There is no better fit for Sista’s Place (456 Nostrand Avenue) on November 11, than Greg Lewis better known as “Organ Monk.” He brings a funky soulness to his many favorite Thelonious Monk tunes in his assorted arsenal. The Sista’s Place family love jazz but they like a little spice in the swing, some soul in that harmony.
“Thelonious Monk’s sense of harmony was so fresh and savory that it would be nice to have individual moments of it frozen, expanded, and prolonged, just to let the sounds get deeper in the ear, to let those mixed colors intensify and explode,” said Lewis. “One could do it digitally, feeding Monk’s music through the right tools, but as an organ player I can do it in real time by keeping the keys pressed down.” Once the New York-area musician divorced his piano to satisfy his newfound interest, he devoted his time to practicing the organ while committing the transfer of Monk’s genius repertory to the Hammond C3 organ.
Lewis can usually be found leading a quartet of abled musicians on tenor saxophone, guitar, and drums. Regardless of his configuration, rest assured the evening will be an excursion of soul-stirring Monk tunes and a few Lewis originals, in the tradition of such organ greats as Jimmy Smith, Charles Earland, Larry Young and Dr. Lonnie Smith.
There will be two shows at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For reservations call (718)-398-1766.
The renaissance music man, drummer, percussionist, and composer Will Calhoun brings his astonishing organic boundless in-and-out repertoire to Dizzy’s jazz club (60th Street & Broadway) on Wednesday, November 15, two shows only at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Calhoun will be joined by the creative forces of tenor saxophonist Emilio Modeste, pianist Orrin Evans, bassist John Benitez, and special vocal guest Corey Glover (his band member from Grammy-winning group Living Colour).
Calhoun is a seeker of truth, an ancestral spirit consistently looking to bridge musical gaps regardless of genre, a term not included in his vocabulary. As a Bronx cat, he brings that rhythmic hip hop Bronx flava.
In his continual search to carry on the drumming tradition of the ancestors during his various tours, he makes a point of traveling to small villages in Mali, Senegal, Belize, and Northern Brazil in an effort to learn and gain wisdom from the elders. “I am always looking to document and study the history of drums, rhythm, sonic vibrations, and their impact on modern music,” said Calhoun.
The multi-time Grammy winner is at the forefront of this music called jazz. His musical expeditions continue to bring new and exciting perspectives to this forum from his explorations of Afrofuturism, avant-garde with urban beats, blues, Indigenous sounds, and West African rhythms all merging from the Black diaspora.
For Calhoun playing music regardless of its origin is key, but just as significant is understanding from where the music came and its history.. His music is a panoramic view of the world stretching to the Australian Outback.
Calhoun says he wants to keep it open and play what feels good. His repertoire may have vocalist Glover performing a Bill Withers tune with that soul blues vibe. “I really want to play an early Jackie McLean tune from his bop days, along with Wayne Shorter and Mongo Santamaria,” said Calhoun.
Be ready for an evening where the music hits you like a bum rush rapper’s delight, hip as a Wayne Shorter tune, with as many colorful styles as a kaleidoscope, and of course the master drumming of Calhoun.
It’s always concerning why someone with as much creative musicianship as Calhoun is only making his second appearance at Dizzy’s. His resume more than speaks for his accomplishments. Let’s hope this drummer gets his just desserts and is offered at least a week’s engagement. He more than deserves such a stint which his drums will surely demonstrate.
For reservations visit the website jazz.org.
Ok, forgive for this short column which I am currently writing on the rooftop restaurant of the San Marino Hotel in Ghana. My plane is leaving soon, getting to the airport is a priority. More on Ghana later…