Click here to jump directly to Reed Richardson.
Marcus Roberts’ twelve-piece band at The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center
The Heath Brothers at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center
Once Upon a Time in America at the New York Film Festival
Marcus Roberts brought an impressive array of musicians with him to the Appel Room last weekend for a show he called Piano Masters of Melody. The PMMs in question were Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, and Chick Corea. The band, The Modern Jazz Generation, featured Rodney Jordan, bass; Jason Marsalis, drums; Alphonso Horne and Tim Blackmon, trumpets; Ron Westray, trombone; Corey Wilcox, trombone and tuba; Ricardo Pascale, saxophone; Tissa Khosla, baritone and tenor saxophones; Stephen Riley, tenor saxophone; and Joe Goldberg, clarinet.
The set itself was made up of just-beneath-the-radar compositions by the featured PMMs, with newly commissioned arrangements by members of the TMJG, though Marcus did a stunning “Round Midnight” solo on piano. Overall the presentation, while sharp and tight, was rather formal—which strikes me as a reflection of Roberts himself. It was lovely as always to be in The Appel (formerly Allen) Room, but I thought it could have swung a bit harder.
That was not the case with the wonderful set I caught at Dizzy’s Club the next night with Jimmy Heath, Albert “Tootie” Heath, David Wong, and Jeb Patton playing timeless riffs as if they had been invented on the spot just for the fun of it. Close your eyes and you think time had stopped. Jimmy carries jazz history on his shoulders with remarkable agility for a guy born in 1926 and who made his career playing with Dizzy, Parker, Miles, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Gil Evans and, well, one could go on. While his younger brother “Tootie”—born in 1935—played with Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Art Farmer, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone—you get the point. It was simultaneously a celebration of longevity, the power of musical creativity to keep one looking, sounding, and I’m guessing, feeling young, and joyous music. One thing, though. People need to know that if you’re going to go to Dizzy’s, you have to shut up let people listen, even if you yourself, lady in the red dress, are too stupid to appreciate it yourself. Here is the upcoming schedule for Jazz at Lincoln Center.