We know, it’s the middle June and you’re wondering what you’re going to do from th rest of the month and in July. Well, have no fear, after you go to the Harlem Make Music NY 2018 Experience on Thursday, June 21st, 2018, you may want to check out the Jazz at the Smoke Jazz Club in Harlem.
Here’s the Calendar:
Fri, Sat & Sun, June 29, 30 & July 1
Charles Tolliver Music Inc.
Charles Tolliver has perfected an extremely individual and distinctive sound setting him apart from other trumpet players. Charles has worked with such renowned artists as Jackie McLean, Roy Haynes, Hank Mobley, Willie Bobo, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Oliver Nelson, Andrew Hill, and Max Roach. In 1969, he formed Music Inc., which has become internationally respected for its innovative approach. All About Jazz says, “This is a fine group engaged in the passionate and thoughtful music of a still underrated musician and composer in Charles Tolliver.”
Charles Tolliver [trumpet] Bruce Edwards [guitar] Theo Hill [piano] Essiet Essiet [bass] Darrell Green [drums]
Thu, July 5
Sammy Figueroa and his Latin Jazz Explosion
Master percussionist Sammy Figueroa, long regarded as one of the world’s great congueros, has performed on countless records in a multitude of musical styles. In addition to popular artists such as David Bowie, Chaka Khan and Mariah Carey, Figueroa has also worked with jazz greats like Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, and George Benson. From 2010 to 2013, he toured the world with the Rollins and appears on his last three albums, the Grammy nominated Road Shows Vol. 2, Road Shows Vol. 3 and the recently released Holding The Stage, Road Shows Vol. 4. When Figueroa plays percussion, he is telling a story, creating a playful conversation with other musicians, and taking the listener on a musical journey.
Sammy Figueroa percussion David Neves [trumpet] Troy Roberts [saxophone] Silvano Monasterios [piano] Gabriel Vivas [bass] Ludwig Afonso [drums]
Fri, Sat & Sun, July 6, 7 & 8
Wayne Escoffery Quartet
One of today’s great young tenors, Wayne Escoffery is also a former student and important protégé of the late great Jackie McLean. Called “abundantly gifted, extremely confident” by JazzTimes, Escoffery has worked with Eric Reed, Lonnie Plaxico, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Mingus Big Band/Orchestra/Dynasty, Ben Riley’s Monk Legacy Septet, and Tom Harrell. Of his latest record, All About Jazz said, “Not since the works of bassist Charles Mingus and saxophonist John Coltrane has there been music so charged with emotion and so engulfed in spirituality.” Escoffery’s impressive quartet features Dave Kikoski, Ugonna Okegwo, and Ralph Peterson.
Wayne Escoffery [tenor saxophone] David Kikoski [piano] Ugonna Okegwo [bass] Ralph Peterson [drums]
Thu, July 12
Jazz vocalist Michelle Walker—a charismatic singer armed with a provocative, whiskey-soaked tone—bends the lines and pushes the boundaries of jazz vocal art. Dave Nathan writing for All About Jazz says, “Walker demonstrates an extraordinary degree of musicality…” With rich colors and adventurous flexibility, Walker moves easily from a dark, deep tone to a mid-range, swinging lilt. She has a beautiful and distinctive voice that is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone or Betty Carter. In truth, out of these influences, Walker has developed a sound that is all her own.
Michelle Walker [vocals] Sean Fitzpatrick [piano] Michael O’Brien [bass] Sean Dixon [drums]
Fri, Sat & Sun, July 13, 14 & 15
Sonny Fortune Quartet
Sonny Fortune—a legendary artist The New York Times calls “a powerful saxophonist who has built on the questing style of John Coltrane”—leads his strong quartet with Michael Cochrane, Calvin Hill, and Steve Johnson. Fortune arrived in New York in 1967 and his career took off shortly after working extensively with Elvin Jones and Mongo Santamaria. Later, he joined McCoy Tyner and then Miles Davis recording a series of historic albums with both of them. JazzTimes reports, “From the generation of post-bop saxophonists following in the shadow of John Coltrane, multi-instrumentalist Sonny Fortune comes closest to capturing Coltrane’s spirit and intensity.”
Sonny Fortune [saxophone & flute] Michael Cochrane [piano] Calvin Hill [bass] Steve Johnson [drums]
Thu, July 19
Freddie Bryant Quartet
Guitarist Freddie Bryant leads a swinging, straight-ahead jazz quartet with Jonny King, Ed Howard and Jonathan Blake. Downbeat says, “Guitarist Freddie Bryant is a rhythmic and melodic sponge. Put him in any musical situation, be it classical, jazz, funk, Senegalese, etc., and he’ll tend to become one with the music.” Bryant has an immediately identifiable touch and distinctive sound and has been heard with Ben Riley’s Monk Legacy Septet, Tom Harrell, Steve Wilson, Chris Potter, Kevin Hays and many more including numerous World music artists like Salif Keita.
Freddie Bryant [guitar] Jonny King [piano] Ed Howard [bass] Jonathan Blake [drums]
Fri, Sat & Sun, July 20, 21 & 22
Eric Reed Quintet
Pianist Eric Reed leads an all-star quintet with Jeremy Pelt, Chris Lewis, Reuben Rogers, and Kendrick Scott. Reed, who first rose to fame with the Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, has worked with artists as varied as Jessye Norman, Quincy Jones, and Patti Labelle. His unpretentiously swinging but definitely sophisticated style has made Reed one of the most important ambassadors of the music. All About Jazz says, “Eric Reed has fully established himself in the forefront of jazz pianists. Additionally, he has proven to be a gifted composer whose vision is as acute as it is compassionate.”
Jeremy Pelt [trumpet] Chris Lewis [tenor saxophone] Eric Reed [piano] Reuben Rogers [bass] Kendrick Scott [drums]
Thu, July 26
Jazz vocalist Alemay Fermandez was called one of Singapore’s “best-loved entertainers” by TimeOut. A veteran performer on the Asian jazz scene, Alemay has performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, Gregory Porter, Ernie Watts, Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart, among many others. With her sultry tone and powerhouse vocals, Alemay is a rare talent who destined for wide acclaim in New York.
Fri, Sat & Sun, July 27, 28 & 29
Orrin Evans Quartet feat. Buster Williams
Orrin Evans, a powerful pianist and jazz iconoclast who recently joined the Bad Plus, is always at the nexus of interesting projects and music. His group for this weekend includes saxophonist Bill McHenry and drummer Mark Whitfield, Jr. in a quartet that features bass legend Buster Williams. The New York Times describes Orrin as “…a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command.” All About Jazz adds he’s “one hell of a jazz pianist.”
Bill McHenry [tenor saxophone] Orrin Evans [piano] Buster Williams [bass] Mark Whitfield, Jr. [drums]
Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway, New York, NY, 10025, smokejazz.com, 212.864.6662.