This year has been filled with challenges and revealing revelations, many have lost jobs and opportunities. Some of us have lost family members, and endearing friends. Society lost a host of iconic musicians, and most recently the South African warrior Archbishop Desmond Tutu. While this dreadful COVID-19 pandemic with its new variant “Omicron” continues to keep our lives grasped in its uncertainty and frustration, we are committed to move forward. Regardless of circumstances we assess the situation and make adjustments. We stand tall with the whispered wisdom of our ancestors, offering compassion, understanding and prayers to fellow human beings. We continue to pay tribute to all the healthcare workers who enter the battlefield on a daily basis. Everyone cherishes those loud sounds, the bangs, clangs, shouts, claps and yells that took place on a daily basis at 7 p.m., at the height of the pandemic. The sounds were reminiscent of a furious jam session with Sun Ra, Burnt Sugar and Cecil Taylor.
Music represents the smoothing rhythms that radiate souls and keeps folks moving with a hip flow with melodies of confidence and hope, don’t stop dancing, don’t stop moving to the groove. It’s time to celebrate a New Year 2022 with all the gusto and jubilation possible!!!
Last year’s celebration was all virtual; this year people will return to Times Square for the countdown of the Big Ball but there will be restrictions on large crowds and CDC regulations will be in place.
Also once again some jazz clubs will be open for celebrations;
Sista’s Place (456 Nostrand Avenue), the noted swinging oasis in the heart of Brooklyn’s BedStuy section, will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with Reggie Woods Quintet featuring trumpeter Jon Mark McGowan, pianist Anthony Wonsey, bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Winard Harper. This is an undeniable all-star cast and despite the temperature for the evening Sista’s Place will be hot with flaming rhythms. Two sets at 9 and 10:30 p.m. Celebrate live in person for reservations call 718-398-1766 or visit the website sistasplace.org.
Dizzy’s Jazz Club (60th Street & Broadway) will ring in the New Year with bassist and composer Carlos Henriquez and his nonet featuring tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, vocalist/flutist and Spanish Harlem Orchestra member Jeremy Bosch, trumpeter Terrell Stafford, pianist Robert Rodriguez, trumpeter Michael Rodriguezm, trombonist Marshall Gilkes, drummer Obed Calvaire and congas and vocals Anthony Almonte. Henriquez, a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, covers the traditions of both jazz and Afro Cuban music. He is a virtuoso, who masterfully adds his experience and sounds of the boogie-down Bronx to his Latin jazz in-fusion. When he isn’t performing with JALCO, he leads his own small groups. Celebrate more deliberate good vibes for 2022 with great food and the best in jazz. The 7:30 p.m. show is $285 per person which includes cover, food, gratuity and a welcome champagne toast. The 11 p.m. show is $400 per person and includes pre-concert reception, cover, food, gratuity and champagne toast at midnight. Visit the website jazz.org.
Keystone Korner in Baltimore features legendary saxophonist Gary Bartz/Cyrus Chestnut & Affirmation performing Dec. 30-Jan. 1, 2022. Gary Bartz/Cyrus Chestnut & Affirmation: Swing into The New Year! We could not be more deeply grateful about the swinging and soulful music that Gary Bartz, Cyrus Chestnut, saxophonist Tim Green, bassist Obasi Akoto, and drummer/vocalist and Baltimore native Eric Kennedy are sharing with us as they lift our spirits with every note this at Keystone Korner Baltimore on Dec. 30-Jan. 1. All shows are in person and virtual. For reservations and virtual tickets call 410-946-6726 or keystonekornerbalitmore.com.
Regardless of where you go for New Years Eve, it’s all about the celebration with family, friends or maybe solo just taking stock for the 365 days to come. Most of all have a most joyous Happy New Year, health and happiness. As for jazz this is the music—the Black music—that keeps hearts in a dance trance and souls swinging, no matter what the challenges.
I am eternally grateful for your continued support of this column and most of all for this publication. All the best to you in the New Year…