Neo-classical pianist and composer BLKBOK (Spencer Heyfron photos)

Arts for Art, the non-profit organization on the Lower East Side, is dedicated to bringing jazz to the community in its unapologetic revolutionary state no smooth no cool just straight-up what it is, truth music. 

November 10-12, AFA will continue the second day of its mission with their presentation of JAZZ LIBRE: Multi-Cultural FreeJazz, highlighting music of the African diaspora and Latin America. “In a World of Division—AFA brings Art that stands for Truth and Tolerance.” As Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month comes to a close, come listen enjoy music, dance and poetry. The event, now in its 11th year, will take place at The Clemente (107 Suffolk Street) in the Flamboyan Theater.  

November 10 at 7 p.m. will feature pianist/vocals Janice Lowe & Namaroon with Olithea Anglin on electronics and vocals, saxophone Ras Moshe and bassist guitarist Yohann Potico. The composer, poet and multi-disciplinary artist Lowe is the author of “Leaving CLE poems of nomadic dispersal” (Miami Press). She is the composer of the musicals “SIT-IN at the FIVE & DIME,” words by Marjorie Duffield, “SOMEWHERE IN TEXAS,” libretto by Charles E. Drew, Jr. and “LIL BUDDA,” text by Stephanie L. Jones. At 9 p.m. the tenor saxophonist producer composer James Brandon Lewis Dvorak Quartet will perform, is a visionary, who performs from varied creative plateaus.

On November 11 the series opens at 7 p.m. with the exciting pianist Angelica Sanchez with drummer Chad Taylor. Fred Moten poetry at 8:30 p.m. and at 9 p.m. Cooper-Moore Quartet with DoYeon Kim on gayageum, keyboardist Matt Mottel, percussionist Michael TA Thompson and Moore on piano and diddley bow. The final day November 12, 7 p.m. Colors of The Night, pianist Eri Yamamoto, bassist William Parker, drummer Ikuo Takeuchi, at 8pm the poet Bob Holman with the dynamic duo of pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker, at 9:30 p.m. Matthew Shipp on solo piano. 

“JAZZ LIBRE is a footstep into trying to get back to that unification of all music,” said bassist, poet, composer William Parker. “We listen to all kinds of music that is inspirational from Latin to John Coltrane to James Brown and Tito Puente, it’s a unity among the music, musicians and the community.”

For a complete schedule visit the website Artsforart.org. Tickets are $35 and live streaming is $10.  

Eunice Newkirk is known as a jazz singer but that term is so confining for such a multi-faceted singer whose roots began in the church giving her gospel blues timbre that captures the emotions of her life experiences. 

On November 12, you can experience her vocal journey “The Two Sides of Eunice” up close at W83 Redeemer Presbyterian Church (150 West 83rd Street), one show at 7 p.m. Newkirk will be joined by an accomplished Trio featuring pianist Eric Reed, bassist Tom DiCarlo and drummer McClenty Hunter.

Newkirk has enthralled audiences in South America, Asia and Europe, as well as performances throughout the United States. While diving deeper into her gospel roots and performing in churches on a regular basis, she has earned the title  “God’s Messenger.” She has an intuitive way of fusing her gospel roots into her jazz swing and pop rhythms.  

Tickets can be purchased on her website eunicenewkirk.com or purchased at the door. 

That old cliché, “looks are deceiving,” may have some relevance when BLKBOK (Black Bach) takes the stage at the Loft in City Winery (25 11th Ave. at 15th Street), on November 16 for one show at 7:30 p.m. 

Dressed in a t-shirt showing off his tattoos, baseball cap, jeans and high-top brand sneakers one immediately thinks he’s headed toward the mike to spit some dope rhymes. “I am a rapper, except I spit lyrics and tell my stories through my hands, and these notes,” BLKBOK Charles Wilson III raps. “You see me one way and hear me another.” The Detroit neo-classical pianist and composer was an acclaimed piano prodigy, at age 8, winning statewide accolades and college level competitions. Since that time, he has worked with acknowledged stars such as Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and John Mayer. ”I see myself as a disrupter; classical music needed an overhaul,” said the pianist. “I’m still discovering my own voice, it’s one big experiment. Mozart never played Detroit.” He is the B.I.G. of classical music with a softer voice perhaps he vocalizes the phrase verse or notes of the great Black pianist composer William Grant Still, who never received his just accolades in his world of segregated Jim Crowism.      

BLKBOK is touring in support of his 25-track opus “Black Book DLUX” (2022), released through Billy Mann and Benton James’ icon+giants. The largely instrumental work includes 11 poems written and narrated by award-winning Jamaican poet Lauren Delapenha and a standout vocal collaboration with Hamilton’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning Renée Elise Goldsberry on “My Life.” Through provocative singles including “Kendrick + Karine,” “November 7th, 2020,” “George Floyd and the Struggle for Equality,” and “Michelle’s First Day at the White House,” BLKBOK takes listeners on a musical journey that reflects these crucial times. The poems are sharp arrows of excruciating thought, some sweetened with the warmth of a mother’s bosom; his music is a deep river of bluesy improvisational classical soul. This album follows his critically acclaimed, neo-classical debut album “Black Book,” and various mixtape projects and collaborations. “I wasn’t classically trained in a conservatory or anything like that; I’m doing what hundreds of Black artists did before me just going to the lab and creating my own Black expression,” explained the musician. 

For tickets visit the website citywinery.com/newyork.

Some jazz musicians not only use their improvisational skills on the bandstand but on canvas using paint brushes as their instrument of choice. Some such artists will appear as The Art of Counterpoint 8 Musicians Make Art opens November 10 (6 p.m.-8 p.m.) thru January 10, 2023, at the Zurcher Gallery (33 Bleecker Street). The musicians featured are Marion Brown (who died in 2010, was a saxophonist, composer, writer, visual artist, and ethnomusicologist. He was part of the New York avant-garde jazz scene); Bill Dixon (who transitioned in 2010, was a trumpeter, composer, improviser, visual artist, activist, and educator); Douglas R. Ewart (is a Jamaican multi-instrumentalist and instrument builder, he plays sopranino and alto saxophones, clarinets, bassoon, flute, and bamboo flutes (shakuhachi, ney, and panpipes); Ted Joans (who transitioned in 2003 was a jazz poet, surrealist, trumpeter, and painter); Oliver lake (is an alto saxophonist, poet, arranger, his art work extends from shoes to wood and canvas); Matana Roberts (a must-hear saxophonist, who brings commentary to her music, her artwork which instantly grabs you, tends to lean toward large canvas installations); Cecile McLorin Salvant (the young jazz vocalist, who turns well-traveled tunes into shiny gems); and Wadada Leo Smith (the avant-garde trumpeter, who was one of three finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music, says he was into art since the age of 12. “It’s all about your identity,” he noted.)  

This exhibit will be just as exciting as the musicians’ live concerts. A grouping of these incredible artists’ works displayed at the same time may not exist again so make haste. 

The Jazz Gallery (1158-1160 Broadway) where the music is always straight up no chaser, no noisy ice machines, no scurrying waiters, order taking at tables, no shaken not stirred. No, just great uninterrupted music taking you on a venture to non-threating galaxies. Now thru November 14, The Jazz Gallery’s annual Fall Online Fundraising Auction is in full swing—visit the website and get your bids in there are some great gifts, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and delicious restaurant gift certificates excellent for first dates or anniversary dinner and more. Don’t lose out bid’em in get’em go to the website jazzgallery.org.

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