If you are reading this, we hope you have some ink smudges on your fingers. For the first time since March 2020, this gazette exists once again outside of the digital realm. We are tickled black and white. Not only can you keep yourself informed on all the New York City (and beyond) jazz happenings, you can also use the paper as a fan, keeping yourself cool while checking out one of the many outdoor concerts on tap this month. Twice the value, same price—free! (Of course if your preference is digital, we continue to offer our editions as free downloads and in full color at nycjazzrecord.com)
The Vision Festival continues its laudable initiative of honoring the career arc of musicians during their lifetime. Pianist/singer/composer Amina Claudine Myers (On The Cover) is the latest recipient and will present an evening's worth of her projects at this year's edition. Vibraphonist David Friedman (Interview) has a beautiful new album featuring some of his students from his long teaching career in Germany. Pianist Mara Rosenbloom (Artist Feature) may someday be up for her own Vision Festival Lifetime Achievement award but this month makes her debut as a leader in it. Bassist/visual artist Paul Van Gysegem (Encore) has been actively recording over the last few years, a welcome return for one of the most interesting musicians to come out of the '60s European avant garde scene. Late drummer Roy Brooks (Lest We Forget) has recently gotten the deluxe Unearthed Gem treatment with a 1970 concert recording put out by Reel to Real. And saxophonist Stephen Gauci, tireless jazz advocate, is featured via his Gaucimusic imprint (Label Profile), which has kept musicians active with its Pandemic Duets series and the now-restarted weekly series at Bushwick Public House.
On the Cover: AMINA CLAUDINE MYERS
By Jordannah Elizabeth; photos by Alan Nahigian
79-year-old pianist, vocalist, composer and visionary improviser Amina Claudine Myers is admirably active, continuing to nurture her artistic musical skills as if time was never a factor and utilizing every moment as an opportunity to evolve. Myers is at Vision Festival Jul. 23rd.
Interview: DAVID FRIEDMAN
By Jim Motavalli; photo courtesy of the artist
Percussionist David Friedman is a major innovator on his principal instruments, vibraphone and marimba, and was much-appreciated in the studios beginning in the early '60s. Based in Germany since 1987, Friedman founded the jazz program at Berlin's University of the Arts and headed it for 16 years while keeping up a busy schedule as a player. Friedman's most recent recording, The Berlin Mallet Group's Sogni D'oro (MalletMuse), in fact, features many of his former students.
Artist Feature: MARA ROSENBLOOM
By John Pietaro; photo courtesy of the artist
For Wisconsin native pianist Mara Rosenbloom, "The music has to include focus, an awareness of everything, every sound, but it's also about having trust in the intuitive, the creative mind. That's always ahead of the thinking mind. If you don't trust it, it puts you back. If you trust it, you can move at the speed of light." Such depth of perspective is central to the Rosenbloom philosophy, one grown exponentially over time. Rosenbloom is at Vision Festival Jul. 29th.
Encore: PAUL VAN GYSEGEM
By Andrey Henkin
Discography, while a noble pursuit, is, nonetheless, an incomplete one, trying to characterize a musician's career solely by the documents they leave behind, much like an archeologist attempting to recreate a long-extinct society from shards of pottery and broken tools. Absent more voluminous remains, that society—or musician—can only be sketched in the broadest of strokes, lacking nuance and depth. This preamble leads to Belgian bassist Paul Van Gysegem, who, along with pianist Fred Van Hove, made up the small early coterie of free-minded players in a country more known for traditional jazzers and fusioneers.
Lest We Forget: ROY BROOKS
By Marilyn Lester
Detroit-based drummer Roy Brooks has been gone for 16 years, but his legacy remains vivid. He was talented, creative, innovative, eccentric and ultimately troubled. Bipolar disorder not only blocked him from achieving the fame he deserved, but tragically ended his career.
Record Label Spotlight: GAUCIMUSIC
By Eric Wendell
"My music is extremely honest...that's the power," says Stephen Gauci, saxophonist and founder of the eponymous label Gaucimusic. Gauci's robust tone and workhorse mindset is truthfully original and unparalleled even in a modern scene rife with immense talent. Gauci's Bushwick Series is at Bushwick Public House Mondays. Gauci is also at Downtown Music Gallery Jul. 10th and Scholes Street Studio July. 24th.
(this month's performance/streaming venues in parentheses):