Some may associate jazz and its audiences with an older crowd, but tastes in music tend to be cyclical in nature and the cultural inheritance accompanying the genre is quintessentially American. In fact, there are thriving communities of young artists bridging the generational divide with shared influences and passion for jazz all over the world. This year’s JazzFest White Plains features a wide range of talented artists, including quite a few young stars who, in their own unique way, bring jazz to its next audience.
It takes a truly deft hand to bring out the full potential of the vibraphone; however, it’s clear that Joel Ross’ subtle virtuosity can conjure hands to spare. Ross, with his quintet ‘Good Vibes,’ is one of the newest and most eagerly anticipated additions to Blue Note Records. Together, they recently released their debut album, KingMaker. On BlueNote.com, Ross explains that “every song [on the record] is influenced by people or events, relationships I had.” At only 23, Ross has done the delicate work of making a record that has nods to seasoned vibes players like Bobby Hutcherson and Stefon Harris, while keeping true to his own distinct style. Good Vibes includes Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Benjamin Tiberio on bass and Jeremy Dutton on drums. The Chicago native and new Brooklynite, will be playing at ArtsWestchester at 7:30pm on September 13
Melissa Aldana has been steeping in the music and tradition of jazz for most of her life, and it shows. Between her childhood experiences playing in Santiago jazz clubs to studying under an array of master performers at Berklee, Aldana incorporated a wide range of styles and techniques into her repertoire. At the age of 24, she made history by becoming the first female and the first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Her new record, Visions, pulls from her Chilean roots and touches on Aldana’s connection to Frieda Kahlo, who provided her with the example of a Latina artist who was willing to challenge cultural and artistic norms. “This is my first direct contribution that connects my work to the legacy of Latina artists who have come before me,” Aldana described the record in a recent interview with Jazziz. Aldana will join her frequent collaborator Joel Ross at ArtsWestchester for a joint JazzFest set on September 13 at 9pm.
Jazz is a genre built on traditions passed between a community of performers. Pianist Emmet Cohen has dedicated his time and efforts to contributing to that chain of musical history. The 29-year-old composer and musician has earned innumerable honors within his field and has been recording and playing for quite some time with some of the most celebrated names in the jazz genre. Cohen has become known not only for his prodigious piano playing, but also for focusing on what he calls an “intergenerational transfer of artistic knowledge, history and traditions.” In his new project, the “Masters Legacy Series,” Cohen collected and contributed recordings and interviews with some of jazz’s greats – including legends George Coleman and Jimmy Cobb, both of whom Cohen and his quartet will share the stage with, at the White Plains Performing Arts Center this Saturday September 14 at 8pm.
The term “double threat” is one that is often thrown around; but, when it comes to Camille Thurman, there is no mistaking her for the real deal. A maverick on the tenor sax and as a vocalist, Thurman has assembled a collection of incredible recordings, accolades from every corner, and collaborations with everyone from Dianne Reeves to Wynton Marsalis. Thurman’s most recent record, “Waiting For The Sunrise,” features both of her instruments and was recorded with the binaural method, which duplicates the way we naturally hear sounds, creating a visceral and acoustically organic listening experience. Don’t be fooled be the intimate vibe however – Thurman has a powerful stage presence rife with soulful scatting that has garnered frequent comparisons to Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Thurman will be joined by the Darrell Green Trio this Sunday September 15 on Mamaroneck Avenue in downtown White Plains as part of a free full-day concert to close out this year’s JazzFest.
William Bermingham works in the Communications Department at ArtsWestchester. He is a graduate of Purchase College where he studied Arts Management.