There are jazz festivals, and then there’s the New York Winter Jazzfest, whose thirteenth annual edition will be staged across downtown New York City this week (Jan. 5-10). Far from the genteel crowds and sedate stages of summer standbys like Newport and Monterey, the Winter Jazzfest -- and specifically its two-night, dozens-of-artists-strong marathon -- is programmed to show just how young and diverse the genre is (yes, in 2017). Instead of sprawling outdoor stages and massive theaters, artists both up-and-coming and world-renowned play in the same small Manhattan clubs that host jazz and pop every other night of the week. Every other night, though, one $45 wristband wouldn’t get you into 13 of them, each hosting about five different acts (for those looking to get the full festival experience, a pass to all the week’s concerts is available for $160).
The scale can be a little overwhelming, especially since the venues span New York’s Greenwich and East Village. This year, WJF is offering a few themes to help guide those daunted by the massive schedule: social justice, with a focus on music tied to the #BlackLivesMatter movement (a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to organizations that promote equality); Thelonious Monk’s centennial (he was born Oct. 10, 1917); and artist-in-residence drummer and composer Andrew Cyrille, who will perform four times during the festival. Below are seven acts selected to show the festival’s range -- and the best part is, if you come prepared for a little trekking around the city, you’ll be able to catch all of them.
Friday, Jan. 6