New York Beat

Nick Catalano has a beat on the Big Apple. Find out what's cookin' in NYC.


Erik Charlston at Cafe Wha

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Erik Charlston and JazzBrasil, a sextet from his CD Essentially Hermeto (Sunnyside) came to Café Wha for a one set offering of their music on Sunday June 28. Charlston has gained wide attention for his knowledge and performances of the music of Hermeto Pascoal. This illustrious composer/ musician/producer from Lagoa da Canoa, Alagoas, whose genius has been woefully neglected by American jazz writers, stands at the very top rung of Brazilian music and, through the years, the few times that ...


The Pittsburgh Jazz Festival

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It is difficult to overestimate the importance of jny: Pittsburgh in the annals of jazz history. Just a few of the legendary names--Ahmad Jamal, Errol Garner, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Eckstine, Billy Strayhorn, George Benson, Ray Brown, Stanley Turrentine--are sufficient to raise the proverbial jazz fan eyebrows. I actually performed there in the halcyon days of bebop and so it was the memory of a gig long ago in the Hill District that drew me back to the scene.


Vince Giordano at Iguana

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If you go to Iguana on 54th St. and sit down on a Monday or Tuesday evening to dine on some sensible Mexican food you can also do some time traveling. When the Nighthawks hit at 8:00pm you won't have any trouble imagining that it is 1925 and you are in a speakeasy at the musical height of the Jazz Age. Hot tune after hot tune (some titles you won't recognize even if you're a maven) are performed so flawlessly ...


Jazz at Lincoln Center: The Search for Original African Music

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Although jazz emerged as an art form around the turn of the Twentieth century in the southern United States, its roots extend backward over several centuries. The music largely developed from a synthesis of many African and European forms that was achieved through the institution of slavery. Blacks were captured or purchased from specific “factory" areas in West Africa--the Portuguese took from Senegal and transported to Brazil, the English plundered the Ashantis of the Gold Coast and sold them in ...


Marcos Valle and Stacey Kent at Birdland

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Another of Brazil's music luminaries from the sixties, Marcos Valle, came to Gotham on December 9, 2014 to team up with Stacey Kent and Jim Tomlinson and advance the Brazilian omnipresence here of late. Last month I wrote of the dramatic emergence of the Spokfrevo Orquestra at Lincoln Center and everywhere this month there are appearances by Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta, Duduka da Fonseca, Hendrik Meurkens and many other Brasilieros. And the jazz audiences I joined both at Lincoln Center ...


Spok Frevo Orquestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center

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Frevo--a feverish, exuberant dance music from the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil--made its Big Apple debut last night (October 25th, 2014) at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Theater. Virtually unknown in the U.S., it was originated by a composer known as Zuzinha as a street martial arts/ dance music and organized around carnival in cities like Recife in 1907, taking its name from the Portuguese verb “ferver"--to boil. It was presented by the Spok Frevo Orquestra--a group constructed along ...


More from Clifford Brown

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Ever since I wrote the biography of Clifford Brown (Oxford University Press, 2000) I've been hoping that someone would come forth with some newly discovered recording, some new photos of Brownie, or some new piece of information about his life that wasn't available at the time the book was published. One of the great bonuses of new-age information technology is the amazing dissemination of material that seems to come forth in dribs and drabs. Any biographer hopes that new discoveries ...


Horace Silver: Recollections and Retrospections

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In the halcyon days of the first Birdland (the early 50's) Monday night was jam session night and the house rhythm section featured a young pianist named Horace Silver. Though in his early 20's (he was born in 1928) Silver appeared much younger and his diminutive figure at the keyboard is still etched in my mind intensely pouring out the hot-tempoed lines of the still-novel bebop literature. I, together with my fellow musician friends, sat there mesmerized as he gushed ...

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