The Jazz Scene

The Jazz Scene
James J. Kelly
April 1999

It was mild winter here in the Big Apple. Now as we enter spring, we begin to gear up for the New York jazz festival season. Big thing are coming up throughout the spring and summer. The clubs scene in New York is the best in the world and goes year round. However, we get some special treats from now until September.

Lets have a gin and Tonic in April. You can supply the gin. Tonic is a club located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at 107 Norfolk St, between Delancey and Rivington. You can check out their web site at They have a new music series each month and April is curated by the great drummer Susie Ibarra. She was the drummer for the last several years in the David S. Ware quartet. She will be appearing with her own trio on April 17th at Tonic. Another must see is Myra Melford who will appear on the 23rd. If you have not heard Myra, try to find her CD “Live at the House of Saints” on the Hat Hut label. It is 74 minutes of bliss. If you have trouble locating the CD contact Bruce Gallanter at Downtown Music. He is located 211 East 5th street in the east village. The telephone number is 212 473-0043. Better yet e-mail him at and get on the mailing list for the newsletter. While we are talking about Tonic, check out their Sunday Klezmer series starting at 1:30. Get there early for a seat a great brunch.

Now what do we do in May? You need a vision. Better yet go and see the Vision festival. I have had the pleasure to attend for the past three years, and it is the closest thing to going back to the 60’s. If you wish you could have attended the jazz version of Woodstock, plan to attend the Vision festival this year. The schedule is at the following web site

Check it out and plan to attend. The David S. Ware quartet is a must see on May 24th and Andrew Lamb on the 23rd is highly recommended. With 10 days of jazz, poetry and dance, I can’t think of a better way to welcome the festival season.

So how about June. How about the Knit. The Knitting Factory has been putting out a great festival for the past few years. This year’s event should be outstanding as well. This year there is life outside of New York as well with some events in Philadelphia, Boston and Washington D.C. as well. Check out the schedule at the Knit’s web site for details. Pharaoh Sanders is scheduled to appear with a trio and that should be a highlight of the festival.

Later in June beginning on the 14th the JVC festival comes to New York. More details to follow. This is the most mainstream, but some great performers will attend. I suggest you try to make all three and see the wide diversity that exists in Jazz today. The American art form is alive and well and you can see it live.

The final tip for this time is to check out Margaret Davis’ web site. She publishes a monthly listing of what’s happening and you can check it out at the following site

Check out the listings weekly in the Village Voice, the New York Press and Time Out New York. The Voice and the Press are free, as are many of the concerts we will be talking about in the upcoming months. Go out and support the musicians.


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