FEATURES Leonard Brown talks about the John Coltrane Memorial Concert | What’s up at Thelonious Monkfish? | Members connection: Win free tickets | Editor’s POV: The gift of Phil Woods | No-cost jazz events

SHORT-TAKES Apply for a Creative Entrepreneur Fellowship| Dorchester’s newest jazz venue | Dressing up with JazzBoston at Beantown | Join the JazzBird® team

EDITOR Grace-Mary Burega, info@kindofpinkandpurple.com

Leonard Brown talks about the 38th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert – Get your tickets for Oct. 24 now

Leonard Brown is a professional musician (saxophonist, composer, and arranger), teacher, ethno-musicologist and specialist in multicultural education. He has performed nationally and internationally and is co-founder and co-producer of Boston’s annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, now in its 38th year.

How did the John Coltrane Memorial Concert start?

The concert started in 1977. That same year we did a tribute to Duke Ellington and decided to do one for John Coltrane too. There was a group of black musicians in Boston who felt that we should educate others about the African American tradition and be responsible to represent the music. We were all greatly influenced by John Coltrane socially, culturally, musically, historically and spiritually, and wanted to present his music in a proper fashion. The concert developed through collective efforts with percussionist Syd Smart and bassist Hayes Burnet.

How has the concert lasted 38 years?

At the first concert we had no idea this was going to be an annual event. The concert was initially held in the Friends of Great Black Music Loft and has moved around from the Modern Theatre to Emmanuel Church to the New England Life Hall. Now the concert is held at Northeastern, but it ultimately is the Greater Boston community that keeps it going.

Orchestras all over the world still play Beethoven. Coltrane’s music stands the test of time and can be considered black classical music. At our concert we don’t try to play everything as Coltrane did; we bring our own angle, style and improvisations. It’s a waste of time to copy Coltrane – there is only one of each of us. We keep his spirit alive in the music.

How do you pick your musicians?

Initially the concert was a collective of musicians, dancers, painters, artists and poets. There has been a core group of musicians throughout the years, all musicians based in Boston. We have had special guests throughout the years; our first special guest was saxophonist George Coleman.

This year’s concert is titled ‘Ornette N’ Trane’. Can you explain the connection between Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane?

Coltrane was greatly influenced by Ornette and even took some lessons from him. Listen to Coltrane from 1964 and you will see how Coltrane took his own approach to ‘harmelodics’ where you move away from harmony and play based on melody. Both Ornette and Coltrane were hugely influential, and since Ornette passed in June, we wanted to feature his music as well.

What should people take away from the concert?

I want people to take away an enriching experience. We play and perform in order to touch people. People should expect to hear creative improvisation. Come with an open mind and go with the music. There are a lot of struggles within the black community right now in the news. All Americans need to acknowledge the heritage of African Americans. And at the same time, Coltrane’s music is for anybody regardless of skin color.

On Saturday, October 24, at Northeastern’s Blackman Theater, the Friends of the John Coltrane Memorial Concert (FJCMC), in collaboration with the Northeastern Center for the Arts, will present the 38th Annual JCMC, Ornette ‘n ‘Trane. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

What’s up at Thelonious Monkfish?
A new Yamaha C6X sits on the new jazz stage.
A new Yamaha C6X sits on the new jazz stage.

Thelonious Monkfish, the popular Cambridge Asian fusion restaurant, isn’t just serving up world-class sushi anymore. In addition to its bold gourmet menu, including Cranberry Crab Rangoon, Tom Yum Scallops and Monkfish Fried Rice, the restaurant is now presenting live jazz music four days a week.

Proprietor Jamme Chantler, who has studied voice and plays the chromatic harmonica, is a fan of jazz greats such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. The name of his sushi restaurant on Mass. Ave. serves as a nod to the jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

Last spring, four years after opening the restaurant, Chantler was able to buy the adjacent building and convert it into the new Jazz Baroness Room, nearly doubling the total size of the restaurant. This ultra-chic addition provided extra seating, a dedicated music stage, and a Yamaha C6X piano, picked out with the help of pianist Yoko Miwa, who regularly plays the Sunday Jazz Brunch, now in its third year.

“The aim of the Jazz Baroness room was to balance masculine and feminine energies like in Feng Shui. The grids on the ceiling remind you of a musical staff and the hanging lights are the notes. Also, I wanted a bigger piano because I wanted an authentic sound and a certain level of professionalism.”

With the new stage able to fit a variety of jazz combos visible from the street through a floor-to-ceiling window, the restaurant has three more days of jazz. The new programming, which started in September, allows Chantler to book a variety of acts, from solo piano, to trios and quartets. “It seemed like a natural progression of my career to add more live music to the venue,” explains Chantler. “There are so many great musicians in the area, and I couldn’t fit them all into one day a week.”

“For me,” Chantler continues, “the most important element of any performance is the way the musicians connect with the audience.” = I experienced this connection firsthand while listening to a clear, subdued performance by pianist Jiri Nedoma, who played such standards as “April In Paris” to a warm, chattering room filled with casual listeners and friends. This ambiance provides a complete dining experience, perfect for anyone trying to get away for a night of relaxation or with friends.

“When I eat something with unexpected ingredients bursting with flavor, it gives me a feeling of joy for living. I feel that way when I hear beautiful music. I want that to be what my customers feel when they leave my restaurant.”

Ultimately, Chantler wants Thelonious Monkfish, “to lead a revolution and rebirth of interest in jazz through careful curating of artists. We want people to come here, eat, listen to the music, and go out with joy.”

Click here to learn more about Thelonious Monkfish and here to view their jazz schedule.

Members connection part 1: Win free tickets to Scullers and Regattabar!
Clockwise: Keiko Matsui, Kevin Harris, Bruce Katz, Regina Carter
Clockwise: Keiko Matsui, Kevin Harris, Bruce Katz, Regina Carter

If you are a JazzBoston member, write to newsletter@jazzboston.org now to enter a drawing for free tickets to any of the events listed below, and please note which shows and dates you’re interested in. You must be a JazzBoston member to be eligible to win.

The Regattabar is offering a pair of free tickets to each of the following shows:

Bruce Katz Band, Oct. 9, 7:30 pm
Jacqui Naylor Quartet, Oct. 13, 7:30 pm
Derrick Hodge, Oct. 14, 7:30 pm
The Kevin Harris Project, Oct. 16, 7:30 pm
Stanley Sagov & the Remembering the Future Jazz Band, Oct. 17, 10 pm
John Raymond Quartet ft. Dan Tepfer, Oct. 20, 7:30 pm
Pierre Hurel Trio, Oct. 30, 7:30 pm
Noah Guthrie, Nov. 5, 7:30 pm
Juanito Pascual New Flamenco Trio, Nov. 6, 10 pm

Scullers is offering two pairs of tickets to these shows:

Keiko Matsui, Oct. 9, 8 pm
Chiara Civello, Oct. 14, 8 pm
Regina Carter, Oct. 16
Badi Assad, Oct. 22
Acoustic Alchemy, Nov. 5, 8 pm

Become a JazzBoston member now. Annual memberships begin as low as $20.

Members connection part 2: Win free tickets to World Music/CRASHarts shows!
Top to bottom: Abdullah Ibrahim, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
Top to bottom: Abdullah Ibrahim, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

If you are a JazzBoston member, write to newsletter@jazzboston.org now to enter a drawing for free tickets to either of the events listed below, and please note which show and date you’re interested in. You must be a JazzBoston member to be eligible to win.

World Music/CRASHarts is offering a pair of free tickets to each of these great shows:

Abdullah Ibrahim, October 18, 7:30 pm

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, October 25, 7:30 pm

Become a JazzBoston member now. Annual memberships begin as low as $20.

Editor’s POV: The gift of Phil Woods
Phil Woods with the Greg Abate Quartet at Scullers Jazz Cub (January 16, 2015)
Phil Woods with the Greg Abate Quartet at Scullers Jazz Cub (January 16, 2015)

Springfield, MA native, bebop saxophonist Phil Woods recently passed away at age 83. An NEA Jazz Master and four time Grammy award winner, Wood’s career spanned over fifty years and was marked by recordings with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Billy Joel, as well as many successful groups of his own.

I was able to see Phil Woods this past January, with the Greg Abate Quartet in one of his last concerts at Scullers Jazz Club, and also at a masterclass at David French Music. What astounded me about Phil was his resilience despite his emphysema – he claimed that the disease made him search for the “one perfect note” that could touch an audience. I could hear this searching nature when he played the beautiful ballad, “Lover Man.”

Woods also stressed that in order to be a musician you have to be a cultured human being, saying, “Read a book. Go to a museum. Learn about other cultures. Listen to everything. Listen to music you don’t even like and find out why you don’t like it.”

I was able to talk to him after the class about different things, including how to be yourself. Woods left me with a quote that I often repeat to myself: “If you can hear it, take it. It’s a gift.”

No-cost jazz events
Clockwise: Nicholas Urie, Allan Chase, Fred Hersch, Jason Moran
Clockwise: Nicholas Urie, Allan Chase, Fred Hersch, Jason Moran

Jason Moran Masterclass

Pianist Jason Moran visits NEC each year for teaching residencies during which he works behind the scenes in one-on-one studio lessons and ensemble coachings, as well as participating in a variety of projects that are open to the public. Friday, October 9, 1 PM, NEC’s Williams Hall.

Swinging Jam Session
The host band will be led by drummer Rob Rudin and his trio. The repertoire will swing between classic jazz and blues and standards. All musicians are welcome to sit in. Sunday, October 11, 7 PM, 191 Highland Avenue, Somerville.

New Works for Jazz Orchestra

The Berklee Harmony Department Jazz Orchestra presents an eclectic program of original works and arrangements. Featured writers are Charles Cassara, Jeff Claassen, Winnie Dahlgren, David Harris, Tom Hojnacki, Darrell Katz, and Nicholas Urie. Tuesday, October 13, David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street.

Music of Frank Sinatra

The NEC Jazz Orchestra and student vocalists will be joined by the NEC Philharmonia string section to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth. The concert features many of the most famous arrangements associated with Sinatra. Thursday, October 15, 7:30 PM, NEC’s Jordan Hall.

Allan Chase
Allan Chase, saxophonist, composer, and chair of Berklee’s Ear Training Department, presents a concert of original jazz and new music along with structured group improvisations that employ ear-based improvisation. Thursday, October 15, 7:30 PM, David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street.

Jazz at the Cabaret Room
BC bOp!, Boston College’s premiere instrumental and vocal jazz ensemble lights up the night with jazz standards and contemporary favorites. Friday, October 16, 8 PM, Boston College, Vanderslice Hall, Cabaret Room, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill.

Fred Hersch Solo
Pianist/composer Fred Hersch brings his “solo piano concept, second to none in jazz” (NY Times), to Jordan Hall for a recital marking not only his 60th birthday but also the 40th anniversary of his arrival at NEC as a student. Thursday, October 29, 7:30 PM, NEC’s Jordan Hall.

Need help building your career as an artist? Apply for a Creative Entrepreneur Fellowship by Oct. 16

The Arts & Business Council is offering up to 10 Creative Entrepreneur Fellowships for a program including personalized goal-setting, one-on-one coaching, skills-training seminars, a stipend of $750-$1000 for business-related purchases, and an opportunity to display and sell your work at a showcase event. The program runs from November to June with monthly evening workshops January – May.

Eligibility: musicians, visual artists, graphic designers, writers, craftspersons, artisans, etc.
Neighborhood focus: Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan
Deadline to apply: October 16

Click here for more information and the application.

Levi’s Restaurant & Lounge is Dorchester’s newest jazz venue

Known for the best fish and chips around and its delicious roti on Friday and Saturday nights, this popular West Indian restaurant at 323 Washington St. in Dorchester has been serving up live jazz every Saturday night since early September. This Saturday, October 10, it’s the trio, Reaching Out. The weekly Jazz in the City program begins at 9 pm. Thank you, Levi George, for this great addition to Boston’s jazz scene!

Dressing up with JazzBoston@ BeanTown
Many jazz greats have been known for their style as well as their music - among them Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and Boston's own Roy Haynes and Mae Arnette.
Many jazz greats have been known for their style as well as their music – among them Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and Boston’s own Roy Haynes and Mae Arnette.

On a suitably cool September 26, JazzBoston and ArtsBoston teamed up at the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival to create a “Jazz Fantasy Foto Booth.” More than 100 people of all ages came by to dress up, pick up an instrument and pose for our team of photographers, led by Jean Hangarter and Jandro Cisneros. Among the array of borrowed fashion items to choose from were a jacket, shades and sticks loaned for the occasion by Boston-born drummer Roy Haynes. The action – and the laughter – didn’t stop until closing time at 6 pm.

Suspended over the booth, a banner with the words of Langston Hughes said it all: “A jazz rhythm is the rhythm of life.”

Click here to see the complete photo album on JazzBoston’s Facebook page and here to see JazzBoston’s new Instagram.

(Photos below by Jandro Cisneros Photography)

Mothers and Daughters

Mothers and daughters had fun at the Jazz Fantasy Foto Booth.

Mothers, daughters & sons

Mothers, daughters and sons pose for the cameras amidst the sounds of big band jazz and hard bop.

Family Fun

Beantown was full of family-friendly events, from an instrument petting zoo to food vendors to the JazzBoston Fantasy Foto Booth.

Young friends

From toddlers to teenagers, friends came together to capture their inner Billie Holiday or Lester Young.

Come together

Friends of all ages came together under the JazzBoston tent with smiles galore.

Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins?

Many posed with a saxophone, imitating their favorites – from Lester Young to Coleman Hawkins to Stan Getz and John Coltrane.

Jazz age style

Women channeled their favorite jazz legends – from Mary Lou Williams to Lady Day to Alice Coltrane.

Salute to Roy Haynes

Jazz impresario Fred Taylor was feeling the vibes from his friend Roy Haynes’s jacket, shades, and sticks. Many thanks to Leslie Haynes for delivering these precious items, loaned to JazzBoston for the day by her father.

Join the JazzBird® team – Help move jazz radio into the 21st century

JazzBird® is the answer for people looking for the best jazz radio as music continues to move online in the 21st century. The free radio app from JazzBoston lets you listen live, anytime and anywhere, to great jazz shows hosted by humans at stations around the globe. Even as local stations cut back, you can still hear your local jazz shows, and jazz shows from stations worldwide can become your local shows as well, 24 hours a day. There’s nothing else like JazzBird. If you haven’t already tried it, download the free version for iOS or Android and hear for yourself.

JazzBoston is expanding its JazzBird team. If you want to help shape the future of jazz radio and connect the world’s jazz community, here’s what it takes:

  • Can you offer just a few hours a month, working from home when it’s convenient for you, to help keep JazzBird up to date?
  • Are you able to respond to emails quickly, regularly?
  • Are you willing to spend some time listening to new shows, and do you have enough knowledge of jazz to describe the style of their playlist?
  • Are you comfortable using web applications to change/update lists of information?
  • Do you know anything about Internet streaming, tracking down URLs and checking them? We’ll help you learn if you’re interested.

This is exciting stuff, the future! We’re creating a 21st century solution for jazz fans. If you’d like more information about joining the JazzBird team, write to JazzBirdTeam@jazzboston.org.


JazzBoston is the umbrella and advocacy organization for Greater Boston’s jazz community. We connect and promote the entire jazz scene, and we champion the music, the musicians, and Boston’s place in the constellation of the world’s great jazz cities.

Plan now to be part of Jazz Week 2016
Friday, April 22 – Sunday, May 1
A banner with Langston Hughes’ words, hanging on the front of JazzBoston’s tent, captured the spirit of the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival.