In these strange and unsettling times it is especially important to take breaks from the constant barrage of bad news and give in to the uplifting and healing power of great music. Please allow me to share some current and upcoming activities by the wonderful artists on our roster:

Saxophone and chekere master Yosvany Terry and his Quintet will open for Angelique Kidjo this Friday, July 29, at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, and perform for the first time at the Newport Jazz Festival on Sunday, July 31.

The young brass quartet The Westerlies will also make its Newport Jazz Festival debut this Sunday, introducing all new music from their eponymous second album, a 2-CD-set coming out next month on Songlines. Following a New York performance on August 4 at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the Westerlies will tour the US through the summer into the fall, culminating in a record release celebration at Brooklyn’s Roulette on October 18. Details here.

Guitarist Liberty Ellman, just voted Top Rising Star in the Down Beat Critics Poll, steps up as a bandleader and presents his sextet Supercell on August 12 at the Jazz Gallery in New York. Supercell is the killer band featured on Ellman’s acclaimed 2015 album Radiate.

Another guitar star in the making, Jerusalem born Rotem Sivan and his trio performed at the Blue Note last Sunday. This video clip features a gorgeous new solo piece, Keep Breathing, and a scorching trio performance of Angel Eyes. A new recording, his trio’s forth, is in its final stages and will be released later this year. Details to follow soon.

Pianist Edward Simon’s newest recording, Latin American Songbook, featuring bassist Joe Martin and drummer Adam Cruz, will be released next month on Sunnyside Records. To celebrate the occasion, the trio will perform at New York’s Jazz Standard on August 31. Latin American Songbook features Simon’s supple trio arrangements of classics from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and his native Venezuela. On September 9, at the Brubeck Institute in Stockton, California, Simon will premiere a large new work commissioned by Chamber Music America, House of Numbers performed by his all-star quartet Afinidad and the acclaimed chamber ensemble Imani Winds. The project will travel to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo on September 11, and the Walton Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 18, 2017.

Drummer/composer Dafnis Prieto and his Si o Si Quartet will perform on August 12 at Stonington’s picturesque Opera House at Deer Isle Jazz Festival in Maine, and in September at the Arab American National Museum in Detroit (9/16) and Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown Concert House (9/18). Prieto, whose recently published book A World of Rhythmic Possibilities was featured in the last Newsletter, shares a recent experience in his educator role:

“In April I had the great pleasure of bringing my student ensembles from the University of Miami Frost School of Music to Monterey, California, to participate in the 2016 Next Generation Jazz Festival Competition. After coaching these young talents for a full school year, I felt very strongly about all the work we did together and jumped at the opportunity for two simple reasons: to enhance my students’ experience of doing what they love the most – playing music – in front of a bigger audience, and because the competition winners receive an invitation to perform at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival. I am proud that we succeeded, receiving two Top Prizes, Best College Combo and Best Soloist, and I am now looking forward to bringing the Frost School’s Dafnis Prieto Artist Ensemble to the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 18, 2016.”

The recent performance of Myra Melford Snowy Egret’s at the Ottawa Jazz Festival was hailed by the Ottawa Citzen as “the perfect antidote to jazz fatigue… her quintet treated the audience to a 75-minute set that was marvelously unpredictable and wholly interesting as it covered a wide spectrum of expression.” Snowy Egret is the driving musical force of Melford’s stunning multimedia project Language of Dreams, with films, dance, and texts by Eduardo Galeano. Premiered in San Francisco in 2013, Language of Dreams will be staged again on November 19, 2016 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, on the heels of Snowy Egret’s next European tour including performances at the Frankfurt and Berlin Jazz Festivals.

Ron Miles, a member of Snowy Egret, will be making his recording debut for ECM Records later this year in New York. The Denver-based cornetist will team up again with Bill Frisell and Brian Blade for their third album, following Quiver (2012) and Circuit Rider (2014). The trio, now named Circuit Rider, will be joined by special guests Jason Moran and Thomas Morgan. Here is a trio video clip from last year’s Montreal Jazz Festival.

The chamber jazz group Tin Hat, originally Tin Hat Trio, has been on an indefinite hiatus from touring while its members are focusing on their solo projects. From August 12-19, co-founder/multi-instrumentalist Mark Orton, now an in-demand film composer (Nebraska, My Old Lady), combines his talents for film scoring and performing. In honor of the 90th Anniversary of Portland’s Hollywood Theatre and the 90th Anniversary of Buster Keaton’s classic film The General, which was shot in Cottage Grove, OR, the Hollywood Theatre and Oregon Film present a state-wide tour of the film with Orton’s original new live score. His band includes Tin Hat comrade Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Todd Sickafoose, and the Mousai Remix String Trio. Details here.