musicians and freshest projects to emerge in jazz and improvised music over the past 17 years. Commissions, residencies, workshops, rehearsal space and performances not dependent on their audiences eating and drinking.
Jason Moran, Steve Coleman, Miguel Zenon, Dafnis Prieto, Henry Threadgill’s Zooid, the Myra Melford Quintet, Gretchen Parlato, Lionel Loueke, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band, Ambrose Akinmusire, Linda Oh and Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra are among those who’ve benefitted from having this stage in the “lower West Village.” The Gallery also exhibits visual art, and the Jazz Journalists Association held one of its first panel discussions there, in 1999, featuring the late Richard Sudhalter, Robert O’Meally Gary Giddins, Bill Milkowski and Sharony Andrews Green discussing their books (I moderated).
Spaces like the Jazz Gallery are few. Reminiscent of the “jazz loft” days of the ’70s and ’80s, when New Yorkers would open their large live-work spaces for public performances. Studio Rivbea, Ladies Fort, Jazz Forum, Cobi Narita’s Jazz Center of New York are fondly remembered for their presentations, but other than the Jazz Gallery and some private salon-like house concerts, there isn’t anything like that happening in Manhattan, where large spaces are all but exclusively for upscale residences and businesses. Spaces like the Jazz Gallery, less formal than concert halls and not quite so commercially driven as clubs have been vital to the creativity of the New York scene. I hope Manhattan can find a way to save arts spaces for musicians for the immediate and longterm future.