The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

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It is amazing to see where we are in this final month of 2021. Last month we were able to come together with family—in person, not peering at a computer screen—for Thanksgiving. And now the city resounds with tourists in for the holiday season, which means oodles of concerts dedicated to Christmas music and big shindigs for New Year's Eve. New York had to work harder than Santa's elves to get to this point and we all have earned ourselves plenty of eggnog and gingersnaps. The rest of the country and the world are not so lucky, some because of Christmas-ham-headed ignorance. Ebenezer Scrooge would have been an anti-vaxxer. Don't be Ebenezer Scrooge.

As we do every year, we present our Holiday Gift Guide, filled with holiday music, books, boxed sets and miscellany for your jazzy loved-ones (including yourself). And while you are flush with generous spirit, buy selections from our Album Reviews and attend shows from our Event Calendar. Musicians and venues are still hurting from the past year-plus and can really use your support.

We wish you a Happy New Year and best wishes for much better 2022. Thank you for your continued readership and engagement with this music we all love.

On the Cover: JOHNATHAN BLAKE

By Russ Musto; photos by David Ellis / courtesy of Blue Note Records

Drummer Johnathan Blake's latest release, his Blue Note label debut Homeward Bound, features his group Pentad, which he founded with bassist Dezron Douglas and includes their Ravi Coltrane rhythm section mate David Virelles, along with saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins and vibraphonist Joel Ross. Blake is at The Jazz Gallery Dec. 3rd-4th, Lowlands Dec. 7th, The Django at Roxy Hotel Dec. 9th and Village Vanguard Dec. 14th-19th and 21st-26th with Kenny Barron.

Interview: MARS WILLIAMS

By Jason Gross; photo by Peter Gannushkin

Mainstream rock and free jazz are two sides of a coin for saxophonist Mars Williams. He played in Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble and Peter Brötzmann's Tentet alongside his longtime gig as a member of New Wave denizens The Psychedelic Furs and studio sessions with Billy Idol and '80s supergroup Power Station. His Albert Ayler tribute band, Witches & Devils, has evolved into a collision of the legend's tunes with holiday songs for the last four years (and four albums), with a fifth edition released last month. Williams' An Ayler Xmas is at Zürcher Gallery Dec. 5th.

Artist Feature: MILES OKAZAKI

By George Grella; photo by Dimitri Louis / courtesy of the artist

Guitarist Miles Okazaki is central to three new releases this fall: Mise En Place (Intakt), where he is part of saxophonist Ohad Talmor's Trio along with drummer Dan Weiss; Hive Mind (Tzadik), a fully improvised session with Okazaki and Weiss joined by bassist Trevor Dunn; and Music for Drums and Guitar (Cygnus Recordings), which pairs the guitarist with Weiss once more. More than just the same name appearing on each release, the underlying tie that binds them together is the specificity of Okazaki's clear and compelling voice. Okazaki is at The Jazz Gallery Dec. 10th in duo with Dan Weiss.

Encore: PHIL RANELIN

By Michael Cobb

Trombonist, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader and educator Phil Ranelin has worked with many of the biggest names in jazz and popular music and studied with highly respected jazz and classical educators including David N. Baker, Larry Ridley, Nathan Davis, Bunky Green and Dr. Louis Smith.

Lest We Forget: MICHEL PETRUCCIANI

By Marilyn Lester

French pianist Michel Petrucciani (Dec. 28th, 1962 - Jan. 6th, 1999) spent a mere 36 years on this planet, but left a profound impact with his talent, grit and determination to practice his art. He was three feet tall, his growth inhibited by a rare genetic disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, which also causes brittle bones that break easily. Because of his size he required aids to reach the piano pedals and sometimes had to be carried to and from the stage. Despite this disability and almost constant pain, he was an extraordinary optimist, considering aspects of his disability an advantage.

Special Feature: HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Jazzy gift suggestions, from books and boxed sets to Christmas albums and miscellany, for you and your loved ones.

CD Reviews

(this month's performance venues in parentheses):

  1. Christian McBride Inside StraightLive at the Village Vanguard Mack Avenue(VIllage Vanguard)
  2. Papo Vázquez Mighty Pirates TroubadoursChapter 10: Breaking Cover Picaro(Chelsea Table & Stage)
  3. Ed NeumeisterWhat Have I Done? MeisteroMusic(Pangea)
  4. Wadada Leo Smith/Douglas Ewart/Mike ReedSun Beams of Shimmering Light Astral Spirits(Roulette; Zürcher Gallery)
  5. Ulysses Owens Jr.Soul Conversations Outside In Music(Dizzy's Club)
  6. Bobby NaughtonAbout Time OTIC
  7. WerckmeisterMusik Creative Sources
  8. Theon CrossIntra-I New Soil/Marathon
  9. Daniel HerskedalHarbour Edition
  10. John Ellis/Adam Levy/Glenn PatschaSay It Quiet Sunnyside(The Jazz Gallery)
  11. Alarm Will SoundTyshawn Sorey: For George Lewis/Autoschediasms Canteloupe Music
  12. Wendy EisenbergBloodletting Out of Your Head(The Owl Music Parlor; Nublu 151; Roulette)
  13. Itai Kriss & TelevanaSupermoon Avenue K(Wild Birds; Bar Lunàtico)
  14. Ivo Perelman/Nate WooleyPolarity Burning Ambulance(Roulette; The Kitchen)
  15. Nate WooleyMutual Aid Music Pleasure of the Text(Roulette; The Kitchen)
  16. Michael FeinbergHard Times Fresh Sound(The Sultan Room)
  17. Irreversible EntanglementsOpen The Gates International Anthem
  18. Luke StewartWorks For Electric Bass Guitar Tripticks Tapes(Roulette)
  19. Adam O'FarrillVisions of Your Other Biophilia(Public Records)
  20. Black Unity TrioAl-Fatihah Salaam - Gotta Groove
  21. David LeonAire De Agua Out of Your Head(Public Records; Bushwick Public House)
  22. Charlotte GreveSediments We Move New Amsterdam(The Owl Music Parlor; Le Poisson Rouge; Downtown Music Gallery)
  23. Sara SerpaIntimate Strangers Biophilia(Jazz Museum in Harlem)
  24. Renee RosnesKinds of Love Smoke Sessions(Birdland)
  25. Caroline DavisPortals, Volume 1: Mourning Sunnyside(Roulette)
  26. Caroline Davis, Brad Linde, Russ Lossing, Deric DickensUrbane Outfit Bleebop(Roulette)
  27. Anat Cohen/Marcello GonçalvesReconvexo Anzic(Birdland)
  28. Obed Calvaire, Bob Franceschini, Kevin Hays, Orlando Le FlemingWhole Lotta Love: The Music of Led Zeppelin Chesky(Dizzy's Club)
  29. Kevin Sun<3 Bird Endectomorph(Lowlands)
  30. Eyal Vilner Big BandLive in Washington Square Park s/r(Guggenheim Museum)
  31. Art HiraharaOpen Sky Posi-Tone(Birdland)
  32. Dan Weiss/Miles OkazakiMusic For Drums and Guitar Cygnus(The Jazz Gallery)
  33. Colin Hinton/Stephen GauciPandemic Duets Gaucimusic(Downtown Music Gallery; Bushwick Public House)
  34. Terry Waldo/Tatiana Eva-MarieI Double Dare You Turtle Bay(Zinc Bar)
  35. Mareike WieningFuture Memories Greenleaf Music(Roulette)
  36. Stan TraceyWisdom in the Wings reSteamed
  37. Derek Bailey/Mototeru TakagiLive at FarOut, Atsugi 1987 Chap Chap-NoBusiness
  38. Mototeru TakagiLive at Little John, Yokohama 1999 Chap Chap
  39. Didier Petit, Josh Berman, Jason Stein, Edward PerraudThe Bridge Sessions 13: The Way Through The Bridge Sessions
  40. Jim HallJazzpar Quartet + 4 Storyville
  41. Jeff Kaiser/Nicholas DeyoeChimney Liquor pfMENTUM
  42. Franco AmbrosettiLost Within You Unit
  43. Sam RiversSam Rivers Achive Project, Vol. 5: Undulation NoBusiness
  44. Kat EdmonsonHoliday Swingin! A Kat Edmonson Christmas Vol. 1 s/r(Le Poisson Rouge)
  45. Jeff HamiltonMerry & Bright Capri
  46. Oddgeir BergChristmas Came Early Ozella Music

...and Plenty More!

Look for other sections like In Memoriam, On This Day, In Print, On DVD, VOXNews, NY@Night, Recommended New Releases, Birthdays, 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.

All the best,
Andrey and Laurence