January is not the most popular month once the spectacular New Year’s Eve “ball” drops; no one is looking forward to the oncoming snow, freezing rains and sleet. However, for those into great music that will ignite the soul and swing from avant jazz to straight ahead and all sounds in between, January is cheered as the Winter Jazzfest arrives in New York City at multiple venues from January 9-18, 2020. This year’s festival features fourteen shows, the Winter JazzFest Marathon (January 10-11) and a Brooklyn Marathon on January 17.

With more than 100 bands performing the programme also features discussions on gender, immigration, and social issues within jazz music. The music takes place at Le Poisson Rouge, Nublu, Brooklyn Steel, Bitter End, Zinc Bar, Webster Hall, SOB’s, Subculture, Mercury Lounge, and The Dance.

Tonight, January 9, at the Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn), in one of the special show performances; Lee Fields & the Expressions with Adeline will work out that hardcore soul, at 8 p.m.

This is the soul of funk at its peak. Fields has a vocal resemblance to James Brown having performed with soulsters Johnny Taylor, Tyrone Davis and Betty Wright. His guest Adeline, a French singer/songwriter living in Barcelona, projects some American soul in her repertoire that should set off some heat. Tickets are $25.

The Jazzfest Marathon kicks off on January 10 at various venues beginning at 6 p.m. through a few last sets that begin at 1 a.m., which include the outstanding Chilean vocalist and songwriter Claudia Acuna, who shines whether she is singing in Spanish or English, who performs at the Bitter End. The priority list for the evening includes Nasheet Waits By Sea with South African pianist and recent Blue Note recording artist Nduduzo Makhathini, bassist Rashaan Carter and saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins (6 p.m. at the Zinc Bar); the vocalist Kendra Shank pays Tribute to Abbey Lincoln (Zinc Bar); pianist/composer Christian Sands regardless of his configuration, he is not to be missed (11:30 p.m.); The Jazz Gallery All-Stars (Subculture); for anyone who follows trombonist and composer Melba Liston it is worth seeing the rising trombonist Kalia Vandever who performs at the Zurcher Gallery; the young organist/pianist and composer Matthew Whiter who never ceases to amaze performs with his Quartet at Subclulture.

The vibraphonist and composer Nikara and Black Wall Street perform at The Dance. Greenwood, Oklahoma’s population was destroyed by local rioting whites (including the KKK, police force and National Guard) in one of this country’s largest and most unspoken massacres of our history (1921). Nikara Warren pays tribute to Black Wall Street in an attempt to create an open discussion for all people about supporting people of color in business, education and the arts.

Night 2 of the Marathon continues on January 11, beginning at 6:15 p.m. and last performance begins at 1:15 a.m. A few must-see groups include Nite Bjuti featuring the drummer and sound engineer Val Jeanty, who has created a distinctive style of music called Vodou electronica, a fusion of electronics and African Vodou rhythms; the abled young bassist Mimi Jones and the high octave operatic vocals of Candice Hoyes that can flow into blues or jazz; the young harpist Brandee Younger’s “Awakening”; the pianist/composer Helen Song presents “Sung With Words”; the young talented alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, who brings her distinct sound to any configuration or genre, presents “Pursuance: The Music of the Coltranes” featuring noted bassist Reggie Workman and violinist Regina Carter and others; trumpeter/composer Theo Croker’s “Star People Nation”; the saxophonist Tia Fuller, a musician for all seasons; pianist/composer Robert Glasper, always energizing; and the inventive drummer, rapper, composer Kassa Overall’s “I Think I’m Good.”

The Nuyorican Poets Café (236 East 3rd Street) with its evening’s lineup is the venue for boundless abandonment where music travels in many directions and there is no telling where you may turn up other than being extremely invigorated. Shows start at 7 p.m. with the last performance beginning at 12:30 a.m. Shows include the guitarist Marc Ribot with vocalist Fay Victor and others; the resourceful pianist Matthew Shipp; and another incredible pianist Cooper-Moore with a star cast including saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, violinist Jason Kao Hwang, and the daring trumpeter Jaimie Branch among others.

A two night pass is $95-$125 and a one night pass is $50-$75.

On January 17, the Brooklyn Marathon hits at various venues in the borough with an interesting jazz cross-section. Felix Pastorius & Hipster Assassins, following in the footsteps of his father (Jaco), hits music corners often missed (at the Brooklyn Bowl); one of the hottest Marathon tickets is Morley: Sphere Ensemble featuring bassist, singer, composer Meshell Ndegeocello, noted Cuban pianist Elio Villafrance, and bassist/guitarist Chris Bruce (at National Sawdust 11:30pm); trumpeter Keyon Harrold is always constructing different paths; exploratory bassist/composer Ben Williams “I Am A Man” (both perform at Rough Trade); and the dynamic soul, jazz dance and funk review of Mwenso & the Shakes (at House of Yes).

Tickets are $30-$55. For a complete schedule and ticket information visit the website winterjazzfest.com.

Some of the Winterfest Jazz talks will include “Healing Power of Music” with panelists Laraaji, musician, healer; Helen Sung, pianist, composer, neuroscience; Theo Croker, trumpeter, composer; and J. Hoard, vocalist. At Moxy (112 E 11th St), “From Detroit to the World: A Conversation on the Jazz Legacy of Detroit.” This presentation also includes a panel discussion about the impact of the legendary Detroit teacher and trumpeter Marcus Belgrave (1936-2015). Panelists are musicians Robert Hurst (bassist), Joan Belgrave, vocalist, widow of Marcus Belgrave), and Karriem Riggins, drummer, producer at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street). (Both on January 12.)

*All jazz talks sessions are FREE and open to the general public with an RSVP at DoNYC.

Kojo Ade, Harlem’s minister of cultural arts, was recently honored by the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and the Harlem Arts Alliance. Born and raised in Harlem, Ade has been the primary source for sharing news of any cultural event as it relates to the Black diaspora.

The Harlem Alliance Award represented his many years of dedication working with Black theater and the arts and his expertise in audience development, all of which extends to the shores of West and South Africa. When the productions “Sarafina” and “Asinamali” made their debut performances on Broadway, Ade was one of the first to be called by Voza Rivers, who as producer was the magnet in bringing both plays to New York City. “Asinamali” had its first run in Harlem at the Roger Furman Theater before going to Broadway and Ade played a significant role in both.

The Harlem Week Award represented his longtime commitment to the community. Over the years he worked closely with the Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop, AUDELCO, National Black Theater, New Heritage Theater, Apollo Theater and Harlem Stage. He was one of the original members of African Jazz Art Society and Studio founded by Kwame and Elombe Braithwaite. On Broadway he worked on all of August Wilson’s plays. He was called on for the Negro Ensemble Company’s first production of “A Soldier’s Play,” which featured the great actors Adolph Caesar, Charles Brown and a young Denzel Washington. He was the first to introduce the community to Julie Dash’s amazing 1991 film “Daughters of the Dust.” He was also closely involved with BAM during their productions of Dance Africa.

“I am blessed and humbled that the Harlem Arts Alliance and Harlem Week Committee value my work in the community where I was born and raised,” said Ade.