The Jazz Foundation of America’s annual fundraiser held at the Apollo Theater (253 W. 125th St.) is one of the most varied musical events in Harlem. On April 20, the nonprofit organization’s “A Great Night in Harlem” will commence at 8 p.m., with an all-star line-up, from
blues to Latin jazz.
The honorees will include vocalist/songwriter Roberta Flack, who began her professional career and earned her rising reputation while performing at Mr. Henry’s restaurant in Washington, D.C., who was the youngest student, at age 15, ever admitted to Howard University, from which she graduated and whose first album, “First Take,” included the hit “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” (Atlantic Records, 1972); the Heath Brothers (saxophonist Jimmy, bassist Percy who passed in 2005 and the drummer Albert “Tootie”), who formed a group in 1975 and went on to record 10 albums for various labels, including Columbia and Strata East; and the blues guitarist and singer Otis Rush, whose distinctive sound became known as the Westside Chicago blues.
Jazz enthusiasts included in the program are the actors Danny Glover, Chevy Chase and Bruce Willis. Some of the many performers will are Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes), the trumpeter Jon Faddis, guitarist/singer Nona Hendryx, pianists Harold Mabern, Eddie Palmieri and the teenager Matthew Whitaker, who gets better with each performance.
For ticket information, email http://jazzfoundation.org/apollo2018/.
In the world of jazz, reaching the galaxy of accomplished musicians is no easy task, but the bassist/composer Reggie Workman is one of them. He has a distinct sound interwoven in six decades of great music with extended recordings with John Coltrane and Art Blakey, as well as his ongoing membership in Trio3 (with Oliver Lake and Andrew Cyrille).
April 20 and April 21, the Reggie Workman Sextet will perform at Wilbur’s Warehouse (The 75 Club) at The Bogardus Mansion, 75 Murray St. at West Broadway in the Tribeca section of Manhattan. There will be two sets each night at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Workman’s capable sextet will include the tenor saxophonist Edmar Colon, soprano saxophonist Asaf Even Zur, pianist Carlos Homs, trombonist Frank Lacy (Friday only) and special guest trumpeter Edo Gur (Saturday only).
This event is presented by the Wilbur Ware Institute. For ticket information, call 347-523-9886 or visit the website wilburwareinstitute.com.
In celebration of Jazz Month, Sistas’ Place (456 Nostrand Ave.), the little jazz oasis in Brooklyn known for its big-deal musicians, celebrates a VSOP weekend April 21 and April 22.
The NEA Jazz Master trumpeter and composer Jimmy Owens opens with his proficient band, featuring pianist Danny Mixon, bassist Amanda Ruzza and percussionist and vocalist Cascadu. Two sets are at 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
April 22, two young lions take to the small stage, the trumpeters Giveton Gelin and Lesedi Ntsane, performing two sets at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The band members pianist Micah Thomas, drummer Kyle Benford and bassist Russell Hall will join the fiery trumpets of the African Diaspora.
Gelin, a native of the Bahamas, is basically self-taught. It wasn’t until he saw double bass player Adrian D’Aguilar playing live that he realized “there was a place for jazz in the Bahamas!”
The 18-year-old has learned a lot since coming to New York, where he was mentored by Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Barry Harris and Jason Moran. He developed his skills while attending the Manhattan School of Music Summer Camp Jazz Band, the Latin Jazz Band and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program.
Ntsane, a native of South Africa, graduated from Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in music in 2010.
In 2011, he moved to New York City to further his studies at the School of Jazz & Contemporary Music at the New School, where he had private tutelage with Billy Harper, Jimmy Owens, Charles Tolliver and Andrew Cyrille.
He has performed in various venues, including the Museum of Modern Arts, with Masauko Chipembere of Black Sunshine; the Brooklyn Museum, with Zozo Afro Beat; Shrine, with Tamara Davidson; Ngoziy’lsee; and The New School Afro-Cuban Orchestra, led by Bobby Sanabria.
For reservations, call 718 398-1766 or visit the website www.sistasplace.org.
Sistas’ Place continues the flow April 28 with the cellist Akua Dixon performing. The fact that Dixon plays cello makes it perfectly clear she has no intention of playing a mere jazz set. The cello doesn’t provide an integral sound on the jazz scene, that is not until Dixon came along, bringing an excitement and swinging curiosity to an instrument that was rooted in the
Dixon studied at the Manhattan School of Music when the only track available for cellists centered on European classical music. But the pit band at the Apollo Theater provided a rigorous course of study far beyond any classical notes. She backed a diverse array of performers, from the Rev. James Cleveland and Barry White to James Brown and Dionne Warwick.
“The music progresses from where I was to where I’m going,” said Dixon.
April 20 to April 22, the Smoke Jazz & Supper Club (2751 Broadway) welcomes the intriguing musical journey of the Nicholas Payton Quartet. This performance will be Payton’s debut appearance as a leader at the hip little neighborhood jazz spot with an international clientele.
The trumpeter and composer isn’t easy to categorize. His music moves from fusion to acoustic, post-bop and some second-line from his hometown of New Orleans.
These days he usually plays piano and keyboards, as well as his trumpet mainstay, and perhaps if he gets the feeling he’ll do some singing. He will be joined by pianist Taylor Eigsto, bassist Barry Stephenson and drummer Jonathan Barber.
April 26, for one night only, Smoke features the Avery Sharpe Trio, with pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, drummer Winard Harper (both accomplished leaders and composers) and pianist Sharpe, presenting “A Reunion of Legends & Mentors: The Music of McCoy Tyner, Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef.”
Sharpe enjoyed stints with McCoy Tyner, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, and Ricky Ford and has recorded albums on his own label, JKNM.
Three sets are at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. For reservations and information, call 212- 864-6662 or visit www.smokejazz.com.
Correction: In last week’s “Obituary Cecil Taylor Dies at 89,” the accomplished bassist/violinist and poet Henry Grimes was neglected as being one of the musicians who played and recorded with Taylor on several of his recordings, including “Unit Structures” (Blue Note).