Mentorship is a powerful thing and can happen with years of collaboration or a single, chance encounter. Lao Tzu said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"; to paraphrase, a career of decades starts with a single note.
Such experiences run through our "big three" feature subjects this month, as they do, in fact, with all our coverage since the beginning. Percussionist Cyro Baptista (On The Cover) has been formed by experiences with Derek Bailey, Naná Vasconcelos, John Zorn and Herbie Hancock. Now he helps shape the younger players in his bands, some of whom will appear alongside him at Dizzy's Club this month. Vocalist Carol Sloane (Interview) speaks of the influence of pianists like Tommy Flanagan and Jimmy Rowles and fellow singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae. Those influences will all be on display at her appearance as part of 92nd Street Y's Jazz in July program. And pianist Marc Cary has been the product of lessons learned from drummer Art Taylor and vocalists Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln, to name but a few, and passes those teachings along through his focus on community; he does so this month, presenting his Harlem Sessions at Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage.
We are all on the journey of music together, at different points but towards the same destination.
On the Cover: CYRO BAPTISTA
By John Pietaro; photos courtesy of the artist
Percussionist Cyro Baptista has lived in the U.S. for nearly 40 years since relocating from Brazil. The trail has taken him around the globe, sharing the stage and studio with many of the most relevant artists of free improvisation, world music, jazz, experimental composition and some of the best of pop music too. Perhaps it is due to his status as a traveler, but Baptista has never stopped seeking out the community within the music—in any locale to which it takes him. Baptista is at Dizzy's Club Jul. 22nd-24th.
Interview: CAROL SLOANE
By Andrew Vélez; photo courtesy of the artist
Carol Sloane has been singing professionally since age 14. In 1961 she made an unexpectedly memorable splash at the Newport Jazz Festival, which inspired critical raves and Columbia Records to sign her immediately. Dozens of recordings later, working with such jazz greats as Tommy Flanagan, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Rowles, Rufus Reid, Bill Charlap, Clark Terry and Jim Hall and subbing for Annie Ross with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, she is returning to performing after what she calls a "voluntary withdrawal", prompted in large part by the death of her husband Buck Spurr two years ago. Sloane is at 92nd Street Y's Jazz in July Jul. 27th as part of Take The A Train: Billy Strayhorn At 100.
Artist Feature: MARC CARY
By Donald Elfman; photo by Rebecca Meek
"We are the world." Pianist Marc Cary, in speaking of his approach to the creation of music, used that phrase in a way that, rather than being hackneyed or corny, suggests a view that is truly open and inclusive. It's about his choice of musicians, recordings and performances he decides to make, his celebration of home and neighborhood, the technology he utilizes and deep appreciation and understanding of his history and, more universally, the past. Cary's Harlem Sessions is at Queensbridge Park Jul. 31st as part of SummerStage and Ginny's Supper Club Thursdays.
Encore: GIANLUIGI TROVESI
By Ken Waxman
Throughout his years as one of Italy's most respected improvisers, alto saxophonist and clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi has maintained a melodic and folkloric component in his sound whether with his own projects, as soloist with large or small ensembles or notable stints in pianist Giorgio Gaslini's sextet and the Italian Instabile Orchestra. Trovesi is at Rubin Museum Jul. 8th with Anat Fort.
Lest We Forget: WILLIE "THE LION" SMITH
By Scott Yanow
With his bowler hat, cigar, vintage suit and a bragging but lovable personality, Willie "The Lion" Smith looked like a hard-driving hard-drinking honky-tonk pianist. But while he did his share of riotous Dixieland sessions, Smith also composed and played some of the most lyrical, sophisticated and sensitive music of his era. A Willie "The Lion" Smith tribute with Bill Charlap, Rossano Sportiello and Ted Rosenthal is at 92nd Street Y's Jazz in July Jul. 26th.
Record Label Spotlight: GEARBOX
By Eric Wendell
In the contemporary music environment of listening to music on the go, London-based vinyl-only Gearbox Records is trying to put the custom, the ritual if you will, back into sitting and listening to music. "Actually putting a disc on, moving the tone arm across, dropping the stylus, hearing the faint crackle and then it kicks off; there's a whole performance, there's a whole theatrical element. Even if you've got guests and they're watching you do it, there's something quite special about that process and then you sit down and listen to the whole piece," explains Gearbox founder Darrel Sheinman.
Special Feature: HOLLYWOOD JAZZ
By Andrey Henkin
Spring 2016 has seen a happening as unlikely as a black hole: three films centered on complex jazz icons, featuring A-list stars, relatively large budgets and a target market with no idea what the inside of the Village Vanguard looks like.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Mimi Jones -- Feet in the Mud Hot Tone (Village Vanguard; Minton's)
Kris Allen -- Beloved Truth Revolution (Dizzy's Club)
Tyshawn Sorey -- The Inner Spectrum of Variables Pi (The Stone; Rye)
Adam O'Farrill -- Stranger Days Sunnyside (The Jazz Gallery)
Keefe Jackson/Jason Adasiewicz -- Rows and Rows Delmark (The Jazz Gallery; Threes Brewing)
Keefe Jackson/Josh Berman/Jon Rune Strøm/Tollef Østvang -- Southern Sun Stone Floor (The Jazz Gallery; Threes Brewing)
Peter A. Schmid -- Chicago Conversations Creative Works
Charlie Haden/Gonzalo Rubalcaba -- Tokyo Adagio Impulse
Various Artists -- ABRAZO – The Havana Sessions Ansonica
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra -- Live in Cuba Blue Engine
Chucho Valdés -- Tribute to Irakere (Live in Marciac) Jazz Village
Greg Ward & 10 Tongues -- Touch My Beloved's Thought Greenleaf Music (The Jazz Gallery)
Tiffany Austin -- Nothing But Soul Con Alma (Smalls)
Ken Aldcroft/William Parker -- Live at The Tranzac, Vol. 1 Trio (Downtown Music Gallery)
Tom Tallitsch -- Gratitude Posi-Tone (Club Bonafide)
Wayne Shorter -- Night Dreamer Blue Note
Our Thing -- Manhattan Style Jazzheads (Jazz at Kitano)
Houston Person & Ron Carter -- Chemistry HighNote (Dizzy's Club; 92nd Street Y)