Jazz Week '14 will kick off on Marathon Day, April 21, and wrap up on International Jazz Day, April 30
Jazz Journalists Association calls for 2014 Boston Jazz Hero nominations
A Year of Jubilee: the 36th annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert
Members Connection: Win free tickets to Regattabar and Scullers
Freebie Sampler
Local Spotlight: Jazz Vocalist Laila Smith
Jazz Week '14 will kick off on Marathon Day, April 21, and wrap up on International Jazz Day, April 30

JazzBoston, which revived Jazz Week in 2007 and has coordinated and promoted the Greater Boston jazz community's celebration of the music every year since then, has announced that it is moving the event's kick-off up a week to support the spirit of the Boston Marathon. "Next year, more than ever, the Boston Marathon will be a patriotic celebration," the organization explained, "and there's no music more American than jazz." In recognition of these two American classics, the Jazz Week '14 theme will be Boston Strong and Swingin'.

The 10-day area-wide celebration will run from Monday, April 21, to Wednesday, April 30, finishing on International Jazz Day, established by UNESCO in 2011 in recognition of the role jazz plays worldwide as a symbol of freedom, bridge between cultures, and international language. Special events for the opening and closing days of Jazz Week '14 will be announced as plans are finalized.

Other Jazz Week events in the planning stage include:

  • a tribute concert for the third recipient of JazzBoston's Roy Haynes Award "for exceptional contributions to jazz and the jazz community." (The first two recipients were Boston born, legendary drummer Roy Haynes himself in 2009 and New England's preeminent jazz radio host Eric Jackson in 2012.)
  • a party honoring the recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association's 2014 Boston Jazz Hero award
  • the return for the fifth year of the popular free noontime concerts by NEC jazz ensembles
  • the return for the second year of the High School Jazz Band Showcase at the Boston Public Library and neighborhood house concerts.

Musicians and venues, it's not too soon to plan your participation in Jazz Week '14. Business owners, if your company could benefit from an association with jazz or Boston's jazz community, write to jazzweek@jazzboston.org for information about sponsorship opportunities.

Jazz Journalists Association calls for 2014 Boston Jazz Hero nominations
Top photo: Matthew Lee for the Boston Globe. Bottom photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo
Top photo: Matthew Lee for the Boston Globe. Bottom photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

JazzBoston has once again been asked by the Jazz Journalists Association to assist in identifying candidates in Boston's jazz community to be considered for one of their local Jazz Hero awards. We've seen how much this award can mean to its recipients, especially those stalwarts who are the bedrock of their community but never seek recognition. To be sure we don't leave the quieter heroes unsung, we're asking for your help. Here's an excerpt from the JJA's request:

"Every community has someone who has worked tirelessly on behalf of their jazz scene. Whether they're well-known or not, they educate, produce, present, inspire and make jazz life possible, and the JJA will be pleased to consider them for the Jazz Hero Award. I am asking you to ... come up with a slate of as many as three local candidates who you believe would be appropriate to be designated a Jazz Hero.... Your nominees will be submitted to a JJA board of review .... The JJA will officially announce and profile the honorees receiving our Jazz Hero Awards online and through other available media on April 1, 2014, in order to take advantage of the especially strong media opportunities." (The JJA is referring to opportunities generated by the beginning of JazzApril, their concept for focusing attention on both the Smithsonian's Jazz Appreciation Month and UNESCO's International Jazz Day and using them to help communities boost their local jazz scene.)

Jazz Heroes receive engraved statuettes at local celebrations in their honor and are celebrated internationally through the JJA's websites and social media platforms. They are frequently recognized by their city or town legislatures and local news outlets. Here in Boston, JazzBoston will host a party open to the public to honor our city's 2014 Jazz Hero. Among Boston's recent Jazz Heroes were saxophonist Arni Cheatham, shown above accepting his award from Eric Jackson at Wally's Jazz Cafe in 2013, and Wally's matriarch Elynor Walcott, who received the award jointly with her sons Paul, Frank, and Lloyd Poindexter in 2011, along with proclamations and resolutions from the Governor, the State Senate, and the Boston City Council.

Please look around your corner of the jazz community and let us know by Monday, Nov. 18, if you see someone you think should be nominated to be Boston's 2014 Jazz Hero. Write to jazzhero@jazzboston.org.

A Year of Jubilee: the 36th annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert

The John Coltrane Memorial Concert was founded in 1977 on the belief that "the community of both listeners and musicians has a continued deep and abiding interest in and love for Coltrane's music." Thirty-six years later that has proven to be true. The annual concert is one of Boston's signature cultural events.

This year's concert is "A Year of Jubilee: the 36th annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert." Hosted by beloved radio personality Eric Jackson, it will feature the JCMC Ensemble and the New England Spiritual Ensemble, a group centered around preserving and performing Negro Spirituals. These two groups will come together for the first time to perform inspiring vocal and instrumental interpretations of Jubilee songs, fusing Negro spirituals and John Coltrane's music.

The concert will be held on Saturday, November 23, 7:30 pm at Northeastern University's Blackman Theatre. Buy your tickets now before this exciting concert sells out (as it has in the past). The JCMC is not only honoring John Coltrane, every year it shows by example of the musicians on stage how influential he has been and continues to be. Last year, the spirit and enthusiasm that the musicians played with brought the audience to a standing ovation.

JazzBoston Members: You can enter to win a pair of free tickets to the JCMC! Just email: newsletter@jazzboston.org. You must be a member to be eligible to win.

JazzBoston has a longstanding relationship with the concert's co-producers and is proud to be a sponsor once again this year. Emmett Price serves on the organization's board of directors, and Leonard Brown, one of JazzBoston's earliest advisors, is a member of its Advisory Council.

Members Connection: Win free tickets to Regattabar and Scullers
Yoko Miwa and Sheila Jordan.
Yoko Miwa and Sheila Jordan.

If you're a JazzBoston member, write to newsletter@jazzboston.org now to enter a drawing to win 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 tickets to the following shows:

November 8, 7:30 pm - Jackie Ryan
November 9, 7:30 pm - Jack Donahue
November 13, 7:30 pm - Omar Sosa
November 14, 7:30 pm - Tigran
November 15, 10 pm - Cecile McLorin Salvant
November 16, 10 pm - Roomful of Blues
November 19, 7:30 pm - Matt Dusk & Sara Gazarek
November 20, 10 pm - Jose James
November 22, 7:30 pm - Sheila Jordan w/Steve Kuhn

Scullers is offering tickets to the following shows:
November 8, 10 pm - Manhattan Transfer (1 pair)
November 19, 8 pm - Christine Fawson (1 pair)
November 20, 8 pm - Yoko Miwa (1 pair)
November 22, 10 pm - Lavay Smith (2 pair)
December 4, 8 pm - Sultans of String (2 pair)

Freebie Sampler
David Eure, Luciana Souza, and Eddie Henderson.
David Eure, Luciana Souza, and Eddie Henderson.

Go to the free events at NEC, Harvard, and Berklee this month!

"In the Mix" Concert Series

Ensembles from NEC's Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments come together for 34 one-hour concerts over twelve evenings. November 11- December 11, NEC's Pierce Hall. Find the full schedule of concerts here. .

David Eure: The Genius of Berry Gordy - A Motown Romp
Violinist David Eure's Viper Trio (Yasko Kubota, piano and keyboards and Daniel Day, electric bass) will play a concert paying tribute to the songwriter, producer, and founder of Motown Records. November 21, 8 pm, NEC's Jordan Hall.

The Music of Dave Holland

Another concert on the 21st at NEC! NEC students coached by the great jazz bassist and NEC artist-in-residence Dave Holland will perform Holland's compositions. November 21, 8 pm, NEC's Brown Hall.

The Music of Luciana Souza

Vocalist, composer and NEC graduate Luciana Souza will work with NEC jazz majors to put on this concert. The performances will feature Souza's music played by three student ensembles. December 4, 8 pm, NEC's Brown Hall.

A Conversation with Eddie Henderson
Trumpeter/Composer Eddie Henderson visits Harvard for their tribute to Herbie Hancock. The Conversation on Henderson's time with Hancock's trailblazing Mwandishi sextet in the 1960s will be moderated by Ingrid Monson. November 14, 3 pm, Barker Center for the Humanities, 12 Quincy St., Cambridge.

Vocal Jazz Festival

Berklee vocal jazz ensembles directed by Ned Rosenblatt, David Scott, and Jeremy Ragsdale, will perform a variety of songs, including originals, in the tradition of groups such as the Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, VOX ONE, The Real Group, The Swingle Singers, and more. November 21 and 22, 2 pm, David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston St.

Local Spotlight: Jazz Vocalist Laila Smith
Laila Smith and iiii.
Laila Smith and iiii.

An up and coming jazz vocalist has hit the Boston jazz scene. Recent high school graduate Laila Smith is a U.S. Presidential Scholar and recipient of numerous awards for vocals and composition. She's a vocalist with an ability to sing complex lines and intervals and she has a passion for singing instrumental music and her own compositions as well as vocal standards. She's taking her talents to Harvard and New England Conservatory to participate in their five-year dual degree program which offers musically and academically gifted students the opportunity to explore their interests at two of the best schools in the country. I talked to her about Boston, Harvard, and NEC.

Claire Dickson: Have you spent much time in Boston before? What do you like about it?
You know, I've actually spent a decent amount of time here. I love Boston. I love the bumpy cobblestone streets, the commons, the food, the crazies, all of it. Truth is, though: I'm a California girl. I like grass, and I like to walk slowly. I think most other cities lose that quality, but Boston has managed to retain it amongst the bustle. And I mean, I can't answer this question without mentioning the history. There's so much time here, and I can feel it. I like that.

Do you know what you'll be focusing on at Harvard?
Not yet exactly, but I'm hoping to have a dual concentration in Music and East Asian Studies. The music portion will not be performance-based. Instead, I'll be wearing more the historian and theorist hats. I'm also looking into African American Studies; Anthropology; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and cross-registering at the Graduate Education School. I've also always had a school-girl crush on Linguistics, but I'm not sure how I can even squeeze that in at this point. Lots to figure out!

What will you be focusing on at NEC?
Jazz voice, though I hope to do a fair amount of crossing over with the Contemporary Improvisation department. And the classical department, for that matter. Personally, I'll probably be focusing on technique and developing my singing in parallel with who I am as an artist.

What do you see yourself doing after college?
Hopefully regularly performing, touring, and recording. That's the dream, right? I definitely hope to be teaching. I've always felt compelled to teach. It's just something I know in my gut.

Laila is currently working on a project with pianist Paul Bloom, bassist Connor Schultze, and drummer Jeremy Dutton. Their band is called iiii (pronounced FOUR). Their music is very unique, combining jazz, pop, singer-songwriter, and world music influences, and using the voice as background horn one minute and a featured soloist the next. You can listen to their music and buy their newly released CD on their website. Keep your eyes out for Laila Smith, Boston's lucky to have this talented young singer in town for at least the next five years!

Local Spotlight is a regular feature by Claire Dickson, JazzBoston's newsletter editor.

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