it's june. it's new york. it's jazz.
Along with longer days, sunnier skies and warmer weather -- it's outdoor basketball season, at last -- June brings a wealth of great musicians to this already jazz-rich city. I'll fill you on singer Cassandra Wilson's brilliant Central Park concert to open the annual Summerstage series later. And saxophonist Sonny Fortune's harmonically advanced blasts were some the best sounds I've heard in a decade of attending the annual Gracie Mansion backyard picnic to kick off the JVC Jazz Festival.
Now, if I miss being in New Orleans -- and I do --
all I need do -- and will -- is head to Town Hall this evening. JVC's opening night features Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans, founded in 1961, and still an essential part of the city's cultural landscape, not to mention one of several sources of post-Katrina comfort and aid to musicians. Tom Sancton's recent memoir gives and interesting window into the history and meaning of this all (see my review for Entertainment Weekly; the boxed set Made in New Orleans offers some first-hand documentation. At Town Hall, the Preservation Hall band shares the stage with another New Orleans cultural institution, keyboardist, singer, songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint, as well as with two New York-based musicians, violinist Jenny Scheinman and the saxophonist Steve Wilson.
The Vision Festival, the wonderland of improvised-music that runs concurrently with JVC, ends with New Orleans-flavored flair too, on June 24th: saxophonist Kidd Jordan -- who has taught generations of musicians the rules of game, then broken them all brilliantly with his ever-questing playing -- is featured in a quartet led by drummer Louis Moholo, with bassist William Parker and pianist Dave Burrell.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Dave Douglas: Greenleaf Music
point of departure
Jazz Journalists Association
Steve Smith: nightafternight
Willard Jenkins: Open Sky Jazz
music/food/justice in NOLA
Howard Mandel's JazzBeyondJazz