Manhattan music “loft” Roulette takes big chance on Brooklyn

Roulette, since 1978 a formerly humble Manhattan-based presenter of avant-garde "intermedia," has signed a 20-year lease on a former YWCA art deco 600-seat theater in Brooklyn. This  Next weekend (Oct. 7, 8, 9) is the space's three-night benefit "Easy Not Easy," assigning emerging (read: little known) artists presumably simple scores by such its longtime stalwarts as Pauline Oliveros and John Zorn. Read more all about it in my column in City Arts - New York . . . howardmandel.com Subscribe by Email or RSS All JBJ posts … [Read more...]

Henry Threadgill, seer beyond ‘jazz’

In my City Arts column: a new album and Roulette concert with commissioned work from a worldly-wise 65 yr-old NYC/East Village-based composer-bandleader who keeps looking at music -- Varese's and Wagner's, Scott Joplin's and Ornette Coleman's -- to find something new. I call Henry Threadgill a prophet in the wilderness, urgently trying to shake us from complacency. At De Roberti's classic Italian pastry shop for coffee yesterday, Threadgill claimed he's just helping American music born in the urban late 20th century to develop its full … [Read more...]

Best American city for jazz? Chicago

I'm a Chicago homie -- long removed but never really gone -- so don't expect objectivity, but a recent visit proved my native metropolis is #1 in America and maybe everywhere for its active, creative, meaningful, almost-economically-viable, neighborhood-rooted, exploratory and world class jazz. I say this even as my dearly adopted New York City kickstarts as freshly energized a fall season as any I recall.Jazz is the lifeblood of Chicago in a way it ain't in NYC, at least not right now. Jazz-soul-blues is Chicago's street music. Chicago's … [Read more...]

Today’s the day NYC goes beyond jazz

On September 17,New York kicks off a fall season more highly charged with new creative energies than any in memory. An army of mostly young, skilled, ambitious and devoted musicians is making itself heard in the East Village, Soho, Brooklyn, on the Lower West Side and in the clubs -- while benevolence is cast by the first ever performance -- at last -- of Ornette Coleman at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Sept. 26. … [Read more...]

Take an “outside” chance on musical experimentation

My column in May's City Arts NY urges Adam Rudolph's conducted Go: Organic Orchestra improvs and the Mixology Fest (both at Roulette) and the 14th annual Vision Festival as ways to break out of conventions and celebrate spring. (In order to read the column, you have to zoom in on "Jazz"). I should have also mentioned guitarist Marc Ribot's concerts all over town inspired by his 55th birthday, alto saxophonist Roy Nathanson's Subway Moon cd-book release party (which was May 15) at Joe's Pub. There's just so much to do here in the big city. . . . … [Read more...]

Jazz time-out of the year?

A major international jazz festival right now in Washington D.C.? How odd: Is it the End of Times? Are we fiddlin' while Rome burns? Or could it be a new beginning? Ignore the credit crisis, the vp debates, end-game positioning by the One and the Other, Rosh Hashanah and Eid, Cubs and White Sox both in the playoffs -- here's the under-promoted but highly impressive fourth annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, Oct. 1 - 7! Balancing Kennedy Center concerts with "jazz in the 'hoods"  (club and arts center gigs mostly but not only NW), sophisticated … [Read more...]