Today is Oct. 23.
Alto saxophonist Sonny Criss was born this date in 1927 in Memphis, Tenn. The bop player worked mostly in Los Angeles and Europe. Never given the recognition he deserved, he took his own life in 1977.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene, the Lee Konitz All-Stars are at Iridium tonight through Sunday. Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander's quartet is at the Village Vanguard all week. Tuck and Patti make their Blue Note debut in a weeklong run opening tonight. Singer Allan Harris debuts his Billy Strayhorn tribute recording tonight with a performance at Sotheby's auction house. It's a benefit for the Children's Miracle Network. Trumpeter Earle Davis is at the Sugar Bar tonight with his band. Saxophonist Yosvany Terry's Cuban quintet is at the Zinc Bar tonight and Wednesday. Trombonist Jack Jeffers directs the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Birdland tonight.
In and around Boston, Tangerine Dream is at Scullers jazz club. Darin Ames is at the Regattabar in Cambridge. Guitarist Scott Fields, woodwinds player Vinny Golia and percussionist Toshi Makihara bring their fall tour to the Tremont Theatre in Boston tonight.
Trumpeter Nicholas Payton's quintet is at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C., tonight through Sunday.
On the Chicago jazz scene, saxophonist David Sanchez's Melaza sextet opens a weeklong run tonight at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase. Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms are at the Green Mill tonight. Franz Jackson and his Jazz Entertainers are at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. Von Freeeman is at New Apartment Lounge.
Singer Stacey Kent is at The Dakota in St. Paul, Minn., tonight through Thursday.
In New Orleans tonight, Tom Hook is at Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar. Drummer James Alsanders' Jazz Project is at the Funky Butt. The ReBirth Brass Band is at the Maple Leaf. Gregg Stafford leads the band at Preservation Hall tonight. The John Mahoney Big Band is at Snug Harbor. George French's band is preceded tonight at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor by an evening jam session led by clarinetist Tim Laughlin. The Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center's Creative Music Festival continues tonight with Rob Wagner and Joe Cabral plus Norway's Frode Gerstad Trio with percussionist Endre Landsnes as special guest.
On the California jazz scene, drummer T.S. Monk's sextet is at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight through Sunday. Singer Barbara Morrison is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood tonight through Thursday. The Tom Hynes trio is at Steamers Jazz Café in Fullerton. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano tonight. The Terry Becker band is at Café Caracas in Berkeley. Drummer Dave Weckl's band opens a weeklong run tonight at Yoshi's in Oakland.
In San Francisco, the Hot Club of San Francisco trad band is at Enrico's tonight, the Mark Stock trio is at the Cypress Club, the Post Junk Trio is at the Black Cat and Blue Bar, Sharon McNight is at the Plush Room, and the Vince Lateano Trio with Al Plank is at Pearl's.
Tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet and His Big Band open a weeklong run at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle tonight.
Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa opens an extensive tour of Europe tonight with his septet. The tour will feature material from Sosa's current large-ensemble recording, "Prietos." It opens tonight at Club Vapeur, Dijon, France, and will conclude Nov. 24 at the Festival do Ramo Grande on Terceira Island in Portugal's Azores.
On the recording front...
-- Singer Andy Bey's "Tuesdays in Chinatown" CD is out today on the N-Coded Music/12th Street label. He's joined by Ron Carter, Steve Turre, Peter Washington, Victor Lewis and Marty Ehrlich on this project, his third for the label since 1966.
-- A twist on the holiday jazz concept is out today. Vibes player Stefon Harris, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lewis Nash have teamed up as "The Classical Jazz Quartet" on a recording in which they improvise on classic Tchaikovsky themes from "The Nutcracker." This Vertical Jazz release is called "The Classical Jazz Quartet: Tchaikovsky¹s 'The Nutcracker'." They have taken the beloved themes from several movements -- such as The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and The Waltz of the Flowers -- and use them as springboards for jazz exploration.
Several new Blue Note releases hit the stores today.
-- Cuban jazz piano expatriate Bebo Valdes -- the father of Chucho Valdes -- is out with "El Arte Del Sabor." It was recorded in March 2000 with bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez, percussionist Carlos "Patato" Valdes and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera when they were in New York to take part in the live music Latin jazz documentary film "Calle 54."
-- Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett is out with her latest cross-cultural project "Alma de Santiago." This time, she traveled to Santiago, birthplace of Cuba's "son" style of music, and teamed up with the Santiago jazz saxophone Quartet and the 38-member percussion troupe Los Hoyos.
-- Clarinetist Don Byron's new Blue Note release, "You are No.6," is the latest from his "music for Six Musicians" project. In this case, they pay tribute to the Latin and Afro-Caribbean rhythmic roots of jazz. A calypso called "Shake 'Em Up," features a guest appearance by the leader's dad, bassist Don Byron Sr. The tune is one his father used to play in a band led by clarinetist Fats Greene. Byron's collaborators on this project also include pianist Edsel Gomez, conguero Milton Cardona, bassist Leo Traversa, drummer Ben Wittman and trumpeter James Zollar.
-- Columbia Legacy and Mosaic Records are out with CD and audiophile LP versions, respectively, of "The Complete 'In a Silent Way' Sessions" of Miles Davis. The boxed sets included eight previously unissued tracks plus key related tracks from several other Davis projects at the time, "Filles de Kilimanjaro," "Water Babies" and "Directions." Reissue producer Bob Belden says hearing all of the music that Davis produced during six intensely focused months in 1968 and 1969 brings "new light to Miles' methods, intentions and evolution." Davis was making the transition from his classic quintet style to merging jazz, soul and rock into what became the roots of funk-rock jazz.
-- Dreyfus Jazz has released pianist Ahmad Jamal's latest recording project, "Olympia 2000." It was recorded live at Paris's l'Olympia Theater shortly after Jamal celebrated his 70th birthday. He performs with a quartet setting with his trio and special guest George Coleman on tenor sax.
-- Montreal's Justin Time label has released violinist Billy Bang's "Vietnam Project." The recording teams him with Michael Carvin, Frank Lowe, Ted Daniel, Ron Brown, John Hicks and Curtis Lundy. Justin Time is also out this month with trumpeter Russell Gunn's "Ethnomusicology, Vol. 2," the Susie Arioli Swing Band's "It's Wonderful," featuring guitarist Jordan Officer, and singer Carmen Lundy's "This is Carmen Lundy."
-- The RCA Victor Group has released a mammoth and long-overdue boxed set project as part of its Bluebird reissue series. "Artie Shaw: Self Portrait" is a five-CD set that provides the first comprehensive look at the career of this Swing Era icon. 91-year-old Shaw selected all of the material, which includes the best and most popular of his Victor recordings as well as rarities recorded for other labels and "live" material from his personal collection.
The groupings include his early and late big bands, including his ground-breaking Bebop Band and the last edition of his Gramercy Five combo. Shaw retired from performing in 1954 after an 18-year career as a bandleader. The set includes a Shaw essay reflecting on his life in music, the various bands he led, and some of the performances. Shaw says he selected for this project "only those performances that come reasonably close to what I had in mind when I did them."
Bluebird is also releasing "Highlights from Artie Shaw: Self Portrait," a single CD sampler taken from the boxed set.
-- Telarc Jazz today releases Dave Brubeck's "The Crossing," his 12th recording for the label. Its wide ranging pieces include tributes for his wife and mother, and "Hold Fast to Dreams," the theme from the suite of vocal settings of Langston Hughes poems that Brubeck composed in 1998.
-- Telarc is also out with French pianist Jacques Loussier's "Baroque Favorites," which is the latest in his "Swinging the Classics" series of trio recordings. This time out, they tackle the "Canon in D" by Pachelbel and "Adagio for Strings" by Albinoni.
-- The Surrounded by Entertainment label has released "Piano," a new recording from cabaret titan Bobby Short. It teams short with his longtime quintet, featuring guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Frank Tate, trumpeter John Eckert and drummer Klaus Suonsaari as they interpret 18 of his favorites from the American Songbook. He sings only on two tracks, preferring to spotlight his keyboard artistry this time out.