Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble featuring the French American singer, lyricist Malika Zarra will appear at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (58 West 129th Street) April 18 at 8 p.m.
The pianist, composer, and director for the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra is best known for his contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz. Zarra is a Moroccan-born, French American singer, composer, and music producer known for singing in Moroccan Arabic, Berber, French and English. She became interested in jazz because it was similar to Arabic traditional music in the core importance of improvisation. She performed or recorded with John Zorn, Will Calhoun, Lonnie Plaxico and Michael Cain.
On April 23 at 2 p.m., “Toes Tapping, Brain Mapping” also takes place at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Join neuroscientist Paula Croxon and pianist Helen Sung for an afternoon of jazz with a side of science about how and why music touches us so deeply.
This program is designed for people with dementia, their care partners, friends and families.
On April 19, the Museum of Art & Origins presents Uptown Emissaries & Visionaries, a compilation of music and poetry to stimulate understanding of the Afro Atlantic consciousness. The noted artist and scholar of African art, and the author of essays, reviews, and books on traditional African art and Contemporary art George Nelson Preston will perform from his collected works of poetry with We Three Strings featuring violinists Charles Burnham and Gwen Laster on viola Melanie Dyer, cellist Alex Waterman, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Michael Wimberly.
Admission is $20 food and wine will be served. Event takes place at 430 West 162nd Street in Manhattan.
Uptown Emissaries & Visionaries is a series of 10 Sunday afternoon open sessions with NYC’s creative music improvisers and three evening performances, April 19 through Oct. 26, 2019. To experience ways in which spoken word, music and visual arts converse with each other in a historical and contemporary Afro-Atlantic narrative, visit the complete schedule at www.museumofartandorigins.com.
The Jazz Journalists Association announced honors for 22 “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz” in 20 U.S. cities, filling the 2019 slate of Jazz Heroes. From Amherst, Massachusetts to Los Angeles, California, Seattle to South Florida, all the heroes are one way or another and sometimes simultaneously presenters, educators, nonprofit administrators, public faces of grassroots organizations or active players sustaining and developing America’s native-born music in their local communities and beyond. The complete list of honorees, with photographs and biographies, appears on the JJA website.
The 2019 two New York City Jazz Heroes are pianist, singer and Sunday Jazz Parlor performer/hostess Marjorie Eliot and promoter, mentor and jazz magazine founder Jim Harrison.
On April 20 Harrison’s Jazz Hero award presentation will take place at Sista’s Place (456 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn) at 9 p.m. The composer and trombonist Craig Harris’ Tailgators Tails will be performing for two shows at 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
At 86 years old, Harrison is the promotions consultant for Jazzmobile’s summer concerts. When Dr. Billy Taylor co-founded Jazzmobile in 1965, at the peak of the Black Power movement, he hired Harrison to coordinate all the organization’s concert promotions and special events.
Prior to this position, in 1961, Harrison started a fan club for alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, holding “listening parties” with McLean-only recordings. He decided to push McLean in nontraditional jazz settings where a cabaret card was not needed. To reciprocate McLean connected Harrison with Slug’s (the storied jazz club in the East Village), where he served as music promoter from 1965-1972.
Promoting concerts for Lee Morgan in Staten Island and the Bronx led to Ms. Management (co-run by Maxine Gordon and Hattie Gossett) hiring Harrison as promoter of record for Boomer’s and Sweet Basil’s jazz clubs from 1976 to 1981.
In 1979 Harrison founded and published Spotlight News. The paper started with 12 pages and blossomed to 144 when he closed it in 1982, to join the musicians Barry Harris and Larry Ridley in establishing the Jazz Cultural Theatre, where he labored until 1987.
He has always been a rather low-key gentleman, with a big smile, good sense of humor and quick wit. He counts such noted musicians as Jimmy Heath, Rene McLean, Craig Harris, Gary Bartz and Charles Tolliver as close friends. While he hasn’t spent time promoting himself, Jazz Hero Jim Harrison is widely known as a living jazz legend.
Tickets are $20 with advance reservation call 718-398-1766.
On April 21 Marjorie Eliot’s Jazz Hero award presentation will take place at her esteemed historical landmark residence 555 Edgecombe Avenue, apt. 3A, 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Loyal fans have been coming to Eliot’s Jazz Parlor for 20 years, and some have raised a younger generation of attendees. They come during the summer’s scorching heat, rain and snowstorms. The Jazz Parlor has become so significant tourists from Belgium, London, Paris, Australia and Japan all come together mixing with local Harlem jazz enthusiasts.
Eliot’s Jazz Parlor is reminiscent of those days when clubs lined the swinging streets of Harlem, when rent parties were all the rage and jazz musicians playing downtown at the Three Deuces or Five Spot scurried uptown to jam in a Harlem flat ’til dawn. She perseveres each week in finding ways to pay the musicians. Each Sunday, she vows, is a paid gig, not charity.
The donations help pay the musicians and keep the operation afloat. “The audience every week is a big surprise to me,” claims Eliot. “They embrace the idea of this parlor jazz. They make it happen, and it’s just miraculous.” As a member of the Jazz Journalists Association this writer will present both awards.
After a long winter that continues to linger P’s Place (28 Watkins Place in New Rochelle) returns with the young trumpeter Bruce Harris April 28, 2019. The concert begins at 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Harris, born and raised in the Bronx, has been featured in two Broadway shows, “After Midnight” (2013) and “Shuffle Along” (2016), performing with the likes of Fantasia Barrino, Patti Labelle, KD Lang, Tony Braxton and Audra McDonald. Harris has compiled an eclectic list of collaborations with such artists as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Harry Connick Jr., and hip-hop artist DJ Premiere.
Donations are $15 at the door, and children are free. Refreshments will be served, and you may bring your own bottle if you wish.
For further information and reservations call Pauline at 914-235-6398.