Coming Attractions in Jazz: June 2011

By J. R. Carroll

Honors for a Boston jazz institution and distinguished guests joining the Makanda Project highlight New England jazz in June, along with piano duos, CD releases, visitors from New Orleans and Senegal, and a genuine supergroup.

Elynor Walcott

Jazz Hero
Elynor Walcott

Each year the Jazz Journalists Association honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions behind the scenes to the survival and advancement of jazz. This year one of these Jazz Heroes awards goes to Elynor Walcott–daughter of Joseph “Wally” Walcott–and her sons, who are carrying into a third generation the operation of one of Boston’s most venerable jazz institutions. JazzBoston has organized a “satellite party” at, appropriately enough, Wally’s Cafe from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, running in parallel with the JJA’s awards gala in New York, which will be streamed live.

Later that day, NYC trumpeter Igmar Thomas mixes it up with Montreal’s GroundFood; sample them together at 10 p.m. at the Beehive.

Alternatively, at the same time back in Cambridge at the Lily Pad, catch a rare duo performance by pianist Charles Farrell and drummer Jim Schapperoew.

Another unique duo–both pianists–brings together French free jazz pioneer François Tusques and Bostonian Eric Zinman for appearances on Sunday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at Fred’s Piano Service in Hyde Park and on Tuesday, June 14, at 8 p.m. at Outpost 186 in Inman Square.

The Brazilian guitarist with the best name since Baden Powell, Emmanuel Bach, comes to Ryles at 9 p.m. on June 15 as part of their World Wednesdays series.

Before moving to Rome (Italy, not New York) in 2004, pianist Greg Burk had a busy career here in Boston, including a stint with the Either/Orchestra. He’s back in town on Thursday, June 16, for a CD release event at 7 p.m. at the Lily Pad.

Also on the 16th, at 8 and 10 p.m., Scullers welcomes trumpeters Jeremy Pelt (subbing for Eddie Henderson) and David Weiss, saxophonists Billy Harper and Craig Handy, pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart, collectively known as the Cookers. Don’t come anticipating an evening of Blue Note nostalgia–these guys are as formidable as ever.

Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers

Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers

On Friday, June 17, at 7:30 and 10 p.m., predictably unpredictable guitarist Bill Frisell brings his Beautiful Dreamers trio (with violist Eyvind Kang–also a longtime member of Frisell’s 858 Quartet–and drummer Rudy Royston) to the Regattabar; if you think you know what this is going to sound like, you’re probably wrong.

Don’t miss this one: On Saturday, June 18, at 7 p.m. at the Boston Public Library’s Dudley Branch Library, the Makanda Project with special guest saxophonists Oliver Lake and Salim Washington performs compositions of Makanda Ken McIntyre.

Drummer Adam Cruz released his first CD as a leader, Milestone, back in April; it’s a safe bet that some of his distinctive compositions will be on the agenda when he plays at Scullers on Tuesday, June 21, at 8 p.m. with bandmates Steve Wilson, Eli Degibri, Steve Cardenas and Kevin Hays.

São Paulo-born vocalist Téka flies in from Santa Barbara for a two-day visit; catch her in Cambridge at Ryles on Wednesday, June 22, at 9 p.m., and in Brookline at Vernissage on Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m.

Take the Plunge on Friday, June 24, at 8 p.m. at Outpost 186; New Orleans trombonist Mark McGrain joins up with saxophonist Tom Hall and bassist Marty Ballou to dig into McGrain’s trio repertoire–expect some surprises.

Boston’s 2011 winter-from-hell caused the cancellation of more than a few performances. Saxophonist and composer/arranger Art Felluca finally gets to celebrate the release of his new CD, Inward, at Scullers at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28.

And, on Thursday, June 30, at 8 p.m. at Johnny D’s, Senegalese master drummer and bandleader Ibrahima Camara reaches across the Atlantic to pull elements of funk, reggae and Afro-Latin music into his sabar and djimbe (djembe) grooves.

Mai Tai

Finally, a bit of old business. If you, like me, missed the CD release by Mr. Ho’s (Brian O’Neill’s) Orchestrotica Vibraphone Quartet at the utterly appropriate Lizard Lounge in Cambridge on June 3, you can still mix up a Mai Tai and check out the original music and covers of exotica from the pen of Martin Denny, Cal Tjader, and others on Third River Rangoon.

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