Frank Sinatra famously sang, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere / It's up to you, New York, New York." Truth. All of our features this month have the greatest metropolis in the world in common. Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock (On The Cover) has established herself as one of the city's key players since growing up in Germany and hustling in London; this month, among other gigs, she celebrates a new duo release with pianist Andy Milne at The Jazz Gallery. Bassist Avishai Cohen (Interview), from Israel and now based there once more, spent his formative musical years in New York, where he made his name with Chick Corea and later as a bandleader; he returns for a week to present a new trio recording at the Blue Note. Bassist Brandon López (Artist Feature), scion of a musical family, hails from New Jersey and made the small move up north to become an important contributor to the avant garde scene; he curates four days at The Stone at The New School among other appearances. Poet Abiodun Oyewole (Encore) was born in Cincinnati but moved to New York as a child, where years later he would co-found The Last Poets with a concert at Mount Morris Park (now known as Marcus Garvey Park) and go on to influence generations of poets and rappers; he returns to the park where it all started as part of Summerstage. And trumpeter Roy Hargrove (Lest We Forget), son of Texas, became a seminal figure in his adopted home of New York from the late '80s onwards, sadly dying here in 2018; a tribute to Hargrove by one-time sideman Evan Sherman is at Dizzy's Club.
On the Cover: INGRID LAUBROCK
By John Sharpe; photos by Janette Beckman & Helmut Berns
Brooklyn-based saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock keeps a busy schedule. Her simultaneously poised and experimental tones can be heard in an array of settings. While her focus is on her own projects, encompassing forward-looking vehicles like Anti-House, Serpentines and Ubatuba, as well as larger ensembles, she is also a generous collaborator. Laubrock is at The Stone Aug. 17th, The Jazz Gallery Aug. 20th with Andy Milne and Fridman Gallery Aug. 30th.
Interview: AVISHAI COHEN
By Jim Motavalli; photo by Andreas Terlaak
Bassist Avishai Cohen made the big leap to New York, arriving on a wintry morning in 1992. Cohen is well known for playing with Chick Corea for six years in his Origin band as well as Corea's New Trio. Since then, Cohen, now based back in Israel, has made a considerable name for himself as a leader, especially in Europe, playing and recording with a wide cast of international musicians. Cohen's most recent record is Shifting Sands, a trio with two dynamic young players. Cohen is at Blue Note Aug. 16th-21st.
Artist Feature: BRANDON LÓPEZ
By George Grella; photo by Tim Pickerill
Bassist Brandon López is a plangent, almost granitic presence on recordings and the live stage. His articulation and rich, oval sound stake out a broad and responsive territory in ensemble improvisations. His playing has a balance between his careful listening and the certainty of his responses. López is at 411 Kent Aug. 10th and The Stone Aug. 17th-20th.
Encore: ABIODUN OYEWOLE
By Mike Cobb
Abiodun Oyewole (né Charles Davis) is a poet, author, teacher and a founding member of The Last Poets, the music and spoken-word group widely credited as the founding fathers of hip-hop and rap. Oyewole is at Marcus Garvey Park Aug. 18th with The Last Poets and Jamaaladeen Tacuma's Band of Resistance as part of Jazzmobile and Summerstage.
Lest We Forget: ROY HARGROVE
By Alex Henderson
When Roy Hargrove first emerged in the late '80s, the trumpeter's admirers hailed him as a valuable addition to the Young Lions movement. But as time went on, it became obvious that there was much more to Hargrove. A Hargrove tribute led by Evan Sherman is at Dizzy's Club Aug. 15th.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Nate Smith—Kinfolk 2: See The Birds Edition (Blue Note)
Stephen Gauci/Joe Hertenstein—Soundlift Berlin-New York (featuring Alexander von Schlippenbach & Jan Roder) Gaucimusic (Ibeam Brooklyn; Downtown Music Gallery; Scholes Street Studio)
William Hooker—Big Moon ORG Music (Governors Island; Ibeam Brooklyn; Funkadelic Studios)