NEA Masters On Masters — Luce Group


a new way to experience live jazz



A Conversation with NY Times Jazz Writer Nate Chinen, Gary Bartz and others 

8:30 pm Laszlo Gardony Solo Piano.
9:00 pm Gary Bartz Quartet 
the music of Jackie McLean and More.

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Grammy Award winning jazz saxophonist Gary Bartz first came to New York in 1958 - at age 17 - to attend Juilliard. Miles Davis' group was in its heydey, Thelonious Monk was down at the Five Spot and Ornette Coleman was just coming to town.

Soon, Gary began performing with the Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln Group and he quickly established himself as the most promising alto voice in jazz since Cannonball Adderley.

Over the last 50 years, Gary Bartz has claimed his place at the top of the world of jazz saxophone. Bartz has played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the Charles Mingus' Workshop, Eric Dolphy, and in 1968, he began an association with McCoy Tyner which lives on to this day.

His landmark 1973 recording with Jackie McLean for Steeplechase Records featured a magnificent version of Charlie Parker’s composition, “Red Cross”. It is a classic battle of alto saxophone giants.  


In 2001, Jackie McLean was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. He spent his entire life as a musician. In High School, he played in a band with pianist Kenny Drew, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, and others.

After high school, he joined Sonny Rollins on Miles Davis' recording Dig, when he was 19 years old. As a young man, McLean also recorded with Gene Ammons, Charles Mingus on the seminal Pithecanthropus Erectus and as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

His work for Blue Note records brought McLean opportunities for a wide range of musical expression. He recorded as a leader and as a sideman with Donald Byrd, Sonny Clark, Lee Morgan, Ornette Coleman, Dexter Gordon, Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard, Grachan Moncur III, Bobby Hutcherson, Mal Waldron, and many others.

Pianist Laszlo Gardony

Laszlo Gardony

Laszlo Gardony

Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Laszlo Gardony is a critically acclaimed artist who has brought his soulful improvisations and compositions to audiences in 25 countries. 

Gardony has been praised for his “fluid pianism” by The New York Times and for his “uniformly high quality of compositions” by All About Jazz Magazine. JazzTimes has called him “one of contemporary music’s truly original voices.” 


He has been featured with the Boston Pops, the Utah Symphony and The Smithsonian Institute’s “Beyond Category” Traveling Duke Ellington Exhibit, and was commissioned to arrange his original compositions for The Danish Radio Big Band.  Laszlo Gardony has been living in Boston for the past thirty years, where he is a Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music.



NEA Masters on Masters 4
Steve Turré on JJ Johnson

Friday, February 7, 2014 8pm

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One of the world's preeminent jazz innovators, trombonist and seashellist Steve Turre has consistently won both the Readers' and Critics' polls in JazzTimes, Downbeat, and Jazziz for Best Trombone and for Best Miscellaneous Instrumentalist (shells). 

In 1972, Ray Charles hired him to go on tour, and in 1973, trumpeter Woody Shaw brought him into Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. After his tenure with Blakey, Turre went on to work with a diverse list of musicians from the jazz, Latin, and pop worlds, including Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, J.J. Johnson, Herbie Hancock, Lester Bowie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Van Morrison, Pharoah Sanders, Horace Silver, Max Roach, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. 

His skills on the trombone are only eclipsed by his virtuosity on the conch shell, and he has several "shell choir" recordings to his credit. According to Turré, "JJ Johnson did for the trombone what Charlie Parker did for the saxophone." 

Few musicians are as versatile as trombonist Steve Turré. He splits his time between touring, composing, recording, teaching at both Juilliard and Oberlin College and holding down a seat in the Saturday Night Live Band for over 20 years.


 JJ Johnson has long been regarded as one of the leading trombonists of the post-, and he swing erawas one of the first trombonists to embrace bebop. Johnson played in Benny Carter's orchestra between 1942 and 1945, and made his first recordings in 1942 under Carter's leadership, recording his first solo (on Love for Sale) in October, 1943.

In 1944, he took part in the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, presented in Los Angeles and in 1945, he joined the big band of Count Basie, touring and recording with him until 1946.

Following the mid-1950s collaboration with Winding, J. J. Johnson began leading his own touring small groups for about 3 years, covering the United States, United Kingdom and Scandinavia. These groups (ranging from quartets to sextets) included tenor saxophonists Bobby Jaspar and Clifford Jordan, cornetist Nat Adderley, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianists Tommy Flanagan and Cedar Walton, and drummers Elvin JonesAlbert "Tootie" Heath, and Max Roach

In 1962,  J. J. toured for a number of months with Miles Davis' sextet.  In 1970, Quincy Jones convinced Johnson to move from New York to California to compose for cinema and television, where he eventually scored movies such as Across 110th StreetCleopatra JonesTop of the Heap and Willie Dynamite, as well as TV series such as Starsky & HutchMike Hammer and The Six Million Dollar Man 

He recorded six albums as a leader between 1977 and 1984 (including a 1984 trombone duo album with Al Grey) and a few albums as a sideman, two with Count Basie, and he appeared on The Sting II soundtrack. During the California period JJ Johnson also played in the Coconut Grove orchestra of Sammy Davis, Jr. and the TV orchestra of Carol Burnett

Johnson's work in the 1940s and 1950s demonstrated that the slide trombone could be played in the bebop style; as trombonist Steve Turre has summarized, "J. J. did for the trombone what Charlie Parker did for the saxophone. And all of us that are playing today wouldn't be playing the way we're playing if it wasn't for what he did. And not only, of course, is he the master of the trombone — the definitive master of this century — but, as a composer and arranger, he is in the top shelf as well."


Masters on Masters 5


Luis Perdomo meets Ravi Coltrane


Friday, March 14, 2014 8pm

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Luis Perdomo grew up in a home filled with music. Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1971, Luis was exposed to just about every style of music by his father, an avid music fan and collector. Alongside salsa, Latin, R & B, and classical, the young Perdomo heard jazz greats like Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson, two of his earliest and most important musical influences.

Drawn to jazz and to the piano at an early age, Luis was making regular professional appearances on Venezuelan TV and radio by the time he was twelve.

After music school, he moved to New York, and established himself as an in-demand pianist with Ravi Coltrane, John Patitucci, Ray Barretto, Brian Lynch, Miguel Zenon,  Jane Bunnett, Ralph Irizarry & Timbalaye, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, Alice Coltrane, Yosvany Terry and others.

Luis' has released five highly praised recordings as a leader: "Focus Point" (2005), "Awareness" (2006), and the highly acclaimed "Universal Mind" featuring Drew Gress and Jack Dejohnette (2012) for Ravi Coltrane's RKM Music label. "Pathways"  in 2008, and The "Infancia" Project in 2012, were both recorded for Criss Cross Jazz. 

After music school, he moved to New York, and established himself as an in-demand pianist with Ravi Coltrane, John Patitucci, Ray Barretto, Brian Lynch, Miguel Zenon,  Jane Bunnett, Ralph Irizarry & Timbalaye, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, Alice Coltrane, Yosvany Terry and others. 



After releasing his latest album, last year's Spirit Fiction, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane put his decade-old quartet on hiatus, and has now assembled a new group.

Had John Coltrane lived to see his son grow up, he might have told Ravi about how his own "classic quartet" broke up; he'd begun to incorporate new voices (including Ravi's mother Alice Coltrane) by the time his new band recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 1966.

But that exchange never happened, and Ravi Coltrane discovered his inheritance on his own. Perhaps that's one reason why he developed a sleek and modern approach, loosely suggesting his father's adventurous spirit but not his signature sound.







Masters on Masters 6
Lionel Loueke Trio

Saturday, March 29, 2014 8pm

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Starting out on vocals and percussion, Loueke picked up the guitar late, at age 17. After his initial to exposure to jazz in Benin, he left to attend the National Institute of Art in nearby Ivory Coast. In 1994 he left Africa to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, then came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee. From there, Loueke gained acceptance to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he encountered his Gilfema bandmates Biolcati, Nemeth, Parlato and other musicians with whom he would form lasting creative relationships.


Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African folk forms, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. His previous Blue Note release, Mwaliko, offered a series of searching, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Esperanza Spalding and Marcus Gilmore — artists and allies who continue to have a profound impact on Loueke’s vision as a bandleader.

In addition to Karibu and three previous albums with Gilfema (GilfemaVirgin Forest, Gilfema + 2), Loueke has appeared on Terence Blanchard’s Grammy-nominated Flow (2005) and Hancock’s Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters (2008). He has also toured the world as a member of Hancock’s band and appeared on recordings by such legends as Jack DeJohnette (Sound Travels), Charlie Haden (Land of the Sun), Kenny Barron (The Traveler) and Gonzalo Rubalcaba (XXI Century). He has also recorded with Esperanza Spalding (Radio Music Society), Gretchen Parlato (In a Dream), Avishai Cohen (After the Big Rain), Kendrick Scott (Source) and other leading peers.


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