A drumroll of quick ones:
• The Village Vanguard is up and running with a powerful livestream series that continues Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, featuring the exhilarating sounds of bassist Joe Martin, saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Kevin Hays, and drummer Nasheet Waits. Visit VillageVanguard.com for tickets and teasers.
• Louis Armstrong, as Gary Giddins said, did “what only the greatest artists are prepared to do—show the world to itself in a new light.” And the photographer Chris Barham did likewise, showing Armstrong to the world in a set of iconic photos of the jazz legend on the front steps of his Queens home with kids in the neighborhood 50 years ago this week. Barham died Monday at the age of 87, but his inspiring images live on.
• Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, whose music I can’t stop boasting about—for god’s sake listen to his tensely erupting, lucidly floating sound on “Aftermath” and “Threnody” with Vijay Iyer—is on a hot streak. Mahanthappa’s latest, Hero Trio, is bound to be album of the year. If I were still organizing the old Pazz & Jop poll at the Village Voice (you reading this, Bob and Chuck? Send a flare to firstname.lastname@example.org), Hero Trio would be runaway first, and I’d ballot-stuff, electioneer, whatever it took. Sample and sample, with Charlie Parker darting in.
• In case you missed Arturo O’Farrill’s good news, his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s Four Questions features Cornel West’s narration and poetic justice on the title track, with a “caravan of love—or what Coltrane called A Love Supreme.” Dr. West, you are supremely welcome at email@example.com.
• Additional stamina from the exceptional tenor saxophonist Jorge Continentino on “De Volta à Festa (Back to the Party),” from drummer Vanderlei Pereira’s new Vision for Rhythm. “Party” indeed, if you can, pandemic and all.