We at the Record like to think about jazz globally, the same way a traditional kiku artist approaches the single stem of a chrysanthemum, breeding it into a thousand different bulbs. But New York City is in our name and while the city is neither the beginning nor the end of jazz history, it does take up a great portion of the middle. Some are from here, others come; some stay forever, others pass through. All are affected by and thus affect the musical metropolis.
Laptop artist Ikue Mori (On The Cover) stumbled into the Downtown jazz scene from her native Japan and now, decades later, is among its elder statespeople. She performs at two Stones this month: the original and the heir at The New School. Saxophonist Sherman Irby (Interview) brings Alabama roots and Atlanta bandstand experience to that ultimate vehicle of city jazz, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He presents holiday concerts leading up to Christmas at Dizzy's Club. And even though bassist Eric Revis (Artist Feature) is back home in Los Angeles, New York continues to have a great impact on his work. He visits to present a commissioned work at The Jazz Gallery.
Happy Holidays to you, dear reader, and best wishes for a jazzy new year.
On the Cover: IKUE MORI
By John Pietaro; photos by Peter Gannushkin
In 1977 a New York-bound flight from Tokyo touched down and carried a youthful Ikue Mori to more than just a new city. Mori was fulfilling a promise she'd made to herself as a restless art student back home, seeking a new life. But the awakening was far wider than expected. Priced out of her initial destination of the West Village, Mori found herself on the Lower East Side just in time for the turbulence of punk rock, Downtown experimentation and the boil-over of urban decay. Mori is at The Stone at The New School Dec. 15th-16th and The Stone Dec. 28th and 31st.
Interview: SHERMAN IRBY
By Marilyn Lester; photo by Frank Stewart/JALC
Alabama-born alto saxophonist Sherman Irby found his musical calling at age 12, playing and recording with gospel singer and composer James Cleveland. Since those days, Irby's path has taken him to Atlanta, playing with Johnny O'Neal's quintet, and to tenures with Betty Carter, Elvin Jones and Roy Hargrove. Perhaps Irby's most important and influential association has been with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) under Wynton Marsalis. His first stint there was from 1995-97, he rejoined in 2005 and now serves as lead alto saxophonist. Irby runs his own label, Black Warrior, and his group Momentum is comprised of fellow JLCO players. His most recent CD, Cerulean Canvas, with Momentum and guests trombonist Elliot Mason and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, was released in October. Irby is at Rose Theater Dec. 13th-17th with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Dizzy's Club Dec. 20th-24th leading a holiday show.
Artist Feature: ERIC REVIS
By Robert Bush; photo by Emra Islek
After breaking into the mainstream consciousness with vocal legend Betty Carter in the mid '90s, bassist Eric Revis became the backbone for saxophonist Branford Marsalis' quartet, a gig he has held down for the last 20 years. With such swinging credentials, it would have been easy for Revis to stay put, musically. But staying put is not what Revis is all about. Revis is at The Jazz Gallery Dec. 20th-21st, presenting his Jazz Gallery Fellowship Commission and 22nd-23rd with Roy Hargrove.
Encore: WILLIE PICKENS
By Mark Keresman
Conventional wisdom has it that musicians who are certain jazz is their path must move to that mythic Big Apple to pay dues and establish themselves. Yet some players remain where they feel they belong and—surprise—they thrive. Chicago pianist Willie Pickens is one such figure. Pickens is at Dizzy's Club Dec. 12th-13th with Marquis Hill.
Lest We Forget: JIMMY DORSEY
By Scott Yanow
Jimmy Dorsey was one of the greatest clarinetists and alto saxophonists of the '20s yet has been underrated ever since. A tribute to the Dorsey Brothers by the Anderson twins is at The Appel Room Dec. 1st-2nd.
Record Label Spotlight: Iluso
By John Sharpe
Even in this age of widespread digitally-connected communities, there can't be many small independent labels run by partners on the opposite sides of the globe. But that's exactly the situation for Iluso Records, helmed by Madrid-born, New York-based guitarist Álvaro Domene and Australian drummer Mike Caratti. Artists performing this month include Álvaro Domene and Briggan Krauss at Bushwick Public House Dec. 18th and Josh Sinton at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Dec. 3rd and Bushwick Public House Dec. 18th.
In Memoriam: Muhal Richard Abrams
Remembrances of the late pianist by Eddie Allen, Andrew Cyrille, Jack DeJohnette, Marty Ehrlich, Chico Freeman, Craig Harris, Brad Jones, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Amina Claudine Myers and Wadada Leo Smith.
Special Feature: Holiday Gift Guide
A selection of jazz gift suggestions for you and your loved ones.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Joris Teepe/Don Braden -- Conversations Creative Perspective Music (Smalls)
Albert Ayler -- Copenhagen 1964 hatOLOGY
Joe McPhee -- Seattle Symphony Kye (The Stone)
Ned Rothenberg/Hamid Drake -- Full Circle Fundacja Sluchaj (Greenwich House Music School; The Stone; ShapeShifter Lab; The DiMenna Center; Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center)
Hilary Gardner/Ehud Asherie -- The Late Set Anzic (Jazz Standard)
Tomas Fujiwara -- Triple Double Firehouse 12 (Cornelia Street Underground; Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center; New School Tishman Auditorium)
Dave Brubeck -- Zurich 1964 (Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series 42) TCB