One of the things about Smalls that I stress over and over again is the importance of the community of musicians. In this age of nuclear families insulated in little houses, never getting to know their neighbors, it's sometimes hard for people to grasp that a wide range of people can be bound together in a community that crosses culture, religion and gender. I'm talking about jazz musicians and how they see each other - as brothers and sisters. This is evident every night at Smalls. Musicians greet each other warmly with handshakes and hugs, jokes and smiles. It's an intimacy that we share - we know each other - we understand each other. This music and the discipline it takes just to play it even moderately well binds us. It's our history and our culture. It's very real and very much alive at Smalls and in New York City. Last week we had Jimmy Greene return to Smalls in a truly emotional return to the club. The jazz community showed its strength in unifying behind Jimmy and the horrible tragedy that he has endured and continues to endure. We are his extended family. This weekend we had Winard Harper and Philip Harper performing back to back with their respective bands - sharing some of the same young musicians that are being "raised" in their care, much like they were raised by Art Blakey or Betty Carter. This is the tradition of our music - the passing on of this tradition, the binding with our brothers and sisters and then sharing with our community at large. America doesn't have to fall into complete banality and idiocy. Our legacy of Jazz is our redeeming virtue as a country. Let's embrace it - Spiritual Food for a starving people.
This week at Smalls:
This week we start our Monday at 7:30 PM with Dan Tepfer & Ben Wendel who have been having a lot of success with their duet. They were recently written about in the New York Times and have been touring as a duo (CLICK HERE to read this article). They open for Ari Hoenig & his group "PunkBop" which features Jonathan Kreisberg, Will Vinson and Danton Boller. These guys recorded a live project for SmallsLIVE (CLICK HERE) and are one of our most popular groups. Stick around for afterhours with Spencer Murphy who runs the jam session (and pretty much everything else at Smalls...)
Tuesday night again features our regular program 7:30PM - Spike Wilner Trio with Chris Flory & Lee Hudson. 10PM - The Smalls Legacy Band with Frank Lacy, Josh Evans, Theo Hill, Stacy Dillard, Corcoran Holt & Chris Beck. 12:30 AM - Afterhours with Kyle Poole "Next Generation" jam session.
On Wednesday we have bassist Doug Weiss leading his own trio. Doug is a musician who for years has been the consumate sideman performing with an enormous range of artists including Al Foster and many others. Tonight he gets the leader title with a trio that includes the mystical Dayna Stephens and a rare appearance at Smalls of drummer Marvin "Bugalu" Smith. Also, Doug is featured this week in our Smalls Interview Blog (CLICK HERE). Please don't miss this one. Our "Round Midnight" concert features a young pianist that has been highly endorsed by Fred Hersch - Nick Sanders, who is coming in with his trio that consists of Henry Fraser on bass and Connor Baker on drums.
Thursday we feature two amazing trumpet players back to back starting with Duane Eubanks. Duane has been a quiet force on the jazz scene for many years and (I feel) is overlooked somewhat. He has a beautiful and genuine feeling and plays real jazz. His band is excellent and features Abe Burton, Orrin Evans, Luques Curtis and Eric McPherson. This is going to be a dynamic concert. Following Duane is trumpeter Carlos Abadie and his excellent quintet to perform our "Round Midnight" set and host the jam session.
This weekend we have a number of great and interesting groups. Friday at 7:30 PM we are showcasing a vocalist from Spain named Eva Cortez who has come highly-recommended. Her group has Romain Collin, Mike Moreno, Luques Curtis & John Davis - all top-notch New York players. On Saturday at 7:30 PM we have a collective quartet with guitarist Tom Dempsey, bassist Tim Ferguson, tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm and drum legend Eliot Zigmund. These guys have a wonderful book of music and beautiful interaction. For our 10:30 PM show on both Friday and Saturday we are happy to have back at Smalls alto saxophonist Tim Green and his group with Alex Brown on piano, Linda Oh on bass and Kush Abadey on drums. Tim is a strong and soulful improvisor and I'm sure this is going to be an exciting and excellent two nights.
On Sunday we have our typical all day and night music marathon. At noon is the New York Jazz Workshop conducted by saxophonist Marc Mommas. At 4:30 PM is the excellent guitarist John Merrill and his Red Norvo tribute trio. At 7:30 PM is the lovely and excellent vocalist Lezlie Harrison. At 10PM is the unbelievable Johnny O'Neal and at 11:30 we are featuring drummer Craig Wuepper and his trio "Earsight" with Paul Odeh & Essiet Essiet to play a set and then host our jam session.
As always I appreciate your support, feedback and participation. I hope to see you at the club!
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