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 Sunday, 29 November 2015
The Big Apple’s Jazzy New Year’s Eve, 2010 PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Thursday, 30 December 2010

Hilary Kole by Mark Rupp

Memories of the Big Apple’s Christmas Weekend 2010 will not melt away any time soon, but with a much more commute-friendly forecast for New Year’s Eve, there should be plenty of opportunities to celebrate, and lots of great jazz to encourage a resolution to hear more live music in 2011. Some of the big gigs around Manhattan on New Year’s Eve: 

Birdland, Birdland Big Band Directed by Tommy Igoe with Hilary Kole (315 W. 44th Street; 8 & 11 pm). Maybe one of the best deals among the big Manhattan clubs, with $50/$20 minimum at 8 pm and $75/$20 minimum at 11 pm; $40 bar seating including one drink at both shows. The club’s Friday night band welcomes acclaimed vocalist Hilary Kole and surprise special guests. 

Hilary Kole has the distinction of being the youngest singer to perform at the legendary Rainbow Room. Schooled in composition at the Manhattan School of Music, she performed at the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel as the co-writer and star of the critically acclaimed, off-Broadway revues, "Our Sinatra," and "Singing Astaire." In June 2007, she appeared at Carnegie Hall in a Tribute to Oscar Peterson, following up at the Canadian memorial to Peterson at Roy Thompson Hall with Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Nancy Wilson. Her two recent recordings have received considerable acclaim, Haunted Heart with John Pizzarelli (2009) received the Golden Disc Award in Japan and four stars from Downbeat; her new compilation, You Are There, includes her piano duets with such legends as Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones and Dave Brubeck. 

Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Benny Green & Cyrus Chestnut (Jazz at Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle;  7:30 & 11:00 pm; It’s a week-long residence with the two all-star pianists, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Willie Jones III, but for New Year’s Eve, throw in trumpeter Nicholas Payton and tenorman Jimmy Heath. Other nights $30/$35, New Year’s Eve brings a 3-course dinner for the early show ($150), 4-courses late ($250).  

Benny Green©Andrea Canter
Benny Green and Cyrus Chestnut are two of their generation’s most powerful and swinging performers, with a common source of inspiration in the late Oscar Peterson and the mentoring of the late Betty Carter . A protégé of Oscar Peterson, Green followed his lineage (dad was a jazz saxophonist), playing with Eddie Henderson as a teenager before joining Betty Carter, then Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and then Freddie Hubbard. In 1993 Oscar Peterson chose Green as the first recipient of the City of Toronto's Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music. Shortly thereafter, Green replaced Gene Harris in Ray Brown's Trio, working with the veteran bassist until 1997. From that point on, Benny resumed his freelance career, leading his own trios and performing solo piano. Benny has recently toured as part of the Ray Brown Tribute band with Christian McBride and Greg Hutchinson, and with Anat Cohen’s Benny Goodman tribute quartet. 

Baltimore native Cyrus Chestnut first learned piano from his father at age five, and was performing in church by age 7. By age 9 he was studying classical music at the Peabody Institute. Absorbing the music that surrounded him throughout childhood—heavy doses of gospel, R&B, blues, and jazz, as well as classical, he finally yielded to the power of jazz and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he evolved a personal style of multi-generational influences from Jelly Roll Morton to Art Tatum to Hank Jones, Red Garland, Tommy Flanagan, and particularly Oscar Peterson. He earned his performance credentials with John Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, and Wynton Marsalis before joining Betty Carter for a two-year residency in the early 90s. Chestnut cut his first recordings as leader for Alfa Records before signing with Atlantic in 1993. Over the next 15 years, Chestnut released recordings for Warner Brothers and Telarc, and most recently an album of mostly original music, Journeys (Jazz Legacy). 

Blue Note, Chris Boti Band; Jon Batiste late set (131 W. Third Street, 7 & 10 pm; 1 am; Maybe the priciest party in town, with tickets $85 bar/$150 table for the early show and $95/$195 for the second show, including not much (champagne and noisemakers). Boti brings a band of established performers, including Mark Whitfield, Billy Kilson, Bob Hurst and Billy Childs. But hang on, the late set at 1 am is a New Orleans New Year Party with Crescent City piano whiz Jonathan Batiste and guests, for a mere $25. And fun goes on til 4 am.

In the past few years, trumpeter Chris Botti has become the largest-selling American jazz artist, pulling in pop audiences as well as serious jazz fans. His recordings include four top selling jazz albums as well as multiple Gold, Platinum and Grammy Awards. Over three decades of performing, he has shared the stage with Frank Sinatra, Sting, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Pual Simon, Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, Joshua Bell and more. In addition to numerous top concert and festival venues, Botti and his band have performed with major symphonies, at the World Series and at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

By the age of 17, Jonathan Batiste was already fullfilling the jazz legacy of his New Orleans family of musicians, releasing his first CD as a leader, Times In New Orleans featuring fellow New Orleans musicians Jason Marsalis, Donald Harrison Jr. and Christian Scott. In 2004 he graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and went on to study at the Juilliard School in New York. In 2005, Batiste made his debut at Carnegie Hall and began performing regularly around the New York music scene with his trio, which soon expanded to a quintet.

Iridium, Mike Stern Band (1650 Broadway at 51st; 7:30 & 10:30 pm; To dine or not, $45/$20 drink and food minimum first set; $65/$20 minimum second set; $125, VIP seating and three-course dinner, second set. One of the hottest guitarists in jazz, Mike Stern is joined by bassist Victor Wooten, drummer Dave Weckl, and saxophonist Bob Malach. 

Multi-Grammy nominee, jazz-fusion guitarist Mike Stern was born in Boston and raised in Washington DC. Growing up with rock (the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream), Stern started playing guitar at age 12 and was first turned on to jazz listening to Miles Davis. His early guitar influences were B.B. King, Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, and George Benson, and he also listened to the great jazz stars of the era, Coltrane, Adderley, Rollins, Tyner, and Evans. Self taught through his teens, Stern went back to Boston and the Berklee College of Music where he studied with Pat Metheny and Mick Goodrick. Following his professional initiation with Blood, Sweat & Tears and then with Billy Cobham, he moved to New York where he was soon part of Miles Davis’ comeback band in 1981, toured with Pastorius in 1983-84, and back again with Davis in 1985 for a second tour. After a year with David Sanborn, Stern moved on to Steps Ahead with Mike Mainieri, Michael Brecker, Darryl Jones, and Steve Smith. From 1986-88, he was a member of Brecker’s quintet. During this period he formed his own touring group with saxophonist Bob Berg, drummer Dennis Chambers, and bassist Lincoln Goines. In 1992, Stern joined a reunited Brecker Brothers Band. Today, Stern is considered one of the premier artists of his generation, with a “signature sound -- a diamond-hard, single-note attack with a minimum of electronic distortion” (James Hale, Down Beat). 

Jazz Standard, Dr. Lonnie Smith Big Band (116 E. 27th St.; 7:30 & 10:30 pm; Normally a bargain ($35 on December 30 and January 1), the special New Year’s Eve show ($125/$195) includes a three-course dinner from the Blue Smoke BBQ kitchen with champagne toast at the late set. The master of B-3 has other masters in his big band, including saxman John Ellis, flautist Anne Drummond, and a rhythm section sporting guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg, bassist Vincente Archer, and drummer Jamire Williams. 

A monster of the Hammond B3, Dr. Lonnie Smith has always marched to his own funky beat.

Named Top Organist by Downbeat Magazine in 1969, Smith has been at the forefront of the idiom ever since, influencing B3 players and new generations of soul-jazz and acid-jazz young lions. Born in Buffalo, New York, his family had a singing group and radio show, exposing young Lonnie to gospel, classical and jazz music. An early influential and successful stint with George Benson was followed by a solo career that has produced over 30 albums under his own name. His musical accomplices have included many of the greats, including Lee Morgan, David "Fathead" Newman, King Curtis and others. He has appeared around the world with artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Grover Washington, Jr. and Jimmy Scott as well as R&B greats like Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Etta James. Dr. Lonnie Smith's incredible discography ranges from the 1968 soul-jazz classic Think! to the 2003 tribute to iconoclastic young rocker, Beck. With his trademark turban and emotional and vibrant stage presence, Smith is a favorite at festivals throughout the world.  

Kitano, Bar Lounge: Nilson Matta’s Samba Meets Jazz; Garden Café: Jazz Legends of Guitar (9 pm; 66 Park Av. At 38th Street; Two New Year’s Eve parties at once, each $85/food-beverage minimum. Enjoy the sounds of Brazil with Nilson Matta, Helio Alves, Roni Benhur, Amy London, and Portinho in the Bar Lounge or guitar legends Gene Bertoncini, Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub in the Garden Café. 

John Zorn
Bassist Nilson Matta was recognized as one of Brazil’s top bassists, playing with such artists as João Gilberto, Hermeto Pascoal, Roberto Carlos, Chico Buarque de Holanda, Nana Caymmi, João Bosco, Johnny Alf,  Helio Delmiro, and Luis Bonfa. Moving to New York in the 1980s, he became a first-call, appearing with Joe Henderson, Paquito D’Rivera, Slide Hampton, Herbie Mann, Mark Murphy, Oscar Castro Neves, Don Friedman, Paul Winter, and Gato Barbieri, and forming The African Brazilian Connection with legendary pianist Don Pullen. In the 90s he formed Trio de Paz with Romero Lubambo and Duduka da Fonseca, as well as working extensively with the late Joe Henderson. More recently he has recorded and toured with Yo Yo Ma as well as with his new Brazilian Voyage. 

The Stone, John Zorn/Bill Laswell/Milford Graves (7 pm); Belles at Midnight with Marc Ribot (11 pm) (Avenue C and 2nd Street; Special New Year’s Eve double-header curated by owner John Zorn. The trio starts off the evening with a $30 cover followed by guitarist Marc Ribot’s ensemble, featuring Zorn on sax, Roy Campbell, Jr. on trumpet, Henry Grimes on bass and Chad Taylor on drums ($40, includes champagne toast).  

Stone Artistic Director and renowned avant garde multi-reedist/composer John Zorn draws on a wide range of musical traditions, including jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, contemporary classical music, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, and improvised music. His klezmer-influenced Masada is one of his best known projects, and he has fostered the careers of numerous artists through his Tzadik label.  Another eclectic modernist, guitarist/composer Marc Ribot has worked extensively with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and John Zorn. His current projects include Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog and SunShip. 

The Bad Plus©Andrea Canter
Village Vanguard, The Bad Plus (178 Seventh Av So; 9:30 & 11:30 pm; Yes, you can see TBP for only $25/1 drink minimum during the rest of their run (December 28-January2) but New Year’s Eve offers more—food at the Vanguard! It’s finger food, party favors and a $25 credit toward drinks for $150, either set. And of course there’s TBP, hot off their homecoming gigs in Minneapolis and ready for their annual year-end residency.  

The Bad Plus recently celebrated a decade of iconic performing and recording. Rooted in the Midwest, TBP includes pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King, all of whom have established stellar credentials on their own and with other ensembles. As likely to fill a stadium as a concert hall or jazz club with a cross-generational audience, TBP has elicited both acclaim and criticism for their deconstructions of pop and rock covers and modern classical music, but it’s their own vault of compositions that adorn their latest release, Never Stop. As noted by, “they have created a singular aesthetic that forces even the most skeptical listener to rethink the commonly held notions of what differentiates one style of music from another.”

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