Nick Catalano has a beat on the Big Apple. Find out what's cookin' in NYC.
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 the lines of a typical American jazz band with brass, reeds and a rhythm section. The leader/ alto saxophonist / ...read more
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 will appear to add to the knowledge of the subject. So it was with great joy that ...read more
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 line after line of hard-swinging bop melodies chorded with the hip harmonic sounds that were all the rage. Sweating heavily, ...read more
On Monday March 24th Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola was the again the scene of a memorable big band concert from the Manhattan School of Music Concert Jazz Band under the direction of Justin DiCioccio. On the occasion of Sammy Nestico's 90th birthday, the director (who was a cohort of Nestico's in White House dance bands of the 60's and 70's) focused on the legendary charts that the famed composer/arranger wrote for the Count Basie Band from 1966-84. Beginning with such excursions into seminal swing scripts as 88 Basie Street" and Have a Nice Day" the band launched an ...read more
On the final night of January and the onset of Super Bowl weekend, Joey DeFrancesco brought his touring trio into Birdland celebrating his latest CD release for HighNote One For Rudy. With bandmates guitarist Paul Bollenback and drummer Carmen Intorre DeFrancesco lit up the room with his B3 and deftly moved to the trumpet and then to the piano--performance features he has included in his last several years. The album celebrates the organist's association with famed record producer Rudy Van Gelder who, DeFrancesco revealed in a brief backstage interview, was the engineer for his second Columbia album ...read more
The Brazilian tidal wave which has been building throughout the fall at Dizzy's continued its flow with a holiday line-up of samba stalwarts. Led by percussionist Duduka Da Fonseca, pianist Helio Alves and vocalist Maucha Adnet, the all-star group featured sax/ clarinetist Anat Cohen, guitarist Mike Moreno, and bassist Hans Glawischnig. Most interesting in this latest appearance by the Brazilians was the presentation of a mostly new repertoire and a new guest. Early in the second set on opening night (Dec. 19) Da Fonseca introduced flutist/saxophonist Mauro Senise, a bandleader who had performed with Da Fonseca in ...read more
An iconic jazz haven is born again. It's a name I don't think I've heard spoken of in many years. And so when I learned that after many years, Minton's Playhouse" was re-opening at its original address at West 118th Street in Harlem on the ground floor of the old Cecil Hotel, I was really delighted. Delighted that the unassuming little nightclub where Bird and Diz' and Monk and the rest of the greats and near-greats all went to jam was back in business after a fire in 1974 had shut it down. Although I grew ...read more