A look inside The Jazz Gallery

About The Jazz Gallery

Winner of the 2010 & 2016 ASCAP/CMA Award for Adventurous Programming, The Jazz Gallery is a nonprofit organization that nurtures the youngest generation of professional jazz musicians by giving them an audience for their performances and a stage upon which to assemble their bands. The Gallery is open 3 to 5 nights per week, 50 weeks per year and produces more than 150 events per year.

The Gallery is a hub of creativity, a home to jazz musicians/composers, many of them from all over the world but now permanently settled in the United States. The Jazz Gallery presented nine of the last 11 winners of the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition PRIOR to their winning this competition. In September 2011, drummer Dafnis Prieto, who has frequented the Gallery’s stage since his arrival in NYC and who has been commissioned by the gallery twice, won a MacArthur Award; in 2010, Jason Moran, a formidable pianist who has frequented the stage of The Gallery for more than 10 years, also won a MacArthur Fellowship Award; and in 2008, 2010-11 Jazz Gallery Resident Artist Miguel Zenon, whose emergence began at The Jazz Gallery in 2001, was a MacArthur Fellowship recipient.

The Jazz Gallery’s Residency Commissions offer artists a commissioning and residency fee (up to $7,000 in 2011-12) that allows them to take a hiatus from the road as they create their new works. In addition, the Gallery provides them with a creative and convivial space in which to develop, rehearse and workshop the new music before it is made public. During each artist’s four to six week residency period, The Jazz Gallery space is made available to the selected artists during “off hours,” when they can collaborate with their ensemble members and utilize the month to realize artistic goals. The program is made possible by a major grant from The Jerome Foundation, with additional support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Support for this program has been renewed for 2011-12, and the second Residency Commissioning Series will focus on bassist/composer/bandleaders, with new works scheduled from Alexis Cuadrado, Joe Sanders, Linda Oh and Matt Brewer. In each case, The Jazz Gallery does not dictate the exact nature of each residency, but rather, allows each composer the freedom to create a residency that meets his/her individual needs. Through The Residency Commissions as well as other new projects such at “The Woodshed at The Jazz Gallery”, which will provide free rehearsal space to jazz musicians beginning in January 2012, The Jazz Gallery seeks to provide a powerful creative environment for the musicians it supports and presents, and at the same time, to establish a replicable model for supportive relationships between jazz musicians and presenters in general.


About Jazz Speaks

Jazz Speaks is the official blog of The Jazz Gallery, offering a look inside the Gallery and its goings-on. It features interviews with upcoming artists, updates on programs such as our Residency/Commission Series and Mentoring Series, and other news related to the Gallery. Jazz Speaks was founded in 2012 by Rafiq Bhatia.

Read below to learn more about our contributors.

Kevin Laskey is a composer, percussionist, and music writer based in Philadelphia, PA. His music lives in the netherworld between highly-notated concert music and improvised styles, drawing from jazz, American folk music, and classical idioms alike. Kevin has written for a wide variety of ensembles, including  PRISM Quartet, Yarn/Wire, Bearthoven, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and trombonist Ray Anderson. In addition to serving as the current editor of Jazz Speaks, Kevin has written for NPR, the journal Music and Literature and keeps his own semi-active blog. Kevin received a BA in music from Princeton University in 2012, an MA in music composition from Stony Brook University in 2015, and a PhD in music composition from the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches music theory and composition at West Chester University.

Tree Palmedo is a trumpeter, composer, and writer from Portland, Oregon, currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He came up through the fertile music education scene of Portland, and has played jazz, funk, soul, rock, pop, and afrobeat at Portland venues ranging from the Waterfront Blues Festival to clubs like the Goodfoot and Holocene. He’s also performed at festivals in Monterey, Toronto, Montreal, Cleveland, and throughout California. After spending a year at the Brubeck Institute in Stockton, California, where he was part of a Downbeat Award-winning album release, Tree now attends Harvard College, where he is an Arts editor for The Harvard Crimson. He also participates in a joint program with the New England Conservatory. As a writer, he’s been published by The Crimson, Willamette Week, PolicyMic, and The Owl Mag.

Tamar Sella is a PhD candidate in the ethnomusicology program at Harvard University. She holds a BA in music from UC Berkeley where she focused on jazz performance (voice) and ethnomusicology. At Berkeley, she worked with pianist-composer-improviser Prof. Myra Melford and singer Laurie Antonioli, as well as ethnomusicologist Benjamin Brinner. At Harvard she’s working with Profs. Ingrid Monson and Vijay Iyer among others. This year (2016-17), she’s based in New York working on fieldwork for her dissertation, which is on vocal practices, singers, and gender in contemporary jazz. She’s also detailing bits of her fieldwork and beyond in her own blog, “Voice Talk,” on

Kevin Sun is a saxophonist, composer, and writer currently based out of Boston, Massachusetts. As the 2013 Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition winner, Kevin performed at Sunside Jazz Club in Paris, France, last fall and was a 2012 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition winner as well as a 2012 Harvard Office for the Arts Artist Development Fellow. He was previously the editor of Jazz Speaks, the blog of The Jazz Gallery, a not-for-profit jazz cultural center in New York City; he also writes A Horizontal Search, a jazz and literature blog that has been recognized by National Public Radio’s A Blog Supreme and Ethan Iverson’s Do the Math. He received his A.B. in English from Harvard College in 2014 (summa cum laude) and is pursuing his M.M. in Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Harrison Wood has been studying electric guitar since the age of seven. While at Connecticut College, Harrison continued his pursuit of music theory coursework and original composition sparked in high school and additionally sought instruction under the guidance of classical guitarist and Adjunct Associate Professor of Music James McNeish. Since moving to Brooklyn, New York, in 2011, Harrison has played bass with the experimental hip-hop collective Blue Belt and has been studying modal jazz improvisation privately with New York Times-acclaimed guitarist and composer Rafiq Bhatia. Though a full-time digital marketing professional, Harrison has been working part-time for The Jazz Gallery since October 2013, assisting in marketing project management, concert production, and staff writing for Jazz Speaks. Harrison holds a B.A. in History and has advanced proficiency in Mandarin from his time living in Beijing during and following undergraduate studies.

Rebecca Zola is originally from Lexington, Massachusetts, and currently resides in New York City, where she studies at The New School. She is pursuing a dual degree (BA and BFA) at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and at Eugene Lang College, studying vocal performance and writing about the arts. She currently leads and writes music for her own quintet, Zolaband, which frequently gigs in New York City. Rebecca is a teaching assistant at Eugene Lang College, and is also a private tutor at The New School for Jazz. She has also interned at Pi Recordings and Fully Altered Media. Rebecca is passionate about music, writing, education, and food.