Ornette Coleman helped pioneer the musical concept of "Time, No Changes". That phrase seems tragically apt these days as weeks and months blend together and the hope for a real return to normalcy seems distant and illusory.
But, for perspective, we think back to October 2016, four years/48 months/208 weeks/almost 1,500 days ago. At the time, a transformative presidential election was in its final stages but not how many thought it would transpire. Instead of a groundbreaking first female president and a hope for a continuation of progress, the United States regressed. Think of all that has happened in the time since that month...and shudder. The last four years have seen this country abandon its allies, abrogate its responsibilities and present a dark, apocalyptic image to the world. Truths once held to be self-evident, enshrined in our Declaration of Independence as protection against a tyrannical king and bought with the bloodshed of patriots, are now once more assailed by a despot, one who is being supported from within by a new generation of Royalists, now motivated by greed and personal benefit to be accrued by promoting divisiveness and fomenting hatred. And add to this a once-in-a-lifetime health crisis and change—almost exclusively for the worst—has been the feature of recent time. But there are those who have been fighting, whether from the beginning or drawn to the battle because of newly acquired awareness.
In a month, the most consequential presidential election of our time—and perhaps in our country's history—will take place. There is no luxury of apathy and inaction, for feeling like things cannot get any worse. They can and most certainly will if we do not remember the fathers and mothers of this country and vote to make America America again.
On the Cover: REGINA CARTER
By Jordannah Elizabeth; photo by Manolo Rochera/Jeff Dunn, courtesy of the artist
Regina Carter's music has taken her all over the world but Carter, as of late, has taken on a duty and
responsibility to use the platform she has earned from the fruits of her hard work and philanthropy to inspire people to engage with one another and their communities in America in a way that promotes unity. Her new album, Swing States: Harmony in the Battleground (Tiger Turn Productions-eOne) has a very specific purpose: to encourage as many people as possible to vote.
Interview: GARY SMULYAN
By Marilyn Lester; photo by Antonio Porcar
Gary Smulyan, one of the premier masters of the baritone saxophone in the world of jazz today, has not only been a leader, but also has worked with a host of legendary musicians in a career spanning decades, including membership in the Woody Herman Orchestra, Charli Persip Superband, Mingus Big Band, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Joe Lovano Nonet and Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra/Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. His close collaboration with arranger Mark Masters, begun around 20 years ago, has produced a catalogue of excellence in music, the latest being the just-released Night Talk: The Alec Wilder Songbook featuring Gary Smulyan (Capri), transformations of nine tracks of Wilder's songbook staples into lushly creative jazz standards. In this interview, we ask him about that process, working with Masters, his relationship with the baritone saxophone and more.
Artist Feature: JOSH SINTON
By John Sharpe; photo by Johannes Worsoe Berg
Brooklyn-based baritone saxophonist and bass clarinetist Josh Sinton is a man who thinks deeply about what he does and follows his own path. That's as evident in talking to him as it is in listening to the adventurous music that is the result.
Encore: MWATA BOWDEN
By Kurt Gottschalk
It's hard to say which is more noteworthy, that last year Chicago saxophonist Mwata Bowden put out a remarkable record of innovative and eminently listenable jazz compositions that went almost entirely unnoticed or, that at 71, it was his debut as a leader.
Lest We Forget: KENNY KIRKLAND
By Alex Henderson
As a sideman for trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pianist Kenny Kirkland played a role in the straightahead bop revival of the '80s. But he was an eclectic, versatile musician also remembered for his work in fusion groups to his years backing pop-rock superstar Sting.
Record Label Spotlight: TIDAL WAVES MUSIC
By George Grella
One of the newer labels is Tidal Wave, based in Belgium. It launched in October 2016 and produces archival releases, bringing forth recordings never before released (some not initially recorded for release) and reviving albums and musicians who have been lost to time. And, unusual for the current moment, Tidal Wave does not release music digitally. It's something you can hold in your hands or nothing at all.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Noah Haidu—Doctone Sunnyside (Brooklyn Conservatory of Music)
Dayna Stephens—Right Now (Live at the Village Vanguard) Contagious Music (VIllage Vanguard)
Andreas Schulz/Paul Engelmann—Broome (Jazz Edit) One Music Productions (MONDO NYC)
Andreas Schulz/Paul Engelmann—Broome (Saxophone Edit) One Music Productions (MONDO NYC)
Aaron Parks—Little Big II: Dreams of a Mechanical Man Ropeadope (VIllage Vanguard)
Rajiv Jayaweera—Pistils Earshift Music
Tom Guarna—Spirit Science Destiny
Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra—Night Devoid of Stars (featuring Noah Preminger & Frank Carlberg) Cellar Music
Louis Armstrong—Live in Europe Dot Time
Etuk Ubong—Africa Today Night Dreamer
Tony Allen/Hugh Masekela—Rejoice World Circuit
Jacob Young/David Rothenberg/Sidiki Camara—They Say Humans Exist Oslo Session
Charlotte Greve/Vinnie Sperrazza/Chris Tordini—The Choir Invisible Intakt
Champian Fulton—Birdsong s/r
Ray Blue—Work Jazzheads
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers—Just Coolin' Blue Note
Bob James—Once Upon A Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions Resonance
David Gilmore—From Here to Here Criss Cross
Eddie Henderson—Shuffle and Deal Smoke Sessions
Eddie Daniels—Night Kisses (A Tribute to Ivan Lins) Resonance
Mark Helias—Roof Rights Radio Legs
Mark Helias—Available Light Radio Legs
Open Loose—Strange Unison Radio Legs
Mats Gustafsson—Worn. Kissed. Underflow
David Grubbs/Mats Gustafsson/Rob Mazurek—Live at The Underflow Record Store and Art Gallery Underflow
Merzbow/Mats Gustafsson/Balázs Pándi—Cuts Open RareNoise