Dr. Eddie Henderson: Uncommon Genius Documentary At SMOKE Jazz Club In Harlem

January 6, 2024

Rated the #1 jazz club in Harlem, NY, SMOKE Jazz Club celebrates Black History Month the same way it does year-round—by presenting the best of today’s jazz artists.

SMOKE welcomes back a handful of its longtime friends for some extraordinary programs throughout February.

The legendary octogenarian Eddie Henderson celebrates the release of his eponymous PBS-TV documentary film Uncommon Genius (released February 2024) with a special world premiere screening and conversation (Feb 7) followed by four nights of him leading his Quintet (Feb 8-11).

Former members of The Messengers reunite for A Tribute to Art Blakey (Feb 15-18). The month ends with the return of former SMOKE artist-in-resident Emmet Cohen at the helm of his Trio (Feb 28-Mar 3). For the most updated schedule, please visit SMOKEjazz.com. 

February 2024 Concert (subject to change):

Wed-Sun Jan 31-Feb 4 Tierney Sutton with special guest Lenny White
Tierney Sutton – vocals
Christian Jacob – piano
Ricky Rodriguez – bass
Lenny White – drums

“A serious jazz artist who takes the whole enterprise to another level.” – The New York Times

Tierney Sutton, the nine-time GRAMMY-nominated jazz vocalist, returns to SMOKE by popular demand backed by a sublime trio with pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, and special guest drummer Lenny White. One of the most acclaimed jazz vocalists, Sutton is renowned for her impeccable voice and imaginative treatments of standards, and she has received GRAMMY nominations for every project she has released in the last decade. Jazz Times describes her recent recordings as marking her transition “from great to iconic.” The New York Times adds, “Ms. Sutton is a pure jazz spirit who respects a song. Even when going out on an improvisatory limb, she never lets its essence slip away.”

Wed Feb 7 PBS Documentary World Premiere | Dr. Eddie Henderson: Uncommon Genius
Eddie Henderson – trumpet
George Cables – piano
Mark Rabideau – film producer

Catch the World Premiere of the new PBS documentary film Dr. Eddie Henderson: Uncommon Genius, with the film’s producer Mark Rabideau, and its subject, jazz trumpeter and music legend Eddie Henderson. Henderson’s remarkable story includes a childhood immersed among Harlem’s elite: Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Louis Armstrong, among many others. He honorably served our country out of Denver’s Lowry Air Force Base and fought racism to become our nation’s first Black professional figure skater. He subsequently earned a medical degree, planning a life as a doctor, but ended up becoming one of the greatest jazz artists in the history of the art form. After the screening, Rabideau will lead a Q&A and discussion with Henderson before Henderson performs in a duo with a longtime collaborator, the great pianist George Cables.

Thu-Sun Feb 8-11 Eddie Henderson Quintet Uncommon Genius Celebration
Eddie Henderson – trumpet
Donald Harrison – alto saxophone
George Cables – piano
Gerald Cannon – bass
Lenny White – drums

“His musical wisdom, gleaned during decades spent on the best jazz bandstands, informs every unerring note.” – Downbeat

Trumpeter Eddie Henderson and his quintet celebrate the February 2024 PBS-TV release of a new film documenting his incredible life, Eddie Henderson: Uncommon Genius. He also released an acclaimed new album in September, Witness to History, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his 1973 recording debut as a leader, Realization. Joining Henderson for these special performances is a spectacular quintet of his closest collaborators: alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, pianist George Cables, bassist Gerald Cannon, and drummer Lenny White. Henderson’s “deft feel and plush sound made him a central figure in the worlds of jazz-funk and hard-bop in the 1970s,” according to The New York Times. The Chicago Reader adds, “Hisprogressive, assured, and imaginative improvisations roll out in a glorious sun-splashed tone… he seems to dance through his solos, balancing his quick clockwork technique with bursts of bluesy soul.” The eternally youthful Henderson has proven again that he is still making some of the most important music of his career into his 80s.

Wed Feb 14 Abena Koomson-Davis Quintet featuring Steve Davis
Abena Koomson-Davis – vocals
Steve Davis – trombone
Rick Germanson – piano
Nat Reeves – bass
Willie Jones III – drums

Husband and wife team of vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis and trombonist Steve Davis return to SMOKE (where they met!) to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a thrilling night of music and a great band with pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Nat Reeves, and drummer Willie Jones III. From jazz to afrobeat to acapella choral singing, vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis spans a colorful range of musical genres. An original cast member of Broadway’s FELA, and musical director of the Resistance Revival Chorus, she has shared the stage with many luminaries including Angelique Kidjo and Natalie Merchant. Abena can be heard on two duets from Merchant’s most recent release, Keep Your Courage. Merchant remarked, “I was really blown away by her. Not just her voice — her voice is incredible — but her spirit.” One of the great jazz trombonists, Steve Davis “has established himself as one of the most accomplished and lyrical improvisers on his instrument as well as a prolific composer,” says Jazz Times, while Downbeat adds, “Davis thoughtfully balances modernism, lyricism, and drive—as a writer and a player.”

Thu-Sun Feb 15-18 A Jazz Messengers Tribute to Art Blakey
Brian Lynch – trumpet
Bobby Watson – alto saxophone
Robin Eubanks – trombone
Geoff Keezer – piano
Peter Washington – bass
Carl Allen – drums

Master drummer Carl Allen leads a very special sextet of Messengers’ alumni in celebration of the musical legacy of the great Art Blakey. Allen grew up idolizing Blakey’s hard-driving swing, and after he started playing with the legendary trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, a former member of Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the iconic drummer named Allen an honorary Messenger. This all-star ensemble is all former Messengers, too, with trumpeter Brian Lynch, alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Geoff Keezer, and bassist Peter Washington. Individually, these musicians embody the spirit of Blakey with their virtuosity and fire, but together they are transcendent.

Wed-Sun Feb 21-25 Something Else!
Jeremy Pelt – trumpet
Vincent Herring – alto saxophone
Wayne Escoffery – tenor saxophone
David Kikoski – piano
Paul Bollenbeck – guitar
Essiet Essiet – bass
Lewis Nash – drums

“Top-shelf soul-jazz and swing… Every one of these musicians is elite – it was an extraordinary set.” – Glide Magazine

The fiery and soulful alto saxophonist Vincent Herring is the impetus behind this spectacular collective supergroup featuring trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, guitarist Paul Bollenback, pianist David Kikoski, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Lewis Nash. Herring describes it as “‘the best musicians playing great music and enjoying it thoroughly.” Their repertoire reimagines with new arrangements of some of the classics of soul jazz (think Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, Horace Silver, and Bobby Timmons), but they also include some of their own new additions to this genre. The performances are rich, soulful, and funky. The New Yorker sums it up by saying, “This packed-to-the-gills outfit taps into a classic repertoire of funk-tinged tunes by the likes of Bobby Timmons, Horace Silver, and Lou Donaldson. It practically dares audiences to sit still and remain on their best behavior.”

Thu-Sun Feb 28-Mar 3 Emmet Cohen Trio
Emmet Cohen – piano
Joe Ranieri – bass
Joe Farnsworth – drums

“A young piano virtuoso with a delicate touch, assured, swaggering swing feel, and debonair flow.” – The New York Times

Emmet Cohen, a jazz sensation, leads his acclaimed trio with bassist Joe Ranieri and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Called “one of the finest piano players to emerge in decades” by All About Jazz, Cohen has earned a dedicated and passionate following and has attracted new audiences to jazz. He has accompanied numerous jazz luminaries and plays with the command of a seasoned veteran. Downbeat observed that his “nimble touch, measured stride, and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship.” His trio is one of the hottest young ensembles in jazz today and melds all styles of jazz: stride, swing, bebop, free, and contemporary, with an emphasis on the Great American Songbook.

Smoke Jazz Club

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Smoke Jazz Club is one of New York City’s premier live music venues located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at the junction of Broadway and 106th Street (aka Harlem’s Duke Ellington Boulevard). Renowned for offering top-notch programming of accessible, timeless jazz featuring legendary performers, modern masters, and rising stars, Smoke stands apart with its candlelit dining room, stellar acoustics, and classic American cuisine.

Related: Get our curated “Things To Do” for family fun throughout Harlem.

Founded in 1999, SMOKE also boasts a GRAMMY-nominated label, Smoke Sessions Records, and a celebrated streaming concert series, Smoke Screens. For everything else, visit SMOKEjazz.com. 

Ticketing + Information:

Wednesday-Sunday @ 7:00 p.m. + 9:00 p.m. and additional 10:30 p.m. (Fri & Sat only). Doors open at 5:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted)

Tickets: In-Person $25-$60. Livestream $15. For more information and to make reservations.

SMOKE Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway (between 105/106th Streets), New York, NY, Train: 1 to 103rd Street, SMOKEjazz.com.

Photo credit: Dr. Eddie Henderson Tisdale Studio/Wiki.

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