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Concert Reviews (849)

Nothing beats experiencing live jazz music as its being created right in front of you.  Stop here for reviews of your favorite jazz artists live and in concert.

The Original Superstars of Jazz - The Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, Nov. 16, 2006 The Original Superstars of Jazz Fusion concert with Roy Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith, Jean Carne, Wayne Henderson, Bobbi Humphrey, Ronnie Laws & Jon Lucien was a tremendous success. The fusion occurred between the promoters, a co-production of Toronto Downtown Jazz and REMG Productions and the audience, a diverse mix of young and old. The young people were singing along to songs that were wri
Houston, Texas is the fourth largest city in the United States. Culturally speaking, the city is internationally diverse, artistically enhanced and economically sound with as much to offer as any other major city. But the jazz scene in Houston does leave much to be desired. Historically, Houston once had a strong and distinctive jazz presence. There were numerous venues and any number of native jazz artists calling Houston home. Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Bubbha Thomas, Joe Sa
Getting out of Manhattan into the greenery of Connecticut is always refreshing. On this particular weekend in late October the feeling was reinforced by crisp Autumn air, a brilliant display of multi-colored leaves, and a quality jazz performance. In celebration of her birthday, and as a benefit for the local library's new building fund, Connecticut resident, flutist Ali Ryerson, invited guitar legend Gene Bertoncini to town for a duo performance at the Brookfield Theater for the Arts. The resul
29.01.2011

Brazilian Star Shines

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This is the second October in a row that Blue Note jazz club has had the great fortune of booking Milton Nascimento for a week-long engagement in New York City. A friend of mine who grew up in Sao Paulo tells me that Milton plays in front of huge crowds in Brazil (and around the world) so the opportunity to see him in this setting is rare blessing. Having had the pleasure of seeing him at the Blue Note last year, I certainly knew I was in for a treat. Milton is one of those
In an ever increasing environment where smooth jazz radio programming is in a continuing state of flux, it is refreshing to note a few successes as they occur. KHJZ 95.7 "The Wave" celebrated its 4th year of programming on October 28th; a feat that is very significant, especially in an arena where station after station has flipped to a more attractive format. Most recently, Dallas’ KOAI 107.5 and Philadelphia’s WJZZ 107.5 decided to change formats while dropping their smooth jazz conn
It has been a couple of weeks or more since I attended Alice Coltrane's only East coast appearance at the beautiful NJPAC concert hall in Newark, October 22nd. It has taken this time for me to sort out my thoughts on the experience because I came away strangely conflicted ambivalent about both the music and the message that accompanied it. I can't say that I have resolved any of this but I feel I should lay out the various issues and let our readers arrive at their own conclusions. To begin w
Paris Escovedo, son of famed percussionist Thomas "Coke" Escovedo; has emerged to bring Latin back to the world of jazz. "Coke" Escovedo was an original member of the Carlos Santana band in the 1970s, who later created his band entitled Azteca, and through his untimely passing, Paris is building upon the tradition set forth by his father. Paris has played the timbales since he was a child. His first set of timbales was a gift from the great Tito Puente. Paris Escov
If there's one thing there's not a shortage of, it's tenor saxophonists. There are many, but few are at all like Branford Marsalis. Many saxophonists can be summed-up in a few glib words, but Branford (I hope he forgives my familiarity) has a style that reflects many styles, many "schools," many eras, yet there's nothing pastiche about him. Classic pre-bop styles (Coleman Hawkins, Georgie Auld, Lester Young, Illinois Jacquet), proto-bop icons (Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon), hard-bop-through-f
29.01.2011

Releasing the Rigor

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Dipping into the Meetinghouse in Amherst, MA, on a multi-city tour, reedsman Peter Brötzmann and drummer Han Bennink paired up for a performance that projected a dynamic rarely experienced in the music. A hard-edged European mode of improvisation overcame the acoustically alive room. Tenacity and intensity go hand in hand. Even though such descriptive nouns might imply a network of rules, those rules might also include flexibility fraught with determination and direction. For Brötzmann, the r
Dressed in a wine colored dress her attitude alternated between vampish and sassy but when Janiva Magness the 2006 Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year took to the stage at Calgary’s Red Onion on October 21st her passionate vocals stirred the emotions of both men and women. Backed by a scintillating performance from her rhythm section the Los Angeles native met and exceeded the expectations of an audience that had lined up two hours prior to the concert to ensure a good seat.
Imani Winds: Valerie Coleman - flutes; Toyin Spellman-Diaz - oboe; Mariam Adam - clarinet & bass clarinet; Jeff Scott - French horn; Monica Ellis - bassoon/soprano saxophone Jazz lovers would do well to check out Imani Winds. Officially a classical chamber ensemble, they are opening up new areas of expression for this genre, drawing upon jazz and world music traditions. Along with the standard repertoire for the woodwind quintet, which is itself very rich, they have toured with Paquito
29.01.2011

Changing the Seasons

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In a hall that has tripled in size due to the contributions of area jazz enthusiasts, the Vermont Jazz Center hosted The Billy Bang Quartet on a brisk October night at the slippery edge between summer and fall. The Billy Bang Quartet is a group that knows where it is going. Violinist Bang as leader has cast a musical net over his band mates. Each member plays with the acuity, diligence, bravura and sensibility which characteristics Bang himself possesses. The incomparable energy of
I returned to Calgary recently after a three year hiatus and discovered that the once bastion for country music bars has given wings to blues and jazz venues of the highest quality. On Friday October 6, 2006 I had an opportunity to take in a splendid jazz performance by two of Canada’s premier instrumentalists/vocalists Joe Sealy and George Koller and featuring singer Cindy Church. The trio performed two sets with the theme The Nearness of You a tribute to great American songwriter Hoa
Canada's premier blues venue the Red Onion showcased two of Canada's top blues performers on September 29th. Morgan Davis a 2004 Juno Award (Canada's Grammy) winner (Painkiller was Blues Album of the Year) electrified the crowd with spine tingling and note bending guitar riffs. Among the members of the band backing him this evening was drummer Duris Maxwell one of the original members of the Powder Blues Band (1979-85). Maxwell’s other musical adventures over the years have inc
Youman Wilder and Weird Stories returned to the Village Land Mark music club Kenny's Castaways for what was a home coming and an Industry showcase for the Music Insiders of New York. The Band which has seemed to perform mostly at high end Jazz Festivals in Europe and Canada was back on it's home turf here in New York. With a packed house that easily over flowed on to the Bleeker Street curbs, the band was back in New York to showoff a show full of original songs. Kenny's
Reviewing smooth jazz related activities is not a very easy endeavor to embark upon; in fact and in all actuality, providing an unbiased perspective on these opportunities often generates a myriad of emotions. On one end of the spectrum I am torn between my ambivalence for smooth jazz radio and my loyalty to jazz as an indigenous American art form. At various times I must admit to being overly critical of certain aspects pertaining to smooth jazz. But I have come to believe that when radi
29.01.2011

Meditating on Matt

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No stronger mind-body-spirit nexus exists other than that of meditation. In fact, the essences of all three dissolve into one in the process. The inside becomes the outside, the outside inside. When that becoming is conscious, peace settles. And we and the universe are indistinguishable. Meditation can assume many forms. For Matthew Shipp, that meditation is playing the piano. Shipp opened the fall season on September 22 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT in a solo performance. Th
There they were, on stage Sunday night at the 49th annual Monterey Jazz Festival, three all-time great jazz pianists Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck and Hank Jones being honored before a sell-out crowd. Besides celebrating established jazz giants, the three-day festival presented some of the world’s best young musicians, playing mainstream as well as smooth, blues and cutting-edge jazz in four venues on the Monterey fairgrounds. More good news this year--the MJF set an all-time record of 43,000,
29.01.2011

Guitars and Saxes Show

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Jeff Golub became my favorite guitarist after I noticed his Dangerous Curves CD at the local library. I liked the cover picture, so I checked out the CD and took a listen. I loved Golub’s bluesy phrasing and immediately purchased several of his other CDs. So, when I heard he was coming to Sacramento as a member of the "Guitars and Saxes" show at the Radisson Hotel’s Guzzetta Grove, I had to go-even though it meant a 120 mile round trip drive from home. Guzzetta Grove is a ple
I came out to hear a singer billed as a mix of blues, roots and country music. I must admit, as I looked around the cool funky blues venue, Red Onion in Calgary Alberta Canada, that my attention was starting to wander by the end of the second song. Roxanne Potvin's opening number "Home In Your Heart" at its best possessed a slashing riff. The second song was a good honky tonk tune, but not what I came to listen to. Then then passionate vocals like you seldom hear from a twenty-five ye