Jazz is a music of longevity. But there are some figures whose impact exceeds their time in the spotlight. Of the legendary jazz singers, the career of Billie Holiday (On The Cover) was cut tragically short. But in this, her centennial year, she remains among the giants. Venues around the city will celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday (she died at 44): Cassandra Wilson performs a tribute at the Apollo Theater, where Holiday will be inducted in the venue's Hall of Fame; Harlem Stage Gatehouse presents "Parallel Lives: Billie Holiday & Edith Piaf"; Jazz at Lincoln Center holds a Billie Holiday Festival at Rose Theater, Dizzy's Club and The Appel Room; plus events at Minton's, Bill's Place, Jazz at Kitano and Zeb's.
Longevity is not an issue for bassist Scott Colley (Interview); he has been in demand for nearly 30 years and this month leads a tribute to his former teacher Charlie Haden as part of Connection Works' Brooklyn Jazz Wide Open concert series, is at Jazz Standard in guitarist Julian Lage's trio and Village Vanguard with pianist Enrico Pieranunzi's quartet. And prolific cornet player/composer Rob Mazurek (Artist Feature), who turns 50 this year, will celebrate two new releases at The Jazz Gallery and ShapeShifter Lab. And there can be no greater example of a long jazz life than trumpeter Clark Terry, whose career we celebrate with an In Memoriam centerfold featuring testimonies from his friends and colleagues.
On the Cover: BILLIE HOLIDAY
By Alex Henderson; photos courtesy of the Frank Driggs Collection at Jazz at Lincoln Center
56 years have passed since the death of Billie Holiday, who was only 44 when she died Jul. 7th, 1959. Were she still alive, Lady Day would be celebrating her 100th birthday on Apr. 7th—and a wide variety of activities are taking place as part of the centennial celebration. Holiday tributes are at Zeb's Apr. 6th; Minton's Tuesdays and Apr. 10th, 11th, 18th, 24th, 25th; Dizzy's Club Apr. 9th-12th; Apollo Theater Apr. 10th; The Appel Room Apr. 10th-11th; Rose Theater Apr. 10th-11th; Bill's Place Apr. 10th-11th; Jazz at Kitano Apr. 10th; and Harlem Stage Gatehouse Apr. 30th.
Interview: SCOTT COLLEY
By Russ Musto; photo by Jack Vartoogian
Scott Colley began playing bass as a teenager and was already taking part in jam sessions around his native Los Angeles before beginning studies with Charlie Haden at the California Institute for the Arts (CalArts). In 1988, Colley, who had already cut his teeth performing and recording with vocalist Carmen McRae, made his move to New York City. Here he hit the ground running, appearing with Roy Hargrove on the trumpeter's debut Diamond In The Rough, beginning a string of important sideman gigs with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Jordan, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson and John Scofield. Colley's notoriety grew markedly as a member of Andrew Hill's Another Point of Departure sextet and with Herbie Hancock's trio and quartets. His 1996 debut recording as a leader, Portable Universe, unveiled a considerable talent as an inventive composer, which he has continued to display on a series of well-received albums. Colley is at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Apr. 11th, Jazz Standard Apr. 14th-15th with Julian Lage and Village Vanguard Apr. 28th-May 3rd with Enrico Pieranunzi.
Artist Feature: ROB MAZUREK
By Ken Waxman; photo by Daniel Vass
Death, loss and similar topics aren't usually the subject of jazz performances. But several of Chicago-based cornet player Rob Mazurek's most recent CDs have dealt with bereavement to some extent... "I hear all of this music as celebrations of life forces that were beyond what's considered normal," explains Mazurek. "With the projection of the sound from these works I feel a new vitality that I never felt before." Mazurek is at The Jazz Gallery Apr. 11th and ShapeShifter Lab Apr. 14th.
Encore: RAY RUSSELL
By Clifford Allen
Ray Russell is a 'guitarist's guitarist', praised by British blues-rock pyro-technicians as well as avant garde figures on this side of the pond.
Lest We Forget: RED GARLAND
By Stuart Broomer
Few musicians reach the exalted position that pianist Red Garland maintained from 1955-62. His work as a sideman included the entire output of Miles Davis' "First Great Quintet" up to 1958, many of John Coltrane's recordings in the same period, as well as assorted masterpieces like Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section and Sonny Rollins' Tenor Madness. His work as a leader was just as impressive, with myriad Prestige sessions in trio, quartet, quintet or playing solo.
Record Label Spotlight: TROST
By Ken Waxman
Vienna's punk-noise scene of the '90s—with underground clubs, fanzines and tape labels—did more than advance the career of avant-rock bands. Trost Records was nurtured in that D.I.Y. atmosphere and nearly a quarter-century later has become a major presence in jazz, releasing discs by the likes of saxophonists Mats Gustafsson, Peter Brötzmann and Ken Vandermark.
Record Label Spotlight: IN MEMORIAM: CLARK TERRY
Remembrances of the trumpeter by Jimmy Cobb, Sylvia Cuenca, Richard Davis, Jon Faddis, Don Friedman, Dave Glasser, Jimmy Heath, Quincy Jones, Justin Kauflin, Junior Mance, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus McLaurine, Wendy Oxenhorn, Dianne Reeves, Doc Severinsen, Jack Sheldon and Warren Vache.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Jeff Cosgrove/Frank Kimbrough/Martin Wind -- Conversations with Owls Grizzley Music (Jazz Standard; Jazz at Kitano)
Shoko Nagai -- Taken Shadows (Live at Roulette NYC) Animul (The Stone)
Marike Van Dijk -- The Stereography Project Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records (ShapeShifter Lab)
Wojtczak NYConnection -- Folk Five ForTune
Lucas Pino -- No Net No Origin (Dizzy's Club)
Glenn Zaleski -- My Ideal Sunnyside (Dizzy's Club)
Ted Daniel's Energy Module -- Interconnection NoBusiness (WhyNot Jazz Room; The Stone)
Akira Sakata/Giovanni di Domenico -- Iruman Mbari Musica
Peter Brötzmann/Jim O'Rourke/Keiji Haino -- Two City Blues, Vol. 2 Trost