NYT: New York Jazz Clubs Double As Record Labels

November 13, 2014 / No Comments

12clublabels-1-master675Nate Chinen
New York Times

The saxophonist Ian Hendrickson-Smith has caught his share of deflected stardust: as a former foot soldier with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, as a hired gun for the likes of Al Green and as a member of “The Tonight Show” band (which is to say, the Roots). For the rest of this year, as part of the Loston Harris Trio, he’ll appear Thursday through Saturday nights at Bemelmans Bar, the hobnobby lounge in the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.

“Live at Smalls,” Mr. Hendrickson-Smith’s new album, belongs to a different scale of accomplishment. It’s a sturdy, uncomplicated set of vintage-style soul jazz, recorded in one of New York’s least pretentious clubs, possibly as an afterthought. If it’s a token of artistic independence, it’s a modest one. But the welcoming gleam in Mr. Hendrickson-Smith’s playing, and the assertive support of a rhythm section with David Hazeltine on piano, are worth the trouble. The album has a spark of life, a reason for being.

It happens to be one of several albums out in physical form this week on SmallsLive, a record label associated with that Greenwich Village jazz haunt. And SmallsLive, in turn, is one of several notable labels to have grown out of the New York club scene. Half Note, affiliated with the Blue Note Jazz Club (but, it should be said, not Blue Note Records), has been in business for years. Smoke Sessions, the imprint of the Upper West Side club Smoke, started up just this year, proving itself right out of the gate.

Source: NY Times