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!
The National Endowment for the Arts (Wikimedia Commons)
We have some exciting news: The Jazz Gallery has just been awarded an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. We’re deeply appreciative of the continuing support the NEA has shown us over the years, and this new grant will support the continuation of the Gallery’s Thursday Night Début Series, as well as the continuation of our new Mentoring Series, which continues in December with Jason Lindner’s NOW vs. NOW featuring James Francies. See the complete list of grant recipients here, and check out the NEA’s official press release:
Washington, DC— From partnerships to develop a districtwide arts education plan in North Carolina to poetry from a combat engineer to a folk arts festival in rural Wyoming, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) continues to support the arts and creativity to improve lives and communities in the United States. In its first fiscal year 2015 announcement, the NEA will award $29.1 million in 1,116 grants in three categories: Art Works, Challenge America, and NEA Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “Since coming to the NEA, I have met with many NEA grantees and have seen first-hand the positive impact they have on their communities. These new projects will continue to demonstrate the power the arts have to deepen value, build connections, and foster an atmosphere of creativity and innovation both at the community level and with individuals throughout the nation.”
The Star Initiative
We’re pleased to announce that The Jazz Gallery is now a participant of WNYC and WQXR’s Salute The ARts (STAR) Initiative:
“a free program that profiles 36 small cultural non-profit organizations in the New York Metropolitan area over a 12-month period, through on-air promotional announcements and free website support.”
Keep your ears open through August 27th for mentions of The Jazz Gallery on WNYC 93.9 FM/AM 820 and WQXR 105.9 FM, and be sure to check out the events pages at WNYC and WQXR.
Also, if you already regularly listen to WNYC, you’ve probably noticed the hourly station identification music, a repeating figure played on the vibraphone. What you might not have known is that this song, entitled “Clear the Rain,” was composed and performed by Chris Dingman, a Gallery alumnus who’s been checking out shows here since 2002 as well as performing on our stage since 2004. Chris has appeared here both with his own groups and as a sideman; most recently, he was back in the fall with the Steve Lehman Octet.
Click here to read our interview with Chris from 2012.
Steve Coleman needs no introduction. As one of the most formidable improvisational thinkers of the past few decades, he has left an immeasurable impact on the modern jazz scene today with his incisive perceptions and research into the rhythms of music of the African diaspora, as well as his forward-thinking conceptions of just about every other parameter concerning contemporary improvisors negotiating their relationship to this music known as jazz. Drummer Billy Hart is quoted as saying of Steve:
Steve Coleman’s way of playing is so influential. You’ve got the Wynton Marsalis regime, and the strongest force other than that is Steve Coleman. He’s produced Vijay Iyer. That’s Steve Coleman. I mean we could name anybody, they’re influenced by him. You could name Greg Osby, and there’s Jason Moran. I mean Scott Colley, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Robin Eubanks, Dave Holland is even influenced by that. As a concept, that’s totally Steve Coleman’s Arguably, Dave Binney is influenced by that as a concept, definitely that’s Steve Coleman. It’s incredible. There’s a group in Belgium called Aka Moon, and they sound like Dave. They all have influenced this whole thing. Danilo Perez, I mean that whole concept is that. Jeff Watts, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, that’s all Steve Coleman’s influence as far as I’m concerned. (Being Here, 260)
Steve is one of 25 featured interviewees in Radhika Philip‘s Being Here (2013), a study into creativity and improvisation in the contemporary New York city scene. Many of her interviewees are alumni of The Jazz Gallery, and full list itself is rather remarkable: Andy Bey, Ben Monder, Billy Hart, Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, Butch Morris, Chris Potter, Dafnis Prieto, David Binney, Dave Douglas, Gregoire Maret, Henry Threadgill, Jane Ira Bloom, Jason Moran, Kenny Wollesen, Maria Schneider, Mark Turner, Robert Glasper, Steve Coleman, Thomas Morgan, Vijay Iyer, William Parker. (more…)
Photo by Vincent Soyez
Next Friday and Saturday, September 13th and 14th, pianist Fabian Almazan will give premiere performances of new works he composed at the Gallery back in February as part of the 2012-13 Jazz Gallery Residency Commissions. He will be joined by vocalist Camila Meza as well as a 16-piece choir. His performances will follow the premiere performances of “Threefold” this Friday and Saturday, which was composed by David Virelles also as part of our 2012-13 Commissions program.
We caught up with Fabian by phone to talk about how the Residency went and what the audiences can look forward to hearing next weekend.
The Jazz Gallery: Can you tell us a bit about the music you wrote during your residency?
Fabian Almazan: I decided to compose for voice. In the past, I’ve done orchestral writing and trio and all sorts of different instrumental variations. I had never tried to compose for voice, so it’s a bunch of music for Camila Meza’s ensemble from Chile. The majority of the concert is duets between her and me, and the final song is with a 16-piece choir. Also, all of the music is in Spanish, and I wrote the majority of the lyrics except for one of the pieces. (more…)