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Smoke Jazz Club April “Jazz Appreciation Month”

March 30 @ 8:00 pm - April 30 @ 11:30 pm EDT

The Smoke Jazz Club Announces Line-Up for April “Jazz Appreciation Month.” Described as “the most genuine, congenial and best-run jazz club in the city (Huffington Post),” New York’s Smoke Jazz Club presents a stellar line-up of some of jazz’s greatest artists during April aka Jazz Appreciation Month.

The month’s cornerstones are two album release concerts celebrating recordings on the club’s house label, Smoke Sessions: Buster Williams’s Unalome (Apr 13-16) and Wayne Escoffery’s Like Minds (Apr 20-23). Other highlights include octogenarian Eddie Henderson leading his quintet (Apr 6-9), and two stellar pianists: George Cables (Mar 30-Apr 2), and Cyrus Chestnut on International Jazz Day (Apr 27-30). Please scroll down for the complete schedule or visit SMOKEjazz.com.

George Cables Quartet (Mar 30-Apr 2)
Buster Williams & Something More record release (Apr 13-16)
Wayne Escoffery Quartet record release (Apr 20-23)
Cyrus Chestnut Quartet (Apr 27-30)
and more…When: Wednesday-Sunday @ 7:00 p.m. + 9:00 p.m. and additional 10:30 p.m. (Fri & Sat only).

Where: SMOKE, 2751 Broadway (between 105/106th Streets),
New York, NY, Train: 1 to 103rd Street.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

Tickets: In-Person $25-$60. Livestream $15. For more information and to make reservations, please visit SMOKEjazz.com.

(subject to change)

Thu Mar 30-Apr 2 George Cables Quartet
George Cables – piano
Craig Handy – tenor saxophone
Essiet Essiet – bass
Jerome Jennings – drums

“Anyone who is serious about jazz will tell you that George Cables belongs in the pantheon of the greatest jazz pianists.” – All About Jazz

One of the essential artists of piano, George Cables (aka “Mr. Beautiful”) is known for his impeccable sound, sensitive accompaniment, and original playing. A trusted collaborator over the past 50 years for artists like Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon, and Art Pepper, Cables has also released numerous important recordings as a leader. The New York City Jazz Record says, “He is a piano giant.” National Public Radio adds “His solos reveal a deep sense of groove and pacing and a mind at work.” His compelling quartet features saxophonist Craig Handy, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Jerome Jennings.

Wed Apr 5 Cynthia Scott & Houston Person
Cynthia Scott – vocals
Houston Person – tenor saxophone
TBA – band

“In a rich, soulful voice, she sings messages of hope and compassion.” – Jazziz

Cynthia Scott, a soulful, Grammy-nominated vocalist, leads a swinging quintet featuring the
legendary tenor saxophonist Houston Person. Scott worked with Ray Charles as a Raelette before launching her successful solo career and subsequently performing with Hank Crawford, David “Fathead” Newman, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr. and many others.

JazzTimes says Scott blends “the sinewy grit of Gladys Knight and the sophisticated sass of Shirley Horn” with “nods to such idols as Carmen, Ella, Sarah and Dinah.” The Chicago Tribune called her “a mesmerizing vocalist.” Houston Person is the very special guest with this quintet and All About Jazz says, “Whatever imponderable talent it takes to stay at the top of one’s game for almost six decades, as Person has, he still has it in abundance.”

Thu-Sun Apr 6-9 Eddie Henderson Quintet
Eddie Henderson – trumpet
Donald Harrison – alto saxophone
Kevin Hays – piano
Gerald Cannon – bass
Mike Clark – drums

“His musical wisdom, gleaned during decades spent on the best jazz bandstands, informs every unerring note.” – Downbeat

Trumpeter Eddie Henderson leads an inspired quintet of trusted collaborators featuring saxophonist Donald Harrison, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Gerald Cannon, and drummer Mike Clark. Henderson’s “deft feel and plush sound made him a central figure in the worlds of jazz-funk and hard-bop in the 1970s” according to The New York Times.

More recently, the eternally youthful Henderson, has made a series of recordings that have also been widely acclaimed and prove that he is still making some of the most important music of his career into his 80s. TheChicago Reader adds, “His progressive, assured, and imaginative improvisations roll out in a glorious sun-splashed tone… he seems to dance through his solos, balancing his quick clockwork technique with bursts of bluesy soul.”

Wed Apr 12 Kevin Hays / Ben Street / Billy Hart
Kevin Hays – piano
Ben Street – bass
Billy Hart – drums

“The three musicians seem to bond at the molecular level. They engage in constant conversation throughout their solos…” – Downbeat

This all-star collective trio featuring pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Ben Street and drum legend Billy Hart make a special Wednesday night appearance to warm up for a recording session. Hays has appeared on over 60 albums recording with Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, and Al Foster. Other notable collaborations include a widely acclaimed duo project with Brad Mehldau, as well as performances with James Taylor, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, and Roy Haynes. Bassist Street is esteemed for his work with John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Sam Rivers, and as a member of Billy Hart Quartet with whom he’s developed a strong rapport. Billy Hart has had a rich and varied career including tenures with Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi, McCoy Tyner, and Stan Getz. He also leads his own quartet and has released a series of acclaimed albums. The Detroit Free-Press has stated, “Want to know what jazz is really about? Listen to Billy Hart.”

Thu-Sun Apr 13-16 Buster Williams & Something More Unalome record release
Bruce Williams – alto saxophone
Stefon Harris – vibraphone
George Colligan- piano
Buster Williams – bass
Lenny White – drums

“One of the all-time great bassists in modern jazz.” – NPR

Bassist Buster Williams celebrates the release of his exciting new album, Unalome (Smoke Sessions), accompanied by his acclaimed quintet, Something More. This well-known and beloved ensemble features vibraphonist Stefon Harris, saxophonist Bruce Williams, pianist George Colligan, as well as fellow music legend, drummer Lenny White. The Guardian calls Williams “one of the great acoustic bassists,” and JazzTimes adds “Williams’ résumé ranks with that of any bassist in the modern era.” That resume includes working with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt when he was only 17; backing the singing legends Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughan, and Nancy Wilson in the ’60s; anchoring Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi sextet into the ’70s; and co-founding the Timeless All-Stars and Sphere after that. As important as he is as a bassist, he is also well-known as a composer and bandleader. The New Yorker hails his music as “modern, mainstream at its best.” Here, he performs music from Unalome, a major artistic statement.

Wed Apr 19 E.J. Strickland Quintet
Jaleel Shaw – alto & soprano saxophone
Myron Walden – tenor sax & bass clarinet
Victor Gould – piano
Eric Wheeler – bass
E.J. Strickland – drums

“As for E.J., he just gets better and better. His whirlwind multi-faceted drumming is like a continuous solo at times, but constantly swinging and always subtle.” – JazzWise

Drummer E.J. Strickland leads an impressive quintet featuring saxophonists Jaleel Shaw and Myron Walden, pianist Victor Gould, and bassist Eric Wheeler. Strickland is a world-class, world-traveled drummer who has toured, performed, and recorded with some of the greatest names in contemporary music including Cassandra Wilson, Terence Blanchard, Lizz Wright, Wynton Marsalis, George Colligan, David Gilmore, Vincent Herring, and Nnenna Freelon. The Hartford Courant reports his drumming “has a rare balance of subtlety and power” while All About Jazz adds, “(he) belongs to a technically brilliant and forward-thinking group of young musicians.” And Downbeat says he emits “fields of cumulative energy, clouds of feather-touch and heavy-handed syncopations, latent with power like an oncoming storm.”

Thu-Sun Apr 20-23 Wayne Escoffery Quartet Like Minds record release
Wayne Escoffery – tenor & soprano saxophone
David Kikoski – piano
Ugonna Okegwo – bass
Mark Whitfield Jr. – drums

“Every time he plays, saxophonist Wayne Escoffery brings a sense memory that includes early days in the church choir in New Haven, Connecticut; the wisdom and watchful eye of the legendary Jackie McLean; time spent with The Mingus Big Band, Ron Carter and Tom Harrell.” –WBGO

Saxophonist Wayne Escoffery celebrates the release of his anticipated new album Like Minds (Smoke Sessions) by performing the music from it. As on the recording, Escoffery leads a superb quartet—with pianist David Kikoski, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. Escoffery, a prominent protégé of the great Jackie McLean, faithfully channels his former mentor’s powerful approach. All About Jazz says, “Not since the works of bassist Charles Mingus and saxophonist John Coltrane has there been music so charged with emotion and so engulfed in spirituality.” Stereogum adds, “the leader’s playing has thoughtfulness and muscle in equal measure.”

Wed Apr 26 Lezlie Harrison Quintet
Lezlie Harrison – vocals
Antoine Drye – trumpet
John DiMartino – piano
Yoshi Waki – bass
Russell Carter – drums

As a vocalist both bold and subtle, Lezlie Harrison’s vulnerability attends to the fragile matters of our collective human affairs while her optimistic momentum inspires us to rise above any tribulation to rejoice. Be it Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Soul, The American Song Form, original compositions, or any song in ANY form, Ms. Harrison will imbue it with her distinctive stamp and make a very personal delivery. On the planet’s premier jazz radio station, WBGO, her voice as a regular curator and presenter reveal the love and pride with which she regards America’s classical music. Hyper-active on the New York and global jazz scenes, Lezlie is also, along with the late Dale Fitzgerald and trumpeter Roy Hargrove, a member of the triumvirate responsible for launching New York’s world-renowned JAZZ GALLERY.

On occasion Lezlie lends her regal presence to the stage as an actress, bringing to those endeavors, the same sense of organic elegance that she brought to the runways and photo studios of Paris some years ago. By way of her childhood in New York and North Carolina or her maturation in New York, Boston or on stages throughout Asia, Russia, Europe, and elsewhere, Ms. Lezlie Harrison shows aesthetic evidence that she is a recipient of the lessons of dignity, integrity, and grace bestowed upon her by her elders and fine-tuned by her own history.

Thu-Sun Apr 27-30 Cyrus Chestnut Quartet
Cyrus Chestnut – piano
TBA – band
“The Best Pianist of His Generation.” – Time
Cyrus Chestnut, one of the great jazz pianists, leads an exciting quartet. “His brand of crisp articulation and blues-inflected harmony evokes another era… multifaceted and dynamic…” says The New York Times. Inspired by gospel music throughout his life, Cyrus draws on a range of musical influences while never straying too far from the blues, which The New York Daily News says makes him “the rightful heir to Bud Powell, Art Tatum, and Erroll Garner.”

Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at the junction of Broadway and 106th Street (aka Duke Ellington Boulevard), Smoke Jazz Club is one of New York City’s premier live music venues. Renowned for offering top-notch programming of accessible, timeless jazz featuring legendary performers, modern masters and rising stars, Smoke stands apart with its candlelit dining room, stellar acoustics, and classic American cuisine. Founded in 1999, SMOKE also boasts a GRAMMY-nominated label, Smoke Sessions Records, and a celebrated streaming concert series, Smoke Screens. For everything else, visit SMOKEjazz.com.


March 30 @ 8:00 pm EDT
April 30 @ 11:30 pm EDT
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Smoke Jazz Club
Broadway and 106th Street
New York City, NY United States
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