At a point in jazz history, the Bronx was an enduring hard-bop borough, where that sound of hipness was the order of the day, and many musicians called it home.
Although many of the swinging joints have left by the way of the old elevated train lines, along with some of its former residents, that improvisational Bronx tradition continues with the Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC Lab, 1303 Louis Nine Blvd.).
Sept. 16, the Center presents “Bronx Rising! Maxine Sullivan Women in Jazz Series,” with the noted pianist and composer Bertha Hope and bassist/vocalist Mimi Jones.
The screening of “Seeking Hope,” a documentary based on the life of the pianist, will be followed by a Q&A with Jones and Hope. The Mimi Jones Band and The Black Madonna Project will perform.
The jazz series is named for the prominent vocalist Maxine Sullivan, who lived for many years in the Bronx, working as a singer, educator and nurse. A street in the borough was named in her honor.
This event begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. For a complete listing of upcoming events, visit the website thisisbronxmusic.org or call 917-557-2354.
The iconic bassist, composer and educator Reggie Workman, a respected bandleader recognized for his time with John Coltrane and Art Blakey, will appear at Harlem’s Farafina Café & Lounge (1813 Amsterdam Ave. at 150th Street), Sept. 16, 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Workman’s one-night stand is a part of the Harlem Late Night Jazz performances held weekly downstairs in the cozy lounge. Farafina manager Steve Abreu (who in a recent column was mistakenly called David) noted that offering jazz is a cultural aspect to the community.
Workman will be joined by a well-rounded group of established leaders in their own right: saxophonist Antoine Roney, pianist Marc Carey and drummer Will Calhoun.
“I remember back in the day, playing clubs until 4 a.m. wasn’t alarming at all,” said Workman. “These guys are trying to get people excited about the music and the few times I was there people were really enjoying themselves.”
Workman is quite busy as a professor at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and working with private students. He has a busy performance schedule and works regularly as part of the collaboration Trio3, with saxophonist/composer Oliver Lake and drummer Andrew Cyrille.
During his accomplished career, he has recorded with Lee Morgan (“Infinity,” Blue Note, 1965), recorded three albums with Wayne Shorter, performed on Pharoah Sanders’ spiritually acclaimed album “Karma,” which featured the hit “The Creator Has a Master Plan” (Impulse! 1969), recorded multiple albums with Oliver Lake and recorded with pianist/composer Mal Waldron. He recorded three albums with John Coltrane.
“Working with Coltrane is memorable and a very important experience to have such a giant in my life,” stated Workman. “He heard something in my music and me that connected. It was important to be with someone who wanted you to bring your own thing to the bandstand. It helped me to grow quite a bit.”
With someone of Workman’s status performing at Farafina, he may attract other noted musicians out for an improvisational romp where many of them rarely swing.
At Harlem Late Night Jazz, there is no cover charge or minimum, just steering jazz into the wee wee hours.
John Coltrane’s 84th birthday (he was born Sept. 23, 1926, in North Carolina) will be celebrated at Birdland jazz club (315 W. 44th St.) from Sept. 18 to Sept. 24.
“Coltrane Revisited” will feature the saxophonists Eric Alexander and Jaleel Shaw, pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Steve Smith. Kuhn, who enjoyed a brief stint playing with John Coltrane’s quartet, will lead this all-star cast. His forward thinking and improvisational composition were enhanced during his time with Coltrane.
It took some time for some musicians and critics to realize that Coltrane was a genius. He wasn’t comfortable following the music or its trends, but felt at ease pushing the music in his own direction. Thelonious Monk understood his musical tenacity and gave him free rein in his band.
Coltrane’s experimentation and improvisation skills reinvented the sound of jazz. So many of his albums became jazz standards, such as “Blue Train” (1957), “Giant Steps” (Atlantic Records, 1960) and “Coltrane Jazz” (the album that began his long association with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, Atlantic Records, 1961). “My Favorite Things” (Atlantic 1961) moved into the spiritual realm.
He then joined Impulse! Records, which led to “Duke Ellington & John Coltrane” (1963) and the legendary spiritually proliferated “A Love Supreme” (1965), “Ascension” (1966) and “Meditation” (1966).
Two shows each night are at 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. For reservations, call 212-681-3080.
The summer is over, but Jazzmobile has three amazing concerts waiting in the wings, beginning Sept. 14 with “Lena Horne at 100,” the celebration of that multitalented woman, at Marcus Garvey Park, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Hosting this event will be the witty, talented tap dancer Maurice Hines. The Danny Mixon Trio will perform, with special guests saxophonist Patience Higgins, vocalist Alyson Williams and vocalist/tap dancer Cartier Conway.
The vocalist, dancer, actress and civil rights activist Horne was born in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy section. She joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at age 16. She went on to perform in such films as “Cabin in the Sky” (1943) and “Stormy Weather” (1943). During World War II, she was every Black soldier’s pin-up girl, along with Dorothy Dandridge.
During McCarthyism (1947-56), Horne was blacklisted from working in Hollywood because of her political activism. Returning to nightclub engagements, she became a premiere performer at such venues as the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. These appearances led to television variety shows and Broadway.
Horne is one of America’s most influential personalities from performances to civil rights.
Sept. 15 Marcus Garvey Park becomes the backdrop for El Barrio Latin Jazz Festival, featuring the Mambo Legends Orchestra (a 22-piece ensemble and the original Tito Puente Orchestra), with special guest singer/percussionist Jeremy Bosch. The concert begins at 6 p.m.
This concert is a tribute to Tito Puente. He was born in Harlem Hospital, and over his 50-year career, he became known as El Rey de los Timbales (The King of the Timbales) and The King of Latin Music.
The Summerfest conclusion Sept. 19 presents Jazzmobile, Community and the Harlem Soundscape: A Celebration of Jazzmobile and Its Unique Relationship with Its Audience and the Harlem Community.
The founder of Columbia University Center for Jazz Studies, Dr. Robert O’Meally, will be the special guest. The program will open with music by drummer/composer Winard Harper, with the Danny Mixon Trio.
Trombonist/composer, also known to swing some mean blues lyrics, Wycliffe Gordon will close the evening. The event takes place at 6 p.m. at Columbia University/St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway at 116th Street.
Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.