When you hear young musicians like Warren Wolf playing vibraphone, it is clear the jazz genre is in good hands. Wolf is enhancing jazz in his own grand fashion while following his legendary predecessors who mastered the vibraphone, like Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutchinson. The latter two were his primary mentors and inspired his creative juices, although he points at Charlie Parker as his main influence, along with horn players like Miles Davis and pianists Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.
The vibraphonist makes his debut as a leader at the Village Vanguard (178 Seventh Ave. South) Aug. 7-12 with sets at 9 and 11 p.m. His able quartet includes pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Billy Williams.
His debut on Mack Avenue Records is another key event; the self-titled album, “Warren Wolf,” is definitely in the pocket with a fresh new voice that is sure to captivate any listener or audience. For this maiden voyage, he is joined by an ensemble of established innovators like bassist Christian McBride (album producer), pianist Peter Martin, drummer Greg Hutchinson, alto and soprano saxophonist Tim Green and, on two tracks, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt.
McBride noted, “Warren is everything you want in a musician.” As a multi-instrumentalist (drums, piano and bass), Wolf understands all the instrumental subtleties that provide an open, swinging conversation among the musicians. “I try to create music that listeners can sing or hum to, not difficult melodies that are hard to follow,” stated Wolf.
The percussionist Cyro Baptista and Beat the Donkey isn’t just another jazz act from Brazil. No, his ensemble is similar to Cirque Du Soleil, the music is heavy Brazilian and jazz colored with heavy hints of world music and dancing and an air of magic.
For his current East Coast engagement, he will be performing with Beat the Donkey, Banquet of the Spirits and many surprise guests. On Aug. 15, catch the group and guests at the Hudson River Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. in Weehawken, N.J. On Aug. 23, Cyro and Friends will perform at the Zinc Bar with sets at 9:30 and 11 p.m.
The ensemble will include Chikako Iwahori (tap and percussion), Nicholas Young (tap and percussion), John Lee (guitars), Tim Keiper (drums), Brian Marsella (keyboards), Lisette Santiago (percussion and vocals), Tim Keiper (drumset and percussion), Ze Mauricio (percussion), Gil Oliveira (drums) and surprise guests!
On Aug. 12, Baptista will perform with Keiper’s Eclipticalia at the Stone (East 2nd Street and Avenue C). The ensemble will include Chris Dingman on vibraphone, Leo Genovese on piano, John Lee on guitar and animal calls, bassist Edward Perez and Baptista on percussions.
Baptista has collaborated with Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Yo Yo Ma and John Zorn, among others. He was nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award for his collaboration with Hancock and Trey Anastasio on the CD “Possibilities.”
Baptista has recorded and produced eight CDs and performs throughout the world with his four different ensembles: Banquet of the Spirits, Beat the Donkey, Supergenerous and the Robinson, Lubambo & Baptista Trio.
His 2010 release, “Infinito,” marked the culmination of a 30-year career that has covered nearly every genre of music, from jazz to classical to experimental to world and rock. For more info, visit thestonenyc.com.
Jazzmobile rides through Queens on Aug. 16 (7-8:30 p.m.) with Arturo O’Farrill at the Louis Armstrong House & Archives, 34-56 107th St. On the same evening in Harlem, see “Spotlight on Jazz Vocalists” with Cynthia Holiday, Lynette Washington and Queen Esther in Central Park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth avenues.
Bobby Sanabria brings his Latin sounds to Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park (Fifth Avenue and 124th Street) on Aug. 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. On Aug. 18, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, vocalist Alyson Williams and percussionist Steve Kroon play “Great Jazz on the Great Hill” at 4 p.m. in Central Park at 106th Street. If Gordon sparks up a duo with Williams, it will be the duet of the year.
The legendary Jimmy Owens plays at Grant’s Tomb on Aug. 22. Hopefully he will play some of his favorites, as well as tunes from his latest CD, “The Monk Project” (IPO Recordings).
Barry Harris, one of the greats from the bebop era, hits on Aug. 29, also at Grant’s Tomb and another adventurous pianist, Geri Allen, performs on Aug. 31 in Marcus Garvey Park. For a complete listing, visit jazzmobile.com.
To see these great musicians in a club setting would cost at least $35 per person plus a cover charge. For the summer months, these renowned musicians are visiting your neighborhood at no cost. However, the Jazzmobile requires gas to make it to your neighborhood, and the great musicians must be paid, plus expenses. Jazzmobile is a nonprofit organization that needs your financial support to keep moving. Please donate whatever you can so we can all keep swinging and learning.