Jazzmobile Continues Annual Partnership with Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Columbia University to Bring Emerging and Established Artists to Venues All Over Harlem
Harlem, NY – Jazzmobile, the oldest, not-for-profit jazz arts and education organization famous for its iconic New Orleans-inspired bandstand/floats which bring live jazz to generations of people throughout New York City and beyond, is presenting some of today’s hottest jazz artists at the fourth annual Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival (HJSF), May 4 – 10, with a series of swinging events at the newly-renovated Minton’s, Ginny’s Supper Club, The Riverside Theatre and MIST Harlem.
Jazzmobile’s HJSF events include a salute to the Savoy Ballroom with a tribute to Lindy Hop dancer extraordinaire Frankie Manning featuring The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra plus lecture/dance demonstrations with the Cecil Bridgewater Big Band; a discussion on Charlie Parker with authors Stanley Crouch and Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin; the Jazzmobile Vocal Competition Kick-Off; and Minton’s Playhouse: New Legends on the Bandstand, honoring the legendary birthplace of bebop with alto saxophonists Antonio Hart and T.K. Blue, pianist Christian Sands, singer Charenee Wade and a live recording session featuring drummer T.S. Monk and his Sextet.
Co-founded by NEA Jazz Master, pianist/educator/broadcaster Dr. Billy Taylor and former arts patron Daphne Arnstein, Jazzmobile has been a HJSF partner/presenter – along with The Apollo Theatre and Harlem Stage, York – since the festival’s inception. Together, this terrific triad - in collaboration with Columbia University in the City of New - fulfills the festival’s mission to pay tribute to the panorama of the Harlem Renaissance-era jazz clubs, speakeasies, supper clubs, cabarets, dance halls and churches that gave birth to modern and Latin jazz, which laid the foundations for R&B, soul, salsa and hip-hop. The seven- night salute includes stellar presentations throughout Harlem’s 21st Century venues, featuring emerging and established artists, panel discussions, dances, films and more.
Jazzmobile’s HJSF shout-out to the golden age of jazz starts with the immortal Minton’s Playhouse, the after-hours joint where musicians relaxed and jammed when they were finished with their “legitimate” gigs. Run by saxophonist and musician’s union rep Teddy Hill, the club was born in the Hotel Cecil on West 118th Street. It’s no wonder that Ralph Ellison wrote that Minton’s Playhouse was where “Dizzy Gillespie found his own trumpeter voice … Kenny Clarke worked out patterns of his drumming style; where Charlie Christian played out the last creative and truly satisfying moments of his brief life … where Charlie Parker built the monument of his art; [and] where Thelonious Monk formulated his contribution to the chordal progressions and the hide-and-seek melodic methods of jazz, ” all of which led to the creation of bebop. Minton’s Playhouse, the time-defying temple- of-tempo-and-tone, operated for several decades until it closed in 1974. Former Time Warner, Inc. executive Richard Parsons reopened it as Minton’s Restaurant in 2013.
On Monday, May 5, at 7:00 pm, the new Minton’s is the perfect place for a hot house literary jam session, Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker – A Conversation with author Stanley Crouch. The discussion on the first installment of the long-awaited biography on the Olympian co-creator of bebop between Columbia University’s Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin. and the book’s author Stanley Crouch (jazz critic, essayist and columnist and President of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation) also includes a Q&A session and book signing. Professor Griffin is a noted author of several books, including accounts on Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
Later on Monday, May 5, at 10:00 pm and 11:30 pm, the resurrected jazz shrine, Minton’s, is the site of the series Minton’s Playhouse: New Legends on the Bandstand. The late night jam pays homage to this historic venue as well as to the legions of known and lesser- known bebop bards that graced Jazzmobile’s traveling stage over the past five decades. The Queens College professor, alto saxophonist/flautist Antonio Hart – one of the young lions who burst on the scene in the 90s – is a mentee of the great tenor saxophonist/composer Jimmy Heath, a long-time member of the Jazzmobile family. A former sideman with Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, McCoy Tyner and Dave Holland, Hart returns to the festival to unfurl his serpentine-fired, Cannonball Adderley-cadenced sax line. The 11:30 set will include performances by Hart’s Queen’s College students as well as students from pianist Danny Mixon’s class at The New School. Mixon is the music Director at Minton’s.
The New Legends on the Bandstand series continues on Tuesday, May 6, at 10:00 pm and 11:30 pm at Ginny’s Supper Club, an elegant enclave beneath Red Rooster Harlem, owned by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. Gracing the stage is the young pianist Christian Sands, a keyboard wunderkind, who in a few short years on the scene, earned two Grammy nominations for his work on Bobby Sanabria’s Kenya Revisited and became an in-demand sideman with the likes of Christian McBride, Wynton Marsalis and Ben Williams. He was the protégé of Dr. Billy Taylor, who proclaimed that Sands “…not only has the work ethic and the technique, but … understands and communicates the language, both in his playing and in his very articulate speaking.” All of this will surely be in evidence when he hits the stage with his trio featuring drummer Rodney Green and bassist Noah Jackson.
On Wednesday, May 7, at 10:00 pm and 11:30 pm at Ginny’s Supper Club, be a part of a live recording when the series features the festival return of drummer/bandleader T.S. Monk, who, as the son of bop pioneer Thelonious Monk, is a literal son of bebop. Started on drums as a child by Max Roach, the younger Monk forged his own identity in R&B with his 80s hit, Bon Bon Vie with his eponymously titled group, which featured his sister, Cheryl “Boo-Boo” Monk. After the deaths of Cheryl and his father, Monk fully embraced his jazz heritage as a sideman with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Arturo Sandoval, Dianne Reeves and Nnenna Freelon and with his critically-acclaimed recordings as a leader including Changing of the Guard, Monk on Monk and Higher Ground. Monk leads his sizzling sextet, featuring long-time partner alto saxophonist/flautist Bobby Porcelli, on this ancestral and musical homecoming.
The Minton’s Playhouse tribute swings in a Cubop direction on Thursday, May 8, at 10:00 pm and 11:30 pm, with the soulful sound of alto saxophonist T.K. Blue featuring a rendition of selections from his 2011 CD, Latin Bird, a dancing and delightful collection of standards and original compositions highlighting Charlie Parker’s often-overlooked connection to Latin and South American jazz. This ebullient, Afro-Caribbean New Yorker has been a mainstay in Randy Weston’s ensembles, and has also worked with Don Cherry, Abdullah Ibrahim, Sam Rivers, Archie Shepp, Dizzy Gillespie, Pharoah Sanders, Melba Liston, Johnny Copeland and Billy Higgins. His pan-African and Pan-American knowledge of the full scope of jazz’s hemispheric inventions and dimensions make him a thrilling improviser to be reckoned with.
The New Legends on the Bandstand salute to Minton’s Playhouse concludes on Friday, May 9, at 10:00 pm and 11:30 pm with singer/composer/arranger/educator Charenee Wade. The first Runner-Up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, she is an alumna of the Manhattan School of Music, Professor at City College and a frequent performer and teacher at Jazzmobile. A chanteuse whose silken voice rings with the embers of Sarah Vaughan, Ms. Wade has worked with Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead, the Dianne Reeves Young Artist Workshop at Carnegie Hall, The Jazz Gallery and Jazz at Lincoln Center. She released her debut CD, Love Walked In, in 2010. She was first Runner-Up in the Jazzmobile Vocal Competition in 2006 and served as judge at the 2010 Competition with Dr. Billy Taylor and Grady Tate.
This year’s edition of the Jazzmobile Vocal Competition at MIST Harlem kicks off on Saturday, May 10, at 7:00 pm featuring former winners Queen Esther and Emily Braden. Joining them on the bandstand will be Jazzmobile MC and Blues singer Alyson Williams as they sing the classic songs of vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, who all performed from the Savoy Ballroom stage with Count Basie and super drummer/bandleader Chick Webb.
Known in its heyday as “The Home of the Happy Feet, ” The Savoy Ballroom – which opened in 1926 and closed in 1958 – was a magnificent, two-block jazz and big band dance hall that was among the first racially integrated public places in the country. It featured dancing waiters and waitresses, sizzling battle-of the-band contests with The Savoy Sultans, Benny Goodman, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, the San Domingo Serenaders and others. It also featured the Afro-American ballet of the Lindy Hop, the gravity-defying dance named after the aviator Charles Lindbergh, which propelled the instrumentalists to new improvisational heights. The greatest of the Lindy Hoppers was Frankie Manning. Jazzmobile celebrates his 100th birthday, with vibrant dance at MIST HARLEM on Saturday May 10, at 10:00 pm - 1:00 pm featuring The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, an intrepid and entertaining large ensemble dedicated to performing the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Lucky Millinder, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Billy Eckstine and Lionel Hampton. According to the big band’s leader Ron Allen, “[t]he word renaissance means rebirth or revival and our mission is to revive the music of the Big Band Era and to preserve this music in its living form … to reestablish Harlem as the Big Band Mecca of the world.”
The Savoy Ballroom’s swinging spirits also radiate at The Riverside Theatre on Tuesday, May 6, at 10:00 am with Dancing at the Savoy, a student lecture demonstration featuring trumpeter and Jazzmobile educator/instructor Cecil Bridgewater leading a quicksilver quintet, followed at 1:00 pm by a Swinging Seniors dance party featuring Bridgewater’s Big Band. A legendary sideman with Horace Silver, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and Max Roach, Bridgewater has been one of the most distinctive and dynamic improvisers on his instrument, who knows the entire lineage of modern jazz – from Dizzy Gillespie to Freddie Hubbard – and has crafted a jamming and joyous sound all his own.
As this diverse and dynamic festival shows, the music of the Harlem Renaissance represented democracy on the down beat; and its legacy still rings true well into the 21st Century.
Jazzmobile, Inc. at Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
7:00 pm (Doors open at 6:00 pm) – Jazzmobile presents Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker: A Conversation with author Farah Jasmine Griffin, a discussion on Charlie Parker with Stanley Crouch and Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin. Minton’s, 206 West 118th Street. $10 admission; 2 drink minimum. (212) 243- 2222. Reservations required.
10:00 pm and 11:30 pm (Doors open at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm) – Jazzmobile presents Minton’s Playhouse: New Legends on the Bandstand: Late Night Jam with Antonio Hart and Special Guests, including students from Queen’s College and The New School. Minton’s, 206 West 118th Street. $10 admission; $20 minimum, per set, appetizers available. (212) 243-2222. Reservations required
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
10:00 am – Jazzmobile presents “Dancing at The Savoy” with the Cecil Bridgewater Quintet. Student lecture demonstration. Riverside Theatre. By invitation only.
1:00 pm – Jazzmobile presents Swingin' Senior’s “Dancing at the Savoy” featuring Cecil Bridgewater Big Band. Luncheon. Riverside Theatre. By invitation only.
10:00 pm and 11:30 pm (Doors open at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm) – Jazzmobile presents Minton’s Playhouse: New Legends on the Bandstand: Late Night Jam Session with Christian Sands Trio. Ginny’s Supper Club at Red Rooster Harlem, 310 Lenox Avenue, between 125th and 126th Streets. One drink/appetizer minimum per set. $10 admission. (212) 421-3821.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
10:00 pm and 11:30 pm (Doors open at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm) – Jazzmobile presents Minton’s Playhouse: New Legends on the Bandstand Late Night Jam with T.S. Monk Sextet. Ginny’s Supper Club at Red Rooster Harlem, 310 Lenox Avenue, between 125th and 126th Streets. One drink/appetizer minimum per set. $10 admission. (212) 421-3821.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
10:00 pm and 11:30 pm (Doors open at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm) – Jazzmobile presents Minton's Playhouse: New Legends on the Bandstand: Late Night Jam with TK Blue Latin Bird". Ginny’s Supper Club at Red Rooster Harlem, 310 Lenox Avenue, between 125th and 126th Streets. One drink/appetizer minimum per set. $10 admission. (212) 421-3821.
Friday, May 9, 2014
10:00 pm and 11:30 pm (Doors open at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm) – Jazzmobile presents Minton's Playhouse: New Legends on the Bandstand: Late Night Jam with Charenee Wade. Ginny’s Supper Club at Red Rooster Harlem, 310 Lenox Avenue, between 125th and 126th Streets. One drink/appetizer minimum per set. $10 admission. Reservations suggested.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
7:00 pm - Jazzmobile presents Vocal Competition: 2014 Kick-off with special performances by previous Vocal Competition winners Queen Esther and Emily Braden, plus Jazzmobile MC, Alyson Williams. MIST Harlem, 46 West 116th Street and Lenox Avenue. $10 admission. Food and drink purchase required. Reservations required.
10:00 pm and 1:00 am - Jazzmobile Celebrates Frankie Manning's 100th: Lindy Hopping at the Savoy: A Dance Party with The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra. MIST Harlem, 46 West 116th Street and Lenox Avenue. Admission: $10 advance; $20 at the door.