Ron Scott gives us this week's "Jazz Notes".
The artist Jacob Lawrence’s “One-Way Ticket: Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North” is now on exhibit through Sept. 7 at the Museum of Modern Art.
On a misty morning of clouds, more than 1,000 people, dressed primarily in African garb, stood regally in a tremendously long line, waiting for admission into Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church to celebrate the life of Dr. Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, affectionately called “Dr. Ben.”
Billie Holiday is one of the best jazz singers in history. This is not up for debate. However, she could just as easily be considered one of the best blues singers as well.
Randy Weston, the brilliant pianist and composer, will celebrate his 89th birthday at the Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St., April 2 through April 5, with sets at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
During her recent engagement at the Blue Note, it became evident Dee Dee Bridgewater is the most dynamite female jazz vocalist of this century.
The young Roy Haynes earned a reputation in his hometown of Roxbury, Mass., before Luis Russell sent him a one-way ticket to join his 18-piece band, which was engaged at Harlem’s Savory Ballroom in 1945.
Brooklyn was one of the hottest boroughs in Gotham, with jazz musicians such as Max Roach, Cecil Payne and Randy Weston all being born there and later turning the little city into a hotbed for jazz.
Clark Terry, one of the most influential trumpet and flugelhorn players for six decades, who mentored Quincy Jones, Miles Davis and Dianne Reeves, died Feb. 21 in Pine Bluff, Ark. He was 94.
The intuitive bassist and educator whose style was a perfect fit for such varied musicians from Duke Ellington to Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, Cecil Taylor and Carmen McRae died Dec. 2 in his home in Montclair, N.J. He was 78.
New York’s longest running jazz concert series, Jack Kleinsinger’s “Highlights in Jazz,” kicks off its 43rd season with a 42nd anniversary gala Feb. 19, featuring vocalist Catherine Russell and her band making their debut appearance.
Hip-hop, jazz, blues, gospel, R&B and funk are all members of the Black music family. Like its older brother blues, hip-hop comes directly from the experiences and perspective of the singer or rapper.
The 2015 Harlem Fine Arts Show, which takes place Feb. 12 through Feb. 15 at the Riverside Church in Harlem, recently kicked off with a preview reception at The New York Times Corporate Headquarters.
Upon a recent visit to Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Jazz at Lincoln Center), it was quite evident the star of the hour was not an individual musician, but the all-inclusive New Century Jazz Quintet.
When it comes to television and film, jazz takes a backseat as the stepbrother to hip-hop, soul or pop music, so it was somewhat of a surprise when J.K. Simmons won Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for the jazz-based film “Whiplash”.
The noted percussionist Steve Kroon, who has played many jazz venues nationally and internationally, will make his debut Jan. 16 at Trumpet’s Jazz Club, 6 Depot Square, Montclair, N.J.
No one wants to be home New Year’s Eve. It is the evening of celebration, bringing in the New Year with a bang and big plans with wishes for the year.
Regardless of America’s ever-changing situation, Black music has always been its soundtrack depicting the mood of the times, from war to peace, lynchings to chain gangs, segregation, civil disobedience, integration, police brutality and nonviolent resistance.
Some of the most influential jazz musicians to ever play an instrument recorded on Blue Note Records, founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, with Francis Wolff joining with them shortly afterwards.
The on-going jazz fable is the music is dying, and it has yet to reach a younger audience. Hopefully, eager enthusiasts will be able to kick six feet of dirt on this mindless concept after venturing into Minton’s to witness the collaboration with the Harlem School of the Arts Dec. 7.
The neighborhood bar in Harlem has become little more than a memory only cherished by the community’s elders.
He was called “Little Jimmy Scott,” but his heart was that of a giant.
During Russell Gunn’s recent one-nighter at the Blue Note jazz club, his music took the audience to the musical cliff’s edge, and as the pebbles fell beneath their feet, they breathlessly moved to a spiked groove.
Cassandra Wilson, the most daring of female jazz vocalists, whose style transcends categories with its infusion of soul and blues, will carry on at the Blue Note jazz club (131 W. Third St.) Oct. 16 through Oct. 19, with two shows each night at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ is one of the best films of the decade. It chronicles the life of legendary jazz trumpeter Clark Terry (age 89 at the time of filming) focusing on a period when he was battling diabetes-related complications while working with his young protege, pianist Justin Kauflin (then age 23).
For pianist-composer Randy Weston, jazz is more than a flow of hip music with improvisational statements, it represents the roots of Africa, the origin of jazz.
Gerald Wilson, a big band leader and trumpeter whose fountain of jazz compositions and arrangements became a pivotal force, influencing eight generations of musicians, died Sept. 8 in his home in Los Angeles.
Rain, the demon of outdoor jazz festivals, spread its hysterical tears over the Detroit Jazz Festival last week, denying bassist Stanley Clarke and Dr. Lonnie Smith’s octet the opportunity to close the festival on its Labor Day finale.
It’s very difficult for any band to maintain a high profile for an extended period of time, but saxophonist Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Quartet have kept Harlem swinging for more than 20 years.
John Blake Jr., who continued the early tradition of bringing the violin into the jazz arena and making its voice heard with the music of Africa to avant-garde, R&B, blues and spirituals, died Aug. 15 in Philadelphia.
Charlie Parker, the pride of Kansas City, Kan. would have been 94 on his birthday, Aug. 29. The festival named in his honor will celebrate its 22nd year Aug. 22 to Aug. 24.
The Jazz in the Valley Festival, which commences Aug. 17, has an outstanding lineup of musicians to get Big Apple jazzheads out of their city complacency and on the highway or train to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for the 14th annual festival in Waryas Park.
When you are successful, it is easy to rest on your laurels, but a lackadaisical attitude was never a part of George Wein’s mentality, which is why his Newport Jazz Festival just celebrated its 60th year.
In the midst of this Harlem gentrification, more venues are opening their doors to live jazz. Every Thursday, the Lenox Saphire (341 Lenox Avenue at 127th Street) brightens with The Phil Young Experience and Friends.
The history and culture of jazz will be given a platform July 24 (tonight) at 7 p.m., when the Abyssinian Jazz Vespers, in association with the 2014 Harlem Music Fest, presents “Post ’50s Jazz, the Artists, the Culture, the Cool.” It will be an informative music perspective on the developmental seeds of “modern jazz” in Harlem featuring a panel of well-versed musicians, including trumpeter, composer and arranger Charles Tolliver; vocalist Eunice Newkirk; pianist and composer Onaje Allan Gumbs; and bassist and composer Mickey Bass.
New York City jazz fans know it’s summer when they notice the birds flapping their wings over Harlem, grooving to the Summerfest Jazzmobile running full steam from July to August.
Bobby Womack, who became a force on the R&B scene for over five decades, couldn’t be called a jazz vocalist, but during his reign, his gravelly, soulful voice surely influenced a host of R&B singers and inspired jazz vocalists along the way. He was acknowledged in the rock world for writing and originally recording the Rolling Stones’ first U.K. No. 1 hit, “It’s All Over Now.”
Upon hearing of Ruby Dee’s death at the age of 91 on June 11, I was saddened. I quietly remembered my mother who loved the actress. “I love me some Ruby Dee,” she would often say.
To celebrate the trumpeter Miles Dewey Davis III’s 88th birthday on May 26, the street where he owned a brownstone (312 W. 77th St.) and lived for many years was named “Miles Davis Way” in his honor (the northwest corner 77th Street and West End Avenue).
The world woke up on May 28 to hear that poet, author and activist Maya Angelou had died quietly in her home in Winston Salem, N.C., at the age of 86. She lived a life that encouraged people to be leaders and not followers, to be independent thinkers who believe in justice and pursuing the truth.
Recently, preschoolers were totally involved in their new activities as they were introduced to jazz through arts and crafts and live music by pianist and composer Jonathan Batiste.
Joe Wilder, the understated trumpeter with the smooth tone, a longtime member of Count Basie’s Orchestra and one of the first African-American musicians to play in the pit bands of Broadway shows, died on May 9. Wilder was 92 years old and a resident of Manhattan for many years.
There are only two days left to the Undead Music Festival, which is taking place in Brooklyn and the Village.
Charles Rogers, a long-time entertainment columnist for this publication, died on April 29 at the Bishop Henry B. Hucles Nursing Home in Brooklyn.
Before Jazzmobile’s outdoor season begins traveling throughout city streets it will swing indoors from May 4-10 celebrating the fourth annual 2014 Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival.
Sistas’ Place will hold a fundraiser for jazz on April 24.
The novels, poems and essays of James Baldwin are stimulating words, sharpened with the truth, that instigate change and promote activism in some form or another. He was a word warrior-activist rallying for a change in society’s thinking.
Recently, jazz fans from as far as Florida, Georgia and Connecticut traveled to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., for the formal donation of one of John Coltrane’s saxophones.
The Jazz Standard was recently sold-out while bassist Rufus Reid was holding court
Jazz is happening on Sundays at Harlem’s famous Paris Blues!