NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves will once again set an ambiance of intimacy with her enchanting vocal instrument during a Valentine’s Day engagement on Feb. 14-15 in Rose Theater (60th St. & Broadway) at 8 p.m. She interprets songs with such vocal clarity so divine each becomes a lovers vignette capturing the hearts of all who dare to love on these two nights of chocolate kisses.
Reeves is carrying on in the swinging, stylish, spontaneous tradition of Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson. Like her iconic predecessors, she mesmerizes her audiences. Today, she is one of the few female singers who can be mentioned in the same sentence as Ella Fitzgerald. On songs like “A Chamada” her scats become haunting chants daring your soul to scream.
Another Valentine’s Day mood-maker returning to Jazz at Lincoln Center complex in Dizzy’s Club is pianist and vocalist Freddy Cole with the Freddy Cole Legacy Band to perform “Songs for Lovers” on Feb. 14-17. The band will include tenor saxophonist Harry Allan, guitarist Samhe Raderman, bassist Elias Bailey (been with Cole since 2009) and drummer Jay Sawyer.
He was the subject of the 2006 documentary “The Cole Nobody Knows.” The title was quite apropos when one considers he is the younger brother of Nat King Cole and since they both played piano and sang it was somewhat difficult for the younger Cole although he carved out a groove upon his arrival in New York City in 1951. Cole spent several months on the road with Johnny Coles and Benny Golson. Cole, a long-time resident of Atlanta, Georgia, was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
Although he has reached the state of octogenarian, his vocal sensitivity and effortless delivery endures to capture hearts and new fans come Valentine’s Day. He performs two sets each night (Feb. 14-15) at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and (Feb. 16-17) at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For reservations visit jazz.org.
During the Valentine’s Day weekend if you happen to be in sunny Miami, Florida from Feb. 14-16 check out the GroundUp Music Festival at the North Beach Bandshell. Hailed by the as “one of the 10 best music events” in Miami, not to mention the temperature should be anywhere between 75 and 80 degrees, just saying.
Snarky Puppy, the Brooklyn fusion band who made its international reputation off of wild improvisational jazz bits in the pop moment, will be featured at GroundUp along with singer, songwriter, keyboardist Michael McDonald (from The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan) with saxophonist Chris Potter, Snarky Puppy bassist/bandleader Michael League and drummer/vocalist Jamison Ross.
The festival will also feature sets with Lila Downs Grammy winner Mexican folk singer, songwriter and actress. She performs her own compositions and the works of others in multiple genres; the self-styled vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant; innovative trumpeter/composer Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah; drummer and songwriter Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band.
Thanks to Trio 3 the lines of jazz are blurred and their collaborative genius can’t be categorized in the jazz pantheon. Trio 3 featuring saxophonist, composer, arranger Olive Lake; bassist, composer Reggie Workman and drummer/composer Andrew Cyrille will bring their home brewed jazz to the Jazz Standard (116 East 27th St.) on Feb. 20-23, two sets each night at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
With a musical bond extending over 25 years and a collective history of over 100 years each Trio 3 member was anointed in the jazz tradition by such masters as; Workman’s association with John Coltrane and Max Roach; Cyrille with Cecil Taylor and Mary Lou Williams; and Lake co-founding the World Saxophone Quartet.
Each night the vibrant trio will present special guest pianists opening with Vijay Iyer (Feb. 20). Iyer is a force in New York configuration from solo to large ensemble in tradition to out in avant-garde. “It’s an honor to be in their presence,” said Iyer. “I just bask in their tremendous wisdom. They have taught me a great deal about music and life.” On Feb. 21, the Cuban pianist, who plays from classical to his island rhythms of Cuba and straight-ahead; Marilyn Crispel (Feb. 22), the avant-garde musician was a member of Anthony Braxton’s Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble. Jason Moran (Feb. 23), who brings an innovative freshness to the music of Fats Waller and James Reese Europe closes with Trio 3.
“We thought Vijay and Jason were a good connection since we have played and recorded with them in the past,” stated Lake. “Marilyn has played with Reggie and Andrew over the years and have a good groove happening.” Lake says the Trio will play new pieces from him and Cyrille and guest pianists will also offer compositions. “Marilyn and I go back about 30 years,” said Workman. “We have recorded and played together it’s good to have her back on the band stand.”
For reservations 212-576-2232 or visit jazzstandard.com.
Pearl Cleage is a renowned playwright and novelist. If at this stage of the game you have yet to witness one of her plays, it’s time. Her play “Blues for an Alabama Sky” directed by LA Williams, runs now through March 14, Keen Company at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd Street, Manhattan.
It’s the summer of 1930 and the promises of the Harlem Renaissance are giving way to the dashed dreams of the Great Depression. Playwright Cleage tells a strikingly modern story about four friends whose lives and passions collide when an innocent newcomer from Alabama arrives in New York. This is the play’s first performances since its premiere in Atlanta 25 years ago.
Cleage borrows heavily from her life experiences. Many of her novels are set in neighborhoods in Atlanta, Ga.
Some of her plays have been produced by Black theater companies in New Jersey and New York City, and have won AUDELCO Awards over the years. For more information, call Telecharge at 212-947-8844.