The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

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Spring has sprung: even when there was more than a month of winter to go, daffodils were noticeably getting a jumpstart on the season. In a microcosm, and metaphorically, the sprouting daffodils might reflect the state of many mindsets and realities among us. Certainly, for much longer than a single season we’ve been witness to heavy going in the world on many fronts. One has to believe that hope springs eternal and that change for the better is imminent—it’s in our very human nature, our DNA. Yet, as we look forward, compounding what already looks to be another bitter presidential campaign and November election here in the States, there’s still the ongoing war and conflict in Ukraine and in Gaza, making for as dark, chilling and long-lasting a permafrost imaginable—winters that sadly and tragically have no end in sight. We take solace in music, and for good reason: music has the capacity to uplift and to heal.

If there is any single musician who best represents the concept and spirit of unity and community building, there might not be a better example than trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah (Cover Story), a veteran of the Sun Ra Arkestra and until recently, longtime music curator for the Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn venue/community center Sistas’ Place. We can all learn a valuable lesson of coming together for the common good by lending an ear to what he has to say and play. And is there a more uplifting, positive musician (in voice and name) who encapsulates and represents the season of hope and renewal than the late Blossom Dearie (Lest We Forget) whose centennial is being celebrated this month? Perhaps Daryl Sherman (Interview) who counts Blossom as a big (in her words “the ultimate”) influence. Speaking of blossoms, pianist Micah Thomas (Artist Feature) has been like a wildflower super bloom in a mere few years, appearing with a wide cross-section of collaborators (from Billy Drummond to Immanuel Wilkins and Zoh Amba) and celebrating a new album release, his third and most impressive to date.

If only jazz could solve all the world’s woes. Because given the chance, its musicians just might: jazz is, after all, a functioning democracy at its most ideal, with collective discourse and understanding being its very foundation. Here’s to more music, more peace and less of... the “other” stuff. Onwards and outwards and see you out at the shows. Happy Jazz Appreciation Month.

On the Cover: AHMED ABDULLAH—Eternal Spiraling Spirit

(by Clifford Allen; photos by Dave Kaufman and Luciano Rossetti)

For trumpeter, composer, author, educator and organizer Ahmed Abdullah, the forward motion of individual attainment and collective understanding is the central focus of his art and life. His is a trajectory in keeping with this music as a reflection of the struggles of African Americans— one that spurs commonality through its focus on group growth and collective action. Abdullah is at Soapbox Gallery (presented by One Breath Rising) Apr. 13 and Sistas’ Place Apr. 27.

Interview: DARYL SHERMAN—Rhode Island Is Famous For You

(by Anna Steegman; photo by Eric Stephen Jacobs)

Rhode Island-born singer-pianist Daryl Sherman is equally at home in jazz and cabaret, and has delighted audiences in New York, as well as nationally and internationally for almost a half-century. Witty, charming and vivacious, she is known for her girlish voice and is often compared to Blossom Dearie. She brings new life to old standards, makes them her own, revives forgotten tunes and writes her own unique songs. This month, she will also be inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. Sherman is at Park Avenue Plaza Mondays through Fridays and her “Born To Swing: Celebrating Mildred Bailey” concerts are at Birdland Theater Apr. 9 and 16. She is also at North Square Lounge as part of the “Carol Fredette Remembrance” Apr. 21.

Artist Feature: MICAH THOMAS—Yes, He Can

(by Matty Bannond; photo by Antoine Jaussaud)

If there’s a blueprint for constructing a jazz pianist, it seems to follow one key “architectural” principle: start ‘em young. Micah Thomas was just two years old when he first sketched a melody on a keyboard. Since carving out those foundational notes—“It was the Bob the Builder theme song that I played... (and) I still get that tune stuck in my head a lot!” he admits (regarding the music to the children’s TV series that first aired in 1999)—Thomas has taken a skyward trajectory. Brick by brick, the now 26-year-old has added layers of insight and experience to his playing. Thomas is at Manhattan West with Kalia Vandever Apr. 3, Bar Bayeux Apr. 10, and Harlem Stage as part of “Pianos for Duke Reimagined” Apr. 26-27.

Encore: FRANK TUSA—At The Core of Lookout Farm

(by Jim Motavalli; photo courtesy of artist)

Bassist Frank Tusa (who celebrates his 77th birthday on the first of this month) clears up a mystery that’s almost 45 years old: why did he, circa 1980, relocate to San Francisco from New York, where he was an on-call musician for greats such as Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard, Larry Coryell, Art Blakey, Lee Konitz and many others, plus a valued member of saxophonist Dave Liebman’s progressive Lookout Farm aggregation?

Lest We Forget: BLOSSOM DEARIE—A Perennial Legacy

(by Marilyn Lester; photo Courtesy of Blossom Dearie Family)

In 1956 record producer and promoter Norman Granz took a trip to Paris where he heard Blossom Dearie singing at a jazz club. Several months later she made her eponymously titled Verve record debut; the rest, as they say, is history.

Album Reviews: In Print, On Screen, Boxed Set, Drop The Needle Reviews, Globe Unity…

Abdul Wadud - By Myself (Solo Cello)

(Bisharra-Gotta Groove)

Alon Farber HAGIGA (with Dave Douglas) - The Magician: Live in Jurasalem


Anthony Braxton - Four Compositions (Wesleyan) 2013

(Prague Music Platform)

Barry Altschul/David Izenzon/Perry Robinson - Stop Time (Live at Prince Street, 1978)


Black Art Jazz Collective - Truth to Power


Charlie Apicella & Iron City meet The Griots Speak - Destiny Calling


Clovis Nicolas - The Contrapuntist


Dan Weiss - Even Odds


Dave Douglas - Gifts

(Greenleaf Music)

David Haney - New York Jazz Stories: Billy's Birthday Bash


David Haney/Julian Priester - Live at Earshot


David Leon - Bird's Eye


Die Enttäuschung - Music Minus One

(Two Nineteen)

Dimitriadis/Dörner/Freedman/Parkins/Williams - BeingFive

(Relative Pitch)

Duke Ellington - Duke At His Very Best

(Fremeaux & Associes)

Ephemeris - Ephemeris


Eva Novoa - Novoa/Gress/Gray Trio Volume 1

(577 Records)

Evan Parker - NYC 1978

(Relative Pitch)

Francisco Mela, Cooper-Moore, William Parker - Music Frees Our Souls, Vol.2

(577 Records)

Francisco Mela, Leo Genovese, William Parker - Music Frees Our Souls, Vol. 3

(577 Records)

Francisco Mela/Jonathan Reisin - Earthquake

(577 Records)

Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble - Elegy for Thelonious


Fred Hersch - Silent, Listening


Ingrid Jensen - Monash Sessions

(Monash University)

Jacky Terrasson - Moving On

(Earth Sounds)

Jazz, Culture & Social Justice by Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam

(ABG Enterprises Publishers)

Jeff Platz, Michaël Attias, Meinrad Kneer, Michael Griener - Live at Sowieso

(Modern Sounds Music)

Jimmy Giuffre 3 - Music for people, birds, butterflies & mosquitoes


Joanna Mattrey - Soulcaster

(Notice Recordings)

Joe Henderson - Power to the People


Joel Futterman - Infinite Dimensions

(Charles Lester Music/JDF)

Joel Futterman - Perspicacity

(Soul City Sounds)

Joel Futterman/Michael Wimberly - Innerpause


Johnny Griffin - Live at Ronnie Scott's, 1964


Kate Gentile - Find Letter X

(Pi Recordings)

Lage Lund Quartet - Most Peculiar

(Criss Cross Jazz)

Lee Konitz - Tenorlee


Lina Allemano/Axel Dörner - Aphelia

(Relative Pitch)

Mamiko Watanabe - Being Guided By The Light


Marshall Gilkes and the WDR Big Band - LifeSongs

(Alternate Side)

Marta Sánchez - Perpetual Void


Matt Lavelle - Harmolodic Duke

(Unseen Rain)

Melissa Aldana - Echoes of the Inner Prophet

(Blue Note)

Michaël Attias - Quartet Music, Vol. 1: LuMiSong

(Out Of Your Head)

Nataniel Edelman Trio - Un Ruido De Agua

(Clean Feed)

Ned Rothenberg - Crossings Four

(Clean Feed)

Omar Sosa's 88 Well-Tuned Drums by Soren Sorensen

(Otá Music)

Owen Broder - Hodges: Front and Center, Vol. Two

(Outside In Music)

Per "Texas" Johannson - Den Sämsta Lösningen Av Alla


Per "Texas" Johannson - Orkester Omnitonal


Per "Texas" Johansson - Alla Mina Kompisar


Planet D Nonet - Blues To Be There (A Salute to Duke Ellington)


Ray Barretto - Indestructible


Reverso - Shooting Star - Étoile Filante

(Alternate Side)

Ryan Keberle's Collectiv do Brasil - Considerando

(Alternate Side)

Sanah Kadoura - Duality


Sexmob - The Hard Way

(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Steve Ash - You And The Night

(Cellar Music)

Sullivan Fortner - Solo Game


Terton (Louie Belogenis, Trevor Dunn, Ryan Sawyer) - Outer, Inner, Secret


Trance Map+ - Etching The Ether


William Hooker - Flesh and Bones

(Org Music)

Yotam Silberstein - Standards


Look for other sections like Festival Report, NY@Night, Label Spotlight, VOXNews, In Memoriam, Recommended New Releases and our invaluable Event Calendar.

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