The Ten Best Jazz Shows in NYC This Month, February 2013


See also: Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

Lou Donaldson Organ Quartet
The 86-year-old alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson was recently named a 2013 Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, but that doesn’t mean he’s resting on his laurels. Donaldson, a master stylist of soul jazz and hard bop, appears at Birdland with his Organ Quartet from February 5-9.

Chris Potter Quartet
The saxophonist Chris Potter’s new album The Sirens is a musical interpretation of The Odyssey, and the music on it feels mysterious and ancient. On February 5, Potter will bring a quartet to the Village Vanguard for a six-day engagement, featuring the bassist Larry Grenadier and the drummer Eric Harland, who play on the album, and the pianist Ethan Iverson, who did not.

Champian Fulton
Sarah Vaughan and Blossom Dearie were very different singers, but Champian Fulton’s voice manages to evoke them both. Following in the tradition of excellent singer-pianists like Diana Krall and Shirley Horn, Fulton celebrates the release of her new CD, Champian Sings and Swings, with her quintet at Smoke on February 13.

Fred Hersch and Julian Lage
The pianist Fred Hersch and the guitarist Julian Lage, who have recorded a duo CD to be released next fall, perform three nights straight at the Kitano this month. Jazz can be very romantic, and Hersch and Lage, both sensitive musicians, are likely to make it so, especially as the first night of their engagement falls on Valentine’s Day.

Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane and Matthew Garrison
The drummer Jack DeJohnette, the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and the bassist Matthew Garrison all possess a deep connection with John Coltrane, that demigod of a jazz musician who died in 1967. At ShapeShifter Lab in Gowanus, the three veteran musicians, who first got together 20 years ago to celebrate Coltrane’s work, will perform on February 16 and 17.

Mostly Other People Do the Killing
This band’s name is as playfully serious as its music, which dips into free jazz and funk and dissonant polyphony. Mostly Other People Do the Killing, a quartet featuring trumpeter Peter Evans and saxophonist Jon Irabagon, recently released their fifth record, Slippery Rock, and you can see the group perform selections from that album at Cornelia Street Café on February 28.

Benny Golson Quartet
The hard bop tenor saxophonist Benny Golson has written some of jazz’s most enduring standards, including “Whisper Not,” “Killer Joe,” and “I Remember Clifford,” a ballad he composed for the late trumpeter Clifford Brown. As part of a “Jazz Masters Series” presented by Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, Golson, 84, will perform with his quartet for a three-night engagement beginning on February 21.

Joe Lovano Us Five
The avuncular saxophonist Joe Lovano recently released his 23rd album for Blue Note, Cross Culture; it’s a chilled-out record, featuring his group Us Five. Lovano brings that combo — including pianist James Weidman; bassist Esperanza Spalding; guitarist Lionel Loueke; and two drummers, Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela — to Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room on February 22 and 23.

The Music of Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon, the first great tenor man of bebop, played beautifully off-the-beat phrases; he’s the hidden link between Lester Young and John Coltrane. So it’s no wonder that his legacy is being celebrated at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola on February 26 and 27 (which posthumously marks his 90th birthday) by such acolytes as George Cables and Victor Lewis.

See also: Ten (More) Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

Ethan Iverson
A wry and charming chameleon at the piano, Ethan Iverson, who is best known for his involvement with the Bad Plus, plays a solo recital at the Weill Recital Hall on February 27. As Iverson writes on his actively-updated blog, Do The Math, he’ll play Stravinsky’s “Serenade in A,” Louise Talma’s “Alleluia in Form of Toccata,” original pieces and jazz standards.

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