As listeners, we often think of musicians as sprouting out of the ground fully developed; yes, we all know the history, the family background or formative listening and playing, but it is all too easy to forget the process that brought a musician to the fore, one that continues throughout the course of their careers, no matter the length.
All of our features this month have their own stories, how they became who they are
and the gradual development of identity that came with exposure and hard work. Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant (On The Cover) seemed to come almost out of nowhere when she won the 2010 Monk Competition but that was just a pinnacle of a mountain she had been climbing since childhood. This month she celebrates her latest release, Ghost Song (Nonesuch) at Blue Note. Trumpeter Sean Jones (Interview) came out of the church tradition and the cauldron that is the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under Wynton Marsalis, growing from both to become a compelling performer and valued educator. He is at Dizzy's Club in September. Composer David Sanford (Artist Feature) had to work against the strictures of academia to write the music he heard in his head. Some of that music will be presented at New School Stiefel Hall as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music. Organ player Ronnie Foster (Encore) grew up listening to Blue Note LPs, then made five himself, and has now returned to the label after 50 years with Re-Boot. And the late Tomasz Stańko attained the freedom he could not have in Soviet-era Poland through American jazz and his development of same. A tribute to the late trumpeter is at Roulette this month with many of his past collaborators.
On the Cover: CÉCILE McLORIN SALVANT
By Jordannah Elizabeth; photos Shawn Michael Jones / courtesy of Nonesuch Records
The word "genius" should never be thrown around lightly, but jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant has proven since her 2009-10 debut album with the Jean-François Bonnel Paris Quintet that "genius" is not pinned to the lapel of her garments, but pierced through her skin and uneasily removed. McLorin Salvant is at Blue Note Sep. 20th-25th.
Interview: SEAN JONES
By Russ Musto; photo courtesy of the artist
At the relatively young age of 44, Warren, Ohio born trumpeter Sean Jones has accomplished more in his two decades on the international jazz scene than most musicians can hope to achieve in a lifetime, with a resumé that includes membership in the Gerald Wilson Orchestra and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and sideman recordings with veterans Charles Fambrough, Steve Turre, Ralph Peterson, Nancy Wilson and Dianne Reeves. Most notably he has made a name for himself as the leader of his own forward looking ensembles with eight well received Mack Avenue albums, which showcase his talent as an original composer. Just as importantly he has distinguished himself as an important figure in the field of jazz education with auspicious tenures at Berklee College and Peabody Institute. Jones is at Dizzy's Club Sep. 23rd-25th.
Artist Feature: DAVID SANFORD
By George Grella; photo by Sabato Visconti / courtesy of the artist
One thing that is very, very cool about the composer David Sanford is that last year's album, A Prayer For Lester Bowie (Greenleaf Music), and his recomposition of Ornette Coleman's "Chronology" for the Shape of Jazz to Come reimagining at the Long Play 2022 festival this spring show an artist with a command of the exciting balance between form and freedom. Sanford is at New School Stiefel Hall Sep. 10th as part of FONT.
Encore: RONNIE FOSTER
By Matty Bannond
Blue Note albums circulated at high speed in Ronnie Foster's community in the '60s. When somebody in Buffalo had the latest release revolving on their turntable, they made a lot of new friends quickly. Those initial experiences of the iconic label set the young man's head spinning. In 1972, Blue Note released Foster's debut album Two Headed Freap. Half a century later, the Hammond organ player is now returning to the label with a new record, Reboot.
Lest We Forget: TOMASZ STAŃKO
By Eric Wendell
Jazz is a music of freedom, a language supporting collaboration while cutting through political dogma. In concert with the inherent spirit of collaboration, jazz sustains itself through the individuals who hear its calling. The late trumpeter Tomasz Stańko was born into a world that required the young mind to think beyond political discourse and take charge of his creative voice. A tribute to Stańko is at Roulette Sep. 18th.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Al Foster—Reflections Smoke Sessions (Smoke)
Steven Feifke/Bijon Watson—Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra Cellar Music Group (Birdland)
Charles Ruggiero—RooGeeAirOh!!! RMP (Smalls; The Django)