Summer Break

I’m going dark on DTM and my socials for July and August — although I probably can’t resist posting occasional tour photos to Instagram


July 3: duo with Ingrid Jensen at Soapbox Gallery. Streaming and a few in-person seats.

July 9: New work in Perugia, about 50 minutes in duration, for two trumpets, two trombones, two saxophones, flute, clarinet, piano, bass, and drums.

Ritornello, Sinfonias, & Cadenzas

“For this major premiere at Umbria Jazz Festival, Ethan Iverson offers a tuneful exploration of musical techniques usually thought of as belonging to ‘classical music,’ but in this case played by a crack team of Italy’s finest jazzers. ‘Ritornello’ means ‘return,’ a recurring fanfare in the baroque style. ‘Sinfonia’ is a diminutive symphony, a gateway to diverse sonata forms. For the ‘cadenzas,’ Iverson and drum legend Jorge Rossy will rhapsodize against the ensemble. The instrumentation is modeled on Stravinsky’s Octet (with saxophones in for the bassoons) plus rhythm section.”

The next night begins a short tour of the Billy Hart quartet with Mark Turner, Joe Sanders, and myself.

July 10 Umbria Jazz Festival
12 Paradiso Jazz
13 Milano Blue Note
14 Augsburg Botanical Garden
16 Bürgerhaus Unterföhring
17 Lublin Jazz Festival

July 21: Reed’s Ramble with Seamus Blake, Chris Cheek, Matt Penman, and Jochen Ruckert, Svendborg Jazz Festival

July 24: trio with Nils Bo Davidsen and Jeppe Gram, Odense Jazz Festival.

If you see me out there, by all means say hi!

Two concerts I attended in recent weeks were memorable.

Bruce Harris led a nice quartet at Club Norwood with Peter Bernstein, Alexander Claffy, and Kush Adabey. The cats were dealing on hip repertoire like Randy Weston’s “Saucer Eyes” and Woody Shaw’s “Sweet Love of Mine.” At one point Samara Joy sat in for two tunes including “I Didn’t Know What Time it Was,” and I burst into tears. Sarah felt it too: A star is born.

My friend Miranda Cuckson played a solo violin recital at Bargemusic of Iannis Xenakis, Michael Hersch, Georg Friedrich Haas, Aida Shirazi, and Carlos Simon. It was typically brilliant programming from Miranda, with an emphasis on microtonality, especially “bluesy” during two authentic masterworks, Xenakis’s Mikka S and Haas’s de terrae fini. I had no shame and snapped a post-concert candid:

Speaking of shameless, I had cheeseburgers with Lawrence Block the other day and made him take a selfie afterwards.

It was good to see my brother Spencer last month. I am his co-guardian and hadn’t managed to get to Duluth since January 2020.

I admit I practiced a lot during lockdown. At a few points I even interrogated this classic trio:

After Stanley Cowell passed, I licensed this photo from John Rogers, taken a few years ago at the Village Vanguard. From left to right: Fred Hersch, Iverson, Cowell, Jason Moran.

The next trio date is in the can, recorded in January, with Larry Grenadier and Jack DeJohnette.

One of the biggest influences on my criticism is drummer/historian Hyland Harris. Hyland is old pals with Mark Turner — they were at Berklee together — and late last year Hyland had us over to the Louis Armstrong House in Queens. Afterwards we hung for several hours talking jazz, jazz, jazz. As well as I know Mark, I still feel like a little kid at Christmas when maestro Turner decides to open up and discuss aesthetics. These are two of the best, right here:

2021 DTM:

North American Ballads and Squares (Frederic Rzewski)

There is Only Today

Interview with Jeff “Tain” Watts

Ethan Iverson plays TV Themes

Contemporary Composition (Lowell Liebermann, Thomas Adès, Matthew Aucoin, Timo Andres, Chris Cerrone, Scott Wollschleger)

Original Sheet Music of Two Dozen Jazz Standards

Mwandishi Time

Back to Babbitt (with Erik Carlson)

Interview with Alex Ross (and Wagnerian Piano)

Shades of Jazz (Keith Jarrett, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Dewey Redman)

2021 other places:

Billie Holiday, Technician

Eubie Blake

McCoy Tyner as sideman

Ron Carter in the early 80s

Pete La Roca (as told by Steve Swallow)

Ralph Peterson with Geri Allen