The 10 Best Jazz Shows in NYC This Month
Scott Soderberg Geri Allen
These are the best jazz shows in NYC in July.
When pianist Geri Allen takes up residence at the Stone (July 1-6), her list of varied collaborators (mostly duo partners) will speak to the span of her talent and artistic vision over the last 30 or so years. First she pairs off with hard-hitting drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, then Brazilian nylon-string guitarist Romero Lubambo, then Chicago avant-garde flutist Nicole Mitchell, then trumpet legend Marcus Belgrave in a "Geri Allen & Friends" night. (Belgrave's quintet appears at Dizzy's, July 22-23.) The series concludes with rising young alto saxophonist Tia Fuller and finally a unique performer who's sure to bring out something in Allen yet unheard: Laurie Anderson, the one and only.
Frank Lacy & The Smalls Legacy Band
Trombonist Ku-umba Frank Lacy came up with everyone from Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers to the more experimental groups of Henry Threadgill, Julius Hemphill and others. Now a mainstay of the Mingus Big Band and co-leader of the compelling trio 1032K, Lacy remains uninhibited, a force of nature (this short documentary will remain in your brain). His latest, Live at Smalls, is with the Smalls Legacy Band, a sextet of young players who unleash titanic forces in a smoldering post-bop vein. Featuring trumpeter Josh Evans, tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard, pianist Theo Hill, bassist Ameen Saleem and drummer Kush Abadey, the band returns to Smalls on July 1 & 15. (Lacy appears there with the Josh Evans Big Band as well, July 22.)
Cameron Brown, Mario Pavone
Two veteran bassists come to Cornelia Street Café for three-night festivals celebrating their formidable musicianship and range of expression. Brown, from July 3-5, starts off in a duo with 85-year-old firecracker vocalist Sheila Jordan. But his third night, featuring Jordan in a quartet called The Hear & Now with clarinet/saxophone maverick Don Byron, could yield the most fascinating moments. The indefatigable Mario Pavone, appearing July 10-12 to mark his 50th year in music, celebrates his new Playscape CD Street Songs with an unusual octet featuring tuba, French horn, accordion and other participants. Also appearing: Pavone's Quartet Arc and Pulse Quartet, both of which feature drummer Gerald Cleaver and tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, master improvisers in every sense.
David Bryant Quartet
Pianist David Bryant, Brooklyn's own, has proved one of the more intriguing figures to watch in recent years, turning up as a sideman with hard-swinging saxophonists Marcus Strickland and Myron Walden as well as multi-disciplinary avant-garde vocalist Jen Shyu. In 2010 Bryant began venturing forward as a leader with a quartet called D'BLAQUE -- there's an album in the works for Strickland's Strick Muzick label. So grab the chance to hear him at Korzo's Konceptions series (July 15), where he'll display some jaw-dropping technique and a mature, wide-ranging aesthetic in the company of tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Jonathan Barber.
In just a few years, Philadelphia's Matt Mitchell has become pianist of choice for some of the most creative and demanding units on the scene, including Tim Berne's Snakeoil, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, the Dave Douglas Quintet, Michaël Attias' Spun Tree and more. He debuted in 2013 with the ultra-complex and tightly woven Fiction (Pi), a duo collaboration with Snakeoil drummer and vibraphonist Ches Smith. That's one of the projects he'll showcase during an Ibeam residency from July 18-20. The other is Normal Remarkable Persons, a sextet with Smith on drums/vibes/percussion, Tyshawn Sorey on drums/trombone/melodica, Tim Berne and Travis Laplante on saxophones and Shane Endsley on trumpet.