South Harlem’s Smoke Jazz and Supper Club-Lounge will pay homage to two of the greatest jazz musicians of all time: Saxophonist Pepper Adams and all-around jazz giant Thelonious Monk.
On Tuesday, September 25th and Wednesday, September 26th the venue and restaurant will hold the Pepper Adams Festival featuring Gary Smulyan and the Mike LeDonne Quartet. Pepper Adams, a major but widely unknown figure in jazz history, was a groundbreaking baritone saxophonist who was largely responsible for introducing the rough and reedy sound of the “bari” to the technical demands of bebop. Heavily influenced by tenor saxophonists Wardell Gray and Coleman Hawkins and fellow baritone player Harry Carney, Adams, nicknamed “the Knife”, played with a driving intensity. This tribute, which features Smulyan channeling Adams’ spirit on sax and longtime Smoke resident LeDonne’s masterful B3-organ playing, acknowledges the place that Adams held for four decades as a nearly ubiquitous figure in jazz ensembles. There will be Pepper Adams Festival sets at both 7 pm and 9 pm with a two-course dinner prix-fixe available for $29.95, and another set at 10:30 pm with a $20 minimum.
On Friday, October 12th and Saturday, October 13th, Smoke will celebrate the birthday of late legendary pianist Thelonious Monk (he would have turned 95 on October 10th) with a tribute concert by the Ben Riley Quartet. The foursome will perform some of Monk’s greatest compositions, which had a profound impact on nearly every genre of American music. Ben Riley is the perfect musician to deliver a Monk tribute show, as this veteran hard bop drummer played in Monk’s quartet for four years, starting with the “It’s Monk’s Time” recording session in the 1960s. There will be an 8 pm set and a 10 pm set ($35 admission charge).
Monk’s Blue Monk video:
Smoke Jazz & Supper Club-Lounge, 2751 Broadway, New York, NY 10025-2803 (212) 864-6662, www.smokejazz.com