Legendary Swiss drummer Daniel Humair once said during an interview that jazz was only a small part of music, that music was only a small part of art and that art was only a small part of life. All these years later his words are heavy with significance.
As you can see from the sticker on our cover, for the first time in our history we are publishing an edition solely in digital form. This was a simple calculus; if there is nowhere to deliver
(for those somehow unaware, all concert venues in New York City—indeed all unnecessary gatherings—are closed until further notice), there is little point in printing thousands of issues. And, as you leaf through the pages, the effects of COVID-19—or, at least, the initial ones as its scope and longevity are unclear—are apparent in the scheduled shows cancelled and the lack of an Event Calendar, one normally having in excess of 750 concerts.
There is an old joke that jazz is always in a recession. But, as with most of the world's population and industries, it has never been in a pandemic. While events like the 1994 blizzard, 9/11, 2003 blackout and Hurricane Sandy tested the resolve of New Yorkers, those events were finite and we could quickly address the consequences and fall back on the strength of community, even if each, in their own way, left permanent scars. Now we are rightly having isolation advocated. For those familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, we are now squarely at the bottom, focused on physiological and safety concerns. Things like art—part of self-actualization at the top of the pyramid—are luxuries right now.
But a society without community and the opportunity for higher pursuits is not worth the name. We can only hope that normalcy, which won't, unfortunately, resemble any past version of that concept, will return. Until then, do what you can to retain your humanity: physical, mental, spiritual and universal.
On the Cover: KRIS DAVIS
By Kurt Gottschalk; photos by Peter Gannushkin
Pianist Kris Davis' new year's resolution for 2019 was, she says, "the same as everyone's: go to the gym. But I've kept at it." It's a modest resolution given the year she had: a new record that could well prove to be worthy of the signifier "career defining", if not "pivotal"; a new job at Berklee College of Music aimed, in part, at redefining gender norms in jazz; and a new nonprofit to support the record label she launched in 2016. Davis is scheduled to be at Village Vanguard Apr. 21st-26th.
Interview: MAKOTO OZONE
By Ken Dryden; photo Kentaro Hisadomi/courtesy of the artist
Makoto Ozone is one of many outstanding Berklee alumni from the '80s. The Kobe, Japan native was already a pianist with phenomenal technique and inventive improvising skill when he made his first appearance on a commercial release, a duo concert with Berklee professor and trombonist Phil Wilson in 1982, while the pianist was attending Berklee. After he graduated in 1984, Ozone was promptly hired by another Berklee professor, Gary Burton, for his quartet. Ozone spent several years touring and recording with the vibraphonist. In the '80s, he made three albums as a leader for Columbia and then signed with Verve, though most of his music in the new millennium has been recorded for Japanese labels. For a long time, he maintained homes in both the U.S. and Japan but in recent years has resided full-time in his native land. A prolific composer interested in many styles of jazz, Ozone currently records and plays with his own trio and his big band No Name Horses while also performing and recording classical music. Ozone was scheduled to be at Dizzy's Club.
Artist Feature: MAX RAABE
By Anna Steegmann; photo courtesy of the artist
The 1920s were an artistically rich period in German history. Much of the music of the time was later declared degenerate art by the Nazis and musicians and singers were no longer allowed to perform. There are many talented German singers in love with the music of the Weimar Republic. Some have achieved international acclaim but no one has reached the level of stardom of Max Raabe. He has written original songs and music, including film music, and acted in films and done live theater. In 2010 his Israel tour attracted so much attention that it was documented on film as Max Raabe in Israel. Raabe was scheduled to be at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall.
Encore: HORACEE ARNOLD
By Jim Motavalli
"It was a time when everybody knew everybody and high-quality people moved from one stylistic thing to another." Drummer Horacee Arnold was talking about 1973-74, when he recorded two memorable albums of cutting-edge fusion for Columbia, Tribe and Tales of the Exonerated Flea. The latter is a project Arnold would still like to revisit. He has a "Part Two" he'd love to make.
Lest We Forget: HAMIET BLUIETT
By Elliott Simon
Baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, who died Oct. 4th, 2018 at 78, influenced musicians not only with his horn but his style. Pianist D.D. Jackson is especially grateful: "He had an incredible impact on my approach to music-making just by setting an example of how to be spontaneous and fearless in one's playing, how to listen and interact and to harness the moment." A Bluiett tribute was scheduled to be at Sistas' Place.
Record Label Spotlight: CONSTELLATION
By George Grella
Any listener who has encountered saxophonist Matana Roberts' magnificent COIN COIN series has,
at least indirectly, discovered Constellation Records. The Montréal label has released four of Roberts' albums so far, the most recent, COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis, coming out last year.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses— NOTE ALL NYC VENUES ARE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO COVID-19):
Eliane Elias—Love Stories Concord (Birdland)
Roscoe Mitchell with Ostravska Band—Distant Radio Transmission Wide Hive (Bohemian National Hall)
Ava Mendoza/Vijay Anderson/Stephen Gauci—Studio Sessions Vol. 4 Gaucimusic (Union Pool)
Kristjan Randalu/Dave Liebman—Mussorgsky Pictures Revisited BMC Records (Soapbox Gallery)
Jeremy Pelt—The Art of Intimacy, Vol. 1 HighNote (Smoke)
Hendrik Meurkens—Cobb's Pocket In + Out (Smalls)
Gerry Mulligan—Young Blood (Jazz at the Concertgebouw) Dutch Jazz Archive
Glafkos Kontemeniotis—Y gen s/r
Roberto Magris—Sun Stone (featuring Ira Sullivan) JMood
Francesca Prihasti—Adriana s/r
James Carter—Live from Newport Jazz Blue Note (Sistas' Place)
Anna Webber/Angela Morris Big Band—Both Are True Greenleaf Music (The Jazz Gallery)
Professor Cunningham and His Old School—Swings Disney Arbors (The Django)
Emmet Cohen—Masters Legacy Series Volume 3 (featuring Benny Golson & Albert "Tootie" Heath) s/r (Dizzy's Club; The Appel Room)
Emmet Cohen—Masters Legacy Series Volume 4 (featuring George Coleman) s/r (Dizzy's Club; The Appel Room)
Tierney Sutton—Screen Play BFM Jazz (Birdland)
Alex Harding/Lucian Ban—Dark Blue Sunnyside (Bar Lunatico; Sistas' Place)