2016 Lookin’ Forward: Jazz Recordings & Concerts

January 12th, 2016, 12:00 pm by Greg

Story by J Hunter

One of the cool things about my various after-school jobs is that I’ve seen (some of) these artists before, and I’ve heard (some of) this music before anyone else has. Even so, that doesn’t mean I’m not jumping up and down like a kid at a candy store that’s going to open in three minutes. While I may not know the important stuff about the coming year (Will Trump win? Will the Supreme Court nuke a woman’s right to choose? Will Bravo finally show “The Real Housewives of Schaghticoke”?), I do know there’s some amazing jazz coming over the horizon.

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JAZZ ON DISC

JAIMEO BROWN TRANSCENDENCEWork Songs (Motema)
Attendees of Brown’s mind-blowing 2014 concert at Sanctuary for Independent Media heard some of this music – combining searing electric jazz & blues with historical field recordings – in its infancy. Now Brown and guitarist/producer Chris Sholar unveil the next phase of Brown’s vision in full, boundary-melting flower.

MIKE MORENOLotus (World Culture Music)
This one’s already getting rave reviews, with a few critics sneaking it into their Best of 2015 lists. Backed by all-stars Eric Harland, Aaron Parks and Doug Weiss, Moreno’s singular, riveting guitar work comes in both acoustic and electric flavors on this latest release from Kendrick Scott’s burgeoning label.

CHARLES LLOYD & THE MARVELSI Long to See You (Blue Note)
He may turn 78 in March, but sax legend Charles Lloyd is still finding new doors to blow down. His second Blue Note release reunites him with bassist Reuben Rogers and aforementioned drummer Eric Harland, but it also has Lloyd on a front line with shape-shifting guitarist Bill Frisell (who joined Lloyd as a surprise guest at MASS MoCA’s Solid Sound festival last June) and steel guitar player Greg Leisz. Wow!

INFINITE SPIRITRevisiting Music of the Mwandishi Band (FMR Records)
The latest beneficiary of the crowdfunding process, pianist/UAlbany professor Bob Gluck has already written a book about one of Herbie Hancock’s most innovative bands. Backed by Billy Hart and Eddie Henderson (two original members of Mwandishi), this towering date could teach Elon Musk how to explore space.

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JAZZ IN CONCERT

STEFON HARRIS & SONIC CREED
The Egg, Albany – Friday, January 29, 8pm
Albany High’s most famous alum is coming home again, and he’s bringing some friends with him, including guitarist Mike Moreno (see above), pianist James Francies and bassist Joshua Crumbley. This is a new project for Harris, and if past performance is any indication, any direction change he makes needs to be seen and heard.

BRIDGE JAZZ FESTIVAL
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy – Friday, February 26, 7:30pm
Massry Center for the Arts, Albany – Saturday, February 27, 7pm
This two-night, two-town mini-fest set a pretty high water mark last year. That said, Bridge organizers aren’t being bashful with their second effort, bringing soulful six-time Grammy Award winner Nnenna Freelon to the Music Hall on Friday, and then having father-and-son Ellis & Delfeayo Marsalis headline a dynamic three-act bill at Massry Center.

BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO
The Egg, Albany – Saturday, April 16, 8pm
Arguably his generation’s answer to Bill Evans, Mehldau gets major credit for bringing the music of Radiohead, Soundgarden, Nirvana and the Verve into the jazz canon. When paired with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, Mehldau keeps re-defining the art of the piano trio.

ALLISON MILLER’S BOOM TIC BOOM
MASS MoCA’s Club B-10, North Adams – Saturday, May 7, 8pm
Up until now, we’ve only seen this tremendous drummer in a back-up role – most recently with Toshi Reagon at MASS MoCA last year. But Miller’s primary group (which already featured killer pianist Myra Melford) now boasts a front line of cornetist Kirk Knuffke and clarinet master Ben Goldberg. Miss this, you must not!

READ MORE OF NIPPERTOWN’S 2016 LOOKIN’ FORWARD LISTS
Visual Arts by David Brickman