The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

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June unofficially marks the beginning of jazz festival season, with the exception of a few early birds that got a jumpstart (see Festival Report for two such instances). So, we at TNYCJR would like to point you in the direction of all of this issue’s features, each of which are dedicated to a different festival in the city this month: vibraphonist/percussionist/keyboard player and “Father of Ethio-jazz” Mulatu Astatke (On The Cover) performs two nights at Sony Hall as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival, while vocalist Leena Conquest (Interview) sings opening night of the weeklong Vision Festival at Roulette with William Parker (with whom she’s been an intimate collaborator for 35 years.) Australian trumpeter/sound artist Peter Knight (Artist) presents two projects on separate occasions as part of Jazztopad Festival New York, and the late legendary alto/flute/bass clarinet playing dynamo, the never-to-be-forgotten Eric Dolphy (Lest We Forget) is fêted for the two-day “Eric Dolphy: Freedom of Sound” festival. And then there’s trombonist and Roulette Intermedium co-founder Jim Staley (Encore) who officially steps down from his role as Artistic Director after presenting many a festival, as well as festival-like programming, at the venue for 45 years: the 45th Anniversary Gala this month (featuring Staley) promises to be a veritable festival in itself, given the confirmed participants and performers!

And if all this isn’t enough to keep you busy this month, don’t forget to check out the schedules of the many other festivals gracing NYC this month, including Summerstage, Peperoncino Festival, Bryant Park’s Picnic concert series, Bronx River Sounds Performing Arts Festival, Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City, River to River Festival, New York Guitar Festival, etc. It’s of course always an embarrassment of riches for New Yorkers and visitors every month, just more so now with festivals to take into account. Fact of the matter is it’s “festival- like” on any given day with the plethora of options consistently available for thirsty listeners (see Event Calendar section to get overwhelmed or at least to use as your daily guide to navigate your way from one show to the next).

Get out there, support the music and musicians and see you out at the shows... Onwards and outwards.

On the Cover: MULATU ASTATKE—Ethio-jazz Father

(by Sophia Valera Heinecke; photos by Alexis Maryon)

True innovation requires an expansive understanding of extant creativity beyond the desire to simply best one’s peers. The 2024 Blue Note Jazz Festival, which set out to line up history-shaping innovators and worldwide icons, has delivered on this intention by giving Mulatu Astatke two nights headlining at Sony Hall this month. The storied life of the vibraphonist, percussionist, keyboard player, composer and acknowledged “father of Ethio- jazz,” is a constellation of achievements overlayed against his persistent desire to educate and raise awareness of Ethiopia’s music and traditions. Astatke is at Sony Hall Jun. 19-20.

Interview: LEENA CONQUEST—Raining Achievement

(by Kurt Gottschalk; photo by Luciano Rossetti)

When bassist, composer and bandleader William Parker receives his Lifetime of Achievement recognition this month at the Vision Festival, one of the groups he’ll present was responsible for a major shift in the current of his career. Twenty-two years ago, Raining on the Moon introduced Parker the songwriter, and Leena Conquest gave voice to those songs. She has also worked with Sunny Murray and Dave Burrell, but in recent years Conquest has been back home in Dallas, TX, caring for her mother and teaching youth the art of performance. She’s coming back to New York, though, to sing about the watermelon tree again. Conquest will be at Roulette with William Parker’s Raining on the Moon Jun. 18.

Artist Feature: PETER KNIGHT—Finding The New In The Ancient

(by John Shand; photo by Sarah Walker)

Aussie Peter Knight came to the trumpet early, playing with a municipal brass band at age nine, but came to jazz late. Then a decade into his playing jazz he began wondering if it was possible to put a home-grown Melbourne slant on it. The result was the creation of a now long-lived band called Way Out West. Lately, Knight has been stretching the potential for the music and the trumpet even further in the same spirit that he was drawn to the instrument way back when. Knight is at Lincoln Center’s Hearst Plaza with Hand to Earth (featuring Amalia Umeda) Jun. 15 and Public Records with Bungul (featuring Hamid Drake) Jun. 16, both part of Jazztopad Festival New York.

Encore: JIM STALEY—Roulette King

(by James Ilgenfritz; photo courtesy of Roulette)

A major shift is taking place in New York’s creative music scene: Jim Staley, now 73, is preparing to step down from his longtime role as the Artistic Director at Roulette Intermedium, making room for long standing Roulette associate Matt Mehlan to take the reins. No major changes will be taking place overnight, of course: the variables have been so exquisitely organized that the greatest effect may simply be the continued vibrance of the community. Staley is at Roulette Jun. 11 (part of Roulette’s 45th Anniversary Gala).

Lest We Forget: ERIC DOLPHY—Abstract Expressionism of Sound

(by Stuart Broomer; photo by Ursula Davis)

The punning title of a 1989 recording neatly captures the prophetic brilliance of Eric Dolphy (1928-1964): The Ericle of Dolphi (Po Torch) conflates his name and the ancient Greek Oracle of Delphi, where three millennia ago the priestess Pythia divined the future. The “Eric Dolphy: Freedom of Sound” festival is at New School’s Tishman Auditorium Jun. 1-2.

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

Eric Dolphy: Biographical Sketches by Guillaume Belhomme

(Wolke Verlag GMBH)

Alan Braufman - Infinite Love Infinite Tears

(Valley of Search)

Allegra Levy - Out of the Question


Andrea Massaria, Meinrad Kneer, Joe Hertenstein - The Absence Of Zero

(Setola di Maiale)

Anthony Braxton - 10 Comp (Lorraine) 2022

(Tri-Centric Foundation)

Art Pepper - The Complete Maiden Voyage Recordings


Baikida Carroll (Baikida E.J. Carroll) - Orange Fish Tears

(Palm-Souffle Continu)

Charles Gayle, Milford Graves, William Parker - WEBO

(Black Editions)

Chick Corea/Béla Fleck - Remembrance


Chris Byars - Boptics


Dal Sasso Big Band - Chick Corea's "Three Quartets" Revisited


Dave Pietro - The Talisman


Don Fiorino/Andy Haas - Accidentals

(Resonant Music)

Elliott Sharp, Sally Gates, Tashi Dorji - Ere Guitar


Eri Yamamoto - Colors of the Night

(Mahakala Music)

Etienne Charles - Creole Orchestra (feat. René Marie)

(Culture Shock Music)

Gabrielle Stravelli - Beautiful Moons Ago

(Big Modern Music)

Gerald Cannon - Live at Dizzy's Club: The Music of Elvin & McCoy


Inner Ear - The Quiet Shout (Live at Pardon To Tu)


Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few - The Almighty

(Division 81)

James Brandon Lewis Quartet - Transfiguration


Jocelyn Gould - Sonic Bouquet


Joel Harrison/Anthony Pirog - The Great Mirage

(AGS Recordings)

Josh Lawrence - Measured Response


Kenny Warren - Sweet World

(Out Of Your Head)

Lori Bell Quartet - Recorda Me (Remembering Joe Henderson)


Mal Waldron/Steve Lacy - The Mighty Warriors: Live in Antwerp

(Elemental Music)

Matthew Shipp Trio - Circular Temple

(Quinton - ESP-Disk')

Matthew Shipp Trio - New Concepts in Piano Trio Jazz


Matthew Shipp/Steve Swell - Space Cube Jazz

(Rogue Art)

Matthias Bauer, Joe Hertenstein, Frank Paul Schubert, Céline Voccia - Unzeit Quartet

(Trouble in the East)

Nicole Glover - Plays


Oliver Lake, Mathias Landæs, Kresten Osgood - Spirit


Paul Giallorenzo Trio - Play


Pearring Sound - My Multiverse


Peter Erskine and the Jam Music Lab All-Stars - Bernstein in Vienna


Peter Evans Being & Becoming - Ars Memoria

(More Is More)

PNY Quintet - Over The Wall

(Rogue Art)

PRISM Quartet - Heritage/Evolution, Volume 3


Ron Carter (with Eric Dolphy, Mal Waldron) - Where?

(New Jazz-Craft)

Sarah Hanahan - Among Giants

(Blue Engine)

Shelly Manne & His Men - At The Black Hawk, Vol. 1


Shelly Manne & His Men - Jazz From The Pacific Northwest

(Reel to Real)

Sparks Quartet - Live at the Vision Festival XXVI

(Mahakala Music)

Stacey Kent - Let Yourself Go (Celebrating Fred Astaire)


Stephane Wrembel/Jean-Michel Pilc - Triptych Phase I

(Water Is Life)

Stephane Wrembel/Jean-Michel Pilc - Triptych Phase II

(Water Is Life)

Stephane Wrembel/Jean-Michel Pilc - Triptych Phase III

(Water Is Life)

Steve Turre - Sanyas

(Smoke Sessions)

Sunny Five - Candid


The Forest - (D)ruminations

(Different Track)

The Sun Rises in The East by Tayo Giwa & Cynthia Gordy Giwa

(Black Owned Brooklyn)

Thollem - Worlds in a Life, One


Thomas Heberer, Joe Fonda, Joe Hertenstein - Remedy II

(Fundacja Słuchaj)

Wadada Leo Smith/Amina Claudine Myers - Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens

(Red Hook)

Will Bollinger - Last Chance to Crelve


Yvonnick Prené/Geoff Keezer - Jobim's World


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.