On Oct. 2, the Cultural Committee of St. Philip’s Church will renew its long-running presentations of Harlem Jazz Afternoon at the Undercroft (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.). The kickoff will feature the Reggie Pittman Quartet with pianist/vocals Mala Waldron, bassist Beldon Bullock and drummer Jonathan Peretz.  

For this performance Pittman says, “We will be playing straight-ahead jazz and some compositions by Jimmy Heath and Hugh Masekela, who both performed here at St. Philip’s.”    

The Grammy-award winning trumpeter and composer Pittman has been recording and performing in the New York City area for over 30 years. His openness to all types of music allows him to jump across genre boundaries to perform with an eclectic group of musicians such as Sarah Vaughan, Lester Bowie, Branford Marsalis, Queen Latifa, Eddie Palmieri, Aretha Franklin, and The Allman Brothers. He won a Grammy performing with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and was Grammy-nominated for his work with R&B vocalist/songwriter Babyface. He has performed with The Bergen and Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestras and the Ohio Chamber Orchestra.

When not leading his own bands, Pittman often performs with the Allman Brothers drummer, Jaimoe in his Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band. As a multi-instrumentalist, he plays piano and sings, while remaining true to his trumpet. “Music is my life. I had a burning desire to share this gift with others, through performing and teaching,” said Pittman.

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church is located at 204 West 134th Street (between ACP & Frederick Douglass Boulevards). Food and wine will be available. Tickets are $30; for more information call 917-301-6512.

On Oct. 5, The Jazz Gallery known for presenting and nurturing young musicians, as well as established musicians, who play on the outer limits of so-called jazz boundaries, will present Roscoe Mitchell & Anna Webber—The Margaret Whitton Award Culminating Concert, two shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.   

The saxophonist and composer Mitchell is one of the main forces in avant garde music. His music flows with a rhythmic complexity extracted from world music, funk, classical and rock. His creativity led him to becoming one of the original members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). He is the founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago (late 1960s) which included bassist Malachi Favors, saxophonist Joseph Jarman, and Lester Bowie on trumpet. Mitchell later formed the Creative Arts Collective in 1974, followed by the Sound Ensemble; he also began working with computers in improvisation. 

The saxophonist, flutist, and composer Anna Webber is an active member of the avant garde progression. Webber’s co-led Webber/Morris Big Band debut was included in The New York Times’ Best Jazz Albums of 2020; her release “Rectangles” appeared in the DownBeat Best Albums of 2020 list.

The Margaret Whitton Award is given once a year to a mid-career female musician to further her career development. The awardee studies with a seasoned jazz musician and further develops their craft (the awardee Whitton working with Mitchell). The Jazz Gallery was gifted a monetary donation to promote women in jazz. The late actress Whitton championed the cause of women in the arts. 

Individually Mitchell & Webber are experimental souls; together they will explore extended forms of composition and improvisation. It will be interesting to see what the student Webber has learned from her teacher and what they will perform as a duo is even more exciting.  

The Jazz Gallery is located at 1158 Broadway (5th fl). For reservations visit the website jazzgallery.org. 

The anticipated reopening of David Geffen Hall kicks off on Oct. 8 with two concerts featuring trumpeter, percussionist, and composer Etienne Charles’ new work, “San Juan Hill: A New York Story”—performed by Etienne Charles & Creole Soul, and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Charles’ ensemble Creole Soul includes pianist Sullivan Fortner, piano; bassist Ben Williams, drummer John Davis, guitarist Alex Wintz, saxophonist Godwin Louis, flutist Elena Pinderhughes, and DJ Logic on Turntables. Jazz fans will recognize these musicians and acknowledge this is an all-star cast. “I did a significant amount of research on this project to understand what the neighborhood was like prior to Lincoln Center and directly after its construction,” explained Charles. “Once I have the picture in my head everything strangely falls into place.” 

In addition to his band, Charles is working with a range of artists and academics on this commission, including special guests Carl Hancock Rux, Elena Pinderhughes, DJ Logic, and collaborating with playwright Eljon Wardally, video artist Maya Cozier, graffiti/visual artist Wicked GF (Gary Fritz), visual artist Bayete Ross Smith, and historian Julia Foulkes, among others. Aside from hearing good music, Charles says, “I hope the audience gets a different take on the neighborhood with more insight into the community and its history.”  

“San Juan Hill: A New York Story,” an immersive multimedia work transports the audience via music (ragtime, jazz, stride piano, swing, blues, mambo, paseo, Antillean waltz, calypso, funk), visuals, and original first-person accounts of the history of the San Juan Hill neighborhood and the indigenous and immigrant communities that populated the land in and around where Lincoln Center resides.

There will be two shows on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. David Geffen Hall is located inside Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (10 Lincoln Plaza, at 66th Street).

For ticket information visit the website lincolncenter.org/venue/davidgeffen. 

Recently Bill’s Place (one of the few real jazz clubs in Harlem) featured renowned saxophonist George Coleman (age 87), who hadn’t performed in Harlem in 40 years. He played before a packed house accompanied by keyboardist Keith Brown, bassist Zaid Shakuri and drummer Darryl Green. The NEA Jazz Master known for his work with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock was presented with the Jazz Icon Award by the Harlem Swing Street Art organization. 

Point of reference: The Smoke Jazz & Supper Club does have a chef; her name is Amanda Hallowell.

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