By J. R. Carroll
After the New England Conservatory’s well-deserved turn in the limelight last month in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their jazz studies program, the Berklee College of Music comes to the fore in November with a strong series of performances on- and off-campus.
Kicking off their month-long Latin Music Culture Celebration, percussionist Marcus Santos’s Bloco AfroBrazil and vibraphonist Victor Mendoza’s Latin jazz group offer a free performance on Monday, Nov. 2, at Berklee’s student-run Club 939. Then, as part of their Artist Series, Berklee brings innovative saxophonist Greg Osby to Scullers on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Those who attended the release concert at Tufts University for guitarist Claudio Ragazzi and pianist Nando Michelin’s superb new duo CD, Entre Amigos, were treated to a spectacular encore when they were joined by vocalist Sofia Koutsovitis in a brief but powerful tribute to the late Mercedes Sosa. If you weren’t fortunate enough to have been there, both Michelin and Koutsovitis have CD release events of their own this month–Michelin at Ryles on Wednesday, Nov. 4, and Koutsovitis at the Regattabar on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Photo by Nina d’Allessandro
Also on Nov. 10, the Latin perspective on jazz continues at the Berklee Performance Center, where vocalist Mili Bermejo presents a program of love songs of the Americas on a double bill with Panamanian vocalist Patricia Elena Vlieg.
While having two drummers in a band isn’t unusual in the rock world (the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band have used this configuration for decades), aside from Coltrane’s brief experiment on Meditations, few jazz artists (aside from drummer-bandleaders) have ventured there. Saxophonist Joe Lovano pairs drummers Otis Brown and Francisco Mela when he comes to the Regattabar (with pianist James Weidman and bassist Esperanza Spalding) on Thursday, Nov. 12.
Timba master Issac Delgado
Back at the Berklee Performance Center, Cuban vocalist and timba pioneer Issac Delgado (yes, that’s how his name is spelled) joins a Berklee orchestra led by Peruvian bassist Oscar Stagnaro on Thursday, Nov. 12, and World Music presents MPB giant Milton Nascimento to town on Sunday, Nov. 15 for a not-to-be-missed appearance.
Brazilian legend Milton Nascimento
And, if you’ve managed to sleep off Thanksgiving’s tryptophan orgy, bassist Christian McBride deals an Inside Straight at Scullers on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27-28.
Though not, strictly speaking, jazz performances, there are several other jazz-related events of interest during November. The Harvard Book Store hosts jazz critic Ben Ratliff discussing his new compilation, The Jazz Ear: Conversations Over Music, and conducting a live interview with saxophonist George Garzone at the Regattabar on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
A most unusual multimedia event, Genes & Jazz comes to the Museum of Science on Wednesday, Nov. 4. Nobel prize winner Harold Varmus and his son, trumpeter Jacob Varmus (with his quintet), explore patterns and structures in cell biology and jazz improvisation.
Finally, on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Boston Jewish Film Festival presents The Jazz Baroness, a documentary about Baroness “Nica” de Koenigswarter, friend and patroness of New York jazz musicians (especially Thelonious Monk, who wrote his amazing “Pannonica” in her honor).