These are the best jazz shows in NYC in October.
Melissa Aldana Quartet
Tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana made an impression with two strong albums on Greg Osby’s Inner Circle label (Free Fall and Second Cycle). But last month the 24-year-old Chilean modernist went and won the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, topping a field of formidable colleagues. She’ll bring her fiery, poised and expressive sound to the Kitano on October 3, enjoying a well-deserved victory lap with Glenn Zaleski on piano, Pablo Menares on bass and Francisco Mela on drums.
Luis Perdomo Quartet
The 42-year-old monster pianist, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, has flourished stateside as a bandleader and a longtime sideman with Ravi Coltrane, Miguel Zenón and others. At Smalls on October 2 & 3 he leads a quartet with tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Ignacio Berroa — close to the lineup from 2012’s The ‘Infancia’ Project (Criss Cross), a triumph of Latin jazz progressivism. (Ravi Coltrane, with David Virelles on piano, plays the Village Vanguard October 1-6.)
Jimmy Greene Quartet
Renowned tenor/soprano saxophonist Jimmy Greene has an album forthcoming called Beautiful Life, one that we all wish he never had to make. It’s dedicated to his daughter Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, lost in the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Gathering at Smoke (Oct. 4 & 5) with pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts and bassists Ben Wolfe (Friday) and John Patitucci (Saturday), Greene will preview the new material and attest to music’s life-giving force, not to mention his own bountiful spirit.
Trumpet master Tom Harrell played the Village Vanguard in March with the sextet heard on Colors of a Dream (HighNote), releasing later this month. Now Harrell returns to the Vanguard for two full weeks: first with his quintet, one of jazz’s finest working units, from October 8-13; then with an exploratory quartet called Trip from October 15-20. In addition to bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Adam Cruz, Trip features Harrell alongside tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, arguably a legend in the making. With no chordal instrument tying them down, they’re going to soar.
His saxophone playing is deep, but Mike McGinnis has made clarinet his signature horn — never more so than on his dual new releases Ängsudden Song Cycle (482 Music) and Road*Trip (RKM). The former involves a mysterious octet with voice, bassoon, cavaquinho and other surprises; they’re slated to appear at Roulette on October 13. The latter, by Mike McGinnis + 9, explores a “little big band” aesthetic with roots in mid-’50s Third Stream. That group hits at Barbès on October 24, to return November 10.
Pianist Aaron Parks turns 30 on October 7, but that’s nothing: days later he’ll release Arborescence, his gorgeous debut on the high-status ECM label. To have an album on ECM is to join the most elite of clubs, but Parks does it on his own terms: his mystical and intimate entry departs from, but also builds upon, his harder-edged 2008 effort for Blue Note, Invisible Cinema. At the Jazz Gallery on October 18, he takes the stage alone to slay his dragons and seek transcendence.
October residencies at the Stone feature Elliott Sharp, William Parker, Steven Bernstein and Eugene Chadbourne as well as master cellist Erik Friedlander, whose affecting trio release Claws and Wings (Skipstone) drops this month. From October 15-20 Friedlander performs with an array of groups including Broken Arm Trio, Block Ice & Propane, the new Bonebridge quartet, an Oscar Pettiford tribute and a night of solo cello devoted to John Zorn’s Volac: Book of Angels Volume 8.
Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra
This band worked wonders with hyper-obscure ’20s jazz on its 2011 debut Hot House Stomp (Accurate). Moving up a decade on the new Book of Rhapsodies, trumpeter Brian Carpenter and crew focus on innovative works by Alec Wilder, John Kirby, Raymond Scott and Reginald Foresythe. At SubCulture on October 26 they’ll revisit a forgotten period when jazz, classical, popular song and sheer weirdness stretched the definitions of American music. The Raymond Scott Orchestrette opens.
A captivating pianist with an affinity for the avant-garde, Kris Davis has done memorable work of late for the Clean Feed label, including the quintet disc Capricorn Climber, the unaccompanied Aeriol Piano and the Eric Revis trio summit City of Asylum with master drummer Andrew Cyrille. Lark, her new quartet outing for Skirl, features trumpeter Ralph Alessi, saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey. They’ll celebrate the release at Cornelia Street Café on October 26, the second of three dates in a Davis residency (check back for details about November 30).
Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Gamak
Ah, the diamond-hard tone and blinding velocity of Rudresh Mahanthappa‘s alto saxophone: it’s something fans of current jazz can identify in a heartbeat. His latest, Gamak (ACT), is rhythmically intense and sonically brilliant, anchored in part by the eye-popping microtonal feats of guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski in a definitive career performance. (Fuze and Mahanthappa are bandmates in Jack DeJohnette’s current group.) The Gamak quartet, with bassist François Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss, lands at Jazz Standard on October 29 & 30.