Alto saxophonist Gary Bartz (On The Cover) turns 75 this month and celebrates with two nights at Dizzy's Club. 75 is also the atomic number for Rhenium, a silvery-white transition metal, which reminds us of Bartz' impressive mane, and the mandatory retirement age for Canadian senators; while we might wish for something similar stateside, we are glad there are no sell-by dates for jazz musicians, particularly those of Bartz' stature. Pianist/composer/arranger/bandleader Arturo O'Farrill (Interview), who resides at Birdland for a week this month (in addition to his regular Sundays), just turned 55 this past June, appropriate as he often seems to be right around the speed limit and has explored the musical culture of Brazil, whose country code is...you guessed it, 55. Trumpeter Ron Horton (Artist Feature), who leads tributes to his former boss Andrew Hill at Greenwich House Music School, is also 55 but his seems closer to NGC 55, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor, or type 55 flour, the standard hard-wheat for pastry, given the exploratory sweetness of his playing.
Saxophonists Steve Potts (Encore), 72, and Stan Getz (Lest We Forget), died at 64, add up to 136, which is the 1960 resolution admitting the Togolese Republic to the U.N. and makes no sense.
Less numerology and more jazz, you say? We couldn't agree more.
On the Cover: GARY BARTZ
By John Pietaro; photos by Alan Nahigian
Measures of cool are determined by public favor and the passage of time, but the artist-activist reigns eternal. Gary Bartz, a fiercely independent musician, hits 75 on Sep. 26th. For well over a half-century, he has worked with some of the greatest figures in this music. His discography, a testament to African-American arts traditions, speaks with pride and unabashed radicalism but through an immediately welcoming voice. Bartz celebrates his 75th birthday at Dizzy's Club Sep. 23rd-24th and is also at Smoke Sep. 18th-20th with Eddie Henderson.
Interview: ARTURO O'FARRILL
By Russ Musto; photo by John Rogers
The scion of Latin Jazz nobility, pianist Arturo O'Farrill first garnered attention on the jazz scene in the '80s with Carla Bley and later worked in a wide variety of musical contexts—from Dizzy Gillespie to Lester Bowie—before joining and then assuming leadership of the Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra founded by his father, Latin music legend Chico, in the '90s. As leader of his own Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, O'Farrill has advanced the Latin jazz tradition into the 21st Century, as evidenced by his 2014 Grammy Award-winning Motéma album The Offense Of The Drum. O'Farrill is at ShapeShifter Lab Sep. 2nd with David Bixler, Birdland Sep. 8th-12th and Sundays and with his Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats at Emmanuel Baptist Church Sep. 13th.
Artist Feature: RON HORTON
By Sean Fitzell; photo by Scott Friedlander
It's a project that spans more than 20 years and evolved through different permutations. But the kernel remains: a love for the music of the late pianist Andrew Hill. The project has now come full circle for trumpeter Ron Horton as he brings its latest two iterations to Greenwich House Music School this month, the same venue that hosted a Jazz Composers Collective (JCC) concert dedicated to Hill's music in 1995. Horton is at Greenwich House Music School Sep. 12th with his Andrew Hill Tribute Sextet and 17th with the Ron Horton/Tim Horner Andrew Hill Tribute Tentet.
Encore: STEVE POTTS
By Clifford Allen
Sometimes it's hard to separate a musician from the ensemble in which they've done their most fruitful work.... Alto/soprano saxophonist and flutist Steve Potts was the dry, acerbic charge to soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (1934-2004) in the latter's small groups from 1971-96. While playing outside such an orbit he's been impressive, it is as the sinewy counterpoint to Lacy's golden galumph that Potts gained his following.
Lest We Forget: STAN GETZ
By George Kanzler
When tenor saxophonist Stan Getz (Feb. 2nd, 1927-Jun. 6th, 1991) achieved stardom with Woody Herman's "Early Autumn" in 1948, he was just 21, but had been playing professionally for half a decade with various big bands before joining the Four Brothers sax lineup of Herman's Second Herd in 1947. That recording wasn't Getz' only encounter with the hit charts. In 1952 his tenor was the featured lead on guitarist Johnny Smith's "Moonlight in Vermont" and his recording of the bossa nova "Girl from Ipanema" with singer Astrud Gilberto peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. A Getz tribute is at Lehman College's Steve Getz Music Hall Sep. 11th.
Record Label Spotlight: 482 MUSIC
By KEN WAXMAN
A maxim like "you can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of a boy" possesses more than a kernel of truth if you substitute Chicago for country and the 482 Music label for the boy. After more than a decade in New York, label-owner Mike Lintner says ruefully that many people still consider 482 a Chicago enterprise, even though the majority of the 90-odd releases it has put out since 1997 aren't by Chicago artists. Artists performing this month include Jason Ajemian at Downtown Music Gallery Sep. 28th as part of FONT; Matt Bauder at The Stone Sep. 3rd with Canada Day; Harris Eisenstadt at The Stone Sep. 1st-6th; Tomas Fujiwara at Ibeam Brooklyn Sep. 5th with Sylke E. Bearheart; Mike McGinnis at Rockaway Beach 97th Sep. 5th with Gowanus Reggae & Ska Society; Jason Roebke at The Stone Sep. 1st; Tyshawn Sorey at Cornelia Street Café Sep. 5th with Angelica Sanchez, The Stone Sep. 15th with Sara Serpa and Smalls Sep. 16th-17th with Lage Lund; and Chad Taylor at WhyNot Jazz Room Sep. 20th.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Jason Roebke -- Every Sunday Clean Feed (The Stone)
Bob Gingery -- Traveler Fresh Sound-New Talent
Jon Irabagon -- Behind The Sky (featuring Tom Harrell) Irrabagast (Jazz Standard; Korzo; Cornelia Street Café; The Stone)
Laszlo Gardony -- Life in Real Time Sunnyside (Birdland)
Harris Eisenstadt -- Canada Day IV Songlines (The Stone)
Louis Hayes -- Return of the Jazz Communicators Smoke Sessions (Dizzy's Club)
Alex Sipiagin -- Balance 38-58 Criss Cross (Smalls)
Rahied Al Akbar/Muhammad Ali/Earl Cross/Idris Ackamoor -- Ascent of the Nether Creatures NoBusiness
Hugo Fernandez -- Cosmogram Origin
Gabriel Espinosa/Hendrik Meurkens -- Samba Little Samba ZoHo
Molé -- RGB RareNoise
Billie Holiday -- Banned From New York City (Live 1948-1957) Uptown
Albert "Tootie" Heath -- Kwanza (The First) Xanadu-Elemental (Dizzy's Club)