The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

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With summer upon us in just a few weeks’ time, June marks the unofficial beginning of jazz festival season, adding to the always rich stew of nightly jazz options in NYC. Key festivals range in length from a week (the 27th annual Vision Festival and 7th annual Jazztopad Festival) to two weeks (Soapbox Gallery’s first annual Sono Fest curated by pianist Ethan Iverson) to a month (Jazz In June Festival at the McCarter Theatre Center and the Blue Note Jazz Festival at the club as well as at larger venues such as Sony Hall, Town Hall and Beacon Theatre) to the entire summer (Jazzmobile’s Summerfest, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! and City Parks Foundation’s Summerstage). And of course you can always refer to TNYCJR’s extensive event Calendar listings (pgs. 42-45) as a roadmap to the overwhelming diversity of choices. For some strong in-house recommendations, though, be sure to check out our features, plus much of the Album Review section, for plugs of local concerts happening this month.

Our three main features focus on three musicians, all with new album releases. French bassist Joëlle Léandre (Cover Story) receives Vision Festival’s Lifetime Achievement award at Roulette and performs throughout the festival’s opening night dedicated to her various ensembles. Cuban, NYC-based pianist Aruán Ortiz (Artist Feature) continues his upwards trajectory as an original player, composer, bandleader and collaborator, all aspects on display at his June concerts: 411 Kent’s “Shift” series (solo), Dizzy’s Club (with Andrew Cyrille’s “Caribbean Cross-Generations”) and DiMenna Center for Classical Music (with Ensemble Ipse). And South Bronx-born drummer/percussionist/educator Bobby Sanabria (Interview Feature) will be at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, celebrating the follow-up to his last Grammy- nominated album.

We also honor a few legends of this music. Octogenarian English saxophonist Alan Skidmore is overdue for an NYC visit, but at least we can join him in celebration of an astounding, just-released boxed set highlighting his six decades in music. We pay tribute to two other legendary figures who made the jazz stew that much thicker during and beyond their lifetimes: tenor saxophonist/Count Basie alum Buddy Tate (Lest We Forget) and the late vibraphonist/Creative Music Studio founder Karl Berger (In Memoriam Special Feature), who passed away in April.

There’s a lot to digest, so bring your reading and listening appetite. And see you out at the shows!

On the Cover: JOËLLE LÉANDRE—Lifetime Rebel

(by John Sharpe; photos by © Lauren Deutsch and Luciano Rossetti©PHOCUSAGENCY)

Now 71, French bassist Joëlle Léandre is a consummate improviser who allies unrivalled facility with boundless imagination. Her early performances were in the field of New Music. It wasn’t until she met the iconoclastic English guitarist Derek Bailey in New York in 1980 that her dedication to free improvisation really took flight. She has long since outgrown explicit influences, but they still inform her authoritative tone, incantatory phrasing, rich color palette and openness to theatricality and humor. Léandre receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from Arts for Arts which presents her on opening night of its 27th annual Vision Festival at Roulette.

Interview: BOBBY SANABRIA—Son of the BronxA

(by Russ Musto; photo by Jeremy Fletcher)

Bobby Sanabria has emerged as one of the world’s foremost advocates and purveyors of Afro-Caribbean music. He plays many roles, as drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, producer, educator, music historian, recording annotator, host of radio station WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise” and co-artistic director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center. He’s an alumnus of the Latin bands of Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto and Mario Bauzá, and a member of notable jazz ensembles M’Boom and the Joe Chambers Quintet; as well as a sideman on countless recordings that span genres. Sanabria is at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture Jun. 4.

Artist Feature: ARUÀN ORTIZ—Modernist from Cuba

(by George Grella; photo by Jimmy & Dena Katz)

Cuban pianist Aruàn Ortiz has been a major figure in jazz since his arrival in America early this century. The clave is there in his playing but Ortiz is a true modernist; when he plays, it often becomes an opportunity to worry a succinct idea through myriad variations, or explore how many harmonic relationships he can develop out of simple material. That makes for a style of playing that is elegant, sinuous, capable of both introspection and energetic extroversion. An Ortiz solo can be a slender path like a river, or a triumphant arch, like a mountain. Ortiz is at 411 Kent’s “Shift” series Jun. 4 playing solo, SEEDS Brooklyn Jun. 6, Dizzy’s Club Jun. 9-10 with Andrew Cyrille’s “Caribbean Cross-Generations” and DiMenna Center Jun. 29 with Ensemble Ipse.

Encore: ALAN SKIDMORE—Trane to Skid

(by Francesco Martinelli; photo by Mark Wastel))

Alan Skidmore’s explosive saxophone solo on “The Saxophone Song”, from English singer/songwriter Kate Bush’s first album in 1978, might well be his major exposure to the great public, but “Skid”—as he is affectionately called—has touched on an amazing number of other bases in his career, always maintaining his own musical personality.

Lest We Forget: BUDDY TATE—His Sax Still Blows

(by Elliott Simon; photo by Hank O’Neal)

The saxophone’s archetypal status in jazz is largely due to what Cannonball Adderley termed the “moan within the tone” popularized by “Texas tenors” Herschel “Tex” Evans, Illinois Jacquet, Arnett Cobb and Charles Holmes “Buddy” Tate.

LSpecial Feature: KARL BERGER In Memoriam

(photo by Jack Vartoogian)

Close friends and colleagues remember the late vibraphonist/pianist/Creative Music Studio co-founder Karl Berger, including: Michael Bisio, Marilyn Crispell, Steve Gorn, Billy Martin, John Surman, Kirk Knuffke, Peter Apfelbaum, Sana Nagano, John Lindberg, Warren Smith, Steven Bernstein, Joachim Kühn, Bill Laswell, Bill Ylitalo, Cyro Baptista and Ingrid Sertso.

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

Alice Coltrane - Ptah, The El Daoud


Andrew Cyrille - Music Delivery/Percussion


Andrew Hill - Dance With Death

(Blue Note Tone)

Anthony Hervey - Words From My Horn

(Outside In Music)

Ben Cassara - What A Way to Go!


Ben LaMar Gay - Certain Reveries

(International Anthem)

Bill Warfield and the Hell's Kitchen Funk Orchestra - Time Capsule

(Planet Arts)

Billy Valentine - Billy Valentine & Universal Truth

(Flying Dutchman)

Darren Johnston - Wild Awake


Dave Rempis, Joshua Abrams, Jim Baker, Avreeayl Ra - Scylla


Dave Scott - Song For Alice


David Amram - Live in Germany (1954-2013)

(After The Fall)

Devin Brahja Waldman/Hamid Drake - Mediumistic Methodology

(Astral Spirits)

Doug Beavers - Luna

(Circle 9)

Ed Neumeister Quartet - Explorations


Edward Simon - Femeninas: Songs of Latin American Women


Ella Fitzgerald - Jukebox Ella: The Complete Verve Singles, Vol.1


Eric Alexander - A New Beginning (Alto Saxophone with Strings)


Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - Spirit Gatherer: Tribute to Don Cherry


Gerald Cleaver/Brandon Lopez/Hprizm - In The Wilderness

(577 Records)

Harold Danko - Rite Notes


Ivo Perelman/Ray Anderson/Joe Morris/Reggie Nicholson - Molten Gold

(Fundacja Słuchaj)

James Ilgenfritz/Sandy Ewen/Michael Foster - Ekphrastic Discourse

(Infrequent Seams)

Jim Snidero - Far Far Away (featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel)


Jochen Rueckert - With Best Intentions

(Colonel Beats)

Joe Chambers - Dance Kobina

(Blue Note)

Kate Gentile/International Contemporary Ensemble - biome i.i


Jackson/Hoogland/Abrams/Avery - These Things Happen

(Astral Spirits)

Ken Vandermark/Hamid Drake - Eternal River

(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Kobe Van Cauwenberghe's Ghost Trance Septet - Plays Anthony Braxton


Kurt Elling - Guilty Pleasures


Le Boeuf Brothers - Hush


Leon Lee Dorsey - Cantaloupe Island


Lizzie Thomas - Duo Encounters

(Dot Time)

Lori Freedman/Scott Thomson - Amber

(Clean Feed)

Mark Dresser - Tines of Change


Matt Moran - Audible Spirits


Mike Clark - Plays Herbie Hancock


Mike Clark, Leon Dorsey (featuring Mike LeDonne) - Blues on Top


Monica "Nica" Agosti Shapex - Ornettiana


Noah Preminger Trio - Sky Continuous

(Criss Cross)

Oğuz Büyükberber/Tobias Klein - Live at De Roze Tanker


Orrin Evans - The Red Door

(Smoke Sessions)

Pat Metheny - Dream Box

(BMG Modern)

Paul Dunmall Ensemble - It's A Matter Of Fact

(Discus Music)

Paul Dunmall Quintet - Yes Tomorrow

(Discus Music)

Phillip Johnston - Silent Films/Loud Music


Rossi/Hess/Moran - You Break You Buy


Rudi Mahall/Michael Griener - Jazzpreis

(Astral Spirits)

Sheryl Bailey Quartet - Homage


Steve Swell/Joe McPhee/Chris Corsano - Sometimes The Air Is

(Mahakala Music)

The Manhattan Transfer - Fifty


Trevor Dunn's trio-convulsant avec folie à quatre - séances


Ty Citerman/Jen Baker/Shayna Dunkelman - Time Phase Trio

(Infrequent Seams)

Vince Ector Organatomy Trio+ - Live @The Side Door

(Cabo Verde)

Yellowjackets - Parallel Motion

(Mack Avenue)

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.