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Today: Make Music Winter 2016

Preview: Winter Jazzfest 2017

By Dan Lehner and FoM

Winter Jazzfest 2017

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. 

WJF Outside
Peter Evans Quintet (Jan 7, Subculture)
Only the most stunningly original sonic innovator could land themselves a full-page ad in the Times Arts section from playing left-of-center free jazz - but that's exactly the kind of name that trumpeter Peter Evans has earned for himself. Best known for his tenure in Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Evans has a full range of improvisation at his disposal that rivals any and all takers from both the jazz and contemporary classical music worlds. His quintet features live electronics from the likes of Sam Pluta and drummer Jim Black, so sound should play a key role during his set at Subculture, Saturday the 7th. 
Andrew Cyrille and Haitian Fascination (Jan 7, New School 12th Street Auditorium)
Cyrille is one of the most unique legacy artists WJF has to offer - he has solidified his reputation in many corners of the jazz world as a drummer for Cecil Taylor, Coleman Hawkins and most consistently with the triumvirate Trio 3 with Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman. However, his set at the New School 12th street auditorium will dig into even deeper roots, that of his Haitian ancestry. The Haitian Fascination Band - which released one album back in 2012 - is a playful and deep-seated look into the vodou-based musical traditions of Haiti. 
Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra (Jan 10, (Le) Poisson Rouge)
A theme of the Winter Jazzfest this coming year is "social justice" and in January 2017, having come right off of one of the most political and socially contentious years in contemporary American history, it will feel more than appropriate. Though tragically absent its founder, who passed in 2014, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra is one of the many touchstones in jazz's relationship with social movements, having been a conduit for Haden's beautiful musical tributes to the freedom fighters in Europe, the Americas and more. Their performance at Le Poisson Rouge on January 10th will be in good hands, with arrangements by Carla Bley and performances by special guest Geri Allen
Full festival lineup details available here. Info on single and multi-day passes here.