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).

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

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.  

For now some locations outdoors are open for music performances.  Distancing and mask restrictions apply.  If people exhibit safe behaviors, such gigs may not be shut down.  Let's hope things improve soon.  

4/17 - Ellwood Epps and Togetherness! The music of South Africa & more at 4 p.m. (PA) – Ellwood brings notables Jeb Bishop, Jorrit Dijkstra, Nathan McBride, Curt Newton (drums), and Matt Crane (percussion) to Watertown Square at Veterans Memorial for a live gig that is free of charge (but donations are accepted).  Covid spacing and masks are required, and there will be an attendance limit.  For further information, call the Creative Music Series at (617) 800-7255…

online now - The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra’s May 2007 celebration of Duke Ellington at the MFA -  Watercolor paintings (some created in the moment) are by Bill Commerford.  The URL is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CavkfiXqg5g

online now - The Makanda Project (MP/PA) - John Kordalewski claims he has been writing a lot of new arrangements of Makanda Ken McIntyre’s compositions during the pandemic for live performance later this year.  In the meantime has posted online for your enjoyment a recording of the September 19 performance of the band at Bartlet Place.  The band includes Kurtis Rivers, Paavo Carey, Sean Berry, Charlie Kohlhase, Jerry Sabatini, Haneef Nelson, Sarah Politz, Alfred Patterson,  John Kordalewski, John Lockwood, and Warren Smith.  Solos are by Charlie Kohlhase and Kurtis Rivers.  Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98PKL1LCZP8&feature=youtu.be …

Ongoing – Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is celebrating its 48th season in pandemic style by offering historically and aesthetically significant performances and interviews online. 

Mark Harvey and friends will be adding such online fare in coming months.  For more info take a look at the Aardvark Facebook page and www.aardvarkjazz.com.  Enjoy…

 Ongoing – Non-Event online Music – Performances at various times plus an archive of music (PA) – Non-Event is offering music via online audio files and video files plus real-time performances.  The emphasis is on new music, some of which is improvised music.  For example, Matt Samolis (who unfortunately for us moved from Boston to central Massachusetts) is presenting his bowed cymbal meditation recorded on May 1, 2020.  Keep in mind, money helps support these events.  The URL is: http://www.nonevent.org/


Apparently hamsters are on the front lines of Covid-19 mask research.  According to The Week (6/5, p. 21), researchers at the University of Hong Kong placed healthy hamsters in one cage, and hamsters that had been infected with the virus in an adjacent one, with a fan blowing air between the two cages.  The researchers then created three scenarios to mimic real-life situations: with mask barriers covering the cage containing the infected rodents; with masks on the cage containing the healthy hamsters; and with no masks at all.”  When no masks were used, 67% were infected within a week.  With masks on the healthy cage, the infection rate dropped to 33 percent.  With masks on the infected cage, the infection rate dropped to 17 percent.  And there is a bonus to using masks.  According to the article, “The hamsters that did become infected in the mask scenarios had less of the virus in their bodies than those infected without masks.”  Pretty impressive data, even if you are not a hamster.  And the research reinforces a caution I published weeks ago.  All mammals potentially are Covid-19 carriers--cats in the Bronx Zoo, humans, hamsters in Hong Kong, and domestic dogs and cats everywhere.  Masks are a defense.  Two-meter (or greater) distancing is a defense.  Used together they are more effective.  And don’t forget the 20-seconds of hand washing.  Stay safe…

If you would like to read Science News’ fine coverage of the pandemic and its implications (including dozens of articles so far), go to the site’s page of coronavirus feature articlesOn that page also is information about how to receive that publication's coronavirus update newsletter twice each week.   Science News will try to answer your questions at feedback@sciencenews.org. 

How's the new vaccine coming?  You can find out at clinicaltrials.gov.  It's the NIH website that lists every single trial that is going on for COVID-19, including vaccines and therapeutics...



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 (Evan Parker, 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.