View more great pictures from the awards ceremony!

Mark your calendar for our 2017 awards ceremony celebrating Hot House Jazz magazine's 35th anniversary: Monday October 9th, 2017.
To nominate your artists go to:

Metropolitan Room / Hot House Jazz magazine 2016 award ceremony.

Download Hot House Pdf Here: July 2017 Hot House Jazz Guide



Check Stephanie Jones' AFTER THE CALL podcast with guests drummer Kendrick Scott and guitar player Mike Moreno.

Jon Faddis

Jon Faddis: Still Groovin’ High by Eugene Holley Jr.     

The source of Jon Faddis’ stratospheric, post-bop sound is Dizzy Gillespie, Jon’s mentor, friend and idol. “He was my hero,” the 64-year-old trumpeter says. “Just like kids today have posters of LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Stephan on their wall, I had posters of Dizzy.”

So, it’s fitting that during Dizzy’s centennial year, Jon—who Dizzy proclaimed as “the best trumpeter ever, including me!” —will pay tribute to the trumpet legend at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

“It’s an honor for me to celebrate Mr. Gillespie,” Jon says from his home in Teaneck, NJ. “We’ll be playing a quartet reduction of ‘Gillespiana,’ the [big band work] Lalo Schifrin wrote for Dizzy. And we’ll play some tunes that Dizzy liked including ‘Con Alma,’ ‘Hot House,’ ‘A Night in Tunisia’ and ‘Confirmation.’”

The Oakland-born trumpeter has been at it for 46 years and he’s played with everyone from George Benson, Charles Mingus and Randy Weston, to Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Don Sebesky. His recordings as a leader from 1974 to 2006 include Jon & Billy, Youngblood, Good and Plenty, Legacy, Into the Faddisphere, Hornucopia, Remembrances and Teranga. Jon has played in the big bands of Lionel Hampton, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, and Gerald Wilson and has conducted an impressive number of large ensembles including the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and the Carnegie Hall Centennial Big Band and Jazz Band.

Jon’s association with Dizzy began soon after he learned to play. Inspired by watching Louis Armstrong on The Ed Sullivan Show, Faddis started playing trumpet at age 8 and played in R&B bands in the Bay Area. He first met Dizzy at Basin Street West, in San Francisco when he was 13 and played with him for the first time a few years later at The Jazz Workshop.

“Dizzy walked by my table toward the dressing room, and I said, ‘Hey Diz, are you going to play the ending of ‘A Night in Tunisia?’’ And he said, ‘You got your horn, you play it.’ So, Dizzy invited me up on the bandstand. I played the ending and we played ‘Satin Doll,’ and ‘Get That Money Blues,’ and that’s how I met Dizzy.”

Jon played many concerts with Gillespie, and their recordings include Dizzy Gillespie Jam and To Diz, With Love. He was the director and featured soloist in Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra and directed the Dizzy Gillespie 70th Birthday Big Band and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars.

Although Jon enjoyed being Gillespie’s protégé, his inner voice beckoned in his early thirties. “I said, ‘Dizzy, I think I’ve got to stop playing with you because I’ve become too associated with you and I want to get my own sound,’ and Dizzy looked at me and said, ‘It’s about time.’ He said he’s been waiting for me to say that for years, but I was content to play with him.”

Just as Dizzy built his style from his predecessors including Roy Eldridge, Jon found his voice as a student of other trumpet kings. “I was aware of Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. And my teacher, Bill Catalano, told me about Snooky Young, Bill Chase and Maynard Ferguson. They were my earliest influences. Then I started buying records by Roy Eldridge, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown and Fats Navarro. And now I’m listening to all of those young whippersnappers out there,” Jon says with a laugh.

Like Dizzy, who was a master teacher, Jon instructs those young whippersnappers at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College SUNY. “I tell my students that although Dizzy was entertaining, when he put that horn in his mouth he was very serious!” Jon says. “I tell young musicians that Dizzy told me, and Miles Davis, and Jimmy Heath—that you should learn the piano, because you can see where the notes are. Dizzy talked about the history of the music. And he knew his role in the history of jazz.”

And even though Jon Faddis is his own man, he still strives to represent Dizzy and other jazz immortals at the highest level. “When I’m on the bandstand, I hope that I still can project and communicate to the audience the love and respect I have for Dizzy, and for the others who make this music possible.”

The Jon Faddis Quartet with pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Dion Parsons performs at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola July 21 – 23.

Photo Credit:  John Abbott


Continue Reading...

Joan Belgrave

Another Reason to Celebrate by Elzy Kolb

Family matters

Singer Joan Belgrave was already an experienced musician with several recordings to her name by the time she got to know her husband, renowned trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. Though both had roots in Michigan, Joan spent three decades in California before heading back to the Motor City.

Marcus heard her at a jam at Burt’s in Detroit, and was so impressed he bought three of her CDs. “I didn’t know who he was,” Joan admits. “After we talked for a while, I asked if he thought he could put a band together to open a show I was producing. He said he would, if I’d agree to sing with him.”

She had no clue that the trumpeter had been mentored by Clifford Brown, played with Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, was an original member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and performed on countless Motown hits. “He liked that I didn’t know any of that,” she says. “Marcus liked that I didn’t need anything from him.”

When Marcus passed away in 2015, the singer came to New York to hide out and get herself together. “I didn’t just lose my spouse and musical partner, for a while I also lost the thing that brought me through life—music,” she says.

Recently, she has resumed performing, conducting workshops, and writing. “I promised myself this year there would be fewer tears and more music, which has always gotten me through trials and tribulations.” She recently penned a new tune, “I’m Not Going Anywhere.” “I felt like Marcus was writing it through me," she says.

Joan celebrates her 60th birthday at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola July 17, and she’s proud to hit the milestone. “I wouldn’t go back to 30 if you paid me,” she declares. Pianist Kirk Lightsey, a fellow Detroiter who toured with Joan and Marcus, will fly in from Paris for the gig. Also on hand will be saxophonist TK Blue, trumpeter Greg Glassman, drummer Camille Gainer-Jones and bassist Endea Owens, all of whom Joan describes as family.

Marcus mentored Endea, who introduced Joan and Camille. “Endea and Camille have a great connection, and that connection between bass and drums is one of the most important in the ensemble,” the singer points out. “I feel blessed and honored to be surrounded by such stellar musicians at Dizzy’s. And you know how Detroit is—there might be some surprises, some special guests. It’s going to be a love fest.”

Besides originals by herself and Marcus, Joan expects to focus on some tunes from an unreleased session they did together, as well as some blues and standards. The vocalist will follow some words of wisdom saxophonist Charlie Gabriel shared. “Charlie is the lead old guy in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band,” she says with a laugh. “He and Marcus played together for 30 years, and he taught me about having a musical conversation: If it’s not happening, rewrite the script.”

Continue Reading...

Steven Bernstein Henry Butler

Another Reason to Celebrate by Elzy Kolb

From these roots

When slide trumpet virtuoso Steven Bernstein gets interested in a musical subject, style or genre, he’s going to take a deep dive. Consider, for example, his lifelong enthusiasm for the music of New Orleans. “The first tune I ever learned was ‘Basin Street Blues;’ the first record I ever bought was by Louis Armstrong,” he recounts. “I play trumpet, how could I not love him? He was on TV a lot when I was a kid, and he’s always the coolest.”

He immersed himself in recordings by other Big Easy favorites, such as 1950s-vintage Fats Domino and Night Tripper-era Dr. John; 45 rpm singles inspired by the PopEye, a popular local dance in the 1960s; and anything by Allen Toussaint, whom Steve eventually played with.

“Cool musicians, great horns, I got more and more into it,” he says. “This is who I am: Other people go to grad school, I listen to music. If I like it, I try to figure it out and play it.”

Steve first crossed paths with New Orleans pianist Henry Butler more than three decades ago and remembers his initial impressions. “I thought, ‘Am I actually hearing this?’ There was this guy at the piano playing the oldest music ever, New Orleans style, old ragtime, wild blues. Henry is so magical and no one had ever heard of him.”

The two ran into each other over the years, occasionally working together and always promising to make a regular thing of it. After Henry relocated to Brooklyn following Hurricane Katrina, Steve set the wheels in motion to make the dream a reality. “I’m totally a low-tech guy. I got out my little tape recorder and transcribed a bunch of stuff,” he explains. He booked a gig and the Butler, Bernstein Hot 9 was born.

Steve cherishes the opportunity to play music he loves with someone with deep roots in the region. “Henry and I are both historians. He took lessons with Professor Longhair and James Booker and was directly related to that generation,” Steve muses. “In a sense I was too, because of my older teachers, like Jimmy Maxwell. He played with Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones…he’d tell stories about going out to eat ribs with Count Basie and Ben Webster. It’s great when you can get close to the originators.”

The trumpeter, arranger and composer also cherishes his lengthy musical relationships with other Hot 9 cohorts. He and saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum first played together at age 12; clarinetist Doug Wieselman and he go back to the 1980s; he spent years on the road in Levon Helm’s band with saxophonist Erik Lawrence and in the Jazz Passengers with trombonist Curtis Fowlkes.

Hear Steve, Henry, and the Hot 9 celebrate New Orleans music past, present and future, July 28 in a beautiful outdoor setting at Caramoor in Katonah.

Photo Credit:  Levy Stab

Continue Reading...

Mary Halvorson

Bridge Crossings by Joel Chriss

One of improvised music’s most in demand guitarists, Mary Halvorson, a disciple of Anthony Braxton, has been garnering critical acclaim throughout the past dozen years. With her original sound and approach; no one today is making music quite like Mary.

Q- One thing that always interests me is how, within the vast history of the guitar, does someone come up with their own sound? You've come up with a sound and musical approach that's identifiably yours. Describe that process.                      

A- The very fact that the guitar has such a vast history, and permeates so many genres and styles, is actually helpful. There is such a wide range of approaches that, as a guitarist, one can draw from. For example, Jimi Hendrix was my original inspiration to start playing guitar, and a few years after hearing Hendrix I somehow got to Wes Montgomery and Derek Bailey. In terms of developing a sound, as musicians we are all made up of many influences. Personally, I just try to be confident in my musical choices and decisions, to remain open, and to be inspired by many things without any one influence coming across too strong.

Q- It's hard to believe you've been on the NYC music scene for 15 years. What are a few highlights from this adventure?

A- So many. It’s often the smaller clubs that stick in my mind and I tend to think of the scene in periods of time revolving around those clubs: When I first moved here, hearing great music every night at Tonic and the old Knitting Factory and the original Roulette. When I was in college, hearing John Zorn, Joe Morris, Marc Ribot, Tim Berne, Nels Cline and so many others play those clubs is what made me want to live in New York. Then, after I moved here there was a lot happening in Williamsburg in the early 2000’s, at Newsonic Loft and Death By Audio and Zebulon. I remember The Stone opening and doing my first residency there in 2007. Since then, I’ve had so many great memories hearing and playing music at places like Barbès, Roulette, the Jazz Gallery and Cornelia Street Café. Places are always closing and new ones popping up (I recently discovered a nice Brooklyn space called The Owl, for example) and the scene grows and changes alongside them.

Q- You're an unpredictable improviser and composer. I've been listening to you for years and you continue to keep me in a state of not quite knowing. Is that something you consciously plan or are aware of?

A- I do make a conscious effort to experiment and develop new ideas and concepts and I try to not make the same record over and over again (although of course we all repeat ourselves to some degree). For me this is a part of what keeps life interesting— to challenge myself and keep growing creatively. It’s a lifelong process, and I’m always trying to get better at my instrument and find new ways to think about music.

Q- Do you think appreciating your music, and the music of your peers, requires some sort of listening or musical background?

A- I don’t think so. I’ve often had people come up to me after shows and say things like “I’m not a musician / I’ve never heard this kind of music before, so I’m sure my opinion isn’t worth anything…” and then say something very interesting or insightful. It’s true that having a strong background in this music probably does give you a different perspective, though not necessarily a better one. Everyone hears music in a unique way and each listening experience is just as valid.

Q- If you could predict five years ahead, where do you see yourself, and your music, in 2022?

I make a point of not predicting ahead, and I do it purposefully so I don’t box myself in. I really only think ahead to the next project, probably one year in advance. So, I can tell you where I’ll be in 2018, which is releasing an album with my newest project, Code Girl, which I’ve written lyrics and music for, and which features Amirtha Kidambi, voice; Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet; Michael Formanek, bass and Tomas Fujiwara, drums. Next year I will mainly be focused on that project.

Q- You're playing the Village Vanguard this month for the first time as a leader. How'd that come about and what does it mean to you?

A- The Village Vanguard has always been an incredibly special place to me. When I was in high school I remember discovering the album John Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard, before I knew where or what the Vanguard was. Since moving to New York, I have been there countless times and there is truly something magical about the space, the energy and the sound of the room. I performed two sets there last August as part of John Zorn’s Bagatelles marathon, which was an amazing experience. Then they contacted me after hearing my octet record and invited me to do a week there in July, which is truly a dream come true for me, and something I honestly never thought would happen.

Q- You play with several bands as a leader, co-leader, side person. Say a few words about your various approaches to composing or playing with your trio, octet, your collaborations with Kris Davis, Ingrid Laubrock, Jon Irabagon?

A- Composing and band leading is a huge part of what I do, but I also really enjoy playing other people’s music. I believe that’s a big part of how I grow as a musician; by trying to get inside the minds of other composers, figuring out how to take inspiration from their music and stay true to it, while still maintaining a unique approach. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from many great band leaders, and to be a part of a strong community of creative musicians, including the folks you mention above.

Q- Describe your relationship with Anthony Braxton?

A- Anthony Braxton is a force of nature, and an incredibly powerful influence on my music; in fact, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be playing music today if it weren’t for Anthony. He was my teacher at Wesleyan University and studying with him helped me expand my vision, conceptually and creatively. He made me see possibilities in the music which I never knew existed, and encouraged me to take risks and push boundaries— he always said that if you aren’t making any mistakes, something is wrong. He was incredibly open minded in talking about all types of music, and helped me realize the scope of what’s possible. Working in his bands over the years has been eye-opening. He is an inspiring human being and continues to push me today.

Q- If there's an afterlife, one piece of music you heard here that you'll remember there?

A- There is one piece of music which helped me through a crazy period of my life and which was on repeat play daily for years. It still resonates with strongly with me now, even though I don’t listen to it as often anymore: Sea Song by Robert Wyatt.

Q- You're having a dinner party and can invite three musicians. Who are they?

A- I’ve always wanted to meet Björk, Robert ​Wyatt (see above)! and Wayne Shorter.

Mary Halvorson brings her octet to Village Vanguard July 18-23. It includes Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet; Jon Irabagon, alto sax; Ingrid Laubrock, tenor sax; Jacob Garchik, trombone; Susan Alcorn, pedal steel guitar; Chris Lightcap, bass; Ches Smith, drums.

Photo Credit:  Jacob Blickenstaff

Continue Reading...