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).

Monday, October 3, 2022

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 indoors 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.  

10/15 – The Makanda Project at 7 p.m. (MP/PA) – Music Director John Kordalewski and the band bring us the terrific music of Makanda Ken McIntyre.  Also, it’s free of charge.  The band includes Kurtis Rivers, Lee Odom, Sean Berry, Temidayo Balogun, Charlie Kohlhase (reeds), Jerry Sabatini, Haneef Nelson, Lemuel Marc, Alfred Patterson, Bill Lowe (brass), John Kordalewski (piano), Avery Sharpe (bass), and Yoron Israel (drums).  The event happens at Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building 2300 Washington Street, Roxbury.  For further information go to www.makandaproject.org…  

10/15 – Live jazz and the film A Place for Jazz at 8 p.m. – Alex Lemski is offering an attractive fund-raiser for CMS music productions consisting of a live Ellwood Epps-Mat Crane duo followed by the presentation of the film, A Place for Jazz.  Some context may be useful for those attempting watch and understand what was happening at the 1369 Club in the mid and late 1980s.  First, the jazz scene in Cambridge and elsewhere in the Boston area was quite different from today.  1369 Cambridge Street from the mid-1970s on was the location of three different venues that presented jazz--the non-jazz Gaslight Pub was sold and in 1976 became the 1369 Club which in turn was sold and in 1981 became Springfields which was sold and finally in 1983 became the 1369 Club (until it closed in August 1988).  In back of the club was Cantares, a venue that for several months in 1989 featured post-Ayler jazz under the auspices of L.E. Shuman.  From the 1970s through the 1980s Cambridge was home to a good number of jazz clubs in Harvard Square (e.g., the Regattabar and Jonathan Swifts), Inman Square (e.g., the Inman Men’s Bar and Ryles, a favorite hang for Pat Metheny), and Central Square (e.g., virtually all the rooms of the Middle East from time to time, a half dozen come and gone venues, and perhaps the best of clubs for new jazz at that time, Charlie’s Tap AKA the Green Street Grille).  And that’s just Cambridge.  So, the 1369 Club of the 1980s was “A place for jazz,” but not the only one in Cambridge.  Nevertheless, enjoy the glimpse of the 1369 Club in the late 1980s.  It was one of the best music venues in the Boston area, and it featured--as the film suggests--a remarkably eclectic repertoire.  Also, as the film shows, although the club never presented the quantity of world-class post-Ayler jazz that Charlie’s Tap did (a tip of the hat to Joe Morris’ influence on programming at Charlie’s Tap), but eventually it did present the likes of Steve Lacy, Joe McPhee, and other ground-breakers.  So enjoy the live jazz and a look at one club in Cambridge at a time when the jazz scene was really happening.  And, although the presentation is free of charge, you can say thank you to Alex Lemski and friends by giving funds to CMS ($15 is the suggested donation for their good works).  The event takes place at the 1369 Coffee Shop.  Although the shop is in the same space as the 1369 Club, the area taken up by the bar is larger than the original jazz club bar.  In other words, the audience space is smaller than that of the jazz club.  Another way of saying the same thing is get there early

Every Monday – Monday night at the Lily Pad returns with Jerry Bergonzi, Phil Grenadier, guest bassist, and Luther Gray.  Then The Fringe Duo, John Lockwood and George continuing the fire no doubt inspired by the memory of Bob Gullotti.  It begins around 8:30 pm and continues forever ($15 per group; $10 students)…

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/

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 articles.  On 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. …


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.