As much as jazz, as a musical and artistic form, has influenced the world since its development in the United States, it has taken as good as it gives. A constant influx of international players keeps the music vital and relevant to audiences everywhere; so while New York is still the jazz capital of the world, it is of a world where practitioners and listeners can approach the music from their own unique cultural perspectives.
One need only peruse our three feature subjects this month for examples of this phenomenon. Guitarist Larry Coryell (Cover) was integral in the development of fusion but has also worked within the Indian musical traditions; this month he brings his Bombay Jazz project to the Skirball Center as part of the World Music Institute concert series. Through his work with partner Toshiko Akiyoshi, saxophonist/flutist Lew Tabackin has explored the convergence of Western and Eastern traditions, both as it relates to composition and instrumental technique. Tabackin is honored this month as part of Highlights in Jazz. And percussionist Adam Rudolph's study of African musics has had an indelible effect on the concept behind his multinational Go: Organic Orchestra, in residency at Roulette the last four Mondays in March.
We are all a product of our influences. Certainly the work of saxist Hadley Caliman (Encore) and late guitarist Lenny Breau (Lest We Forget) would have been less rich without their particular backgrounds informing their later work. Nuscope Recordings (Label Spotlight) has built its catalogue on bringing together improvisers of different generations and countries in shared efforts.
Also this month, we have the third of four installments in our look at New York City jazz venues in the new decade. Our focus this issue is on the lesser-known boroughs of Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.
Winter lions or spring lambs, jazz is constant, no matter the weather.
We'll see you out there...