The pianist and composer Orrin Evans is independent, innovative and always exploring new jazz terrain closer to the outer limits.
On May 19 the Orrin Evans Trio will bring a unique dynamic perspective to the music of genius pianist Thelonious Monk, to Dizzy’s stage for two sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. One night for this trio isn’t justice, so be there. His big deal ferocious trio of intuitive autonomous like-minds are bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts.
This one-night experience will surely turn your head and move your fingers. “I enjoy playing his music; pre-COVID we performed Monk compositions at Smoke on an annual basis, so this is a good fit,” said Evans.
Some of Evans’ fearless projects include Captain Black Big Band, Eubanks Evans Experience (dynamic duo with guitarist Kevin Eubanks) and Tar Baby, his 20-year collaborative effort with Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits. Good news for Tar Baby fans: the trio are putting the final touches on their next album so stay tuned.
Evans will improvise on Monk’s improvisations for two sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For tickets, visit the website jazz.org.
This mini-Monk series continues May 20-21 featuring The Young Monk Project with the fiery vibraphonist out of Chicago Joel Ross, pianist Sean Mason, saxophonist Zoe Obadia, U.K. bassist Mark Lewandowski and Detroit drummer Kayon Gordon. This is a devoted band of bandleaders and rising stars, five young artists, have not played together but have admired each other from afar. They each bring their own arrangements embracing the compositions and spirit of their iconoclastic improvising hero Thelonious monk.
Two sets each night 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Dizzy’s. For a complete listing of series visit the website jzz.org.
Jimmy Heath was so good on alto saxophone, he was called “Little Bird,” Charlie Parker’s nickname. A young Heath, not really overjoyed that some felt his sound was similar to his idol, immediately switched to tenor saxophone which he mastered while perfecting his talent playing flute.
Little did he know that tenor sax would take him around the world multiple times before leading him to the ivey walls of Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College where he became a professor and founded the jazz program in 1986 and helped create its master’s curriculum up until his retirement a decade later. The saxophonist, composer, arranger and big band leader was responsible for bringing the likes of Donald Byrd and Roland Hanna to the faculty. The program grew to attract students from around the world to study jazz. Many of Heath’s students graduated to successful musical careers, winning Grammys, touring globally, and becoming published scholars and writers.
On May 21, the first Queens College Jimmy Heath Scholarship Concert will take place in LeFrak Concert Hall (153-49 Reeves Ave., Flushing Queens). Some of the many invited special guests will include trumpeter Jimmy Owens, pianist Emmet Cohen, trombonist Robin Eubanks and saxophonist Mark Gross.
“This is more a celebration of his life which we didn’t get the opportunity to celebrate during the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Queens College professor and Director of the Jazz Studies Program saxophonist/composer Antonio Hart. “Master Heath started this program and it gives our students an opportunity to be active in this celebration. They wouldn’t be here without him.”
Heath’s book co-authored with Joseph McLaren “I Walked With Giants: The Autobiography of Jimmy Heath” (Temple University Press 2010) discusses his sometimes complicated journey to becoming an elder in the jazz world. As a leader he recorded over 20 albums and 10 with the Heath Brothers. Some of the musicians he played with include Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Kenny Durham, Charles Tolliver, Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie. The native of Philadelphia continued as an innovator performing, composing, teaching, touring and conducting while mentoring countless students and established musicians until his death at 93 (1926-2020).
“I am very thankful that Master Heath brought me in and had the confidence in me to succeed him, my degree is education so it was a perfect match,” said Hart.
This concert will raise funds to support the Jimmy Heath Scholarship Fund at Queens College. In-person tickets: $25 General, $10 Students. Livestream broadcast tickets: $10 minimum donation; for more information visit the website: https://kupferbergcenter.org/event/the-jimmy-heath-scholarship-fund-concert/
The 11th annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition is a giant step to getting the right attention—being talented is only half the journey, the right people need to see and hear you after you have mesmerized your entire family and community. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has just announced the competition is now open until Sept. 6; solo vocalists from around the world are encouraged to submit their entries. In fall 2022, the top five finalists will be announced followed by a star-studded final performance on the NJPAC stage.
The Competition, also known as “The SASSY Awards,” is open to singers over the age of 18, of all genders and nationalities, from anywhere in the world, and not signed by a major label. Entrants are judged on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation, and ability to swing.
Some of the past young jazz vocalists winners who continue to make noted progress in the jazz world are Cyrille Aimee, Jazzmeia Horn, Samara Joy and G. Thomas Allen. The competition pays tribute to NEA Jazz Master Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990), who won an amateur night at the Apollo Theater talent show in 1942 as a teenager from Newark, New Jersey.
On Nov. 20, 2022, the finalists will compete at NJPAC in front of a live audience and before a distinguished panel of judges, including jazz violinist Regina Carter, NJPAC’s Jazz Advisor and multi-Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride, drummer T.S. Monk, NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider, and WBGO Radio personality Pat Prescott. The first-prize winner of The SASSY Awards will receive a $5,000 cash award, second-place $1,500, and third-place $500.
For more information about The SASSY Awards, visit SarahVaughanCompetition.com.