Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's Up At The Jazz Standard?

Clayton Brothers Quintet
Fred Hersch Duo Invitation Series
The Gil Evans Project, Directed by Ryan Truesdell
Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Quintet
(New York City, NY) — JAZZ STANDARD, one of the nation’s premier jazz clubs, offers another im­pressive month of music with jazz legends and rising stars throughout May. The Clayton Brothers Quintet (with Gerald, Jeff, and John Clayton) holds forth from May 1–4, followed by pianist Fred Hersch leading his “Invitation Series” of duet performances from May 6–11Ryan Truesdell conducts The Gil Evans Project and will be recording live from May 13–18. Piano legend Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Quintet commands the stage from May 22–25Our “Mingus Mon­days” resi­dency continues this month with the Mingus Big Band appearing weekly on May 5, May 12, May 19, and May 26. Be­low is a com­plete schedule of May per­form­ances at JAZZ STANDARD, along with infor­ma­tion on the musicians. For every­thing else, visit
Jazz Standard is located at 116 E. 27th Street (between Lexington and Park)
Train 6 to E. 28th Street
Student Discounts (restrictions apply)
Enjoy “NYC’s Best Barbecue” (Time Out New York) from BLUE SMOKE
and an extensive wine, beer and cocktail list
Jazz for Kids every Sunday (except 5/25)
Open for lunch at 1:00pm, music from 1:30–3:00pm
For reservations call Jazz Standard at 212.576.2232 or visit
Artists and schedules are subject to change

5/1–5/4 Clayton Brothers Quintet
Terell Stafford – trumpet
Jeff Clayton – alto saxophone, oboe, french horn, flute
Gerald Clayton – piano
John Clayton – bass
Obed Calvaire – drums

The inception of The Clayton Brothers as a working jazz ensemble dates back some 35 years, when Jeff and John Clayton formed the original quintet (which also included Patrice Rushen on piano). The brothers went their separate ways but reunited in 1985 when John left the Amsterdam Philharmonic after five years and relocated back in California. Trumpeter Terell Stafford joined the group in 2000; in 2008, the addition of John’s gifted son Gerald on piano and Obed Calvaire on drums completed the present lineup. The collective CV of this group includes performances and recordings with everyone from Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney to Hank Jones and Roy Hargrove. There’s no band in jazz quite like the Clayton Brothers.  Don’t miss them!
Music charge: $25/$30 Friday & Saturday
5/5 Mingus Big Band
Our acclaimed Mingus Mondays residency begins another exciting month, presenting the compositions of jazz legend Charles Mingus (1922–1979) in two blazing sets by the Grammy Award–winning Mingus Big Band. “The 15–piece band…[brings] the kind of vivacious, sometimes outrageous feel that Mingus him­self pulled from his groups…right down to the shouts of encouragement voiced by the participants.” (Bill Kohlhaase, The Los Angeles Times)
Music charge: $25
5/6 – 5/11 Fred Hersch Duo Invitation Series
“The most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so” (Vanity Fair) and “a master who plays it his way” (New York Times), Fred Hersch has been a Jazz Standard favorite for years. A six–time GRAMMY Award nominee, most recently for his solo on “Duet” from the album Free Flying, a duo set with guitarist Julian Lage, Fred returns to our stage this week for a series of intimate duet performances with some exceptionally talented musical compatriots.
Music charge: $25/$30 Friday & Saturday
5/6 Fred Hersch with Ralph Alessitrumpet
“His trumpet tone conveys a rounded luminescence, like the moon in full phase, and his technique is an astonishment of fluency.” (Nate Chinen, New York Times)
5/7 Fred Hersch with Kurt Ellingvoice
“Since 1995 Kurt Elling has been the gold standard in male jazz vocalists…but he’s not just another cat singing standards. He’s innovative, takes chances, scats like crazy, adds words to songs that were previ­ously instrumentals…and is as improvisational as jazz gets.” (Charles
5/8 Fred Hersch with Kate McGarryvoice
“She has a real knack for investing her songs with all kinds of drama and emotion — inhabiting the lyrics, you could say — persuading me, and many others, I’m sure, that she means them, utterly.” (Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen
5/9–5/10 Fred Hersch with Anat Cohensaxophone & clarinet
“A jazz existentialist who plays completely in the moment with moving poetic expression, urgent direct­ness, clarity and concision.” (Owen McNally, Hartford Courant)
5/11 Fred Hersch with John Abercrombieguitar
“Abercrombie, as thoughtful a guitar innovator for his generation as Jim Hall was for the preceding one, cloaks considerable bluesy pungency under his velvety tone.” (John Fordham, The Guardian)
5/12 Mingus Big Band

“Mingus was always true to his ever–changing moods: he wanted to create music that, in his words, was ‘as varied as my feelings are, or the world is.’ For sheer range of expression, his work has few equals in postwar American music: furious and tender, joyous and melancholy, grave and mischievous, ecstatic and introspective. It moves from the rapture of the church to the euphoria of the ballroom, from accusation to seduction, from a whisper to a growl, often by way of startling jump cuts and sudden changes in tempo.” (Adam Shatz, “An Argument With Instruments: On Charles Mingus” – The Nation)
Music charge: $25
5/13 – 5/18 Gil Evans Project directed by Ryan Truesdell
In his liner notes for the 1996 CD reissue of Gil Evans’ 1961 Impulse! Records album Out Of The Cool, Michael Cuscuna wrote: “Drawing from such distinctive composers as Kurt Weill, John Benson Brooks, George Russell and himself, Gil Evans fashioned a rich, delicate tapes­try of sound that becomes a work unto itself.” Then in April 2011, jazz scholar and conductor Ryan Truesdell thrilled the crowd at a packed Jazz Standard as he lead a star–studded big band through a breathtaking performance of Out Of The Cool along with other compositions from the Evans canon. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, the Gil Evans Project has returned annually to our stage ever since. This week, Ryan and the group will be re­cording their second album live on our stage for future joint release via Blue Note/ArtistShare. “We will be presenting more recently discovered and previously unrecorded works of Gil Evans,” Truesdell prom­ises, “in addition to some of Gil’s classic arrangements.”
Music charge: $30 all shows
5/13 - 5/15: Music for Claude Thornhill
Ryan Truesdell – conductor
Wendy Gilles - voice
Augie Haas, Greg Gisbert, TBA - trumpets
Jesse Han, Steve Kenyon, Steve Wilson, Dave Pietro, Donny McCaslin, Scott Robinson,
Brian Landrus - woodwinds
Adam Unsworth, David Peel – French horns
Ryan Keberle, Marshall Gilkes - trombones
Marcus Rojas - tuba
James Chirillo – guitar
Frank Kimbrough – piano
Jay Anderson – bass
Lewis Nash - drums
5/16 – 5/18: New Bottle Old Wine and Individualism of Gil Evans
Ryan Truesdell – conductor
Wendy Gilles - voice
Augie Haas, Greg Gisbert, TBA – trumpets
Steve Wilson, Dave Pietro, Donny McCaslin, Tom Christensen, Alden Banta - woodwinds
Adam Unsworth, David Peel – French horns
Ryan Keberle, Marshall Gilkes, George Flynn - trombones
Marcus Rojas – tuba
Lois Martin - viola
James Chirillo – guitar
Frank Kimbrough – piano
Jay Anderson – bass
Lewis Nash - drums
5/19 Mingus Big Band
“Gospel and blues, the New Orleans polyphony of Jelly Roll Morton and the urbane sophistication of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the stride piano of James P. Johnson and the dazzling harmonizations of Art Tatum: all went into the Mingus cauldron, seasoned with dashes of circus music, obscure pop tunes, B-movie scores, flamenco, scraps of Mozart and Richard Strauss. To listen to Mingus is to hear the black American musical tradition talking to itself.” (Adam Shatz, “An Argument With Instruments: On Charles Mingus” – The Nation)
Music charge: $25
5/20 Steven Kroon Sextet (CD Release Engagement)
Craig Rivers – tenor and soprano saxophone, flute
Igor Atalita – keyboards
Bryan Carrott – vibraphone
Ruben Rodriguez – bass
Diego Lopez - drums
Steven Kroon – percussion
Steven Kroon grew up literally surrounded by great musicians: Count Basie and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis were among his family’s neighbors in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens. For two decades beginning in 1981, Steven toured and recorded with Luther Vandross, appearing on seven platinum albums by the late great pop/soul singer. From 1987 to 2004, he also worked regularly with bass master Ron Carter; other recording credits include best–selling albums by Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Krall. Over the past several years, this world class percussionist, composer and bandleader has released four albums on his own Kroonatune Records. “I am the servant of my music,” says Steven Kroon. “My mis­sion is to touch and inspire as many people as I can through its sounds and rhythms.”
Music charge: $20
5/21 Dayna Stephens Quintet
Dayna Stephens – saxophone
TBD – guitar
Aaron Parks – piano
Joe Sander - bass
Justin Brown – drums
A fluid, vigorous soloist with a warm, soulful sound…A master of composition and arrangement…A commanding bandleader and a prized sideman for some of jazz’s contemporary masters…Dayna Stephens truly is a force to watch out for. His debut album The Timeless Now (Contagious Music, 2007) featured an all–star cast including guitarist John Scofield, pianist Taylor Eigsti, and drummer Eric Harland; the disc received a four–star review from Downbeat, climbed to #11 on the Billboard jazz charts, and rank among the Top Ten in NPR’s “Jazz Jewels of 2007.” John Scofield calls Dayna Stephens “a great improviser. He can burn, but he can also play lyrically, and he has a nice warm sound.” Catch this rising star – tonight, at Jazz Standard!
Music charge: $20
5/22 – 5/25 Randy Weston African Rhythms Quintet
Billy Harper – tenor saxophone
Robert Trowers – trombone
Randy Weston – piano
Alex Blake – bass
Neil Clarke – percussion
Now in his seventh decade of jazz performance, the sound of Randy Weston continues to inform and inspire: Few other jazz artists have so effectively incorporated the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa into their music. This week, the great pianist will pilot the well-oiled music machine he calls the African Rhythms Quintet, featuring alto saxophonist TK Blue and trombonist Robert Trowers (who replaced longtime ARQ member Benny Powell after Powell’s death in 2010 at age 80.) “Weston has the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest and most inventive beat, but his art is more than projection and time; it's the result of a stu­dious and inspired intelligence that is creating a fresh synthesis of African elements with jazz technique.” (Stanley Crouch, Village Voice)
Music charge: $25/$30 Friday & Saturday
5/26 Closed for Memorial Day
5/27–5/28 Theo Croker’s DVRK Funk featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater (CD Release Engagement)
Dee Dee Bridgewater - voice
Theo Croker – trumpet
Irwin Hall – saxophone, flute
Seth Johnson - guitar
Sullivan Fortner – piano, keyboards
Eric Wheeler – bass
Kassa Overall – drums
Jerome Jennings – percussion
If, as Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night, “…some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them…” then Theo Croker fits into two out of three of the Bard’s categories. His talent is innate – he inherited a unique gift from his grandfather, the legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham – but he’s also an achiever. This is one young musician (born 1985) who is not afraid of great­ness, or the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater was among those who recognized these qualities early on, and Theo has been a crucial member of her band for the past several years. For two nights, Dee Dee returns the favor as the trumpeter’s special guest along with his own wonderful septet. “There are good, great, and nice musical players,” said the late great trumpeter Donald Byrd, “but then there are phenomenal instrumentalists such as Theo Croker. I would place Theo in a class of musicians who will redirect the flow, change and alter the current of today’s New Jazz.”
Music charge: $25
5/29 – 6/1 Jacky Terrasson Trio
Jacky Terrasson – piano
Burniss Travis – bass
Justin Faulkner – drums
Has it really been over 20 years since Jacky Terrasson made his recording debut as a leader? Cer­tainly, the pianist’s 2012 album Gouache showed no diminution of his creative powers or his love of ec­lectic reper­toire. Gouache’s many delights included Terrasson treatments of Sonny Rollins’ “Valse Hot,” John Lennon’s “Oh My Love” (with an enchanting vocal performance by rising star C├ęcile McLorin Salvant), and the album’s most surprising choice, an Erik Satie melody entitled “Je te veux.” “He remains one of the few post–bop pianists whose amiable virtuosity can recall Oscar Peterson, though his harmonic affinities fall more in line with Keith Jarrett…and Herbie Hancock. But by now, this syncretic style be­longs to Mr. Terrasson, who sounds intent but relaxed, as if he has little to prove.” (Nate Chinen, The New York Times)
Music charge: $25/$30 Friday & Saturday