It's easy, from the outside, to think of the musician's life as one of glamour. But spend five minutes talking to one and you'll learn why playing jazz is as real a job as you can have. Our Big Three features this month all demonstrate the effort involved in this career choice. Trumpeter Charles Tolliver (On The Cover) is a legend to those in the know but still not a household name despite decades of performing and recording; he is among those musicians who spearheaded the artist-owned record label model so common today. Tolliver is at Smoke for a weekend engagement. Guitarist David Fiuczynski (Interview) probably made more work for himself by devoting his time as a performer and educator at Berklee College of Music to exploring micro-tonality. You can see the results when he performs this month as part of the Alternative Guitar Summit. And Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (Artist Feature), who relentlessly tours and records all over the world, takes on the musical and logistical challenge of leading a big band, appearing in a rare stateside visit at Pioneer Works.
We also take the time to celebrate the life's work of the recently departed piano master Cecil Taylor with a two-page In Memoriam spread full of remembrances from his colleagues.
On the Cover: CHARLES TOLLIVER
By Thomas Conrad; photos by Jimmy Katz
Charles Tolliver is the last man standing from the great trumpet generation that produced Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Booker Little, Blue Mitchell, Carmell Jones and Woody Shaw. He is also a groundbreaking composer, arranger and big band leader. This story is about why Tolliver should be more famous. It is also about why he is not. Tolliver's New Music Inc. is at Smoke Jun. 29th-Jul. 1st.
Interview: DAVID FIUCZYNSKI
By George Grella; photo by Simon Wu
Guitarist David Fiuczynski has been pushing at the margins where jazz meets funk, rock and punk for decades, both as
a sideman with the likes of Bernie Worrell, John Medeski and Ronald Shannon Jackson and as the leader of Screaming Headless Torsos and KiF. A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, he is also one of the minuscule number of musicians who have moved away from equal temperament in jazz and popular music—in Fiuczynski's case, playing microtonal jazz, funk and rock across a recent series of albums and teaching the Microtonal Grooves Lab at Berklee College of Music, where he is on the faculty of the guitar department. Fiuczynski is at Nublu 151 Jun. 22nd as part of Alternative Guitar Summit.
Artist Feature: PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE
By John Sharpe; photo by Peter Gannushkin
Paal Nilssen-Love has drums in his blood. He's on the record as saying that he played drums before he could walk. Is that true? He laughs, "I was going to say before I was born! They say that when you are in the mother's womb you hear sounds and my dad played drums before me and he did for quite a few years after I was born." Nilssen-Love's Large Unit is at Pioneer Works Jun. 18th.
Encore: PETER KUHN
By ROBERT BUSH
In the late '70s, woodwind virtuoso Peter Kuhn's career was in clear ascendance...In The Big Apple, Kuhn quickly established important associations...Like many of his generation, Kuhn's track derailed from drug abuse and he dropped off the scene entirely, ultimately regaining his life for good in 1985, although he didn't feel the tug of music for almost 25 years.
Lest We Forget: JOHANNES BAUER
By Mark Keresman
In the history of jazz there have been numerous siblings who made an impact. One such set were the German Bauer brothers: Konrad "Conny" (born 1943) and Johannes (July 1954-May 2016). Conny ventured first into jazz and then the trombone and, like many younger siblings, Johannes followed. A tribute to Johannes Bauer with fellow trombonists Jim Staley, Steve Swell and Masahiko Kono is at The Stone at The New School Jun. 28th.
Record Label Spotlight: DOUBLE MOON
By Marilyn Lester
For anyone looking for an example of what jazz is all about, the German Double Moon label is a good place to start. In its history is contained the essence of the collaborative nature of jazz and dedication of musicians and jazz lovers who work to keep the genre alive. Double Moon is also a case in point that jazz is more prized in Europe than in its birth country. Artists performing this month include Lee Konitz at Jazz at Kitano Jun. 1st-2nd.
In Memoriam: CECIL TAYLOR
Remembrances of the late pianist from Pheeroan akLaff, Albey Balgochian, Thurman Barker, Dave Burrell, Marilyn Crispell, Andrew Cyrille, Charles Downs, Jackson Krall, Elliott Levin, Tony Oxley, William Parker, Evan Parker, Matthew Shipp and Alan Silva.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Marty Ehrlich -- Trio Exaltation Clean Feed (The Stone at The New School; Greenwich House Music School; Soup & Sound)
Craig Brann -- Lineage SteepleChase (Tomi Jazz; Bar Next Door)
Gregory Porter -- Nat "King" Cole & Me Blue Note (Blue Note Jazz Festival)
Stacey Kent -- I Know I Dream (The Orchestral Sessions) OKeh-Sony (Birdland)
Joey Alexander -- Eclipse Motéma (Jazz Standard)
Grant Green -- Funk in France: From Paris to Antibes (1969-1970) Resonance
Grant Green -- Slick! (Live at Oil Can Harry's) Resonance
Henrik Pultz Melbye -- Frogs/Toads Insula Jazz
Kang Tae Hwan -- Live at Café Amores NoBusiness
Urs Leimgruber -- Broken Silence Creative Works
Alex Sipiagin -- Relativity (Music of Dave Lisik) Skydeck (Dizzy's Club)
Sharel Cassity -- Evolve Relsha Music (Dizzy's Club)