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June 2021

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Like millions of others, Vincent Herring contracted COVID-19 in 2020 and survived. But that was only the beginning of his ordeal. Interviewed by Martin Johnson, the alto saxophonist describes a nightmare year that brought him close to giving up music entirely, and he pinpoints the forces that led him to keep going.

We all know that rhythm is a key part of music, but for rising tenor saxophonist María Grand, it’s become something bigger than music, bigger even than human life. Spurred on by both her recent pregnancy and the coronavirus pandemic, Grand is tying her practice regimen to the cycles of the natural world. By Natalie Weiner

When Charles Tolliver and the late Stanley Cowell co-founded Strata-East in 1971, their only goal was to put out their own work. Before long, though, they found themselves in charge of a leading jazz label—and a lasting symbol of artistic independence. Michael J. West spoke to Tolliver, Cowell (in his final interview), and many of their colleagues for this oral history.

At 80, Gary Bartz continues to break new ground while insisting, rightly, that he’s just doing what he’s always done. In his collaboration with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Jazz Is Dead, Bartz shows how the music can remain vital by reflecting and responding to changes in our culture. By Shaun Brady

Opening Chorus: Five decades of the Tower of Power Horns; Owen Broder and Ethan Helm join altos in Cowboys & Frenchmen; James Brandon Lewis’ Jesup Wagon; Jacques Schwarz-Bart; Hafez Modirzadeh; Wynton Marsalis reopens the Bucks County Playhouse; and farewells
Chronology: Ethan Iverson on Ralph Peterson Jr. in the 1980s
Chops: Sam Gendel’s saxophone processing
Coda: Eric Dolphy and “God Bless the Child”

Overdue Ovation: Steve Slagle
Before & After: Camille Thurman
Audio Files: Brent Butterworth on the return of tone controls 
Gearhead: The Conn-O-Sax

Reviews: Vijay Iyer’s new trio with Linda Oh and Tyshawn Sorey, Sons of Kemet, Masabumi Kikuchi, Chris Potter, Lara Solnicki, Greg Abate, and more

Cover image of Adrian Younge, Gary Bartz, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad courtesy of Jazz Is Dead