Jazz Returns to Central Park


The Wayne Escoffery/Jeremy Pelt Quartet kicked off the spring outdoor series on April 4.

(Photo: Jimmy & Dena Katz)

Giant Step Arts and Keyed Up! have launched a spring performance series called “Walk With The Wind” honoring politician, statesman and civil rights activist John Lewis.

The concerts, which take place at pop-up locations in Central Park in New York, have served as a way for jazz musicians to perform live — safely — outdoors. When the pandemic hit, Jimmy and Dena Katz, photographers and founders of the not-for-profit Giant Step Arts, looked for a way to help the jazz community they have been documenting for decades.

Last fall, they launched the series to glowing reviews for the music and the mission with acts including the Leap Day Trio (drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Mimi Jones and saxophonist Jeff Lederer), the Joel Ross Quartet, drummer Nasheet Waits with saxophonist Mark Turner and bassist Rashaan Carter, and Chris Potter with Waits and bassist Joe Martin.

The spring season kicked off April 4 with the Wayne Escoffery/Jeremy Pelt Quartet. Twelve other shows have been booked:

April 10: William Parker Trio, Robert Lotreck Quartet

April 11: Melissa Aldana Trio with Pablo Maneras and Kush Abadey, Steve Slagle Trio, Robert Lotreck Quartet

April 17: Chris Potter Trio with Joe Martin and Nasheet Waits.

April 18: Antonio Sanchez Trio with Donny McCaslin and Matt Brewer.

April 24: Marquis Hill Quartet

April 25: Michael Thomas Quartet

May 1: James Brandon Lewis, Freed Style Free Trio, Aaron Burnett Quartet

May 8: Marika Hughes: The New String Quartet

May 15: Jason Palmer Quartet

May 23: Jonathan Blake Trio, Nasheet Waits Quartet

May 29: Abraham Burton Trio

May 31: Jason Palmer Quartet

To learn more, find the location for each show or to donate, go to giantsteparts.org. DB

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