As the summer sun transforms to autumn leaves, Jazzmobile at Minton’s Playhouse (206 West 118th Street) continues on Sept. 19 with Hammond B-3 organist Akiko Tsuruga and trusted swingers tenor saxophonist Myron Walden, guitarist Charles Sigler and drummer Aaron Kimmel. Anytime there is a B-3 organ in the house you can be sure the house is about to be lit with soul funky blues.
Akiko has 10 albums as a leader to her credit. Her debut album in the U.S., Sweet and Funky was selected as a “Best album of 2007” in DOWNBEAT Magazine.
Tsuruga is a lady that brings smoke to the B-3 having climbed the musical ladder beginning in Harlem under the mentorship of the hard B-3 swinger Seleno Clarke during his weekly Sunday night jam sessions at the American Legion Post 398.
In early years she began sitting in, playing gigs, and eventually recording with jazz greats such as Frank Wess, Jimmy Cobb and Grady Tate. However, Tsuruga considers organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith her greatest influence: he became an important mentor and proved to have the greatest impact on her musical development and career. It was his relationship as a friend and member of Lou Donaldson’s band that led to her joining the quartet following his departure in 2006. Tsuruga is a young B-3 organist, who plays with the veracity of an oncoming hurricane.
The set hits from 7-10 p.m., no cover.
The vocalist Betty Carter aka “Bebop Betty” possessed a complex vocal talent that exhibited her imaginative interpretation of lyrics and melodies. Her improvisational technique and scatting roller coaster became her unique trademark.
On Sept. 20, the borough of Brooklyn (where she lived and died) will honor the pianist with the Betty Carter Park, naming and ribbon cutting ceremony on St. Felix Street (between Fulton Street & Lafayette Avenue).
In the world of scatting there were only two ladies—Carter and Ella Fitzgerald—no one has yet to come near. In 1997, the then native of Flint, Michigan was presented the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. The following year she died on Sept. 26, 1998, at the age of 69.
Like musicians Art Blakey and Miles Davis, Carter’s band served as a boot camp for young accompanists. “I learned a lot from these young players, because they’re raw and they come up with things that I would never think about doing,” Carter stated during an interview. Some outstanding musicians from Carter’s camp include; John Hicks, Curtis Lundy, Mulgrew Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Stephen Scott, Marc Cary and Danny Mixon.
To RSVP, email BKSPECIALEVENTS@PARKS.ORG or call 718-965-6991.
Sept. 21 is the blastoff for Sista’s Place (456 Nostrand Avenue, at the corner of Jefferson Avenue in Brooklyn) VSOP season with Charles Tolliver’s All-Stars 50th Celebration. Featuring trumpeter, composer, arranger and big band leader Charles Tolliver, a glowing gem, who despite his genius talent lingers far below the radar. He will be supported by the alto saxophonist Gary Bartz, who plays from avant garde to soulful straight-ahead ballads and uptempo tunes prompting finger-snapping and a feeling to rock your socks; the great innovative drummer from the schools of Miles Davis and Chick Corea Return To Forever; one of the great jazz bassist’s Buster Williams; and the pianist Keith Brown has a keen sense of melody and a groove to keep you in the moment.
Also celebrating Special Reissue of Tolliver’s “1968 RIGHT NOW…and THEN.” His first album as bandleader & original All-Stars on STRATA-EAST. Available for purchase at the event!
Tickets are $75 for each set 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. For more information, call 718-398-1766 or visit website sistasplace.org. All tickets purchased in advance ONLY.
At Dizzy’s (60th Street and Broadway) it’s Monday Nights with WBGO on Sept. 23 Theo Croker Big Brother Big Band swings with special guest vocalist Jazzmeia Horn.
My first time seeing the trumpeter, composer, arranger and vocalist Croker was at the now defunct legendary Lenox Lounge where he was playing with bassist Bill Lee (father of Spike Lee). He was just a teenager down from Oberlin College Conservatory where he later graduated. Already at that age one could see his potential, his tone was already shining and his solos were invigorating. Today he emerges as one of the exciting improvising trumpeters on the scene in a sea of very competent musical comrades.
He has broadened his concept of jazz to encompass other genres such as salsa, fusion-rock, R&B, hip-hop and blues. On his album “Afro Physicist” (DDB Records 2014) he offers a canvas featuring Roy Hargrove on a groove “Roy Allan” followed by a redressed version of “Moddy’s Mood for Love” with the steamy voice of Dee Dee Bridgewater and soft trumpet melodies.
On his latest March 2019 album “Star People Nation” (DDB Records) Croker states in an article from Earmilk, “How we swing our quarter note is the basis of all Black music. It’s the beat, and this song was made to reflect the power in that swing.”
Be assured the grandson of legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham will take all witnesses on a captivating musical journey and his guest vocalist Jazzmeia Horn will only add to the vivid voyage. She has just released her second album “Love & Liberation” (Concord Jazz) that is blues tinged with varied timbres. Her storytelling captures her magical moments of spontaneous creativity. The collaboration with Croker and Horn should be quite an enjoyable excursion.
Two sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. for more information visit the website jazz.org.