These are the best jazz shows in NYC this month.
Cécile McLorin Salvant
Salvant’s debut WomanChild (Mack Avenue) captures her rare gift as a vocalist and curator of song. Favoring an old-time aesthetic while sounding new and utterly individual, she gutsily takes on Bert Williams’ “Nobody,” the Bessie Smith vehicle “St. Louis Gal” and an unpredictable crop of originals. At 54 Below on June 25, she’ll have Paul Sikivie on bass, Rodney Green on drums and the prodigious Aaron Diehl on piano.
At ShapeShifter Lab on June 7, Lost Tribe reunites in its original early ’90s form with alto saxophonist David Binney, bassist Fima Ephron, drummer Ben Perowsky and the deadly paired guitarists Adam Rogers and David Gilmore. Their work on Lost Tribe, Soulfish and the post-Gilmore Many Lifetimes was far-reaching, a landmark in hard-edged electric jazz. Having them back is huge.
If you’ve seen his recent clip in the vintage subway car, you know that Gregory Porter is a prince among vocalists: uplifting, emotionally rich, effortlessly in tune, firmly in command of his soulful original songs. His SubCulture gig on June 10 follows news of his signing to Blue Note. The shoe fits: he’s now labelmates with José James, Robert Glasper and other genre-blurring adventurers, with a good shot at a bigger audience.
The annual avant-garde convergence comes again to Roulette (June 12-16), and what a kickoff: renowned drummer-mystic Milford Graves leads a quintet featuring Cuban monster newcomer David Virelles on piano. Also watch for sets by legends Roscoe Mitchell, Sonny Simmons and Reggie Workman, not to mention younger trailblazers like drummer Tomas Fujiwara and bassist Eric Revis.
Gary Peacock & Marilyn Crispell
These two sages meet in the acoustically ideal Rubin Museum (June 14) to mark the release of their new duo disc Azure (ECM). Peacock, most widely known as Keith Jarrett’s trio bassist for 30 years running, came to prominence in the ’60s with Albert Ayler and Paul Bley. Crispell made history on piano with Anthony Braxton’s quartet in the ’80s and ’90s. Her work balances calming lyricism and hardcore free-jazz roots.
Wayne Shorter Quartet
The saxophone giant turns 80 in August, and he’s more than earned top billing at the Blue Note Jazz Festival, which runs throughout June. At Town Hall on June 28, jazz’s greatest living composer will reach for the skies with the spirited aid of longtime quartet members Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums. Other festival bigs include Joshua Redman (June 4), McCoy Tyner (14-16) and Roy Haynes (27-29).
Michael Dease Quintet
The trombone is an ungainly solo instrument, but not for the frightening Michael Dease, whose newest effort Coming Home (D Clef) is ablaze with technique and a lot more. Deftly arranged, unapologetically swinging, this is quintet music of a high order. At Smoke on June 12, Dease will stretch out with Etienne Charles on trumpet, Glenn Zaleski on piano, Linda Oh on bass and Colin Stranahan on drums.
Bassist Keith Witty, drummer-vocalist Guillermo E. Brown and saxophonist Christophe Panzani are Thiefs, a band with a shared avant-jazz pedigree and an itch for electronic, song-oriented searching. Their eponymous debut is mostly instrumental, but the four vocal numbers will simply haunt you. At the Jazz Gallery (June 20), count on them to take some detours and put their sound into orbit.
Harris Eisenstadt September Trio
The Brooklyn-based drummer and composer hosts a Rhythm in the Diaspora Festival at Cornelia Street Café, featuring Senegalese and Afro-Cuban groups (June 19) as well as his own September Trio with pianist Angelica Sanchez and tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin (June 20). Celebrating its new release The Destructive Element (Clean Feed), the trio will hit hard but leave lots of seductive open space.
Red Hook Jazz Festival
You probably know that Red Hook was among the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. As evidence of regrowth we can include this festival, taking place on two Sundays (June 9 & 16) at the Urban Meadow (corner of President and Van Brunt). Day one highlights include Clarence Penn’s quartet, Fay Victor’s trio and James Carney’s septet; day two gives us Mike Pride, Allison Miller, Loren Stillman’s Bad Touch and more.