No matter where you are in New York City, and particularly in Harlem and Brooklyn, the cost of space–residential, commercial or cultural–is increasing so fast than many proprietors are either scaling back or closing down.
Perhaps most devastated by the endless economic downturn are cultural nonprofit entities that cater to our arts and entertainment needs. Most of them thrive–if that’s the proper word–only in the best of times when there are more crumbs on federal and corporate tables.
The cupboard has been traditionally bare for those who labor in the jazz vineyards, and when you’re trying to preserve America’s only indigenous art form of any measurable consequence and provide a venue for artists to perform, the challenge is even greater.
Sistas’ Place, a coffee house-cum-activist haven in Brooklyn, may not be symbolic of this dilemma, but they could certainly use all the help they can muster. And that seeming desperation is matched by the quality of musicians coming to the rescue.
On Friday–and it will be a good Friday for the place that has been around since 1995–famed trumpeter and bandleader Charles Tolliver will be at the helm of a marvelous collection of musicians. For most large ensembles, the rhythm section is absolutely essential, and with George Cables at the piano, Devin Starks on bass and Jason Brown on drums, the tempo and other musical components are in good hands.
Add to this the saxophones of Bill Saxton, Marcus Strickland, Howard Johnson, Bruce Williams and Todd Bashon; a trumpet section with Chris Albert, Freddie Hendrix and David Weiss; the trombones of Jason Jackson, Michael Dease, Stafford Hunter and Aaron Johnson, and you have all the ingredients of a swinging, stinging bite of jazzdom. The lineup was confirmed by Amadi Ajamu.
Moreover, there is the maestro himself, Charles Tolliver, who the eminent writer and music authority Amiri Baraka says “is a truly great innovative artist, one of Diz’s [Gillespie] freshest and most skilled progeny in all aspects, compositionally, orchestration and conducting.”
Nothing more needs to be said after the sage has spoken, and there remains but one admonition: Don’t miss this very special event to be held at 966 Fulton St. in Brooklyn. Tickets are $40 and sets are at 8 and 10 p.m. For more information, call Sistas’ Place at (718) 398-1766.