The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

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Just as we were about to send this issue off to print and get ready for some much-needed Christmas cheer, rumblings came from several venues, as well as the much-anticipated returning Winter Jazzfest, that shows were possibly to be cancelled due to the alarming increase in COVID-19 infections as a result of the Omicron variant.

In some ways this was more devastating than similar events back in March 2020. Back then, no one really knew what was happening or that what seemed like a temporary closure would turn into months of lockdown and daily reports of illness and death. Now we are no longer naïve and understand quite well what may lie in store for us. And we have the added burden of a society split along cultural lines, divisions that were always there but amplified by unprecedented circumstances. We are not only facing the continued pandemic but the ongoing battle for truth versus falsehood, responsible citizenship versus misguided notions of liberty.

After a careful return to live performance over the past several months and the joy and renewal that came with that, this latest development is crushing. We hope that it is only temporary but suggest you call ahead before attending any concerts this month.

On the Cover: BOB JAMES

By Anders Griffen; photos by Sunshine Studios and Andrew Ong

Bob James, prolific composer and keyboard artist, is well known for his theme song to the hit TV series Taxi and has been routinely sampled in hip-hop. He has won two Grammys among several nominations and has hundreds of album credits with a range of jazz and pop artists. He has enjoyed a successful career in music for over 60 years: "I have no shortage of fun, surprising, interesting things to be working on creatively." James is at Blue Note Jan. 25th-30th.

Interview: WOLFGANG MUTHSPIEL

By Tyran Grillo; photo by Laura Pleifer

Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel is one of a handful of guitarists whose influence is as robust as his humility. Muthspiel began his musical training in classical violin, shifting to guitar in his teens. And yet while he is now firmly entrenched in jazz-defined spaces, he has never let go of his love for chamber music and the intimate sensibilities required of one to self-express in that genre. Muthspiel is at The Jazz Gallery Jan. 27th-28th.

Artist Feature: ANGEL BAT DAWID

By Kurt Gottschalk; photo by David Raccuglia

Angel Bat Dawid isn't a lot of things. She is not a conventional jazz performer. She is not a conventional performer in any sense. And she isn't an artist who is going to let herself be pigeonholed by pre-existing categories of consumer-based culture. What she is is an artist: a composer, singer, keyboard player, clarinetist, producer and powerful performer. Bat Dawid is at City Winery Jan. 13th, Nublu 151 Jan. 14th and 21st, Zürcher Gallery Jan. 15th, Roulette Jan. 17th and Public Records Jan. 20th as part of Winter Jazzfest.

Encore: STIX HOOPER

By Michael Cobb

Stix Hooper is an acclaimed drummer, composer, producer, educator, manager and radio personality based in Seattle. Along with Joe Sample, he helped found The Crusaders (né The Jazz Crusaders) and is a pioneer in jazz and funk. But Hooper eschews genre labels and firmly believes in the universality of music.

Lest We Forget: FRANK WESS

By Marilyn Lester

Frank Wess (Jan. 4th, 1922-Oct. 30th, 2013) excelled on tenor and alto saxophone, in addition to having one of the most distinctive sounds on flute. A Frank Wess Centennial Celebration with Scott Robinson, Michael Weiss and others is at Dizzy's Club Jan. 19th.

Special Feature: BEST OF 2021

Our selections for the year's best in Albums, Concerts, Musicians, Up-and-comers, Labels, Venues, Books, Artwork and various miscellaneous album categories.

CD Reviews

(this month's performance venues in parentheses):

  1. Falkner EvansInvisible Words CAP (Mezzrow)
  2. Fred HerschBreath By Breath Palmetto (VIllage Vanguard)
  3. Vijay IyerUneasy ECM (The Stone; Village Vanguard)
  4. Wadada Leo Smith/Jack DeJohnette/Vijay IyerA Love Sonnet For Billie Holiday TUM (The Stone at The New School; Village Vanguard)
  5. Harry Allen/Mike KarnMilo's Illinois GAC Music (Mezzrow)
  6. Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra (with Catherine Russell)Good Time Music (Community Music, Vol. 2) Royal Potato Family (Winter Jazzfest)
  7. Simon MoullierCountdown Fresh Sound-New Talent
  8. Sergio Armaroli/Fritz HauserAngelica Leo
  9. Satoko Fujii/Taiko SaitoFutari: Underground Libra
  10. Paula Shocron/William Parker/Pablo DíazEl Templo Astral Spirits (Bushwick Public House; The Stone at The New School)
  11. Whit Dickey/William Parker/Matthew ShippVillage Mothership TAO Forms (Bushwick Public House; The Stone at The New School)
  12. William Parker/Patricia NicholsonNo Joke! ESP-Disk (Bushwick Public House; The Stone at The New School)
  13. Miles Okazaki/Trevor Dunn/Dan WeissHive Mind Tzadik (The Stone at The New School; Joe's Pub; Winter Jazzfest)
  14. Amir ElSaffarThe Other Shore Out Note (The Stone at The New School)
  15. John Patitucci/Vinnie Colaiuta/Bill CunliffeTrio Le Coq (Rose Theater)
  16. John Patitucci/Andy JamesAn Evening with John Patitucci & Andy James Le Coq (Rose Theater)
  17. Johnathan BlakeHomeward Bound Blue Note (Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning; Winter Jazzfest)
  18. Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective and The Turtle Island QuartetAbsence Blue Note (Winter Jazzfest)
  19. Sylvie Courvoisier/Mary HalvorsonSearching For The Disappeared Hour Pyroclastic (Winter Jazzfest)
  20. Louis HayesCrisis Savant (Winter Jazzfest)
  21. Shai MaestroHuman ECM (Winter Jazzfest)
  22. Melanie CharlesY'All Don't (Really) Care About Black Women Verve (Winter Jazzfest)
  23. Sun Ra and His ArkestraOmniverse Modern Harmonic
  24. Klaus TreuheitWith Lou Grassi Feat. Georg Wissel KTMP (Michiko Studios)
  25. Thomas HebererThe Day That Is Sunnyside (Downtown Music Gallery; Michiko Studios)
  26. Monnette SudlerIn My Own Way SteepleChase
  27. Ben Lamar GayOpen Arms To Open Us International Anthem/Nonesuch (Winter Jazzfest)
  28. Unscientific ItaliansPlays The Music of Bill Frisell, Volume 1 Hora
  29. Skúli Sverrisson/Bill FrisellStrata Newvelle (The Stone at The New School)
  30. Fred FrithRoad Intakt (Merkin Concert Hall)
  31. Matt Mitchell/Kate GentileSnark Horse Pi (Roulette)
  32. Michael StephensonMeets The Alexander Claffy Trio Cellar Live (The Django)
  33. Miki YamanakaStairway to the Stars Outside In Music (Cellar Dog; Winter Jazzfest)
  34. Makaya McCravenDeciphering the Message Blue Note (Winter Jazzfest)
  35. Joe FarnsworthCity of Sounds Smoke Sessions (The Django; Cellar Dog; Minton's)
  36. Craig Taborn60 x Sixty Pyroclastic (Village Vanguard; Winter Jazzfest)
  37. Craig TabornShadow Plays ECM (Village Vanguard; Winter Jazzfest)
  38. Allison Miller/Jane Ira BloomTues Days Outline/Supaphine (Winter Jazzfest)
  39. Ikue Mori/Brian Marsella/Sae HashimotoArchipelago X Tzadik (The Stone at The New School; Winter Jazzfest)
  40. Milt Jackson, Barney Wilen, Percy Heath, Kenny ClarkeJazz Sur Seine Philips-Sam (Drop The Needle)
  41. Pino Palladino/Blake MillsNotes With Attachments New Deal/Impulse! (Winter Jazzfest)
  42. Brian WoodruffA Centering Peace QJOG (Culture Lab LIC)
  43. James Brandon LewisCode of Being Intakt (Winter Jazzfest)
  44. James Brandon Lewis, Patrick Holmes, Ches Smith, Josh WernerResilient Vessels Live at The Cell RR Gems (Winter Jazzfest)
  45. Sean ConlyThe Buzz 577 Records (Bushwick Public House)
  46. Dave SewelsonSmooth Free Jazz Mahakala Music (Bushwick Public House)
  47. Mujician10 10 10 Cuneiform
  48. Peggy LeeSomething Wonderful: Peggy Lee Sings The Great American Songbook Omnivore
  49. Aki Takase/Christian Weber/Michael GrienerAuge Tzadik
  50. Aki Takase/Daniel ErdmannIsn't It Romantic BMC Records
  51. Enrico Pieranunzi/Bert JorisAfterglow Challenge
  52. Erroll GarnerLiberation in Swing: The Octave Records Story & Complete Symphony Hall Concert Octave-Mack Avenue
  53. Jim KnappIt's not business, it's personal Origin
  54. Ralph PetersonRaise Up Off Me Onyx
  55. Brandon GoldbergIn Good Time (featuring Ralph Peterson) s/r
  56. John Butcher, Dominic Lash, John Russell, Mark Sanders Discernment Spoonhunt
  57. The Nu BandLive at The Bopshop (In Memory of Mark Whitecage) Not Two
  58. Chick Corea Akoustic BandLIVE Concord
  59. Mandy BarnettEvery Star Above Melody Place
  60. Dr. Lonnie SmithBreathe Blue Note
  61. Mario Pavone/The Tampa QuartetIsabella Clean Feed
  62. Mario PavoneBlue Vertical Out of Your Head
  63. Freddie ReddReminiscing Bleebop
  64. Butch Warren/Freddie ReddBaltimore Jazz Loft Bleebop
  65. Ack Van Rooyen90 Jazzline
  66. Ben WebsterLive at Pio's Enja-Pure Pleasure

...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