Legacy is a word thrown around quite a bit in the jazz world and with good reason, as this music is built on the foundations of those who came before, to be built upon further by those who follow. Yet a tangential concept to legacy is responsibility: teachers and students working with respect for one another, knowing that the results are bigger than all of them. Drummer Art Blakey (On The Cover) understood this better than most, using his Jazz Messengers as
a finishing school par excellence for generations of players, who themselves would go on to mentor their own charges. Guitarist David Torn (Interview) feels the same way about technology, imbuing it with its own legacy and requiring younger players to understand the history of what they are doing and how. Saxophonist Andrew Lamb (Artist Feature) continues the legacy of masters like Coltrane and Ayler in his various projects while saxophonist Akira Sakata (Encore) includes the legacy of Japan's cultural history in his work. And there can be no greater exemplar of the concept of legacy than pianist Dr. Billy Taylor (Lest We Forget), who devoted his life to education and outreach, most notably by founding JazzMobile, a program that has brought the legacy of jazz to countless New York audiences for 55 years.
On the Cover: ART BLAKEY
By Russ Musto; photos by Alan Nahigian
The final set of this year's Charlie Parker Jazz Festival was by Carl Allen's Art Blakey Centennial Project, playing songs from the Jazz Messengers songbook. Allen recalls, "It was an honor to present the project at the festival. For me it was very fitting because Charlie Parker changed the direction of jazz as we know it and Art Blakey changed my conceptual approach to playing music and leading a band. They were both trailblazers…Art represented in music everything that I imagined music was supposed to be: intelligence, thought-provoking, spiritual, soul-searching, gritty, humorous and a whole lot more." Blakey tributes are at Juilliard Oct. 1st, Birdland Oct. 2nd, Dizzy's Club Oct. 7th-12th and 21st, Jazz Standard Oct. 8th-9th, Smoke Oct. 10th-13th and Manhattan School of Music Oct. 17th.
Interview: DAVID TORN
By Mike Cobb; photo Claire Stefani / ECM Records
David Torn is a guitarist who defies easy description.
A session musician, sideman, producer, mixer, scorer of films and independent solo artist, Torn does it all without ever being restricted by genre. He is content playing jazz, rock, metal, experimental, pop or any other style and his list of collaborations speaks volumes. Torn has contributed to recordings by artists including David Bowie, k.d. lang, John Legend, Madonna, Tori Amos, Bill Bruford, Tony Levin, Mick Karn, David Sylvian, Chocolate Genius, Michael Shrieve, Steve Roach, Patrick O'Hearn, Andy Rinehart, Matt Chamberlain, Meshell Ndegeocello and Don Cherry. What distinguishes Torn is his wizardly prowess with electronic effects, in particular his use of looping, which allows him to construct ethereal layers of sound. Torn is at Nublu 151 Oct. 13th with Sun of Goldfinger.
Artist Feature: ANDREW LAMB
By George Grella; photo by Peter Gannushkin
"I'm kind of all over the place," Andrew Lamb has been keeping the flame of spiritual jazz burning bright and strong. The North Carolina-born saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist plays with a powerful and deeply expressive and emotional sound. He has been active on the New York jazz scene for some four decades as a collaborator and a bandleader. Lamb is at Nublu 151 Oct. 19th and Saint Peter's Church Oct. 25th.
Encore: AKIRA SAKATA
By Phil Freeman
Saxophonist Akira Sakata is a fascinating figure...In addition to making music, he is a writer and actor, appearing on TV and in films in his homeland. He has a variety of interests, from marine biology (which he studied in college) to mythology and language and they all manifest in his art; he's made albums in tribute to plankton and recorded a manic, theatrical version of the Japanese epic poem The Tale of the Heike. His performances are wild and at times seemingly unhinged; he frequently abandons the horn in order to engage in extended vocal improvisations. Blank Forms presents Sakata at James Cohan Gallery Oct. 2nd and Brooklyn Music School Oct. 3rd.
Lest We Forget: DR. BILLY TAYLOR
By Eric Wendell
If ever there was a "citizen of jazz", Dr. Billy Taylor would be a prime example. Not just a talented pianist and composer, Taylor and his work as a broadcaster, educator and advocate helped defy the image of jazz being an unkempt trade but rather a dignified and respected emblem of American artistic expression. A Taylor tribute/JazzMobile 55th Anniversary Celebration is at Flushing Town Hall Oct. 19th with Winard Harper.
Record Label Spotlight: HOPSCOTCH
By John Sharpe
Artist-run labels have become an essential part of the jazz survival kit. For reed player Assif Tsahar in the late '90s, when he worked with bassist William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, setting up his Hopscotch imprint seemed the natural route to take. Tsahar is at The Stone at The New School Oct. 23rd-26th.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
John Zorn—The Hierophant Tzadik
Caroline Davis & Rob Clearfield Persona—Anthems Sunnyside (The Jazz Gallery)
Petroloukas Halkias/Vasilis Kostas—The Soul of Epirus Artway-Technotropon (Holy Trinity Cathedral)
J. Pavone String Ensemble—Brick and Mortar Birdwatcher (Roulette)
Larry Grenadier—The Gleaners ECM (Village Vanguard; Zankel Hall)
Mark Turner—Meets Gary Foster Capri (VIllage Vanguard)
Jack Wilson—Call Me: Jazz From The Penthouse Century 67-Light in the Attic