Drummer Paul Motian was born this day in 1931 in Philadelphia and raised in Providence, R.I. He became a groundbreaking drummer as a member of the Bill Evans trio in the early 1960s. At times avant-garde, and always versatile, Motian extended the idea of fragmenting the beat and interacting more with other members of the band.
On this day in 1946, clarinetist Woody Herman and his Second Herd played a historic concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. It was the premiere of "Ebony Concerto," a piece written for Herman by classical composer Igor Stravinsky.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... guitarist Bireli Lagrene's Gypsy Project is at Iridium this week. The Eric Alexander quartet is at the Village Vanguard. Saxophonist Gato Barbieri is at the Blue Note. Brian Bromberg is at SOB's tonight. Singer Allan Harris debuts his new show, "The Songs I Love by Nat 'King' Cole," with a concert at Sotheby's.
The Jazz Standard is hosting trumpeter Dave Douglas's weeklong 40th birthday celebration week. The prolific composer and bandleader will present a week of performances by his 10 different critically acclaimed working ensembles. Tonight's groupings are his Tiny Bell Trio and Four in One. The Alex Blake quartet is at the Zinc Bar tonight and Wednesday.
Singer Diane Hubka is at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J., tonight.
In the Boston area... the David Azarian Electric Band is at The Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. Yoko Miwa and the Sara Leib jazz quartet are at Ryles in Cambridge tonight.
Pianist Tom Roberts is at Nighttown in Cleveland tonight.
In and around Chicago... Men of Note are at Andy's. Natalie Yoakley is at the Backroom. The Houston Person quartet is at The Jazz Showcase this week. Ken Cheney is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium tonight. Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan are at Katerina's.
Von Freeman and Friends are at the New Apartment Lounge. The Bobby Broom trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. Marshall Vente is at Philander's in Oak Park tonight. The Kimberly Gordon quartet is at the Underground Wonder Bar.
On the New Orleans jazz scene... the Ted Hefko quartet is at the Blue Nile. The Steve Yocum trio is at Fritzel's. Topsy Chapman is at Harrah's. The ReBirth Brass Band is the Maple Leaf. Henry Butler and his Slammin' Syncopators are at the Palm Court. Greg Stafford leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. The Maurice Brown band featuring Quamon Fowler is at Snug Harbor. Linnzi Zaorski and Delta Royale are at the Spotted Cat.
In California... the Steve Turre quintet is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight through Sunday. This is John Pisano's Guitar Night with Mitch Holder at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. Saxophonist Kim Richmond and the Jon Mayer quartet are at Charlie O's in Valley Glen tonight.
Cathy Segal Garcia and Tom Ranier are at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. The Vince Lateano trio is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco. Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner are at Yoshi's jazz club in Oakland tonight through Sunday.
Guitarist Robben Ford is at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle tonight and Wednesday.
Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer is at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia, tonight.
On the recording front...
The Verve Music Group is out today with the newest CD by saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. "Alegría" teams Shorter with his New Quartet mates -- pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade -- plus special guests on various tracks. They include drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, pianist Brad Mehldau and percussionist Alex Acuna, who had worked with Shorter and Joe Zawinul in their seminal fusion group, Weather Report.
"Alegria" includes a traditional Celtic folk song, a Bach-inspired piece written by Brazilian classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, a medieval carol, reworkings of Shorter's own 1960s compositions, and his new boogaloo tune, "Sacajawea."
Telarc Jazz is out today with two new releases. They are singer-pianist Freddy Cole's "In the Name of Love" and Dave Brubeck's quartet session, "Park Avenue South," which was recorded live last summer in a downtown New York coffee shop for Telarc's "Live at Starbucks" series. Cole's project includes a duet with young jazz cabaret star Jane Monheit on the Ivan Lins tune "Remember Me."
Pianist Bill Mays' newest release, "Going Home," is out today on the Palmetto label. It's a trio session with longtime collaborators Martin Wind on bass and Matt Wilson on drums. Mays dedicated the CD to three colleagues who have "gone home." They are drummer Shelly Manne, bassist Red Mitchell and pianist Jimmy Rowles, who recommended that Sarah Vaughan hire Mays as her musical director. He joined her band in 1972. This is Mays' 13th recording as a leader. All of the tunes have some association with home for Mays, whether or not the connections are as direct for the listener.
The ECM label is out today with two new releases. They are Argentine bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi's trio disc "Responsorium" and Greek singer Savina Yannatou's label debut, "Terra Nostra." Saluzzi's trio session teamed him with his son, Jose, on guitar and Sweden's Palle Danielsson on bass. Yannatou's recording was made with her group, "Primavera en Salonico."
Columbia Legacy is out today with two interesting compilations. "The Essential Dave Brubeck" is a 31-track two-CD set that spans recordings the pianist made between 1949 and 2002 on five different labels. Guest vocal tracks feature Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett and Carmen McRae. The Essentials Series moves into the classical side of Columbia with "The Essential Igor Stravinsky." It includes Benny Goodman's 1965 version of Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto."