'Tis the season to be...well, what exactly? We come into December and suddenly we have to feel jolly? Rather hard with a war in Europe, a midterm election that demonstrated exactly how divided this country is, a world struggling with food and energy needs, a World Cup that is rife with corruption and human rights violations and far too much attention spent on a narcissistic, destructive billionaire (no, not that one).
It may feel slightly delusional but it is times like these when we need music most. To think of all the periods of world upheaval that jazz has seen is to be inspired by its resilience and its need to reflect upon and try to better the people and places it touches. The supposed spirit of the holidays—divorced from the commercial and sectarian realities—is one of unified personhood, joy, generosity and understanding. All those apply to jazz no matter the season. So as we approach the end of yet another turbulent year, let us be thankful that we have music—and in person especially—to act as a soothing balm. We all need it.
On the Cover: FRANK LACY
By Mike Cobb; photoss by Alan Nahigian
Often called one of the "baddest sidemen in jazz", Frank Lacy prefers to be known for his own work as an artist. With an extensive recorded catalogue, leadership of many groups and numerous collaborations, the trombonist is justified in his desire to be acknowledged for what he brings to the world of music. Lacy is at Dizzy's Club with his Tromboniverse band Dec. 13th, New Amsterdam Music Association Dec. 14th and 28th, The Porch Dec. 15, Cellar Dog Dec. 23rd, Smalls Dec. 27th and Midnight Theatre Dec. 7th and 21st with Mingus Big Band.
Interview: MARC COPLAND
By Robert Bush; photo by Guido Werner / courtesy of the artist
Marc Copland has been creating vital music for more than 40 years and the pianist is arguably at the very top of his game. He is most well known for his long associations with bassist Gary Peacock and guitarist John Abercrombie, issuing several game-changing albums on ECM. Copland is a consummate small-group ally in the duo, trio and quartet formats. His long-running trio with bassist Drew Gress and Joey Baron was consistently delightful and he is hitting the post-COVID landscape with aplomb, releasing Someday, a new quartet session on InnerVoice Jazz. Copland is at Bar Bayeux Dec. 28th.
Artist Feature: LAUREN SEVIAN
By Matty Bannond; photo courtesy of the artist
Baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian's career is marked by her unflinching willingness to take on tough challenges and grab opportunities for growth. In fact, that is how she wound up lugging around an instrument that weighs more than a bowling ball. Sevian is at The Django Dec. 2nd, Flushing Town Hall Dec. 8th with Lioness and Midnight Theatre Dec. 14th with Mingus Big Band.
Encore: ALVIN CURRAN
By George Grella
"My friendship with Richard goes back to 1961." That is composer Alvin Curran, speaking from Rome, explaining how he first met Richard Teitelbaum, a composer, improviser and important electronic musician who died in April 2020. Curran will be in New York this month for a tribute to Teitelbaum. Curran is
at Roulette Dec. 20th with a Richard Teitelbaum Memorial Celebration as part of the Infrequent Seams Festival.
Lest We Forget: URBIE GREEN
By Elliott Simon
In 1933, seven-year-old Urban "Urbie" Green left Mobile, Alabama for Hollywood, California with his mother, sister and 3 older brothers. A year later, they were back in Mobile with little to show for their trip save a trombone that Earle Hagen sold to Green's older brother. Hagen later wrote the Duke Ellington tribute "Harlem Nocturne" and became a celebrated TV soundtrack composer whereas Green, with over 600 credits, became one of the most recorded trombonists in history.
Special Feature: HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Jazzy gift ideas from boxed sets and books to holiday music albums and miscellany.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Bill Frisell—Four Blue Note (Blue Note)
Danilo Pérez—Crisálida Mack Avenue (Birdland)
Die Hochstapler—Beauty Lies Umlaut (Streaming)
Die Hochstapler—Within Umlaut (Streaming)
Harvie S/Roni Ben-Hur (with Sylvia Cuenca)—Wondering Dot Time (Flushing Town Hall)
Rich Perry—Everything Happens SteepleChase (Smalls; Village Vanguard)
Fabian Neubauer/Duy Luong/Pablo Liebhaber—Tales Leo
River People—Sol Expression Chap-Chap
Megumi Yonezawa—Resonance Sunnyside
Whit Dickey—Root Perspective TAO Forms (411 Kent)
David Chesky—The Great European Songbook The Audiophile Society (Dizzy's Club)