Top Ten Jazz Shows in NYC This Month


These are the best jazz shows in the city for the month of November.

Houston Person
If you like to do sexy things with bath salts and aromatic candles, the tenor saxophonist Houston Person has your soundtrack. The 77-year-old elder of jazz is a gospel torchbearer of the slow, simmering ballad, and you can find him with his quartet on Friday, Nov. 9, at Jazz 966 in Brooklyn. Person also plays in a monthly Saturday series at the Metropolitan Room with singer Pamela Luss.

Jazz and Colors
On the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 10, several jazz bands will fill Central Park to perform fall- and city-themed standards like John Coltrane’s “Central Park West” and Vernon Duke’s “Autumn in New York.” The bands include the Chris Dingman Quartet, the Kevin Hays Trio and the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, among many others. Isn’t it romantic?

Victor Wooten Band
The bassist Victor Wooten came to prominence as a member of the Flecktones, a band that prizes virtuosity and musical one-upmanship. With his jazz-funk group, Wooten can be a bit of a show-off, but he delivers much more than flash. He’ll perform on Sunday, Nov. 11, at the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill. The guitarist Jimmy Herring also plays with his own band.

Greg Lewis Organ Monk Trio
The organ trio, often a purveyor of clichéd blues licks and stilted dynamics, has frustrated jazz listeners since perhaps the early 1960s. But the Hammond C-3 player Greg Lewis sidesteps cliché with his Organ Monk group, which makes music influenced by Thelonious Monk. Hear him on his latest album, Uwo in the Black, or see him live at the Lenox Lounge on Tuesday, Nov. 13, with the blues singer Sweet Georgia Brown. (He’s busy this month; check out his website for a full itinerary.)

Gilad Hekselman Trio
Listen to Gilad Hekselman’s latest album, Hearts Wide Open, and you’ll hear a smart and sensitive guitarist who has internalized the music of Ornette Coleman, George Gershwin and Kurt Rosenwinkel, among other sources. The young, Israeli-born musician performs with his trio on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Ned Goold Trio
The last time we saw Ned Goold — performing in a duo with the pianist Spike Wilner — he seemed cranky, cursing and muttering odd remarks between songs. But when he got behind his horn, he delivered beautiful, smeary, off-the-beat phrases in the vein of Dexter Gordon. The tenor saxophonist is well-known for his work with Harry Connick Jr., but you’d do well to see him with his trio at Smalls on Friday, Nov. 16. He also hosts an after-hours jam session every Wednesday at Fat Cat, just around the corner.

Kenny G
You can’t believe it, can you? Kenny Gorelick, the smooth jazz figurehead best known as Kenny G, included here. You know what, though? To see him play the saxophone in an intimate venue like the Blue Note will, in all likeliness, be one of the oddest and most interesting things you’ll do this month. And aren’t you looking for new experiences? He plays Thursday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 18.

Cyrille Aimée and The Surreal Band
The lovely French vocalist Cyrille Aimée is equally at ease singing a dire, romantic ballad as she is with scatting through the chord changes of a bebop-inflected number. Hear her nimble voice at Birdland on Tuesday, Nov. 20, through Saturday, Nov. 24. She will perform with her sextet, the Surreal Band.

Ken Peplowski Quartet
On the tenor saxophone Ken Peplowski plays slow, breathy phrases, like Ben Webster, and on the clarinet he’s got a sweet tone, similar to Benny Goodman’s. But comparisons will only get you so far; Peplowski has a voice all his own. See him with his quartet — including the pianist Don Friedman, the bassist Phil Palombi and the drummer Shinnosuke Takahashi — on Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Kitano.

Mary Stallings with Eric Reed Trio
If you are into slow ballads of the sort that will slay you with their emotional resonance, Mary Stallings — who has a deeply beautiful voice, nasal and metallic — is the singer for you. She performs with an immaculate trio — including the pianist Eric Reed, the bassist Reuben Rogers and the drummer Carl Allen — Tuesday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 2, at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.