Download Hot House Pdf Here:  August Hot House Jazz Guide



"After the Call" episode 5
Guests: Rodney Green and Nicole Glover
Rodney plays Mezzrow July 13-14 and Nicole plays Smalls Jazz Club July 14 and Fat Cat July 26.
Featured artists on Ringtones for Jones’ Phones: Kenneka Cook, Freelance, Renee Rosnes 

Lauren Sevian

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

Love is in the air

It’s been ten years since baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian released her first album. When she began planning to record her second, the recent Bliss (Posi-Tone), she took inspiration from a long-time friend and musical collaborator, guitarist Amanda Monaco.

“With Amanda’s music, every tune has a story,” Lauren says. “I really thought about it for my new album, how ideas—a theme—can come across in the music.” The theme turned out to be the many faces of love, from the title tune written for her husband, through pieces composed with family, friends, collaborators and influences in mind.

 “Bliss is a concept album coming from an honest place,” Lauren says. “A lot of life-changing things happened in the past ten years. I did things outside my comfort zone. Life takes unexpected turns on the self-discovery path and doing things you’re not completely comfortable with is an amazing way to evolve as a person.”

Besides fronting her own bands, Lauren is a familiar face on the New York jazz scene, appearing with ensembles including the Diva Jazz Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, the Birdland Latin Jazz Orchestra, the George Gee Swing Orchestra, and playing with jazz veterans including Amanda Monaco, Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington and others. She also teaches at Jazz House Kids and is director of an all-female big band for high school and middle school students, part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s educational programming.

“I’m trying to be a positive force out there. I enjoy seeing the enthusiasm, especially from the young women who want to learn this music.”

Catch Lauren in action when she focuses on music from Bliss at Smalls Jazz Club Aug. 15, with pianist Helen Sung, bassist Marcos Varela and drummer E.J. Strickland; she also appears at Waterfront Park in Dobbs Ferry, NY, Aug. 8, with Marcos, E.J. and pianist Theo Hill.

“I love what different players bring to the table. It’s great to switch musicians and hear them interact with the rest of the band,” Lauren says. It’s so cool and interesting to hear how the musical chemistry changes.”

Photo Credit:  Sharon Bushman

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Nabate Isles

Fresh Takes By Nick Dunston

Trumpeter Nabaté Isles has appeared on a wide range of musical projects in and out of the jazz scene. Having performed with musicians such as Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves, Mos Def and the Mingus Big Band, he’s achieved quite the reputation as a powerful force on his instrument.

Now in the process of releasing his first record as a leader, Eclectic Excursions, Nabaté says: “It was time for me to express myself musically through the many experiences I've had. I also wanted to create an album which called upon the many styles of musical sounds that have inspired and guided me.”

Having shared the bandstand with many great artists, it’s only fitting that Nabaté is supported by a diverse cast of first-class bandmates on this record, including Alita Moses, Johnathan Blake and Jimmy Owens. Referencing the title of the record, Nabaté explains: “The album has different denominations of musicians throughout. I wanted each track to have different supplies to paint a unique picture.”

Nabaté Isles plays at Jazz Standard on Aug. 19 in celebration of his debut record, Eclectic Excursions.

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Meg Okura

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

On the double

Violinist and composer Meg Okura released two CDs this year, NPO Trio Live at the Stone (Chant) with saxophonist Sam Newsome and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, and Ima Ima (NewMusic), with the 10-piece Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble.

“They’re very contrasty: One took years to make (Ima Ima) and the other is all improvisation and was completed in an hour,” she notes. “But they’re similar in that they both incorporate styles of impressionists and classical sounds, Jewish inferences, free jazz, blues, swing. There are a lot of textures.”

The word “ima” means “mom” in Hebrew and “now” in Japanese. For Meg, who has a 7-year-old daughter, “becoming a mother made me realize what I wanted and led to me making my own choices, including choosing jazz over classical music, choosing to be free from the religion I was born into, choosing the music I want to pursue, which led to new discoveries in music and in my career. There are lot of advantages to being a mother, musically, though I lose time and sleep,” she says with a laugh.

The classically trained violinist has always loved French impressionist composers such as Ravel and Debussy and finds that the harmonies lend themselves to jazz. But Meg considers that jazz more challenging and more satisfying.

“It’s so inspiring, there is no such joy as hearing your creation come alive beyond your imagination, changing each time. You have to give up control of what you write, trust the musicians and let them be who they are,” she says. “There’s a certain level of trust. That’s an amazing thing about jazz: If a baby cries or a cell phone goes off, we can incorporate it into the music making. We react to each other and to the sounds of the environment.”

Expect to hear two totally different sets when Meg and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble including trumpeter Tom Harrell, saxophonist Sam Newsome, flutist Anne Drummond, harpist Riza Printup, clarinetist Sam Sadigursky, guitarist Rez Abbasi, pianist Brian Marsella, bassist Evan Gregor and drummer Paul Wells hits Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Aug. 20.

In addition to celebrating the release of Ima Ima, Meg and company are likely to debut some compositions for a project she hopes to record in the future. “The music will be more open for improvisation at the gig than on the album. It’s an all-star band and I want to feature all the great soloists. And everyone always wants to hear Tom Harrell as much as possible.”

Photo Credit:  Taka Harkness

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Vincent Herring

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

Happy Bird-day

Charlie Parker would have turned 98 this month, and that anniversary will not go unmarked in the Big Apple. Alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and his band­ with drummer Carl Allen, pianist Dave Kikoski and bassist Yasushi Nakamura convene with special guest Gary Bartz at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club Aug. 30-Sept. 2 to celebrate Bird’s music and legacy.

Since moving to New York in the early 1980s, Vincent has built a solid reputation through his playing with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Carla Bley, Art Blakey, the Mingus Big Band, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Barron, Horace Silver and others. His extensive jazz history includes working with Nat Adderley’s band and with Cannonball Adderley alumni Cedar Walton and Louis Hayes, with whom Vincent founded the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band.

 In addition to releasing close to two dozen albums as a leader, including 2017’s Hard Times, the California-born alto maven has appeared on more than 250 recordings as a sideman.

Like most alto players, Vincent cites Charlie Parker among his influences, but notes that he took a circuitous route to Bird, gravitating instead to Cannonball as an early inspiration. You could say that technical difficulties were behind his delayed immersion in all things Parkerania.

 “Cannonball was recorded so well, I could get high-quality records by him that I listened to constantly when I was starting out,” he says. Vincent’s early recollections of Parker albums? He mimics the hissing sound of the vintage recordings. “But when the high-fidelity Verve recordings came out, they changed my perspective on Bird. As I continued learning and honing my craft, I became a big fan. I love and respect Charlie Parker as an innovator and respect the high bar he set for all of us.”

Vincent is excited that fellow alto saxophonist Gary Bartz is on hand for the gig at Smoke. “Gary is one of my favorite saxophonists in the whole world, he’s one of our elder statesmen—he’s been around so much music, in so many situations and we both love Bird,” Vincent notes. “I’m really looking forward to playing with him for this occasion.” He predicts that the sextet is going to feature Parker’s compositions and tunes associated with him, along with some surprises.

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Camille Thurman

Winning Spins By George Kanzler

Two saxophonists step into the limelight to feature very different aspects of their talents in the pair of albums that make up this Winning Spins. Bruce Williams spotlights his alto and soprano sax playing in quartet, quintet and sextet settings, all on a program of 11 originals that display his wide ranging compositional skills. Camille Thurman largely sets her tenor sax aside to concentrate on her vocal gifts in a program of standards and pop songs delivered in a variety of combo contexts over a broad scope of rhythms and tempos.

Waiting for the Sunrise, Camille Thurman (Chesky), kicks off with crackling drumbeats from Steve Williams and snappy guitar courtesy of Jack Wilkins under Camille’s spirited rendition of the lyrics of “I Just Found Out About Love,” delivered with precise, syncopated swing. She is followed by a trumpet solo from Jeremy Pelt, Camille jumping back in with scat choruses that display her vocal musicianship. That virtuosity extends to her tenor sax solo, after singing the lyrics, over a stylized rhythmic pattern, on “Some of These Days.”

Exotic rhythms abound on this recording, from the easy, Brazilian samba-tango of “Tarde,” wherein Camille sings a Portuguese lyric before adding wordless sighing behind Jeremy’s trumpet; to the tom-toms, guitar and bass (Cecil McBee) that bring a tropical feel to “After You’ve Gone,” a song giving Camille a chance to showcase her voice at its most supple.

A sultry samba mid-tempo propels “The World Is Waiting (for the Sunrise),” another track where Camille follows her singing of the lyric with a romantic, breathy tenor sax solo. She brings a hushed tenor sax into the most intimate tune, “The Nearness of You,” accompanied, as in her vocal, only by Jack’s caressing guitar.

Cecil introduces “September in the Rain,” another tender ballad sung over Steve’s brushes, but building momentum after Jack’s solo to overdrive as Steve initiates a backbeat with sticks under Camille’s swinging tenor sax solo and climactic vocal. This album confirms Camille’s prowess as a singer in the tradition of such jazz greats as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan (just catch her scatting on “Easy to Love”) as well as a first-rate tenor saxophonist.

Camille Thurman is at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola on Aug. 30.

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