The New York City Jazz Record

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50 years is a long time to do anything. Sure, Queen Elizabeth II's reign is approaching 70 years but she is mostly an anachronistic figurehead. Neither description applies to legendary producer Manfred Eicher (On The Cover), whose ECM Records celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. Over 30 artists, the smallest sliver of the imprint's roster, will come together at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater to fête Eicher, who continues to produce some of today's most compelling jazz, drawing from global talent young and old. Pianist Roger Kellaway (Interview) has been at it even longer, starting with Clark Terry in 1962 and through to his own albums, soundtrack recordings and collaborations; Kellaway starts his 80th celebration year with an upstairs-downstairs weekend at Birdland and Birdland Theater. It only seems like bassist Linda May Han Oh has been around forever, so quickly did she ascend to much-deserved acclaim as a leader and sideperson; she is at The Jazz Gallery for a weekend engagement. And representing bookends of the seminal career of Ornette Coleman are drummer Billy Higgins (Lest We Forget), member of the alto saxophonist's earliest bands, and guitarist Charlee Ellerbe (Encore), key member of Coleman's late-period ensemble Prime Time.


By Andrey Henkin; photos by Bart Babinski / ECM Records

To paraphrase Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter from Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, "To the public Manfred Eicher is ECM Records." Blue Note Records under founder Alfred Lion lasted 28 years. Riverside and Orrin Keepnews 11. Bob Thiele produced for Impulse! for 8. ECM Records as an expression of Eicher's vision has exceeded the sum of all three of those legendary imprints with no sign of slowing down. ECM Records at 50 is at Rose Theater Nov 1st-2nd.


By Ken Dryden; photo Jorjana Kellaway

A man of many musical hats, Roger Kellaway is best known for his brilliant jazz piano, extensive work writing, conducting and orchestrating for soundtracks and television and sessions with a variety of artists, from pop and folk to classical music. Once he arrived in New York, he became an in-demand freelancer and his star rose once he became a prolific contributor to film and TV. Kellaway is proud of his tenure as Music Director for vocalist Bobby Darin and has recorded two acclaimed tributes to him. In recent years, he has released several duo CDs with reed player Eddie Daniels. Kellaway is at Birdland Theater as a leader and Birdland as a guest of the Django Reinhardt Festival, both Nov. 15th-16th.

Artist Feature: LINDA MAY HAN OH

By Franz Matzner; photo by Shervin Lainez

Linda May Han Oh has risen to the top of the jazz scene as a prolific bass player. Oh is an exceptional human being, not solely because of her musical talents, which are legion, but also as a result of her dedicated engagement as a teacher and social activist. Oh is at The Jazz Gallery Nov. 29th-30th.


By John Pietaro

As the Bern Nix Jazz Festival in Elizabeth, NJ wrapped on Sep. 28th, Charlee Ellerbe crouched at stage right, packing up his Steinberger six-string. "The truth is," he said sans irony, "I've never called myself a guitarist. This is a vehicle for the melodies, the arrangements I hear." Ellerbe, esteemed guest artist of this event honoring Ornette Coleman's Prime Time's other guitarist, who died in 2017, held the audience in a state of fixation as he crafted melodic assaults and agitational pulsations on this vehicle he played 14 years with Coleman, time with Sun Ra and for the Coleman memorial at Lincoln Center and beyond.


By John Pietaro

In a career that forged the hardbop-to-free portal, Billy Higgins is recalled today as the first-call drummer in the period of jazz' most prodigious transition. A Higgins tribute led by Willie Jones III is at Dizzy's Club Nov. 14th-17th.

Record Label Spotlight: CATALYTIC SOUND

By Eric Wendell

Improvised music is a collaborative experience, musicians coming together without preconceived notions to create something from nothing. Sharing the fruit of such experiences has been the lifework of multi-instrumentalist Ken Vandermark. He and many of his contemporaries have taken the mantle and formed their own record labels in order to have control of their output and safeguard their survival. Vandermark took this idea to establish Catalytic Sound. Artists performing this month are Joe McPhee at 244 Rehearsal Studios Nov. 23rd; Ikue Mori at Roulette Nov. 5th; Luke Stewart at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center Nov. 19th as part of Celebrating Patricia Nicholson and Zinc Bar Nov. 26th with Avram Fefer; and Nate Wooley at Miller Theatre Nov. 14th, Issue Project Room Nov. 15th and St. Peter's Episcopal Church Nov. 23rd.

CD Reviews

(this month's performance venues in parentheses):

  1. Bill Frisell/Thomas MorganEpistrophy ECM (Rose Theater)
  2. Enrico Rava/Joe LovanoRoma ECM (Rose Theater)
  3. Avishai Cohen/Yonathan AvishaiPlaying The Room ECM (Rose Theater)
  4. Aimee AllenWingsUncaged s/r (Club Bonafide)
  5. Whit DickeyPeace Planet/Box of Light AUM Fidelity (244 Rehearsal Studios)
  6. Michele Rosewoman's New Yor-UbaHallowed Advance Dance Disques (Zinc Bar)
  7. Duke EllingtonUppsala 1971 Storyville
  8. Aki TakaseHokusai Intakt
  9. Andrea KellerTransients Volume 1 s/r
  10. Jo-Yu ChenSavage Beauty Sony Music
  11. Sarah Weaver/Gerry HemingwayReality Axis (for Solo Percussion) Sync Source (The DiMenna Center)
  12. Rob BrownFrom Here to Hear RogueArt (244 Rehearsal Studios; Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center)
  13. LandlineEponymous Loyal Label (Brooklyn Conservatory of Music)
  14. Charlie RauhHiraeth Destiny (Symphony Space)
  15. Charlie Rauh/Cameron MizellWhat We Have In Common Destiny (Symphony Space)
  16. Jeremy CarlstedtSound Escapes Carlsteady (Teatro Latea)
  17. Stephen Gauci/Adam Lane/Kevin SheaStudio Sessions, Vol. 2 Gaucimusic (Bushwick Public House)
  18. Fleur SeuleStandards and Sweet Things s/r (Tavern on the Green; Birdland Theater; S.O.B.'s; The Django at The Roxy Hotel; Special Club)
  19. Rez AbbasiA Throw of Dice (by The Silent Ensemble) Whirlwind (Jazz Standard)
  20. Mareike WieningMetropolis Paradise Greenleaf Music (The Jazz Gallery)
  21. Ed NeumeisterOne and Only MeisteroMusic (Jazz at Kitano)
  22. Michael Leonhart OrchestraSuite Extracts Vol. 1 Sunnyside (Jazz Standard)
  23. Brandee YoungerSoul Awakening s/r (Miller Theater)
  24. Jerry BergonziThe Seven Rays Savant (Smalls)
  25. Andrew SchillerSonoran Red Piano (Scholes Street Studio)
  26. Dana SaulCeiling Endectomorph (The Owl Music Parlor)
  27. Christine Abdelnour/Chris CorsanoQuand Fond La Neige, Où Va Le Blanc? Relative Pitch (St. Peter's Episcopal Church)
  28. Joe McPheeNation Time CJR-Corbett vs. Dempsey (244 Rehearsal Studios)
  29. Susan Alcorn/Joe McPhee/Ken VandermarkInvitation to a Dream Astral Spirits (244 Rehearsal Studios)
  30. Hyuna ParkHer Morning Waltz Internova (Birdland Theater)
  31. Julien Desprez/Mette RasmussenThe Hatch Dark Tree (St. Peter's Episcopal Church)
  32. Godwin LouisGlobal Blue Room Music (Dizzy's Club)
  33. Jerome JenningsSolidarity Iola (Dizzy's Club)
  34. Peter Evans/Agustí Fernández/Barry GuyFree Radicals at DOM Fundacja S uchaj (The Stone at The New School)
  35. Charles Ruggiero/Frank Basile OctetSlide's Blues smallsLIVE (Smalls)
  36. Franck AmsallemGotham Goodbye Jazz&People (Mezzrow; Jazz at Kitano)
  37. Joel HarrisonStill Point: Turning World Whirlwind (Roulette)
  38. Andy LaverneShangri-La SteepleChase (Smalls)
  39. Bridges (with Seamus Blake)Continuum AMP Music & Records (Dizzy's Club)
  40. Perry SmithLive in Brooklyn Smith Tone (Halyard's)
  41. Umlaut Big BandThe King of Bungle Bar: Umlaut Big Band Plays Don Redman Umlaut
  42. David S. WareThéâtre Garonne, 2008 AUM Fidelity
  43. David S. WareThe Balance AUM Fidelity
  44. Avram FeferTestament Clean Feed (Zinc Bar)
  45. Chick CoreaNow He Sings, Now He Sobs Solid State-Blue Note (Rose Theater)
  46. Chick CoreaTrilogy 2 Concord (Rose Theater)
  47. Chick Corea Spanish Heart BandAntidote Concord (Rose Theater)
  48. Leslie PintchikSame Day Delivery (Live) Pintch Hard (Jazz at Kitano)
  49. Nat King ColeHittin' The Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) Resonance

...and Plenty More!

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Thanks so much for reading The New York City Jazz Record, the city's only homegrown gazette devoted to the music.

All the best,
Andrey and Laurence