Blue Note from January 19-21.

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

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

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday January 21. 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

In New York City this week, it’s cold, wet, gets dark insanely early, and unending service changes lend a Chess-like complexity to late night or weekend subway trips. Such is the state of winter in the Big Apple, but just when we get close to peak Seasonal Affective Disorder, the annual Winter Jazz Fest blows in to give you a reason to rush out and brave the cold for a weekend. 130 reasons, in fact–the number of acts the festival boasts spread across its multi-day span—with some 600-odd musicians making things happen.

The 14th edition of the ever-expanding annual showcase follows a familiar format: two marathon nights of music in venues scattered around the heart of Greenwich Village, with a few standalone opening and closing events – some of which are already sold out—and we’re told that tickets for even the marathon nights are going fast.

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

I’ll point you toward the full schedule for Friday January 12 and Saturday January 13 marathon nights and artist lineup, but hopefully this will help wade through the myriad choices available each night. Obviously, there are several ways to experience the festival. You can either pick and choose key acts, take a more eclectic approach and see what you find, or some combination of the two. It’s all good.

FESTIVAL THEME AND FOCUS

Following the lead of last year’s event, the festival again tackles themes of social justice. This is most clearly addressed through three different talks during the course of the festival.

“Jazz on the Border” will highlight issues around US visa laws and their impact on musicians. Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington moderates the “Jazz and Gender” panel, which includes Angela Davis and pianist Vijay Iyer among the panelists.

“The Long March: a Conversation on Jazz and Protest” on Tuesday the 16th is the only one with an admission fee, but is easily worth the price. Saxophonist Ras Moshe, who’s becoming well known in free and avant garde jazz circles, moderates the talk among saxophonist Archie Shepp, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and pianist Samora Pinderhughes.

The above talk immediately precedes a concert by Nicole Mitchell, who is this year’s resident artist. Mitchell will present a new release, Mandorla Awakening II, a sci-fi themed Afrofuturist composition. She also fronts Maroon Cloud with vocalist Fay Victor on Wednesday the 17th at Le Poisson Rouge.

Mitchell has a couple of appearances during the Friday/Saturday marathon nights. “Art and Anthem for Gwendolyn Brooks” honors the late Chicago poet and features pianist Jason Moran.

If you (understandably) don’t want to wade through the wall of words here, you can just scroll to picks for the first marathon day on Friday or second day on Saturday.

TICKETS AND ADMISSION

WJF has several options available for the standalone shows, marathon nights (either one or both) or full festival passes for the hardcore enthusiasts. The one constant is that we strongly recommend tickets in advance, since even with the expanded venues at the New School, it’s possible to get closed out of nights–and you save some money over buying at the door. The “marathon” nights on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th are sold for the entire night only: not for individual shows. They’re still a pretty good deal for how much music you get if you see more than a single show, and there’s likely something to suit almost everyone’s taste. 2-day passes and full festival passes get entrance to the marathon days as well. Separate tickets are available for the opening and closing events, with the exception of events that sell out.

Recommendation: Consider the 2-day marathon pass even if you can only make it for parts both evenings since that saves you even more.

LOCATIONS AND LOGISTICS

The WJF’s heart is still in the center of the Village: with venerable institutions Zinc Bar, The Bitter End, and Le Poisson Rouge returning. The New School continues as a festival sponsor and provides several spaces for the festival in its campus clustered around 13th Street off Fifth Avenue, including some much needed larger venues. All of these are close enough to comfortably (though maybe briskly) walk between for sets. Zinc Bar is small and popular, so be warned that seeing an act scheduled there means getting there very early, and possibly skipping something else in the process. Quite frankly, last year I opined that it needed to be dropped. WJF has simply outgrown the venerable space and it’s unfair to stick artists in there.

On the western frontier of the Village and Tribeca are SOB’s and the Django at the Roxy Hotel.

Nublu’s new(ish) second location at 151 Avenue C, between 9-10 Streets returns this year. It’s a brisk walk or quick bus or L train ride away from the action clustered near the center.

Subculture and Bowery Ballroom are clustered together on the Lower East Side and round out this year’s venues.

Obviously, figuring out what one wants to see also means taking into account the logistics of who’s playing where and getting between venues.

 

 

Photo credit: Winter Jazz Fest (screenshot)

FRIDAY JANUARY 12 HIGHLIGHTS

Adegoke Steve Colson and Iqua Colson 7 PM at New School Tishman Auditorium 63 5th Ave

The Colsons have been playing together since the 70s, with Steve’s piano and Iqua’s vocals taking an innovative look at nearly everything they’ve done. Trombonist Craig Harris joins them this evening in a tribute to the late pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, a co-collaborator in the New York chapter of AACM. It’s a rare opportunity to see them.

Sons of Kemet 7:40 PM at Le Poisson Rouge

Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings may not be a household name on the US—yet—but he’s been steadily making a name for himself on the UK jazz scene with various groups. He returns following a successful US debut last year with Shabaka and the Ancestors. Sons of Kemet has a bass-heavy sound with a tuba prominently featured in the front line with Hutchings’s free-form playing flying above it. For a deep dive, see our show on him last month.

Fay Victor SoundNoiseFUNK 9 PM New School Jazz Building 5th Floor Theater (55 W 13 St)

Vocalist Fay Victor is another name that you might not know, but you should. Victor came to my attention through the NYC avant garde jazz scene and Vision Festival, where she’s been a staple for years. However, that’s selling her short. Her prodigious vocal talent, songwriting ability, and commitment to the music only became completely clear to me during out recent show with her. In this set, expect a broad approach to the jazz tradition drawing deeply from the Blues. It won’t be a straight ahead set, and that’s a good thing.

James Brandon Lewis’s Unruly Notes 11 PM Zinc Bar

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis has been steadily woodshedding and the fruits of his labor are becoming clear. His regular trio including bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Warren Trae Crudup have expanded to include electric guitarist Anthony Pirog, who featured prominently on their last release. Here, the concept expands even further with trumpeter Jamie Branch. The band plays hard—though with increasing finesse—buoyed by Crudup’s steady backbeat. Lewis’s style leans toward the avant garde end of the spectrum, but that’s just one of many lenses he uses to approach nearly everything from hip hop to Anton Dvorzak compositions and feed them through the jazz tradition. The most unfortunate thing about this set is the location, which has been way too small for WJF for years now. You’ll have to come very early and probably wait on line for a while, but the set will be so very worth it.

Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition 11:20 PM at Bowery Ballroom

Meanwhile, over on the east side, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition takes the Bowery stage. True to their name, expect an eastern-inflected take on jazz. It’s a late start time, but a solid backup if you decide that the wait to enter Zinc Bar is too daunting.

SATURDAY JANUARY 13 HIGHLIGHTS

Jazzmeia Horn 7 PM at New School Tishman Auditorium 63 5th Ave

Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn’s fortunes have been rising recently with a Grammy nomination for her debut release A Social Call. Horn’s already moved past where she was at the time of the recording, however. Horn is scarily talented, and enthusiasm to push the limits of her instrument will see her scatting, rapping, and marshalling a range of vocalizations in the space of a single performance. Horn’s an example of a young talent showing a different and fresh approach to jazz that attempts to join standards and the jazz tradition with younger audiences and the pop influence. Commendably, though, she does this without resorting to gimmicks and a refusal to sacrifice the jazz tradition. We’ve got an interview with her cued up for a future show, so stay tuned!

Antonio Sanchez and Migration 7:40 PM at Le Poisson Rouge

Drummer Antonio Sanchez is a busy man. In addition to heading his own migration ensemble, he’s been touring with guitarist Pat Metheny and the occasional gig with vocalist Thana Alexa, who’ll be with him here.

Harriet Tubman Plays Free Jazz 9 PM at New School Tishman Auditorium 63 5th Ave

In what has to be one of the most daring sets of the festival, Harriet Tubman will be taking a crack at riffing off of Ornette Coleman’s masterpiece Free Jazz. Here, the Tubman power trio of electric guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs, and drummer JT Lewis will be joined by the lineup from saxophonist James Brandon Lewis’s Unruly Notes (see above) and saxophonist Darius Jones. It promises to be a wild ride. Gibbs deserves credit for the idea, which will be less a note-for-note recreation of the original than using it as a springboard for Coleman’s harmolodic approach and a modern take at what would happen if two different groups played together at the same time, improvising among themselves and riffing off each other.

Nicholas Peyton’s Afro Caribbean Mixtape 9:20 PM at SOB’s

Trumpeter Peyton’s Mixtape builds on snippets of speeches by Dr. Greg Kimathi Carr, who heads Howard University’s Afro American Studies Department. The recording blends Peyton’s ethereal trumpet lines with remixed snippets of sound. Peyton’s set should lean toward the pop/ electronic end of the spectrum. It’ll be a completely different approach from the maelstrom of the Tubman set. They’ll both be good in different ways.

Rene Marie 10:20 PM at Subculture

On a much different note than much of what I’ve presented, vocalist Rene Marie promises an intense, straight ahead set. Marie’s focus on technique, straight singing, and ballads provide a quieter, more contemplative experience than some of the more raucous acts at WJF. If that’s your speed, then you know where to go.

Sun Ra Arkestra Plays Live Score to Space is the Place 11 PM at New School Tishman Auditorium 63 5th Ave  

You could do much worse than just camp out the entire evening in the cavernous Tishman Auditorium. Like the previous Harriet Tubman set, we find the Arkestra digging back into the archives for inspiration. In this case, it’s a take on the 1974 film starring Sun Ra himself and directed by John Coney with substantial input from Ra. In a nutshell, Ra and the Arkestra return to Earth in their music-powered spaceship to take Black people with them from the decaying planet with “sounds of guns, anger, and frustration” and “see what they can do on a planet all of their own.” With touches of sci-fi, soul, and a hint of Blaxploitation, it’s the expected wild ride, with music and appearances from the Arkestra weaved through several scenes. It’s not clear how the current Arkestra will approach the task, though Arkestra veterans Marshall Allen and Danny Ray Thompson were part of the original production and will be in the house along with newer members. Whatever happens, it’ll be a way-out adventure.

Jamaladeen Tacuma Brotherzone 1 AM at Subculture

You’ll have to stay up really late for this set, but if you do, you’ll be treated to a funky set from the alum of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time band that, in his words draws on the “sounds of soul, funk, jazz, rock, ambient poetics and the vibrations of life.” As a special treat, Abiodun Oyewole from The Last Poets will lay down some of his poetry.

SUNDAY JANUARY 14 HIGHLIGHT

Ravi Coltrane Presents Universal Consciousness: Melodic Meditations of Alice Coltrane 7 PM at Le Poisson Rouge

If you haven’t had enough already–or skip one of the marathon days–then there’s a single concert on offer Sunday night, but it’s a good one. In this separate ticketed event, saxophonist Coltrane presents some of his mother Alice’s music. Coltrane will build on the Indian-influenced sound of Alice’s later work, especially Translinear Light (2004).

MONDAY JANUARY 15 HIGHLIGHT

A Tribute to Geri Allen 8 PM at New School Tishman Auditorium 63 5th Ave  

Drummer Geri Allen has assembled a stunning cast to pay tribute to the late Geri Allen, who died last year. The concert is a fundraiser for the Geri Allen estate, so tickets are separate, but it’ll be a memorable event for a pianist who left a big mark on the music and left us way too soon.

That’s just scratching the surface of the festival, but hopefully there are a few ideas here for starters. I’ll be at many of the shows highlighted, though admit to still making up my mind. The good news is that there’s enough here that it’s hard to go wrong and even if a set doesn’t live up to expectations, there’s another one that’s bound to more than make up for it. See you on the other side. I’ll be back with a festival review.

If you missed them, see our preview shows with saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, vocalist Fay Victor, and a tribute to late pianist Geri Allen.

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 wraps up our 2018 Winter Jazz Fest preview coverage with vocalist Fay Victor! You have three opportunities to hear her at the Winter Jazz Fest. She’ll be leading SoundNoiseFUNK on January 12 . She’ll be with Darius Jones’s LawNOrder on January 13 at Midnight. And she’ll be with Nicole Mitchell’s Maroon Cloud on January 17 at Le Poisson Rouge. Keep an eye out for our annual Cheat Sheet in-depth preview and a post-event report.

 

 

Pianist Vijay Iyer leads a sextet at Birdland from January 9-13.

Percussionist Steve Kroon leads a sextet at Smoke on January 10.

Hammond B3 Organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith leads a trio at the Jazz Standard from January 11-14.

Pianist Vijay Iyer leads a sextet at Birdland from January 9-13.

Saxophonist Billy Harper leads a quintet at Smoke from January 12-14.

Vocalist Kurt Elling is at Birdland for an early set on January 14.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is at the Blue Note from January 19-21.

 

Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art’s monthlong Justice is Compassion festival of avant garde jazz, dance, and visual art is going on right now and continues at the Lower East Side’s Clemente Soto Velez Center through January 12 with different sets almost nightly and there’s a lot going on this week.

Bassist William Parker plays on January 8 with JP Carletti’s trio.

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis has a duo with pianist Aruan Ortiz on January 9.

William Parker’s brilliant, swirling, Songs for a Free World composition with vocalist Fay Victor is on January 10.

Pianist David Virelles performs on January 11.

All sets are at Clemente Soto Velez. There’s a preview further down and you can see the the full schedule here.

 

Also on the horizon is the annual Winter Jazz Fest which returns from January 10-14. This year’s artists in residence is flutist Nicole Mitchell, who’ll have several sets at the festival. Other highlights include talks on sexism in jazz and jazz protest with saxophonist Archie Shepp. There’s a tribute to Alice Coltrane by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and the usual marathon nights of music on January 12-13. We’ll have more details in the next show and publish our annual cheat sheet and review online. Stay tuned for all of that.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday January 21. 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 the air this week, but if you missed last week’s show with our tribute to the late pianist Geri Allen and preview of the 2018 Winter Jazz Fest, head on over to our archives to listen to that and many others. You can catch him in January at the Winter Jazz Fest.Keep an eye out for our annual Cheat Sheet in-depth preview and a post-event report.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads various ensembles at Smoke through January 7.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is the headliner at the Bronx Music Heritage Center’s New Year’s eve event on December 31.

Bassist William Parker teams up with drummer William Hooker for a duo set at the Clemente Soto Velez Center on the Lower East Side on January 3 as part of an Amiri Baraka tribute at Arts for Art’s ongoing Justice is Compassion festival. He also has a set on January 8 with drummer JP Carletti and on the 10th with his expansive “Songs for a Free World” composition.

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis leads Heroes are Gang Leaders at the Clemente Soto Velez Center on the Lower East Side on January 3 as part of an Amiri Baraka tribute at Arts for Art’s ongoing Justice is Compassion festival. He’s also there for a duo set with pianist Aruan Ortiz on the 9th.

Saxophonist T.K. Blue has a free lunchtime concert on January 3 at the Gateway 2 center in downtown Newark NJ.

Looking further ahead, Bassist/vocalist Richard Bona leads a group at Club Bonafide on January 5.

Pianist Vijay Iyer leads a sextet at Birdland from January 9-13.

Percussionist Steve Kroon leads a sextet at Smoke on January 10.

Hammond B3 Organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith leads a trio at the Jazz Standard from January 11-14.

Pianist Vijay Iyer leads a sextet at Birdland from January 9-13.

Saxophonist Billy Harper leads a quintet at Smoke from January 12-14.

Vocalist Kurt Elling is at Birdland for an early set on January 14.

Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art’s monthlong Justice is Compassion festival of avant garde jazz, dance, and visual art is going on right now and continues at the Lower East Side’s Clemente Soto Velez Center through January 12 with different sets almost nightly. Bassist William Parker, pianist David Virelles, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker, vocalist Fay Victor, and poet Amina Baraka are all on the list of events, which includes a tribute to the late poet and jazz journalist Amiri Baraka on January 2-3. There’s a preview further down and you can see the the full schedule here.

Also on the horizon is the annual Winter Jazz Fest which returns from January 10-14. This year’s artists in residence is flutist Nicole Mitchell, who’ll have several sets at the festival. Other highlights include talks on sexism in jazz and jazz protest with saxophonist Archie Shepp. There’s a tribute to Alice Coltrane by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and the usual marathon nights of music on January 12-13. We’ll have more details in the next show and publish our annual cheat sheet and review online. Stay tuned for all of that.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday January 7. 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 show focuses on the late pianist Geri Allen with reflections from several people in the jazz world who knew her well. You can see and hear all of them and many more at the tribute concert on January 15 at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium as part of the Winter Jazz Fest. We’ll have more Winter Jazz details at the bottom of the segment, but first the rest of this week’s listings.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads various ensembles at Smoke until January 7.

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

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

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria is the headliner at the Bronx Music Heritage Center’s New Year’s eve event on December 31.

Saxophonist T.K. Blue has a free lunchtime concert on January 3 at the Gateway 2 center in downtown Newark NJ.

Looking further ahead, Bassist/vocalist Richard Bona leads a group at Club Bonafide on January 5.

Pianist Vijay Iyer leads a sextet at Birdland from January 9-13.

Percussionist Steve Kroon leads a sextet at Smoke on January 10.

Vision Fest promoters Arts for Art’s monthlong Justice is Compassion festival of avant garde jazz, dance, and visual art is going on right now and continues at the Lower East Side’s Clemente Soto Velez Center through January 12 with different sets almost nightly. Bassist William Parker, pianist David Virelles, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker, vocalist Fay Victor, and poet Amina Baraka are all on the list of events, which includes a tribute to the late poet and jazz journalist Amiri Baraka on January 2-3. There’s a preview further down and you can see the the full schedule here.

Also on the horizon is the annual Winter Jazz Fest which returns from January 10-14. This year’s artists in residence is flutist Nicole Mitchell, who’ll have several sets at the festival. Other highlights include talks on sexism in jazz and jazz protest with saxophonist Archie Shepp. There’s a tribute to Alice Coltrane by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and the usual marathon nights of music on January 12-13. We’ll have more details in the next show and publish our annual cheat sheet and review online. Stay tuned for all of that.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday January 7. 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 pre-empted this week for WBAI Radio’s fund drive, but if you missed the last show with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, head on over to our archives, where you’ll find that and archived shows dating back to 2009. Also coming this week on the blog is our review of the 2017 BRIC Jazz Fest. Before we get to our listings, a quick reminder that WBAI’s Fall Fund drive is in full swing 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.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is at the Blue Note with Odean Pope’s Sax Choir on October 30 and leads a quartet at the Village Vanguard from November 7-12.

Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts is at Dizzy’s Club on October 31 with Mokoto Ozone’s trio.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria’s class on the Roots and Rhythms of Latin Jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University continues on Wednesday nights until November 8.

Bassist Christian McBride and vocalist Kurt Elling are both at Fuerza Puerto Rico: a benefit for hurricane relief at the Jazz Gallery on November 1.

Flutist Nicole Mitchell is at The Stone’s new space at the New School from November 3-4.

Bassist Dave Holland is at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center with Zakir Hussain on November 5.

Guitarist Marc Ribot has a residency at The Stone’s space on Ave C from November 7-12.

Bassist Christian McBride and vocalist Dianne Reeves are at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center on November 10.

Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at the Blue Note on November 13 with McCoy Tyner.

Vocalist/pianist Diane Schuur is at Birdland from November 14-18.

Pianists Marc Cary and Randy Weston and bassist Reggie Workman are all at the Schomburg Center for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem’s annual benefit concert on November 14.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday November 12. (Our scheduled October 29 show has been pre-empted for the fall fund drive.) 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 saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, head on over to our archives, where you’ll find that and archived shows dating back to 2009. Also coming this week on the blog is our review of the 2017 BRIC Jazz Fest. 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.

 

Join drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria with the Multiverse Big Band and poet/activist/broadcaster Felipe Luciano at the Salsa Meets Jazz for Puerto Rico benefit at Le Poisson Rouge on October 23.

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria’s class on the Roots and Rhythms of Latin Jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University continues on Wednesday nights until November 8.

 

Trombonist Steve Turre is at the Jazz Standard with Azar Lawrence from October 24-25.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at the Lower East Side’s Russ and Daughters Café on October 26.

Pianist  David Virelles is at the Jazz Gallery on October 27-28 with Marcus Gilmore.

Trumpeter Marcus Printup is at Dizzy’s Club from October 27-29 with the Georgia Horns.

Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah leads the Diaspora ensemble at Sistas’ Place on October 28.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is at the Blue Note with Odean Pope’s Sax Choir on October 30 and leads a quartet at the Village Vanguard from November 7-12.

Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts is at Dizzy’s Club on October 31 with Mokoto Ozone’s trio.

Bassist Christian McBride and vocalist Kurt Elling are both at Fuerza Puerto Rico: a benefit for hurricane relief at the Jazz Gallery on November 1.

Flutist Nicole Mitchell is at The Stone’s new space at the New School from November 3-4.

Bassist Dave Holland is at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center with Zakir Hussain on November 5.

Guitarist Marc Ribot has a residency at The Stone’s space on Ave C from November 7-12.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday November 12. (Our scheduled October 29 show has been pre-empted for the fall fund drive.) 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 saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa! He’ll be at the BRIC Jazz Fest on October 21 with the Indo Pak Coalition. 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.

The BRIC Arts Media Jazz Fest runs until October 21 at their downtown Brooklyn location and ends with 3 marathon nights of music from the 19-21. Bassist Melvin Gibbs is part of a panel discussion on jazz and justice on the 17 and performs with Harriet Tubman along with drummer JT Lewis on the 21. The Sun Ra Arkestra led by Marshall Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s Social Science appear on the 19. Pianist Viyay Iyer leads a sextet on the 20 and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo Pak Coalition is on the 21. All sets take place at BRIC Arts Media’s downtown Brooklyn location. Stay tuned for a preview of next weekend’s marathon events in the coming days.

Bassist Ron Carter leads a trio at Birdland from the 17-21.

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

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

Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria’s class on the Roots and Rhythms of Latin Jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University continues on Wednesday nights until November 8.

Trumpeter Marcus Printup is at Kitano on October 19 with Audrey Silver’s quintet and at Dizzy’s Club from October 27-29 with the Georgia Horns.

 

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.

Master drummer Michael Carvin leads a trio at Kitano from October 20-21.

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.

Trombonist Steve Turre is at the Jazz Standard with Azar Lawrence from October 24-25.

Guitarist Julian Lage is at the Lower East Side’s Russ and Daughters Café on October 26.

Pianist  David Virelles is at the Jazz Gallery on October 27-28 with Marcus Gilmore.

Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah leads the Diaspora ensemble at Sistas’ Place on October 28.

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is at the Blue Note with Odean Pope’s Sax Choir on October 30 and leads a quartet at the Village Vanguard from November 7-12.

Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts is at Dizzy’s Club on October 31 with Mokoto Ozone’s trio.

Flutist Nicole Mitchell is at The Stone’s space at the New School from November 3-4.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday October 29. 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

Words by Hank Williams. Photos © Joyce Jones/SugaBowl Photography. | MAIN PHOTO: Odean Pope Saxophone Choir @ 2017 Vision Fest. Used with Permission. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.

The 22nd annual Vision Fest started its six-day run on Memorial Day Judson Memorial Church’s expansive main hall with a tribute to pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, who was featured in several ensembles and received their lifetime achievement award. We reviewed the opening night in a previous post.

Tuesday night featured another evening of music and poetry capped by the ensemble called TRIO3 plus two. The core TRIO3 members—bassist Reggie Workman, saxophonist Oliver Lake, and drummer Andrew Cyrille—have been playing together for 27 years: a phenomenally long time for any combo.

Guests, particularly pianists, are an occasional part of the ensemble and Marc Cary get the invite for tonight’s show. Cary joined the trio near the end of the set along with Ayana Workman, who read some poetry.

Workman explained that for Vision they went through their extensive catalog of music and tried to select songs that were illustrative of Vision’s perennial theme of social justice.

Bassist Reggie Workman showed a little-known talent by starting off on the digeridoo on one piece: a surprising development.

Marc Cary and Ayana Workman joined the trio for the final piece of the night’s set. Cary’s work added welcome colors to a relatively sedate set of music and he also brought electronics into the mix, as the ensemble created textures complementing Workman’s spoken words. Ayana Workman’s words fit Vision’s theme of social justice well, but didn’t feel particularly inspired and the reading of names of police violence seemed rote at times.

The set did provided a glimpse at the variety of music collectively produced by these three master musicians who are frequent Vision performers, especially considering the substantial back catalogs of their own work.

Thursday night featured saxophonist Odean Pope, who started the night off leading the “Saxophone Choir”, an expansive ensemble that brought a swinging big band sound to the Vision stage. Pope’s artistic statement mined his own past as inspiration: “Ever since I heard the big sound and lush harmonies of the gospel choirs of my youth,” he wrote, “I imagined a choir of saxophones that would have the same power and more.”

Pope brought the above and more to the stage with a band that swung hard through several pieces with a precision that would make most big bands envious and with pieces that moved briskly and left the listener wishing for more each time as Pope did double duty of playing and conducting the ensemble. Pope originally assembled the group in 1977 and most of the members included in the Vision set have been playing together for a long time.

The first song, titled “Dedication to Max Roach”, was a brightly swinging number and in the third piece, saxophones took the lead and produced the sort of power one would expect from an ensemble with with 7 saxophones–3 tenors (including Pope), 3 altos, and a baritone–joined by a pianist, bassist, and drummer.

The fourth piece shifted pace for a ballad, “Cis,” dedicated to his late wife who Pope described as an “incredible Black lady.”

The tempo picked up significantly for their next song, dedicated to a musician Pope knew in San Francisco that sent Pope into the upper register with a few squeals thrown in.

The set closed with an uptempo rendition of Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” that benefited from the richness of the ensemble as the horns powered through the familiar melody and ended way too soon.

Slightly later on Thursday night, saxophonist Darius Jones’s “Farmers By Nature” began with a frenetic attack by all of the members from the start of the set that set the tone for their time on stage. Bassist William Parker returned to the Vision stage again to anchor the effort that included an angular Cecil Taylor-esque piano solo by Craig Taborn. Later in the set the interaction evolved into a call-and-response between Taborn’s shimmering piano lines and Jones’s plaintive sax bleats while Gerald Cleaver worked away on the drums before it ended on a quiet note and tapered to a close.

Poet Jesus Paopleto Melendez followed and read a short set of poetry capped off by a poem dedicated to the recently freed Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera that was printed on a long continuous scroll that Melendez unwound while he read.

Nicole Mitchell’s Artifacts Trio. (L-R) Mitchell, Mike Reed, Tomeka Reed.

Flutist Nicole Mitchell’s Artifacts Trio had Thursday night’s final set.  Staying true to her promise to celebrate the ongoing legacy of the AACM, Mitchell broke into a sung chant of “have mercy upon us” in an adaptation of a piece written by pianist/vocalist Amina Claudine Meyers. That was Mitchell’s take on Vision’s social justice theme. “I look at the human race as one organism which means that we’re suicidal” because of all the war and strife in the world, Mitchell said from the stage.

In an adaptation of Anthony Braxton’s “23B,” Mitchell set a blistering pace on the flute, which, fortunately, was matched by Tomeka Reid on the cello and finished abruptly with a high-pitched flute flourish.  Reid’s warm, sonorous sound on the cello nicely complemented the flute’s brightness throughout the set.

The last two nights will be covered in the next post.

Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot.

Joyce Jones is the executive producer and host of Suga’ in My Bowl. She is a graphic designer and her photos have been published in Black Renaissance Noir.

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