Recommended Jazz Music: BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB AND THEATER (June 14-26, 2022)

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by Tony Frankel on June 10, 2022

in Music,Theater-International,Theater-New York

WHERE THE RHYTHM SWOOPS AND SWIRLS,
THIS IS THE JAZZ CORNER OF THE WORLD

It amazes me how many of my NY friends haven’t been to Birdland Jazz Club on 44th near Times Square (I’m an L.A. boy and have been there more than they). It’s a must-visit for tourists and New Yorkers alike. There are two rooms: The one on top, the club, has the audience curved around the musical acts, sitting at classy tables. The food is astounding and, considering you are in a club, quite affordable. Downstairs at Birdland Theater, where the same fare is available, you will see the bigger bands — the powerful intimacy of both spaces is something to behold. Plus, four tickets and food are less than one ticket for many of the orchestra seats at a Broadway show.

Here is the upcoming schedule June 14-26, 2022. High on the list is the great Bill Charlap (whose dad, Moose, contributed to the songs from Broadway’s Peter Pan!) with his mom, Sandy Stewart, and David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band, a standard-rich ensemble that really makes you happy. But you can’t go wrong with any act.

June 14 (Tuesday) 5:30 PM – Birdland TheaterGabrielle Stravelli TrioAward-winning vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli takes over Tuesday nights at Birdland Theater in June with her trademark vocal style and her trio of Pat O’Leary (bass) and Michael Kanaan (piano). Together, they explore both familiar classics and lesser-known gems of the canon that highlight the diversity of creators behind the Great American Songbook—immigrants, black Americans, woman composers and more—and show that the Songbook is for everyone. For her part, Stravelli’s clear tone, gutsy rhythm, impeccable scat-singing and contagious joy have delighted audiences the world over. Her recent honors include the Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording (2020); the Broadway World Cabaret Award for Best Jazz Vocalist (2019); the MAC Award for Best Female Vocalist (2015); and the Bistro Award as a Jazz Vocalist (2015). Expect a swinging, engaging month of music.$20 + $20 food/drink minimum

June 14-15 (Tuesday-Wednesday) 7:00 & 9:30 PM – Birdland Jazz Club / Livestream Event – Tuesday, June 14 at 9:30 PMFrank Catalano QuartetPossessing a full-bodied tone and a passion for hard-hitting lines, Frank Catalano’s famed tenor saxophone power has taken him across the world and landed him on Grammy-winning and Grammy-nominated recordings with Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child, John Legend, and others. The only saxman to have performed with Miles Davis, Randy Brecker, Charles Earland, Elvin Jones, Stan Getz, Betty Carter, Von Freeman, Tito Puente, Tony Bennett, Les Claypool and Louis Bellson while still in high school, Catalano signed with Delmark Records at age 18 and hasn’t let up since. His 11 albums as a leader evince a mighty musician with a broad stylistic palette and a deep commitment to the legacy of his forebears. His connection to Birdland runs deep: in fact, Catalano, who serves as the Celebrity Endorser for Drambuie Scotch Liqueur, inspired the Catalano Sidecar proudly served in The Birdland Theater. Get ready for two nights-worth of mighty performances by his quartet.$40 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 15 (Wednesday) 5:30 PM – Birdland TheaterDavid Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity BandInspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and their colleagues, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form. Now in its 18th year of residency at Birdland, the weekly post-workday engagement is the city’s best musical bargain! Tuba player David Ostwald leads a rotating lineup that features talents such as clarinetist Anat Cohen, trombonist/vocalist Wycliffe Gordon, pianist Ehud Asherie, drummer Marion Felder and more!$30 tables; $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 15 (Wednesday) 8:30 PM – Birdland Theater Livestream EventFrank Vignola’s Guitar NightIt’s the best jazz guitar lover’s show in the world.Frank Vignola’s virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Les Paul, the Boston and New York Pops, and more. Every Wednesday @ 8:30pm in the Birdland Theater, Frank leads “Frank Vignola’s Guitar Night at Birdland.” Inspired by journeyman jazz guitarist John Pisano’s now famous Los Angeles Guitar Night, “The Frank Vignola/Jimmy Bruno Quartet” featuring bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Vince Cherico, will perform tunes from the Standards repertoire + special guests: John DiMartino (4/6), Aaron Weinstein (4/13), Olli Soikkeli (4/20, Dave Stryker* (4/27), Martin Taylor (5/4). *The last Wednesday of the month is “Solo Guitar Night,” a Round-Robin of unaccompanied solo, duo, and trio guitar performances.$30 tables; $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 16-18 (Thursday-Saturday) 7:00 & 9:30 PM (6/16); 8:30 & 10:30 PM (6/17-8) – Birdland Jazz Club / Livestream Event – Thursday, June 16 at 9:30Danilo Perez & His Global MessengersConstantly pulsing with pure music, pianist Danilo Perez is a radiant force of artistic and technical genius. The winner of 3 Grammy awards and the nominee of 6 more, Perez is jazz’s Panamanian king, the creator of a new fusion between American black music, classical piano, and the music of his home country. “He is not afraid of anything,” says Herbie Hancock, who calls Perez one of the “amazing musicians” that lead the field. The pianist for Hancock’s former Miles Davis bandmate, Wayne Shorter, Perez’s spontaneous, colorful improvisations have graced stages across the world for the last 45 years—since his days as a child prodigy and young master.  With his latest release, Crisálida, he assembles a new group called the Global Messengers, a grand ensemble composed of musicians from all over the world, singing as well as playing a variety of string, woodwind, and percussion instruments, soaring over intricate arrangements and lush textures.$40 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 16 (Thursday) 8:30 PM – Birdland TheaterSandy Stewart and Bill Charlap DuoThis is a mother-son duet you will not want to miss! A thoughtful, pristine voice on the piano, Bill Charlap has collaborated for the last several decades with jazz’s leading artists. While his working trio (with drum and bass stars Kenny Washington and Peter Washington) has earned him years of accolades, he also shines as a duet performer. A sensitive yet formidable musical partner to Tony Bennett. Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride, or his wife, pianist Renee Rosnes, Charlap makes a practice of heartwarming dialogues. For this special show, he joins his mother, the famed vocalist Sandy Stewart. Stewart began her career in her teens as a singer working with Charlie Parker collaborator Dick Hyman, guitar legend Mundell Lowe, drum icon Don Lamond and others on NBC radio; she continued on to performances on Ed Sullivan’s and Johnny Carson’s shows; and she performed with Steve Allen, Benny Goodman, Perry Como, and Bing Crosby. Mother-son duets are hard to come by. When it comes to these two forces joining together for a night of song, it’s sure to make memories.$30 tables / $20 bar $20 food/drink minimum

June 17 (Friday) 5:30 PM – Birdland Jazz ClubThe Birdland Big BandEvery Friday, and for two headlining weeks a year, the “BBB” roars into action playing a thrilling and original mix of jazz, funk, Brazilian, Latin and world music for sold-out audiences. Featured weekly guest artists drop in from television bands (David Letterman, Saturday Night Live) and pop music touring bands (Rob Thomas, Rod Stewart). Come see for yourself why Time Out New York called the BBB “A completely unique experience… there isn’t another band like this anywhere,” and why yelp.com proclaims, “If you hear one band in NYC make sure this is it… and prepare to be blown away!”$30 + $20 food/drink minimum

June 17-19 (Friday-Sunday) 7:00 & 9:30 PM – Birdland TheaterJoey Calderazzo QuartetPianist Joey Calderazzo is one of the leading figures in the past thirty years of jazz piano playing. An accompanist to heroes of the music, including Jack Dejohnette, Dave Holland, Michael Brecker, Frank Foster, and Branford Marsalis, and a leader of groups featuring legends like Jeff “Tain” Watts, Clauda Acuña, John Patitucci, and Peter Erskine, this searching, virtuosic artist’s contributions include 13 albums under his own name and over 70 more for others. Calderazzo—the recipient of a Grammy award and four nominations—explains that things have clarified and simplified as he has matured. “As I’ve gotten older,” says the pianist, “the musical statement that I’m trying to make is ‘I can play a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I got my own thing. I steal other stuff and have some fun. I hope you enjoy it. Good night.’” With Miguel Zenon (sax), Ben Wolfe (bass), Donald Edwards (drums).$30 tables / $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 19 (Sunday) 5:30 PM – Birdland Jazz ClubNew London Big BandComprised of New England’s finest musicians, the 17-piece New London Big Band established its beginnings performing swinging classics from the repertoire of Maynard Ferguson, Sammy Nestico/Count Basie, Duke Ellington, the Buddy Rich Big Band, and other great big bands—but with its latest recording, 2022’s Social Hour!, this special ensemble has ventured into uncharted territory to great success. Performing a wide variety of original music that draws from across genres (including the band’s theme song, “Social Hour,” an ode to its regular weekly performance spot in New London, Connecticut’s Social Bar + Kitchen), the New London Big Band has come into its own and will surely wow Birdland audiences. Under direction of its founder, the multi-award-winning trombonist Sean Nelson, the band recently won “Best Jazz Band” for CTNOW’s Best of Hartford. Don’t miss this hip new ensemble!$30 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 19 (Sunday) 8:30 & 10:30 PM – Birdland Jazz ClubArturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz EnsemblePianist, composer and educator Arturo O’Farrill—leader of the “first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz” (The New York Times)—leads the GRAMMY® award winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), who bring together the drama of big band jazz, the culture of Latin music, and the virtuosity of eighteen of the world’s most accomplished solo musicians. Twelve years of critically-acclaimed performances internationally have firmly established the ALJO as the standard-bearer for creative interpretation of Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente, Frank “Machito” Grillo, and Chico O’Farrill, as well as the driving force behind new commissions from Latin music’s most talented composers and arrangers.$30 + $20 food/drink minimum

June 21-25 (Tuesday-Saturday) 7:00 & 9:30 PM (6/21-23); 8:30 & 10:30 PM (6/24-25) – Birdland Jazz ClubStacey KentA singer of marvelous talent, Stacey Kent’s beautiful voice and natural musicality have been the feature of 11 studio albums, including Platinum, Double-Gold and Gold records that have garnered her a much-deserved worldwide audience. With performances in over 55 countries during her stellar career, Kent’s global fandom makes perfect sense because of her miraculous fluency singing in French, Italian, German, Portuguese and English. Over the course of two decades as a recording artist, Kent’s vision has broadened beyond the Great American Songbook: French chanson and Brazilian classics also feature prominently in her contemporary work. Her new album, Songs From Other Places (which includes songs by Paul Simon, Lennon & McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Gershwin, Weil, and Jobim) was released September of 2021For this special week at Birdland, Kent is backed by veteran collaborators including the great Jim Tomlinson (reeds). Her forthcoming studio album, Summer Me, Winter Me, is set for 2022 release.$50 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 22 (Wednesday) 5:30 PM – Birdland TheaterDavid Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity BandInspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and their colleagues, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form. Now in its 18th year of residency at Birdland, the weekly post-workday engagement is the city’s best musical bargain! Tuba player David Ostwald leads a rotating lineup that features talents such as clarinetist Anat Cohen, trombonist/vocalist Wycliffe Gordon, pianist Ehud Asherie, drummer Marion Felder and more!$30 tables; $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 22 (Wednesday) 8:30 PM – Birdland Theater Livestream EventFrank Vignola’s Guitar NightIt’s the best jazz guitar lover’s show in the world.Frank Vignola’s virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Les Paul, the Boston and New York Pops, and more. Every Wednesday @ 8:30pm in the Birdland Theater, Frank leads “Frank Vignola’s Guitar Night at Birdland.” Inspired by journeyman jazz guitarist John Pisano’s now famous Los Angeles Guitar Night, “The Frank Vignola/Jimmy Bruno Quartet” featuring bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Vince Cherico, will perform tunes from the Standards repertoire + special guests: John DiMartino (4/6), Aaron Weinstein (4/13), Olli Soikkeli (4/20, Dave Stryker* (4/27), Martin Taylor (5/4). *The last Wednesday of the month is “Solo Guitar Night,” a Round-Robin of unaccompanied solo, duo, and trio guitar performances.$30 tables; $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 23-26 (Thursday-Sunday) 8:30 PM (6/23); 7:00 & 9:30 PM (6/24-26) – Birdland TheaterAllison Miller & Carmen Staaf “Nearness” Release Celebration with Special GuestsIn a 2018 Downbeat feature on Allison Miller and Carmen Staaf’s last co-led album, Science Fair, the pianist Staaf states: “We kept playing it duo…and it felt like, ‘We don’t need a bass player. It works as is.’” It’s rare to hear a piano and drum duo, but the bass-less configuration allows for great creativity and a fresh approach. And while Staaf and drummer Miller have been playing duo for years, their new album, Nearness, set for June release, is their first full record in that set-up. To celebrate the project, they perform four nights at Birdland Theater. They invite a stellar cast of special guests to join them: Grammy-nominated clarinetist Anat Cohen (6/23), MacArthur Award-winning tap dancer Michelle Dorrance (6/24); and iconic modern jazz saxophonist Dayna Stephens (6/25).$30 tables / $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 26 (Sunday) 5:30 PM – Birdland Jazz ClubRon Aprea Big BandSaxophonist Ron Aprea has performed with some of jazz’s most important figures, including Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Woody Herman, Frank Foster, Tito Puente, John Lennon, Nat Adderley, Charlie Persip, Kenny Barron, and Elvin Jones. This past January at Birdland, the 16-piece Ron Aprea Big Band celebrated a new milestone in Aprea’s artistic oeuvre: an autobiography entitled The Era I Almost Missed. The new book offers readers a look at the 1950s and 1960s through the eyes of this jazzman and his on-the-ground stories. They convene again on the Birdland stage for this one swinging evening in June.$30 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 26 (Sunday) 8:30 & 10:30 PM – Birdland Jazz ClubArturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz EnsemblePianist, composer and educator Arturo O’Farrill—leader of the “first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz” (The New York Times)—leads the GRAMMY® award winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), who bring together the drama of big band jazz, the culture of Latin music, and the virtuosity of eighteen of the world’s most accomplished solo musicians. Twelve years of critically-acclaimed performances internationally have firmly established the ALJO as the standard-bearer for creative interpretation of Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente, Frank “Machito” Grillo, and Chico O’Farrill, as well as the driving force behind new commissions from Latin music’s most talented composers and arrangers.$30 + $20 food/drink minimum

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