The National Jazz Museum in Harlem begins and ends the month with the co-director of the museum, Christian McBride, who comes off the road for five free Jazz for Curious Listeners sessions focusing on the role of the bass in jazz history, the jazz ensemble, and in his illustrious career.

Drummer Ben Riley, first famous for his 1960’s tenure with Thelonious Monk, is the first guest of the flagship Harlem Speaks series. He remains one of the most important drummers on the scene today, so don’t miss this rare discussion about his long and distinguished career. The second guest of Harlem Speaks is the saxophonist, composer and arranger Ray Santos, a true icon for over sixty years in the Latin jazz world.

Join for several panel discussions, one peering deeply into the past with a new look at ways jazz informed the work of writer Jack Kerouac, the other projecting a view to the future of jazz in the 21st century.

And so we can take out the old and bring in the new swingin’, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All Star Big Band, under the direction of Loren Schoenberg, will perform live at the Rubin Museum of Art for the Harlem in the Himalayas series.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: The Bass
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

The finest musicians to spring from the world of jazz have clearly had an advantage when it comes to branching into other genres of music. Their mastery of composition, arranging and sight reading coupled with their flair for improvisation and spontaneous creation make them possibly the most seasoned and adaptable musicians in the art. Grammy Award winner Christian McBride, chameleonic virtuoso of the acoustic and electric bass, stands tall at the top of this clique. Beginning in 1989 – the beginning of an amazing career in which he still has wider-reaching goals to attain – the Philadelphian has thus far been first-call-requested to accompany literally hundreds of fine artists, ranging in an impressive array from McCoy Tyner and Sting to Kathleen Battle and Diana Krall. His clear mastery of the bass, undisputed respect and admiration of his peers, and acclaim in the media offers a unique opportunity for those in attendance at tonight’s session. Hear one of the greatest artists on his instrument discuss the role of the bass in the jazz ensemble throughout jazz history and also demonstrate on his own bass.
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Harlem Speaks
Ben Riley, Drummer
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Ben Riley was born on July 17, 1933 in Savannah, Georgia, and his family moved to New York four years later. He began studying with noted Harlem band leader Cecil Scott while in junior high school, and in high school began playing in a school band. In 1952 Ben Riley joined the army and began to perform with the army band, ramping up his learning curve several notches. Following his discharge from the army in the late 1950’s, he began working in and around New York and developed long-lasting relationships with Randy Weston, Mary Lou Williams, Sonny Rollins, Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Billy Taylor, and many others. Yet the association that secured Ben’s place in jazz history was his four year stint with the legendary Thelonious Monk. He toured extensively with Monk and recorded several now classic albums with the pianist, such as It’s Monk’s Time, Underground, and Straight, No Chaser. A marvelous example of Riley’s playing with Monk is also found in the black-and-white DVD released by Jazz Icons.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jazz for Curious Readers
Greg Tate
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Greg Tate was a staff writer at The Village Voice from 1987–2003. His wri ings on culture and politics have also been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Rolling Stone among other publications. His play My Darling Gremlin (with live music score by Lawrence Butch Morris) was produced at Aaron Davis Hall in 1993 and at The Kitchen in 1995. His short feature film Black Body Radiation was completed in 2006. He also collaborated on the librettoes for Juluis Hemphill’s opera Long Tongues (Apollo Production) and for Leroy Jenkins’ Fresh Faust, (Boston ICA Production). Tate, who performs on guitar in his group Burnt Sugar, is currently teaching a course as the Visiting Louis Armstrong Professor at Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: On Film
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Come witness Christian McBride, co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, on film, with his own bands, as well as with legends such as Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hanock.

If you do you’ll see for yourself that the most awe-inspiring thing about Christian McBride is that his prowess as a player is only half of what makes him such a respected, in-demand and mind-bogglingly busy individual, taking time out to share with the audience of the museum.
The portrait is completed by a mere mid-thirty-something man who carved out time to speak at former President Clinton’s town hall meeting on “Racism in the Performing Arts.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jazz Is: Now!
All about jazz in the 21st century – Part One with Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Over the course of one century, jazz transitioned from folk to pop to fine art status. In the U.S., where pop music commands the attention of millions, jazz seems to be off the radar of the mainstream media. Yet changes in the landscape of the music industry, driven largely by the Internet and technological innovation, bodes opportunity for jazz musicians, promoters, producers and presenters. This evening pianist Jonathan Batiste brings together a panel to discuss the future of jazz in the 21st century.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: My Bands
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

As one of the most in-demand bassists in music, Christian McBride could make a good living as a sideman. However, not only does he refuse to rest on his laurels or sideman status, over the course of his 20 year career he has asserted his own prerogative as a leader. Come hear him discuss his own bands, both electric and acoustic, including his latest ensemble, Inside Straight, which headlined at the Village Vanguard in November. Christian was awarded a partial scholarship to attend the world-renowned Juilliard School in New York City to study with the legendary bassist, Homer Mensch. McBride never had a chance to settle into his Juilliard studies. Within the first two weeks of the semester, he joined saxophonist Bobby Watson’s band, Horizon. He also started working around New York at clubs such as Bradley’s and the Village Gate with John Hicks, Kenny Barron, Larry Willis and Gary Bartz. There have been very few artists who truly embody the genuine, heart-felt passion for music in all areas as has Christian McBride. By boldly continuing to leave his mark in areas of musical performance, composition, education and advocacy, he is destined to be a force in music for decades to come. Tonight’s focus on his own groups will unequivocally show why.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jazz Is: Now!
All about jazz in the 21st century – Part Two with Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Harlem Speaks
Ray Santos, Saxophonist/composer
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

For years, Ray Santos has been one Latin Music’s best kept secrets. Not anymore. His arrangement of “Beautiful Maria of My Soul” for the Hollywood movie, The Mambo Kings, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Song for a Movie Category (1992). He penned the arrangements for tunes such as “Perfidia” and “Quiereme Mucho,” sung on the movie soundtrack by Linda Ronstadt. Excited by the power of the Ray Santos arrangements, she quickly contracted him to arrange and conduct the material for an album of Latin standards. The result of the Ronstadt/Santos collaboration was the release entitled Frenesi, a tour-de force production that earned the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album of the Year (1992). On Tito Puente’s 100th Album and Afro-Cuban Jazz progenitor Mario Bauza’s last three productions, Ray Santos’ musicality poured forth through his big band arrangements.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Harlem in the Himalayas National Jazz Museum in Harlem All Star Big Band 7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344
Band includes:Seneca Black, John Eckert, Dominick Farinacci, Dion Tucker, Pete and Will Anderson, Jason Marshall, Keith Loftis, Ben Williams and Marion Felder. Swing with executive director Loren Schoenberg and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem AllStar Big Band at our very last performance at the Rubin Museum of Art in 2009!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Panels
Jack Kerouac: What’s New?
11:00am – 4:00pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Join scholar Sara Villa, poet Rueben Jackson and others on recent discoveries and jazz-related items in the Jack Kerouac oeuvre. When thinking of the relationship between Kerouac’s writings, the first things that generally come to mind are his major novels – most evidently On the Road and The Subterraneans – his poems, like the “Charlie Parker Choruses” of Mexico City Blues, or his poetical statements, such as his “Essential of Spontaneous Prose”. If, however, we unite this specifically literary perspective to the analysis of his apparently most scattered writings on jazz, a new image of Kerouac is revealed. Sara Villa is a postdoctoral fellow in a joint program between Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies and the State University of Milan, where she received her PhD in 2008.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: All-Star Projects
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

This evening Christian McBride shall share audio and video clips from his tenure with truly all-star bands, such as Sting, trios led by Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny, groups fronted by Willie Nelson and Queen Latifah, as well as the Philadelphia Experiment and, very recently, the Chick Corea-John McLauglin Five Piece Band. Come with questions.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jazz for Curious Listeners
A Month with Christian McBride: Favorite Recordings
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMIH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

As the premier jazz bassist of his generation, Christian McBride is naturally associated with the jazz idiom. But his tastes in music are quite eclectic, as you will discover tonight at the very last public program of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in 2009.