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SmallsLIVE/Mezzrow Newsletter
September 30th, 2019
 
Dear Friends:

I'm thinking about Harold Mabern.  Harold died unexpectedly at age 83 last Tuesday to the shock of the Jazz community.  It felt like Harold would live forever.  He was so powerful and robust it seemed inconceivable that he could be mortal and disappear in a flash.  But Life reminds us continually of the temporal nature of our reality - all things that come together also come apart and in the end are just memory.  In Harold's case a memory of greatness.  A greatness that is staggering in its breadth and only after his passing can one begin to assess how great.

The tenor saxophonist and protege of Harold's, Eric Alexander, described him as "an angel on Earth".  I heartily concur.  I would describe him in Buddhist terms as a "Bodhisattva" - a spiritual teacher manifested here to share his wisdom and to guide others.  Harold or "Mabes" as we called him, was the most modest and humble man I've known.  A simple and direct man with a true workman's mien.  Last Wednesday drummer Joe Farnsworth called me to say that Harold "wasn't feeling well" and that there would be a sub for his regular monthly gig at Smalls.  A chill went through me when he told me this.  I knew it didn't bode well.  I never, in the entire time that I knew Harold Mabern, knew him to miss a gig - never.  Farnsworth, a stoic jazz hero, already knew the dreadful news that Harold had passed but kept it to himself at the request of Harold's son.  So Joe played the gig with a silent knowledge that he could only share with me the next day.

Harold lived far away in deep Queens, past the Aqueduct Raceway.  A commute for him meant a lengthy bus ride and then a lengthy subway ride and yet he never complained.  He would arrive for his gigs early and take the time to sit and listen to the other bands.  I'd greet him sitting there in his baseball cap and trench-coat.  I'd call him "Maestro" and shake his enormous hands.  His eyes sparkled with joy and we'd exchange some news about the scene - who was playing, who was talking shit about whom.  Harold had no patience for pretense but would always praise musicality.  He'd listen intently to young players and assess them with an expert ear.  He'd have a kind word for talent and a sharp tongue for any nonsense.  Musicians would always gather around him and he would immediately begin to teach.  Before his set would begin he'd sit patiently at the piano and discuss the greatness of Clifford Brown and play a Clifford solo note for note.  He'd speak of Phineus Newborn (his hero).  He'd talk about the special characteristics of Jazz Musicians - their intelligence and ability to do nearly anything.  If you could play jazz then you had the mind to do nearly anything else at a high level and he'd be glad to give you examples of some of the subsidiary skills that famous musicians possessed.  More than anything Harold had the mind of the eternal student - always in awe of the enormity and greatness of this music.  He never stopped practicing, never missed a gig, never stopped giving.  Harold Mabern was one of the most generous musicians I've ever know - accessible to everyone, unconcerned about money and just eager to play.

When it was time to hit he'd unleash a fury of groove and sound.  Mabes was a tidal wave of force.  The audience would be washed away and buffeted by his enormous sound and feeling.  The was no denying his greatness and unstoppable energy.  This 83 year old man, with a 3 hour commute, would out-play and out-hang musicians a quarter of his age.  He was a force to be reckoned with.  As a pianist you could only reevaluate your own concept in light of this giant.  Other pianists sounded dainty in comparison.  But it wasn't just brute force, it was great beauty, it was joy.  Harold had tapped some kind of wellspring of Jazz Energy and just turned on the spigot - out it poured, relentless beautiful swinging love.

It's been a tough year.  We lost Roy Hargrove who was ill and, although tragic, was expected.  We lost Lawrence Leathers, brutally murdered and unexpected.  In Harold's case, his passing was unexpected but we can not say tragic.  Harold at 83 years accomplished enormous things as a player and a teacher in his long career.  We can only celebrate his great life fully lived.  Harold Mabern touched lives world-wide.  His passing leaves another huge hole in our Jazz wall but what more can one ask from a Jazz Warrior/Bodhisattva?  Harold Mabern gave and gave and his generosity enriched our lives and inspired us.  We can only be thankful to have known him and been in his presence.  Into the Hall of Heros goes this gentle giant and into our memory.  Thank you Maestro Mabern.  I shed tears of sadness and of gratitude.
 
So you should view this fleeting world --
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream
.

Buddha, The Diamond Sutra
 
Peace,

Spike

Monday - 9/30
Yuval Amihai, Endea Owens & Jason Brown

Guitarist Yuval Amihai makes his debut on the Mezzrow stage with his trio featuring Endea Owens on bass and Jason Brown on drums.

Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Pasquale Grasso @ 10:30 PM & 12AM

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

Tuesday - 10/1
Marilyn Kleinberg Quartet

Vocalist Marilyn Kleinberg returns to Mezzrow with her quartet, join them for a night of swing.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Lucy Yeghiazaryan @ 10:30 PM & 12

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

Wednesday - 10/2
Duane Eubanks, Anthony Wonsey & Gerald Cannon

Trumpeter Duane Eubanks is a melodic improviser with a modern approach. He is joined by his trio featuring Anthony Wonsey on piano and Gerald Cannon on drums.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Pete Malinverni @ 10:30 PM & 12

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

Thursday - 10/3
Peter Mazza, Misha Tsiganov & Tamir Shmerling

Guitarist Peter Mazza is a groovy and tasty player. He brings Misha Tsiganov on piano and Tamir Shmerling on bass for an intricate and lush arrangement of standards, sans drums, that feature the swinging interplay of this long-lived trio. 

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Andrea Domenici @ 10:30 PM & 12

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

Friday & Saturday - 10/4-10/5
Paula West, Ed Cherry & John Chin

Paula West is a lyrical vocalist with a sultry feel, join her and her trio featuring Ed Cherry on guitar and John Chin on piano.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM
10/4 - Benny Benack III @ 10:30 PM & 12:00 AM
10/5 - Jon Davis @ 10:30 PM & 12:00 AM


To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
10/4 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE
10/5 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE  

Sunday - 10/6
Neal Kirkwood, Ron Horton & Tim Harrison
"Blue Inventions Trio"


Pianist Neal Kirkwood is a veteran player who plays with wonderful jazz feeling.  He brings The Blue Inventions Trio to Mezzrow featuring Ron Horton on trumpet and Tim Harrison on piano.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Panas Athanatos @ 10:30 PM & 12 AM

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

Monday - 9/30
Ulysses Owens Jr. & Generation Y Band

 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
     with Ulysses Owens Jr. - Drums, Drew Anderson - Trumpet, Alexa
Tarantino - Alto Sax, Luther S. Allison - Piano, Philip Norris - Bass
Monday - 9/30
Joel Frahm Trio

 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
with Joel Frahm - Tenor Sax, Omer Avital - Bass, Anthony PInciotti - Drums
 
Monday - 9/30
Sean Mason Trio "After-hours"

1 AM to close
     with Sean Mason - Piano, William Ledbetter - Bass, Malcolm Charles - Drums
 
Tuesday - 10/1
Steve Nelson Trio
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
with Steve Nelson - Vibraphone, Michael Cochrane - Piano, Jason Brown - Drums
Tuesday - 10/1
Anthony Wonsey Quartet

 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
with Anthony Wonsey - Piano, Mariano Loiacono-Trumpet,  Santi Debriano - Bass, Corey Rauls - Drums 
 
Tuesday - 10/1
Jon Elbaz Trio "After-hours"
 1 AM to close
with Jon Elbaz - Piano, James Robbins - Bass, Kayvon Gordon - Drums
Wednesday - 10/2
Scott Sharrard & Friends: Green Is Beautiful
Tribute to Grant Green
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
with Scott Sharrard - Guitar, Kenny Brooks - Tenor Sax, Craig Dreyer - Baritone Sax, Pat Bianchi - Organ, Tony Mason - Drums
Wednesday - 10/2
Hendrik Meurkens Quartet
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

with Hendrik Meurkens - Harmonica, Akiko Tsuruga - Organ, Ed Cherry - Guitar, Jason Tiemann - Drums
Wednesday - 10/2
Charles Blenzig Trio "After-hours"
 1 AM to close
with Charles Blenzig - Piano, Essiet Essiet - Bass, Mike Clack - Drums
Thursday - 10/3
Caroline Davis Quintet
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

with Caroline Davis - Alto Sax, Marquis Hill - Trumpet, Julian Shore - Piano, Chris Tordini - Bass, Allan Mednard - Drums
Thursday - 10/3
Michael Feinberg Quintet
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
with Michael Feinberg - Bass, Giveton Gelin - Trumpet, Tivon Pennicott - Tenor Sax, Benito Gonzalez - Piano, Ian Froman - Drums 
Thursday - 10/3
Malick Koly Quintet "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Malick Koly - Drums, Jordan Young - Alto Sax, Tomoki Sanders - Tenor Sax, Franklin Rankin - Guitar, Paul Cuffari - Bass
Friday & Saturday - 10/4-10/5
Duduka Da Fonseca Trio
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

$20 for this show
with Duduka Da Fonseca - Drums, Helio Alves - Piano, Peter Washington - Bass
Friday & Saturday - 10/4-10/5
Don Braden Quartet
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

$20 for this show
with Don Braden - Tenor Sax, Art Hirahara - Piano, Kenny Davis - Bass, Jeremy Warren - Drums
Friday - 10/4
Wallace Roney Jr. Quintet "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Wallace Roney Jr. - Trumpet, Jordan Young - Alto Sax, Oscar Williams - Piano, Tom DiCarlo - Bass, Malick Koly - Drums
Saturday - 10/5
Brooklyn Circle "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Stacy Dillard - Tenor Sax, Diallo House - Bass, Ismail Lawal - Drums
Sunday - 10/6
Andy Farber Sextet
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

with Andy Farber - Tenor Sax, Bruce Harris - Trumpet, Jeffrey Miller - Trombone, Adam Birnbaum - Piano, Felix Moseholm - Bass, Alvester Garnett - Drums
Sunday - 10/6
Tad Shull Quartet
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
with Tad Shull - Tenor Sax, Rob Schneiderman - Piano, Paul Gill - Bass, Joe Strasser - Drums
Sunday - 10/6
Hillel Salem "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Hillel Salem - Trumpet, Alon Near - Bass
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