While the 92nd Street Y is a haven for intellectual thought, it nourishes the human spirit through the arts offering dancers, musicians, visual artists, poets, playwrights and novelists a haven to explore their creativity. One of their annual events is the The 92nd Street Y Jazz in July Festival from July 19-28, all shows begin at 7:30 p.m.
The festival opens with its artistic director pianist Bill Charlap and his longtime trio featuring bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington with special guest saxophonist Joshua Redman. Known as an explosive improvisor, Redman will add more steam to the trio’s lyrical drive.
On July 21 three generations of jazz piano masters will share the stage for the first time. NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, one of the few pianists who can swing a Thelonious Monk tune in his unique lyrical flair. Grammy award winner Bill Charlap, and Aaron Diehl (his wide intellect of the jazz spectrum incorporates the mastery of stride, blues, classical and straight ahead into one beautiful masterwork). The pianists will be joined by bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Lewis Nash.
On July 26, Grammy award-winning saxophonist Joe Lovano will join vibraphonist Warren Wolf whose enthralling sound captivates. The evening will also introduce the young vocalist whose name is on everyone’s lips, Samara Joy. The rhythm section will include pianist Charlap, bassist David Wong and drummer Carl Allen.
The final night of the festival July 28 will feature Blood, Sweat and Tears and Miles Davis alumnus guitarist Mike Stern and saxophonist Chris Potter. The ensemble will be rounded out with pianist Charlap, bassist Scott Colley, drummer Bill Stewart and tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover, the latest member of the all-star jazz female seven-piece ensemble ARTEMIS.
The Y is located at 1295 Lexington Avenue between 91st and 92nd. For ticket information visit the website 92ny.org.
When Harlem-born pianist and composer Onaje Allan Gumbs died in 2020 during the height of the pandemic there wasn’t much to be done to pay tribute in person. However, people such as Michelle Sajous, director of Community Services in Co-op City, the Jazz Foundation of America and his sister Linda Bannerman were diligently working on a tribute. Most recently their project came to fruition when DeKruit Place in (Dreiser Loop) Co-op City was co-named Onaje Allan Gumbs Way. The pianist was a longtime resident of Co-op City until his death.
Later that evening the celebration in Co-op City continued with the Onaje Allan Gumbs Tribute Band featuring members of his former bands playing his compositions; saxophonist Roger Bynam, bassist Marcus McLauren, percussionist Neil Clarke, drummer George Gray and pianist Sharp Radway (he was honored to sit in the pianist chair of Gumbs although he never played with him).
Gumbs early on earned a reputation as the musician to call having played with bassist Larry Ridley and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He was the musical director for Phyllis Hyman and a regular with outer limits drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson. As a leader he encompassed his experience of playing jazz, R&B and fusion. His music could not be categorized although his works represent a cross section of jazz fields. His many compositions engulfed a vibrant texture that enticed many musicians to record his works, as well as calling on him for his arrangement skills.
For five nights in July Fotografiska New York (281 Park Ave. S.) will host the inaugural Unfiltered Jazz Festival, featuring noted artists maybe not on the main radar (which makes it more compelling to attend) but who only understand playing in spaces of boundless possibilities.
Jazz music can be heard anywhere, the further away from an organized jazz club the better, it opens the parameters for a more diversified audience interested in the music.
July 14, Night II (Night I was last week) will feature the (trumpeter, vocals) Jennifer Hartswick Quartet, with pianist Joe Davidson, bassist Dezron Douglas, and drummer Conor Elmer. “I am thrilled to spend the evening with three of my dearest friends Dezron, Conor and Joe. We have all been making music with each other since childhood but it’s been years since we were on the same bandstand together,” said Hartswick. “It is sure to be an epic reunion.”
On July 20, the Jeff Beal Trio performs. The trumpeter will be joined by guitarist Steve Cardenas and bassist John Patitucci. If you ever watched Netflix’s “House of Cards” you’ve heard Beal’s music, he composed the score. The evening will include original compositions from his catalog of jazz & concert works and trio versions of originally written pieces including his theme from “Monk” (TV series).
On July 21 the Grammy nominated harpist Brandee Younger brings the traditions of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane to the stage, a combination of spirituality, jazz, classical and inspired improvisation. She was the first Black female solo artist nominated in the Best Instrumental Composition category for her song “Beautiful Is Black” from her major label debut album “Somewhere Different” (Impulse! 2021).
She will share the stage with vibraphonist Joel Ross. You aren’t a real jazzhead if you have yet to see Ross perform. Younger and Ross together will be an evening of spirited imagination. I can’t think of a more dynamic duo with instruments that are seldom mastered by the masses.
On July 22, the Brooklyn Raga Massive: Tribute to John McLaughlin with The Emerald Beyond. The lineup will include original member of Mahavishnu OrchestraPremik Russell Tubbs on woodwinds, drummer and percussionist Vin Scialla, Anupam Shobhakar on doubleneck fretless guitar, Neel Murgai on sitar, violinist Joe Deninzon, bassist Dan Asher and special guests.
While revisiting music selections from McLaughlin’s legendary “Mahavishnu” and “Shakti” albums of the 1970s and beyond, this group re-envisions his masterpieces and celebrates his solo and ensemble work with original music.
For ticket information visit the website at UnfilteredJazzFestivalFotografiskaNew York. All shows are at 7 p.m.