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It’s a night of jazz with the top down—the temperatures were hot but the jazz was way cool.

In the 50s and 60s, some of the most innovative jazz came out of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Artists like Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker and Stan Getz had gone west and created a new jazz sound—cooler, more lyrical, less hard-edged.

The jazz critics felt that that the hot sun bleached out the soul of this new sound, but Dexter Gordon, Curtis Counce and Hampton Hawes were as hard swinging as anything happening in New York.

For the true jazz fan, Bill Charlap showcases the unique sound that deserves its place in the (Manhattan) sun.

Bill Charlap, piano
Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet
Jimmy Greene, tenor sax
Jon Gordon, alto sax
Michael Dease, trombone
Gary Smulyan, baritone sax
Ted Rosenthal, piano
Sean Smith, bass
Rodney Green, drums

 

Join us for more Jazz! This event can be purchased as part of a 2-concert package.

 

Jazz in July is partially endowed by a generous gift from Simona and Jerome A. Chazen.

Gerry Mulligan Quartet performing Mulligan’s “As Catch Can” at 1958 Newport Jazz Festival.

Chet Baker performing vocals and flugelhorn on Jimmy Van Heusen & Jule Styne’s “Time After Time,” from a Belgian TV program, 1964.

Shorty Rogers and his Giants performing Rogers’ “Martians Go Home,” from CBS’s “Jazz Scene USA” series, hosted by Oscar Brown, Jr., and produced by Steve Allen, Oct 1, 1962.

Buddy Collette Quintet performing Karl Suessdorf’s “Moonlight In Vermont,” from ABC’s “Stars of Jazz” series, hosted by Bobby Troup, 1958.

On the Blog

(Click the names below to expand info)

On Rhapsody.com:

Rhapsody.com has created a comprehensive microsite on West Coast Jazz, with an overview, lists of artists and albums, and a sample track list.

Click here to reach the microsite.

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On JazzWax.com:

Award-winning JazzWax blogger Marc Myers has interviewed Bill Charlap about West Coast Jazz and has illustrated it with some classic LP covers from the era. Here is the opening:

JazzWax: From your perspective, how did West Coast jazz differ from East Coast jazz in the '50s?

Bill Charlap: Much of what is written about West Coast jazz tells only part of the story. For instance, most people think of Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker and Bob Brookmeyer when they hear the term West Coast jazz—the sound that focused on counterpoint and the relaxed Lester Young feeling.

But there’s a corollary to that sound, a very swinging scene that took place out there at the same time but hasn't received the same amount of attention. I’m talking about musicians like Curtis Counce, Harold Land, Gerald Wiggins, Carl Perkins, Hampton Hawes, Victor Feldman and many others. There was plenty of hard swinging and edgy rhythm sections on the West Coast then. There’s a lot more to West Coast jazz than the Haig or the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach.

Click here for the full interview.

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On PBS.org:

On December 16, 2001, PBS broadcast the documentary, “Rediscovering Dave Brubeck, with Hendrick Smith."

The program’s microsite includes an interview by Smith with historian Ted Giora and critic Stanley Crouch on Brubeck's role in West Coast Jazz:

Giora: The concept that you could do jazz and make it modern was very new; and here Dave came and not only was he doing modern jazz, but he was even more modern in many ways than a lot of what was happening in New York—taking the advance compositional techniques of Milhaud and others and trying to bring it into the jazz idiom. And this hit the Bay Area jazz scene like a lightening bolt; and really it's never been the same since.

Crouch: Dave Brubeck doesn't really fit in the light version of West Coast Jazz…But I think that was the appeal of his band, too, was that he had those two elements. In other words, you had like the cool, fluid kind of playing that you got with Paul Desmond and then you had a much more aggressive kind of powerhouse approach from Brubeck.

Click here for the full interview.

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Explore the Music

(Click the names below to expand info.)

From JazzProfiles.com: Jazz West Coast

From the preface to Jazz West Coast: The Los Angeles Jazz Scene of the 1950s, by Robert Gordon (Quartet, 1986), posted on JazzProfiles.com

In the early 1950s the attention of the jazz world was focused on Los Angeles. Baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan had gained fame (and a spread in Time magazine) by forming a piano-less quartet; his new group was drawing standing-room-only crowds nightly to an intimate club called The Haig. Several miles away in the town of Hermosa Beach, bassist Howard Rumsey and a crew of ex-Kentonites drew equally enthusiastic crowds to an old crew of ex waterfront bar, the Lighthouse Cafe. Independent record companies—Pacific jazz and Contemporary in the vanguard sprang up like fast-food franchises and issued a seemingly endless torrent of albums by these and other Los Angeles-based musicians. In this hothouse atmosphere experimentation was rife, and attempts to adapt the instruments and techniques of the concert hall to jazz were tried, sometimes with a fair amount of success. The jazz press was—at first—also highly enthusiastic about the new sounds from the Coast. Somebody coined the term “West Coast jazz” to describe the music being produced in California, and the tag stuck….

Read the rest of the preface and Chapter 1, “Dizz and Bird in Lotus Land.”

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From Allaboutjazz.com: “Jazz Primer”

Introduction to Allaboutjazz.com’s Jazz Primer: “Cool Thoughts on West Coast Jazz,” by Geoff Roach

With the close of the Second World War, jazz underwent a massive transformation. For musical, cultural, technological and economic reasons, the swing era dominated by the big bands drew to a close. To fill the jazz void, the music split into several factions - bebop, hard bop, cool, and even played a role in the development of rhythm and blues and rock and roll. Additionally, the split was more than musical, it was geographic. Bebop and hard bop became centered on New York and the cool school gravitated towards California and gave birth to the term “West Coast Jazz.”

Read the rest of the article.

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Artist Bios

Bill Charlap, artistic director & piano

This year marks Bill Charlap’s ninth summer as artistic director of 92nd Street Y’s Jazz in July summer festival. One of the world’s premier jazz pianists, Mr. Charlap has performed with many leading artists of our time, ranging from Phil Woods and Tony Bennett to Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis. He is known for his interpretations of American popular songs and has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Time magazine wrote, “Bill Charlap approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved…no matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence.”

In 1997, Mr. Charlap formed the Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington (no relation), now recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz. In 2000, he signed with Blue Note Records and has since received two Grammy nominations, for Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein and The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard. The Trio performs all over the world; their New York engagements include regular appearances at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and they will return to the Village Vanguard for a two-week run this fall. In 2009, Mr. Charlap was pianist and musical director for The Blue Note 7, an all-star jazz septet celebrating the legacy of Blue Note Records on its 70th anniversary. The septet performed a 50-city tour and released the CD, Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records.

Mr. Charlap’s experience as concert producer extends beyond Jazz in July. In the mid-1990s, he was the musical director of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, A Celebration of Johnny Mercer,” part of New York’s JVC Jazz Festival. He has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl.

Born in New York City, Mr. Charlap began playing the piano at age three. His father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include Peter Pan, and his mother is singer Sandy Stewart, who appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como shows and earned a Grammy nomination for her recording of “My Coloring Book.” In 2006, Mr. Charlap and Ms. Stewart released the acclaimed CD, Love Is Here to Stay on Blue Note; their second release, Something to Remember, on Ghostlight, was released this past January. They have appeared at The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel and Feinstein’s at the Regency and they have won New York Bistro and Nightlife awards. In February 2012, they appeared on the 92Y Jazz series.

Mr. Charlap is married to renowned jazz pianist Renee Rosnes. The two artists often collaborate in a duo piano setting. In 2010, Mr. Charlap and Ms. Rosnes made Double Portrait, released on the Blue Note label and recorded at 92nd Street Y.

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Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet

Michael Philip Mossman has been a key figure in Latin jazz ever since he was lead trumpet with the Machito Orchestra. He was arranger and trumpet soloist for Mario Bauza and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and was featured on their Grammy Award-winning album Song for Chico, among others. He has performed and recorded with Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Chico O'Farrill, Paquito D'Rivera and Michel Camilo, and he was part of Fernando Trueba’s acclaimed documentary on contemporary Latin jazz, Calle 54. Mr. Mossman also composed and arranged music for films, including Bossa Nova and the Oscar-nominated Chico and Rita. He has made his own CDs as a leader and received a 2013 Grammy nomination for his Afro-Latin Ellington Suite. As a classical artist, he has written for such ensembles as the Philadelphia and Naumberg orchestras and Chicago Symphony.

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Jimmy Greene, tenor sax

A native of Hartford, CT, Jimmy Greene began playing saxophone at age six. He has toured and recorded in the bands of Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick, Jr. Tom Harrell, Avishai Cohen, Lewis Nash and Claudia Acuña, among others, and he has appeared on 70 recordings as a sideman. In addition, Mr. Greene has performed throughout the US, Canada, Europe and South America with his quartet, and he has released nine recordings as a leader, including his latest, Live at Smalls (SmallsLive). Mr. Greene currently serves on the faculty of Western Connecticut State University, and he has taught at the University of Manitoba, Purchase College (SUNY) and The Hartt School. He has received composition commissions and grants from ASCAP/IAJE, Chamber Music America and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. His website is jimmygreene.com.

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Jon Gordon, alto sax

Saxophonist and composer Jon Gordon is a winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition. He has appeared with leading jazz ensembles and soloists, including Benny Carter, Maria Schneider, Phil Woods, Clark Terry and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He is one of New York’s standout jazz artists, and he regularly appears as a member of the Jazz Nativity. Mr. Gordon’s last CD, Evolution, was selected as one of the Top 10 Jazz CDs of 2009 by numerous critics and magazines, and DownBeat selected his previous CD, Within Worlds, as one of the best jazz CDs of the decade. This past March, Mr. Gordon released his memoir, For Sue, which is now in its second printing, and Colin Music will release his two books on improvisation. Among the features of his website, jongordonmusic.com, is an online lesson project.

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Michael Dease, trombone

A native of Augusta, Georgia, Michael Dease is a graduate of the historic first class of jazz students at The Juilliard School, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Since then, he has built a reputation as an outstanding soloist and sideman, with five albums as leader and over 100 sessions, all before the age of 30. A Grammy Award-winning trombonist, he has played with jazz orchestras led by Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton and Rufus Reid; with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band; and ensembles led by The Heath Brothers, Winard Harper, Bill Charlap and Claudio Roditi. He is also a sought-after arranger and composer. His latest record, Coming Home, released in May, received rave reviews. His other albums are Grace, Dease Bones, Clarity, The Dease-Maden Quintet: The Takeover. His website is michaeldease.com.

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Gary Smulyan, baritone sax

A six-time Grammy Award winner, Gary Smulyan is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Three Baritone Saxophone Band, and he plays with Joe Lovano’s Nonet, the Dave Holland and George Coleman octets and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. Last fall, Mr. Smulyan released his 11th recording as leader: Smul’s Paradise, which made several 2013 Jazz CD Top Ten lists, including Jazz Inside. He was also featured on the American Jazz Institute’s 2012 release, Ellington Saxophone Encounters, with the Mark Masters Ensemble. In March he was profiled on Voice of America’s “Beyond Category” jazz video series. Mr. Smulyan has been named Baritone Saxophonist of the Year multiple years by the Jazz Times Readers and Critics polls, the DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association. He is a faculty member of Amherst College. His website is garysmulyan.com.

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Ted Rosenthal, piano

Ted Rosenthal is internationally recognized as a performer, composer and educator. Winner of the 1988 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, he has played with many jazz greats including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, James Moody and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He has released 13 CDs as a leader; his latest, Out of This Word, reached the top spot on the jazz radio charts. Mr. Rosenthal composes music ranging from jazz tunes to works for orchestra and ballet including Uptown, commissioned by Alvin Ailey. His digital CD, Jazzy Classics, with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, features his Jazz Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, as well as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Mr. Rosenthal is a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School, and is a published author. His website is tedrosenthal.com.

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Sean Smith, bass

With a career spanning more than 20 years, bassist/composer Sean Smith has performed with such jazz superstars as Gerry Mulligan, Phil Woods, Peggy Lee, Benny Carter, Johnny Griffin, Rosemary Clooney, Clark Terry and Lee Konitz. He was a member of the Jacky Terrasson Trio for four years, and as a sideman, he can be heard on more than 100 recordings. His music has been played and recorded by Phil Woods, Bill Charlap, Mark Murphy, Gene Bertoncini and others, and he has been featured on the soundtracks of several films. As a leader, his Sean Smith Quartet has made several recordings featuring his own compositions. Its most recent CD, Trust, was released in 2011 on Smithereen Records to rave reviews; it was named one of the best jazz albums of the year by the Huffington Post. Mr. Smith’s website is seansmithjazz.com.

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Rodney Green, drums

Rodney Green grew up in Camden, New Jersey, surrounded by gospel music. He was drawn to the drum kit by age three, and got his first lessons at 14 from Scott Robinson. Soon he was active in the Philadelphia jazz scene, playing regularly at Patti LaBelle’s Chez LaBelle, and at age 17 he went on his first international tour with Bobby Watson. After graduating from high school, Mr. Green moved to New York and quickly established a name for himself, playing with Diana Krall’s band for two years. He now leads his own Rodney Green Group, and he has performed with artists like Eric Reed, Benny Green, Mulgrew Miller, Terell Stafford, Christian McBride, Tom Harrell, Herbie Hancock and Dianne Reeves; earlier this month he played with Cécile McLorin Salvant in Paris. His website is rodneygreenjazz.com.

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