The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

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As human beings, we are the sum (hopefully greater) of our experiences. For musicians, the added challenge is applying that experience towards creating a life-specific body of work.

Pianist Myra Melford (On The Cover) has mixed her instrumental training with spiritual practice and cultural awareness to mint music of great depth and subtlety. She revisits and introduces some of the results with a week's curation at The Stone at The New School. Guitarist Frank Vignola (Interview) has made the best of what almost was a career-ending injury, taking his time to think about repertoire, education and what is next in store for him; in the short term that is a night at Iridium this month. And if not for a twin brother who was a better drummer, Joel Ross (Artist Feature) might never have taken up the vibraphone and gone on to his Blue Note Records debut KingMaker, celebrated at Jazz Standard. Saxophonist Larry McKenna (Encore) resisted the urge to leave Philadelphia and has had a long career in the City of Brotherly Love (he plays Smalls this month) while a move from his native New Orleans to California led drummer Ed Blackwell (Lest We Forget) to a meeting with Ornette Coleman and years of musical history (Blackwell is celebrated at The Stone at The New School).

On the Cover: MYRA MELFORD

By Franz Matzner; photos by Don Dixon (courtesy of the artist)

There are many facets to pianist Myra Melford's oeuvre. That is one reason her residency at The Stone at The New School this month holds so much promise. Another is the slate of innovative accomplices scheduled to join her. A third is the potency of voice she has cultivated over the last two decades of rigorous spiritual and musical study, diverse collaboration and fearless experimentation. Melford is at The Stone at The New School Jun. 11th-15th.


By Marilyn Lester; photo by Ali Hasbauch (courtesy of the artist)

As a virtuoso of the guitar, Frank Vignola was in demand as a sideman even as he was developing his own solo career—at 23 he formed the Hot Club Quintet with immediate success. You may well have heard his work without realizing it. He's played with a Who's Who of artists, from Ringo Starr and Madonna to Susannah McCorkle, Jane Monheit, Leon Redbone, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dorough, Lionel Hampton, Vince Giordano, Bucky Pizzarelli and many more. He was a regular player with Les Paul, a friend and mentor, until Paul's death in 2009. Vignola's versatility covers genres including swing, fusion, gypsy jazz, classical and pop. After surviving a near-death accident in 2017, he's returned to performance and also concentrates intensely on his educational online jazz studio. Vignola is at Iridium Jun. 18th.

Artist Feature: JOEL ROSS

By Russ Musto; photo by Adrien H. Tillmann

At the January 2017 concert "In Celebration Of A Life Well Spent" memorializing vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, one artist stood out as the surprise of the evening. Not listed in the program, Joel Ross had been chosen by impresario Todd Barkan to represent the future of the instrument. Ross' Blue Note CD release is at Jazz Standard Jun. 4th-5th.


By Alex Henderson

Tenor saxophonist Larry McKenna has been a fixture on the Philadelphia jazz scene for well over 60 years, performing with many iconic Philadelphians along the way as well as his share of New Yorkers. In 2018, he co-led a studio date with fellow tenor saxophonist and octogenarian Bootsie Barnes, The More I See You for Vancouver-based Cellar Live. McKenna is at Smalls Jun. 23rd with Sam Taylor.

Lest We Forget: ED BLACKWELL

By John Pietaro

With his 1960 recording This is Our Music, Ornette Coleman introduced his revolutionary quartet's latest addition. In the liner notes he wrote of Ed Blackwell: "This man can play rhythm so close to the tempered notes that one seems to hear them take each other's places." A tribute to Ed Blackwell is at The Stone at The New School Jun. 27th with Wadada Leo Smith and Pheeroan akLaff.

Record Label Spotlight: FUNDACJA SŁUCHAJ!

By Kurt Gottschalk

The freeing of Poland from Communist rule in 1989 brought a freeing of Maciej Karłowski's ears as well. The opening of communication with the West granted access to a new world of sound for the Warsaw teen, who would go on to become a noted jazz critic and founder of the intrepid label Fundacja Słuchaj. Artists performing this month include Joe Morris at Bushwick Public House Jun. 3rd, Hamid Drake at Roulette Jun. 12th and 14th as part of Vision Festival and Peter Evans at Zürcher Gallery Jun. 25th.

CD Reviews

(this month's performance venues in parentheses):

  1. Fred Hersch & The WDR Big BandBegin Again Palmetto (Jazz Standard)
  2. Herlin RileyPerpetual Optimism Mack Avenue (The Appel Room)
  3. Sam NewsomeChaos Theory: Song Cycles for Prepared Saxophone s/r (Bushwick Public House)
  4. Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Phillips/Thomas LehnWillisau Jazzwerkstatt (Downtown Music Gallery; 244 Rehearsal Studios; Areté Gallery; Muchmore's)
  5. Urs Leimgruber/Jean-Marc FoussatFace to Face Fou (Downtown Music Gallery; 244 Rehearsal Studios; Areté Gallery; Muchmore's)
  6. Tobias Wilner Daniel CarterNew York United 577 Records (Bushwick Public House; H0l0; Flowers For All Occasions)
  7. Daniel Carter/Jarvis Earnshaw/Zach SwansonHarbinger s/r (Flowers For All Occasions)
  8. Erroll GarnerNightconcert Mack Avenue
  9. Akira Sakata/Nicolas FieldFirst Thirst - Live at Cave12 Not Two
  10. Christoph Erb/Michael VatcherYellow Live Veto
  11. Mette Rasmussen/Chris CorsanoA View of the Moon (from the Sun) Clean Feed
  12. Harold Danko/Kirk KnuffkePlay Date SteepleChase (Bushwick Public House)
  13. Ehud AsherieWild Man Blues Capri (Smalls; Dizzy's Club; Knickerbocker Bar & Grill)
  14. Bryn Roberts/Lage LundHide the Moon and the Stars s/r (Jazz Standard; Mezzrow)
  15. John Coltrane1963: New Directions Impulse
  16. John ZornSalem 1962 Tzadik (VIllage Vanguard)
  17. Milford GravesBäbi IPS-Corbett vs. Dempsey (Vision Festival; Blank Forms)
  18. Mark DresserAin't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Clean Feed (The Stone at The New School)
  19. Hamid Drake/Joe McPheeKeep Going Corbett vs. Dempsey (Vision Festival)
  20. Akira SakataFisherman' Trost
  21. Mako Sica/Hamid DrakeRonda Feeding Tube-Astral Spirits (Vision Festival)
  22. Anne Mette Iversen's Ternion QuartetInvincible Nimbus Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records (Smalls)
  23. Jemeel MoondocThe Astral Revelations Rogue Art (Vision Festival)
  24. Theo CrokerStar People Nation Sony Music Masterworks (Jazz Standard)
  25. John PatitucciSoul of the Bass s/r (Chelsea Music Festival; Rockwood Music Hall)
  26. Brad MehldauSeymour Reads the Constitution! Nonesuch (VIllage Vanguard)
  27. Charlie Haden/Brad MehldauLong Ago and Far Away Impulse (VIllage Vanguard)
  28. Greg MurphyBright Idea Whaling City Sound (Mezzrow; Tea House Garden)
  29. Patrick CorneliusThis Should Be Fun Posi-Tone (The Cell)
  30. Ayelet Rose GottliebI Carry Your Heart: A Tribute to Arnie Lawrence Ride Symbol (Pomegranate Gallery)
  31. PneumaWho Has Seen the Wind? Songlines
  32. Angelika NiescierNew York Trio (feat. Jonathan Finlayson) Intakt
  33. Vincent PeiraniLiving Being II: Night Walker ACT (Rockwood Music Hall; Rizzoli's Bookstore; Nublu 151)
  34. Emile ParisienSfumato live in Marciac (with Joachim Kühn) ACT (Rockwood Music Hall; Rizzoli's Bookstore; Nublu 151)
  35. Denny ZeitlinRemembering Miles Sunnyside
  36. Bobby Naughton/Leo Smith/Perry RobinsonThe Haunt OTIC-NoBusiness
  37. Tom HarrellInfinity HighNote (Birdland; Village Vanguard)
  38. Vic JurisTwo Guitars SteepleChase (55Bar)
  39. Nick Hetko/Rich Syracuse/Jeff 'Siege' SiegelWhen You Were There ARC (Zinc Bar)
  40. Wadada Leo SmithRosa Parks: Pure Love TUM (Vision; The Stone at The New School)
  41. Wadada Leo Smith/Sabu ToyozumiBurning Meditation Chap Chap-NoBusiness (Vision; The Stone at The New School)
  42. Eugene Chadbourne/Henry KaiserWind Crystals (Guitar Duets by Wadada Leo Smith) Relative Pitch
  43. Chris WelcomeBeyond All Things (Live at the Bushwick Series) Gaucimusic (Bushwick Public House)
  44. John HartCrop Circles SteepleChase (Smalls; North Square Lounge)
  45. Bill MaysLive at COTA No Blooze Music (Mezzrow)
  46. Matt SlocumSanctuary Sunnyside (Saint Peter's Church)
  47. Art Ensemble of ChicagoTutankhamun Freedom-ORG Music
  48. The New York 3The Halloween Session TMP (Zürcher Gallery)
  49. Cecil TaylorSilent Tongues Freedom-ORG Music
  50. Mark Morganelli & The Jazz Forum All-StarsBrasil! Jazz Forum (Zinc Bar)
  51. Paul AusterlitzWater Prayers for Bass Clarinet Round Whirled (Bushwick Public House)
  52. Eddie Prévost/John ButcherVisionary Fantasies Matchless
  53. Scott RobinsonTenormore Arbors (Birdland Theater)
  54. Jack MouseIntimate Adversary Tall Grass
  55. Nature WorkEponymous Sunnyside
  56. Hearts & MindsElectroradiance Astral Spirits
  57. Ivo Perelman/Jason SteinSpiritual Prayers Leo (Union Pool)
  58. Russ LossingChanges SteepleChase (Ibeam Brooklyn)
  59. Chuck ReddGroove City Dalphine (Jazz at Kitano)
  60. Don FriedmanLove Music Progressive
  61. Larry Ochs/Mark Dresser/Vladimir TarasovJones Jones: A Jones in Time Saves Nine NoBusiness (The Stone at The New School)
  62. Eric PlaksChrysalis OutNow (Brooklyn Commons; Silvana; Bushwick Public House)
  63. Dave StrykerEight Track III Strikezone (Smalls)
  64. Charles MingusJazz in Detroit/Strata Gallery/46 Selden bbe

...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