The New York City Jazz Record

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German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, soon to enter his second year of octogenarian-hood, is an exemplar of both the reach of jazz and its flexibility. Inhabiting his ten fingers are the not-so-irreconcilable traditions of Monk and Schoenberg, blended in Europe's improvisational cauldron, a vessel owing much of its existence to Schlippenbach himself, whether his Globe Unity Orchestra, 50+years and counting, or various partnerships with similarly lengthy pedigrees, such as Evan Parker, with whom he'll play at Roulette this month.

Similar amalgamations are found in our other features. Bassist Larry Grenadier (Interview) comes to the fore with his leader debut, another in a long line of solo bass recordings, to be celebrated at Zürcher Gallery. Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin (Artist Feature) brings the funk and the fierce in equal measure and will do so this month throughout town. And Ahnee Sharon Freeman (Encore) and Sidney Bechet (Lest We Forget) are other examples of combining traditions into wholes greater than the sum of their parts.

And for Women's History Month: check out the first six pages of our CD Review section.

On the Cover: BILLY HART

By John Sharpe; photos by Peter Gannushkin

German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach has been in at the ground floor on so many seminal moments. He was there when Europeans began to throw off the shackles of the American jazz hegemony in the '60s, what critic Joachim-Ernst Berendt termed "Die Emanzipation". In doing so he founded the Globe Unity Orchestra, one of the first free jazz big bands. At the same time he also pioneered a way to incorporate serial music into an improvised setting. But having helped propose a European answer to the questions jazz poses, he revealed his fondness for his roots by being the first to record Thelonious Monk's entire canon. If any further reason were needed for his place as one of the most influential musicians of his generation, look no further than his helming one of longest running outfits in free jazz: the Schlippenbach Trio. Schlippenbach is at Roulette Mar. 25th with Evan Parker.

Interview: LARRY GRENADIER

By Anders Griffen; photo by Juan Hitters / ECM Records

Larry Grenadier is a bassist who experienced an accelerated education on the instrument working with an array of professionals while still a teenager in his hometown of San Francisco. He rose to prominence during the '90s in New York, establishing a formidable trio with Brad Mehldau and working with Joe Henderson, Charles Lloyd, Pat Metheny and Paul Motian, among many others. He is a member of the group Fly with Mark Turner and Jeff Ballard and Hudson with John Scofield, John Medeski and Jack DeJohnette. He also tours and records with his wife, singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin. He's just released a solo bass album entitled The Gleaners (ECM). Grenadier plays solo at Zürcher Gallery Mar. 15th.

Artist Feature: LAKECIA BENJAMIN

By Marilyn Lester; photo courtesy of the artist

Lakecia Benjamin is a product of New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood. Her upbringing and background strongly inform her worldview and her playing. The word often used to describe her is "charismatic". Whether onstage as a leader or band member, she's possessed of energy and intensity unmistakably geared to giving her audience a good show. Benjamin is at The Sound Bite Mar. 9th with Bertha Hope as part of the Lady Got Chops Festival and Dizzy's Club Mar. 13th and Schomburg Center Mar. 18th, both with her A Woman's Perspective project.

Encore: AHNEE SHARON FREEMAN

By Alex Henderson

Ahnee Sharon Freeman's history reads like a who's-who of postbop and avant garde orchestral jazz. The pianist, French horn player, arranger and composer performed in the bands of pianist/arranger Gil Evans, bassist Charles Mingus, pianist George Gruntz and trumpeter Don Cherry, among others. And she spent many years as Music Director for bassist Charlie Haden's politically charged Liberation Music Orchestra (LMO). But the native New Yorker also has a long history of leading her own groups, which she says will be a high priority for her in 2019.

Lest We Forget: SIDNEY BECHET

By Elliott Simon

The power and command of Sidney Bechet's clarinet enabled him to challenge the brass soloists of early jazz. His distinct sound was comprised of wide vibrato, bends, growls and glissandi and he pulled it all together with unmatched muscle. With this style he transformed the soprano saxophone into a jazz instrument, allowing it to be played in tune at the upper registers. A Bechet tribute is at Tribeca Performing Arts Center Mar. 28th as part of Highlights in Jazz.

Record Label Spotlight: TRUTH REVOLUTION

By John Pietaro

Any record label bearing such a slogan must be boldly unique. This paraphrase of Gil-Scott Heron, however, speaks of a revolution wider than the ramparts and bulwarks. "We run it more as a collective," states Truth Revolution founder Zaccai Curtis. "It's not a label in the standard sense; in fact we branded it Truth Revolution Recording Collective, a working community of artists." Artists performing this month include Aaron Burnett at National Sawdust Mar. 5th, Cocomama at The Sound Bite Mar. 30th as part of Lady Got Chops Festival, Zaccai Curtis at Dizzy's Club Mar. 16th, The Curtis Brothers at Harlem Stage Gatehouse Mar. 23rd and Jonathan Powell at Jazz at Kitano Mar. 20th with Iris Ornig and Ralph Peterson at Zinc Bar Mar. 30th.

CD Reviews

(this month's performance venues in parentheses):

  1. Steph Richards -- Take The Neon Lights Birdwatcher (The Owl Music Parlor)
  2. Vinny Golia/Steph Richards/Bert Turetzky -- Trio Music pfMENTUM (The Owl Music Parlor)
  3. Stephanie Richards/Andrew Drury -- Resonant Bodies: THAW Different Track (The Owl Music Parlor)
  4. Anna Webber -- Clockwise Pi (Brooklyn Conservatory; Greenwich House Music School; The Stone at The New School)
  5. Irene Aranda/Johannes Nästesjö/Núria Andorrà -- Inner Core Relative Pitch (244 Rehearsal Studios; Ibeam Brooklyn)
  6. Jennifer Wharton -- Bonegasm Sunnyside (Silvana)
  7. Biliana Voutchkova/Michael Thieke -- Blurred Music Elsewhere Music (Areté Gallery; Ibeam Brooklyn; Experimental Intermedia)
  8. Biliana Voutchkova/Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Magda Mayas -- The Afterlife of Trees Creative Sources (Areté Gallery; Ibeam Brooklyn; Experimental Intermedia)
  9. Jeanne Lee/Ran Blake -- The Newest Sound You Never Heard A-Side
  10. Carla Campopiano -- Chicago/Buenos Aires Connection s/r
  11. Hadar Noiberg -- Open Fields Jammin'colorS
  12. Mayu Saeki -- Hope Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records
  13. Iro Haarla/Ulf Krokfors/Barry Altschul -- Around Again (The Music of Carla Bley) TUM
  14. Zeena Parkins -- Captiva Good Child Music (Roulette)
  15. Jinjoo Yoo -- I'm Curious Gut String (1986 Est. Wine Bar & Lounge)
  16. Judith Lorick -- The Second Time Around JLJ International
  17. MOPO -- Mopocalypse WE Jazz
  18. Lynne Arriale -- Give Us These Days Challenge (Zinc Bar)
  19. Barbara Dennerlein -- Best of Blues: Through the Years Bebab
  20. Muriel Grossmann -- Golden Rule RR Gems
  21. Alice Coltrane -- Spiritual Eternal-The Complete Warner Bros. Studio Recordings Warner Bros.-Real Gone Music
  22. John Zorn -- The Interpretation of Dreams Tzadik (Happylucky no.1; Miller Theatre; The Stone at The New School)
  23. Michael Dease -- Bonafide Posi-Tone (Rose Theater)
  24. Greg Ward's Rogue Parade -- Stomping Off From Greenwood Greenleaf Music (Miller Theater)
  25. Blaise Siwula/Jesse Dulman -- Dark Alleys No Frills Music (Bushwick Public House)
  26. Dave Holland, Evan Parker, Craig Taborn, Ches Smith -- Uncharted Territories Dare2 (Roulette; Happylucky no.1; The Stone at The New School; Nublu 151)
  27. Peter Evans/Barry Guy -- Syllogistic Moments Maya (National Sawdust; Miller Theater)
  28. Peter Evans/Sam Pluta -- Two Live Sets Carrier (National Sawdust; Miller Theater)
  29. Lorenzo Levy/Peter Evans -- Q More is More (National Sawdust; Miller Theater)
  30. Roscoe Mitchell -- Sound Delmark (Park Avenue Armory)
  31. Art Ensemble of Chicago -- A Jackson in Your House BYG-Actuel - AECO
  32. Marshall Gilkes & WDR Big Band -- Always Forward Alternate Side (Miller Theater; Dizzy's Club; Silvana)
  33. Harvey Diamond -- Fair Weather s/r (Jazz at Kitano)
  34. Jerome Sabbagh/Greg Tuohey -- No Filter Sunnyside (Smalls)
  35. Marion Brown/Dave Burrell -- Live at the Black Musicians Conference 1981 NoBusiness (The Kitchen)
  36. Steve Davis -- Correlations Smoke Sessions (Smoke)
  37. Papanosh with Roy Nathanson, Marc Ribot -- Home Songs Enja/Yellowbird (Bar Lunàtico; The Stone at The New School)
  38. Walt Weiskopf -- European Quartet Orenda (Smalls)
  39. Dave Liebman/Adam Rudolph/Hamid Drake -- Chi RareNoise (54 Below; The Kitchen)
  40. Adam Hopkins -- Crickets Out of Your Head (The Owl Music Parlor; Brooklyn Conservatory of Music)
  41. The Comet Is Coming -- Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery Impulse (Mercury Lounge)
  42. Russ Lossing -- Motian Music Sunnyside (Ibeam Brooklyn)
  43. Mike Baggetta -- Wall of Flowers Big Ego (Coney Island Baby)
  44. Ben Webster -- Plays Ballads Storyville
  45. Louis Moholo-Moholo's Five Blokes -- Uplift The People Ogun
  46. Lucian Ban/Alex Simu -- Free Fall Sunnyside (Barbès)
  47. Paul Desmond -- Easy Living (featuring Jim Hall) RCA Victor - Speakers Corner
  48. Evan Parker/Derek Bailey/Han Bennink -- Topography of the Lungs Incus-OTOROKU (Roulette)
  49. Evan Parker/Paul G. Smyth -- Calenture and Light Leaks Weekertoft (Roulette)
  50. Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton -- Music for David Mossman (Live at Vortex London) Intakt (Roulette)
  51. Jason Kao Hwang Burning Bridge -- Blood True Sound (Bushwick Public House)
  52. Joel Harrison -- Angel Band (Free Country, Volume 3) HighNote (Alternative Guitar Summit)
  53. Brandon Seabrook -- Convulsionaries Astral Spirits (Barbès; Alternative Guitar Summit; The Stone at The New School)
  54. Fred Anderson Legacy Band -- Legacy Live, Volume One Asian Improv
  55. Nobuki Takamen -- The Nobuki Takamen Trio s/r (Blue Note)
  56. Yaniv Taubenhouse -- Perpetuation (Moments In Trio, Volume Two) Fresh Sound-New Talent (Nomad)
  57. Nate Smith -- Pocket Change Ropeadope (Blue Note)
  58. Lewis Porter -- Solo Piano Next To Silence (Michiko Rehearsal Studios)
  59. Dave Douglas -- UPLIFT: Twelve Pieces for Positive Action in 2018 Greenleaf Music (Juilliard School Paul Hall)
  60. Cooper-Moore/Stephen Gauci -- Studio Sessions vol. 1 Gaucimusic (Bushwick Public House)
  61. Andy Sheppard -- Romaria ECM (Jazz Standard)
  62. Chris Pasin -- Ornettiquette Planet Arts
  63. Joachim Kühn -- Piano Works XIII: Melodic Ornette Coleman ACT
  64. Fire! -- The Hands Rune Grammofon (Zürcher Gallery)
  65. The End -- Svårmod Och Vemod Är Värdesinnen RareNoise
  66. Mats Gustafsson/Jason Adasiewicz -- Timeless Corbett vs. Dempsey (Zürcher Gallery)
  67. Lage Lund -- Terrible Animals Criss Cross (Jazz Standard)
  68. Peter Brötzmann/Paal Nilssen-Love -- Levontin 7 Catalytic-Sound
  69. Peter Brötzmann/Heather Leigh -- Sparrow Nights Trost
  70. Full Blast -- RIo Trost
  71. Anthony Braxton -- GTM (Syntax) 2017 New Braxton House

...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.

All the best,
Andrey and Laurence