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New York City Concerts 2001 Year in Review

Andrey Henkin By

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While 2001 will always resonate in the minds of New Yorkers for the great tragedy that befell the city, the city will always remain a vibrant center for culture and entertainment. A look back at the past year's concerts is a testament to New York's central place in the world of jazz.
The year began with a week run by the Buster Williams' group featuring Lenny White. Dave Holland made his first of a few visits to town with his award-winning quintet. An all-star lineup including Clark Terry, George Coleman, Eddie Henderson, Cedar Walton and Louis Hayes played a weekend at uptown's Smoke. Enrico Rava made a rare appearance at a Town Hall evening celebrating Italian jazz. Pete "La Roca" Sims made a much-appreciated return to the world of jazz, playing in several groups including those of Randy Brecker and a reunion of the Night of the Cookers. Andrew Hill played several times with his quintet and bigband. Billy Harper had a residency at Iridium with Eddie Henderson. Ted Curson brought an allstar group to the Blue Note featuring Bob Cranshaw and Guillermo Franco. Bass virtuoso Barry Guy played a highly acclaimed show at Tonic with Cecil Taylor. Steve Lacy's inspired trio performed at the Jazz Standard. Steve Turre played a series of shows at the Knitting Factory highlighted by a group with Buster Williams and Badal Roy. Oregon played to a sold out Fez under Time cafe. Elton Dean played a surprise free show at the Downtown Music Gallery. Sam Rivers played one of the last gigs at the now defunct Sweet Basil. Ron Carter and Bill Frisell debuted a duo at the Blue Note. Sonny Fortune's group with John Hicks and Cecil McBee played to enthusiastic audiences at the Jazz Standard shortly before its closing. The heavy trio of Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian played their unique brand of avant-garde jazz at Iridium. Dave Liebman revisited his career with shows at the Knitting Factory featuring Bob Moses, John Abercrombie and Billy Hart. The New Jazz Quartet featuring Jim Hall, Joe Lovano and George Mraz made a weeks' worth of appearances at Iridium. Derek Bailey made the first of two visits to New York. Pat Martino made regular appearances. A downtown art gallery hosted a series of solo shows highlighted by Leroy Jenkins and Hamiett Bluiett. Freddie Hubbard played a sold-out show at Birdland. The Vision Festival rolled into town with numerous noteworthy performances: the David S. Ware/Rashied Ali duo; Oliver Lake playing with drum legend Louis Moholo making a rare stateside appearance; Karl Berger's group; Milford Graves as the highlight of the entire festival; and Peter Brotzmann in a trio with William Parker. Larry Coryell and Steve Marcus reformed the Count's Rock Band. Latin percussionist Ray Barretto played a month's worth of Fridays at the redesigned Haydn Planetarium Rose Center. Andrew Cyrille, Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman played a great show at Tonic. Keith Jarrett's critically acclaimed trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette appeared at Carnegie Hall. John McLaughlin's Shakti, Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea appeared at various New York locations under the auspices of the JVC Jazz Festival. Barre Phillips, fresh off his appearance at the Montreal Jazz Festival played an intimate show at the Knitting Factory. Latin stars Airto Moreira and Flora Purim played a week at the Blue Note. Oscar Peterson, also fresh from Montreal, played to packed houses at the Blue Note in a quarter featuring Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pedersen. Archie Shepp's group with Roswell Rudd, Grachan Moncur III, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille played at the Verizon Jazz Festival. The rhythm section of the Shepp show joined Mal Waldron for a rare US residency at the Blue Note. Charles Lloyd's quintet with John Abercrombie and Billy Hart also played at the Blue Note in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Shakti, minus John McLaughlin played at a Town Hall evening celebrating the music of India. The AACM continued its annual fall concert series, including the Muhal Richard Abrams double Trio with Leroy Jenkins, Thurman Barker and George Lewis. Avant-garde legend Burton Greene played with his old cohort Perry Robinson at one of Tonic's Klezmer brunches and in a trio with Mark Dresser at Roulette. Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre made several appearances at clubs around the downtown area. Joseph Jarman brought his quintet to town in a double bill with the Andrew Cyrille/Michael Carvin duo. The year's end brought the phenomenal Instant Composer's Pool with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg to Tonic. Elvin Jones's Jazz Machine played a week at the Blue Note, two evenings including duets with Cecil Taylor. Peter Kowald's masterful bass enlivened Tonic in a trio with Gerry Hemingway. Chick Corea took over the Blue Note for three weeks, celebrating his birthday with numerous reunions, including his duo with Gary Burton and his trio with rarely seen Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes. The year ended with a bizarre show at Tonic with Derek Bailey, John Zorn, Reggie Workman and Joey Baron.
This represents a small part of the rich jazz scene found in New York from small clubs like Tonic and Roulette, upscale venues like Iridium and the Blue Note, and major venues like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Much has been said these days of living life normally in the face of terrorism. So, go see a show in 2002—there will be plenty!

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