This Week: Vocalist Kevin Mahogany Celebrates his 20th Anniversary as a Recording Artist!
Tuesday-Wednesday, March 12-13: Kevin Mahogany All Stars with Cyrus Chestnut (piano) Melissa Slocum (bass) Victor Lewis (drums) + Special Guests Don Braden (sax, 3/12) Steve Wilson (sax, 3/13)
Thursday, March 14: Kevin Mahogany Band Reunion with Dave Stryker (guitar) James Weidman (piano) Melissa Slocum (bass) Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (drums) + Special Guest Tia Fuller (sax)
Friday-Saturday March 15-16: Kevin Mahogany Organ Group with Dave Stryker (guitar) Jared Gold (organ) Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (drums)
Check out the Tablet Magazine podcast feature about Alon Yavnai here.
Alon Yavnai Big Band appears Sunday March 25th @ 6pm. Tix here.
Israel-born, Brooklyn-based pianist/composer Alon Yavnai has teamed up with Germany’s NDR Bigband for Shir Ahava (Hebrew for “A Love Poem”), his first album of music for a large ensemble and the initial recording for his own AYM label, to be released in March. Yavnai, who has shared Grammy Awards as a participant in projects by Paquito D’Rivera and Yo-Yo Ma and recorded with Freddie Hubbard and Nancy Wilson. Yavnai, who is an Associate Professor at Boston’s acclaimed Berklee College of Music, has released three previous CDs with trios and a sextet. But Shir Ahava finds him working with the 17 members of the Hamburg, Germany-based NDR Bigband, expanding his musical palette and giving the musicians a chance to play music reflecting the composer’s multinational background. The recording takes the big band sound global, weaving the music of Israel, Lebanon, North Africa, Cape Verde and Peru into the classic American big band sound.
For this CD release concert, Yavnai has put together an all-star big band lineup of top jazz musicians, who will be joined by special guests Paquito D’Rivera and Moroccan world/jazz singer Malika Zarra.
April 3-7 @ 8:30pm & 11pm
“All Our Reasons” CD Release Celebration
Billy Hart Quartet
Billy Hart (drums) Ethan Iverson (piano)
Mark Turner (saxophone) Ben Street (bass)
Legendary drummer Billy Hart has been a fixture on the jazz scene for over fifty years, performing and recording along the way with jazz legends Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz and Miles Davis. At Birdland — along with iconoclastic pianist Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus), saxophonist Mark Turner and bassist Ben Street (both members of Kurt Rosenwinkel’s Quartet among other acclaimed groups) — Hart celebrates the release of the first ECM recording of the quartet formed in 2003. Since the group’s 2005 CD for hard-bop label High Note landed on many critics’ best-of-the year lists, the ensemble’s music has gotten more free and spacious. All of the members contribute material including a modern blues, a Coltrane tribute and an Iverson-penned homage to Paul Bley, the wonderfully-titled “Nostalgia for the Impossible.”
April 10-14 @ 8:30pm & 11pm
“Accelerando” CD Release Celebration
Vijay Iyer Trio
Stephan Crump (bass) Marcus Gilmore (drums)
“By now, there can be no doubt that pianist-composer Vijay Iyer stands among the most daringly original jazz artists of the under-40 generation.” (Chicago Tribune) Vijay Iyer (pronounced: “VID-jay EYE-er”) has been described by the The Village Voice as, “the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years,” by The Boston Globe as, “one of the most challenging and satisfying talents in jazz today” and by L.A. Weekly as, “a boundless and deeply important young star.” Iyer’s discography includes some of the most acclaimed recordings of the past decade including 2009′s, “Historicity,” widely considered to be a modern classic. Now, the trio return to Birdland to celebrate the release of their fourth CD for the ACT label, “Accelerando,” which the New York Times has already greeted as, “…an early front-runner for jazz album of the year, [which] encapsulates his knack for making prickly experimentalism feel approachable, intuitive, even stylish.”
And it’s already gotten a ton of press here:
Pat Metheny showed up to sit in with Roy Haynes Quartet for the 11pm show, Thursday December 15th, 2011. And it was Birdland’s 62nd Anniversary!
Celebrate Birdland’s 62nd Birthday with legendary drummer Roy Haynes “Fountain of Youth” Quartet: Jaleel Shaw (sax) Martin Bejerano (piano) David Wong (bass).
Billboard Magazine called legendary drummer Roy Haynes, “one of the seven wonders of modern jazz,” while Thelonious Monk called him, “an eight ball in the side pocket” and guitarist Pat Metheny dubbed him, “the father of modern drumming.” In any light, Haynes has been the pulse of jazz percussion for more than sixty years and has lent his unflagging energy and marvelous invention to literally thousands of performances and recordings by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker. In fact, Haynes was the drummer in Parker’s group on Birdland’s opening night, December 15th 1949, a distinction celebrated during his annual Birdland engagement.
Congratulations Arturo O’Farrill, Monty Alexander, Karrin Allyson, Tierney Sutton, Joe Lovano, Kurt Elling, Christian McBride, Randy Brecker, Yellowjackets, Ron Carter and all the 2011 Jazz Grammy nominees!
Birdland is proud to have presented many of the nominees, both in 2011 and coming up in 2012:
One of our very own resident bands, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, were nominated in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for their Zoho Records CD “40 Acres And A Burro.” Arturo happens to be performing this week with his Risa Negra Septet and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra performs every Sunday night.
Coming up in January Tierney Sutton Band received multiple nominations for her BFM Jazz CD “American Road.”
Returning to Birdland in May, saxophonist Joe Lovano and his band Us Five were nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for their Blue Note Records CD “Bird Songs.”
Yellowjackets, scheduled in June, were also nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.
Vocalist Karrin Allyson, nominated in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category also performs in June.
Trumpeter Randy Brecker (multiple nominations) and bassist Christian McBride were also nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. Randy will return to Birdland in August and Christian in March.
Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling was also nominated in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for his Concord Jazz release “The Gate.” Kurt performed in October (pictured) with the Kluuvers Big Band.
Pianist Monty Alexander was nominated in the Best Reggae Album category for his Motema Music release “Harlem Kingston Express Live.” Monty brought the HK Express to Birdland in 2011.
Stephen “Paul” Motian, one of the most influential modern jazz drummers and friend to many at Birdland, passed away November 22nd at the age of 80.
After distinguishing himself as the drummer in pianist Bill Evans’ groundbreaking trio in the 1950s, Motian went on to create an innovative style of jazz drumming emphasizing color and texture with minimalistic references to beat and groove. In addition to recording with pianist Keith Jarrett’s important “American Quartet” in the 1970s with bassist Charlie Haden and saxophonist Dewey Redman, Motian thrived as a band leader. His “Electric Bebop Band” introduced and/or nurtured important young jazz artists such Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder and Chris Potter. Motian’s most enduring project was a trio with guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Joe Lovano that explored an innovative approach to jazz standards.
Motian’s recent CD release was an all-star quartet session for ECM Records, Live at Birdland (2011) with Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau and Charlie Haden, which was recorded during Birdland’s 60th anniversary celebration in December, 2009. Motian was one of the few artists who performed regularly at both the original and current incarnations of Birdland and he will be deeply missed.
Jim Hall Quartet
Greg Osby (alto sax) Joey Baron (drums) Steve Laspina (bass)
November 15-19 @ 8:30 & 11pm
80-year-old guitar legend Jim Hall has been a major figure in the jazz world since the 1950s. His signature hollow-body jazz guitar sound, rhythmic subtlety and empathetic accompaniment style have made instant classics of his recordings with fellow jazz legends Sonny Rollins, Chico Hamilton, Bill Evans, Jimmy Giuffre, Ron Carter and Paul Desmond. A perennial favorite among fellow guitarists Hall has had the dual distinction of strongly influencing as well as sometimes collaborating with the most recognizable guitarists in jazz including Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, John Abercrombie, John Scofield and Mike Stern. The New Yorker has called Jim Hall, “the reigning master of the jazz guitar… a poetic player who says more with fewer notes than any living improviser.”
The Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra will conclude its residency at Birdland, where it has performed almost every Sunday evening for over 15 years. Legendary Cuban composer and arranger Chico O’Farrill founded the orchestra in 1995 and his son, pianist Arturo O’Farrill, has directed the ensemble since his father’s passing in 2001.
Arturo O’Farrill issued the following statement:
“Chico O’Farrill’s music is a national treasure. The Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra is among the hardest swinging ensembles in the world. Our residency at Birdland has been a gift from on high. However, maintaining two big bands, a non-profit and my small groups, as well as being a teacher, father, husband and son has been difficult to balance. In an effort to streamline my life and put more attention on composing and performing, I’ve decided to end the residency of the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra on June 26th. I intend to return to Birdland in September with a new residency of some sort, but the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra will finish its extraordinary run at Birdland. I wish to thank first and foremost the musicians, Gianni Valenti and our Birdland family and most of all, our fans and friends throughout the planet. We love you all!”
Further information here.
“Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian Live at Birdland” was released this week on ECM Records, song samples here, Jazz Times review here. The recording is a compelling document of the once-in-a-lifetime meeting that happened during Birdland’s 60th Anniversary celebration in December, 2009. Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz (pictured with drummer Paul Motian) is one of four living artists including drummer Roy Haynes, pianist Dick Hyman and clarinetist Sol Yaged who played at Birdland’s opening night on December 15th, 1949.
Vocalist, songwriter and friend Phoebe Snow passed away this morning of complications from a brain hemorrhage she suffered in January 2010. New York Times obituary here. The fact that so many at Birdland knew and loved Phoebe first hand, from her frequent performances at Monday nights’ “Cast Party” and as a headliner, is testament to her versatility and broad stylistic appeal as well as her humility and genuine enthusiasm for all types of music. Our deepest condolences to her family and friends.
Drummer Joe Morello has died at 82. Best known for his work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Morello was also a member of Marian McPartland’s trio and a beloved teacher to many in the jazz community, not to mention one of the best ever with his own signature version of brushes-on-snare technique. New York Times obituary here.
Join us for the opening reception, Friday, March 18th, from 7–10 pm at The New York Center of Photography and The Moving Image (NYCPMI) located at 580 Eighth Avenue (38th St.) 7th Floor.
A selection of wines will be served. Proper attire required (no jeans, sneakers, baseball caps, etc.).
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The New York Center of Photography and the Moving Image (NYCPMI) will present an exhibition of new and never-before-exhibited color and black-and-white photographs by photographers Ryan Paternite and Richard Conde, featuring some of the 20th century’s greatest jazz musicians in performance on the legendary Birdland stage. The exhibit runs from March 15th through April 9th, 2011. NYCPMI is located at 580 Eighth Avenue (38th St.) 7th floor and is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am to 6pm.
The exhibit includes over 40 images commissioned by Birdland for its 60th Anniversary. On view are meticulous large scale prints produced between 2008 and 2010 depicting contemporary jazz greats including Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, James Carter, Freddy Cole, Paquito D’Rivera, Al Foster, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath, Jon Hendricks, Dave Holland, Freddie Hubbard (1938-2008), Bobby Hutcherson, Hank Jones (1918-2010), Wynton Marsalis, Pat Martino, Brad Mehldau, Nicholas Payton, John Pizzarelli, Pharoah Sanders, John Scofield, Ralph Towner and many more.
Ryan Paternite’s color jazz images have been described as “performance portraiture” because they combine the visual textures of the studio and environmental portraiture with the dynamism and fortuitous timing of documentary performance photography. Richard Conde’s luminous black & white jazz photos are a modern interpretation of the jazz musician’s art evoking the classic feel and chiaroscuro of the jazz photography of Herman Leonard and Francis Wolff. Both Paternite and Conde exemplify the natural congruence between jazz and photography. As A.D. Coleman has noted “Jazz, as it happens, is the musical form whose philosophical basis is most akin to photography… in its emphasis on intuition, spontaneity, and improvisation.” (Light Readings, 61-62) Although Paternite and Conde often work in tandem, sometimes photographing the same artists on the same stage at the same time, the results are as distinctly different as the hot and cool trumpet sounds of Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.
Stayed tuned for frequent posts about our history, artists and upcoming special events.