BMCC TPAC Presents Lost Jazz Shrines 2019: Celebrating Cobi Narita & The Jazz Center of New York

January 8, 2019

The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Tribeca Performing Art Center (BMCC/TPAC) Lost Jazz Shrines series is dedicated to restoring the memory of legendary New York City jazz venues. On Saturday, February 16 at 8:30 p.m. the series will celebrate the Jazz Center of New York and its legendary founder Cobi Narita.

Performers will include Sumi Tonooka (piano, shown below), Victor Lewis (drums), Erica Lindsay (tenor saxophone), and Rufus Reid (bass). Performers subject to change.

Sumi Tonooka

In 1983, Nobuko “Cobi” Narita created The Jazz Center of New York, a venue where workshops, jam sessions and concerts have taken place with artists such as Abbey Lincoln, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Weston and more. Cobi Narita is also one of the founders of International Women in Jazz, as well as the founder of Cobi’s Place, a gathering for jazz tap dancers.

The 8:30 p.m. concert celebrating The Jazz Center will be preceded by a FREE conversation at 7 p.m. with Sumi Tonooka and Willard Jenkins, who serves as The Jazz Center’s artistic director of jazz programming.

Tickets for the concert are $30, or $20 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling Ticketing Services at (212) 220-1460. 

Musician Bios

SUMI TONOOKA (piano) has been called a “fierce and fascinating composer and pianist” (Jazz Times), “provocative and compelling” (The New York Times), and “continually inventive, original, surprising, and a total delight,” (Cuadranos de Jazz, Madrid). She recently received the Music Alive: New Partnerships residency with The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, which culminated with a premiere of her symphonic work Full Circle. Tonooka is also a recent recipient of the 2015 Artist Trust award and received the Carl & Jini Dellaccio GAP title to compose a new jazz chamber work, Driftwood. Tonooka has also composed over a dozen film scores, and is featured in A Note of Hope, released in 2011, a full-length documentary from Citygate Films on the youngest victims of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

VICTOR LEWIS (drums) is an internationally acclaimed drummer and composer. His first job with a nationally known jazz musician was accompanying Hank Crawford in Omaha. On Lewis’s first gig in Manhattan, he met trumpeter Woody Shaw. Lewis joined the trumpeter’s band and a few months later, he made his recording debut on Shaw’s classic, The Moontrane. The drummer also began making his mark on the burgeoning fusion and pop jazz scenes, providing the beat on records by Joe Farrell, Earl Klugh, Hubert Laws, Carla Bley and David Sanborn. He toured and recorded with Kenny Barron, Art Farmer, J.J. Johnson, Mike Stern, John Stubblefield, Grover Washington Jr., The Manhattan Jazz Quintet, Bobby Hutcherson and Bobby Watson, and has been the main-stay in the Kenny Barron Quintet since its inception. In 2003 Victor joined the faculty of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ where he teaches drummers and coaches jazz combos.

ERICA LINDSAY (tenor saxophone) is an Artist-in-Residence at Bard College where she teaches jazz composition and arranging and is an active performer, arranger and composer. She studied at Berkley College of Music and then headed to Europe where she performed with her own quintet and had guest performances with Frank Zappa and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. She composed and performed with such ensembles as the Unique Munich Saxophone Choir and the NDR Radio Big Band as well as touring internationally with Melba Liston & Co. During this time she performed with jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Al Grey, Britt Woodman and Mary Lou Williams. She composed the musical score for two off-Broadway plays and has also written for television (“Tales from the Darkside”) and modern dance. She is a featured artist in Sally Placksin’s book American Women in Jazz and Burrill Crohn’s PBS documentary Women in JazzHer recent recordings include Initiation, a collaboration with Sumi Tonooka, featuring Rufus Reid and Bob Braye and Further Explorations, from The Alchemy Sound Project.

RUFUS REID (bass) is one of today’s premiere bassists on the international jazz scene. Reid participated in the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop for five years, as well as composing pieces for string orchestra, jazz ensembles, double bass ensemble pieces and more. Mass Transit, Reid’s three-movement symphony orchestra composition, premiered in 2011. He also composed Caress The Thought as a solo piece for bass virtuoso Diana Gannett, who recorded it on her 2015 CD Artemis in the Oak Grove with pianist Ellen Rowe. Also known as an educator, Rufus Reid created with Martin Krivin the Jazz Studies & Performance Program at William Paterson University. Today, Reid conducts Master Classes, workshops, and residencies around the world. His book, The Evolving Bassist, which has stayed in print since 1974, is recognized as the industry standard on the definitive bass method.

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  • Narita created Jazz Center of New York in 1983
  • Concert will be preceded by a FREE conversation at 7 p.m.
  • Concert tickets are $30 and $20 for seniors and students

share this story »