Live music in front of live audiences is finally a reality back in time for the summer. Yes, we missed a year boarded in the house from COVID-19’s disastrous germs but now the sun is shining bright and the pandemic while not eradicated allows outdoor and indoor activities to resume.
Harlem Jazz Boxx, which has been bringing you live jazz since 2014, returns with international musicians playing in the community, every Friday evening (7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) at the Greater Calvary Baptist Church, 43-55 West 124th Street.
Trombonist, composer, arranger and producer Craig Harris leads the Harlem Nights house band featuring bassist Calvin Jones, keyboards Yayoi Ikawa and drummer Toney Lewis. Special guest saxophonists joining the series will include: June 11 saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist and composer Jay Rodriguez; June 18 alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader Darius Jones; and June 25 saxophonist, flautist and composer TK Blue.
“The CDC is opening everything totally on June 15 but although the capacity at the church is about 350, we are only seating 100, which allows for those who still aren’t 100% about being in a full capacity situation,” stated Harris, a co-founder of Harlem Jazz Boxx. “It is very important to keep music in the community. When I was growing up playing in the park every summer we heard Count Basie and Clark Terry playing although we were playing and not paying attention. Now years later I’m doing the same thing in the community trying to keep it alive like the AACM [Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians] did back in the day.” As far as live performances now being accompanied by live streams, Harris noted, “There has to be a serious conversation regarding musicians getting paid for the live streams that could very well be sold later to another company.”
Harris was the composer for the “Judas and the Black Messiah” film soundtrack which has received great accolades as a film and for the music. The artist H.E.R. received a Grammy for her single featured in the film. “The feedback on the film was great and the timing was perfect with all the protests going on in the country with the Black Lives Matter Movement. I am looking for more film work and studying the field.”
During pre-COVID-19 Harlem Jazz Boxx also presented a daytime lunch jazz performance but Harris noted, “We are waiting to see how this evening series progresses; the community’s support is very important.”
All Tickets are $20 per person. For more information visit the website Harlemjazzboxx.com.
Harlem’s own Berta Indeed presents Berta’s Allstars featuring Atiba & The Befo Quotet, on June 11 (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.) at Grant’s Tomb, 122nd Street and Riverside Drive. The live music takes place every Friday.
There is a sustaining message in The Befo Quotet. “Rhythm is the primary foundation of all African music,” says Atiba, the bandleader, flautist, vocalist and percussionist. We [Africans] developed rhythmic harmony that connects African people all over the world, complementary rhythms with multiple rhythms that complement each other. We provide cultural nutrition throughout the community, we provide edutainment to the community, education for entertainment.” The quartet was renamed quotet by Atiba because he says, “Quotet is more flexible than quartet since it fluctuates on a regular basis.” They play music that make you want to move. Point Berta has an eye for talent similar to Art Blakey. After all she did organize the house band for St. Nick’s Pub that included saxophonist Patience Higgins, bassist Andy McCloud and drummer Dave Gibson. The lady knows her music.
For more information call 646-705-2932.
The Newport Jazz Festival that set the standard for festivals throughout the world returns to live performances with its 2021 lineup. The three-day concerts July 30 through Aug. 1 will include Christian McBride, Wynton Marsalis, Mavis Staples, Terri Lyne Carrington and Academy Award nominee Andra Day.
The 2021 festival will feature Robert Glasper as its artist in residence. Plus, bassist and Newport Jazz Artistic Director Christian McBride will be a featured performer, leading his band A Christian McBride Situation and as a member of the Jam Jawn group with John Scofield, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo.
Performers on July 30 will include Wynton Marsalis, Robert Glasper & Terrace Martin Present “Dinner Party,” A Christian McBride Situation, Catherine Russell, Arturo and Adam O’Farrill. On July 31 performers will be Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Mavis Staples, Ledisi Sings “Nina Simone,” Robert Glasper Acoustic Trio + DJ Jahi Sundance, Chris Potter Circuits Trio, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science and Immanuel Wilkins. The August 1 finale will include Andra Day, A Black Radio Production: Robert Glasper with Special Guests, The Jam Jawn: Christian McBride, John Scofield, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo, Charles Lloyd, The Jazz Gallery All-Stars (Jaleel Shaw, Morgan Guerin, Joel Ross, Charles Altura, Gerald Clayton, Kendrick Scott, Renee Neufville), and The Bogie Band featuring Joe Russo.
Fort Adams State Park will once again have the state of Newport, Rhode Island swinging. Ticket purchases include single tickets, three-day passes, and discounted tickets for children and students.
The festival will be making use of COVID-19 safety protocols, but complete details are still to come. Please note that you will most likely be subject to certain health protocols required at the time of the event that could include proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, temperature checks, social distancing and mask-wearing.
For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets visit the website newportjazz.org.