By Dan Lehner and FoM
Winter Jazzfest returns for it's lucky 13th edition next month, filling the clubs of the East and West Village (and beyond) with more than 150 bands playing everything from hot jazz to the far out sounds of Pharaoh Sanders, who kicks things off at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Thursday, Jan 5. The centerpiece, as always, is the two night WJF Marathon, with two-day passes selling for the still-ridiculously low price of $80. A full 6 day festival pass ($160) also gets you into Pharaoh Sanders, the Thelonious Monk 100th Birthday Show (1/8), Sam Amdion and Andrew Cyrille (1/9), and a special closing show with the Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra and Geri Allen (1/10). (An all-star Jazz Legends concert on Jan. 5 benefitting Disability Pride NYC is on sale separately for $100.) Tickets for all shows available now at the (Le) Poisson Rouge box office or online.
Below are some of the bands we're most looking forward to checking out this year:
Jason Moran and the Bandwagon Play Monk (Jan 6, New School Tishman Auditorium)
When it comes to paying homage, Jason Moran has a history of being both a meticulous re-enactor and a savvy post-structuralist; he's a musician who once rebuilt Monk's 1959 Town Hall Concert brick by brick, but also one who re-imagined Fats Waller with the likes of M'Shell Ndgeocello. So it's anybody's guess as to what he and The Bandwagon will do at Tishman Auditorium during the Marathon on Friday the 6th. One thing's for sure, though: since Moran has both the stride piano talent that made Monk a prodigy and the innovative spark that made him a legend, it's sure to be exhilarating.
Daymé Arocena (Jan. 6, (Le) Poisson Rouge)
Cuban music is an integral part of jazz music's history, but it also plays an important role in jazz's present. Few are more representative of the island's rhythmic prowess and musical innovation than vocalist Dayme Arocena and her band. Arocena's voice is a cross-section of Cuban folkloric music and American jazz and R&B and has a fleet and full-figured sense of melodic phrasing. Her debut release Nueva Era is a fine document of her abilities, but it's really the explosive, polyrhythmic bombast of her live set (driven by her incredibly capable live band) that really shows her at her best.