Change. October and the turning of the leaves makes us think of change (speaking of trees, check out our fancy new paper stock). All things change over time. We've had 149 issues before this one and felt our own yearning for change. Some things go away, others appear, still others look different. It is rebirth, rejuvenation, remarkably risky. We hope you like it.
Change is part of jazz history, as we all know. Saxophonist James Carter (On The Cover) was once a new hope for the avant garde scene but has since become an exemplar of traditionalism wiithout having given up the former. Guitarist Gene Bertoncini (Interview) has transformed himself over the decades from classic jazz guitarist to elder statesman of the nylon string, all with the same repertoire. Drummer Ches Smith (Artist Feature) plays out-rock one day, avant garde jazz the next. Eddie Harris (Lest We Forget) played the electric saxophone! And can a label be better named to represent reincarnation than New Atlantis? Doubtful.
And as far as change goes, you won't have much left over after buying all the CDs we've reviewed and attending the concerts we've listed and recommended. Sorry.
Change. Embrace it. We have...
On the Cover: JAMES CARTER
By Russ Musto; photos by Alan Nahigian
It's opening night of a six-day run at the Blue Note last month and James Carter is the first one up on the bandstand, ambling to his mark at stage left with characteristic swagger, cradling his beloved P Mauriat saxophone. Sartorially striking, decked out in a long-jacketed, wide-lapelled black striped suit, he places the horn in his mouth and slap-tongues a cascade of notes in a cavernous tone that immediately identifies him as one of the toughest tenors on the scene today. Carter's Django Unchained is at Jazz Standard Oct. 16th-19th.
Interview: GENE BERTONCINI
By Ken Dryden; photo by Bob Barry
Gene Bertoncini has been recognized as a master guitarist for decades, whether playing nylon string acoustic or electric guitar. Drawn to the instrument early in life and soon to jazz, he was playing professionally in his teens. Uncertainty about a career playing in jazz clubs moved Bertoncini to study architecture at Notre Dame, though once he graduated, he returned to being a musician. Bertoncini briefly worked with Buddy Rich before entering the Marine Corps in 1961, then after his discharge worked with both the Tonight Show and Merv Griffin orchestras. His freelance work included jobs with Clark Terry, Benny Goodman, Lalo Schifrin, Wayne Shorter, Tony Bennett and many others. His work in a duo with bassist Michael Moore resulted in many timeless albums. In recent years Bertoncini has been more focused on nylon string guitar for his recordings, especially in his series of CDs for Ambient. Bertoncini is at Church of Our Lady of Peace Oct. 4th, Jazz at Kitano Oct. 10th, celebrated at Saint Peter's All Nite Soul Oct. 12th, The Drawing Room Oct. 19th and Ryan's Daughter Fridays.
Artist Feature: CHES SMITH
By Ken Waxman; photo by Scott Friedlander
To exaggerate a bit, it appears that there was never a time in his life that Ches Smith wasn't playing drums. Even today at 40, the Brooklyn-based Smith seems rarely to move from behind his kit. Besides leading his own groups, which include the These Arches quintet, a couple of trios and his Good for Cows duo with bassist Devin Hoff, Smith is kept busy as a sideman in bands led by Tim Berne, Marc Ribot and Mary Halvorson plus indie-rock stalwarts such as Xiu Xiu and Secret Chiefs 3. There's also his Congs for Brums solo percussion project and he can sometimes be found in NYC's outskirts participating in extended vodou drum ceremonies. Smith curates and is at The Stone Oct. 1st-5th and is also there Oct. 7th-12th with Tim Berne and Cornelia Street Café Oct. 20th with Sarah Bernstein.
Encore: BOBBY ROSE
By Andrey Henkin
During guitarist Jack Wilkins' 70th birthday celebration at Jazz Standard last July, organizer Charles Carlini took a moment to acknowledge the six-string luminaries in attendance. Of the many names he mentioned, one stood out to guitar cognoscenti: Bobby Rose, best known as fellow Philadelphian Pat Martino's foil on Baiyina (The Clear Evidence) (Prestige, 1968), Footprints (Muse, 1972) and HighNote's 2012 release Alone Together (with Bobby Rose), a collection of duo recordings from the late '70s.
Lest We Forget: EDDIE HARRIS
By Anders Griffen
There is no forgetting Eddie Harris. Primarily a tenor saxophonist, his sound is immediately recognizable. However, he felt marginalized during his career, evidenced in songs like "Eddie Who?" This may appear surprising given certain facts: he recorded one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, Swiss Movement with Les McCann; recorded the first jazz album to go gold with Exodus to Jazz; penned the influential "Freedom Jazz Dance"; wrote and recorded original music for The Bill Cosby Show; and is considered one of the great saxophonists of all time. A Harris 80th birthday tribute is at Smoke Oct. 24th-26th.
Record Label Spotlight: NEW ATLANTIS
By Clifford Allen
Creative music and the post-punk underground may not seem like the easiest brethren and envisioning plugged-in and sweaty youth is a far cry from the rarefied environment of improvised music concerts. However, there's a direct line between art rock and free music that is hard to deny, whether one wants to draw it from Captain Beefheart to Archie Shepp or Henry Cow to Evan Parker. Dissonance and rhythmic flexibility, as well as radical politics, are certainly an attractive part of both forms and it would stand to reason that as one pushes further with that sonic imprint, going to the 'other side' of free music is a logical next step. That was the experience of guitarist/bassist and New Atlantis Records founder Ed Ricart, whose own trajectory followed from Washington D.C. post-hardcore to free jazz and creative improvisation. Artists performing this month include Dave McDonnell at Freddy's Backroom Oct. 8th; Elliott Sharp at Issue Project Room Oct. 16th-17th; Tatsuya Nakatani at The Firehouse Space Oct. 16th with PascAli; Brandon Seabrook at Cornelia Street Café Oct. 18th with Ben Allison and Oct. 23rd with Tomas Fujiwara; William Hooker at ShapeShifter Lab Oct. 20th; Thollem Mcdonas at Spectrum Oct. 24th and Downtown Music Gallery Oct. 26th; and Jason Ajemian at Ibeam Brooklyn Oct. 24th with Josh Sinton.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Mary Halvorson -- Reverse Blue Relative Pitch (Cornelia Street Café)
Johnathan Blake -- Gone, but not Forgotten Criss Cross (Village Vanguard)
Pete McGuinness -- Strength in Numbers Summit (Tomi Jazz)
Chick Corea -- Converge West Wind (Blue Note)
Ernie Watts/Chick Corea -- 4 Tune West Wind (Blue Note)
Chick Corea -- Trilogy Concord (Blue Note)
Matt Pavolka -- The Horns Band Fresh Sound-New Talent (Ibeam Brooklyn)
Modern Jazz Quartet -- Lost Tapes: Germany 1956-1958 JazzHaus
Louis Moholo-Moholo -- For the Blue Notes Ogun
Kheswa & Her Martians -- Meadowlands, Stolen Jazz Xippi
Tumi Mogorosi -- Project ELO Jazzman
Darius Jones -- The Oversoul Manual AUM Fidelity (Weill Recital Hall)
Walt Weiskopf -- Overdrive Posi-Tone (Smoke; Somethin' Jazz Club)