The tenor saxophonist, composer, arranger and vocalist Camille Thurman has become a regular performer (as a leader and contributor) at Dizzy’s Club and can often be seen hitting those swinging notes with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. On June 3-4, Thurman and the Darrell Green Quartet will make their Appel Room (60th Street at Broadway) debut for two-shows each night at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
As a tenor saxophonist and vocalist, Thurman is always looking to explore different aspects of the music. Thurman has performed the songs of Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald which is no easy task particularly if spiked with some bebop scating which Thurman does so well. For this outing she will present Burt Bacharach Reimagined, infusing her style of jazz into some of Bacharach’s most famous songs including “The Look of Love,” “Going Out of My Head,” and “(They Long to Be) Close to You.”
Bacharach, one of the most important songwriters of the 20th century, also crossed genres. As a teenager he was influenced by the styles of Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. Bacharach’s unusual chord progressions, influenced by jazz harmony, are a flawless match for the jazz saxophonist. With Reimagined, Thurman gets the opportunity to examine his pop songs as well as some tunes that became R&B hits such as “Make It Easy on Yourself” (Jerry Butler) and his 20-year collaboration with singer Dionne Warwick, with 38 singles making the charts and 22 in the Top 40.
Look for Thurman’s Reimagined to be a striking perspective taking in all the elements of jazz and her early romance with R&B and Bacharach’s pop hits with assistance from her long-time intuitive Darrell Green Quartet.
For tickets visit the website jazz.org.
On June 3, the Steven Kroon Latin Jazz Sextet will bring hot, spicy salsa rhythms and melodic sounds of the Black diaspora to Dizzy’s for one night only. The New York, Harlem-born native’s established ensemble will include pianist/keyboards Igor Atalita, vibraphonist James Shipp, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, saxophonist/flute Craig Rivers and drummer Diego Lopez with special guest saxophonist/flautist Ron Blake.
Over the years Kroon has made a name for himself playing with Ron Carter, Diana Krall, Roberta Flack and Luther Vandross. He has recorded his last six albums under his own label Kroonatune Records.
Kroon’s hot-tempered congas and multitude of percussive sounds will have you moving on the edge of your seat.
For tickets and reservations visit the website jazz.org.
The native Philadelphian NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath (who died in January 2020) was recently honored with the unveiling of a street with his name, James Edward Heath Way, at 114th Street and 34th Avenue, in Corona, New York, where he and his family lived for many years.
City Council Member Francisco Moya hosted the event, with the participation of leaders of local cultural organizations: Robin Bell-Stevens, director & executive producer Jazzmobile; Frank H. Wu, Queens College president; and Heath’s widow Mona Brown Heath and family members. The Louis Armstrong Elementary School (P.S.143Q) Glee Club and Band performed in Heath’s honor. Heath’s fellow musicians who came to play included trumpeter Jimmy Owens, saxophonist Patience Higgins, and his former student saxophonist Antonio Hart, director of the music department at Queens College.
Heath, the saxophonist, composer, author and Grammy nominee who was on the scene during the bebop era and influenced by Charlie Parker, was an advisory board member of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. He taught at Jazzmobile and was among the founders of the Queens College Jazz Program, where he taught for more than two decades.
There is one instrument, the calliope, that was making heads turn in Washington, D.C. at the Sculpture Garden on the National Mall.
The calliope is a keyboard musical instrument resembling an organ and consisting of a series of whistles sounded by steam or compressed air. It was once a regular sight at carnivals and on riverboats years ago. But this calliope, a temporary installation that closed on May 19, entitled “The Katastwóf Karavan” and which looks like a circus wagon, was designed in 2018 by artist Kara Walker, and plays music composed by the risk-taking pianist, composer Jason Moran. The pianist saw composing music for the calliope as a unique opportunity to bring a totally new instrument into the jazz forum.
With the artist’s signature black and white silhouettes made from cut steel and set in a parade wagon, the 32-note steam-whistle organ was programmed with a new automated playlist of songs of jazz, gospel and songs that in Walker’s words, represent both “Black protest and celebration” for its Washington, D.C. debut. Moran played the custom fabricated instrument (live during the exhibition) to demonstrate “music as bearer of our emotional history,” as Walker describes.
For the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series, Moran and Walker discussed the significance of activating this monument together on the National Mall.
Walker made this sculpture for the Prospect.4 Triennial in New Orleans to create a temporary memorial at Algiers Point, a site in the city along the Mississippi River which once served as a holding area for enslaved Africans.
“How that event translates into wanting to build a calliope is kind of anyone’s guess. But it meant I went into an internet rabbit hole of steam enthusiasts,” Walker told an audience at the National Gallery of Art, where the piece is part of an exhibition called Afro-Atlantic Histories.