Welcome to Boston Jazz Scene

Welcome to the Boston Jazz Scene web site--the place to find out what happened, what is happening, and what is coming in jazz and other improvised music in Boston and surrounding communities. The most recent post is listed below this information. Words listed below the Topics heading to the right refer to information you can find here about jazz and other improvised music, the arts in general, food, and travel in and near Boston.

If you click on the Scheduled Jazz Highlights topic, you will see a selection of upcoming jazz gigs that we think are particularly noteworthy.

If you click on one of the History - Jazz Journal topics, you will see a selection of journal entries covering performances and relevant events that have taken place in Boston since the 1970s.

If you click on the History - Major Contributors topic, you will see a list of Bostonian musicians who have made significant contributions to the development and evolution of jazz in Boston and elsewhere.

If you click on the Images - Musicians topic, you will see a selection of photos of current and former Boston area jazz musicians and significant visiting jazz musicians. If photos of musicians are displayed on this page and you click on Older Posts at the bottom of this page, you will see earlier image pages eventually going back to page 1.

If you click on the Images - Venues topic, you will see a selection of photos of current and former Boston area jazz venue locations.

If you click on the History - Jazz Timeline topic, you will see a brief list of significant events in the development and evolution of jazz in Boston beginning with the first groundwork in colonial America.

If you click on the Essays on Music topic, you will see essays about the development of jazz and other music since the late nineteenth century and particularly the evolving context in which the music has been and continues to be created.

If you click on one of the Travel options, you will see a variety of information that may be of interest to people visiting Boston (or even some people who live here).

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Upcoming performance highlights

Among the more attractive performances scheduled in the near future in the Boston area are the ones listed below.  With the exception of some gigs that feature Magazine Cover (MC) groups (which can range in quality from very good to terrible), the gigs listed below are ones that I wish I could attend.  And—if time and circumstances permit—I will be there.  

5/1 – Celebration of jazz in Boston during the 1970s and 1980s at 7:00 p.m. (MP) – Mark Harvey has been a participant and driving force in the development of jazz in Boston since 1974 when the Rev. A. L. Kershaw invited him to help establish Emmanuel Church as a key center for jazz performance and support, an activity that eventually spread to the nearby Church of the Covenant, also along Newbury Street.  Now Mark Harvey is releasing a boxed set of writing and CDs relevant to the 1970s and early 1980s in Boston.  It will happen at a party featuring panel sessions and live music provided by the trumpeter/leader as well as Peter Bloom, Arni Cheatham, Leonard Brown, and others.  It happens at the Piano Factory, 793 Tremont Street, Boston (617-452-3205)…

Until 5/1 – Thelonious Monkfish Jazz Festival (MP) – The fest takes place during eleven consecutive days featuring some of the Boston area’s more popular musicians, including the Jerry Bergonzi Quartet, Teresa Ines Quartet, Dominique Eade & Tim Ray, Paul Broadnax Trio, Yoko Miwa Trio, Eula Lawrence Quartet, Mike Turk Trio, and others.  Start times vary from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; so check the Thelonious Monkfish web site for details…

Thru 5/5 – Ethelbert Cooper Film/Visual Art Series (mixed media) – The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery celebrates jazz through film and other visual art.  Films are both documentary (with footage of such greats as Basie, Mingus, Monk, and more in performance) and non-documentary (depicting the lives of real musicians and fictitious ones in such fare as Eastwood’s Bird and Tavernier’s Round Midnight [as opposed to Square Midnight]).  The only catch is that most fans are not available to take advantage of the noontime film offerings.  Details about when and where the events take place are available at the Cooper Gallery web site…

5/7 – The John Tchicai Memorial Concert at 8 p.m. (PA) – This is Charlie Kohlhase’s tribute his friend, the late John Tchicai, master musician.  The concert will feature the music of John Tchicai dating from the 1960s to the current century.  Helping Charlie make the music happen will be Daniel Rosenthal, Jason Robinson, John Ehlis, Eric Hofbauer, Aaron Darrell, and Curt Newton.  Tickets are $20.  It happens at Third Life Studio...

5/7 – A Night of Pure Improvisation at 8 p.m. (PA) – Three sets of music featuring Turbulence (PEK, Steve Norton, Charlie Kohlhase, Todd Brunel, Keith Hedger, Bob Moores, David Harris, and Bill Lowe), Leap of Faith (PEK, Glynis Lomon, Steve Norton, Yuri Zbitnov, and Andria Nicodemou), and Leap of Faith Orchestra (both bands together) at the Nave Gallery of Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church...

Key codes: The abbreviation in parentheses following the name of the event or band/musician performing indicates roughly the type of music that you can expect if you go to the gig.
MC= Magazine Covers.  These musicians/bands are popular with jazz fans and therefore often find their photos on the covers of jazz magazines.  This type of band may or may not be any good qualitatively.  However, many fans like to know “what’s hot.”
MP=Mainstream/Post-Bop.  This is the music that most people think of today when they think of jazz.  It runs the gamut from Parkeresque bebop and Websterish ballads to the post-bop work of people such as Bergonzi and Lovano.
PA=Post-Ayler.  This is Anthony Braxton’s term for all the adventure that came out of Ayler, Ornette, Cecil and others (including Mr. Braxton, of course).  In some ways it is the most diverse jazz and jazz-rooted music being performed today, including everything from near zero dB whispers (e.g., undr, John Tilbury) to eardrum demolishing walls of sound (Keith Rowe, a ton of stuff from Japan) to performances built on combinations of composed and improvised material (Liberation Orchestra, Charlie Kohlhase’s ensembles) to completely improvised offerings (Peter Br√∂tzmann, Laurence Cook).
S=Swing.  It don’t mean a thing…  Maybe “nothing” means “anything” if you are a fan of swing.  Sadly, fine swing music seems to be approaching extinction, at least in the Boston area clubs.  The reasons are obvious and elusive.  The great names of Swing (such as Lunceford and Barnet) have passed on and taken almost all of their band mates with them.  In addition, in spite of the fact that some of the finest music of the swing era was produced by the combos of Goodman and Basie (among others), people continue to think of swing in terms of large (and therefore economically untenable) ensembles.  You can find it happening in some dance halls, but mostly at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.  For years such names as Whitney, Winniker, and Hershman have held the fort in the Boston area.  But you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled. 
T=Two-beat/Trad.  Some of the finest contemporary two-beat jazz anywhere has been nurtured and grown in Eastern Massachusetts since the 1970s.  Everyone knows about the New Black Eagles, and a host of other musicians are held in equally high esteem around here.  Some of the better-known are Jimmy Mazzy, Stan McDonald, Jeff Hughes, and Guy Van Duser.  Unfortunately for city dwellers, two-beat jazz (and, to a lesser extent, the blues) has moved to the suburbs.  But the best of it is worth the drive.