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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.

It seems like everyone fans and musicians become part of one big happy family at the twice-yearly jazz parties thrown by Joe Rothman and John McClure in Orange County. That’s the feeling we got at the 6th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party this past President’s Day weekend. It was held, as usual, at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel. This year’s event, incidentally, Concluding with a Count Basie tribute, set an attendance record. For fans, many of whom attend every party, it’s like going home for
The concert pairing of the Wayne Shorter Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic was an inspired match, amounting to a summit between two of the leading ensembles in their respective musical fields. Shorter is one of the most accomplished saxophonists in history, and his current quartet (rounded out by drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci, and pianist Danilo Perez) has established itself as one of this century's leading jazz units. The Philharmonic is another longstanding
29.01.2011

Winter Wonderland

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Southport's reputation as a place to listen to the best in contemporary jazz was enhanced last weekend by a highly praised Winter jazz festival. Fans from all corners of the UK and a three-day program of differing jazz styles from some of the World's best jazz musicians produced an exciting and memorable event, all organized by the Southport Melodic Jazz Cub. Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis with former Stephane Grappelli bassist Len Skeat, leading UK guitarist Mitc
TINA MAY is certainly a slow burner. In an unusually chilly Royal Clifton ballroom, she took a while to find her fire, but once she warmed up she was as hot. Looking gorgeous, with a voice to make grown men swoon, she is a charismatic and skilled vocalist. But arriving directly from Paris perhaps left her a little lagged and in early songs, such as Thelonious Monk’s "Well You Needn’t," this reviewer had the feeling that Tina and the band were holding back. Tenor sax and band leader Mike
As shown and heard in her first-ever performance in her hometown of Milwaukee, if there’s a more beautiful chanteuse than Tierney Sutton on the jazz scene today That’s beautiful as in clarity or creativity of diction Beautiful as in caressing or coaxing or even pell-melling new interpretations out of the Great American songbook... Beautiful as in an airy and pure upper pitch accented every once in a while by a little vibrato, growl, or full-bodied midrange, or frequent
This young Mr. Chris Potter has proven his tenor saxophonic mettle on many recordings, both on his own and in the service of Dave Holland and Dave Douglas. Though he has several fine discs under his own leadership, the only one (thus far) that’s knocked me for a loop is his latest, Underground (Sunnyside), which has my vote for the year’s most dazzling disc du jazz. While even edgiest musicians these days prove themselves to be predictable, Potter is
Attending this first concert of 2006 was an easy choice for me to make. It was the very idea of the duo performance of David Arner on piano and Michael Bisio on string bass that took me the distance from where I write here to where I could hear them. And the music transcended the miles I traveled. Arner chooses his musical syntax from an encyclopedic knowledge of the capacity of the keyboard. Bisio rewards the listener with a soft and dedicated approach to the bass st
"Once the prevailing popular music of the land, [jazz] has shrunk to a mere 2 percent of the market. Yet this venerable art form refuses to grow old and fade away. And if, as author Gerald Early has said, America's three great contributions to the world are the Constitution, baseball and jazz, then it's time jazz was better known in the land where it was born." So writes Matt Schudel in November's Washington Post Book World. Under these circumstances, any way to successfully present thi
For those who’ve been taking an extended nap, drummer Matt Wilson has been establishing himself as, in the words of serious-minded critics, an exciting presence on the American scene. Whether he’s tapping the tubs for big daddies such as Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz, and Denny Zeitlin or leading a couple of very different but engaging quartets, Illinois-bred drummer/leader/composer Wilson is indeed a major contender. How? Why? The answer lay on a cold, rain, snow, and slee
29.01.2011

Spotlighting the Color

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Trio X has impressed its name on the world of music. Questions were once raised about the meaning of the X, particularly by me. According to American history, the X correlates to the signature of a slave who had no name. For this trio, its name is associated with a definite sound signature. The X has become reflexive, for there is only one Trio X. In a Sunday afternoon gig arranged by the Arts for Art group at the Clemente Soto Velez Center, Trio X broadened the small stage on which th
It is perpetual, the struggle for recognition by Black Americans and all who relate to minority status within this country. The crux of the matter is that minorities long to be heard in their original tongue. It is a means to establish their identity. How often their natural language can be found in their original music, historically the music for which they are known but through which they are not heard, perhaps only taken for granted. At the last Solos and Duos concert of the UMass/A
29.01.2011

Gold Sounds

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Jazz musicians have a long history of taking different genres of music and making them their own. "Gold Sounds," a new record of jazz interpretations of work by indie rock artists Pavement, is just another example of the versatility, virtuosity and imagination of jazz artists. This quartet certainly has no problem putting their stamp on a genre of music that has barely been tapped by jazz musicians. Although not uncharted territory, this is prime example of the fruitful material available for ex
The concept of the Supergroup experienced its rise and fall in rock music somewhere between the end of the flower-power sixties and the post-punk eighties. In jazz, however, the proposition seems as viable and prevalent as ever, with the star-laden groups of Wayne Shorter and Keith Jarrett coming to mind as recent and highly visible examples of this trend. Another entrant, a good deal less-hyped but no less worthy, is the stellar trio of Ahmad Jamal, Idris Muhammad and James Cammack; their ni
Greg Godovitz is a legendary Canadian vocalist/blues guitarist/bassist, Goddo founder (and ex-Ronnie Hawkins bassist), as well as major John Lennon/Beatles fan and memorabilia collector. So it’s as natural as apple pie and ice cream, that Godovitz should perform an extremely special musical tribute to the late and absolutely great Beatle, John Lennon, on the 25th anniversary of Lennon’s untimely passing, Thurs. Dec. 8, 2005. Godovitz was backed this night by drummer an
29.01.2011

A Sure Bet

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It was another night just like every other in Las Vegas, with the casinos and bars full of desperate gamblers looking for that sure thing. Well, there was one difference; though most of the city's gaming rooms were filled with players fruitlessly throwing good money after bad in that hapless quest, the jazz fans that filled the Railhead Saloon in the Boulder Station hotel had better luck indeed, drawing the talented singer, pianist and raconteur Diane Schuur. Black may come up when you are betti
Individuals who adopt worthy causes in support of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised people in society have a very difficult endeavor, especially when attempting to rise above other organizations trying to achieve the same objectives. Often times, the overall approach becomes easier when a celebrity or person of note becomes involved to garner support for a given charity. That is exactly what happened when pianist Bobby Lyle and some of his friends put on a special benefit performance
29.01.2011

Milton Nascimento

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I have enjoyed listening to his inimitable voice for years but have never had the opportunity to hear him live. His amazing range and sensitivity expressed via the lovely Brazilian Portuguese language resonated with me when I first heard his recordings. Therefore, it was a great joy to hear Milton Nascimento perform at the intimate Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. There were many high points for the band and audience to celebrate. In a set that was as exhilarating as it was diverse, the
In the whole scheme of what smooth jazz should be about, the subject is a hotly debated topic of discussion. Traditionalists will tell you that the music is nothing more than instrumental pop. Smooth jazz enthusiasts insist that this is jazz filled with a contemporary flavor, music that crosses demographic lines. Nowadays, radio stations having this type of format far exceed stations playing more traditional styles of jazz. There lies the impact on society as a whole. In the United States, sm
On a damp Chicago night that had the first feel of fall, Patricia Barber showed that she is one of jazz music’s top artists. The singer-pianist performed a solid, sometimes daring, two-set show that featured instrumental and vocal numbers, originals and covers. Barber performed with her stunning quartet, which includes longtime bassist Michael Arnopol, guitarist Neal Alger and drummer Eric Montzka. Each musician is given room to stretch and take off on flights of improvisation before bring
George Benson is one of the most successful performers in contemporary jazz, a fine singer and exceptional guitarist. In over forty years of professional playing, Benson has enjoyed all but unprecedented popular success for such an accomplished jazz performer. So much so that seeing him live in person and hearing him play his hits, you can't help but be impressed by just how many of them there are. Opening for Benson at the Long Beach Terrace Theatre was local legend Al Will