Amina Claudine Myers Credit: Michael Lucio Sternbach photo

Live music has thankfully returned throughout New York City with the Vision 25 Festival celebrating the best in avant garde jazz. The Vision Festival may be the only festival in America that presents live in your face avant garde music with vigor, along with hard-hittin’ poets and dancers in the modern and jazz tradition. This year it takes place in two separate venues with over 100 musicians and will also be live-streamed.

Vision 25 takes place July 22-23 and July 29-30 in Brooklyn at Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street) and on Manhattan’s lower Eastside July 24-25 and July 31 at La Plaza at the Clemente (114 Norfolk Street).

The Vision 25 kicks off July 22 in Brooklyn with an Opening Healing Ceremony that features bassist, composer and poet William Parker, dancer Patricia Nicholson, vocalist Jean Carla Rodea and drummer composer T.A. Thompson (6 p.m.). At 8 p.m. catch the pianist and composer Matthew Shipp String Trio with Mat Maneri on viola and bassist William Parker. At 9 p.m. a duo that is bound to have you in an uproar pianist Dave Burrell & alto saxophonist Darius Jones.

On July 23, Arts For Art will acknowledge the pianist organist, composer and vocalist Amina Claudine Myers for her Lifetime of Achievement. She is an exceptional artist who has added so much to the important tradition of Black musical forms. The Arkansas native became an early member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), composing new works for voice and instruments and carving out a unique path unrestricted by any one genre. She has mentored many young musicians around the globe, and especially for women, she has been a shining and all too rare example.

Myers will perform in various configurations during the evening at 6:30 p.m. it’s Amina Claudine Myers Voice Octet featuring vocalist Fay Victor, Lisa Sokolov, mezzo-soprano the pianist Cooper Moore will offer vocals as a baritone and bass. At 9 p.m. a documentary by Moon Lasso, Reflections: A Portrait of A.C. Myers, produced by AFA. At 9:30 p.m. Myers concludes her celebrated evening leading a trio playing piano and the soulful Hammond B-3 organ and piano with bassist Jerome Harris and drummer Reggie Nicholson.

On July 24 the venue moves to The Clemente featuring an all-star quartet ElectroFLUTTER with vocalist Fay Victor, composer, flutist and arranger Nicole Mitchell on electronics, pianist Angelica Sanchez and bassist/guitarist Jamaaladeen Tacuma. On July 25 see all-seasoned blues guitarist and vocalist James Blood Ulmer Odyssey with a rare mix of violinist Charles Burnham and drummer Warren Benbow. On July 29 the incredible tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis Quartet with Cuban pianist Aruan Ortiz, bassist Brad Jones and drummer Chad Taylor and at 9:45 p.m. the enduring collaborative star Trio 3 featuring alto saxophonist Oliver lake, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille and special guest pianist. On July 30 it’s David Murray Octet Revival with an outrageous cast. July 31 at The Clemente is a special tribute to drummer, percussionist, researcher/inventor, and visual artist/sculptor Milford Graves. 

“Vision 25: Breaking Free. Coming Home––the message is empowerment. We are getting ready for the 25th Vision Festival in a Time of uncertainty, with opportunities for struggle and fear of failure,” stated Vision founder and dancer Patricia Nicholson. “Our Creativity is our secret power. The Visionary Music, the Poetry, the Art and the Dance has each artist giving their all to create an alchemy, that shines a light so that we can imagine a way forward.”

For a complete schedule and tickets visit the website artsforart.org

On July 24 Central Park will seem like another galaxy when the legendary galactic Sun Ra Arkestra hits SummerStage (Rumsey Playfield) 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty and DJ Greg Caz will also perform.

The Arkestra originally headlined the SummerStage festival for its first-ever concert back in 1986 at the Central Park Bandshell, when they were still fronted by their eccentric piano and synthesizer player, poet and cosmic bandleader Sun Ra. Since his death in 1993, the ensemble has been led by saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Marshall Allen. At age 96, Allen says he is not a Sun Ra clone but is carrying on the tradition and legacy of his music and indomitable spirit, perpetuating his unique contributions to jazz and Afrofuturism.

The Arkestra is an avant-garde history lesson in cosmic jazz, incorporating elements from throughout jazz history, including ragtime, swing, bebop, and fusion. Their performance is an exhilarating experience that can’t be matched or experienced with any other jazz group. They offer a Ring house experience that causes you to dance wildly, clap your hands, shout and holler an experience that dates back to our ancestors.

They’re joined by Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty, who include clarinetist/vocalist Angel Bat Dawid, pianist/vocalist Anaiet and bassist Brooklynn Skye Scott, an all-female Chicago-based ensemble that leans on improvisation and spontaneous compositions, evolving from the Black music traditions of Chicago. They are active Chicago Black Artist Union members. DJ Greg Caz is known as the mad scientist, who always has his own order in the great chaos. 

For tickets and complete listings visit the website www.nysmusic.com/summerstage-2021.