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Smalls/Mezzrow Newsletter - February 29th, 2016

Dear Friends:

Greetings from Paris.  I just arrived here after my week of teaching at the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Netherland.  As always I found teaching to be invigorating and exhausting.  The students at this school were very talented, intelligent and motivated.  But "Jazz" now represents such a broad range of repertoire and styles that it becomes really hard to know what to teach.  Every jazz musician has a strong opinion of their style and what is a priority to them or not.  Today in jazz there's many different influences and feelings and cultural references - funk, rock and Latin feelings are all part of jazz now.

As a teacher I can only communicate what I know.  As a person who presents musicians year round, I can't afford to let my personal preferences inhibit booking artists of all mindsets.  Nonetheless, I know where I am as an artist and what I strongly believe in terms of this music.  I like to call what I teach "New York Jazz".  What I mean by that is the common tradition of the New York jazz scene as it exists today and has since the 1900's.  The characteristics of this common tradition include: a swinging feel, love of the standard American Songbook, Art Tatum and the Harlem Stride masters, bebop and the music of Charlie Parker, the hardbop tradition and culture - particularly in New York City, the entire career of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman and his music - also a deep reverence for the blues and most importantly, a sense of humor.

The very most important thing is the communality of the language.  The common repertoire that everyone who plays knows - the blues and rhythm changes that every one knows.  There are also stylistic commonalities in terms of feel and, most importantly, taste, that only seasoned artists who embrace this tradition can understand and communicate.  This is the subtle and secret part of jazz - the references to tunes, the quotes, being "slick" and "tipping" and the even deeper profundity of it all - the most esoteric and mystical part of this music.

Sometimes in these schools you stumble upon scruffy Raskolnikov-type characters with fanatical eyes.  They look at you and, in a hushed, conspiratorial tones whisper; "have you heard this recording of Barry Harris at the Jazz Workshop..?"  You glance them over and know you got a beboppers on your hands.  In this case this group of young fanatics put together a gig at a local bar and invited me to come.  When I got there the joint was packed.  These guys were in the middle of a set and were just swinging away.  Actually, I was a little envious to see such a nice crowd on a weekday night - I know the club owner was happy!  They played Horace Silver tunes and some nice swinging blues.  The crowd loved it and it was very social - people drank (a lot), flirted and had a ball.  Many musicians from the conservatory were there.

The interesting part, for me, took place when they began to invite their friends from school to play.  Tune after tune the students chose standards such as "Bye Bye Blackbird", bebop blues heads and the whole time swinging as best as they could.  I found it interesting as an example of the "communality" that I was trying to tell them about.  At the school they studied a broad range of complex harmonics, odd time meters and contemporary jazz concepts.  But in this bar full of people partying and having fun - they just played tunes and tried to swing.  I pointed this out to several of the students and it finally dawned on them that jazz was social music and meant to be fun.  It was also meant to be accessible to the crowd of folks who have no idea about the music and just want to feel something nice (and continue to drink and talk).

The austere halls of the conservatory are a difficult place to understand the New York tradition of this music, which is the club environment.  The environment dictates the music, not the other way around.  As my teacher Walter Davis said; "you got to play the room!" - how else can you teach this lesson?  This, of course, brings me back to Smalls and Mezzrow, my little jazz universities.  You got to feel the audience, create some joy, communicate directly with everyone and above all. have a good time!

My Best Wishes To All,

Spike

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20 shows added per week


   
               LUCAS PINO NONET               THE HAROLD MABERN TRIO          THE JC STYLLES QUARTET
NOW: A cover paid at Mezzrow also gets you admission to Smalls.

Monday - 2/29
David Hazeltine & Sean Smith

David Hazeltine is a pianist in the true hard-bop tradition.  With a clear groove and crystal-like touch.  Don't miss this fantastic pianist.
 With him is the veteran bassist Sean Smith.

John Merrill ( No Cover ) @ 7:30 PM
David Hazeltine sets @ 9:30 PM & 11 PM

Theo Hill "after-hours" @ 12 AM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Tuesday - 3/1
Claudia Acuna with
Pablo Vergara & Pablo Menares

Chilean born vocalist Cladia Acuna has a sultry voice and deep feeling which she brings to her repertoire of Brazilian and jazz songs.
 Don't miss her in this intimate setting with Pablo Vergara on piano and Pablo Menares on bass.

Doors @ 7:30 PM
Claudia Acuna sets @ 8 PM & 9:30 PM
Mezzrow "Polite Jam Session" @ 11 PM


To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Wednesday - 3/2
Ray Gallon & David Wong

Pianist Ray Gallon is a veteran pianist with a deep reverence for the be-bop tradition.  He has a hard swinging feel and plays beautiful lines.  With him is the rock-solid David Wong on bass.

Doors @ 7:30 PM
Ray Gallon sets @ 8 PM & 9:30 PM
Mezzrow "Polite Jam Session" @ 11 PM


To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Thursday - 3/3
Rick Germanson & Gerald Cannon

Pianist Rick Germanson is one of the most in-demand sidemen in the business.  His no-nonsense approach is coupled with a crisp and driving swing.  With him is the great Gerald Cannon on bass.

Spike Wilner ( no cover ) @ 7:30 PM
Rick Germanson sets @ 9:30 PM & 11 PM
Davis Whitfield "After-hours" @ 12 AM


To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
 CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Friday, Saturday - 3/4-5
Curtis Lundy & Donald Vega

  • Bassist Curtis Lundy has been a figure on the New York jazz scene for many years and has been the backbone of many great groups.  His hard groove and solid time are compelling.  Join him for a weekend of duets with the amazing pianist Donald Vega.
3/4 - Sacha Perry ( no cover ) @ 7:30 PM
3/5 - Spike Wilner ( no cover ) @ 7:30 PM

Curtis Lundy sets @ 9:30 PM & 11 PM
3/4 - Johnny O'Neal "After-hours" @ 12 AM

3/5 - Jon Davis "After-hours" @ 12 AM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
3/4 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE
3/5 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Sunday - 3/6
Ed Laub with
Frank Vignola & Martin Pizzarelli

Guitarist Ed Laub is best known for his work with Bucky Pizzarelli.  He's a soulful soloist with a wonderful voice and truly swinging feel.  With him is the remarkable guitarist Frank Vignola and the hard grooving Martin Pizzarelli on bass.

Pasquale Grasso ( no cover ) @ 7:30 PM
Ed Laub sets @ 9:30 PM & 11 PM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Mezzrow proudly endorses Steinway pianos

THIS WEEK AT SMALLS
(a selection of featured shows)

For our full schedule please go to www.smallslive.com

Monday - 2/29
The Will Sellenrad Trio
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

     with Will Sellenrad - Guitar, Jeremy Stratton - Bass, Anthony Pinciotti - Drums
Monday - 2/29
The Uptown Jazz Tentet
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

     with James Burton III - Trombone, Willie Applewhite - Trombone, Andrew Gutauskas - Alto Sax, Jon Irabagon - Tenor Sax, Carl Maraghi - Bari Sax, Tatum Greenblatt - Trumpet, Brandon Lee - Trumpet, Adam Birnbaum - Piano, Clovis Nicolas - Bass, Aaron Kimmel - Drums
Tuesday - 3/1
The Ehud Asherie Trio
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

     with Ehud Asherie - Piano, Mike Karn- Bass, Aaron Kimmel - Drums
Tuesday - 3/1
Smalls Legacy Band
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

     with Frank Lacy - Trombone, Josh Evans - Trumpet, Stacy Dillard - Tenor Sax, Theo Hill - Piano, Rashaan Carter - Bass, Kush Abadey - Drums
Wednesday - 3/2
The Troy Roberts Quartet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

     with Troy Roberts - Tenor Sax, Silvano Monasterios - Piano, Joseph Lepore - Bass, E.J. Strickland - Drums
Thursday - 3/3
The Joris Teepe Quintet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

     with Joris Teepe - Bass, Josh Evans - Trumpet, Dick Oatts - Alto Sax, Jon Davis - Piano, Mike Clark - Drums
Wednesday, Thursday - 3/2-3
The Wayne Escoffery Group
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

     with Wayne Escoffery - Tenor Sax, Dave Kikoski - Piano, Ralph Peterson - Drums
Friday - 3/4
The Tardo Hammer Trio
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

$20 for this show
     with Tardo Hammer - Piano, Lee Hudson - Bass, Jimmy Wormworth - Drums
 Saturday - 3/5
The Hays Greenfield Quartet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

$20 for this show
     with Hays Greenfleld - Alto Sax, Neal Kirkwood - Piano, Andy McKee - Bass, Mike Clark - Drums
Friday & Saturday - 3/4-5
The Michael Olatuja Quintet

Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
$20 for this show
     with Michael Olatuja - Bass, Camille Thurman - Flute, Samir Zarif - Soprano Sax, Manuel Valera - Piano,
E.J. Strickland - Drums
Sunday - 3/6
Michela Lerman Tap Dance Show

Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
     with Michela Marino Lerman - Tap Dancer
Sunday - 3/6
The Grant Stewart Quartet

Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
     with Grant Stewart - Tenor Sax, Tardo Hammer - Piano,Paul Sikivie - Bass, Phil Stewart - Drums

SMALLS JAZZ CLUB REGULAR SHOWS

Monday - 2/29,  1 AM to close
After-hours with Jonathan Barber

 

Tuesday - 3/1, 1 AM to close 
After-hours with Kyle Poole


Wednesday - 3/2, 1:30 AM to close
After-hours Jam Session with
 Aaron Seeber

 
 

Thursday - 3/3, 1:30 AM to close 
After-hours Jam Session - Tyler Clibbon

 

Friday - 3/4, 4 PM - 7 PM
Andrew Forman - Afternoon Jam Session

 

Friday - 3/4, 1:15 AM
After-hours with Joe Farnsworth

 

Saturday - 3/5, 1:30 AM to close
Afternoon Jam Session with Robert Edwards

 

Saturday - 3/5, 1:30 AM to close
After-hours with The Philip Harper Quintet

 

Sunday - 3/6,  1 PM to 3 PM
Vocal workshop with Marion Cowings


Sunday - 3/6,  4:40 PM to 7 PM
The Ai Murakami Trio, feat. Sacha Perry

 

Sunday - 3/6,  1 AM to close
After-hours with Hillel Salem



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