Perhaps best known to jazzers-at-large for its sponsorship of the long-running and well-loved Jazz in July festival and the Jazz Piano at the Y series, the 92nd Street Y sponsors, in addition, a range of musical programs-both in-house and outreach-servicing an eclectic community of youngsters and oldsters, professionals and amateurs, students and fans.
For connoisseurs of live improvisation, it’s hard to beat Jazz in July. Curated for its first 20 years by Dick Hyman, a veritable one-man jazz institution, Jazz in July is now under the capable tutelage of Bill Charlap, who injects his own sensibilities and substantial experience into the mix. Consider this year’s lineup: opening night with the Phil Woods little-big band playing original arrangements of the music of Oliver Nelson and Quincy Jones; an evening of Cole Porter tunes featuring Frank Wess and vocalists Sandy Stewart and Richard Rodney Bennett; a bebop workout by members of One For All; the James Moody quartet with Renee Rosnes, guested by Jon Faddis, Antonio Hart and Paquito D’Rivera; an all-star two-piano jam session; capped by Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch presenting Latin jazz from their recent Grammy Award-winning Simpatico. Continuing a tradition established by Hyman, a pre-festival master class will introduce professional-level students from various conservatories. “If you went to every single one of the concerts,” Charlap asserts, “you’d get a very good idea of what’s happening in mainstream jazz today…we have a unique opportunity to present certain combinations that you just simply won’t hear anywhere.”