The holidays couldn't get here fast enough, if you ask us. Months upon months of America divided against itself, which sadly will not stop anytime soon, will be put on hold for a few days, first with Thanksgiving late last month and now holidays celebrated by the diversity that is America's best natural resource. Or let's hope so...
We can do our part by continuing to celebrate the diversity through jazz, an art form that seems even more important now to celebrate. As such, we present our Big Three features: vocalist/pianist Freddy Cole has long since stepped out of his brother's shadow though he does celebrate his legacy. Cole will ring in the holidays at Birdland this month. Drummer G. Calvin Weston was baptised as a teenager in the cauldron of Ornette Coleman and continues his innovative path with a new solo album, released and celebrated as part of the 577 Forward Festival. And bassist Dezron Douglas has himself a merry little December with a typically busy schedule as a sideman as well as leading a trio at Mezzrow.
And to complete our December issue is our annual Holiday Gift Guide, packed with suggestions for your jazzy loved ones (and yourself!).
On the Cover: FREDDY COLE
By Alex Henderson; photos by Clay Walker
Freddy Cole, who celebrated his 85th birthday on Oct. 15th, has had a complex relationship with the music of his older brother, the legendary Nat King Cole... Although Cole has often included Nat-associated songs on his albums, he avoided devoting an entire album to his brother's legacy—that is, until he recorded his most recent album, He Was the King, released by HighNote earlier this year. Cole is at Birdland Dec. 20th-24th.
Interview: G. CALVIN WESTON
By Anders Griffen; photo by Hiroki Nishioka
G. Calvin Weston is a drummer from Philadelphia, where he became an active musician as a teenager. He joined Ornette Coleman's Prime Time band at 17 and went on to work with James "Blood" Ulmer, John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, Tricky, Marc Ribot, Derek Bailey and many others. He's recorded several albums and Improv Messenger is the latest under his own name. When we spoke, he was just heading out the door for a last-minute show in New York with vocalist Kaylé Brecher before leaving in the morning for a European tour with John Medeski and David Fiuczynski playing John Zorn's Bagatelles. This part of the conversation goes back to Philadelphia and Weston's musical origins. Weston's Improv Messenger is at Scholes Street Studio Dec. 9th as part of 577 Records NYForwardFestival.
Artist Feature: DEZRON DOUGLAS
By Russ Musto; photo courtesy of the artist
In the decade since he made his recording debut with drummer Michael Carvin, Dezron Douglas has emerged as one of the busiest, most versatile bassists on the jazz scene today, whether playing straightahead, contemporary or Latin jazz. Douglas is at Jazz at Kitano Dec. 2nd with Mike DiRubbo, Mezzrow Dec. 9th-10th as a leader and 22nd with Simona Premazzi, Smalls Dec. 9th-10th with Eric McPherson and The Jazz Gallery Dec. 21st with James Carney.
Encore: DONALD BROWN
By Ken Dryden
Donald Brown is one of many jazz piano greats to emerge from Memphis, though he was born Mar. 28th, 1954 in Mississippi. Brown gained international exposure from his tenure in drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and afterward emerged as an important pianist, composer, leader, producer and jazz educator. Brown is at Mezzrow Dec. 9th-10th with Dezron Douglas.
Lest We Forget: PÉREZ PRADO
By Marilyn Lester
Although his fame was fleeting in mainstream America, Dámaso Pérez Prado, aka "The Mambo King", was for more than four decades a popular and successful pianist, arranger and composer in the world of Latin music. During the mambo craze of the late '40s-early '50s he achieved a status as one of the most influential pop orchestra leaders of the time.
Record Label Spotlight: HUBRO
By Ken Waxman
After nearly 20 years in the music business, Andreas Risanger Meland, label manager of the Norwegian imprint HUBRO, admits that he must deal with a paradox. "The streaming revolution is definitely threatening the economy of the business, but I feel that we're living in a golden age when it comes to art and music. There's so much creativity and so many great acts to discover."
Special Feature: HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Jazz CD, Book, DVD, Boxed Set and Miscellany.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Donny McCaslin -- Beyond Now Motéma (VIllage Vanguard)
The Power Quintet -- High Art HighNote (Jazz Standard)
Will Vinson -- Perfectly Out of Place 5Passion (Smalls)
Illegal Crowns -- Eponymous Rogue Art
Taylor Ho Bynum -- Enter The PlusTet Firehouse 12 (The Jazz Gallery; New Revolution Arts)
Dave Scott -- Brooklyn Aura SteepleChase (Greenwich House Music School)
Various Artists -- Savory Collection, Vol. 1: Body and Soul
(Coleman Hawkins & Friends) National Jazz Museum in Harlem
Prasanna -- All Terrain Guitar Susila Music
Trio Benares -- Assi Ghat Jazzsick
Frank Carlberg's Word Circus -- No Money In Art Red Piano
Roswell Rudd/Jamie Saft/Trevor Dunn/Balazs Pandi -- Strength & Power RareNoise (Happylucky no.1)
Jamie Saft's New Zion (with Cyro Baptista) -- Sunshine Seas RareNoise (Happylucky no.1)
Starlite Motel -- Awosting Falls Clean Feed
Michael Davis -- Hip-Bone Big Band Hip-Bone Music (SubCulture)
Eloping with the Sun -- Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees and Birds Rogue Art
Stan Getz -- Moments in Time Resonance
Billy Hart/WDR Big Band -- The Broader Picture Enja/Yellowbird (Austrian Cultural Forum)
Sonny Criss -- Saturday Morning Xanadu-Elemental
Sam Jones -- Changes & Things Xanadu-Elemental
Charles McPherson -- Live in Tokyo Xanadu-Elemental
Elliott Sharp -- Dialectrical (feat. Barry Altschul) Clean Feed (The Firehouse Space)
Fred Frith -- Another Day in Fucking Paradise Intakt (The Stone)
MMM Quartet -- Oakland/Lisboa Rogue Art
Fred Frith/Darren Johnston -- Everybody's Somebody's Nobody Clean Feed (The Stone)
Blaise Siwula/Eric Plaks -- Time In No Frills Music (El Taller LatinoAmericano)
Blaise Siwula/Carsten Radtke/Joe Hertenstein -- Past the Future No Frills Music (El Taller LatinoAmericano)
Vic Juris -- Blue SteepleChase (Dizzy's Club)
Vic Juris -- Plays Victor Young SteepleChase (Dizzy's Club)
Quinsin Nachoff -- Flux Mythology (55Bar)
Richard Sears -- Altadena (featuring Albert "Tootie" Heath) Ropeadope (The Owl Music Parlor; Carroll Music Studios; The Cell)
Enrico Pieranunzi -- New Spring (Live at the Village Vanguard) CAM Jazz
Rudi Mahall/Jürgen Wuchner/Jörg Fischer -- In Memoriam Buschi Niebergall Sporeprint
Kasper Tom/Rudi Mahall -- One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure Barefoot
Rotozaza -- Zero Leo
Jimmy Lyons -- Push Pull hatHUT-Corbett vs. Dempsey
Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra -- Storming Through The South Summit
Oscar Peterson -- Walking The Line MPS-Edel: Kultur Spiegel
Michael Blum -- Chasin' Oscar: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson s/r
Ove Johansson -- Tenorsaxophone SOLO LJ
ROVA Orkestrova -- No Favorites! (For Lawrence "Butch" Morris) New World
Frank Kimbrough -- Solstice Pirouet (Jazz at Kitano)
Jeff Platz/Blaise Siwula/Dmitry Ishenko/Dave Miller -- Modular Systems Setola di Maiale
Jeff Platz/Dmitry Ishenko/Dalius Naujokaitis -- Low Light Filter Glitch (Nublu)
Ingrid Laubrock -- Serpentines Intakt (Roulette)
Mick Rossi -- 160 Innova (Spectrum)
Eli Degibri -- Cliff Hangin' Blujazz
Dolo Coker -- California Hard Xanadu-Elemental
Yusef Lateef -- Live at Ronnie Scott's Gearbox
Ronnie Cuber -- Cuber Libre Xanadu-Elemental
Kazimierz Jonkisz Energy -- 6 Hours with Ronnie ForTune
David Ambrosio/Russ Meissner -- Moments in Time SteepleChase (Smalls)
Borah Bergman/Peter Brötzmann/Frode Gjerstad -- Left Not Two
Wadada Leo Smith -- America's National Parks Cuneiform (Harlem Stage Gatehouse; National Sawdust)
Mark Solborg/Herb Robertson -- Tuesday Prayers Ilk Music
Rale Micic/John Abercrombie/Peter Bernstein/Lage Lund -- Inspired ArtistShare (Symphony Space Bar Thalia; Jazz Standard; The Jazz Gallery)
Aguankó -- Latin Jazz Christmas in Havana s/r
Various Artists -- The Classic Big Band Christmas Album Legacy
The NOLA Players -- Christmastime in New Orleans AimHigher/Verve
...and Plenty More!
Look for other sections like In Memoriam, On This Day, In Print, On DVD, VOXNews, NY@Night, Recommended New Releases, Birthdays, and our invaluable Event Calendar.
Thanks so much for reading The New York City Jazz Record, the city's only homegrown gazette devoted to the music.