View more great pictures from the awards NYC Jazz Fans Decision 2017 ceremony!

 

 
 

Metropolitan Room / Hot House Jazz magazine 2017 award ceremony.

Hot House Awards 2017 Highlights

 

Download Hot House Pdf Here:  April 2018 Hot House Jazz Guide

 

 

Guests: Camila Meza and Dayna Stephens

Camila and The Nectar Orchestra will join Buika at Town Hall on Jan. 12 and Dayna will join Kenny Barron at the Vanguard the week of Dec. 12 and will perform with his own Tripdagon trio at the Atrium at Lincoln Center Jan. 28.

Featured artists on Ringtones for Jones' Phones: Ambrose Akinmusire, Becca Stevens and Nicholas Payton

Bandstand Bro-down interview excerpt: Tia Fuller

 


George Garzone

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

Sound foundations

Name any jazz musician of the past 40-plus years, and it’s likely that Boston-based tenor saxophonist George Garzone has played with them. “Boston is such an education town, all the cats come through there. I get a chance to hang with them and they like the way I play,” he says.

His long-running Monday night gig at the Lilypad with his band, The Fringe, is legendary for its parade of guest artists. “Jerry Bergonzi plays the first set, then The Fringe. Each week, a different all-star sits in with The Fringe. That night is the highlight of my life,” the veteran saxophonist declares.

Mention any of today’s stars or up-and-comers, there’s a very good chance that George taught them at a string of noted colleges in New York and Boston, including Berklee College of Music. Count Donny McCaslin, Mark Turner, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Chris Cheek, Chris Speed, Luciana Souza, Danilo Perez, Antonio Sanchez, Wayne Escoffery and Marcus Strickland among those who passed through George’s studio, classes and ensembles.

“I didn’t want to teach, I never thought I’d be a teacher, but when you live in Boston…,” George muses. “It takes a lot of discipline. They take you as their father, they’re not dependent, they ask about a lot of different things. I don’t do the teacher/student thing—they can become very dependent. I like that they can go neck-and-neck with me when they play, and it’s a challenge for me to go beyond them.”

George’s Uncle Rocco taught him to play sax. “I came from a saxophone family, I grew up with drummers and people who really love music. There’s a family sound handed down three generations,” he says. “I heard that in Joe Lovano: His father taught him to play and I developed a relationship with him because of that. I met his dad; we had the same kind upbringing.”

George will be in the Big Apple April 11, when he plays Zinc Bar with pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist Peter Slavov and drummer Victor Lewis. “These guys are so cool, I look forward to playing with them. Dave and Peter were in my ensemble at Berklee when they were 18. And Victor, to hear this guy lay the time down is a reminder of the greats like Elvin Jones,” the saxophonist says. Known for his free playing with The Fringe, George expects to focus on “hip standards” at Zinc Bar.  “We’ll do tunes that are a little more obscure; these guys make everything sound great.”

Continue Reading...

Libby York

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

Keyed in

You’ll often find singer Libby York in the company of great piano players, with John Di Martino, Renee Rosnes and Bruce Barth among the fine musicians she’s gigged or recorded with. But there’s one keyboard maven in particular who stands out in her memory: Leonard Bernstein, whom she met at a dinner party in Key West. She recalls grappa flowing generously that evening, and at some point, the legendary musician said, “Libby, let’s go to the piano and play some blues.” “Sounded like a great idea!” she recalls. “It took a while for the realization to sink in: Oh my god, I just sang ‘Fine and Mellow’ with Leonard Bernstein!”

Libby plays a bit of piano herself although she hasn’t developed it to where she’d consider doing it in public. But that doesn’t mean it will never happen. After all, Libby didn’t start singing professionally until age 35. More than three decades later, she jokes about finally getting the hang of it. So much so that the vocalist, who now splits her time between Chicago and Key West, is considering moving back to the Big Apple to be at the epicenter of jazz.

“I’m still fascinated by singing; it never gets old. I have a list a mile long of songs I want to do. I kind of have the hang of it by now, and the process has not lost its interest. As long as the voice holds out, I’m there,” she declares.

This month, listeners can catch Libby in action in New York. “It’s kind of sentimental in a way,” she notes, since she’ll appear with pianist Bruce Barth and bassist Neal Miner, both of whom she frequently worked with when she lived in New York for 15 years in the ’80s and ’90s. You can catch them at Saint Peter's Church’s Midtown Jazz at Midday on April 18, a venue she’s played many times in her career.

The singer will delve into her long list of songs for the gig. In honor of Bernstein’s centenary, she’s planning to do his tune “It’s Love” from Wonderful Town. Also among her picks could be Blossom Dearie’s “Rhode Island is Famous for You,” citing the “cute and funny lyrics” as part of the appeal. Barry Manilow’s “When October Goes” may also be on tap. Libby points out, “I’m not a huge Barry Manilow fan; I don’t think of him as a jazz musician. But Johnny Mercer is my favorite composer and this song is based on some of his unfinished lyrics.”

A new recording is in the early planning stages (her most recent, Memoir, came out in 2014). “I approach recording in an organic manner—choosing songs that are current favorites.” While she doesn’t start out with a theme in mind, sometimes one reveals itself as the process continues. One thing listeners can count on: “I don’t approach songs with nostalgia, thinking about the good old days, or as a period piece. To me, it’s all very current. As a jazz musician, we don’t play anything the same way twice. Staying present and in the moment, improvising with the phrasing, that keeps it fresh and makes it so much fun!”

Libby has an attitude of gratitude about her life in music. “It’s endlessly fascinating and it’s a blessing to have something you feel that way about,” she says. “Creative people are very fortunate. It’s not a secure lifestyle, but we have goals and things we love to do. We’re lucky.”

Continue Reading...

Amy London

Hot Flashes By Seton Hawkins

Musician-Producer’s Corner: Amy London

One of New York’s most versatile and sought-after vocalists, Amy London has amassed a dazzling résumé of musical achievements throughout her time in the city. An accomplished bandleader, vocalist, actor, collaborator and educator, Amy has most recently come to acclaim through her efforts establishing and leading the Royal Bopsters, a vocal ensemble that serves as one of the truest heirs to the innovations of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

Considering her exceptional magnitude of accomplishments, Amy has also come to realize an additional role that has defined her career, that of producer, an epiphany that has given rise to an even wider scope of artistic possibilities for an already boundary-pushing musician. Although her career is unquestionably filled with a range of producer-style credits, the realization that she is a gifted producer came to Amy recently.

“I’ve been in New York for more than 35 years, and recently I looked back on it and thought ‘Wow, I’ve produced a lot of stuff!’” she recalls. “I thought that was interesting; female vocalists are often not thought of as producers. Especially in earlier days, ‘girl singers’ were put in front of the band, and the guys would take care of the arranging and leading, but that was years ago. I realize I’ve produced a number of projects and as an educator I teach my singers to be producers.”

On the proverbial table sits a mountain of evidence to support this: the recent release of Bridges, a compilation of previously unreleased material Amy recorded in the 1980s and 1990s, shows a keen ear for building projects even at the outset of her career; the recent success of the Royal Bopsters; and the exciting prospect of a forthcoming collaboration with Italian ensemble Bardamu, all demonstrate Amy’s ability to envision end products for complex projects and drive them to completion.

Indeed, looking through Amy’s works, the projects all speak to a producer’s mind: Rather than simple assemblages of songs, her works always tell a compelling story, offer up a definable theme and raise the artistic bar. For Amy, the projects develop and emerge through a continued awareness of possibilities. “I think the process is intuitive,” she explains. “You choose your path and walk it, and along the way certain things appear to be special to you. It lights a fire; it sets off a spark.”

Case in point: The emergence of the Royal Bopsters wove together several strands of Amy’s life and career into one of the 2010s’ most compelling projects in jazz. Drawing inspiration from outstanding group vocal charts that her former student Dylan Pramuk had been writing, Amy found her love for group singing reignited. She also found herself spending more time with the legendary Mark Murphy, bringing him to her work at the New School and seeing shows with him. The two strands ultimately came together when she invited Mark to sing Dylan’s charts with her vocal group in a New School concert. From there, the Royal Bopsters began to emerge.

“My vocal class did this concert with Mark singing lead and it was a big hit. I asked Mark if we should go into the studio and he said he’d love to. Dylan and I talked about this further, and we began to invite our heroes to sing on the record. So, we brought on Darmon Meader [who has since been replaced by Pete McGuinness] and Holli Ross, and we all wrote charts and lyrics. Then our heroes—Mark Murphy, Annie Ross, Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan and Bob Dorough—all sang on it. I had an end goal in mind. Once Mark said ‘yes,’ I knew what the project should look like.”

This same keen eye for projects’ potentials will be on display in April when Amy joins with the genre-hopping Italian ensemble Bardamu for performances in New York. While on a trip in Rome, Amy heard the group performing at their house party, prompting a continued discussion and correspondence. Upon her return to the States, she heard more of their music, and saw potential in a collaboration.

“Their music struck me as a cross between classic Neapolitan melodies, Cuban rhythms, jazz and hip-hop,” she explains. “I wrote to them and asked if they wanted to do a project together, and they said ‘Sure! Let’s do something.’ I went to Italy to work with them and we came up with two sets of music.”

The pairing is certainly a striking departure from the Royal Bopsters project, yet nevertheless feels a perfectly natural fit for Amy’s abilities and speaks to her vision as a producer.

“Part of being a musician or any kind of artist is to follow your instincts, which I know can be hard,” she notes. “But you have to break through, believe in it, and believe it is good. That’s the bottom line. If you have a vision, and if you are patient, you can work toward that vision.”

Amy London and Bardamu perform at Minton’s Playhouse April 6, and Trumpet’s Jazz Club April 13. For more information, visit www.amylondonsings.com.

Photo Credit:  Janis Wilkins

Continue Reading...

Andrew Gould

Fresh Takes By Nick Dunston

Throughout his career, saxophonist Andrew Gould has been a particularly active sideman. On his inspiration for releasing his debut record, First Things First (Outside in Music) Andrew recalls: “There are so many amazing musicians on the scene playing every night and when you play a lot as a sideman in different styles it’s always a huge opportunity to learn and grow and absorb more music. At some point, I was literally just too inspired and I decided that I had to record.”

Being based in New York, Andrew has no shortage of phenomenal players to work with. “For me, technical ability and style and all of the nuts and bolts are very important, but they don’t mean anything if the players aren’t playing with soul and feeling and energy. That’s one main thing that I feel like Steve Feifke, Scott Wendholt, Ioana Vintu, Marco Panascia and Jake Goldbas all do so well. Every single note has a direction and a purpose, and it serves to bring the whole group sound to a higher place.”

Andrew Gould releases his debut album First Things First at Jazz Standard on April 21.

Continue Reading...