Heavy Duty


This list could have been twice as long, and even so, generally focuses on just one part of jazz, the broad mainstream. Where are the jazz stars of the new century? Right here, week after week—a few special events, but mostly the familiar rotation of musicians who are well known to jazz lovers and are plugged into the club circuit. In 1958, Stanley Dance coined the term “mainstream” to evoke the generation of musicians who preceded bop, but the term now takes in anyone with a touch of bop—however subtle—and a stake in keeping the stream flowing.


February 27-March 4

Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, 255-4037

One of the most dynamic altoists around, Bartz began as a ’60s comer and was reborn in the ’90s as a high-energy beacon of unreconstructed, all-out virtuoso fervor, sustaining the rigors of Coltrane and Parker with a serrated edge all his own. He leads a quintet.


February 27-March 4

Sweet Basil, 88 Seventh Avenue South, 242-1785

Beyond the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Brass Fantasy was Bowie’s most durable musical home—a unique ensemble with four trumpets, two trombones, French horn, tuba, and two percussionists, including Don Moye, who is featured in this revival launched in tribute. The repertory covers the waterfront and reflects the wit and wisdom of jazz’s surgeon general.


March 1 and 3

Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, West 65th Street and Broadway, 721-6500

No tenor saxophonist of the ’50s generation has a more buttery sound and fluent way of navigating changes than Golson. From his days with Dizzy and Blakey to his Jazztet with Art Farmer to his own bands (the recent Remembering Clifford on Milestone is an excellent example), he has remained a lyrical individualist and compelling tunesmith. For this concert he has written a new work, which he will debut with the LCJO.


March 13-18

The Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, 576-2232

When this alto saxophonist, with his high-caloric sound and fastidious drive, arrived in New York in the ’70s, he helped restore jazz’s creativity. Recent recordings show him to be no less robust and original. He leads a quartet.


March 13-18, 20-25

Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, 255-4037

One of the great piano trios of the day, with Peter Washington and Kenny Washington, this is a quintessential jazz-club experience. Flanagan’s dedi-cation to craft is apparent not only in his sublime inventiveness as an impro-viser but in his immersion in classic jazz repertory, which he has helped to codify over the past 20 years.


March 14-17

Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, 581-3080

At 80, Mumbles is an institution, an irresistible jazz humorist, whose wit is less verbal than musical—it’s in the marrow of his sound, unmistakable in its technical mastery and originality and puckish good cheer. His fine longtime quintet includes Don Friedman, a lyrical pianist, and David Glasser, a rare conservator of Benny Carter’s plum tones.


March 20-25

Iridium, 48 West 63rd Street, 582-2121

Though it has disappeared into the ether for years at a time, Murray’s octet remains one of the most consistently surprising and unpre-dictable ensembles in jazz. Last year, he debuted his Coltrane program here and subsequently recorded the outstanding Octet Plays Trane (Justin Time). This is a killer band, with longtime partners like Hugh Ragin, Craig Harris, Rasul Siddik, and the indefatigable James Spaulding, who never plays better than with Murray.


March 20-25

Sweet Basil, 88 Seventh Avenue South, 242-1785

Ever since Good Sam first brought his trio here a few years ago, he has been on a tear, offering something of a revelation concerning avant-gardism since the diners didn’t seem to mind or even notice that his continuous, if episodic and almost entirely impro-vised sets are no tamer than those in the ’70s, which provoked much head-scratching about free jazz.


March 24

Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, 864-5400

First, this 12-hour marathon event is free. Second, it promises a cast of some 150 performers, including Jimmy Cobb, David Sanchez, Dave Douglas, Don Byron, Eddie Henderson, Bob Beldon, Bobby Previte, Ben Allison, Joe Lovano, Idris Muhammad, Greg Tate, Ingrid Jensen, Terrell Stafford, Mulgrew Miller, Tom Harrell, Miles Evans, Wallace Roney, Uri Caine, Bill Frisell, and Maria Schneider’s orchestra. Third, it’s wall-to-wall Miles—every station of the cross in no particular order.


March 27-April 1

Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, 255-4037

Perez returns with the Motherland Project, the ensemble behind the pianist-composer’s ambitious CD of last year, though it was his work on the exceptional Roy Haynes Trio (Verve) that underscored his superb skills as a pianist. He alternates between bold block chords and ham-mered single tones and uncovers numerous ways to swing the blues.


April 3-8

Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, 255-4037

Mercurial, intense, and superbly inventive, Hutcherson continues to represent the cutting edge of the vibes nearly 35 years after his work on Destination . . . Out!, Out to Lunch, and his own Components certified him as the outstanding vibes player of his generation.


April 5-7

Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, 581-3080

Three near-legendary rhythm players from the dawn of new jazz: Paul Bley led the Hillcrest band that introduced Ornette and has made, at last count, four zillion albums; Paul Motian boosted the best of Bill Evans’s trios and became an innovative recording artist, inventing the Electric Bebop Band; and Gary Peacock progressed from West Coast calm to outer space with George Russell, Albert Ayler, Steve Lacy, and countless others.


April 17-22

Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, 255-4037

His place in the realm of jazz guitar is incontestable, and in recent years he has also emerged as a distinguished composer and arranger, as sampled on an exceptional ’98 Telarc CD, By Arrangement. More recently, his mastery of lyrical understatement and marked penchant for rhythm strum-ming was demonstrated on Grand Slam (Telarc). He leads a trio.


April 19-22

Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 219-3006

Morris has matured into a distinctive guitarist and bandleader whose music spills over with labyrinths of riffs, often in the higher frets, that have a mes-merizing ingenuity reminiscent of Ornette at full bore—enigmatic and compulsively listenable. His new trio includes his longtime drummer Jerome Duepree.


April 25-28

Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, 581-3080

Moody has lost nothing to time. His tenor can be ecstatic and convoluted or streamlined and soulful or both together. He has a quartet, and some-time during the evening he will play something that will cause your head to swivel 360 degrees.


May 8-13

Iridium, 43 West 63rd Street, 582-2121

Hubbard, a seminal trumpet star of the ’60s and after, has suffered from embouchure problems in recent years, but recoups this week with a nine-piece ensemble that should offer fuller explorations of his memorable compositions and spell him between flights of exhilaration.


May 18-19

Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, 581-3080

When Blood goes uptown it isn’t to reunite Odyssey or the various Music Revelation Ensemble bands. Instead, he moves slightly inside to what 35 years ago was considered extremely outside—to wit, the killer Trane-inspired rhythm team of John Hicks, Reggie Workman, and Rashied Ali.