Jazz Week

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Jazz Week – A Musical Rite of Spring in its 11th year

Jazz Week ’17, which runs from April 21 through April 30, is the 11th edition of the Greater Boston jazz community’s annual celebration of the music, the musicians who make it, and the venues that present it all across the region. JazzBoston provides the catalyst and framework for this collaborative effort and promotes all events under the Jazz Week umbrella. We also produce free and low-cost special events that expand access to the music by bringing it to the neighborhoods where people live and removing the price barrier.

As always, Jazz Week is scheduled to tie into the national observance of April as Jazz Appreciation Month and, since 2012, International Jazz Day on April 30.

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Thank you Fred Taylor!

In a timely salute to someone who has done more than any other single individual to make Boston the great jazz city it is today, the theme of Jazz Week 2017 is Thank you Fred Taylor.

For more than 5 decades Fred Taylor has been discovering, encouraging, promoting, and showcasing jazz artists from all across the spectrum. He played an important role in creating Boston’s rich jazz heritage with the musicians he brought to his legendary clubs, Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop. He continued enlivening the scene as artistic director of Scullers for 27 years, applying his astute booking sense to developing the club almost from scratch into a world-class venue.

Now Boston’s irrepressible, ageless impresario is embarked on Act 3 of a lifetime devoted to nurturing gifted artists and providing grateful audiences with extraordinary listening experiences. With Jazz Week 2017 we want to thank Fred for Acts 1 and 2.

We are asking musicians, venues, and presenters to designate a performance or show taking place between April 21 and April 30 as a thank-you to Fred Taylor and bill it that way in their promotional materials and calendar submission. We’ll highlight those events in all our Jazz Week 2017 publicity.

If you are a musician, venue or presenter with an event during Jazz Week, click here to find out how to submit it to the JazzBoston/ArtsBoston shared calendar. And whether you’re an aficionado, casual fan, or newcomer, we urge you to visit the calendar often. Event listings are updated daily, and we guarantee you’ll find something that interests you at a price you can afford.

JazzBoston Special Events

Now in its 11th year, Jazz Week had become a Boston tradition and is on its way to establishing some new jazz traditions of its own.

Third annual Makanda Project Saturday Night Dance Party

Kick off Jazz Week in your dancing shoes on April 22 at the third annual Makanda Project Saturday Night Dance Party in the grand ballroom of Hibernian Hall. This event, the debut in 2015 of JazzBoston’s Jazz in the Neighborhoods initiative to bring the music to where people live, returns by popular demand and is co-presented with Hibernian Hall/Madison Park Development Corporation.

The dance parties of John Kordalewski’s Makanda Project, Roxbury’s resident jazz orchestra, recall earlier eras when everyone danced to jazz in ballrooms and night clubs. Professional dancers Mickey Davidson and Brian Davis will be on hand once again to guide and encourage party-goers as they move to swing, calypso, and South African compositions from the band’s repertoire. Band personnel for the event will be Kurtis Rivers, Armor Lee, Arni Cheatham, Sean Berry, Charlie Kohlhase (saxophones); Jerry Sabatini, Feya Faku (trumpets); Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Sarah Politz (trombones); Bill Lowe (bass trombone); John Kordalewski (piano); John Lockwood (bass); and Yoron Israel (drums)

Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury, Saturday, April 22, 8:00 – 11:00 PM. Free.

All Jazzed Up at City Hall – 4th annual IJD celebration

JazzBoston made history when, at the invitation of then Boston City Council Arts & Culture Committee Chair Michelle Wu, we filled the Council Chamber with jazz on the first International Jazz Day in 2014. Invited by now Council President Wu, JazzBoston will return to City Hall on April 26 for the fourth consecutive year to perform for the public and the Councilors in the Council Chamber. This year’s band will be the No Walls Express, a quartet formed for the occasion and led by trombonist William Lowe. Other band members are Arni Cheatham (saxophones), Carlos Piño (bass), and Mike Shea (keyboard).

Wednesday, April 26, 11 – 11:45 AM, Council Chamber, Boston City Hall. Free and open to the public.

Boston’s jazz community celebrates International Jazz Day, sends a message

Event Postponed, click here for more information.

Members from all over Greater Boston’s jazz community will gather at Wally’s on Sunday afternoon, April 30, for an encore of the historic 2009 video portrait that was the source of the image on the masthead of this newsletter. With the assistance once again of Tully Productions and the hospitality of the Wally’s family, we’ll make a new video that sends an International Jazz Day message from Boston to the world, then move inside for refreshments and a jam session open to all. JazzBoston will provide the rhythm section – bring your instrument. A great opportunity to reconnect and make new connections with other members of the Greater Boston jazz community!

Celebrate Jazz Week all over Greater Boston

From intimate house concerts for neighbors in Fort Point, Cambridge, Brookline, and Newton – organized for the 4th year with guidance from JazzBoston  – to outdoor concerts attracting hundreds of fans, Jazz Week 2017 has something for everyone. As always, many events are free or low-cost.

Here’s a sample of events coming up all over Greater Boston. To see the complete listings, visit our
Jazz Week calendar. 

Newport Folk Presents Blind Boys of Alabama
The Blind Boys of Alabama have the rare distinction of being recognized around the world as both living legends and modern-day innovators. They are not just gospel singers borrowing from old traditions; the group helped to define those traditions in 20th century and almost single-handedly created a new gospel sound for the 21st. April 21. Presented by The Cabot at The Cabot, Beverly.

Bruce Millard & Friends
“ … content to explore on his own, what he’s found is a landscape rich with roots in a number of American art forms … a musical tapestry of modern sensibilities and musical traditions highlighted by a few rock ‘n’ roll flourishes.” — The Daily Times “ … musical skills in abundance from Bruce Millard … did someone say spontaneous combustion?” — The Boston Globe “ … infectiously merry … ” — Mountain Stage website, NPR.org. April 21. Presented by Amazing Things Arts Center at Amazing Things Arts Center, Framingham.

Cecile McLorin Salvant featuring Sullivan Fortner
Salvant makes an electric connection with live audiences. “Resoundingly eloquent, whether growling the blues or barely breathing, Salvant has inbuilt swing, an actor’s stagecraft, an instrumentalist’s precision of nuance, and an appetite for dusting off rarely performed songs,” declared The Guardian. In the mold of her idols, Vaughan and Abbey Lincoln, McLorin Salvant makes every song utterly her own. April 22. Presented by Scullers Jazz Club at Scullers Jazz Club, Boston.

Melissa Kassel & Tom Zicarelli Group
A concert featuring Melissa Kassel – Voice Tom Zicarelli – Piano Phil Grenadier – Trumpet Bruce Gertz – Bass Gary Fieldman – Drums. April 22. Presented by Third Life Studio at Third Life Studio, Somerville.

A monumental Jazz Week 4tet: Legends Joe McPhee, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses + Jeb Bishop and Damon Smith
A monumental meeting which is not to be missed between the great Joe McPhee (last performed here in 1/2015) and Boston drum legend Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, plus significant other Boston cutting-edge musicians, Jeb Bishop and Damon Smith.  April 23. Presented by The Creative Music Series at Lily Pad, Cambridge.

The Kurtis Rivers Quartet Returns to the Piano Craft Gallery
The Piano Craft Gallery is excited to welcome back Makanda Project lead Alto saxophonist Kurtis Rivers. A long time veteran of the Boston Jazz scene, Kurtis is also well known for his quartet/quintet performances in intimate club settings. April 23. Presented by Piano Craft Gallery at Piano Craft Gallery, Boston.

Ella at 100: The Centennial Celebration – Patrice Williamson presents Ella & Me
Welcome to Patrice’s third annual birthday concert for Ella Fitzgerald. April 25th marks Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday and the release of Williamson’s first tribute album to the First Lady of Song. Ella Fitzgerald (1917- 1996) was a musical titan, a perfect vocalist who could also sing like an instrumentalist.  April 25. Presented by Regattabar at the Charles Hotel at Regattabar, Cambridge.

Bobby Keyes
Guitarist Bobby B. Keyes defines our American musical heritage by blending rhythm & blues, country, jazz, rock, pop and swing. His guitar playing is inspired and passionate, his musical taste is exquisite, and his sound is clean and refreshing. April 25. Presented by Chianti Tuscan Restaurant & Jazz Lounge at Chianti Tuscan Kitchen & Jazz Lounge, Beverly.

NEC Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra
NEC’s Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra features the music of NEC students performed by their peers, under the direction of Frank Carlberg. April 25. Presented by New England Conservatory at NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling
It is no secret that the Branford Marsalis Quartet can be as freewheeling off the bandstand as in performance. Saxophonist Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner are each bold personalities with strong opinions, equally intense in both musical and verbal exchanges. April 28. Presented by Spectacle Management at Cary Memorial Hall, Lexington.

Ron Carter Trio: 80th Birthday Celebration
Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of music’s greats: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons. April 28 – 30. Presented by Regattabar at the Charles Hotel at Regattabar, Cambridge.

Bob Ockenden & Jon Taubman Duo
The Bob Ockenden/Jon Taubman Guitar Duo delivers hard bop, bebop and blues in original arrangements of popular titles from artists like; Wes Montgomery, Thelonious Monk, Pat Metheny, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and more. April 28. Presented by JazzBoston at White Rose Coffeehouse, Lynn.

Luciana Souza and Guillermo Klein: World Premiere of Works on Hope
Two of South America’s greatest jazz artists, Grammy award winning vocalist Luciana Souza and celebrated composer Guillermo Klein, join the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble in creating innovative new compositions and arrangements. The performance will represent the culmination of Klein’s and Souza’s MIT residency and a semester-long exploration of their music by the three MIT student ensembles. April 28. Presented by Arts at MIT at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge.

The Lance Martin Jazz Trio Ryles Brunch
You come in for a tasty brunch at Ryles Jazz Club, write your request, and we will try to play it. This is our 14th year of fun, and we would also like to thank and invite the great Fred Taylor for his many years of Jazz and support of us throughout years. John Baboian on Guitar and Dave Clark on Bass, Lance Martin on flutes. April 30. Presented by Ryles Jazz Club at RYLES Jazz Club, Cambridge.

Jazz on the Plaza, featuring the Harvard Jazz Band and Yosvany Terry Quintet
Celebrate International Jazz Day with a free concert under the Tent! Grammy-nominated saxophonist/composer Yosvany Terry directs the Harvard student “Monday” big band in a program featuring compositions of such celebrated jazz masters as Herbie Hancock and Joe Henderson and showcasing his powerhouse Quintet from New York. April 30. Presented by Office for the Arts at Harvard at Science Center Plaza, Cambridge.

UJazz Boston International Jazz Day Concert
The UJazz Boston Trio performs LIVE on April 30 in celebration of International Jazz Day. Pianist Tony Martin, bassist Domenic Davis, and drummer Brian Hull, all music majors at UMass Boston, share an evening of music celebrating jazz composers from the last half century. April 30. Presented by UMass Boston at UMass Boston Performing Arts – University Hall – Recital Hall, Boston.