Craig Harris, the trombonist, composer and arranger, is an innovative musician constantly exploring the realm of this music, which is easily experienced through his two diverse groups, The Tailgaters Tails and Nation of Imagination.
As a longtime Harlem resident, Harris is a committed community activist. As a music warrior, he is dedicated to keeping the culture and tradition of jazz in Harlem, as well as introducing a host of diversified musicians from the genre’s expanded tapestry.
This kaleidoscope of textures comes alive every week through Harris’ Harlem Jazz Series at Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church (59 W. 137th St.) that swings every Tuesday afternoon (noon-2 p.m.) and every Friday evening (7 p.m.-9 p.m.)
Tuesday, Oct. 4, he welcomes the dynamic Cuban percussionist Joaquin Pozo, Oct. 11, the saxophonist Jeff King, Oct. 18, the exciting avant garde pianist Yayo Ikawa, followed by the creative improvisationalist saxophonist Darius Jones.
Fridays, beginning Oct. 7, feature the vocalist Fay Victor, who from my perspective has yet to get her just due. The following Fridays place Harris in various configurations with tenor saxophonists Tony Malaby and the inventive David Murray.
Harris’ commissioned works represent a rich colored quilt of jazz, blues and R&B that includes the recent “TriHarLenium” project; his large ensemble work “Cold Sweat,” a tribute to James Brown; “Brown Butterfly,” a multimedia work based on the movements of Muhammad Ali; and “God’s Trombones,” based on the poems of James Weldon Johnson.
Tickets are $15 and $10 for seniors. These jazz performances are possibly the best kept secret in Harlem, but they shouldn’t be. These artists are some of the most noted musicians on today’s scene, and at these prices the tickets are the best in town. To purchase tickets online, visit www.harlemjazzboxx.com.
The latest Gotham festival to cultivate a loyal cult following is the BRIC JazzFest (Oct. 8-15), taking place in Brooklyn’s BRIC Arts/Media House (647 Fulton St.).
The BRIC Fest opens with two nights of classic jazz films, including “A Great Day in Harlem” (1994), “Jaco” (2015) and “Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser” (1988). Films are free with RSVP. Other nights include traditional Indian music and a performance by the acclaimed Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda. His music swings from his native homeland to jazz and beyond.
The last three nights are a roaring jazz marathon from tradition to the outer limits. Beginning Oct. 13, Night 1 features the saxophonist/composer David Murray and Infinity Quartet, the vocalist Taylor McFerrin, the young explosive drummer Marcus Gilmore, the trumpeter Kenyatta Beasley and the Michael Leonhart Orchestra.
Night 2 jumps off to a rousing force of salsa rhythms with the incredible Eddie Palmieri and his Latin Jazz Septet, the young saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin & Soulsquad, the vocalist Kandace Springs (celebrating his debut on Blue Note Records) and the bassist Michael Olatuja & Lagos Pepper Soup.
Night 3 closes in high gear with the producer and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin, the inventive pianist/composer Marc Cary and Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, the Cuban-born saxophonist Yosvany Terry Quintet, Marc Ribot Trio, and noted vocalist Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton.
To RSVP for films, the complete schedule and ticket purchases, visit the website bricartsmedia.org/jazzfest.
Finally, someone has the celebration right. October 10-12, Arts for Art and El Taller will present Raza y Resistencia/ Race & Resistance, three days of Un-Columbus celebrations presenting world music, poetry, dance and art for justice.
The Un-Columbus celebration takes place at El Taller Latino Americano, 215 E. 99th St. (between Second and Third avenues). Admission is free on the afternoon of Oct. 10 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., with visual arts presentations by children from the Castle Bridge School.
At 3 p.m. there will be a music workshop for youth. That evening will feature youth bands (7 p.m.). Suggested donation is $10. The bassist and composer William Parker will direct the All Youth Band at 9 p.m.
Oct. 11, a 5 p.m. panel will discuss “De-Recognition of Peoples of Color,” moderated by Joyce Jones. At 7 p.m. the Indigenous Free Jazz Ensemble will perform with Mixashawn on saxophone and banjo, William Parker on bass and Cooper-Moore on strings and percussion, followed by the poet Papoleto Melendez.
The Un-Columbus celebration closes with the dancer Patricia Nicholson’s “Revolution Resurrection.” At 9 p.m., the William Parker Trio with drummer Hamid Drake and trumpeter Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson performs.
“We not only see our world, we change it,” said Patricia Nicholson Parker, founder of Arts for Art. We build unity through compassion. There are those who would rather that we did not exist. Their name is Greed.”
It is embarrassing that America still perpetuates the lie of Christopher Columbus’ greatness, when in fact he was the first explorer to spearhead the transatlantic slave trade. History also notes King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella removed him as governor for his brutality and tyranny over the native people of Hispaniola, in the Caribbean Island corridor.
Stand up and cheer for the Un-Columbus celebration. Suggested donation is $15. For a complete listing, visit the website email@example.com.