The Best Jazz Shows in NYC This Month, July 2013


These are the best jazz shows in NYC this month.

Billy Childs Quartet
If you recall Billy Childs’ impeccable touch and hair-raising solos with trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard in the late ’70s and early ’80s, you can imagine how this underrated West Coast pianist and composer has bloomed in the years since. His chamber-jazz and classical works are compelling, but it’ll be good to hear him get loose for five nights at Birdland (July 16-20) with alto/soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Johnathan Blake.

Brian Charette Organ Sextette
Brian Charette has the Hammond organ tradition in his blood, covering every base from unaccompanied to classic trio to the advanced four-horn unit he calls the Sextette. At Smoke on July 10, he’ll draw from the 2012 disc Music for Organ Sextette and get deep into things with Itai Kriss on flute, Mike DiRubbo on alto, Kenny Brooks on tenor, Norbert Stachel on bass clarinet and the amazing Jochen Rueckert on drums.

Flutist Michel Gentile, pianist Daniel Kelly and drummer Rob Garcia are Works, the house trio of the nonprofit Connection Works, a bright light on the Brooklyn scene. For years Works has shared the spotlight with visiting masters in its series of collaborative concerts, but now an eponymous debut CD puts sole focus on the dynamic writing and deep simpatico of the trio itself. They celebrate the release at Cornelia Street Café on July 11.

Ben Allison Group
As a bassist, composer, commentator and arts policy advocate, Ben Allison has made things happen in New York and beyond since the early ’90s, and you just don’t know what lineup he’ll turn to next. His four-night run at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (July 11-14) features longtime allies Ted Nash on saxophones and Matt Wilson on drums, plus a monster guitarist usually found in other circles — the one and only Peter Bernstein.

George Colligan Quintet
He’s a bit under the radar, but pianist George Colligan can go head to head with anyone working today. He doubles on electric keys and organ and brings a refined artistry to bands led by Jack DeJohnette, Don Byron, Buster Williams and countless others. (He can play trumpet and drums too.) His band at Smalls (July 12 & 13) has serious muscle: altoist Jaleel Shaw, guitarist Tom Guarna, bassist Josh Ginsburg and drummer E.J. Strickland.

Wallace Roney Orchestra: Premiering Wayne Shorter’s Universe
Trumpeter Wallace Roney may live and breathe Miles Davis, but he’s just as deeply connected to Wayne Shorter, the Davis quintet’s eminent saxophonist in the mid to late ’60s. Shorter wrote Universe for Miles’s group but it was never played. Years later he found the score and gave it to Roney. And now, at Jazz Standard from July 25-28, we the people get to hear it. Roney’s ensemble, conducted by David Weiss, includes DJ Logic in a setting fat with brass, reeds, flutes and violin (not to mention jazz quintet).

Brandon Seabrook
The multifaceted banjo and guitar shredder heads up a triple bill at ShapeShifter Lab (July 19) with a new trio he’s calling Needle Driver. Joined by drummer Allison Miller and electric bassist Johnny DeBlase, Seabrook might shake the walls with full punk-jazz fury, but there’ll be a subtle compositional game plan to guide him. Keyboardist Erik Deutsch also leads a trio, and veteran guitarist and downtown luminary Elliott Sharp will perform solo.

Chris Morrissey
The bassist and Minnesota native follows up his 2009 keeper The Morning World with a fiercely focused acoustic quartet date called North Hero (Sunnyside), produced by Dave King of the Bad Plus. Good to see that Morrissey will have the intact album personnel — pianist Aaron Parks, saxophonist Mike Lewis, drummer Mark Guiliana — when he plays the Jazz Gallery (July 19 & 20).

Tony Malaby Tubacello Quartet
Tony Malaby is revered in improvising circles as a saxophonist and a pacesetter, unfurling discoveries with his Tuba Trio, Cello Trio and numerous other bands. At Korzo on July 23, Malaby will merge those two trios, bringing his tenor and soprano, Dan Peck’s tuba and Chris Hoffman’s cello into contact with John Hollenbeck’s electrifying drums and percussion. Searching, disquieting, strangely lyrical, Malaby’s music comes on strong but aims for the heart.

JD Walter
On his new One Step Away (Jwal), risk-taking vocalist JD Walter grooves hard, soars melodically and dives into abstraction, depending on where this inviting set of originals and covers takes him. He’ll celebrate the new disc at Joe’s Pub (July 28) with pianist/producer Orrin Evans, guitarist Marvin Sewell and two young Philly contenders not on the album, bassist Alex Claffy and drummer Anwar Marshall.

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