“Live at Smalls,” a collection of vintage-style soul jazz from the new record label SmallsLive, is one of several albums released by the label this week. SmallsLive is one of several new, notable labels to have grown out of the New York City jazz scene, often featuring recordings live in the clubs where they originated. Half Note, affiliated with the Blue Note Jazz Club, represents an older member of the tradition of music labels growing out of jazz clubs. A more recent example of such labels, Smoke Sessions, is the imprint of the Upper West Side club Smoke which started up just this year, and has also experienced immediate success.
The area between West 140th Street and 150th Street is being turned into something of a painted aviary, as graffiti artists, local gallerists and landlords collaborate with the National Audubon Society to bring 314 murals of North American avian fauna to the neighborhood, where ornithologist and painter John J. Audubon lived during his final years. The campaign, painted on roll-down gates and barren walls, is meant to help the Audubon Society’s campaign raise awareness of birds that are currently threatened by climate change. The art is also helping spread awareness of the Audubon name beyond the local drug market at Audubon Terrace.
Harvard alum Laurence O’Keefe, the composer and lyricist of the cult musical “Bat Boy,” has swooped in to offer his guidance on a Harvard student production of the show. The musical, based on a creature that appeared in several Weekly World News stories, has gradually come closer to being produced on Broadway but has only achieved success in niche audiences so far. When the students involved contacted O’Keefe, hoping that he might visit a rehearsal or offer a master class, O’Keefe and the two other creators of the musical decided instead to use the student production as a workshop to prepare the show to go to Broadway.