Smithsonian, Coltrane and Stewart, jam at Ost, Masekela at 75
Ron Scott | 4/3/2014, 2:42 p.m.
Let’s see how many jazz musicians will appear on national TV during this Jazz Appreciation Month on David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Arsenio Hall, “The View” and Oprah. This is the month for jazz celebration.
April was chosen because it is the birth month of many jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington, Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Herbie Hancock and Billie Holiday.
Okaru Lovelace, the international singer-songwriter, will host “Spring Jazz Jam” on April 5 at Ost Cafe, 441 E. 12th St. and Avenue A, in the East Village, 8 p.m.-11 p.m. There is no music charge. Her jams are always jamming. For more information, visit okarulovelace.com or call 212-477-5600.
Jazz warrior Hugh Masekela projects a unique sound infused with a heavy blend of jazz, and the Mbaqanga township dance band music of his homeland South Africa will celebrate his 75th birthday on April 4-5 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall at 8 p.m.
Paul Simon will appear as a special guest on April 4 (Masekela’s birthday). Masekela and Simon formed a friendship after collaborating during Simon’s “Graceland Tour” through South Africa in 1987.
During the trumpeter’s exile from South Africa for three decades, part of his repertoire became an anthem against South Africa’s apartheid, as well as human discrimination, around the world. In 1987, his composition “Bring Him Back Home” became the movement song to free Nelson Mandela. He returned to South Africa in the early 1990s.
The composer, arranger and flugelhorn player has a rich, bold sound that is his personal signature, along with his accented, South African, gravelly vocals. Masekela, who noted that he listened to all types of music growing up including Lawrence Welk, will present a retrospective of his five decades of music (Zulu folklore to swing), with over 40 albums, as well as his work with the late Miriam Makeba, Herb Alpert, Abdullah Ibrahim, Larry Willis and Stevie Wonder.
Masekela’s ongoing quest is to document “the amazing diversity and unfathomable excellence of the African diaspora’s cultural heritage.” For ticket information, visit jalc.org. Tickets start at $30.