Marcia Hillman Writes From Manhattan

Sorry to have missed the last issue….but I’m back and it’s autumn in New York. And as the song says: “Why does it sound so inviting?” Of course, it’s all that jazz! During the month of September, there was a wide array of players at the various venues around town. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Generations in Jazz was featured at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola with a lineup during the month that included the Mason Brothers, baritone saxophonist Joe Tem-perley and Friends, Roy Haynes’ Fountain of Youth, Monty Alexander, The Heath Brothers, brothers Peter and Will Anderson playing the mu-sic of the Dorsey Brothers, and the Peter Bernstein Quartet. On the bandstand at The Blue Note on different nights, one could find the Roy Hargrove Quintet, or the Kenny Werner Coalition with David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon, or Chick Corea and The Vigil. Uptown at Smoke, the month’s lineup included the George Coleman Quartet, Warren Wolf & Wolfpack, Larry Willis All-Stars, George Free-man Quartet and the John Webber Guitar Quartet. While downtown at the Jazz Standard, you could hear at various times the music of Tootie Heath, or the Daphnis Prieto Sextet or the Lonnie Sith Trio or Fred Hersch with his trio and also solo. Greenwich Village’s famed Village Vanguard was smoking with the sounds of John Zorn’s Masada, the Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet, the Eric Reed Quartet or the Ravi Shankar Quartet. St. Peter’s Church’s Wednesday noon concert schedule included the Aron Diehl Trio, Barbara Carroll with Jay Leonhart, a tribute to the late Joe Wilder, vocalist Sandy Stewart and her son, pianist Bill Charlap and Marlene VerPlanck. Trumpeter Bria Skonberg was in evidence at a couple of places: at Birdland and also at Dizzy’s. The gal gets around and plays great horn as well. A guitar treat

A guitar treat turned up the last night of September at the Jazz Gallery featuring the musical magic of Bucky Pizzarelli, Jack Wilkins and How-ard Alden….on the same stage, at the same time. What a delight!
Into October and speaking of great guitarists, the annual All Night Soul event at St. Peter’s Church featured the great Gene Bertoncini.
Dizzy’s monthly calendar included Matt Wilson’s 50th Birthday Cele-bration, the Champian Fulton Quartet, the Diva Big Band featuring Cynthia Scott, the Ann Hampton Calloway Sarah Vaughn Project among others.

The Blue Note nights of music included performances of Cassandra Wilson, Lee Rittenour and Bebel Gilberto.
The Randy Weston Quartet celebrated the legendary trombonist Melba Liston in concert at the Manhattan School of Music in October. And the Brooklyn Jazz Orchestra was in concert at the Lafayette Avenue Presby-terian Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn performing the great American Songbook and featuring Brian Newman.

The jazz giant Dizzy Gillespie was born on October 21st and each year in NYC, his birthday week is celebrated at several venues in town. (Oddly enough, the venue bearing his name does not have a special night or week dedicated to Gillespie. Well, maybe next year?) This year (had he lived), Dizzy would have been 97 years old. It was celebrated this month from the 22nd to the 26th at The Blue Note by the Dizzy Gil-lespie All-Stars – a collection of some of the remaining Gillespie band alumni (formerly headed by the late James Moody) and under the direc-tion of John Lee. There was also a celebration at the concert series pre-sented by pianist/arranger/composer Mike Longo at the New York City Bahai Center in Greenwich Village on the actual birthday night. Longo, who was Dizzy’s pianist and musical director for decades led his NYC State of the Arts Jazz Ensemble in an evening of music associated with Gillespie. Featured guest stars included trumpeter Jimmy Owens and the legendary vocalist Annie Ross. For some unknown reason, every year during Gillespie’s birthday week, some of us feel that his spirit is strongly in the air – proving that Dizzy Gillespie may have left the planet, but he has not left the universe.
Until the next time, stay warm and be cool!