2020 Year In Review

December 31, 2020

Hey there,

I want to wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season with lots of love and music. Along with all of you, 2020 has been quite a year for me with a lot of time to Reflect and Project on life. Living with the sounds & spirits in the music has been inspiring and has fueled my ideas to dig deeper, study, meditate, and vibrate on tonalities in a new way of expression. Feeling and Sharing the Blessing has been the main focus for me. Here’s a little rundown of what I’ve been up to each month…

Sound Prints with Dave Douglas, Lawrence Fields, Linda May Han Oh & Joey Baron played a week at The Village Vanguard and recorded our third album, Other Worlds, due to be released in Spring 2021 on Greenleaf Music. Stay tuned for more info to come…

I resumed my residency with The Global Jazz Institute at Berklee College of Music (BGJI).

My last live class at Berklee was Wed the 11th. On Fri the 13th & Sat the 14th I played my last official gigs of the year for the audience at Todd Barkan’s Keystone Korner in Baltimore. I brought a quartet featuring James Weidman, John Menegon & Lamy Istrefi.

(All of the live steaming performances to follow were with no audience and social distancing)

For the first in a series of Live From Our Living Rooms streams I performed with my wife Judi Silvano in duo. I was playing Woodwinds, Gongs & Percussion and Judi was Vocalizing playing Percussion and Painting a Work of Art as we were improvising. This was a fundraiser for out of work musicians in NYC – the start of many more events like this we did throughout the year. It was successful and an amazingly rewarding experience both musically and otherwise. Click here to learn more and to donate to Live From Our Living Rooms.

At Berklee I did my last residency on Zoom to finish out the spring semester.

SFJAZZ broadcasted my 2019 Trioism set as part of their Fridays at Five online concert series they released during the pandemic. My concert featured my Trio Tapestry with Marilyn Crispell & Carmen Castaldi and a second trio with Bill Frisell & Tyshawn Sorey.

Judi & I did our second Music & Art Live Stream performance from our studio as a fundraiser from Connection Works here in NYC.

I did a solo saxophone moment as a fundraiser for NYC musicians with the organization Music on the Inside in support of easing reentry for incarcerated folks in our justice system. Check them out, they’re doing some extraordinary things.

Another Music & Art Live From Our Living Rooms performance with Judi – this time for the DC Jazz Fest as a fundraiser for out of work DC musicians.

I did two live streamed sets from the Village Vanguard with Trio Fascination featuring Ben Street & Andrew Cyrille – rebroadcasted in August. I celebrated Charlie Parker’s centennial with a live steam for Japan at Klavier Hall in NYC in duet with Leo Genovese on piano. I also took part in an interview on Zoom that Jazz at Lincoln Center hosted for its members.

Another Jazz on the Inside fundraiser with Judi from our studio. I played a duet concert on a outdoor deck with social distancing at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY. I took part in a talk on Charlie Parker hosted by the 92nd St Y, moderated by Gary Giddins with Barry Harris, Charles McPherson, Antonio Hart & Grace Kelly and BIRD!! That was incredible to be a part of.

Fall brought with it a new semester at Berklee and the first of four Zoom residencies with BGJI students. I also live streamed from Birdland in NYC with Us Five, playing Bird with James Weidman, Peter Slavov, Francisco Mela & Otis Brown III.

From March – September, I wrote 8 new compositions and called on some friends to do a recording session and video shoot “Live In The Pines” with the help of filmmaker Michael Kelly and featuring John Menegon & Lamy Istrefi. The premiere of a brand new video from this series is below and subscribe to my newsletter to get new videos first. I wrote “In Every City” on August 27th in commemoration of Charlie Parker’s influences on the history of music in this, his 100th year anniversary.

The 2020 Monterey Jazz Festival went virtual and streamed one tune from a Sonny Rollins celebration concert from 2017 with Josh Redman, Branford Marsalis, Jimmy Heath (who we sadly lost this year), Gerald Clayton, Scott Coley & Lewis Nash. Another Fridays at Five SFJAZZ stream from their archives: “A Love Supreme” with Ravi Coltrane, Geri Allen, Drew Gress & Ralph Peterson.

The JAZZ FOR AMERICA Fundraiser for the Biden campaign was hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater and featured all kinds of folks. I played two tunes – one with Aaron Goldberg, Christian McBride & Jeff (Tain) Watts and the other with Miguel Zenon, John Patitucci & Eric Harland. Seems like we were successful!!! I also live streamed from the Blue Note NYC: “A Joyous Encounter” with Kenny Werner, Ben Street & Andrew Cyrille.

I did a live stream from the Rudy Van Gelder Studio to celebrate Hank Mobley’s 90th birthday with the Soul Station Quartet featuring Ron Carter, Isaiah Thompson & Kenny Washington performing in the very same studio where Soul Station was recorded. I also participated in a JALC Zoom talk on the history and importance of Jazz Clubs.

I did a live stream for Italy at the Italian Cultural Institute NYC in trio with Luca Santaniello & Joe Lepore. The first single was released from my new Trio Tapestry album, Garden of Expression, due out in January on ECM Records. Check out the title track here.

All I can say is The World of Music is a Blessing for all of us. Be Safe, Focused, Strong & Healthy. Love, Compassion & Gratitude for our fellow man/woman will get us through the challenges ahead. Have a Joyous Holiday. God Bless!!!

Saluti…. Joe