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Holiday Jazz in Gotham

Nick Catalano By

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It’s that time of year again and The Apple will be serving up generous portions of interesting music for the hordes of tourists who choose to combine serious listening with their busy shopping and sightseeing schedules. For the ever increasing numbers of jazz fans who e-mail inquiries to this column I have included a sampling of performances that should make a New York holiday visit hipper than usual.

From Chicago comes a unique singer/composer whose recent New York appearances have created quite a stir. Spider Saloff has brought her intriguing repertoire of standards and international sounds to Chez Suzette in recent months and received high performance grades from scribes and audiences alike. Working with pianist/arranger Tony Monte and bassist Steve Laspina, Saloff has developed the predictable cult that surrounds new figures when the proverbial word gets out praising their efforts. Scheduled to appear at the upcoming International Association of Jazz Educators convention Saloff will duck into Chez Suzette and perhaps another boite or two while she’s in town. For updated info, contact this column.

The Blue Note has a marvelous lineup of jazz events planned for December; Here’s a list of some of the goodies: Branford Marsalis will appear with Elvin Jones’ “Jazz Machine” in a reprise of recent successes. This will happen on Tuesday, 12/2, and Thursday, 12/4... On Monday, 12/15, Jane Monheit will drop into the club as she continues with her whirlwind career and tireless schedule. Monheit will perform with “Surprise Guests”...Jason Lindner will appear in a piano/duo format (many fans know of him only as a big band leader) on 12/19 and 12/20 in a special holiday, early morning series commencing at 12:30 a.m. Admission is only $8...Trumpeter Shunzo Ohno will follow up with a jazz brunch showcase on Sunday, 12/21 at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. One of the more rarified moments occurs when cellist/vocalist Akua Dixon and her Swing Quartet performs at Sweet Rhythm on Wednesday, 12/10. Dixon is at the forefront of a bevy of string instrumentalists who have been invading the jazz world in recent years with large chunks of success.

Congratulations are in order together with a holiday toast to legendary drummer/composer Chico Hamilton who has just received a Jazz Masters fellowship from the National Endowment in Humanities for 2004. Before he died in July 2002 jazz immortal Ray Brown recorded a 2-CD session with pianist Geoffrey Keezer and drummer Karriem Higgins for Telarc. It is a must-have affair for jazz fans of all ages and a perfect holiday gift. The CD dubbed “Walk On” and it is a fitting conclusion to an incredible career in jazz...Happy Holidays!


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