While the title of our cover feature on legendary bassist Reggie Workman, who leads a band for a weekend at The 75 Club at Bogardus Mansion, is a play on his last name, it speaks to a jazz reality: very few musicians in this business ever get to slow down. Workman may have played with Coltrane but, even in his early 80s, still gigs regularly and holds down a professorship at The New School. Jazz musicians typically go straight from composing to decomposing. Another example of a workhorse is composer/arranger/pianist Jim McNeely (Interview), who has been plying his trade with various big bands around the globe for the past few decades. He returns home to lead the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra with guest Joe Lovano in two concerts dedicated to John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. And in an extreme example of never stopping working, when pianist Jonny King (Artist Feature, featured for a weekend at Mezzrow) isn't tickling the ivories, he is tickling ivory file folders as a partner in a law firm. Pianist Richard Wyands (Encore, also at The 75 Club) and late singer Eddie Jefferson (Lest We Forget, fêted at Smoke by Allan Harris) also knows/knew a thing or two about the hard work that goes into a jazz career. And before you assume all that work is selfish, read our Label Profile on Minus Zero, where all proceeds from the imprint's catalogue are donated to Planned Parenthood.
On the Cover: REGGIE WORKMAN
By John Pietaro; photos by John Rogers
Reflecting on a career spanning six decades, bassist Reggie Workman speaks with subdued restraint. Adding to a remarkable resumé, Workman's history of mentoring young jazz musicians led to a long-standing Associate Professorship of the New School yet, staring down 80, he's as busy as ever. Workman is at The 75 Club at Bogardus Mansion Apr. 20th-21st.
Interview: JIM McNEELY
By Ken Dryden; photo courtesy of the artist/JALC
Jim McNeely, a superb pianist who has led recording dates with small groups and big bands, is known for his acclaimed work as a composer, arranger and conductor with large ensembles such as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, Danish Radio Big Band and the Hessischer Rundfunk Big Band in Frankfurt and has made valuable contributions to albums by Stan Getz and Phil Woods. McNeely's nine Grammy nominations attest to the respect he has earned in the world of jazz. McNeely is at Aaron Davis Hall Apr. 5th and Dizzy's Club Apr. 9th leading the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra with guest Joe Lovano.
Artist Feature: JONNY KING
By Donald Elfman; photo by Jacqueline Sailer
Jonny King is a busy man. He's a full-time lawyer, married and the father of two daughters and a jazz pianist and composer who performs in New York jazz clubs with some of the finest musicians. King is at Mezzrow Apr. 20th-21st.
Encore: RICHARD WYANDS
By Marilyn Lester
How fortunate we are in the 21st century to have living histories of jazz still among us. Pianist Richard Wyands, who turns 90 in July, is one of them. He not only clearly remembers the Swing Era, but was gigging at the birth of bebop and has known or played with a Who's Who of jazz musicians. Wyands is at Mezzrow Apr. 30th and The 75 Club at Bogardus Mansion Thursdays.
Lest We Forget: EDDIE JEFFERSON
By Ori Dagan
Jazz giant Eddie Jefferson could never have been called a crooner. Did he have the prettiest voice of all? Absolutely not. But his genius lyrics, heartfelt delivery, rhythmic mastery and contagious enthusiasm cemented him as one of bebop's most important vocal artists. A Jefferson tribute with Allan Harris is at Smoke Apr. 27th-29th.
Record Label Spotlight: MINUS ZERO
By George Grella
One word—or more—response game: think "record label" and what comes to mind? The classic era of Blue Note, which defined the sound of hardbop and postbop and became one of the great names in graphic design? ECM and the pristine clarity of its production? Tzadik and its reflection of John Zorn's curiosity? The common factor among those three is an aesthetic organizing principle. As a listener, it's that which has you digging into their new releases. But what about a label that's not organized around music, but a cause? Artists performing this month include Mark Dresser at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Apr. 14th; Ben Goldberg at The Owl Music Parlor Apr. 26th; Max Johnson at Bar Lunàtico Apr. 17th; Ava Mendoza at Roulette Apr. 5th with William Hooker; Mara Rosenbloom at Roulette Apr. 5th with William Hooker, Happylucky no.1 Apr. 11th and Ibeam Brooklyn Apr. 12th; and Andrea Wolper at Cornelia Street Underground Apr. 25th.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Dan Weiss -- Starebaby Pi (Nublu 151)
Bill Frisell -- Music IS OKeh (Village Vanguard; The Stone at The New School)
Anat Cohen/Fred Hersch -- Live in Healdsburg Anzic (Dizzy's Club)
Randy Weston -- SOUND African Rhythms (Tribeca PAC; Jazz Standard)
Renee Rosnes -- Beloved of the Sky Smoke Sessions (VIllage Vanguard)
Duke Ellington -- The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24 Storyville
Errol Rackipov -- Distant Dreams OA2
Mulatu Astatke -- Mulatu of Ethiopia Worthy-Strut
Kjell Nordeson -- Walking with Mirabeau (Solo Improvisations) Not Two
Mary Halvorson -- Code Girl Firehouse 12 (Jazz Standard)
Chick Corea/Steve Gadd -- Chinese Butterfly Stretch-Concord (Rose Theater)
Gene Jackson -- Power Of Love Whirlwind (Smalls)
Kevin Hays/Lionel Loueke -- Hope Newvelle (Iridium)
Josh Lawrence -- Contrast Posi-Tone (Jazz Standard)
Tamuz Nissim -- Echo of a Heartbeat Street of Starts (Cornelia Street Underground)
Walter Smith III -- Twio s/r (Jazz Standard)
Manuel Valera -- The Planets Mavo (Jazz Standard)
SFJazz Collective -- Live: SFJazz Center 2016: Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions SFJazz (Jazz Standard)
Caroline Davis -- Heart Tonic Sunnyside (The Jazz Gallery)
Dawn Clement -- Tandem Origin (Baruch College Performing Arts Center)
Andrew Drury's Content Provider -- Try Different Track (Greenwich House Music School)
Patrick Zimmerli -- Clockworks Songlines (Merkin Concert Hall)
Quinsin Nachoff -- Ethereal Trio Whirlwind (The Stone at The New School)
Charles Mingus -- Live at Montreux 1975 Eagle Rock Entertainment (Jazz Standard)
Mostly Other People Do the Killing -- Paint Hot Cup (Greenwich House Music School)
Dave Liebman/Tatsuya Nakatani/Adam Rudolph -- The Unknowable RareNoise (Mezzrow)
No Fast Food -- Settings For Three CornerStore Jazz
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band -- Body and Shadow Blue Note (Zankel Hall)
Volker Kriegel -- Spectrum MPS
John Taylor -- Decipher MPS
Don Ellis -- Soaring MPS
Ted Daniel -- Zulu's Ball (Plays The Music of King Oliver) s/r
Lakecia Benjamin -- Rise Up Ropeadope (Ginny's Supper Club)
Mamiko Watanabe -- Flying Without Wings s/r (Jazz at Kitano)
Burton Greene -- Compendium Improvising Beings (Scholes Street Studio; First Unitarian Church)
Dick Oatts -- Use Your Imagination SteepleChase (Blue Note; The Django at The Roxy; Village Vanguard)