The ingredients for the Vision Festival are easy: “straight no chaser.” The jazz is unadulterated, taking fans to the outer limits in the Land of Oo-Blah Dee and back again.
This year’s Vision Festival 22 runs now through June 3 at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, in the West Village). The festival features more than 30 dynamic adventurers, who have made a reputation in avant-garde jazz, dance, poetry and visual art.
The festival’s founding organization, Arts for Art, will honor the multi-instrumentalist /pianist Cooper-Moore with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his uncompromising artistic vision over the past four decades.
Some of the musicians performing tonight (Thursday) include the Odean Pope Saxophone Choir, with tenor saxophonists Gene Ghee and Terry Lawson; alto saxophonists Julian Pressley, Louis Taylor and Robert Landham; baritone saxophonist Joe Sudler; bassist Lee Smith; pianist Tom Lawton; and drummer Craig McIver.
Pope established The Saxophone Choir in 1977. It is the realization of his Southern legacy, a medium for creating the richly textured harmonic sound that has permeated his musical soul since hearing the gospel choirs of his childhood.
The dancer Djassi Dacosta Johnson and the bassist Shayna Dulberber’s current collaboration will explore the structured improvisational forms born in the Harlem Renaissance, in the birth of jazz, as well as seeped in the history of Judson Church and the modern dance movement (at 8 p.m.).
The alto saxophonist Darius Jones and Farmers by Nature hit at 8:30 p.m. His enthusiastic musicians include the pianist Craig Taborn, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver.
“In America, freedom and justice have been beyond the reach of many of my Black ancestors,” stated Jones. “As Black hosts today, we enjoy a small percentage of these rights compared to our white guests but still lack equality. I have no evidence this will change greatly for the future due to the lack of empathy by many people in this society. I do believe we are the authors of our immediate reality and have the power to plant seeds for the future. Enjoy the show.” #future?
Vision After Dark at NUBU (62 Avenue C on the Lower East Side) begins at midnight. Tonight features the Cuban pianist with glimpse of Thelonious Monk, Aruan Ortiz, with alto saxophonist Darius Jones. This outing is sure to be very interesting.
Tickets at the door only are $15. June 2 features the edgy vocalist Faye Victor, the guitarist Joe Morris and drummer Reggie Nicholson. June 3 features Heroes Are Gang Leaders, with a large ensemble of vocalists and musicians.
June 2, the Los Angeles poet Fred Moten will offer rhythm and verse for consumption. “I’m influenced by the great liars of the world and I love mispronunciation,” said Moten. He performs at 9 p.m.
The Dave Burrell Quartet is one of those elusive groups that only rise on special occasions. This appearance is a reunion of the remarkable force, with pianist-composer Dave Burrell, the saxophonist Kidd Jordan, bassist William Parker and bassist
Burrell is a unique conceptualist, who for the past 50 years has created his own tradition. “Reverberating polyrhythms culminate from drums and piano, to bass and saxophone in an array of colorful impressions that will push us further into a quest for peace and harmony,” stated Burrell.
The big finale June 3 features the Ivo Perelman Quartet with Perelman on tenor saxophone, pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Michael Bisio and
drummer Whit Dickey.
Brazilian saxophonist Perelman brings together his closest collaborators and NYC avant jazz mainstays for this powerhouse ensemble.
At 6:30 p.m. Positive Knowledge performs with bass clarinetist and soprano saxophonists Oluyemi Thomas, vocalist and percussionist Ijeoma Thomas and special guest striking drummer Andrew Cyrille.
Oluyemi and Ijeoma Thomas of Positive Knowledge have recorded and performed together for the past four decades, composing and sharing their joyful Creative World Music Systems with lovers of music and poetry around the world.
The David Murray Trio performs at 9:30 p.m., with the tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist David Murray, percussionist Kahil El’Zabar and bassist/guitarist Gerry Eastman.
The finale at 10:30 p.m. features “Songs for a Free World,” with choreography by Patricia Nicholson, Part 1 “Justice,” composed by saxophonist Oliver Lake and Part 2 “Soliloquy for the Children Who Lost Everything and the Flowers That Saved Them,” composed by William Parker.
The multicollaboration includes a rhythm section with Cooper-Moore, Hamid Drake, William Parker and Dan Kurfirst; dancers, strings, voices, horns and reeds; and live video art. For a complete schedule, visit the website www.artforarts.org/vf22/lineup.html.
Admission is $40 per night or $200 for a festival pass. For tickets, visit the website http://vision22.brownpapertickets.com/.
Hamiet Bluiett, the composer and multi-instrumentalist who favors the big sound of his baritone saxophone, recently had a stroke that has rendered him somewhat incapacitated and unable to play his instrument.
June 4 at Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church (59 W. 137th St.) there will be a tribute and fundraiser for this incredible musician, who has contributed so much to the music and the international jazz community.
Bluiett’s musical family who will pay tribute to him by performing will be Pheeroan akLaff, Kelvyn Bell, James Carter, Cooper-Moore, Craig Harris’ Saints & Aints Brass Choir, D.D. Jackson, Kidd Jordan, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Antoine Roney, Kojo Roney, the poet Quincy Troupe, Matthew Whitaker and James Jabbo Ware’s Me We Them Orchestra.
Bluiett is the master of the baritone saxophone. He plays riffs on the mammoth instrument whose sound runs so deep it rattles your heart rhythms, and his ballads dance in your head like a song of intimate thoughts.
Since the 1990s Bluiett has led a virtuosic quartet, the Bluiett Baritone Nation, made up entirely of baritone saxophones, with drum set accompaniment. Lately, when he wasn’t leading his own band, he has appeared with the trombonist Craig Harris and tenor saxophonist David Murray.
Bluiett, who currently resides in Harlem, moved to New York City in 1969, where he joined the Charles Mingus Quintet and the Sam Rivers large ensemble.
In 1976, he co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet, along with David Murray, Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake. He also founded the Clarinet Family, a group of eight clarinetists playing clarinets of various sizes, ranging from E-flat soprano to contrabass.
The tribute begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. For tickets, visit the website www.harlemjazzboxx.com.