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Jazz Notes: Winter Jazzfest—The Best Jazz Festival of the Year in NYC in a Variety of Venues

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, January 5, 2018

What started 13 years ago as an inspired goal of giving voice to the plethora of relatively unknown but immensely talented jazz musicians toiling in the multitude of the New York’s tiny and obscure clubs, the NYC Winter Jazzfest (January 10-17) has become hands down the best festival for jazz in the entire year in a city where improvised music never sleeps. Some call it the SXSW of Jazz.

Drink it deep or sample the shows. One way or the other, jazz in the winter wonderland is the word. This year’s fest stretches over eight days, highlighted by the two-night Jazzfest Marathon that this year officially launches on Friday, January 12 and continues on Saturday, January 13 at eleven venues in and around Greenwich Village and across Lower Manhattan. More than 140 different groups comprising four hundred musicians take the various stages. (Festival passes for one evening or both are available through a ticket link at winterjazzfest.com.)

A sampling of main shows other than the club Marathon not to be missed:

• On Wednesday, January 10, BBC DJ and Brownswood Records label founder Gilles Peterson hosts British Jazz Showcase with a ariety of acts at Le Poisson Rouge with such emerging artists as tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia, vocalist, guitarist and composer Oscar Jerome and trumpeter/composer Yazz Ahmed. But the key act of the evening is the headliner, The Comet is Coming (pictured above), the London-based band that incorporates elements of jazz, electronica, funk and psychedelic rock. The key player is saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings who also leads the Ancestors and the Sons of Kimet, who will appear in the Marathon. Hutchings calls LPR home when he’s in town and recently scored an international recording deal with Impulse!

• On Thursday, January 11, LPR hosts an evening of vocalists, headlined by José James. He’ll be performing his Lean on Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers project.

• On Friday, January 12, the amazing Buika (María Concepción Balboa Buika) from Majorca, Spain, daughter of African parents of the Bubi tribe (Equatorial Guinea), brings her passionate music—from jazz and flamenco to pop, soul and African—to Town Hall for an evening that will be sublime.

• On Sunday, January 14, the top-tier saxophonist Ravi Coltrane presents his homage to his late mother: Universal Consciousness: Melodic Meditations of Alice Coltrane at LPR.

• On Monday, January 15, an entire evening will be devoted to the late pianist/educator Geri Allen who passed away last year. It will take place at The New School Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Avenue. Featured artists at the tribute directed by Terri Lyne Herrington include Angela Davis, Esperanza Spalding, Craig Taborn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Ingrid Jensen, Jack DeJohnette, Jaimeo Brown, Jeff Tain Watts, Kassa Overall, Kris Davis, Linda May Han Oh, Maurice Chestnut, Mino Cinelu, Ravi Coltrane, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tia Fuller, Vijay Iyer, and more.

• On Tuesday, January 16, at LPR, Winter Jazzfest Artist-in-Residence Nicole Mitchell presents Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds with the opening act by 2017 MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Tyshawn Sorey, presenting a solo percussion and synthesizer set.

• On Wednesday, January 17, at LPR,the SF Bay Area-based art rockers Deerhoof will team up with Wadada Leo Smith, the legendary AACM trumpeter, composer and 2015 Pulitzer prize finalist.

The Marathon lineup is below:

Friday, January 12

• LE POISSON ROUGE
6:20pm Sullivan Fortner Trio
7:40pm Sons of Kemet
9:00pm Donny McCaslin

• BOWERY BALLROOM
7:20pm Revival Resistance Chorus
8:40pm ONYX Collective with special guests Nick Hakim and Roy Nathanson
10:00pm Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad
11:20pm Rudresh Mahanthappa Indo-Pak Coalition
12:40am Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog

• NEW SCHOOL TISHMAN AUDITORIUM
7:00pm Adegoke Steve Colson and Iqua Colson / Music of Protest & Love – Dedicated to Muhal
8:20pm Stefon Harris and Blackout with Casey Benjamin
9:40pm Marc Ribot’s Songs of Resistance
11:00pm Nicole Mitchell Art and Anthem For Gwendolyn Brooks with Jason Moran

• NEW SCHOOL JAZZ BUILDING 2ND FLOOR THEATER
6:40pm Alexis Cuadrado – The Immigrant
8:00pm The New Standards
9:20pm Sara Serpa – Recognition with Zeena Parkins and Ingrid Laubrock
10:40pm Brandon Ross’ For Living Lovers “Immortal Obsolescence”
12:00am Peter Apfelbaum & Sparkler featuring Bill Laswell

• NEW SCHOOL JAZZ BUILDING 5TH FLOOR THEATER
6:20pm Anna Webber’s Simple Trio
7:40pm Ches Smith’s We All Break
9:00pm Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFUNK
10:20pm Mara Rosenbloom Trio
11:40pm Sarah Manning’s Underworld Alchemy: Transmuting Anger

• SOBS
8:00pm Thiefs
9:20pm Sidewalk Chalk
10:40pm Madison McFerrin
12:00am Sonnymoon
1:20am Blaque Dynamite with Rache

• SUBCULTURE
6:20pm François Moutin & Kavita Shah Duo with Special Guest Sheila Jordan
7:40pm The Jamie Baum Septet+ “Bridges”
9:00pm Jean-Michel Blais
10:20pm Aaron Parks & Little Big
11:40pm Rafiq Bhatia
1:00am Ernest Dawkins’ New Horizons Ensemble featuring Vijay Iyer

• ZINC BAR
6:20pm Josh Lawrence & Color Theory
7:40pm Manuel Valera Trio
9:00pm Bi TYRANT: a queer jazzifesto with the Brittany Anjou Trio
10:20pm Lucia Cadotsch’s Speak Low
11:40pm James Brandon Lewis presents “Unruly Notes “
1:00am Don Byron / Aruán Ortiz Duo

• THE BITTER END
6:40pm Charnett Moffett Music From Our Soul
8:00pm Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity
9:20pm Mwenso & the Shakes: Protest Songs from Africa to America
10:40pm Ryan Keberle & Catharsis: Music as Protest
12:00am Mattson 2

• DJANGO AT THE ROXY HOTEL
5:30pm Ehud Asherie – “Harlem Piano Giants”
6:50pm Duchess
8:20pm Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band – The Music of Lil Hardin Armstrong
9:50pm Stephane Wrembel Band
11:20pm Jumaane Smith “Louis Louis Louis” featuring Nancy Harms
12:50am Mike Sailors Quartet featuring Vuyo Sotashe

• NUBLU
6:40pm Itamar Borochov with Innov Gnawa
8:00pm Jaimie Branch’s FLY or DIE
10:00pm Matthew Stevens
12:00am MAST – ‘Thelonious Sphere Monk’
2:00am Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions

 

Saturday, January 13

• LE POISSON ROUGE
6:20pm Theo Croker’s Big Brother Big Band
7:40pm Antonio Sanchez & Migration
9:00pm Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet

• BOWERY BALLROOM
7:00pm “The Invisible Man” – An Orchestral Tribute to Dr. Dre
8:20pm Freelance
9:40pm Cameron Graves
11:00pm Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble
12:20am Ronald Bruner, Jr. Band
1:40am Pete Rock & The Soul Brothers

• NEW SCHOOL TISHMAN AUDITORIUM
7:00pm Jazzmeia Horn
8:20pm James Carter’s Elektrik Outlet
9:40pm Harriet Tubman plays Free Jazz
11:00pm Sun Ra Arkestra performs live score to film ‘Space Is The Place’

• NEW SCHOOL JAZZ BUILDING 2ND FLOOR THEATER
6:40pm Sasha Berliner Quintet
8:00pm Marquis Hill Blacktet
9:20pm Kate Gentile New Quartet
10:40pm Dan Weiss Starebaby
12:00am Darius Jones: LawNOrder

• NEW SCHOOL JAZZ BUILDING 5TH FLOOR THEATER
6:20pm Roswell Slide Eulogy
7:40pm Sylvie Courvoisier Mark Feldman DUO
9:00pm Hank Roberts Sextet
10:20pm Wayne Horvitz
11:40pm Briggan Krauss’ String and Reed Quartet

• SOBS
6:40pm Arnetta Johnson ‘SUNNY’
8:00pm Banda Magda
9:20pm Nicholas Payton & Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
10:40pm Red Baraat

• SUBCULTURE
6:20pm Nicole Mitchell Trio
7:40pm Luciana Souza’s “Word Strings” featuring Chico Pinheiro and Scott Colley
9:00pm Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra
10:20pm Rene Marie
11:40pm Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt band
1:00am Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s Brotherzone

• ZINC BAR
6:20pm Greg Lewis’ Organ Monk: The Breathe Suite (tribute to Eric Garner)
7:40pm Rez Abbasi’s Invocation
9:00pm Strings Attached
10:20pm Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque Duo
11:40pm Eli Degibri Quartet
1:00am Simona Premazzi

• THE BITTER END
7:20pm Ranky Tanky
8:40pm Laura Perrudin feat. Becca Stevens
10:00pm Guilhem Flouzat Trio
11:20pm Yacine Boularès
12:40am Gael Horellou and Ari Hoenig

• DJANGO AT THE ROXY HOTEL
5:30pm Aaron Weinstein Duo
6:50pm Felix Peikli & Joe Doubleday Showtime Band featuring Hetty Kate
8:20pm Kat Edmonson
9:50pm Catherine Russell
11:20pm Jason Prover’s Sneak Thievery Orchestra
12:50am Matt Munisteri’s Tropical Hot Club Party

• NUBLU
8:00pm Susie Ibarra’s DreamTime Ensemble
10:00pm Rohey
12:00am Dave Harrington’s Merry Pranksters
2:00am Dave Harrington’s Merry Pranksters

 

Photo by Fabrice Bourgelle


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