The Best Jazz Shows in NYC This Month
Jimmy Katz Charles Tolliver
These are the best jazz shows in NYC in November.
See also: Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before you Die
In the '70s trumpeter Charles Tolliver co-led the extraordinary Music Inc. and co-founded the innovative label Strata-East. Over the past decade he's seen a return to prominence, and when he lifts that horn and approaches the mic at age 71, you'd better believe he means business. At the Cell Theatre on November 6 -- and every Wednesday through December 11 -- Tolliver gives us "new directions in modern music" with a smoking quintet featuring Theo Hill on piano, Bruce Edwards on guitar, Devin Starks on bass and E.J. Strickland on drums.
The trumpeter and Buenos Aires native did something super-cool on Mates (Sunnyside), his fifth CD as a leader: he recorded duets with strong personalities on various instruments, telling a story that's as serpentine as it is cohesive. At Smalls on November 4, Urcola might pivot from this approach in any way he chooses, bringing along album guests Dave Samuels on vibes and Edmar Castañeda on Colombian harp. The formidable Luques Curtis stands in for Avishai Cohen on bass, and Raul Jaurena for Juan Dargenton on bandoneón.
Myron Walden's Momentum
Revered for his furious alto saxophone solos in the Brian Blade Fellowship, Myron Walden has shifted primarily to tenor sax in his recent prolific work as a leader: funky soul-jazz with his group Countryfied; leaner swing with his Apex Trio; and surging, ethereal post-bop with his Momentum quintet. At Dizzy's (Nov. 5 & 6) he'll mark the release of the four-disc Momentum Live: Our Sound (Demi) with trumpeter Darren Barrett, pianist Eden Ladin, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Mark Whitfield, Jr. (Pianist Jon Cowherd, Walden's Fellowship bandmate, celebrates the release of Mercy at Dizzy's on November 11.)
Jazz & Colors
The weather was blah for last year's inaugural event in Central Park, and yet what a day. Hopefully the sun will shine on November 9 when 30 groups of all configurations play for free again in the great outdoors, from midtown to Harlem, east side to west side. Here's the twist: all bands play the same agreed-upon songs, but in completely different ways. Meta jam session? Performance art? And how to hear it all? (Bicycle comes to mind.) Watch out for Arturo O'Farrill, Doug Wamble, Wayne Escoffery, Joel Harrison, Jason Kao Hwang and many more.
Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet
All while leading several compelling bands, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has had time to co-found a label, direct the Tri-Centric Foundation, serve as (former) VP of the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) and write incisive music criticism to boot. On November 9 at the Jazz Gallery he'll play material from Navigation (Firehouse 12), a two-LP, two-CD document for sextet featuring the heady improvising talents of alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, bass trombonist/tuba-ist Bill Lowe, guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. (Fujiwara's excellent band The Hook Up is at Cornelia Street Café on November 16.)