This week I went to a couple of outdoor concerts offering up a some jazz.


On Tuesday, Midsummer’s Night Swing kicked off its season at Lincoln Center with 24-year-old jazz singer Cecile McLorin Salvant.

Cecile McLorin Salvant and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks

Cecile McLorin Salvant and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks

Each standing-room only concert of the series costs $17. This gets you on to the large dance floor. You have the option of showing up early to take a dance class. You don’t have to dance—you can hop on the dance floor, get close up to the stage and just enjoy the music.

Salvant sang mostly standards and was backed by the swing orchestra, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. Not known a couple of years ago, Salvant has been making a name for herself. The New York Times has done a couple of articles about her and, in April, Salvant won the Jazz Journalists Association award for “Up and Coming Artist of the Year.”  I enjoyed her voice but thought her spark and energy were somewhat overwhelmed by the large outdoor space.

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Someone who’s energy came through to the whole crowd was Norma Miller, a Lindy Hop dancer in the 1940’s. She came out on stage a couple of times to sing and dance and it was hard to believe she is 94-years old.



Butler Bernstein and the Hot 9 at Metrotech

Butler Bernstein and the Hot 9 at Metrotech

Today, I went to one of Metrotech’s Thursday lunch concerts. It’s part of a series of concerts put on by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The series continues through Thursday, August 7

Today was New Orleans pianist Henry Butler and New York trumpeter Steven Bernstein with his Hot 9 ensemble.  They were promoting a new album they have done together, “Viper’s Drag.” It was a wonderful concert with a variety of styles which included modern jazz, blues, traditional jazz and some New Orleans standards by Fats Domino, Professor Longhair and others.  It was great hearing Butler on a piano (as opposed to keyboard or organ) and his solo playing was the highlight of the day.

Henry Butler and Stephen Bernstein

Henry Butler and Steven Bernstein

It was a funny sight, because just to the side of the stage was a giant screen showing the U.S. vs. Germany World Cup Match. Many of the people there had their backs to the stage—they were there to watch the soccer game. The applause and shouts didn’t necessarily match what was going on with the music, but both ended at exactly the same time. The people who were there for the concert left much happier than those who were there to root on the U.S. team.

Competing for attention:  World Cup US vs. Germany

Competing for attention: World Cup US vs. Germany