October Music At Smoke Schedule In Harlem

September 5, 2015

smoke_jazz_clubCheck out some of the best Jazz music by some of the best musicians in Harlem at Smoke Music Schedule for the month of October 2015.

Fri, Sat & Sun, October 2, 3 & 4
Stanley Cowell Quartet “A Smoke Debut”
Pianist Stanley Cowell, a dedicated educator who is now Professor Emeritus of Jazz Piano at Rutgers, has made returned to a more active performing and recording schedule in recent years. His career includes performances with Max Roach, Miles Davis, Charles Tolliver, Sonny Rollins and many, many more. Mike Joyce writing in the Washington Post says, “Listening to him, it’s always easy to become fascinated by the sound of two hands improvising independently, the right swift and fluid, the left vigorous and contrapuntal. At times Cowell conjured the golden age of Harlem “ticklers” or flashed Art Tatum-like flourishes amid evocative blues riffs and gospel chords. And yet his sophisticated sense of harmony was consistently fresh, inventive and surprising.” In the New York Times, Nate Chinen writes, “Mr. Cowell is a bit unclassifiable, and jazz has a lot of use for his curiosity and challenge and friction, as well as his virtuosity.” Don’t miss this important Smoke debut.

Bruce Williams [alto saxophone & flute] Stanley Cowell [piano] Jay Anderson [bass] Victor Lewis [drums]

Wed & Thu, October 7 & 8
Alexis Cole Quintet with special guest Eric Alexander
Called “one of the great voices of today” by SiriusXM’s Jonathan Schwartz, Alexis Cole has also been compared to classic jazz singers such as Anita O’Day and JazzTimes states, “Cole’s easy sense of swing is strongly reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan.” Her luxurious voice and innovative interpretations make her an instant audience favorite with audiences. Alexis is a past winner of the NY Jazzmobile and Montreux Jazz Festival vocal competitions, and a finalist of the Sarah Vaughan Competition. Japan’s Swing Journal raved, “We’ve been waiting for the next great singer to come along, and finally… Alexis.” Joining Alexis is the tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander who NPR calls “one of the greatest bebop saxophonists in the world.”

Alexis Cole [vocals] Eric Alexander [tenor saxophone]
John DiMartino [piano] Yasushi Nakamura [bass] Kenny Hassler [drums]

Fri, Sat & Sun, October 9, 10 & 11
“Spherical” A Thelonious Monk Birthday Celebration
Thelonious Sphere Monk, one of the legendary figures of jazz history, was born on October 10, 1917, which accounts for the timing of this annual musical tribute. Monk and his music continue to be major sources of inspiration for new generations of jazz artists like this year’s featured performer, Tim Warfield. Warfield’s most recent recording, Spherical, is dedicated to Monk and also provides the title for this program. Andrew Luhn of All About Jazz reviewed it saying, “This Monk tribute album is exceptional. Warfield and co. make the classic tunes their own…and approach the music with a sense of adventure and playfulness that draws the listener in and holds his attention.” Both this group and Warfield’s recording include Orrin Evans, a pianist very much from the non-conformist Monk school of playing. Luhn continues, “Without ever sounding like he is trying to directly emulate Monk, Evans channels the spirit and humor of his idiosyncratic playing.”

Eddie Henderson [trumpet] Tim Warfield [tenor saxophone]
Orrin Evans [piano] Ben Wolfe [bass] Mark Whitfield, Jr. [drums]

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Wed & Thu, October 14 & 15
Freddie Hendrix Quartet
Freddie Hendrix—combining elements of Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and Clifford Brown—has emerged as one of the music’s most exciting young trumpet players. Time Out New York describes him as a “suave young post-bop trumpeter” while The New York Times adds that he’s “a hard-bop trumpeter with a strong tone and an alert style.” A versatile musician, he’s toured with Alicia Keys and backed Stevie Wonder. Although Freddie is a first-call section player in some of the top large ensembles of the day like the Count Basie Orchestra and the Lincoln Center Orchestra,The New York City Jazz Record states that “Hendrix proves to be a revelation in the small (group) setting.”

Freddie Hendrix [trumpet] Brandon McCune [piano] Chris Berger [bass] Chris Beck [drums]

Fri, Sat & Sun, October 16, 17 & 18
One for All
One For All, inspired by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, plays straight ahead jazz with boundless energy and irrepressible passion. This all-star sextet, which features trumpeter Jim Rotondi, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trombonist Steve Davis, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth, has a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In the words of JazzTimes, “For all the hard-hitting solos, the band’s real strength is in its cohesion,” and in another review calls the group “New York’s premier hard bop supergroup.” After almost two decades, they return to where it all began.

Jim Rotondi [trumpet]   Eric Alexander [tenor saxophone]   Steve Davis [trombone]
David Hazeltine [piano]  John Webber [bass]   Joe Farnsworth [drums]

Wed & Thu, October 21 & 22
Carolyn Leonhart Quintet
Carolyn Leonhart, a vocalist of immense talent, leads an impressive quintet of jazz heavyweights. The daughter of bassist and vocalist Jay and Donna Leonhart respectively, Carolyn has been a performing musician for most of her life. She’s noted for her versatility singing R&B, rock and pop as well as jazz. In fact, she is probably most widely known for her long tenure with Steely Dan. Of her jazz singing, All About Jazz says, it’s rare to hear a singer who has both chops and discernible style. Carolyn Leonhart is one of the few: it’s a pleasure to hear the intelligence and nuance in her delivery.”

Carolyn Leonhart [vocals] Myron Walden [tenor saxophone]
Helen Sung [piano] Hans Glawischnig [bass] Rodney Green [drums]

Fri, Sat & Sun, October 23, 24 & 25
Mary Stallings with the Bruce Barth Trio
Beloved vocalist Mary Stallings returns to Smoke by popular demand. The Wall Street Journal calls her “our greatest living link to the late, great (Carmen) McRae.” The New York Times says she is “polished, self-possessed and close to the ground, with blues and gospel language on simmer. And she’s a wizard of the long tone, which she uses to laser into deep emotional zones; she leaves brackets of silence, and phrases with microscopic care.” Joining Stallings is the perceptive pianist Bruce Barth who also appears on her current, widely acclaimed release Feelin’ Good.

Mary Stallings [vocals] Bruce Barth [piano]

Wed, October 28
Innovative vocalist Fleurine brings a fresh approach to traditional vocal jazz repertoire while expanding it with new material. Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times says, “Her emphasis is on musicality; in each case, her warm, enveloping sound and gentle, rhythmic drive transform the songs into something well beyond the original sources. And the inclusion of some well-crafted originals, attest to the broad reach of her talents.” Downbeat states, “Brazilian chic has nudged its way for two generations into pop and jazz, but few insinuate as distinctively candid and original an interpretation as does vocalist Fleurine.”

Fleurine Mehldau [vocals]

Thu, October 29
Jim Snidero Quintet
Alto saxophonist Jim Snidero celebrates the release of his new recording Main Street. Drawing from a quarter-century of touring, he creates a compelling sonic trip across inspired by towns throughout the USA. The result is a cohesive yet spontaneous concept album that deftly balances both tradition and modernism. Snidero is one of the great alto saxophonists of our time and has been a member of an astonishingly wide variety of important groups including The Mingus Big Band, Brother Jack McDuff, Eddie Palmieri and Frank Sinatra.

Jim Snidero [alto saxophone] Alex Sipiagan [trumpet]
Andy LaVerne [piano] Ugonna Okegwo [bass] Jason Tiemann [drums]

Fri, Sat & Sun, October 30, 31 & November 1
JD Allen Trio
Buster Williams, a bassist with virtuosic technique and an unmistakable sound, leads a special edition of his beloved “Something More” Quartet.  The Guardian calls Williams “one of the great acoustic bassists,” and JazzTimes states “Williams’ résumé ranks with that of any bassist in the modern era.” It’s a resume that includes working with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt when he was 17; backing singing legends Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughn and Nancy Wilson in the ’60s; anchoring Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi sextet into the ’70s; and co-founding the Timeless All-Stars and Sphere after that. As important as he is as a bassist, he is equally known for his compositions and bands, which The New Yorker hails his music as “modern, mainstream at its best.”

JD Allen [tenor saxophone] Gregg August [bass] Nate Smith [drums]

Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, New York, NY 10025,  smokejazz.com

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