Fall is upon us, so it’s a good time to cozy up and get caught up on jazz happenings—and listen to some good music by jazz artists, celebrate birthdays, and think about supporting music education and live music.
There are some great albums out now. Here’s a small sampling:
Leo Genovese – “Estrellero” (Sunnyside). This album features Genovese on piano and pump organ, Demian Cabaud on bass, and Marcos Cavaleiro on drums. Some jazz fans may remember the Argentinian pianist from his time with singer-bassist Esperanza Spalding back in 2005. His playing is wide-ranging including piano styles such as pre-bop, pop, and avant-classical/jazz.
Tyshawn Sorey – “Continuing” (Pi Recordings). Joining Sorey for this album outing is Aaron Diehl on piano and Matt Brewer on bass. On this recording, drummer Sorey and company play four songs that include Wayne Shorter’s “Reincarnation Blues,” Ahmad Jamal’s “Seleritus,” as well as the 1940s’ Matt Dennis classic “Angel Eyes,” plus Harold Mabern’s “What Direction Are You Headed.”
Johnathan Blake – “Passage” (Blue Note). On this recording, Blake’s bandmates include Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Joel Ross on vibraphone, David Virelles on piano and keyboard, and Dezron Douglas on bass.
Blake, a drummer, pays tribute to his late father, the violinist John Blake, Jr., who passed away in 2014. His father composed the title track. This is Blake’s second Blue Note outing and fifth album overall.
On October 13, the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s highly anticipated, never-before-released album “The Love Suite: In Mahogany” was released on all streaming platforms with Blue Engine Records.
Hargrove’s birthday was October 16, and in addition to celebrating the day, an album event was held at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola inside Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, who was at the Walker Art Center in May, has been named artistic director of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA. He is a 2007 graduate of the program.
Akinmusire said, “Having been a student and later a judge, mentor and teacher in this program, I look forward to sharing my knowledge and continuing the legacy.”
On October 15, The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz held its International Piano Competition Finals & Gala. The institute has held its International Jazz Competition annually since 1987 and offered a full scholarship and graduate-level college program since 1995. For more information, visit www.hancockinstitute.org.
On Oct 12, there was a free screening of “ELLIS: The Life & Complicated Times of the Pianist Ellis Marsalis, Jr.” at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall in New Orleans. The film about the patriarch of the talented Marsalis family is by director Sascha Just and is not yet released for major distribution, so this advance screening in his hometown was especially meaningful.
On October 18, celebrating his 62nd birthday is world-renowned trumpeter and bandleader Wynton Marsalis. When he was just starting out as a young musician, he played with the late great drummer Art Blakey in his band the Jazz Messengers. Blakey also celebrated a birthday on Oct 11.
Marsalis is a leading advocate of American culture and managing and artistic director of jazz at the Lincoln Center. Among my favorite songs played by Marsalis are “Sunflowers” from the “Marciac Suite” recording; “Embraceable You,” from his “Standards and Ballads” album; and “Autumn Leaves” from the album “Marsalis Standard Time, Vol.1.”
Blakey held together the Jazz Messengers for 35 years. His drum rolls were signature statements. He gave young musicians valuable experience and exposure. As a result, many of them became major jazz artists in their own right.
Coming up at the Dakota and not to be missed is the Walker West Academy fundraiser billed as “An Evening of Music with Walker West,” happening on Oct. 30 at 6 p.m.
Also, returning to the club is vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant on Jan. 28 at 6 & 8 p.m. For tickets, visit www.dakotacooks.com.