The 2018 Uncharted Concert Series, now running through May 12, is one of those unique jazz experiences multilayered with an assortment of possibilities to be explored.
April 5, the tenor saxophonist and vocalist Camille Thurman (“Because of Them We Are”) will take her turn on the cozy stage. She is a young tenor saxophonist who can bring the funk and make a listener want to dance all night or fall into a straight-ahead groove to warm the soul. As a vocalist she will pull you into a rhapsody of woven blues.
Between her saxophone and vocals, there is never a set path—just follow the spirited notes of rhythmic discourse. Thurman’s abled band members include bassist Dezron Douglas, pianist David Bryant, drummer Eric McPherson and vibraphonist Nikara Warren.
Her latest album, “Inside the Moment: Live at Rockwood Music Hall,” was released in 2017. Thurman was also a recipient of the Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award for Outstanding Young Artists and a runner-up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15. For a complete listing of the concert series, call 212-242-4770 or the website www.greenwichhouse.org.
April 12, the series continues with the vocalist Brianna Thomas performing in a benefit concert to support Greenwich House Music School. The community music school serves the musical needs of students of all ages, in addition to hosting a wide spectrum of concerts, readings and education workshops.
The Greenwich House Music School (46 Barrow St.) in the West Village isn’t known as a hip jazz venue. Its compulsory daytime uniform is restricted to a nonprofit settlement house that offers programs in social services, arts and education that provide thousands of New Yorkers with personal enrichment and cultural experiences.
There are those outside of the Greenwich community, who are aware this little unassuming structure features some of the most exciting jazz concerts in the city catering to artists on the cusp and jazz vocalists in a serenading mode.
In what seems to be a short period of time that included miles of intensified perseverance, Thomas has become one of the country’s most noted jazz singers. Her reputation extends far beyond Harlem, where she enjoys a significant fan base, to Italy and Switzerland.
Thomas has a strong voice with a wide range that rises to the heavens in the spirited gospel tradition or romping jazz rhythms that can easily plunge into a blues bucket.
She worked with a host of premier jazz educators and performers, including renowned vocalist Carmen Lundy, Winard Harper and Nathan Davis.
Concert-only tickets are $27 to $45. Benefit tickets start at $195 and include a cocktail party and priority seating for the concert and more. The concert begins at 8 p.m.
In 1949, Randy Weston was a regular at Luckey’s Rendezvous, when the pianist Luckeyeth Roberts owned and managed Luckey’s Rendezvous (which later became St. Nick’s Pub). The Brooklyn native would take the subway to Harlem to see his favorite pianists, who included the house pianist Art Tatum.
The pianist and composer Weston has more facts and stories than an encyclopedia when it comes to this music called jazz, along with all its participants from Charlie Parker to Thelonious Monk. As an elder and griot, he is the keeper of the ancestral flame from Africa to Harlem.
As he celebrates his 92nd birthday at the Jazz Standard (116 E. 27th St.) from April 5 to April 8, Weston will share his wisdom and give thanks to the ancestors who blessed him with such a powerful talent.
He will be playing the music of the African-American bandleader James Reese Europe (1880-1919), who as lieutenant in the U.S. during WWI led the segregated 369th Infantry Regiment “Hell Fighters” Band. He was responsible for introducing the French to jazz and was the first jazz musician to perform at Carnegie Hall.
Weston will also celebrate the 68th anniversary of his now-standard composition “High Fly.” His rich bold piano tone, dancing with percussive rhythms, bellows like the ancestors in the wind, roars like a lion in the night and frolics like a happy child on a birthday morning.
His longtime band, African Rhythms, includes the accomplished musicianship of tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, alto and soprano saxophonist T.K. Blue, percussionist Neal Clarke, bassist Alex Blake and drummer Lewis Nash. April 5, special guests will include trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater III and Candido Camero “the father of modern conga.” April 6, special guests will include Min Xiao Fen, a pipa player and vocalist, internationally known for her work in traditional Chinese music, contemporary classical and jazz, and the Sextet Gnawa of Morocco on vocals and sinter. Gnawa music is among Morocco’s richest and oldest continuous traditions, dating back to pre-Islam. The extended song-chants speak not only of spiritual and cultural ceremony, but also of man’s life in the
“It’s good to be alive and be in the company of such great musicians,” stated Weston.
Two shows each night are at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For ticket information, call 212-576-2232 or www.jazzstandard.com.
Jazz musicians who appear at the Jazz Gallery are about music on the edge and never fear taking experimental steps into the beyond. That is what happens on a weekly basis.
April 6, the Justin Brown Quartet will jump into action with a qualified lineup that will include Fabian Almazan on the Rhodes piano, guitarist Charles Altura and bassist Evan Marien. Two sets are at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. General admission is $25 and member admission is $10.
“I’m at a point now where, if I have these ideas musically and these things to say from the heart, then it needs to be out there,” said Brown in JazzSpeaks. “I’ve been shy lately about writing and letting people hear that, but if it’s given to you then it’s meant to be shared with the world. I feel like the Gallery is a place that’s always going to keep you fresh and allow you to be honest [as an artist].”
For ticket information, go to www.infojazzgallery.org.
Prayers for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela and for decades one of South Africa’s most prominent and polarizing figures, who died April 2 at a hospital in Johannesburg. She was 81.
She remained a warrior before and after the apartheid regime. Respect.