The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

Download our latest issue!

(click cover above to download pdf)

[download this month's crossword answers]

If there is a theme to 2020, a single word that encapsulates the year, it would be loss. Apart from the obvious and tragic loss of so many people from COVID-19, we as a country suffered other losses: a loss of innocence, thinking that disease was a problem only in what we thought of as "less-developed places"; a loss of confidence, whether it be in institutions from the health care system to the post office, or within ourselves, faced with an invisible threat; a loss of civility, unable to understand those different than ourselves; a loss of community, born of isolation and communication behind screen names and avatars; a loss of experience, simple yet absolutely vital pleasures like concerts and dinner parties and human contact; and a loss of truth, that no longer could something mean something incontrovertibly, without spin or politics or belief subverting it. It then is appropriate that much of this issue focuses on loss (pgs. 10-21): our monthly obituaries, including the long list of those lost in the past year; an In Memoriam spread to the legendary percussionist Cándido; and a special section of CD Reviews given over to those gone silent in 2020.

From all this loss must come introspection, lest no progress be made. How did we get here and who is the "we" that got "us" here? Does the future hold more loss and division or will nobler impulses possibly prevail? Just as no one could have predicted events of the past 12 months—from pandemics to police violence to protests to political theater—so too are the next 12 months not yet known to us. But we can assert some control over the outcome. There is hope. And that hope is the best part of us as a society. To reinforce that, we offer our Best Of 2020 in jazz as a small sign that the past year wasn't all tragedy and hate and fear but also celebration, creativity and inspiration. And if that could happen alongside everything else in 2020, then the future may not be so bleak after all.

On the Cover: JOHN LEWIS

By Alex Henderson; photos by Alan Nahigian

As co-founder and musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), pianist/composer John Lewis played a vital role in the Third Stream movement, fusing jazz and European classical music. But Lewis was a versatile musician capable of playing everything from blues to bop to Brazilian jazz. An Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for Lewis takes place in early 2021.

Interview: ETHAN IVERSON

By Tyran Grillo; photo Giancarlo Belfiore courtesy of the artist

The career of musical polymath Ethan Iverson has taken the pianist—and his pen—around the world and then some, in both the geographic and creative senses. Since striking oil in collaboration with bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King as The Bad Plus, Iverson has simultaneously broadened his palette and focused his sound throughout a range of far-thinking endeavors. Among those is his landmark Bud Powell in the 21st Century, a big band project recorded December 2018 at the Umbria Jazz Festival and released at the end of this month on Sunnyside Records. You can continue to track his various trajectories in his web archive, DO THE M@TH. Iverson live-streams Jan. 29th at smallslive.com.

Artist Feature: AYELET ROSE GOTTLIEB

By Eliott Simon; photo Julie Gauthier courtesy of the artist

Universal connections across love, loss, mysticism and motherhood are themes that permeate vocalist/composer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's work. Song-cycles filled with new spaces and old places host her multi-genre yet globally spiritual music... Gottlieb's current release, 13 Lunar Meditations: Summoning The Witches, is an astounding compendium of lunar-inspired poetry set to her unique blend of transcultural conceptual jazz. A talk on 13 Lunar Conversations live-streams Jan. 12th at ayeletrose.com.

Encore: DOUG CARN

By Anders Griffen

Doug Carn is a multi-faceted musician best known as a unique organ player, lyricist and composer. He has performed all around the world, including at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and he was the face of the Black Jazz record label in the '70s.

Lest We Forget: LEM WINCHESTER

By John Pietaro

The jazz pantheon is built as much on legend as star power. Lem Winchester, a vibraphonist unjustifiably absent from most historical documents, cast a shadowy oeuvre through a mythic tale. In a career spanning just three years, Winchester magically touched the music of leading figures including Oliver Nelson, Ramsey Lewis, Benny Golson, Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott, Roy Haynes, Hank Jones, Art Taylor, Tommy Flanagan, Toots Thielemans, Frank Wess and more, only to die in an ironic accident.

Record Label Spotlight: TAO FORMS

By George Grella

Tao Forms is drummer Whit Dickey's new record label, but it's not solely his, nor, if you checked out its releases, would it seem new. In every aspect, it looks and sounds like the natural development of music making for Dickey and the circle of creative New York City jazz musicians in which he belongs.

Special Feature: BEST OF 2020

Our selections for the Best Of 2020 in Albums, Musicians, Up-And-Comers, Labels, Cover Art, Boxed Sets, Jazz Books and miscellaneous categories: Solo, Latin, Vocals, Live, Large Ensembles, Unearthed Gems, Tributes, Debuts and Reissues.

IN MEMORIAM: CÁNDIDO CAMERO

Remembrances of the legendary percussionist by Amaury Acosta, Ivan Acosta, David Amram, Kenny Burrell, Neil Clarke, Duduka Da Fonseca, Giovanni Hidalgo, Dick Hyman, Arturo O'Farrill, Jimmy Owens, Sonny Rollins, Bobby Sanabria and Samuel Torres.

CD Reviews

(this month's performance/streaming venues in parentheses):

  1. Ellis MarsalisThe New Orleans Collection: Ellis Marsalis Newvelle
  2. The Royal BopstersParty of Four Motéma Music
  3. Keith TippettThe Monk Watches The Eagle Discus Music
  4. Ennio MorriconePeur Sur La Ville (Soundtrack) WeWantSounds
  5. Stanley CowellLive at Keystone Korner Baltimore SteepleChase
  6. Jacques CoursilHostipitality Suite SAVVY
  7. ISTAt The Club Room (for Simon H. Fell) Confront
  8. Various ArtistsPièce commémorative: Pour Simon Confront
  9. Erroll GarnerFeeling Is Believing Octave-Mack Avenue
  10. Brom & Toshinori KondoThe Sea is Rough Bocian
  11. Fire! OrchestraActions Rune Grammofon
  12. Lee KonitzLeewise Storyville
  13. Manu DibangoNégropolitaines Frémeaux & Associés
  14. Ray MantillaRebirth Savant
  15. Sun Ra ArkestraSwirling Strut
  16. Jimmy HeathLove Letter Verve
  17. Jaimie Branch/Dave Rempis/Ingebrigt Håker Flaten/Tollef ØstvangTripel/Dubbel Aerophonic (Edgefest)
  18. AnteloperTour Beats Vol. 1 International Anthem
  19. Dave GislerZurich Concert Intakt
  20. Immanuel WilkinsOmega Blue Note (Bar Bayeux)
  21. Francisco MelaMPT Trio Volume 1 577 Records (Bar Bayeux)
  22. Jeff Rupert/George GarzoneThe Ripple Rupe Media (Bar Bayeux)
  23. Peter EvansHorizons More is More (Roulette)
  24. Peter BernsteinWhat Comes Next? Smoke Sessions (Village Vanguard)
  25. Alex Von SchlippenbachSlow Pieces for Aki (Piano Solo) Intakt
  26. Andrea KellerJourney Home s/r
  27. Marc SchmollingSuvenyr SCHMOLLINGSTONES
  28. Chris PotterThere Is A Tide Edition
  29. Steve PottsMusique pour le film d'un ami Un-Deux-Trois-Souffle Continu
  30. Marilyn MazurFuture Song (Live Reflections) Stunt
  31. Laura ToxvaerdDrapery Ilk Music
  32. Ivo Perelman/Matthew ShippAmalgam Mahakala Music
  33. Ivo PerelmanGarden of Jewels Tao Forms
  34. Ivo Perelman/Arcado String TrioDeep Resonance Fundacja Słuchaj
  35. Teddy WilsonRevisits the Goodman Years Storyville
  36. Mark Egan/Danny GottliebElectric Blue Wavetone
  37. Joëlle Léandre/Myra Melford/Lauren NewtonStormy Whispers Fundacja Słuchaj
  38. Dave Brubeck Trio (featuring Gerry Mulligan)Compadres (Recorded Live in Mexico) Columbia-Speakers Corner
  39. Anthony Braxton/Eugene ChadbourneDuo (Improv) 2017 New Braxton House
  40. Alvin Fielder/Damon SmithSong for Chico Balance Point Acoustics
  41. Charles MingusCharles Mingus @Bremen 1964 & 1975 Sunnyside
  42. Various ArtistsNot Two... but Twenty Not Two

...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