As we move from winter towards spring, we go from one Mary (Halvorson) to another, Mary Lou Williams, no less visionary and the ideal choice for the cover of our annual Women In Jazz issue in conjunction with Women's History Month. The pianist/composer was present for pretty much every innovation in jazz history and is definitely the only person to play with both Benny Goodman and Cecil Taylor. Jazz at Lincoln Center's Jazz for Young People series presents a celebration of Williams' life led by vocalist Catherine Russell and drummer LaFrae Sci.
As Williams' life was drawing to a close, two future jazz stars were born: clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen (Interview) and saxophonist Tia Fuller (Artist Feature) are carrying on the legacy of female instrumentalists and composers, both with brand-new albums. Cohen is at 92nd Street Y as part of the Woman to Woman allstar band while Fuller gets a late-month weekend at Smoke. We also celebrate two figures whose careers were concurrent with that of Williams: singer/composer Nancy Harrow (Encore) and the late pianist/singer Hadda Brooks (Lest We Forget). And the front end of our CD Review section (pgs. 14-18) is dedicated to the many women whose contributions—year-round—make jazz as vibrant as it is.
On the Cover: MARY LOU WILLIAMS
By Scott Yanow; photos by William P. Gottlieb
Throughout her life, Mary Lou Williams was regularly called "the top female jazz musician." While meant to be a compliment, that title completely missed the point. As a pianist, arranger and composer, Williams was one of the top jazz musicians, period. A tribute to Williams with Catherine Russell and LaFrae Sci is at Rose Theater Mar. 24th.
Interview: ANAT COHEN
By Anders Griffen; photo by Shervin Lainez/JALC
Anat Cohen is a clarinetist and saxophonist raised in Tel Aviv, Israel and living in New York for almost 20 years. She has toured the world, performing and recording with a range of musicians...For the 2018 Grammy Awards she received two nominations: Outra Coisa: The Music Of Moacir Santos with Marcello Gonçalves in the Best Latin Jazz Album category and Rosa Dos Ventos with Trio Brasileiro in the Best World Music Album category. Cohen is at 92nd Street Y Mar. 2nd as part of the Woman to Woman band and Jazz at Kitano Mar. 30th-31st with Martin Wind.
Artist Feature: TIA FULLER
By Russ Musto; photo courtesy of the artist
Saxophonist Tia Fuller is one busy woman. Since her recent appearances at NYC's Winter JazzFest, she's kept a demanding schedule, commuting to Boston, where she is a professor at Berklee College of Music, and traveling westward, first to The Ozarks, where she was the first black woman guest conductor at the Missouri Music Educator Association Convention, and then to Lawrence, Kansas to give master classes and perform as a guest with the University of Kansas Big Band. Fuller is at Smoke Mar. 30th-Apr. 1st.
Encore: NANCY HARROW
By Marilyn Lester
Among the many superlatives that come to mind for Nancy Harrow, the first might be "blessed". The singer has had a blessedly abundant career and is still going strong.
Lest We Forget: HADDA BROOKS
By Jim Motavalli
Remember Humphrey Bogart's pianist in Casablanca, Dooley Wilson, playing "As Time Goes By"? Well, Bogart and gal pal Gloria Grahame also take the time to listen to pianist/singer Hadda Brooks croon
"I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You" in 1950's In a Lonely Place.
Record Label Spotlight: DARK TREE
By Stuart Broomer
There are certain labels that release very few CDs but manage a high percentage of masterpieces. It's not a great business model, but definitely contributes to the art...Bertrand Gastaut launched Dark Tree in 2011 and has so far released just nine CDs. Every one of them demands attention, whether contemporary free improvisation or California recordings from the '70s.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
MJ Territo -- Ladies Day Jollie Mollie (Club Bonafide)
Cheryl Bentyne -- reArrangements of Shadows ArtistShare (Birdland)
Fred Hersch/Jay Clayton -- Beautiful Love Sunnyside (VIllage Vanguard)
Sinne Eeg -- Dreams ArtistShare (Jazz at Kitano)
En Corps -- Generation Dark Tree
Anita O'Day -- Live in Tokyo 1964 Boundee
Mia Zabelka -- Cellular Resonance LCR
Irene Kepl -- SololoS Fou
Mari Kimura -- Voyage Apollonian Innova
Muriel Grossmann -- Momentum Dreamland
Satoko Fujii -- Solo Libra
KAZE -- Atody Man Libra
Paula Shocron/Germán Lamonega/Pablo Díaz -- Tensegridad hatOLOGY
Anne Mette Iversen -- Ternion Quartet Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records
Norma Winstone -- Descansado ECM
Joey Alexander -- Joey.Monk.Live! Motéma (The Appel Room)
Bobby Previte -- Rhapsody RareNoise (Roulette)
Subtle Degrees -- A Dance That Empties New Amsterdam (Spectrum; Union Pool)
Steve Swell -- Music for Six Musicians (Hommage à Olivier Messiaen) Silkheart (H0l0; Happylucky no.1)
Jim Campilongo -- Live at Rockwood Music Hall NYC Blue Hen (Rockwood Music Hall; 55Bar)
Ron McClure -- Hope and Knowledge McJolt (Mezzrow)
Andrew Dickeson -- Is That So? s/r
Julian Lage -- Modern Lore Mack Avenue (Le Poisson Rouge)
Mark Whitfield -- Live & Uncut Chesky (Zinc Bar; The Django)
Hélène Breschand/Elliott Sharp -- Chansons du Crepuscule Public Eyesore (Roulette)
Nick Fraser -- Is Life Long? Clean Feed (Downtown Music Gallery; Bushwick Public House; Korzo)
Cory Weeds -- Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire Cellar Live
Cory Weeds & Jeff Hamilton Trio -- Dreamsville Cellar Live
Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette -- After The Fall ECM
Dialectical Imagination -- The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Wrath Atmanadi
Bill Warfield -- For Lew Planet Arts (Zinc Bar)
George Colligan -- More Powerful Whirlwind (Smoke)
Carl Winther/Jerry Bergonzi -- Inner Journey SteepleChase Lookout (Jazz at Kitano)
Turtle Island Quartet -- Bird's Eye View Azica (Cutting Room)
Spinifex -- Amphibian Ardour Trytone (H0l0)
John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble -- All Can Work New Amsterdam (Miller Theater)