SMOKE Jazz Club Unveils December Schedule Including Coltrane Festival And New Year's Eve Celebrations

Check out the exciting December schedule at the #1 Jazz Club in New York City.

By: Nov. 02, 2023
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SMOKE Jazz Club Unveils December Schedule Including Coltrane Festival And New Year's Eve Celebrations

Rated the #1 Jazz Club in New York City (Secret NYC), SMOKE Jazz Club ends 2023 with an exciting line-up in December. The month begins with a rare solo piano doubleheader by Brad Mehldau (Dec 1-2) preceded by his Trio (Nov 29-30). For 11 nights, SMOKE presents its 11th annual Coltrane Festival: “Countdown 2024.” Some of today's top musicians join forces to celebrate the life and musical legacy of the great saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. Tenor giant George Coleman (Dec 20-24) leads his Quintet along with Emmet Cohen and Peter Bernstein followed by saxophonist Vincent Herring and pianist Eric Reed (Dec 26-31) with varying sextets comprising Al Foster, Buster Williams, and more. SMOKE's popular New Year's Eve celebration returns with a festive concert, dinner and midnight toast with the inimitable vocalist Carla Cook. For audiences worldwide, most concerts are live streamed!

December 2023 Concert Schedule (subject to change):

Wed-Thu Nov 29-30 Brad Mehldau Trio

Brad Mehldau – piano Larry Grenadier – bass Marcus Gilmore – drums 

Brad Mehldau is “universally admired as one of the most adventurous pianists to arrive on the jazz scene in years,” writes The Los Angeles Times. A transformative artist since the early 1990s, Mehldau has had a powerful influence on a generation of musicians and has attracted a large and devoted audience. Some of his best-loved performances have been in the company of his trio and as a solo pianist, and he will appear in both settings at SMOKE. On Wednesday and Thursday, he will be joined by bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Marcus Gilmore.

Fri-Sat Dec 1-2 Brad Mehldau Solo Piano

Brad Mehldau – piano

“Mehldau is the most influential jazz pianist of the last 20 years” – The New York Times 

SMOKE welcomes a Steinway Concert D piano onto its stage especially for Brad Mehldau. In a rare solo piano performance, Mehldau returns for two nights (live streamed too!). These special performances should not be missed!

 Sun Dec 3 Bill CharlapBill Charlap – piano 

“No matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence.” – Time

For one night only, Grammy award-winning pianist Bill Charlap will perform two special solo sets on SMOKE's visiting Steinway Concert D. Charlap has performed with many of the leading artists of our time, from Wynton Marsalis and Tony Bennett to Phil Woods and Ron Carter, and is acclaimed for his interpretations of the American popular songbook. 

Wed Dec 6 David Hazeltine Trio featuring Louis Hayes & Rufus Reid

David Hazeltine – piano

Rufus Reid – bass

Louis Hayes – drums

“Some of the best piano jazz to be heard.” – All About Jazz

 Pianist David Hazeltine leads a very special edition of his Classic Trio featuring bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Louis Hayes. Hazeltine was called “for sure, the brightest star on the jazz piano horizon” by none other than Cedar Walton, while Jazz Times adds, “[he] always sounds as if he is digging what he's playing, and his approach makes well-known tunes sound fresh.” Of his trio mates, NPR reports, “When Rufus Reid plays his bass, there's no mistaking him for anyone else…[He] has cultivated that most precious commodity of instrumental music–a personal identity and sonic imprint. It's hefty but buoyant, wooden yet pliable,” and of the incomparable Louis Hayes, “[He] has spent over 70 years keeping time with some of the most soulful artists in the music's history.” 

Thu-Sun Dec 7-10 Billy Hart Quartet

Mark Turner – tenor saxophone

Ethan Iverson – piano

Ben Street – bass

Billy Hart – drums

“His quartet has often been hailed as one of the leading bands in jazz.” - The New York Times

NEA Jazz Master Billy Hart leads his acclaimed quartet in its SMOKE debut, an acclaimed group that includes saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Ethan Iverson, and bassist Ben Street. A legendary drummer, Hart collaborated with some of the essential artists in music history, including Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Shirley Horn, Jimmy Smith, and Wes Montgomery. Detroit Free Press explains, “Freedom, discipline, daring, passion, swing, broken rhythm, orchestral textures, interactive sparring, shocking dynamics, astounding creativity and authority. Want to know what jazz is really about? Listen to Billy Hart.”

 
Wed-Sun Dec 13-17 Marquis Hill

Marquis Hill – trumpet

Joel Ross – vibraphone & piano

Michael King – piano

Junius Paul – bass
Kendrick Scott – drums

“An established force in contemporary jazz.” – Financial Times

Trumpeter Marquis Hill, one of the leading trumpeters of our time, leads an adventurous group featuring vibraphonist Joel Ross, pianist Michael King, bassist Junius Paul, and drummer Kendrick Scott. His promise was recognized by winning two highly prestigious competitions: the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition (2012) and the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition (2014), which helped launch a career that continues to impress. Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Hill credits many of that city's great artists for helping foster his development. Players like Von Freeman, Bobby Broom, and Willie Pickens, just to name a few. The New Yorker says, “His performances and recordings reveal a smart post-bop player who circumvents genre clichés by incorporating elements of hip-hop and contemporary R. & B.” Downbeat adds, “The groove-laden arrangements provide the perfect soundscape for Hill's fluid improvisational style, which, with its glass-like lucidity, recalls the crisp elegance of hard-bop stalwart Donald Byrd.” 

Wed-Sun Dec 20-24 Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024”: Quintet I “The Cats”with special guest George

Coleman featuring Emmet Cohen & Peter Bernstein

George Coleman – tenor saxophone

Peter Bernstein – guitar

Emmet Cohen – bass

John Webber– bass

Joe Farnsworth – drums

SMOKE's 11th annual Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024” begins with the first of 11 nights led by a longtime friend of the club: living legend and renowned performer George Coleman. The one and only Coleman celebrates the music of John Coltrane with an exceptional quintet featuring guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianist Emmet Cohen, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Coleman is still making some of the most inspired music of his celebrated career, including work with B.B. King, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, among many others. Downbeat reports, “When you hear the tenor sax of George Coleman, you know it's him within a few notes. That deep park of a tone evokes a time and place—be it his historic work with Max Roach, Chet Baker, and Miles Davis, or as a leader in his own right.” (No 10:30pm set on Christmas Eve 12/24.)

Tue-Thu Dec 26-28 Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024”: “Blue Train” Sextet II with special guests Eddie Henderson & Steve Davis featuring Eric Reed and Vincent Herring

Eddie Henderson – trumpet

Vincent Herring – alto & tenor saxophone

Steve Davis – trombone

Eric Reed – piano

Dezron Douglas – bass

Joe Farnsworth – drums

The Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024” at SMOKE continues with an all-star sextet with two special guests: trumpeter Eddie Henderson and trombonist Steve Davis. This outstanding group is co-led by pianist Eric Reed and alto saxophonist Vincent Herring with the unbeatable rhythm team of bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Downbeat writes, “Henderson's muscular chops and round sound are astonishing for an 83-year-old and lovely to behold.” Steve Davis, who spent some of his formative years honing his craft and earning his reputation with a trio of giants: Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, and Chick Corea, “has established himself as one of the most accomplished and lyrical improvisers on his instrument, as well as a prolific composer,” reports Jazz Times.

Fri-Sat Dec 29-30 Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024”: “Milestones” Sextet III with special guests Buster Williams & Al Foster featuring Jeremy Pelt and Wayne Escoffery

Jeremy Pelt – trumpet

Vincent Herring – alto saxophone

Wayne Escoffery – tenor saxophone

Eric Reed – piano

Buster Williams – bass

Al Foster – drums

The two nights before New Year's Eve are dedicated to the Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024” Sextet III, which includes two more special guests who also happen to be two of the all-time greats: bassist Buster Williams and drummer Al Foster. These two masters join esteemed co-musical directors Eric Reed and Vincent Herring with the powerful featured duo of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and saxophonist Wayne Escoffery. It is a stunning group to close out the year, to say the least. The Guardian calls Williams “one of the great acoustic bassists,” and Jazz Times adds, “Williams' résumé ranks with that of any bassist in the modern era.” Jazz Times also says that Al Foster — well-known for his work with Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, and many more — “is a not-so-secret special groove ingredient enlivening performances and sessions by a long list of heavy hitters.”

Sun Dec 31 Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024”: New Year's Eve Celebration with special guest vocalist Carla Cook Featuring Eric Reed / Vincent Herring Quintet with Jeremy Pelt and Joe Farnsworth

Carla Cook – vocals

Jeremy Pelt – trumpet

Vincent Herring – alto saxophone

Eric Reed – piano

tba – bass

Joe Farnsworth – drums

New Year's Eve at SMOKE is one of the highlights of the year, and a jazz party like no other with great food and drink, a festive atmosphere, and the perfect band with special guest jazz vocalist Carla Cook joining the Eric Reed / Vincent Herring Quintet with Jeremy Pelt. There are two seatings available:

·      7:00 p.m. seating
$250 plus tax & tip (includes 3-course holiday dinner and one show)

·      9:30 p.m. seating

$350 plus tax & tip (includes 3-course holiday dinner, two shows, midnight celebration, hats & noise makers) 

When Carla Cook sings, she swings. The Washington Post says, “She has sass that enlivens her impeccable diction, and tremendous soul that lets her swagger with gutbucket finesse, but it's all buttressed with sparkling optimism and innocence.” Her improvisational style is steeped in the swing tradition yet eclectic and brimming with fresh interpretations. Cook will be joined by SMOKE's Coltrane Festival “Countdown 2024” band: the Eric Reed/Vincent Herring Quintet featuring Jeremy Pelt. Jazz Times reports, “Pelt is a technical marvel. He executes intricate solos with ease, plays gorgeous ballads in a tasteful manner, and never lacks flair or sensitivity.” Audiophile Audition adds he has “the power and range of Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard in their seminal years." The group is co-led by the perpetually swinging Eric Reed, who All About Jazz says “has fully established himself in the forefront of jazz pianists,” and the fiery Herring who “has firmly established himself as one of his generation's masters,” adds The New York City Jazz Record. It also includes one of the elite musicians working today, drummer Joe Farnsworth.

About SMOKE

Located on Manhattan's Upper West Side at the junction of Broadway and 106th Street (aka Duke Ellington Boulevard), Smoke Jazz Club is one of New York City's premier live music venues. Renowned for offering top-notch programming of accessible, timeless jazz featuring legendary performers, modern masters and rising stars, Smoke stands apart with its candlelit dining room, stellar acoustics, and classic American cuisine. Founded in 1999, SMOKE also boasts a GRAMMY-nominated label, Smoke Sessions Records, and a celebrated streaming concert series, Smoke Screens. For everything else, visit SMOKEjazz.com.

Ticketing + Information:                                                                                                             

When: Wednesday-Sunday @ 7:00 p.m. + 9:00 p.m. and additional 10:30 p.m. (Fri & Sat only). Doors open at 5:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted)

Where: Smoke Jazz Club, 2751 Broadway (between 105/106th Streets), New York, NY, Train: 1 to 103rd Street.

Tickets: In-Person $25-$60. Livestream $15. For more information and to make reservations, please visit SMOKEjazz.com.




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