When discussing the tenor saxophone’s soul or its rhythm and blues swing vernacular, it is necessary to bring both Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt into the conversation.
Together and separately they played a pivotal role in the 1960s soul jazz movement. Their extended approach became an influence for upcoming tenors such as Stanley Turrentine and Houston Person.
June 4, VTY Jazz Arts will pay tribute to these two “Boss Tenors, Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt,” at Mount Vernon’s Bass Line (130 E. First St.), from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The hardworking rhythm section will include the pianist James Weidman, bassist Chris Berger and drummer Steve Williams. With such a creative force, the tenor saxophonists Anthony Nelson Jr. and Lawrence Clark will swing in a variety of directions, but be assured it will be a soulful fling.
Similar to Jimmy Heath, Stitt had to basically give up the alto saxophone and switch to tenor to avoid being regarded as a Charlie Parker clone. In Heath’s early days with his alto, he was referred to as “Little Bird.”
The jazz drummer and bebop innovator Kenny Clarke noted, “Even if there had not been a Bird, there would have been a Sonny Stitt.”
Ammons and Stitt first met in 1945, when they both played in Billy Eckstein’s big band. Later they recorded a number of impressive records. Many regard these recordings as some of Ammons’ and Stitt’s best work. Their collaboration was entered into the jazz bible as one of the best dueling performances in jazz, alongside Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, and Johnny Griffin with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.
For reservations, call 917-882-9539 or visit the website www.vtyjazz.com.
Reocurring dreams can drop a dreamer straight into the scary depths of “The Twilight Zone.” Hey, wake-up! Wake-up! Then again, “ReOcurring Dreams,” the selected works from the South African artist Samson Mnisi with accompanying photographs and silk screens by Canon Hersey, will have you on the shores of South Africa.
The exhibit, now on view through June 16 at the RAW Space Gallery (2031 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. between 121st and 122nd streets), will offer the walking alert a creative springboard to delve deeper into the concept of global radical resistance.
An interactive exploration into abstract resistance, “ReOccurring Dreams” exams continual themes and commentaries on resistance from apartheid to new forms of millennial global oppression.
Mnisi’s paintings bring viewers face to face with the ancestral spirit that today is actively involved in a manic dysfunctional society. It is a journey with symbols that have sacred and high spiritual meanings.
Mnisi was raised in Soweto, South Africa and developed a resistance to the apartheid regime and left to become an artist in the global art market. For his mostly large-sized paintings, he uses patterns, lines, symbols and color to define a contemporary South African expression.
His creative force draws on modern patterns that you may have seen in various traditional African fabrics. His work is representative of Africa as a whole and takes on different perspectives each time it is viewed.