Coming Attractions in Jazz: November 2012

By J. R. Carroll.

From honors for Boston jazz heroes to many flavors of the “Spanish tinge”, it’s an eventful month, especially for NEC’s 40-year-old Contemporary Improvisation Department and the annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert as it turns 35.

Boston Jazz Heroes: Fred Taylor, Eric Jackson and Steve Schwartz

Boston Jazz Heroes: Fred Taylor, Eric Jackson and Steve Schwartz

The month opens with a celebration of Boston jazz heroes. The Office for the Arts at Harvard University sponsors a two-day tribute to broadcasters Eric Jackson and Steve Schwartz and promoter/presenter Fred Taylor. On Thursday, November 1, the honorees discuss their careers and the state of jazz in performance, on recordings, and on the radio; the forum takes place at 3 p.m. at the Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street, and is free and open to the public. The following evening at 8 p.m., the Harvard Jazz Bands host the three heroes at a concert in their honor in Lowell Lecture Hall, 17 Kirkland Street.

The cast changes slightly on Saturday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m. as the 35th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert honors Steve Schwartz and saxophonist/educator Andy McGhee; Eric Jackson will be on hand to host the evening at Northeastern University’s Blackman Theatre. (There’s a nice memoir by Eric in Leonard Brown’s anthology John Coltrane & Black America’s Quest for Freedom in which he recalls his early encounters with Coltrane’s music.) The musical guest list is headed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and the program will feature Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice,” “Central Park West,” “Impressions,” “After the Rain,” “The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost,” and a ‘Trane blues medley. In what has become a JCMC tradition, the ensemble will close with “Peace on Earth.”

Fortieth Anniversary festivities for the New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department roll right along. Performances by student ensembles directed by faculty members are regular occurrences at NEC, but this year they’re being highlighted in a packed month they’re calling “In the Mix” that presents several different ensembles on many evenings between November 13 and December 12:

Tuesday, November 13
7 p.m. Bob Moses Ensemble
8 and 9 p.m. Joe Morris Ensembles

Wednesday, November 14
7, 8, and 9 p.m. Dominique Eade Ensembles

Thursday, November 15
7 and 8 p.m. Bob Nieske Ensembles

Tuesday, November 20
7 p.m. Bert Seager Ensemble
8 p.m. John Lockwood Ensemble
9 p.m. Ted Reichman Ensemble

Monday, November 26
7 p.m. Joe Hunt Ensemble
8 and 9 p.m. Cecil McBee Ensembles

Tuesday, November 27
7 p.m. Eden MacAdam-Somer Songwriting Ensemble
8 p.m. Amir Milstein World Music
9 p.m. Nedelka Prescod African American Rooms Ensemble

Wednesday, November 28
7 p.m. Tanya Kalmanovitch CI Ensemble
8 p.m. Anthony Coleman’s Survivors Breakfast
9 p.m. Ted Reichman 21st Century

Speaking of NEC, they kick off the month at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, with a Free Music Night (that’s the style, not the door charge) at the Lily Pad with a lineup of Contemporary Improvisation faculty and students headed by guitarist/bassist Joe Morris.

Heading into a packed weekend, on Friday, November 2, at 7:30 and 10 p.m., the Regattabar welcomes the Django Reinhardt Festival Allstars featuring guitarist Dorado Schmitt.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Acton Jazz Cafe in its spacious new digs opposite Nagog Pond on Route 119, stop by on Friday at 9:30 p.m. to catch pianist Doug Johnson in the similarly spacious setting of a full quintet that includes clarinetist Felix Peikli, saxophonist Grace Kelly, bassist Keala Kaumeheiwa, and drummer Austin McMahon. (Kelly also has two gigs of her own, on November 4 at Worcester’s Hanover Theatre, opening for the aforementioned Django Reinhardt Festival Allstars, and at Scullers on November 9.)

Also on November 2, down in New Haven at 8:30 and 10 p.m., Firehouse 12 presents a long-time Peter Brötzmann collaborator, pianist Fred Van Hove, and adventurous New York drummer Lou Grassi.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, Ryles hosts a fundraiser for lung cancer research, SigFest 2012.

Out at the Bull Run in Shirley, MA, there’ll be gypsy jazz with Ameranouche at 8 p.m.

Back on the other side of Route 495, saxophonist Nick Goumas celebrates the release of his new CD, Moonlight Alley, at the Acton Jazz Cafe at 7 p.m.

Closer to Boston, Lexington’s Maxwell Auditorium features Argentina-born vocalist Sofia Rei at 9 p.m. as part of the World on Stage series.

On Sunday, November 4, pianist John Funkhouser and his quartet come to the Lily Pad at 6 p.m.

Drummer Austin McMahon is a busy guy but not too busy to fit in a duo gig with Armenia-born pianist Vardan Ovsepian, in from Los Angeles. Take your mind off the election for a while and stop by the Beehive at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6.

Back at the Beehive the following evening at 9 p.m., bassist/composer Fernando Huergo reprises his extraordinary Suite en Celeste y Blanco.

Over in Brookline, on Thursday, November 8, drummer Guillermo Nojechowicz and his El Eco Trio play at 9:30 p.m. at the Fireplace.

There are Latin big band sounds at the Regattabar on Friday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. with timbalero Eguie Castrillo and His Orchestra.

If you’re anywhere near Worcester’s Tuckerman Hall on November 9, do not miss the 8 p.m. concert by pianist Jason Moran and the Bandwagon.

And if you’re in New Haven, be sure to catch pianist Michelle Rosewoman at 8:30 and 10 p.m. at Firehouse 12.

At 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, saxophonist Cercie Miller is at the Acton Jazz Cafe, while down at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod the Bart Weisman Klezmer Swing Group celebrates their CD release.

Splitting the difference geographically, at 9 p.m. Ryles saxophonist Marco Pignataro and his Jazzet present “Trane-scendence.”

Sunday, November 11 ends the weekend nicely with a 7 p.m. double bill of guitarist Assaf Kehati and bassist Ehud Ettun at the Lily Pad.

At Watertown’s Arsenal Center for the Arts on Monday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m., one baritone saxophonist pays tribute to another as Danny Harrington joins the quartet of guitarist Jon Wheatley to celebrate the music of Pepper Adams.

The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble hit the road, first to Chianti in Beverly, MA, for a 7:30 p.m. gig on Wednesday, November 14. The next evening at 6 p.m. they’ll make a stop at Hartford’s Real Art Ways.

Pianist Tim Ray has pulled together a formidable quintet (trumpeter Phil Grenadier, saxophonist George Garzone, bassist Dave Clark, and drummer Bob Savine) for an 8 p.m. Thelonious Monk tribute at the Beehive on Wednesday, November 14.

Later in the evening, at 9 p.m., Ryles World Wednesdays teams Brazilian vocalist/bassist Braulio Araujo with some of Boston’s top Brazilian jazz players in Contempo (pianist Alexei Tsiganov, Ebinho Cardoso on 6-String Piccolo Bass, and drummer Renato Malavasi).

On Thursday, November 15, trumpeter Dave Douglas adds a Celtic/Appalachian flavor to his quintet when they’re joined by vocalist Aoife O’Donovan (another NEC Contemporary Improv alum!) for two shows, 7:30 and 10 p.m., at the Regattabar performing music from their recently-released CD, Be Still.

Stop by the Lily Pad at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 16 to join the release party for the new CD, Duel, by pianist Joe Della Penna and drummer Brooke Sofferman.

Also on Friday, saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his quartet return to Firehouse 12 for 8:30 and 10 p.m. performances.

On Saturday, November 17, catch back-to-back events at the Lily Pad: pianist/vocalist Mark Shilansky and Pass It On (violinist Sara Caswell, mandolinist Bryce Milano, guitarist Eric Byers, and a surprise bassist) at 6:30 p.m., followed by the trio Kombucha at 8 p.m..

Also at 8 p.m., there’s another double bill, this one featuring the piano trios of Framingham native son Jason Yeager and Israeli Alon Nechushtan (Words Beyond), at the Amazing Things Arts Center.

And up in Brattleboro, VT, at 8 p.m., the Vermont Jazz Center welcomes drum master Louis Hayes.

On Sunday, November 18, the Kevin Harris Project returns to the Lily Pad at 7:30 p.m.

[New] At 8 p.m. on Sunday, November 18, guitarist Norm Zocher performs with his Electric Strings Quartet (violinist Mimi Rabson, bassist Bruno Råberg and drummer Dave Jamrog) at Outpost 186. The concert will include quartet arrangements of excerpts from Zocher’s “Rock Ethic”, which Rabson premiered in 2009.

Saxophonist Joe Lovano is the guest of honor when the Berklee Global Jazz Institute returns to the Regattabar at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20.

Still rippin’ it up at a youthful 84, vocalist Sheila Jordan talks turkey with pianist (and long-time musical partner) Steve Kuhn on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Regattabar.

Shake off the tryptophan with trumpeter Arturo Sandoval at 8 and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, November 23-24 at Scullers.

Also on Saturday, November 24, head up to Rockport’s magnificent Shalin Liu Performance Center for an 8 p.m. performance by vocalist Catherine Russell.

A viola and guitar duo is unusual enough, but one that’s flourished for more than a decade is almost unheard of. UMass-Amherst’s Bezanson Recital Hall continues its adventurous programming on Tuesday, November 27 with an 8 p.m. performance by violist Jessica Pavone and guitarist Mary Halvorson.

What Jelly Roll Morton termed the “Spanish tinge” in jazz is front and center for the final three days of November. On Wednesday, November 28, at 9 p.m., Andalusian pianist Juan Pérez Rodríguez and his quartet explore the common ground between flamenco and jazz at Ryles.

Cuban piano master Chucho Valdés makes two stops in New England, the first on Thursday, November 29, at 8 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston. On Friday, he and his quintet head down to New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre for an 8 p.m. performance.

If you opt for the latter event, you’ll also be able to catch drummer Francisco Mela and Cuban Safari at Scullers at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 29. Or check out the intriguingly titled “Rebirth of the Third Stream” in NEC’s Jordan Hall, also at 8 p.m; the program includes Ellington’s “A Tone Parallel to Harlem,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs,” and George Russell’s “All About Rosie.”

And on Friday, November 30, saxophonist Jason Robinson and his Janus Ensemble (with reedman Marty Ehrlich, guitarist Liberty Elman, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer George Schuller) wrap up the month with the release of his new CD, Tiresian Symmetry, at Firehouse 12 in New Haven at 8:30 and 10 p.m.

With that, we’re off into the holiday season, and we’ll be back in late November to fill you in on best options for December.

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