There have been arguments for decades about the word jazz: that it is an awkward, generic term inexpertly applied. But, in its own plucky way, the word has come to encompass a dizzying range of approaches to music, all borne of wide-ranging influences, usually coexisting with the same musician. Jazz is always so different because the people who play it bring different backgrounds and match them against those of their musical partners.
This month's features are a case in point. Pianist Jason Moran (On The Cover), perhaps the most ambitious musician of his generation, has just released an album fêting and transforming Fats Waller but also curates and participates in a tribute to Henry Threadgill at Harlem Stage Gatehouse. Scottish baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley (Interview) cut his teeth in the big band scene of both Britain and the United States and also did work for Broadway and film soundtracks. Temperley celebrates his 85th birthday this month with friends at Dizzy's Club. Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier (Artist Feature) might be found in a delicate composed duo with her husband, violinist Mark Feldman, the fiery free-some Mephista or in any number of improvised settings. This month she celebrates a 'traditional' piano trio CD on Tzadik at Roulette and opens John Zorn's Masada week at Village Vanguard. Our Label Profile on Northern Spy Records continues the theme of diversity and far-flung influences. And there may be no better exemplar of bringing together different musical skeins into a cohesive tapestry than the late bassist Charlie Haden, whose long career matched freedom and exploration with a love of melody and unmistakable tone on his instrument. A number of his colleagues pay honor to his memory in our two-page In Memoriam spread.
So as you go out this month (suggestions in our CD Reviews and Event Calendar), do so to celebrate the multiplicity inherent in the art form and its myriad practitioners. We'll see you out there...
On the Cover: JASON MORAN
By Russ Musto; photos by Clay Patrick McBride
From Public Enemy to Thelonious Monk, Brahms to Bird, Fats Waller to Henry Threadgill, it's all music to pianist Jason Moran and fodder for his hugely creative impulses. The 2010 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and Kennedy Center's Artistic Advisor for Jazz since 2011 is at once a bold innovator and a devoted traditionalist. Moran is at Birdland Sep. 2nd-6th with Ralph Alessi and Harlem Stage Gatehouse Sep. 27th-28th curating and performing as part of Very, Very Threadgill.
Interview: JOE TEMPERLEY
By Alex Henderson; photo Frank Stewart / Courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center
Soon to be 85, Joe Temperley has numerous memories of his long career in jazz. The big-toned baritone saxophonist (who is also proficient on bass clarinet and tenor, alto and soprano saxophones) has lived in New York City since 1965 and still speaks with a Scottish accent after all these years. Born in Lochgelly, Scotland on Sep. 20th, 1929, Temperley was 19 when he moved to London in the late '40s—and it was there that he enjoyed an eight-year association with British trumpeter/bandleader Humphrey Lyttelton. Temperley visited New York City for the first time when he was touring the US with Lyttelton in 1959 and went on to play with a long list of American jazz heavyweights, which included Woody Herman, Clark Terry and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Since 1988, he has been working closely with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis as a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. During a recent interview, the veteran recalled some of the highlights of his long career. Temperley is at Dizzy's Club Sep. 5th-7th and Rose Theater Sep. 18th-20th with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Artist Feature: SYLVIE COURVOISIER
By Kurt Gottschalk; photo by Peter Gannushkin
Since moving here in 1998, the pianist has become a fixture of the avant-improv scene. Her enormously tasteful hand at composing and arranging has contributed to her leading or co-leading more than a half dozen projects, including work with violinist Mark Feldman, saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and the remarkable trio Mephista with drummer Susie Ibarra and electronicist Ikue Mori and her deft musicianship and heady use of preparations to the instrument have been an unmistakable voice in projects with Jacques Demierre, Yusef Lateef, Lucas Niggli, Herb Robertson, John Zorn and many others. But had it not been for a chance encounter in Germany, she might never have made her mark on the Downtown scene.
Encore: BOBBY NAUGHTON
By Clifford Allen
While the landscape of improvised music may seem like the place of shamans, the art form's inner workings are limned by tinkerers, inventors and questioners. Pianist/vibraphonist Bobby Naughton is of these persuasions and the breadth of his experience speaks to the mind of a true creative.
Lest We Forget: MATT DENNIS
By George Kanzler
More than a piano player who sang, Dennis was a consummate entertainer... As a singer, he was sometimes seen as similar to, and influenced by, Mel Tormé, but that singer once said: "If anything, Matt Dennis influenced me." A Dennis tribute is at Saint Peter's Sep. 24th.
Megaphone: Make Your Instrument Talk
By Oran Etkin
Music is a complex system with all its harmonic and rhythmic inner workings, if you think about it. But don't think about it if you really want to make music! I mean think about it, but then stop thinking. "Practice in order to forget everything that you practiced"—think about that! Pretty strange what we as improvising musicians do. But there's a precedent for it in our lives, which we started a few months after we were born: the art of speaking a language. Etkin's Timbalooloo is at Children's Museum of Manhattan Sep. 20th.
Record Label Spotlight: NORTHERN SPY RECORDS
By Paul Acquaro
For Brooklyn based Northern Spy Records, running a label is not simply putting out recordings, it's about making connections. Artists performing this month include Gerald Cleaver at ShapeShifter Lab Sep. 19th with Jason Rigby, Children's Magical Garden Sep. 22nd and Ibeam Brooklyn Sep. 23rd with Jonathan Saraga; Tom Blancarte is at Freddy's Backroom Sep. 23rd and JACK Sep. 26th-28th with Peter Evans; Chad Taylor at The Jazz Gallery Sep. 26th with Eric Revis; and Marc Ribot at Town Hall Sep. 27th as part of Strange & Beautiful: The Music & Art of John Lurie.
In Memoriam: CHARLIE HADEN (1937-2014)
Remembrances of the bassist by Geri Allen, Kenny Barron, Carla Bley, Paul Bley, Alan Broadbent, Scott Colley, Jack DeJohnette, Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Keith Jarrett, Enrico Pieranunzi, Ernie Watts, Matt Wilson and Denny Zeitlin.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Eyvind Kang -- Alastor: The Book of Angels Vol. 21 Tzadik (Village Vanguard)
Don Cherry -- Live in Stockholm Caprice
Noah Garabedian -- Big Butter and The Eggmen Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records (Cornelia Street Café)
Zongo Junction -- No Discount Electric-Cowbell (Brooklyn Bowl)
Hermeto Pascoal -- The Monash Sessions Jazzhead
Mestre Cupijó -- Siriá Analog Africa
John Coltrane -- Offering: Live at Temple University Impulse!/Resonance
Alon Nechustan -- Venture Bound Enja
Yoni Kretzmer/Pascal Niggenkemper/Weasel Walter -- Protest Music OutNow
Uri Gincel -- FREE Unit
Cyrille Aimée -- It's A Good Day Mack Avenue (Rockwood Music Hall)
Various Artists -- 13 Miniatures for Albert Ayler Rogue Art (The Stone; JACK; 61 Local; Greenwich House Music School; Roulette)
Survival Unit III -- Game Theory Not Two (The Stone; JACK)
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Peter Evans -- Live in Lisbon NoBusiness (The Stone; Silent Barn; JACK)
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Peter Evans -- The Freedom Principle NoBusiness (The Stone; Silent Barn; JACK)
Danny Fox -- Wide Eyed Hot Cup (SubCulture)
Jeremiah Cymerman -- World of Objects 5049 Records (The Stone)
Vinnie Sperrazza -- Apocryphal Loyal Label (Barbès; Cornelia Street Café)
Saxophone Summit -- Visitation ArtistShare (Birdland; ShapeShifter; Village Vanguard; Blue Note)
Jason Palmer -- Places SteepleChase (The Jazz Gallery)
Mark Turner -- Lathe of Heaven ECM (Jazz Standard)
Bill Warfield -- Trumpet Story Planet Arts (Iridium)
Bob Stewart -- Mind the Gap Sunnyside (Dizzy's Club)
John Carter/Bobby Bradford -- Flight for Four Flying Dutchman-International Phonograph
John Carter/Bobby Bradford -- Tandem Emanem
Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden -- Last Dance ECM
Yelena Eckemoff -- A Touch of Radiance L&H Productions
Scott Hamilton -- Swedish Ballads. . . & More Charleston Square-Sundance
Scott Hamilton -- Plays with The Dany Doriz Caveau de la Huchette Orchestra Fremeaux & Assoc.
Ben Holmes/Patrick Farrell -- Gold Dust s/r (Greenwich House Music School)