The Best Jazz Shows in June

Blue Note Jazz Festival, Helen Sung Quartet, and more lead a great month for live jazz

Bill McHenry

June 24–29, Village Vanguard

Tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry has gained wisdom playing with the likes of Paul Motian and trumpeter John McNeil, though his newer partnership with drum sage Andrew Cyrille, documented on 2012's La Peur du Vide (Sunnyside), seems every bit as fruitful. Cyrille is a sculptor of the beat, ideally suited for McHenry's wry, elliptical phrase-making. They return to the Village Vanguard for five nights: first it's the Peur du Vide band with pianist Orrin Evans and bassist Eric Revis; then a McHenry-Cyrille duo night; then two nights with Cyrille, guitarist Ben Monder, and bassist Reid Anderson (the lineup from Roses and Ghosts of the Sun, sans Motian); and finally a quartet with pianist David Bryant and bassist Jonathan Michel.

Sam Newsome and Ethan Iverson

June 29, Greenwich House

Sam Newsome has brought a rare level of mastery and sonic imagination to the soprano saxophone. Few would dare to record the instrument wholly unaccompanied, as he's done since 2008 on Monk Abstractions, Blue Soliloquy, and The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 (all self-released). For sheer depth of knowledge and improvisational daring, it's hard to think of a better duo match than pianist Ethan Iverson — co-leader of The Bad Plus, must-read blogger and critic, and, like Newsome, one of Monk's most creative present-day disciples. They'll do their magic at Greenwich House's Sound It Out series on June 29. (Iverson also plays Birdland with the Billy Hart Quartet on June 3–8.)

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