The New York City Jazz Record

The City's Only Homegrown Jazz Gazette!

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Bigger is not always better. No one needs a 72-ounce soda or stretch limo. But when it comes to jazz, there is nothing like a large ensemble. The impact of big bands has been a part of jazz history since almost the beginning and the flavors are as varied as the personalities of those leading the charge: big bands can swing, or not; they can be made up of traditional sections or bold new tonal combinations; they can play intricate charts or improvise in real time like a pulsing, living organism. And since jazz is always in a recession, no one told today's pioneering big band/large ensemble leaders that they cannot do what they do so well.

In our first ever "Large Ensemble Issue", we cover the gamut of possibilities, from the Mingus Big Band (On The Cover), in residence at Jazz Standard; Lionel Hampton Orchestra featuring Jason Marsalis (Interview), appearing at Birdland; Miho Hazama's m_unit (Artist Feature), playing Jazz Standard; Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber (Encore), performing a live score to Shaft at the Apollo Theater; big band legend Jimmie Lunceford (Lest We Forget); and a special front-loaded CD Review section (pgs. 14-19) of big bands and large ensembles from around the world and of all stripes.

On the Cover: MINGUS BIG BAND

By Jim Motavalli; photos by Adrien H. Tillmann

41 years after his death from a heart attack on Jan. 5th, 1979, Charles Mingus is acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of his time, on a pedestal alongside his idol Duke Ellington...Mingus never slipped into obscurity, but his music wasn't heard much on bandstands after his passing. Sue Mingus—despite having been only peripherally involved in her husband's music while he was alive—decided to change that. Mingus Big Band is Jazz Standard most Mondays and Feb. 14th-16th.

Interview: JASON MARSALIS

By Kyle Oleksiuk; photo courtesy of the artist

Jason Marsalis is both an extremely versatile drummer and vibraphonist who has played as a bandleader and sideman in groups ranging from jazz, fusion and funk to Celtic and Brazilian. With Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield, he formed the New Orleans jazz group Los Hombres Calientes in 1998. Since March 2015, Marsalis has been playing with the Lionel Hampton Big Band as a vibraphonist. He discussed the Big Band's recently released album, Live at Rossmoor, and Hampton's legacy. Lionel Hampton Big Band with Jason Marsalis is at Birdland Feb. 4th-8th.

Artist Feature: MIHO HAZAMA

By Mike Cobb; photo courtesy of the artist

Born in 1986 in Tokyo, Miho Hazama grew up studying classical piano and earned a degree from Kunitachi College of Music in classical composition. She received a scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) and moved to New York in 2010, graduating with a Master's degree in jazz composition...In 2011, she won the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award and in 2012 recorded Journey to Journey (Universal Music Japan), which blended big band and jazz sounds and featured vibraphonist Stefon Harris. The album established her as a composer and leader and helped her win the Jazz JAPAN rising star award. She received the 24th Idemitsu Music Award in 2014, and the BMI Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize in 2015. Also in 2015, Hazama issued her big band's sophomore album, Time River (Universal Music Japan). And the accolades and awards keep coming her way. Hazama and m_unit are at Jazz Standard Feb. 25th-26th.

Encore: GREG TATE

By Alex Henderson

Guitarist/journalist Greg Tate has a long history of writing about music as well as playing it. The Dayton, Ohio native, who has lived in New York City for 38 years, spent 18 of them as staff writer at Village Voice, where he covered music ranging from R&B to jazz to hip-hop to rock. As the leader of Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, an experimental ensemble, which will pay homage to late soul icon Isaac Hayes and the 1971 movie Shaft this month at the Apollo Theater, Tate has been in the role of music creator. Burnt Sugar is at Apollo Theater Feb. 29th.

Lest We Forget: JIMMIE LUNCEFORD

By George Kanzler

Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, club date (weddings, balls etc.) bands. They all owe a debt to the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Enormously popular during the Swing Era—more so than many other more well-known African-American big bands of the era today—Lunceford's big band was also the originator and purveyor of a unique rhythm: two-beat swing.

Record Label Spotlight: NEW AMSTERDAM

By Kurt Gottschalk

For musicians creating work that falls between the usual boundaries, finding an audience isn't the only worry. Getting their music recorded and distributed can also be a challenge when so many labels hold fast to long-established borders between predetermined and marketable categories. There are exceptions, of course, but few labels inhabit that buffer zone so avowedly as Brooklyn's New Amsterdam Records. Artists performing this month include Caroline Davis at The Owl Music Parlor Feb. 9th; Mary Halvorson at The Stone at The New School Feb. 6th; and Sam Sadigursky at Town & Village Synagogue Feb. 13th.

CD Reviews

(this month's performance venues in parentheses):

  1. Brian Lynch Big BandThe Omni-American Book Club (My Journey Through Literature in Music) Hollistic Music Works
  2. Toh-Kichi (Satoko Fujii/Tatsuya Yoshida)Baikamo Libra (Roulette)
  3. Satoko Fujii Orchestra New YorkEntity Libra (Roulette)
  4. Horace Tapscott With The Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra And The Great Voice Of UGMAAWhy Don't You Listen? - Live At LACMA, 1998 Dark Tree
  5. Peter Jensen & DR Big BandStand On Your Feet and Fight (Voices of the Danish West Indies) Ilk Music
  6. Maurice LoucaElephantine Northern-Spy
  7. Jean DeromeSudoku pour Pygmées Ambience Magnétiques
  8. Birdland Big BandLive Birdland (Birdland)
  9. Buddy RichJust In Time: The Final Recording Gearbox
  10. Mike Holober/Gotham Jazz OrchestraHiding Out ZOHO
  11. Fire! OrchestraArrival Rune Grammofon
  12. Tom Pierson OrchestraLast Works Auteur
  13. Marilyn Mazur/Fredrik Lundin/Kasper BaiMaluba Orchestra Stunt
  14. London Improvisers OrchestraTwenty Years On s/r
  15. Delfeayo Marsalis Uptown Jazz OrchestraJazz Party Troubador Jass
  16. Spike OrchestraThe Book Beri'ah 3: Binah (John Zorn Masada Book 3) Tzadik
  17. Pete McGuinness Jazz OrchestraAlong For the Ride Summit
  18. Ayman Fanous/Frances-Marie UittiNegoum Mode (Spectrum; SUNY Downstate Campus)
  19. Tamuz NissimCapturing Clouds Street of Stars (An Beal Bocht Café; Mezzrow)
  20. Colin Stranahan/Glenn Zaleski/Rick RosatoLive at Jazz Standard Capri (Mezzrow; Soapbox Gallery; Smalls; Bar Next; Bar Bayeux)
  21. Caroline DavisAlula New Amsterdam (The Owl Music Parlor)
  22. Harvie S/Tim Armacost/Christian FingerIN Trio: Cascade Centaur (Silvana)
  23. Robert Dick/Joëlle Léandre/Miya MasaokaSolar Wind Not Two (Zürcher Gallery; SUNY Downstate Campus; Downtown Music Gallery)
  24. Robert Dick/Adam CaineThe Damn THINK Chant (Zürcher Gallery; SUNY Downstate Campus; Downtown Music Gallery)
  25. Dave SewelsonMore Music for a Free World Mahakala Music (Aron's Place; Shrine; Downtown Music Gallery; Troost)
  26. Oded TzurHere Be Dragons ECM (Jazz Standard)
  27. Jonah Parzen-JohnsonImagine Giving Up WeJazz (Nublu 151)
  28. Jonah Parzen-JohnsonHelsinki 8.12.18 WeJazz (Nublu 151)
  29. Champian Fulton/Cory WeedsDream A Little... Cellar Live (Birdland Theater; Mezzrow)
  30. Haruna FukuzawaDeparture Summit (Blue Note)
  31. Nick Fraser/Kris Davis/Tony MalabyZoning Astral Spirits (Downtown Music Gallery; Bushwick Public House)
  32. Erin RogersDawntreader Relative Pitch (Downtown Music Gallery)
  33. Omar Sosa/Yilian CañizaresLive at Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg Otá (Birdland)
  34. Noah PremingerZigsaw: Music of Steve Lampert s/r (Smalls)
  35. Joe McPhee/Paal Nilssen-LoveSong for the Big Chief PNL (Downtown Music Gallery)
  36. Uwe Oberg/Joe Fonda/Lucío MartínezRelight Not Two (The Stone at The New School)
  37. Christophe Rocher/Joe Fonda/Harvey SorgenNew Origin Not Two (The Stone at The New School)
  38. Branford MarsalisThe Secret Between The Shadow and The Soul OKeh (Rose Theater)
  39. The WesterliesWherein Lies The Good s/r (Littlefield)
  40. John Yao's TriceratopsHow We Do See Tao (Terraza 7)
  41. John Yao/Jimmy Smith/James Hughes SextetThe Gates Shifting Paradigm (Terraza 7)
  42. Peter Lemer QuintetSon of Local Colour (Live at the Pizza Express) ESP-Disk
  43. ThingEponymous Innerview-Cultures of Soul
  44. Sigurd HoleLys / Mørke (Light / Darkness) s/r (Weill Recital Hall)
  45. George Garzone/Peter Erskine/Alan Pasqua/Darek Oles3 Nights in L.A. Fuzzy Music (Zinc Bar; Bar Bayeux)
  46. Expansions: The Dave Liebman GroupEarth Whaling City Sound (Dizzy's Club)
  47. Tyshawn Sorey/Marilyn CrispellThe Adornment of Time Pi (Jazz Standard)
  48. Jay LeonhartJoy Sunnyside (Tribeca Performing Arts Center; Mezzrow)
  49. Benny BenackA Lot of Livin' to Do LA Reserve (Mezzrow; Minton's)
  50. Ben WolfeFatherhood Resident Arts (Birdland Theater)
  51. Nick DunstonAtlantic Extraction Out of Your Head (Three Brewing)
  52. Jimmy SmithGroovin' at Smalls' Paradise, Volume 1 Blue Note
  53. Miles OkazakiThe Sky Below Pi (National Sawdust)
  54. Akira Sakata Chikamorchi/Masahiko SatohProton Pump Family Vineyard
  55. John ZornTractatus Musico-Philosophicus (Philosophical Investigations from The Invisible Theatre) Tzadik (The Stone at The New School)
  56. Alan BroadbentTo The Evening Star Eden River (Mezzrow)
  57. Randy BreckerRandy Brecker Plays Rovatti: Sacred Bond Piloo (Dizzy's Club; Blue Note)
  58. Ken Peplowski/Diego FigueiredoAmizade Arbors (Mezzrow)
  59. Fred Hersch10 Years Palmetto (VIllage Vanguard)

...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