The Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival continues its shower of eclectic swinging vocalists and musicians. On May 11 at 7 p.m., don’t miss Gregory Generet and Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, the music of Johnny Hartman and words of the renowned author Ralph Ellison at the Gatehouse (150 Convent Ave. at 135th Street).
Brooklyn-born vocalist Generet, whose debut CD, “(re)Generet-ion,” which was recorded on his own label Monsieur Music, received quite an amount of buzz from critics in 2009. The album was recorded with his wife, “Law & Order” actress Tamara Tunie, who is directing this program.
The singer has worked with Mike Renzi, Laurence Hobgood, Eric Reed and Onaje Allan Gumbs. Generet performs somewhat regularly on the Upper West Side at Smoke Supper Club and has a small residency at the Metropolitan Room in Manhattan. His current CD will be distributed nationally by Mosaic Records later this year.
Cooper is a veteran of Broadway and has had numerous television and film roles. Together, he and Generet will blend their talents, delivering their interpretations to the music of the velvet-voiced Hartman and the words of Ellison, author of “Invisible Man” and “Going to the Territory.”
“Blazing Tongues: The Singers & Writers of Lenox Lounge” is part of Harlem Stage’s Harlem Stride series.
For eight decades, the world-famous Apollo Theater has been the premier showcase for African-American music, from vaudeville to blues, jazz, R&B, soul, salsa, gospel and hip-hop. One of its most popular, longest-running shows that began in the 1940s was “Jazz la Carte,” a variety show produced by owners Frank Schiffman and Leo Brecher, featuring MC Ralph Cooper and the Benny Carter Orchestra, which opened the series.
Last year at the inaugural Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival, presented by the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile, the “Jazz la Carte” series was revived by trombonist, composer and arranger Wycliffe Gordon.
On Saturday, May 12, at 3 and 8 p.m., Gordon returns to the Apollo for two swinging sets of the legendary revue and variety show.
This year’s edition is a pulsating potpourri of musicians and dancers, with director-choreographer Kenneth L. Roberson; dancer extraordinaire Maurice Hines, who will serve as master of ceremonies; tap dancer Savion Glover; the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra; gospel-tinged vocalist Theresa Thomason; pianist and Cole Porter Fellow Aaron Diehl; trumpeter Philip Dizack; trombonist-vocalist Natalie Cressman; and the Apollo Dancers.
Magic Johnson Theaters Harlem USA is the place to be on May 13 from 4-7 p.m. for those Latin heads who hung out at the Carlton Terrace, Concourse Plaza and the Hotel Diplomat, swinging and twirling to the salsa sounds of Eddie Palmieri and Tito Rodriguez.
Jazzmobile, in collaboration with the Museum for African Art, will present “Dancing Mambo/Park Palace Live!,” a recreation of the Sunday matinee dances featuring a multigenerational Afro-Cuban jazz band led by arranger, composer and drummer Bobby Sanabria with special guest artists and the legendary Candido on congas. The Magic Johnson Theaters are located at the corner of 124th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. For more info, visit harlemjazzshrinesfestival.com.
Arturo O’Farrill’s Grammy Award-winning ensemble the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra will conclude its 10th anniversary season with a celebration, “Musica Nueva 5: Big Band Poetry Jam & Beyond,” on May 11 and 12 at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street.
The program will celebrate the Nuyorican poetry movement and the Latino community. Artists will mix the classic sounds of mambo, boogaloo and salsa with hip-hop, acid jazz and alternative improvisation.
Additional guests for the evening include poet and curator Angel R. Rodriguez Sr.; Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda; and turntablist DJ Logic. Spoken word artists include Sandra Maria Esteves, Tato Laviera, Odilia Rivera Santos, Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz, Circa ’95 (PattyDukes and RephStar) and Christopher “Chilo” Cajigas.
The arrangers for the two-night engagement include O’Farrill, Todd Bashore, Adam Kromelow, Jason Lindner, Adam O’Farrill, Jay Rodriguez and Bill Ware.
On May 17, all subways will undoubtedly be filled with jazz enthusiasts and ardent supporters of the Jazz Foundation of America as they make their way to the world famous Apollo Theater for the organization’s 11th annual “A Great Night in Harlem” gala concert to benefit the Jazz Musicians’ Emergency Fund.
The evening will raise money to assist countless elder jazz and blues musicians in crisis across the country. The organization has a very small but effective staff who work directly with the musicians to solve their problems, whether its buying food, paying rent or mortgage, legal services, medical care or employment. This is one of the most effective nonprofit organizations in the country.
This year’s concert is working to raise $1.6 million, which is not an outlandish amount when one considers how many jazz and blues musicians there are in need. The foundation is carrying on the jazz and blues tradition by helping our elder musicians to continue their craft by touching human souls with their music.
The concert that begins at 7 p.m. will feature special guest Quincy Jones with performances by Macy Gray, Dr. John, Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio, Paquito D’Rivera, Rebirth Brass Band, Bill Saxton, Victor Lewis, Mark Whitfield, James Carter, Don Byron Geri Allen, the Kansas City Band, Ambrose Akinmusire, Sweet Georgia Brown, Essie Mae and the Treme Brass Band, among many others.
For ticket information, call (212) 245-3999, ext. 10. For a complete listing of performers, visit jazzfoundationofamerica.org.