Jazz Summer 2005

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra
June 16

Tonic, 107 Norfolk, 212-358-7501. The gregarious slide trumpeter (think Cab Calloway meets Jon Stewart) takes a break from Sex Mob to coax, nudge, and hector his often bemused nonet through obscure early-20th-century tunes and unexpectedly rewarding pop covers. Easily the city's sassiest big group and, potentially, its best. GEHR

James Carter
photo: Courtesy James Carter
James Carter


'Voice' Jazz Supplement

Institutionalized: JAZZ and the retailer/record label/arts center/museum/university/conservatory

  • Post-Bop Shopping
    by Francis Davis

  • Uncharted World of Independent Labels
    by Tom Hull

  • Beyond Clubland—and Repertory
    by Larry Blumenfeld

  • Jazz Goes to College
    by Nate Chinen

  • The New Apprenticeship
    by D.D. Jackson

  • Whit Dickey, Rob Brown, Joe Morris & Roy Campbell+David Budbill, William Parker & Hamid Drake+Eloping With the Sun+Other Dimensions in Music & Sound Vision Orchestra+Bill Dixon Quartet+Positive Knowledge
    June 17

    Vision Festival, Angel Orensanz Art Center, 172 Norfolk, 212-780-0175. Though drummer Dickey and trumpeter Campbell's multimedia performance should turn heads, the other features of the evening are just as promising. Budbill is a writer-poet, festival regular, and something of a country mouse—very gentle, quiet, and thoughtfully provocative. Coming off the success of their recent record, Eloping With the Sun appear here in their first live performance. Other Dimensions in Music (Roy Campbell Jr., Daniel Carter, William Parker, and Rashid Bakr) are an embarrassment of riches, but here they up the ante with a 12-piece band featuring horns and strings. Cult figure-trumpeter-educator Dixon proves that octogenarians can still blow, while the well-named Positive Knowledge feature poet Ijeoma Thomas and her multi-reed husband, Oluyemi. GROSS

    Dave Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters
    June 17-19

    JVC Jazz Festival, Jazz Standard, 116 E 27th, 212-576-2232. The latest travelogue of the master saxophonist, now a mere 50 years young, takes him (and us) to the Caribbean and West Africa, which as we've seen aren't that far apart musically. Don't worry—he's still a jazzman to the bone, but he's not afraid of adding infectious rhythms to his always fascinating mix. GROSS

    Leroy Jenkins & Felicia Norton+Billy Bang, Shoji Hano, Ngo Thanh Nahn & Todd Nicholson+PaNic+Joe McPhee & Lori Freedman+Eddie Gale Now Band+Peter Brötzmann & Nasheet Waits
    June 18

    Vision Festival, Angel Orensanz Art Center, 172 Norfolk, 212-780-0175. It's violin night, featuring heavyweights Billy Bang and Leroy Jenkins, each with his own group. It's also an evening of dance, featuring festival organizer Patricia Nicholson (in PaNic). Anyone doubting that a bow and fleet feet can't make an effective duo (in Jenkins's case) will recall the amazing set by the late bassist Peter Kowald a few Vision Fests ago. Powerhouse saxman Brötzmann is undoubtedly the star of the evening, one reason being that he plays here so infrequently. McPhee isn't just a regular member of Brötzmann's ensembles—he's a poet with and without his sax. Trumpeter Eddie Gale is as comfortable with microchips as Graham Haynes or Jon Hassell. GROSS

    Karen Borca Quintet+Rob Brown Ensemble+Dennis Gonzalez Yells at Eels & Oliver Lake+Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra+Joelle Léandre & India Cooke+Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Sabir Mateen & Han Bennink
    June 19

    Vision Festival, Angel Orensanz Art Center, 172 Norfolk, 212-780-0175. Borca is a criminally underrated player—maybe because she happens to be a female soloist, but also because the bassoon is her instrument of choice. Dennis Gonzalez Yells at Eels is a great band name, and you have to give the trumpeter credit for respecting his elders in song and for including saxophonist Lake in his band. William Parker's orchestra (Little Huey) is a fine group to close the festival. Since he's ubiquitous, he's also teaming with Shipp and Mateen in another mighty ensemble. You might lose count about how many times Parker appears in this festival, and admittedly he helps organize the whole thing, but his playing does bring a satisfying unity to the proceedings. GROSS

    Marc Ribot's Spiritual Unity Featuring Henry Grimes
    June 21

    Tonic, 107 Norfolk, 212-358-7501. Sound familiar? The title is Albert Ayler's; the concept is fair use. The soul, well, that's trickier, but Ribot's imposing new album bares all three with a grab bag of elements—spidery touch, jagged rhythms—brought to a far-fetched climax by Henry Grimes, Ayler's onetime bandmate and a refreshing, vicious bassist with comeback bragging rights. KING

    Kurt Elling & the Laurence Hobgood Trio
    June 21-25

    Birdland, 315 W 44th, 212-581-3080. Kurt Elling has always had a unique take on originals and covers, balancing tradition with new ideas—the recent Man in the Air included several gutsy covers, including a version of Coltrane's "Resolution" that was augmented by the singer's own lyrics. Here he and his regular trio will be joined by lions young and old. With Bobby Watson (June 22), Kurt Rosenwinkel (June 23), Stefon Harris (June 24), and Four Brothers Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy, and Andy Bey (June 25). HENDRICKSON

    Don Byron: 'Almost Complete'
    June 21-26

    JVC Jazz Festival, Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave S, 212-255-4037. By now, Byron straddles more genres than a free-form radio station (not to mention Mos Def or OutKast). For an almost week-long run, he's corralling a trio, quintet, sextet, and big band. He deserves such a wide-ranging display of his talents as a bandleader, but he also deserves a full-size orchestra behind him. GROSS

    Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette & Gary Peacock
    June 22

    JVC Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, 57th & Seventh Ave, 212-247-7800. Over the course of two decades, these dependable dazzlers have evolved into jazz's most incandescent trio. And while their Yoda-like pianist unearths new emotional revelations in every standard he touches, the group soars highest during its all too infrequent netless improvisations steered by a peerless percussionist. GEHR

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