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Photo by John Abbott

Photo by John Abbott

Saxophonist Steve Wilson gives new meaning to the word versatility. No matter the style of music or size of band, Wilson elevates the playing of those around him. He can soar over lush big band backgrounds, like those of Maria Schneider or Miho Hazama, be an indispensable role player in supergroups like the Blue Note 7, or have his every move put under a microscope, like when playing duo with drummer Lewis Nash.

Wilson’s newest project finds him taking up the mantle of drummer Art Blakey, leading a group of very talented young musicians. Wilson first assembled this “Next Generation of Jazz” band for show at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Generations in Jazz” Festival this past Fall, and we at The Jazz Gallery are pleased that Wilson will bring this group to our stage for two nights of shows this weekend. Check out one of their first sets together at Dizzy’s in the video below, but be sure to stop by the Gallery this weekend to see this talented group’s rapport deepen.

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Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Dayramir Gonzalez is one of several young, Cuban pianists (including Aruan Ortiz, Alfredo Rodriguez, and David Virelles) making major waves in the American jazz scene. A 2013 graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Gonzalez has played with a wide range of top-tier jazz artists, from Chucho and Bebo Valdes, to Christian McBride and George Garzone. Gonzalez has been leading his own group, Habana enTRANCE, for over a decade. The group’s music is exuberant and tightly arranged, like the tune “Situaciones en 12/8,” featured in the video below.

Writing in the LA Weekly, Gary Fukushima notes that Gonzalez has a “…refined, yet bravado-infused pianism [that] naturally extends the brilliant legacy of Cuban jazz pianists from Bebo Valdes to Chucho Valdes to Gonzalo Rubalcaba.” This Thursday, January 7th, Gonzalez will bring his Habana enTRANCE group to New York to make their Jazz Gallery debut. The core trio of Gonzalez, bassist Alex Apolo Ayala, and drummer Willy Rodriguez will be joined by two special guests, alto saxophonist Dean Tsur and vocalist Jadele McPherson. Please join us in welcoming Mr. Gonzalez and his tight, hard-grooving band to our stage. (more…)

Logo designed by Takao Fujioka

Logo designed by Takao Fujioka

2015 was an eventful year at The Jazz Gallery. Not only did we celebrate our 20th birthday with a series of special concerts featuring many of our favorite musicians (from co-founder Roy Hargrove, to the Jason Lindner Big Band, to Vijay Iyer/Henry Threadgill/Dafnis Prieto, to Gerald Clayton), but we also continued to be a home to the future of jazz through our Mentorship Series and Residency Commissions, as well as presenting many young musicians on our stage for the first time.

This past month, the Gallery’s commitment to presenting new jazz has been recognized by various arts organizations and music publications. First off, the Gallery received a generous grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to help continue and expand our Mentorship Series in 2016. Second, the Gallery received the 2016 Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in the large jazz presenter category. This is the third time that the Gallery has been given this honor. And lastly, the Gallery was named as one of 2015’s venues of the year by The New York City Jazz Record.

2016 is shaping up to be just as exciting as the past year. The Gallery still has a couple of anniversary concerts in store, including a presentation of The Ice Siren, a jazz-theater piece by John Ellis and Andy Bragen, originally commissioned by the Gallery in 2008, and a special concert by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. We will be expanding our Mentorship Series, thanks in part to grants from the NEA and NewMusicUSA, as well as continuing to present forward-thinking musicians young and old each week.

To our readers and fans and members in New York and beyond: Thanks so much for making 2015 such a memorable year and for supporting the future of jazz. Here’s to more great music in 2016.

Check out http://www.jazzgallery.org/itinerary.php for a list of our upcoming shows!