SMOKE In Harlem Hosts Special Performances By Emmet Cohen, Houston Person, And Tierney Sutton

December 18, 2023

Rated the #1 jazz club at, SMOKE Jazz Club in Harlem, NYC begins 2024 with an exciting line-up in January.

The month begins with two piano greats: Bill Charlap leading his longtime Trio (Jan 3-7) followed by renowned pianist/composer Billy Childs and his Quartet (Jan 11-14).

SMOKE is honored to host two octogenarians celebrating their 81st birthdays in back-to-back concert celebrations: tenor saxophone giant Billy Harper leads his Quintet (Jan 18-21) then drumming master Al Foster is at the helm of his Quintet with special guests Chris Potter and Nicholas Payton (Jan 24-28).

For the most updated schedule, please visit SMOKEjazz.com. 

January 2024 Concert Schedule (subject to change):

Thu-Sun Jan 3-7 Bill Charlap Trio
Bill Charlap – piano
Peter Washington – bass
Kenny Washington – drums

“The premier mainstream piano trio of our day.” – The New Yorker


Bill Charlap leads his acclaimed piano trio featuring bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. Known as a master interpreter of American popular song Time magazine says, “No matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence.”

Charlap has performed with many leading artists of our time, from Phil Woods and Tony Bennett to Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis, and has led this trio since 1997. The Guardian explains, “As a unit, this must be one of the best piano trios ever, and certainly as instantly recognizable as any of its great predecessors. Charlap’s touch on the keyboard is light, almost stealthy, even when playing full chords, but always firm, clear, and beautifully articulated. With the spirited support of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington (famously unrelated), the total effect is just perfect.”

Wed Jan 10 Houston Person with the Emmet Cohen Trio **JUST ANNOUNCED**
Houston Person – tenor saxophone
Emmet Cohen – Hammond B-3 organ
Leo Larratt – guitar
Joe Farnsworth – drums

“Whatever imponderable talent it takes to stay at the top of one’s game for almost six decades, as Person has, he still has it in abundance.” – All About Jazz

“Not just the poster man for contemporary jazz, breathing 2020s finesse onto early Twentieth-Century swing, [Cohen] is a supremely gifted and impassioned artist of the highest order.” 
– All About Jazz

The incredible (and beloved) tenor saxophonist Houston Person, whose robust and soulful sound has been delighting audiences for over 60 years, joins the immensely talented and popular Emmet Cohen and his organ trio. Cohen, who was called “a young piano virtuoso with a delicate touch, assured, swaggering swing feel, and debonair flow” by The New York Times, turns back the clock to the pre-pandemic years when he was one of the “house” organists at SMOKE, holding down a weekly residency.


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One of the leading pianists on the scene he is also an exceptionally talented B-3 virtuoso. Joining Person and Cohen are the invaluable team of guitarist Leo Larratt and drummer Joe Farnsworth.

Thu-Sun Jan 11-14 Billy Childs Quartet
Steve Wilson – saxophones & flute
Billy Childs – piano
Matt Penman – bass
Ari Hoenig – drums

“One of the most critically acclaimed pianists in modern jazz” – All About Jazz

Renowned pianist and composer Billy Childs leads a sensational quartet with saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Ari Hoenig. A native of Los Angeles, Childs grew up immersed in jazz, classical, and popular music influences, which he blends in powerful and personal compositional and performing voice. A child prodigy who started performing at age six and studying at USC at 16, he was “discovered” by trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, with whom he embarked on a successful performing and recording tour.

He also recorded and performed with a number of other influential jazz musicians, including J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, Jack DeJohnette, and Dave Holland, among many others, and with such varied artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Renee Fleming, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Kronos Quartet. Downbeat reports, “The same creative spirit that’s propelled him from the bands of bop giants as a twenty-something side-player to a composer renowned throughout concert halls and across jazz festival stages remains unhampered.”

Wed Jan 17 Joe Farnsworth / Kenny Washington Drum Battle Sextet **JUST ANNOUNCED**
Jeremy Pelt – trumpet
Eric Alexander – tenor saxophone
Mike LeDonne – piano
Joe Ranieri – bass
Kenny Washington – drums
Joe Farnsworth – drums

“There’s always been a gladiatorial aspect to jazz. For a taste of this blood sport, head uptown for this mano-a-mano fight to the finish between two supremely accomplished drummers with a mutual taste for hard-bop intensity.” – The New Yorker

Back by popular demand, drummers Joe Farnsworth (“one of the premiere straight-ahead drummers of his generation” – Glide Magazine) and Kenny Washington (“one of the top jazz drummers of the past 40 years” – WBGO Radio) renew their friendly musical rivalry in this new “drum battle” joined by an incredible sextet featuring trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, pianist Mike LeDonne, and bassist Joe Ranieri. Inspired by the famous “drum battles” between Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, and the Gretsch Drum Nights at Birdland featuring Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, and Elvin Jones, Farnsworth and Washington add their own exciting chapter to this storied tradition. When these two masters meet, there is always a lot of great drumming, but there is also a lot of great music.

Thu-Sun Jan 18-21 81st Birthday Celebration: Billy Harper Quintet
Freddie Hendrix – trumpet
Billy Harper – tenor saxophone
Francesca Tanksley – piano
Dezron Douglas – bass
Aaron Scott – drums

The incredible Billy Harper leads his celebrated quintet–with trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, pianist Francesca Tanksley, bassist Dezron Douglas, and drummer Aaron Scott–while celebrating his 81st birthday.

One of the most original and significant saxophonists of the past 50 years, Harper has a distinctive sound and approach that is purely his own. Over the years, he’s worked with Art Blakey, Max Roach, Gil Evans, Elvin Jones, Lee Morgan, and, most recently, the Cookers. 

The San Francisco Chronicle says, “he is a soul of sensitivity and intelligence, as well as of explosive, majestic passion.” “His viscous, chocolaty tone and depth-charge bursts from the bottom of his range [are] a stark contrast to the current trend for a post-bop homogeneity of tone in the newer generation of saxophone sounds,” reports JazzWise.

Wed-Sun Jan 24-28 81st Birthday Celebration: Al Foster Quintet featuring Chris Potter and Nicholas Payton
Nicholas Payton – trumpet
Chris Potter – tenor saxophone
Kevin Hays – piano 
Vicente Archer – bass
Al Foster – drums

“One of the great living drummers in jazz.” – Stereophile

The incredible drummer Al Foster celebrates his 81st birthday with a perfect ensemble for the occasion featuring tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist Kevin Hays, and bassist Vicente Archer. This same illustrious quintet appears with Foster on his acclaimed 2022 album, Reflections.

Well-known for his long association with Miles Davis throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Foster was also the first-call drummer for an amazing list of jazz legends such as Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, McCoy Tyner, and Joe Henderson. Downbeat calls him “an esteemed master and a consummate sideman,” while JazzTimes describes him as “a not-so-secret special groove ingredient enlivening performances and sessions by a long list of heavy hitters.”

Wed-Sun Jan 31-Feb 4 Tierney Sutton **JUST ANNOUNCED**
Tierney Sutton – vocals
Trio – TBA

“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. 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.”

SMOKE

Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at the junction of Broadway and 106th Street (aka Duke Ellington Boulevard), Smoke Jazz Club is one of New York City’s premier live music venues. 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.

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:

When: 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)

Where: SMOKE Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway (between 105/106th Streets), New York, NY, Train: 1 to 103rdStreet.

Tickets: In-Person $25-$60. Livestream $15. For more information and to make reservations, please visit SMOKEjazz.com.

Photo credit: 1) 2) Wynton Marsalis.

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