[JPL] If It’s June, This Must Be Jazz

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 15 01:17:07 EDT 2007

June 15, 2007
If It’s June, This Must Be Jazz 
Every year in New York, toward the end of June, jazz
suddenly becomes easier to understand. Not that the
music empties out its tough ideas and becomes more
glossy or simple-minded. Rather, the picture of what
jazz is around the world grows sharper, as the
possibilities of what to hear grow finer and deeper.

The glut of good gigs has to do with the JVC Jazz
Festival New York and the Vision Festival, which run
concurrently in the last two weeks of June. Bookings
in some of the jazz clubs are folded into the JVC
schedule, but even unaffiliated small spaces, theaters
and festivals get into the spirit, competing for
listeners, making use of the players and audiences in

As usual, a road map is in order. Here are some high
points of the next two weeks, most of them from the
festivals. The jazz listings in this section have more
complete information about the riches of the season.


CASSANDRA WILSON/OLU DARA In the early 1990s Cassandra
Wilson made “Blue Light ’Til Dawn,” an album with
light, slow-moving, Southern-signifying arrangements
informed by ’60s folk and pop. The trumpeter,
guitarist and songwriter Olu Dara, a Mississippian
like Ms. Wilson, was one of her collaborators; his own
subsequent solo albums, full of acoustic guitar
grooves and rural-blues echoes, complemented hers.
Central Park SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield, midpark at
70th Street, summerstage.org, 7 p.m., free. 


JAZZ BAND JVC-New York’s first big concert is
organized around the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of
New Orleans, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra
Jaffe, a young couple who became important guardians
of the city’s early jazz. (Among their boosters was
George Wein, the original producer of the New Orleans
Jazz and Heritage Festival and also the founder of the
JVC Festival. He visited New Orleans for the first
time in 1962 and got a education in the city and its
music from the Jaffes.)

Long a beloved but sleepy part of New Orleans music
history, the band has raised its profile in recent
years, touring and recording with new vigor. Here the
band, led by the trumpeter John Brunious, with the
Jaffes’ son Ben on bass, shares the stage with the
keyboardist, singer, songwriter and producer Allen
Toussaint, a New Orleans genius, as well as the
violinist Jenny Scheinman and the saxophonist Steve
Wilson, who can play with heart in almost any style.
Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, Manhattan, 8 p.m.,
$40 to $55.


started making his own records in 1984, Mr. Redman
nine years later. But as if responding to a common
call, both these tenor saxophonists have crystallized
what they do best and made possibly the best records
of their careers over the last year: Mr. Marsalis’s
“Braggtown” and Mr. Redman’s “Back East.” With Mr.
Marsalis this comes down to the mechanics of his
gloriously coordinated, hard-hitting quartet; with Mr.
Redman, it’s the clarity and flow of his improvising
within the simplicity of a trio setting. Town Hall,
JVC, 8 p.m., $50 to $65.

Mr. Dixon breaks down his playing to liquid blobs of
sound: slow, low and dark, or fast metallic smears. As
a composer he sometimes writes music — in the case of
his Wednesday concert, dense and bracing large-scale
orchestral material — that he radically reshapes in

Born in 1925, he was a senior member of the 1960s jazz
avant-garde in New York even as it was starting. In
1964 he produced the October Revolution in Jazz, a
four-day festival of music and politicized panel
discussions about vanguard art and economics that was
one of the models for today’s Vision Festival. (He
will receive a lifetime recognition award this year.) 

Mr. Dixon will play new music with a 17-piece band,
some of its members former students from the nearly 30
years he taught at Bennington College. “It’s an
untitled long work, subdivided into a lot of
sections,” he said the other day. 

He rehearses the band with written scores but lets
real-time considerations — how the room sounds, how
certain people are playing — change the piece as it’s
being performed. “I’ll be able to interlope or set up
things,” he explained. “Section A, for instance, might
not come at the beginning. It comes down to this: How
do you make a piece of music sound both as though it
were notated and as if it could only happen once this
way?” Vision,Angel Orensanz Foundation, 7:30, $30.

Friday, June 22

50 VIOLINS FOR LEROY JENKINS The violinist Leroy
Jenkins died in February, at 74, and took a lot of
history with him. Coming from a fertile time and place
for American music — Chicago in the 1940s and ’50s —
he often became involved, after moving to New York, in
bands and projects that were either leaderless
avant-garde jazz cooperatives or complicated
cross-discipline projects. (These range from his early
small bands, like the Revolutionary Ensemble, to his
late multimedia operas.) Along the way he built an
entire community around him, and here he will be
honored with a 50-violin salute, led onstage by the
violinist Billy Bang. Vision, 7 p.m., $30. 

STEFANO BOLLANI SOLO A fine and freewheeling Italian
pianist in his mid-30s, Mr. Bollani has come to the
crucial understanding that he can find an audience
without having to choose among attitudes, influences
and styles: deeply playful or serious, ragtime, pop,
Prokofiev, Jobim, Keith Jarrett, whatever. He is a
particularly good solo performer (as suggested by last
year’s “Piano Solo,” on ECM), so this performance will
be a special one. Fazioli Salon at Klavierhaus, 211
West 58th Street, Manhattan, pianoculture.com, 8 p.m.,

Saturday, June 23

GANELIN TRIO Led by the Lithuanian pianist Vyacheslav
Ganelin, the Ganelin Trio was the modern Soviet jazz
group in the 1970s. In the ’80s, when the group’s
recordings started to become known in the West, it
became controversial. Full of improvisation and
challenge, the music stood for an idea of freedom, yet
Mr. Ganelin could never talk about it as such for fear
of losing his livelihood. The group broke up in 1987,
then re-formed; it has two new members now, the
saxophonist Petras Vysniauskas and the drummer Klaus
Kugel, and they’re still playing highly interactive,
tensile music. Vision, 7:30, $30. 

Sunday, June 24

LOUIS MOHOLO-MOHOLO A South African jazz drummer, Mr.
Moholo-Moholo was part of the British jazz scene in
the mid-’60s as a member of the Blue Notes and the
Brotherhood of Breath, living in London and
collaborating with South African and English
musicians. (He recently returned to South Africa,
where he leads a big band.) He’s an exemplary modern
drummer, in his flexibility between strong swing and a
free-rhythm vocabulary, and he’s still mostly unknown
here: aside from one Vision Festival show six years
ago, he hasn’t played here since the 1960s. Vision, 9
p.m., $30. 

Monday, June 25

LEE KONITZ Mr. Konitz turns 80 in October, and he
remains radical, in his own way: He believes that a
jazz improviser has to learn the basics, establish his
own vocabulary, then try to escape his own patterns as
much as possible.

“I feel more concerned with each note than I have ever
been before,” he said earlier this week. Starting from
familiar ground on standards, he works variations on
their melodies and can eventually travel toward a kind
of sweet and lapidary free improvising. 

This birthday concert — organized by the saxophonist
and arranger Ohad Talmor, a frequent collaborator over
the last 15 years — will show the two sides of Mr.
Konitz, the improviser and the composer. He’ll start
off playing loosely and interactively among old
friends: the saxophonists Joe Lovano and Ted Brown,
the bassist Steve Swallow and the drummer Paul Motian.
Then he’ll perform his own pieces, arranged by Mr.
Talmor, with three other groups: the Lee Konitz New
Nonet; the Spring String Quartet, from Linz, Austria;
and the Orquestra Jazz Matosinhos, a big band from
Porto, Portugal. Zankel Hall, JVC, 8:30 p.m., $50. 

Wednesday, June 27

‘RON CARTER: THE MASTER AT 70’ The bassist Ron Carter,
first famous as a member of Miles Davis’s mid-1960s
quintet and then loosed on the jazz world as a
ubiquitous free agent, has played on so many records —
including more than 30 of his own — that a concert
like this seems almost necessary, never mind the fact
that he turned 70 last month. He will perform with two
other members of that great Davis group, the
saxophonist Wayne Shorter and the pianist Herbie
Hancock, alongside Billy Cobham on drums; in duet with
the guitarist Jim Hall (a good thing, as their rich
duet records are underrated); in a trio with the
pianist Mulgrew Miller and the guitarist Russell
Malone; and with his own quartet. Carnegie Hall, JVC,
8 p.m., $30 to $75.

Friday, June 29

NANCY WILSON Ms. Wilson remains an exciting jazz
singer, despite the light, low-pressure subtleties of
her voice, and even if her records have been treated
as a kind of antidote to excitement. (Her hits started
showing up on the Billboard easy-listening chart in
the mid-’60s, but few can condescend to the casually
brilliant album “Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson”
or the recently released “Live in Las Vegas.”) 

She turned 70 in February, and her concert at Carnegie
will bring on a plankful of admirers: the singers
Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling and Nnenna Freelon; the
violinist Regina Carter; and the pianists Herbie
Hancock and Ramsey Lewis. 

Ms. Wilson has hardly ever sung a duet with another
vocalist, and she says she has been thinking of asking
a guest to help her sing her old hit “Guess Who I Saw
Today,” about catching sight of a cheating spouse.
(“Can I fix you a quick martini? As a matter of fact
I’ll have one with you/For, to tell you the truth,
I’ve had quite a day too.”) “I respect that more than
any other song,” she said the other day. “It just
defines what I like to do: to dig in and sing a lyric
that’s going to hit somebody sentimentally, or even
hard.” JVC, 8 p.m., $35 to $85.


Roy Durfee
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com

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