Voza Rivers and Jamal Joseph of the New Heritage Theatre Group will be the first honorees of the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Hall of Fame in recognition of their illustrious history and the center’s 10th anniversary celebration, Oct. 6, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Lt. the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Community Center, 34 W. 134th St. New Heritage is celebrating its 54th anniversary this month.
The 1960s became a volatile political moment that exploded into the Black Power Movement and ignited the cultural flames of the Black Arts Movement. This movement gave Black theater its revolutionary voice and the spirited roots reflect life from a historical and cultural perspective.
As Amiri Baraka was developing the Black Art Repertory Theatre/School, the playwright/director Garland Thompson founded the Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop in Harlem (1973), along with Morgan Freeman, Billie Allen and journalist Clayton Riley.
In 1964, the playwright, actor and director Roger Furman, whose career dated back to the American Negro Theater of the 1940s, had founded the New Heritage Theatre in Harlem. He started it as a street theater with Haryou-Act, the federally financed Harlem anti-poverty program. Under his leadership, the group produced more than 35 plays that included “The Long Black Block,” which won the Audelco Award for Excellence in Black Theater, “On Strivers Row” and “Fat Tuesday.”
After the death of Furman in 1983, his protégé Rivers took the theater reins as executive director and his partner Joseph as executive artistic director. As the New Heritage Theatre Group, the oldest Black nonprofit theater company in New York City, they have created multiple divisions: IMPACT Repertory Theatre, The Roger Furman Reading Series and New Heritage Films.
The following day at the same location from noon to 6 p.m., there will be various activities, including a panel discussion with Rivers titled, “Art as an Expression of Faith & Culture,” from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.
Jazz has been a part of Japan for many years, and the spiritual roots of their music has filtered into America, including their perspectives on jazz. On Oct. 8, at 3 p.m., Japanese drummers, dancers and singers, the Inamori Art Group, will perform aspects of their “Prayer of Love & Peace Music Concert.” An RSVP is appreciated. Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/prayer-of-love-peace-concert-music-from-japan for more information.
The bassist, composer and educator Ron Carter gets recognition as the best dressed jazz musician and one of the most recorded bass players in jazz history. He was a member of the 1965-68 Miles Davis Quintet, described as one of the best in the annals of jazz. He has led jazz/classical ensembles, all strings, trios and quartets and has recorded with A Tribe Called Quest.
Carter’s vocabulary of the music from jazz to classical and genres in between is very extensive. During his engagement at the Birdland, 315 W. 44th St., Oct. 3 to Oct. 7, he will offer a variety of different chords.
Carter’s Great Big Band will include trumpeters Jon Owens, John Chudoba, Freddie Hendrix and Alex Norris; trombonists Jason Jackson, Steve Davis, James Burton and Douglas Purviance; saxophonists Antonio Hart and David DeJesus (alto sax/soprano sax/flute), Bobby LaVell and Ivan Renta (tenor sax/clarinet/flute) and Jay Brandford (baritone sax); pianist Donald Vega; guitarist Greg Skaff; and drummer Payton Crossley. Two shows each night are at 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. For reservations, call 212-581-3080.
The summer is over, but Jazzmobile is still moving forward Oct. 12. They will collaborate with the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University to present a free program, “The Louis Armstrong Continuum,” at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, 2960 Broadway at 116th Street, at 7 p.m.
This program by far is one of the best fall concerts of the season and it’s free. Tickets are moving fast, so don’t hesitate or someone will be explaining what you missed.
The Louis Armstrong Tribute All-stars will feature the hard swinging New Orleans pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste of the Stay Human Band on “Late Night Stephen Colbert.” He will be joined by the trombonist, composer, singer Wycliffe Gordon, drummer/member of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Herlin Riley, pianist Courtney Bryan, multi-instrumentalist Adrian Cunningham, trumpeter Leroy Jones and bassist Ben Wolfe. Most of these musicians are natives of New Orleans, so be ready to move and groove, jump and shout.
Also, a performance by the 2017 Satchmo Award recipient saxophonist Kidd Jordan, with the prolific pianist Dave Burrell, drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker, will take place.
This group is an all-star squad known on the Lower East Side and worldwide for their creativity and improvisational stance. They are all bandleaders and composers in their own right. It is a treat to have them uptown, where they should be on a regular basis as opposed to special occasions. Tickets are free but an RSVP is a necessity at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-armstrong-continuum-tickets.
Jazz clubs and organizations around the world will celebrate the 100th year of the genius composer and pianist Thelonious Monk. The Jazz at Lincoln Center celebration, with performances in Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, is Oct. 9 to Oct. 15.
Opening night (Oct. 9) will feature the Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble performing compositions from “Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares.” The ensemble will include a host of performers, such as trumpeters and flugelhorn players Jonathan Powell, Kirk Knuffke, John Carlson and Dave Smith, vocalist Christine Correa, pianist/composer Frank Carlberg; and conductor JC Sanford, among others.
“The album ‘Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares’ is not intended as a Thelonious Monk tribute album,” said Carlberg. “It is a celebration of the beauty and vitality of his music.” Carlberg takes a unique approach to engaging with Monk’s music. Aside from “Round Midnight,” all of the pieces are new compositions, not Monk arrangements, and yet Monk’s tunes are directly quoted and paraphrased throughout. Two shows are at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Oct. 10, Monk’s 100th birthday celebration continues with his son T.S. Monk, who was on hand for quite a few of his father’s earlier birthdays. He, like his father, has carried on Monk’s tradition with his own voice as a drummer. He also founded the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which has educated and helped launch the careers of some of our best musicians.
T.S. Monk first performed with his father’s group in the early 1970s, but for the past few decades, he has been an excellent band leader, forging his own path playing obscure compositions deserving of larger audiences.
The T.S. Monk Sextet will perform for two sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
For a complete listing of Monk’s 100th celebration, visit the website jazz.org/dizzys or call 212-258-9595.