Under-sung, mid-career jazz pianists of innovative distinction in New York City — the topic of my new column in City Arts – New York’s Review of Culture — considerations prompted by David Hajdu‘s NYT magazine feature on Fred Hersch. Who’d I leave out?
Here I’ve looked back at the magnificant piano legacy of Manhattan + boroughs, and noted that Matt Shipp, Geri Allen, Armen Donelian, Connie Crothers, Frank Kimbrough and Arturo O’Farrill are well worth hearing (as well as Hersch and others mentioned in Hajdu’s piece: Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Brad Meldau, Robert Glasper, Ethan Iverson).
- Billy Lester, a fascinating improviser among those partaking of the Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca lineage — performing tomorrow Sun Feb 28 in alto saxophonist Gary Levy’s quartet at 5C (Ave. C and 5th St., East Village) — 8 to 11 pm, $10;
- Daniel Kelly, classically-trained and jazz-inspired (but not limited by either), who performs an improvised piano suite at the Stone, (Ave. C and 2nd St) 8 p.m., March 15 (also $10);
- Eli Yamin, notoriously upbeat and a recent workshop leader on “The Blues is the Roots and Everything Else is the Roots,” presents “jazz and blues for kids,” a benefit for the Bank Street Family Center, with vocalist Meryl Zimmerman, March 6 at Tabas auditorium, Bank St. College, 610 W. 112th St., $5 kids and $10 adults, 10:45 -11:30 pm it says in the email I got but you’d better check by calling 212-875-4412;
- Michael Wolff, a genuine hipster, with his trio at the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, 33 University Place, on March 5 and 6, 12 and 13, 19th and 20, starting at 9:45 pm
- Jonathan Baptiste, young N’Orleansian verging on huge discovery, at the Blue Note on 3rd St. near 6th Ave., March 9 – 14 (hmmm seems to be booked on the 10th at NJPAC, too, how’s that gonna work?)
- Antonio Ciacca, director of jazz programming at Jazz at Lincoln Center, premieres his new cd Lagos Blues with a quintet featuring saxophonist Grant Stewart and vibist Joe Locke at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Jazz at Lincoln Center facilities, Columbus Circle, 7:30 and 9:30, March 15
- Andrew Bemkey, in Billy Bang’s quartet at Sista’s Place, 456 Nostrand Ave at Jefferson, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, April 24 (details tba)
- Elio Villafranca (on tour of Italy w/Francesco Mela and Cuban Safari this month, next in NYC with Pleneros de la 21 at the American Museum of Natural History, March 20 and 21, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.