Archives for posts with tag: WBAI

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 John Schienfeld, director of Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary. You can see it on the 17th at the SVA Theater in Manhattan as part of the DOC NYC Festival. Also, thanks to any of you who supported us during WBAI’s Fall Fund Drive and if you didn’t get around to it, it’s not too late. You can also pledge for the Pacifica Radio Archives-produced 2-CD John Coltrane audio documentary that features a rare, famous interview with Coltrane by Frank Kofsky. And let’s get to our music listings.
 
Pianist and keyboardist Marc Cary leads a trio at Smoke on November 14th.
 
Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on November 14 with pianist McCoy Tyner and on the 21st with trumpeter Wallace Roney.
 
Pianist Michele Rosewoman is at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for a talk on the Afro Cuban beat on November 15.
 
Harpist Brandee Younger is at Newark NJ’s Gateway Center for a lunchtime set on November 16 as part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on the 16th.
 
The new documentary film Chasing ‘Trane is screening at the SVA Theater on 23rd St in Manhattan on November 17 as part of the DOC NYC Film Festival. Director John Scheinfeld is scheduled to attend and advance tickets are highly recommended.
 
Percussionist Steve Kroon leads a sextet at Smoke on November 17.
 
Drummer and percussionist Bobby Sanabria leads the Multiverse Big Band at Aaron Davis Hall on The City College of New York’s Harlem campus on November 18 for a birthday tribute and retirement celebration for legendary percussionist Candido Camero.
 
Bassist Christian McBride leads a James Brown tribute at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on November 18 as part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
Bassist Christian McBride and Vocalist Dianne Reeves are at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on November 19 for a Sarah Vaughn tribute as part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
Vibraphonist Gary Burton joins pianist Chick Corea at The Blue Note for a Miles Davis tribute from November 22-23.
 
Also joining Chick Corea at The Blue Note is saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, from the 25-27th and for a Return to Forever tribute from the 30th-December 4th.
 
Bassist Henry Grimes is at Harlem’s Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church on the 25th.
 
Low brass specialist on tuba Joe Daley will be at Terra Blues with Hazmat Modine on November 26th.
 
Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts is at St. Peter’s Church in Manhattan on November 29 with several other musicians for a benefit concert for the Syrian American Medical Society.
 
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.
 
Finally, looking much further ahead, the Winter Jazz Fest has released a teaser and preliminary lineup for the 2017 shinding from January 5-10! We’ll have a lot more to say about it, but for now, we’ll point you to their promo video with the highlights.
 

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is scheduled to be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on November 27. 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.

Advertisements

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.
 
We’re supposed to be on air this week, but have been pre-empted for WBAI Radio’s Fall Fund Drive. We’ll see you back on air 2 weeks from now, but until then, head on over to our archives to hear that or any of the other roughly 7 years of shows that are up.
 
jane_bunnett_odara_cover_475px
 
Before we get to the week’s shows, WBAI needs your support to stay on the air and keep us on the air in the station’s Fall Fund Drive. You can call 516-620-3602 or pledge online. Jane Bunnett’s just released Oddara CD with the Afro Cuban Maqueque group is available for a pledge of $35 to WBAI during this fall fund drive. There are also a few autographed copies of Quincy Troupe’s Miles and Me book or Will Calhoun’s Celebrating Elvin Jones CDs available and either would make a unique holiday gift. There are also copies of the MAC Power Trio’s Perfection CD with former Suga’ guests David Murray, Geri Allen, and Terri Lyne Carrington. You can also donate as little as $5. Even a little bit helps a lot and will be greatly appreciated!
 
Vocalist Catherine Russell and Columbia University Professor Robert O’Meally are at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on November 1 for “Jazz in the Key of Ellison” as part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
Saxophonist “Sweet Poppa” Lou Donaldson leads a quartet to celebrate his 90th birthday at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on November 1.
 
Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and Jeff “Tain” Watts join saxophonist Gary Bartz and many others on November 2 for Jazz for America’s Future: a Hillary Clinton campaign benefit performance at Symphony Space.
 
Pianist Vijay Iyer at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club from November 4-6.
 
Pianist and keyboardist Marc Cary leads a trio at Smoke on November 7 and 14.
 
Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at the Village Vanguard from November 8-13.
 
Low brass specialist on tuba Joe Daley will be at Terra Blues with Hazmat Modine on November 12 and 26.
 
Drummer Milford Graves and bassist Christian McBride are at the Village Vanguard with saxophonist John Zorn for an afternoon set on November 13.
 
Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at The Blue Note on November 14 with pianist McCoy Tyner and on the 21st with trumpeter Wallace Roney.
 
Pianist Michele Rosewoman is at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for a talk on the Afro Cuban beat on November 15.
 
Harpist Brandee Younger is at Newark NJ’s Gateway Center for a lunchtime set on November 16 as part of the James Moody Jazz Festival.
 
The new documentary film Chasing ‘Trane is screening at the SVA Theater on 23rd St in Manhattan on November 17 as part of the DOC NYC Film Festival. Director John Scheinfeld is scheduled to attend and advance tickets are highly recommended.
 
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 November 13. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.
 
—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.
 
We’re off this week, but if you missed last week’s show with Richard Bona head on over to our archives and check it out. And we have more music listings for you.
 
Saxophonist Billy Harper is at Birdland from the 13-17 with The Cookers.
 
Pianist and keyboardist Marc Cary hosts the Harlem Sessions at Ginny’s Supper Club on September 15.
 
Blues vocalist Aleixs P. Suter will be in Flemington NJ at the Central Jersey Jazz Festival on September 16th.
 
Low brass specialist on tuba Joe Daley will be at Terra Blues with Hazmat Modine on September 17.
 
Percussionist Steve Kroon is at the Central Jersey Jazz Festival in New Brunswick on September 17th.
 
Bassist William Parker has free outdoor daytime performances at the Lower East Side’s Children’s Magical Garden at 129 Stanton St on September 17-18.
 
Drummer/percussionist Bobby Sanabria leads Quarteto Ache at the Central Jersey Jazz Festival in Somerville on September 18th and at Kitano with Gene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble on the 21st.
 
Pianist Vijay Iyer will be at The Jazz Standard on September 20 with the Andrew Hill Legacy Project.
 
Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs is at Club Bonafide on September 24.
 
Vocalist Kurt Elling is at The Iridium on September 27-28 for a Jon Hendricks Birthday celebration.
 
That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is back on WBAI‘s airwaves on September 18. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.
 
—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

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

Will_Calhoun_Celebrating_Elvin_Jones_150px Autographed copies of Will Calhoun’s brand new CD Celebrating Elvin Jones are available for a pledge of only $25

 
This week’s guest is drummer/percussionist Will Calhoun who gives us the inside scoop on his new release in honor of Elvin Jones! You can catch him in a free outdoor show on Friday the 12th at Marcus Garvey Park as part of the Jazzmobile series or with Living Colour on the 17th in a special acoustic set at City Winery or, at the Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn on the 28th. We have several premiums for you in this pledge drive edition. Autographed copies of Will Calhoun’s brand new CD Celebrating Elvin Jones are available for a pledge of only $25. We only have a few so call 516 620 3602 or make a pledge online. We still have a few copies left of the Perfection CD by the MAC Power Trio of David Murray, Geri Allen, and drummer Teri Lynne Carrington for a $25 pledge. Finally, autographed copies of Quincy Troupe’s book Miles and Me about his relationship with Miles Davis are available for pledges of $35. All premiums include a year’s membership to WBAI and all proceeds go to supporting listener-supported free speech community radio in NYC. Many thanks to Motema Records for their donation of the CDs! And we have music listings for you!
 
Harpist Brandee Younger has weekly Sunday brunch sets at Minton’s in Harlem.
 
Pianist Marc Cary hosts The Harlem Sessions at Ginny’s Supper Club on Thursdays in August.
 
Organist John Medeski is at the Village Vanguard with pianist Uri Caine on August 9.
 
Drummer Cindy Blackman Santana is at the Jazz Standard on August 9-10th.
 
Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts leads a quartet at Jazz Standard from August 11-14th.
 
Drummer Will Calhoun is at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series on the 12th.
 
Vocalist Thana Alexa is at Club Bonafide with Michael Olatuja on the 13th.
 
Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and bassist Christian McBride both lead bands at the Montclair Jazz Festival on the 13th.
 
Bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake are at The Stone from the 17-20 with guitarist Joe Morris.
 
Pianist Randy Weston leads the African Rhythms ensemble with bassist Alex Blake at the Jazz in the Valley Festival in Poughkeepsie NY on August 21st. If you miss them there, they’ll be at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Marcus Garvey Park on the 27th.
 
Trombonist Craig Harris is also at Jazz in the Valley Festival on August 21st.
 
Drummer/percussionist Bobby Sanabria leads the Multiverse Big Band at Grant’s Tomb for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series on the 24th.
 
Percussionist Steve Kroon is at the Louis Armstrong House and Museum in Queens for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series on the 25th.
 
Finally, Guitarist Julian Lage is at The Stone with fellow guitarist Nels Cline on the 25th.
 
That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is back on WBAI‘s airwaves on August 21. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.
 
—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

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

MAC_Power_Trio_smallAllen has teamed with saxophonist David Murray and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington for a combo they’re calling the MAC Power Trio. Their new release is called Perfection. CDs are available for a pledge of only $25.

 
We’re off the air this week, but catch us next week as we catch up with drummer/percussionist Will Calhoun and get the inside scoop on his new release in honor of Elvin Jones! Until then, hit the archives for last week’s show with pianist Geri Allen and the rest of our archived shows. We still have last week’s premiums available if you missed out. Allen has teamed with saxophonist David Murray and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington for a combo they’re calling the MAC Power Trio. Their new release is called Perfection. CDs are available for a pledge of only $25. There are also still a few autographed copies left of Quincy Troupe’s book Miles and Me about his relationship with Miles Davis for pledges of $35. You can also call in your pledge to 516-620-3602. Both also include a year’s membership to WBAI and all proceeds go to supporting listener-supported free speech community radio in NYC. And we have music listings for you!
 
Harpist Brandee Younger has weekly Sunday brunch sets at Minton’s in Harlem.
 
Pianist Geri Allen is at the Village Vanguard from August 2-7.
 
Pianist Marc Cary hosts The Harlem Sessions at Ginny’s Supper Club on Thursdays in August.
 
Saxophonist Ahmed Abdullah is at Harlem’s Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church for two lunchtime sets as part of the Harlem Afternoon Jazz Series on August 2.
 
Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater is at Metrotech Center in downtown Brooklyn for a free outdoor concert at 12 noon on August 4.
 
Pianist Barry Harris is at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park on August 5 for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series.
 
Vocalist Thana Alexa is at The Side Door in Old Lyme CT on August 5th.
 
Saxophonist Gary Bartz is at Smoke with Heads of State from August 5-7th.
 
Organist John Medeski is at the Village Vanguard with pianist Uri Caine on August 9.
 
Drummer Cindy Blackman Santana is at the Jazz Standard on August 9-10th.
 
Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts leads a quartet at Jazz Standard from August 11-14th.
 
Drummer Will Calhoun is at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series on the 12th.
 
Bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake are at The Stone from the 17-20 with guitarist Joe Morris.
 
That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl is back on WBAI‘s airwaves on August 7. 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.

James_B_Lewis_close_Vision21Words and Photos by Hank Williams | Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Main Photo: James Brandon Lewis
 
I’ve been covering the 2016 Vision Festival daily so far as part of Suga’ in My Bowl Radio’s on air coverage. If you missed it, check out the festival preview or the installments on the opening night highlighting bassist/violinist/poet Henry Grimes, day two’s report on the Sun Ra Arkestra’s set, or day 3’s report, Day 4’s report focusing on Michele Rosewoman’s New YorUba, and day 5’s report on Wadada Leo Smith. Suga’ host and executive producer Joyce Jones has been on the scene as well, and it’s largely her photos you see in the previous posts.
 
Today’s post is one that wasn’t really supposed to happen–at least not in its current form. I said at the end of yesterday’s report that it would be the last one and had planned to do a Vision review that included the final day. The review will still happen, though give me a few days on it.
 
Why? Well, there’s that whole economy of effort thing and the fact that I was covering the last night by myself, as Suga’ in My Bowl host Joyce Jones (who has the real photography chops) was busy editing sound for last night’s show with drummer Andrew Cyrille (which you should definitely listen to when we get it online). But then that magical thing happened of someone totally blowing you so far away that you just have to write something, especially if others are reading. And it does appear that a few people are reading these dispatches.
 
That’s a long way of saying that the trio of saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, electric bassist Luke Stewart, and drummer Warren Trae Crudup III are the primary inspiration for today’s post. Blame it on them.
 
James_Brandon_Lewis_Trio_Vision21
James Brandon Lewis Trio
 
Lewis is by no means a stranger to Vision, explaining to me after the set that he’d been a volunteer several years ago, has been following it for a while now, and I’d met him before, though don’t think I’d heard him play. I confess that his 2015 Days of FreeMan release had gotten by me too, even though it’s gotten some favorable reviews. There’s a lot of good stuff out there that I miss. The trio played earlier this year in Arts for Art’s January series, so they should’ve been on my radar.
 

James Brandon Lewis Trio at Arts for Art | Don Mount video
 
The three had an incredibly high energy set. Buoyed by Stewart on the electric bass and Crudup on drums, the evening took a turn to a party-like atmosphere. Crudup’s intense pulsing backbeat drove the trio forward, providing a solid foundation for Lewis and Stewart.
 
Lewis, his infectious energy seemingly uncontainable, at one point hopped back and forth like a prize fighter egging the rest of the group on. Lewis described himself in terms of an MC, except using a saxophone instead of words, trying to bring a similar feel of energy and improvisation to his work. He also stressed the importance of the collective and that while he’s nominally the leader, he wants to democratize the process of creating and playing music with the other members. Writing this now, I feel bad that I didn’t corner Stewart and Crudup after the set as well. Lewis reported that the energy on stage was good for the group, and he felt comfortable taking some more risks as the trust level between the musicians is increasing as they play together more.
 
Stewart_Crudup_JBLTrio_Vision21
(L-R) Luke Stewart and Warren Trae Crudup III
 
The good news is that (aside from getting their CD) there are a few immediate chances to see them: they’re playing the Red Hook Jazz Festival on Sunday the 19th and have a lunchtime set in Madison Square Park on the 29th as well as other upcoming dates. For me, the trio was one of the revelations of the festival and one thing it does well: expose you to new artists.
 
The set ended with a surprisingly calm, melodic coda, however: almost as if the trio realized the need to let the audience down easily after getting us so fired up. Lewis told me that he just wants to tell the truth as a musician. His honesty and enthusiasm was completely on display on Sunday night and it was difficult not to believe in him or in the future of jazz after seeing him live.
 
While Lewis’s set may have been the revelation of the festival (for me, at least), saxophonist William Edward Jordan, better known as “Kidd”, took the stage again to close out this year’s festival. Jordan, playfully referring to his now-outdated nickname as the “world’s oldest kid.” Jordan doesn’t play around when it comes to his music however, and–in his second appearance at this year’s Vision Fest and too many other Visions for me to collect right now–led the group in a rousing final set.
 
Kidd_Jordan_portrait_finalnite_Vision21
Kidd Jordan
 
Jordan is seemingly a Janus face of free/avant jazz: seamlessly incorporating the past, present, and future all in one persona. Jordan’s earlier forays this year drew the New Orleans native repeatedly back to the Blues; this set initially focused more on the free improvisation he’s brought to the festival repeatedly over the years–though soon detoured right back in the Blues when the spirit so moved him and he felt confident his collaborators could make the journey with him.
 


 
Jordan dedicated his set to the memory of the victims of the attack earlier that day in Florida, invoking the determination that “nobody else get [should] by messed up like that at any time”. And with that thought, he sent us off into the night.
 
This really does wrap up our daily Vision coverage, but we’ll check back in with a full review. Be sure to tune in to our next Suga’ in My Bowl show with drummer Andrew Cyrille this Sunday at 11 PM EST on WBAI and streaming worldwide online.
 
—-
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.

DSC_0195Words by Hank Williams | Photos by Joyce Jones. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Main Photo: Dave Burrell and Hamid Drake
 
I’ve been covering the 2016 Vision Festival daily so far as part of Suga’ in My Bowl Radio’s on air coverage. If you missed it, check out the festival preview or the installments on the opening night highlighting bassist/violinist/poet Henry Grimes, day two’s report on the Sun Ra Arkestra’s set, or day 3’s report, and Day 4’s report focusing on Michele Rosewoman’s New YorUba. Suga’ host and executive producer Joyce Jones has been on the scene as well, and it’s largely her photos you see in these posts.
 
The pyrotechnics began early Saturday evening, as saxophonist Hamiett Bluiett drew the early evening set, leading a quartet with pianist DD Jackson, drummer Hamid Drake, and Bob Stewart on tuba. Poet David Mills read some of his work in a following set, including one epic-length poem, “Blues People” dedicated to the late Amiri Baraka.
 


 
The tone of the evening took a turn when trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith took to the stage, matched with a quartet of viola players including Jason Kao Hwang and an artist named Hardedge on electronics..
 
The set displayed one of Vision’s core principles: being open to highly experimental work that pushes the boundaries and occasionally demands a lot from the audience. Such was the case with this combination. Aside from the unusual (for jazz, at least) mix of instruments, the music itself was complex and demanded a lot of attention to appreciate the subtlety, such as Smith’s matching the notes of the violas in one part of the composition. The overall mood, however, was one of serenity and contemplation. Smith ended the set verbally imploring the audience to find beauty in everyday life; an appropriate coda to the performed piece titled “Pacifica”, itself inspired by the Pacific Ocean and, in Smith’s words, “the depth at which light penetrates water.”
 
The final set of the night was a duo between pianist Dave Burrell and the indefatigable drummer Hamid Drake, returning re-energized after his electrifying performance in the night’s opening set with Hamiet Bluiett.
 
The two performed a suite titled “Paradox of Freedom”. It started and ended with the title piece, with compositions titled “Cheap Shot” and “Long Time Coming” in the middle.
 
Burrell alternated between sharp, angular notes and more melodic playing, using several different repeated phrases as an entry point for improvisation and exploration. Drake was the perfect partner, responding to Burrell’s thoughts, filling in with spots of color where appropriate, and using his ability to react quickly to changing textures to the maximum effect.
 
Jazz duos can be difficult for listeners, and likely players as well, since the task of moving the narrative forward rests on fewer players. Conversely, duos make it easier to concentrate on the contributions of each to the whole. Interaction becomes key and intimacy between players is warmly rewarded. The latter advantages were on display and the two sounded like a much larger combo, with Burrell using the percussive nature of the piano to complement Drake in places.
 
It seems trite to observe that Drake is a master drummer, but he is. He responded seamlessly to Burrell and displayed an astonishing range of textures on the drum set. He was allowed to cut loose for a brief moment near the end of their set, however, and rewarded the audience with a thunderous solo. While drum solos are often a formality (and at worst are something to be endured) Drake is the type of drummer who can indeed make the most of a solo, organically advancing ideas and building complex narratives that feel fresh and compelling. This is what, I would imagine, all musicians aspire to. The crowd that nearly filled Judson’s main auditorium was rewarded for their attention.
 

 
This wraps up our daily Vision coverage, but we’ll check back in with a full review including the final night’s closing performances. Be sure to tune in to our next Suga’ in My Bowl show with drummer Andrew Cyrille this Sunday at 11 PM EST on WBAI and streaming worldwide online.
 
—-
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.
 
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.

DSC_1073
Words by Hank Williams | Photos by Joyce Jones. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Main Photo: Steve Swell
 
I’ve been covering the 2016 Vision Festival daily so far as part of Suga’ in My Bowl Radio’s on air coverage. If you missed it, check out the festival preview or the installments on the opening night highlighting bassist/violinist/poet Henry Grimes and yesterday’s report on the Sun Ra Arkestra’s set. Additionally, Suga’ host and executive producer Joyce Jones has been on the scene as well, and it’s largely her photos you see in these posts.
 
Bill Cole’s Untempered Ensemble was joined by Douglas Dunn’s dancers for the opening set. Percussionist Lisette Santiago started the set with shimmering bells. Cole joined her on his trademark digeridoo and the steady, hypnotizing drone set the stage for Ras Moshe’s saxophone. The ensemble improvised freely throughout their single piece that constituted the set. Moshe revealed after the set that–in typical Vision style–that during rehearsals the plan was to just let things unfold and react to them. The trio has been playing for quite some time now, with semi-regular gigs at the Brooklyn Commons. Here, they were joined by Dunn’s dance troupe, who reacted to the music and interacted with the audience.
 
DSC_0590
 
New Orleans native poet Tonya foster wrapped up her set with “New Orleans Biography” from her new book A Swarm of Bees in High Court, a stream of consciousness gumbo of cultural references, delivered alphabetically, that seemingly took one into the mind of a new Orleans resident through the last post-Katrina decade. Rejecting elegy or simple categorization, Foster’s piece reflected on the entirety of life Black residents might experience, with joys, sadness, anger, frustration, and mundane thoughts all rolled into one epic experience.
 
DSC_0979
 
Trombonist Steve Swell’s Quintet came out swinging hard before settling into a softer, more meditative pace for their first composition. Drummer Chad Taylor and pianist Connie Crothers, and bassist Larry Roland all made repeat Vision appearances. Roland started from off one piece and was soon joined by Taylor, which led the way for Rob Brown’s explorations on sax, complemented by Crothers’s angular playing. Swell was content to sit back and let the piece evolve before taking a solo. that was far from Swell’s only mode, however, as he played like a man possessed at times, seemingly pushing the instrument to its limits with a sax-like intensity and speed. It resulted in one of the memorable performances of the festival so far.
 
DSC_1010
 
In the night’s final set, saxophonist Kidd Jordan was in the center of the storm, though drummer Hamid Drake was, nominally, the leader. Jordan has the wonderful ability to alternate seamlessly between playing “out” and settling back into melody. The ensemble repeatedly fell into the Blues in the wide-ranging, freely improvised set consisting of a single, constantly evolving piece. Drake again showed his mastery on the drums, seemingly effortlessly reacting to the changing tempos and feel as the music evolved.
 


 
If you missed last night (or the entire festival so far), the good news is that there’s plenty more action this weekend before the Sunday evening closing. See the full schedule at Vision’s site and tell friends: Vision’s largely a grassroots effort.
 
We’ll be reporting from Vision throughout the festival and I’ll have a wrap-up when it’s all done. If you haven’t caught it already, you can hear our Vision Fest preview show with Marc Ribot, Geri Allen, Lisa Sokolov, and Andrew Cyrille discussing Grimes’s influence and festival organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker talking festival logistics. And, remember our next Suga’ in My Bowl show with Andrew Cyrille this Sunday at 11 PM EST on WBAI.
 
—-
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.
 
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.

Arkestra_Full_Vision21
Words by Hank Williams | Photos by Joyce Jones. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Main Photo: The Sun Ra Arkestra
 
On Wednesday night, poet Quincy Troupe took to the stage without introduction and launched into his work, reading from two unpublished collections of his work. Troupe, invited by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis to co-write the musician’s autobiography, has deep connections with jazz, infusing his work with references to musicians and even reading with musical cadences. Troupe knows improvisation, collaboration–and even the need to listen and work as part of an ensemble–as he’s collaborated with musicians before, having worked with trombonist and AACM member George Lewis and including guitarist Kelvyn Bell and saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett on his 2011 SOUNDART release. His set-closing poem “Blue Mandela”, dedicated to Harlem-based artist Xenobia Bailey’s installation in the NYC subway’s new 34th St.-Hudson Yards station, brought Troupe a standing ovation as he exited the stage.
 
Pianist Connie Crothers’s set was (as promised) an exercise in free improvisation building on her angular, shimmering piano styling nicely complemented by Warren Smith’s solid drumming and Michael Bisio’s standout performance on bass.
 
The Sun Ra Arkestra returned to Vision as the closing set for the night–fortunately, at an earlier scheduled time than last year, when they took the stage well past midnight.
 
No strangers to finely honed (and theatrical) performance, the Arkestra entered the hall single file, chanting “this is the planet dream of the Earth Galaxy” as they filed through the standing room only crowd to take the stage. It could also be seen as a continuation of earlier in the day, when the Arkestra was one of the highlights of what’s becoming a Vision tradition of having a parade starting in the adjacent Washington Square Park cross the street to Judson. Marshall Allen, the Arkestra’s 92-year-old leader and conductor, finished off the first song with a positively celestial sounding flourish on the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI), which Allen uses to supplement his saxophone and has become an acknowledged master at. The sound meshed perfectly with Judson’s acoustics, which are challenging to large ensembles such as the Arkestra. Indeed, the sound was a challenge throughout the set, as musicians signaled for more volume for their instruments. Part of the challenge is the difficult acoustics of Judson itself, a large open church with hard surfaces and high ceilings. Allen seems to have mastered the tricky acoustics, though.
 
The Arkestra’s “Discipline 27-II” kicked off with the sampled voice of none other than Ra himself sending a missive to the “People of Planet Earth”.
 
The Arkestra then launched into “Angels and Demons At Play”, with vocalist Middleton’s rich, deep vocals meshing with the synthesizer. Saxophonist Knoel Scott was inspired enough to put down his instrument and step to the front of the stage to show off his dance moves. Multiple roles and talents are simply par for the course for Arkestra members. As vocalist Tara Middleton explained to us after the set, there is no set list with the Arkestra, following how things worked under Ra himself. The band just responds to the vibrations present at the time and chooses songs accordingly.
 
The next piece matched Middleton’s scatting vocals to Allen’s upper register sax squeals in the bass and electric guitar – heavy tune that had the Arkestra swinging hard.
 
A bluesy acoustic bass solo kicked off “Blues in the Night”, eventually giving way to flute and electric guitar solo by Dave Hotep that allowed Middleton to show off her Blues chops.
 
The Arkestra classic “Love in Outer Space” followed and “When You Wish Upon a Star” was given the Arkestra’s unique, slightly atonal treatment and gave Allen the space to kick off the latter with a solo.
 
The final set-closing medley of “We Travel the Spaceways” and “Space is the Place” with the Arkestra leading a second line through the audience came all too soon.
 
Despite the issues with sound and acoustics, the Arkestra put in a strong performance, with Allen still playing with a force, intensity, and enthusiasm that defies his age. I’ve written that a few times about the Arkestra before, but it remains true and it’s something I hope to continue reporting for quite a while. However, with the addition of Middleton and other members who’ve been with the Arkestra a long time, Ra’s prodigious back catalog, fresh tunes composed by Allen added to the performance rotation, and the release of the Babylon CD/DVD set, the Arkestra looks set to be continuing traveling the spaceways for quite a while to come.
 
We’ll be reporting from Vision throughout the festival and I’ll have a wrap-up when it’s all done. If you haven’t caught it already, you can hear our Vision Fest preview show with Marc Ribot, Geri Allen, Lisa Sokolov, and Andrew Cyrille discussing Grimes’s influence and festival organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker talking festival logistics, which she’ll discuss on our colleague Basir Mchawi’s Education at the Crossroads show on Thursday at 7 PM EST. And, remember our next Suga’ in My Bowl show with Andrew Cyrille this Sunday at 11 PM EST on WBAI.
 
—-
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.
 
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.

DSC_0251
Words by Hank Williams | Photos by Joyce Jones. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Main Photo: Vision Fest 21 honoree Henry Grimes
 
Bassist/violinist/poet Henry Grimes famously doesn’t talk much nowadays: at least not to journalists like myself. To be perfectly clear, it isn’t an issue of him being inaccessible or thinking he’s too good or his time is too valuable: on the contrary, he’s usually in attendance at almost any event having to do with free/avant garde jazz in New York City–usually with his wife and manager Margaret at his side–and is just there digging the music even if he isn’t on the bill or has finished his own set. It’s just that he doesn’t talk a lot, period. An affable smile and recognition is all you’re likely to get. That’s fine since his body of work fills in much of the story. Still, those of us itching to dig deeper and get some of the history he’s been involved in won’t walk away with much more than we see on the bandstand.
 
Personal testimony isn’t the only story, though, and what your peers say about you counts for a lot. And Grimes’s peers have a lot to say about both the man and his work, which makes focusing the 2016 Vision Fest’s spotlight on Grimes all the more valuable since you’d be hard pressed to find someone with bad things to say about the man as either a person or musician. That’s rare in any industry.
 
Grimes’s remarkable story of walking away from the jazz spotlight before reemerging 35 years later has been told elsewhere, so I won’t repeat it here. The point is that Grimes is the type of artist who’s easy to overlook if one isn’t deep into jazz — much less the free improvisation that he revels and excels in. All of that makes Vision’s choice to highlight his career this year a good one, especially since he’s been a mainstay at the festival since his return to high level performance was punctuated by a Vision appearance over a decade ago and he’s been a mainstay ever since.
 
Grimes stood on the bandstand throughout three sets to kick off Vision on Tuesday night as both the honoree and center–figuratively and literally, as he occupied center stage–of all of the performances.
 
After Vision’s traditional opening invocation, the evening started with an ensemble pairing Grimes with pianist Geri Allen (in her Vision debut), Vision veteran Andrew Cyrille (who’ll be interviewed on Suga’ in My Bowl on Sunday 6/12) on drums, and Graham Haynes on coronet. Grimes alternated between bass and violin, showing equal comfort on each instrument. Allen showed, unsurprisingly, that she can keep up with the best improvisers out there and is as adept at playing more freely as she is in more structured environments. Cyrille, meanwhile, added a solid base for the group’s explorations and punctuated their second song with a steady rhythm on the cowbell.
 
Grimes has also written a fair amount of poetry, which was the focus of the second set, featuring vocalist Lisa Sokolov’s songs and Grimes’s poetry. Grimes accompanied the Sokolov-led choir of Imani Uzuri, Karma Mayet Johnson, Dwight Trible, and Mixashawn.
 
The night’s final set featured Mixashawn on saxophone, Melanie Dyer on viola, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and cellist Tomeka Reid joining Grimes’s frequent trio collaborators guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Chad Taylor. The ensemble produced some of the night’s memorable performances. The first song of the set built to a crescendo riffing off of Mitchell’s repeated flute phrase with Ribot filling in the colors while Grimes kept a steady hand on bass. The set’s third (and last) piece started with a solid beat by Taylor, joined by Mitchell, then Ribot and Grimes. Taylor’s steady rhythms kept driving the group forward as they all set a frenetic pace.
 
Through it all, Grimes remained impassive, focused intently on the music at hand. While he may be a man of few words, Grimes “speaks” loudly and authoritatively on bass, violin, and written words. All of which were on display tonight.
 
We’ll be reporting from Vision throughout the festival and I’ll have a wrap-up when it’s all done. If you haven’t caught it already, you can hear our Vision Fest preview show with Marc Ribot, Geri Allen, Lisa Sokolov, and Andrew Cyrille discussing Grimes’s influence and festival organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker talking festival logistics, which she’ll probably discuss on our colleague Basir Mchawi’s Education at the Crossroads show on Thursday at 7 PM EST. And, remember our next Suga’ in My Bowl show with Andrew Cyrille this Sunday at 11 PM EST on WBAI.
 


 
—-
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.
 
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.

%d bloggers like this: