I want to give a special congratulations to Melissa Aldan, Tivon Pennicott and Godwin Louis for their success in this year's Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition. These three were the finalists. Jazz competitions are dubious things but unfortunately have become a reality of the modern era. Like their counterparts in classical music, it creates buzz and publicity for young artists and bring them to the attention of a greater public. I personally participated in two of the Monk competitions years ago (finalist in one and semi-finalist in another) - both times it was a horrible and nerve wracking experience. I prepared for months, trying to second-guess what the judges would want to hear and what the other participants would possibly play. I worked out my arrangements with a neurotic diligence. On competition day, everyone had to wait in the same room as each participant would go on one after the other. It was like awaiting your execution - unbearable tension. When it was all over with I was left with a sense of emptiness, like I had been scammed, and in a way I was. It was a circus side-show and I was one of the freaks. Jazz is Art and its impossible to really quantify - to say that one artist is better than another is impossible (unlike sports where you can accurately measure skill). But it's seductive for a young-artist to seek accolades and financial reward. At a young age it's really hard to have the insight to realize the stupidity and banality of organized competitions. The Truth is, it is the day to day application of practicing and sticking to your vision that is the real competition. If you get to play this music over your entire lifetime then you are the winner.
All that being said, what delights me is that all three of the finalists are Smalls musicians! Both Melissa and Godwin recorded their competition demos at the club (I played piano on Melissa's!). Tivon performed his set of his arrangements with Spencer Murphy's band to prep the week of the competition . All of the artists play frequently at the club (both Tivon & Godwin will be here this week) and are part of our social fabric. I had in-depth discussions about the Monk Competition with Melissa and Tivon and tried to give them my best advice. I have watched these young artists emerge, first by hanging out on the scene night after night and then starting to get noticed and then by being asked to do gigs with others at the club and, finally, to lead their own groups. All three of these players "came up through the system", as it were. Smalls Jazz Club continues is long tradition of being a hothouse for jazz talent, incubating, hatching, growing and then fly away into the world - the future of our music is assured!
Indiegogo further update: We are in the process of putting together all of the gifts to the folks who contributed to our campaign. We have the list and hopefully mailing or emailing you in the next week or so with your campaign gift. My apologies once again to our video subscribers if you've been having trouble with our stream. Dramatic improvements coming soon, I promise. We're working really hard to upgrade our entire system.
This Week At Smalls:
Monday: This is piano player week at Smalls as we start out with Dred Scott and his trio (Spencer Murphy & Bill Campbell) - Dred is an honest-to-God- eclectic but with wonderful taste and wit. Come out and hear him if you don't know his music. Following Dred is the great Kenny Werner and his group "CHANT" which features Billy Drewes on alto, Johannes Weidenmuller on bass and John Hadfield on drums. A great night of piano playing.
Tuesday: I'll be there with my trio (Yotam Silberstein & Paul Gill) from 7:30 PM and then at 10PM one of my favorite singers (and Monk competition finalist), Cyrille Aimee and her group with Rich Perry on tenor, Pete Malineverni on piano, Or Bareket on bass and Rajiv Jayaweera on drums. At 1:00 AM is the Kyle Poole afterhours jam session.
Wednesday & Thursday: We feature another gifted pianist who has been an emerging force on the scene - Sullivan Fortner and his group. He recently played his original music at the Jazz Gallery and got amazed and dazed reviews. He'll be here both nights with (Monk Finalist) Tivon Pennicott & Joe Dyson. Also, read his interview in this week's interview blog CLICK HERE. Our "Round Midnight" concert on Wednesday night is Michael Feinberg presenting his group "Humble Brag" which features (Monk Finalist) Godwin Louis on alto, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor, Julian Shore on piano and Kenneth Salters on drums.
Friday & Saturday is a weekend full of piano playing. On Friday at 7:30 PM we preset the wonderful Tardo Hammer and his trio with Lee Hudson on bass and Jimmy Wormworth on drums. Saturday at 7:30 PM is the legendary Don Friedman and his trio with Phil Palombi & Shino Takahashi. For both Friday and Saturday 10:30 PM shows we have the remarkable improvisor Jean-Michel Pilc and "True Story", his trio that features one of the great legends of the drums Billy Hart and Boris Kozlov on bass.
Sunday: We are featuring another excellent pianist - Ehud Asherie and his trio and then following him at 10PM is the great and wonderful Johnny O'Neal to teach all of the piano players that week a lesson!!
As always, I urge you to be compassionate to others and let us all yearn for peace universally. I hope to see you at Small and appreciate your support of the club!
Dred Scott Trio
7:30 PM to 9:45 PM
Dred Scott - Piano Spencer Murphy - Bass Bill Campbell - Drums
We are PSYCHED to announce the Pre-Order availability of The Rodney Green Quartet: LIVE at Smalls on iTunes. CLICK HERE
OUR SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:
Monday, September 23rd
7:30 PM to 9:45 PM - The Dred Scott Trio Dred Scott - Piano , Bill Campbell - Drums , Spencer Murphy - Bass 10:00 PM to 12:30 AM - Kenny Werner & CHANT Kenny Werner - Piano , Billy Drewes - Alto Sax , Johannes Weidenmuller - Bass , John Hadfield - Drums 12:30 AM to close - Afterhours with: Spencer Murphy Spencer Murphy - Bass ,
Tuesday, September 24th
7:30 PM to 9:45 PM - The Spike Wilner Trio Yotam Silberstein - Guitar , Paul Gill - Bass , Spike Wilner - Piano , 10:00 PM to 12:30 AM - Vocalist Cyrille Aimee Cyrille Aimee - Vocalist , Rich Perry - Tenor Sax , Pete Malinverni - Piano , Or Bareket - Bass , Rajiv Jayaweera - Drums 12:30 AM to close - The Next Generation Sessions hosted by Kyle Poole and Friends Kyle Poole - Drums ,
Wednesday, September 25th
6:00 PM to 8:45 PM - Tap Dance Jam! Hosted by Michela Lerman ($10 cover/Musicians free) Michela Marino Lerman - Tap Dancer , 9:30 PM to 12:00 AM - The Sullivan Fortner Group Tivon Pennicott - Tenor Sax , Sullivan Fortner - Piano , Joe Dyson - Drums Midnight to close - "Round Midnight" with Michael Feinberg's "Humblebrag" Billy Buss - Trumpet , Godwin Louis - Alto Sax , Chad Lefkowitz-Brown - Tenor Sax , Julian Shore - Piano , Michael Feinberg - Bass , Kenneth Salters - Drums
Thursday, September 26th
5:00 PM to 8:45 PM($10 cover/musicians free) - Afternoon Open Jam Session with: Sam Raderman and Luc Decker Luc Decker - Drums , Nial Djuliarso - Piano , Sam Raderman - Guitar , 9:30 PM to 12:00 AM - The Sullivan Fortner Group Tivon Pennicott - Tenor Sax , Sullivan Fortner - Piano , Joe Dyson - Drums Midnight to Close - "Round Midnight" with: The Carlos Abadie Quintet Luca Santaniello - Drums , Clovis Nicolas - Bass , Carlos Abadie - Trumpet , Joe Sucato - Tenor Sax , Theo Hill - Piano
Friday, September 27th
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM($10 cover/musicians free) - Happy Hour Jam Session with: Pasquale Grasso Pasquale Grasso - Guitar , 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM - The Tardo Hammer Trio Bud Powell Birthday Celebration Tardo Hammer - Piano , Lee Hudson - Bass , Jimmy Wormworth - Drums 10:30 PM to 1:00 AM - The Jean-Michel Pilc "True Story" Trio featuring Billy Hart Jean-Michel Pilc - Piano , Boris Kozlov - Bass , Billy Hart - Drums
Saturday, September 28th
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM - The "Early Bird" Session hosted by: The Dwayne Clemons Quintet Jimmy Wormworth - Drums , Sacha Perry - Piano , Dwayne Clemons - Trumpet , Josh Benko - Alto Sax , Murray Wall - Bass 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM - The Don Friedman Trio Don Friedman - Piano , Phil Palombi - Bass , Shinnousuke Takahashi - Drums 10:30 PM to 1:00 AM - The Jean-Michel Pilc "True Story" Trio featuring Billy Hart Jean-Michel Pilc - Piano , Boris Kozlov - Bass , Billy Hart - Drums 1:00 AM to close - Afterhours with: Philip Harper Philip Harper - Trumpet ,
Sunday, September 29th
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM - Vocal Masterclass with Marion Cowings $20 entry - $40 to participate Marion Cowings - Vocalist 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM - The Smalls Showcase Presents: The Falkner Evans Group Matt Wilson - Drums , Falkner Evans - Piano , Belden Bullock - Bass , Marc Mommaas - Tenor Sax , Ron Horton - Trumpet 7:30 PM to 9:45 PM - The Ehud Asherie Trio Ehud Asherie - Piano , 10:00 PM to 11:30 PM - The Legendary Johnny O'Neal Johnny O'Neal - Piano , "Midnight" to close - "Round Midnight" with: The Ai Murakami Trio Ai Murakami - Drums , Michael Kanan - Piano , Neal Miner - Bass