Can’t-miss festivals, must-have albums, sound both old and new. Here is the list of October’s top highlights in jazz for your enjoyment, with expert commentary.
The October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music
Oct. 1-31, Philadelphia
The October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music is an avant-garde feast presented all around Philadelphia by Ars Nova Workshop, and its 3rd annual edition well sprawls past the original footprint. Some of the highlights: a duo of saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and artist Moor Mother; long-lost collective Sounds of Liberation, joined by saxophonist David Murray; and a 50th-anniversary nod to In a Silent Way of Miles Davis, led by Charlie Hall, from The War on Drugs.
Angel City Jazz Festival
Oct. 2-13, Los Angeles
Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles covers a lot of ground in its 12th edition, with great performances by the James Brandon Lewis Quintet, featuring Jaimie Branch; Anna Webber’s Simple Trio; Aaron Parks and Little Big; and flutist Nicole Mitchell in a duo with electronic artist Christina Wheeler as well as with Artifacts Trio. Composer Terry Riley also makes a rare concert appearance, with his son Gyan on guitar.
Oct. 8 in Los Angeles and on Oct. 10 at SFJAZZ
This British threesome might have started as a flagrant British translation of The Bad Plus. However, it has shown staying power, notably with 2018’s A Humdrum Star. The new GoGo Penguin EP, Ocean in a Drop: Music for Film performs their soundtrack for the documentary Koyaanisqatsi in 1982, which was originally scored by Philip Glass.
Art Blakey Centennial Celebration
Oct. 11 and 12
A peerless small-group bandleader and a force-of-nature drummer, Art Blakey was born on Oct. 11, 1919, meaning his centenary draws nigh. Dizzy’s Club has booked some tributes, including Ralph Peterson’s Gen-Next Big Band (Oct. 7), the Our Father Who Art Blakey Big Band of Russian trumpeter Valery Ponomarev (Oct. 10), and The Jazz Messengers: The Legacy Of Art Blakey, another product of Ponomarev.