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Jazz & Cabaret News & Reviews

Jazz Notes: On the NYC Jazz Front, 6 Summer Festivals That Are Trending

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor, Summer 2016

OK, the winter wasn’t so very horrific this year (except for the record-breaking 29 inches of blizzardy snow), but it does seem like it’s taken summer a long time to arrive. Here we are at the brink of the ...

Jazz Notes: Finger Lickin’ Soul Jazz by Young-Forever Hammond B-3 Bomber Dr. Lonnie Smith

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor, June 9, 2016

These days, it’s all about going home for 73-year-old Dr. Lonnie Smith, jazz’s preeminent Hammond B-3 organist, in light of his long-in-coming return after 45 years to Blue Note Records, the label that essentially ...

Jazz Notes: Forever Ellington Auction of the Duke’s Personal Treasures at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, May 13, 2016

In 1999, jazz scribe Bob Blumenthal wrote in The Boston Globe: “In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington.” Ten years ...

Review: 'That True Phoenix' Tells the Tale of Da Ponte, ...

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, April 28, 2017 That True Phoenix tells the story of the fascinating and long life of Lorenzo Da Ponte, who is best known for being the librettist of three of Mozart’s greatest operas, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and Così ...

Review: Natalie Dessay Brings Artistry of the Highest Order to ...

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, April 27, 2017 It’s Natalie Dessay’s world; you and I just live in it. Dessay is one of the sovereign communicative artists of our era, whose every moment onstage seems fully lived and completely expressed. She wastes no time on ...

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) at the Armory This ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, April 27, 2017 TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) was founded 30 years ago by a group of art dealers looking to expand their base audience of connoisseurs and collectors. Held in Maastricht, The Netherlands every March, it has become one of ...

Review: 'Bandstand' Dances, But Doesn't Always Deliver

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 27, 2017 There are so many elements to be savored in the new Broadway production Bandstand. First and foremost is the wonderfully inventive choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, who also serves as the show’s director. It was great fun to watch ...

Review: 'Six Degrees of Separation' Sparks a Connection

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 26, 2017 Oh, that Allison Janney. She can do more with one little finger than most performers can manage with their entire bodies. And that voice. That deep, dry, hilarious, wonderful voice. She’s one of that rare ones who can ...

#MakeItMagnifique: Tea and Cheese at the French Cheese Board in ...

By Natasha Nesic, Contributing Writer, April 26, 2017 Sometimes joy comes sliced between poached pears and baguette. So it is at the French Cheese Board, a tender slice of SoHo at 41 Spring Street. Polyglot gourmand Charles Duque created this permanent pop-up to communicate the creamy wonder of ...

100 Days, Funding and a Shutdown - We've Seen It Before ...

By Mark McLaren with Helaine Feldman, Contributing Writer, April 26, 2017 There is, if you can believe it, even greater scrutiny on President Trump this week as he approaches his first 100 days in office, and as he and Congress haggle over funding a wall, Obamacare, and the ...

Jazz Notes: Jazz Icon Ella Fitzgerald Honored With NYC Mayoral ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 25 2017 Even though the legendary Ella Fitzgerald died in 1996 at her home in Beverley Hills, she was a bona fide New Yorker throughout her remarkable career. Her story as The First Lady of Song began at the Apollo Theater ...

Review: 'Anastasia'—A Little Girl's Dream Comes True

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, April 25, 2017 Walking into the Broadhurst Theatre I felt like a little girl at Christmas. I was finally going to see my favorite childhood movie come to life onstage. Anastasia, directed by Darko Tresnjak, boasting a book by Terrence McNally with ...

Review: 'The Antipodes' Tells Us Stories About Stories

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 25, 2017 There are stories. And there are stories about stories. There are stories that number stories, that outline stories, that list stories. Somehow, The Antipodes, the new play by Annie Baker, directed by Lila Neugebauer at the Signature Theater, is ...

Jazz Notes: Violinist/Vocalist Jenny Scheinman Launches Into Mischief & Mayhem With Guitarist Nels Cline at Le Poisson Rouge

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, May 6, 2016

Four years ago when violinist, songwriter and bandleader Jenny Scheinman put together her Mischief & Mayhem band with guitarist Nels Cline, bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Jim Black, she knew that ...

Jazz Notes: Joel Harrison-Produced Alternative Guitar Summit Celebrates Its Sixth Season With Shows at National Sawdust and DROM

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, May 5, 2016

The founder and producer of the annual Alternative Guitar Summit, Joel Harrison calls the two-day, two-venue event a labor of love that he likens to the idea of having a “musical commons.” ...

Jazz Notes: On May 9 The Jazz Gallery Gala Celebrates the Maestro of Bebop: Todd Barkan


By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 29, 2016

Since 1995 The Jazz Gallery has been a jazz artist incubator where brilliant music has been created and supported—from MacArthur Fellow Steve Coleman to rising-star pianists such as Aaron Parks and ...

Jazz Notes: Pianist Kenny Barron Gives a Lesson on Intuition at Jazz Standard

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 25, 2016

Remarkably, while piano maestro Kenny Barron has recorded more than forty albums as a leader (and countless others as a valued sideman), he had never documented his impressive working trio of bassist Kiyoshi ...

Jazz Notes: Trumpeter Avishai Cohen Introduces His Brilliant New Album of Reflection and Celebration at Jazz Standard

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 25, 2016

Artists create in a variety of settings with a full spectrum of circumstances. Their works could be a gut-wrenching response to chaos and uncertainty. Or they could come alive in the placid midst of peace ...

Jazz Notes: 2016’s Most Buzzed About Newcomers, GoGo Penguin, Come to Le Poisson Rouge After Playing Coachella

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 18, 2016

While many people want jazz to stay mired in a straightahead, neotraditional realm, on the fringes meanwhile, a plethora of musicians have been applying the evolution factor—taking jazz into the future ...

Jazz Notes: Part 3 of Harlem Series—The National Jazz Museum in Harlem Reopens in New Space

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 15, 2016

In its nearly twenty-year history as an essential institution of America’s indigenous music, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem finds itself in a spanking new space in a reinvigorated area of the ...

Jazz Notes: Grégoire Maret Takes the Harmonica Into a World It’s Never Been Before


By Dan Ouellette, ZEAL Senior Editor, March 31, 2016

It can fit into your pocket (an iPhone of sound), and it can de dismissed as a toy instrument that someone gifted you with when you were a child. A zip of notes and it’s set aside for something ...

Jazz Notes: Taking the Role of Charlie Parker, Bel Canto Tenor Lawrence Brownlee Brings Opera to the Apollo

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, March 28, 2016

Saxophone legend and bebop co-founder Charlie Parker played at the Apollo Theater in Harlem many times in his short but charged career, including his first date there with the Earl Hines Orchestra in ...

Jazz Notes: Rock Hall of Famer Steve Miller Debuts “Out of This World—Ma Rainey Meets Miles Davis” at Jazz at Lincoln Center

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, March 24

A seminal rocker from the late ’60s/early ’70s San Francisco music scene, guitarist/vocalist Steve Miller not only perfected a catchy psychedelic blues vibe but also scored big AM radio hits with it ...

Jazz Notes: As the Rising Star of the Tenor Saxophone, the 27-Year-Old Chilean Native/New York-Based Melissa Aldana Delivers Her Impressive New Recording, “Back Home”

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, March 21, 2016

At the young age of 27, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana has already matured into a major jazz star, possessing a singular voice on her instrument and a developing style of leading a trio. That’s evidenced ...

Jazz Notes: Jazz Master Tenor Saxophonist Jimmy Heath Helps to Induct Bebop Founder Charlie Parker Into Apollo Theater’s Walk of Fame

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEAL.nyc, March 16, 2016

“Charlie Parker is still the true icon of African-American music—jazz,” says tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath, who played with and had a friendship with his mentor. He’ll be an integral figure on March ...

Jazz Notes (No. 2 in the Harlem Series): The Apollo Theater Launches a Celebration of Charlie Parker Ranging From Walk-of-Fame Induction to a New York Premiere of an Opera

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, March 15, 2016

Charlie Parker was an original, an innovator and as such was a pure artist. Along with his trumpeting buddy Dizzy Gillespie, the alto saxophonist broke all the rules of jazz in the mid ‘40s by upending ...

Jazz Notes: NEA Jazz Master Vocalist and National Treasure Sheila Jordan Revisits Material From a 1991 Recording at National Sawdust

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc.com, March 11, 2016

What’s impressive about her performance at National Sawdust (curated by vocalist Theo Bleckmann) on March 17 is that the 87-year-old vocalist treasure Sheila Jordan will be revisiting material ...

Jazz Notes: Virtuoso Guitarist Julian Lage Returns to New York at Rockwood With His New Album

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer ZEALnyc, and Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, March 1, 2016

The last major gig guitarist Julian Lage played in New York was in October at Zankel Hall. He returns to the city to celebrate his new album Arclight with ...

Jazz Notes: Celebrated Pianist Marcus Roberts Debuts Songs About Presidential Candidates With His Trio at Birdland

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 29, 2016

In his five-evening residency at Birdland, pianist Marcus Roberts with his trio will be debuting music from an EP of songs, Race for the White House, inspired by four presidential ...

The Magic of Trending Jazz Star Saxophonist Kamasi Washington

Dan Ouellette, Sr. Editor, February 26, 2016

Thanks to his association with 2015’s breakout pop star Kendrick Lamar (he played sax on his To Pimp a Butterfly album that the Village Voice’s Pazz & ...

Jazz Notes: The Beginnings of Marc Ribot’s Brilliant Los Cubanos Postizos

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 22, 2016

Before he formed his brilliant band Los Cubanos Postizos in circa 1997, guitarist Marc Ribot had never stepped foot in Cuba. He doesn’t have an ounce of Latino blood flowing through his veins. And ...

Jazz Notes: Gin Fizz Brings Back the Spirit, Soul and Innovation of an Old-Time Speakeasy in Harlem

Photos by  Caroline Conejero.
Left: Marc Cary’s band; right, Francesco Pini

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 12, 2016

It’s a Thursday night in Harlem at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue (aka Malcolm X Boulevard) and ...

Sweet Spots in Harlem—Gin Fizz Speakeasy: Second in ZEALnyc Harlem Neighborhood Series

Photos by Caroline Conejero.

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 12, 2016

It’s a Thursday night in Harlem at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue (aka Malcolm X Boulevard) and juicy uptown jazz is ready to cook. The street is relatively ...

Jazz Notes: Clarinet Virtuoso David Krakauer Talks About His Life in Music as a Backgrounder for His Show at Le Poisson Rouge

Photo by GMD

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 2, 2016

David Krakauer is a marvel…as a virtuoso clarinetist, as an adventurous spirit who’s steeped in his Eastern European Jewish heritage, as a musical boundary breaker ...

Jazz Notes: Pianist Aaron Goldberg Tells the Story of How Expatriate Drummer Leon Parker Returns and Begins His Next Chapter at National Sawdust

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEAL.nyc, February 1, 2016

“Leon Parker was the cat who was starting to push the boundaries of what it meant to be a jazz drummer in the early ‘90s,” recalls pianist Aaron Goldberg who at ten years younger was a keen observer ...

Jazz Notes: Saxophonist Charles Lloyd Brings in the Guitars for His New Recording

By Dan Ouellette, ZEAL Senior Editor January 25, 2016

In 2015, iconic saxophonist/flautist Charles Lloyd continued his innovative trajectory into the upper spheres of jazz and the spiritual realms of wonder and beauty. It was a banner year for the veteran jazz ...

Jazz Notes: David Bowie Collaborators Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and His Trio at Village Vanguard

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, January 20, 2016

On January 11 that day after David Bowie died, Billboard interviewed tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who had been a major figure in the recording of the pop icon’s finale, Blackstar. A ...

Jazz Notes: Saxophonist/Composer Adam Larson Tells Stories by Choosing Marathon Over Sprint

By Dan Ouellette, ZEALnyc Senior Editor, January 11, 2016

In the midst of his still-young career, saxophonist/composer Adam Larson has had to learn the difficult challenge of choosing between the sprint and the marathon. “I’m a go-getter person and I want ...

Jazz Notes: A Winter Jazzfest Special Event: the Two-Evening Spotlight on Primo Label ECM’s Artists

ECM photos: (left) Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus (photo by John Rogers); (right) Craig Taborn (John Rogers); David Torn (Wes Orshoski); Ches Smith, Mat Maneri, Craig Taborn (Paolo Soriani)

Think the brutal cold and sometimes snow or freezing rain of New York in January can keep ...

Jazz Notes: Winter Jazzfest—The Jazz Party of the Year in New York City

By Dan Ouellette, ZEAL Senior Editor, December 30, 2015

Ultimately the 12th annual NYC Winter Jazzfest season that runs this year from January 13-17 triumphs as a showcase of the vitality of jazz, displaying the underexposed and thus underappreciated. It’s not ...

Jazz Notes: Reflections on Pat Metheny From Up-Close

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer, December 21, 2015

Many musicians dream of the opportunity to see their heroes in concert. Some get the chance. Fewer get to meet them. And even fewer get to spend three days with them.

I am a jazz guitar performance ...

Jazz Notes: Conversation With Sue Mingus About the Mingus Big Band—Its Jazz Standard Weekly Residency and the Club’s New Year’s Eve Party

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, December 17, 2015

It’s a late Monday afternoon and Sue Mingus is sitting comfortably in the living room of the apartment she had shared with her husband, the iconic jazz artist Charles Mingus—one of the greatest ...

Jazz Notes: Top 3 Jazz Debut Albums for 2015

By Dan Ouellette, ZEAL Senior Editor, December 9, 2015

Every year in December, music critics/journalists/bloggers weigh in on what they think are the best albums of the year. From the considerably weakened Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop list to the influential ...

Jazz Notes: The Story Behind Singer/Activist Somi’s Latest Album

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, November 30, 2015

Artists take a variety of paths to discover the wellsprings of their creativity. Some encounter passages close to home while others embark on a bold, risk-taking journey into the unknown—without a ...

Jazz Notes: The Story Behind Alto Saxophone Crossover Hero David Sanborn’s Latest Album

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, November 24, 2015

After saxophonist David Sanborn recorded the well-received Quartette Humaine acoustic jazz album with pianist Bob James as a one-off for OKeh Records in 2013, the label continued the conversation ...