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Concert Reviews (826)

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Since the demise of the One Step Down, Twins Jazz, along with its sister club Twins Lounge, remains one of the few active jazz clubs in the Washington DC area, and the main alternative to the considerably pricier Georgetown establishment Blues Alley. Founded in 1986 by Ethiopian twin sisters, the club is still run in the most hands-on style, with owner Kelley Tesfaye in the kitchen supervising the menu of American, Ethiopian and Carribean dishes (I am particularly fond of th

Mouthing Matt's Mantra

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Matthew Shipp, William Parker and Mat Maneri constitute a group seemingly impervious to pursuing anything other than the apotheosis of what they do. These musicians demonstrate such confidence in their attitude, approach, and propensity for simply diving into making their music that bringing it into question well that would reveal a complete lack of vision, interest, and willingness to discover on the percipient's part. All suited up, the members of the trio moved onto the stage at the
Adrian Belew has always had a cartoon character quality about him. The ease with which he does the seemingly impossible and the unique mannerisms that accompany each task make for one entertaining evening. His trio is extremely tight and playing heavy, progressive music. They came flying out of the gate with several pieces of newer material, including "Writing on The Wall," from the CD Side One. The high intensity of the first several tunes was amazing. After playing the Krimson clas
Watching Chicago Blues Reunion perform last weekend in Hollywood, a term from the film industry came to my mind: this is a high-concept group. An ensemble cast of players from legendary blues bands like the Electric Flag, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Siegel-Schwall band and the backing bands of such greats as Howlin' Wolf, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, the Reunion is also just that, a gathering of old friends from the Chicago blues scene of the early 1960s. That sense of camaraderie came throu
Danza is a style of music popularized by Juan Morel Campos and Manuel G. Tavarez in Puerto Rico. Angel David Mattos creates jazz interpretations of music by these innovators and composes his own Danza jazz. His playing can be likened to notes fallin’ off the piano like butter. Angel David Mattos & the Jazz Boricua Quartet shared their unique sound at the upper west side club, The Triad. A beautiful ballad by Tavarez featured the bass playing of Elias Cervas. Elias was nice and so was the
The Hollywood Bowl is a deservedly legendary summer institution, a beautiful natural amphitheater nestled in the Hollywood Hills where great music is the norm. Each year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association puts together an eclectic lineup of shows presenting not only its own orchestra, but some of the greatest musicians in the world representing all types of music. The Bowl is a treasure not only for patrons of classical music, but for fans of all jazz, pop, rock and the plethora of sty
It is a rare treat to hear two powerhouse artists in a single show, but the double bill from Mack Avenue Records in Washington, DC's Blues Alley on July 27 delivered deluxe. The acts - French-American vocalist Ilona Knopfler and trad bandleader and trumpet player Sean Jones - are separate artists both promoting their second CDs on Mack Avenue. Both are now getting overdue attention as startling and talented finds. It says something for them that both of these very different acts were able to gre
Guitarist Jeff Healey’s nightclub Healey’s in Toronto, has gained an international reputation as one of the finest blues clubs around. Many of the most renowned U.S. blues acts (James Cotton comes to mind, as well as the late A.C. Reed, and drummer Levon Helm’s Barnburners -- a concert whose first set the great humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof of Live Aid/Live 8 fame> attended) have performed on its well lit, spacious stag
When one speaks of saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., considered by many to be one of the finest contemporary jazz saxophonists of his time, the word "legend' has to come to mind. His impact on the jazz world has been long-lasting and has influenced any number of today's up and coming musicians. For more than 30 years, Grover's influence not only stretched the boundaries of contemporary, soul and smooth jazz styles, it also pu

Stimulating the Space

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To the uninitiated audience, a performance by the Peter Broetzmann Tentet may seem cacophonous, potentially unendurable and incomprehensible. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most salient means to identify with a performance of this group is, without resistance, to fall into the energy, sincerity and the joy underlying the making of the music. The Tentet is a group of musicians that fluctuates in personnel. For some reason, I always thought that this ensemble woul
The members of Trio X are Dominic Duval, Jay Rosen and Joe McPhee. Each has his own unique sound. Taken further, the group’s capacity to put these unique sounds and their unique temperaments together result in a brilliant and common determination: to make their music unforgettably engaging. Trio X is a young ensemble maybe seven years old. In the beginning of a new venture, the musicians start as innocents with each other. The more they play together, the more the audience can wrap
Since its dedication in January of 2004, the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium at the New York Bahá'í Center located at 53 East 11th Street (between University Place and Broadway)-- has featured a series of jazz performances every Tuesday evening. Organized by former Gillespie pianist Mike Longo himself a follower of the Bahá'í faith and dubbed "Jazz Tuesdays," these regular concerts offer high-quality performances in a pleasing space at very reasonable ticket prices $15 or $10 for student
All fans of music would enjoy the pleasure of hearing an innovator like Les Paul. With a weekly Monday night gig at the Iridium there is no reason anyone should miss this musical icon. Turning ninety years old this June, Les still has that sweet sound that made him famous. The first selection of the evening was the classic All of Me, sung by the other guitarist on the gig, Lou Pallo. This was followed by the rhythmically complex Brazil and a compelling version of Up a Lazy River. On these number
Gordon Lightfoot’s much anticipated 2005 Massey Hall Spring Concert Series in Toronto, Ontario, Canada started on Wed. May 18th, and ran for four successful evenings of music and mirth. This annual event is hosted by Toronto’s ‘Old Lady of Yonge St.’ -- the much revered Massey Hall. Canada’s singer/songwriter/folk music hero, Gordon Lightfoot, is as much respected and appreciated, as ‘the old Hall’ is herself! Lightfoot’s songs capture the spirit of Canada and its identity
Barbara Sfraga has assembled an impressive group of musicians to perform their unique and soulful compositions. The complex arrangements highlight the many talents of each musician. Regarding the formation of their new, forthcoming CD, which contains many of these compositions, Barbara had this to say, "Our original concept started when Michael "T.A." Thompson & Mala Waldron surprised me with a bunch of tunes they had written for me. They knew me well, and knew the twists and turns I like

World Jazz

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Friday the 13th is a day sometimes associated with bad luck, evil spirits and danger. At Joe’s Pub on Friday May 13th, there were definitely strong spirits. However, they were of the positive variety. Jack DeJohnette was celebrating the Official Label Launch Party of his new, independent record label, Golden Beams Productions. "Music in the Key of OM" was Jack’s first release on the label and focuses on the healing powers of meditation. The second release, "Music From The Hearts of the Masters,"
The music of Marta Gomez is honest in its beauty and directness and maybe just a little deceitful in its complexity, seeming simpler than it actually is. The Colombian singer and songwriter seems to be using simple forms and language to express the world around her, but there is an awful lot of craft going into it and, making their first West Coast appearance last month at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, it was obvious that she and her band play with tremendous technical ability. Their debut wa

Routing Out Roots

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Susie Ibarra’s recent project with Electric Kulintang speaks of her upbringing within a community of Filipinos. She seeks to bring the folk traditions manifest in Filipino culture into the setting of contemporary music. With only two of four members of the group performing, Ibarra and Roberto J. Rodriguez carried out her intention at the last concert of the Magic Triangle Series at UMass, Amherst. The major component of Kulintang is a group of eight distinctly pitched gongs, charact
Every city in the United States has a number of favorite jazz musicians. In the case of Houston, Texas, the crowd pleasers have always been Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Richard Elliot and Peter White. Collectively, their performances have always been a cornucopia of musical delight and showmanship. At various times, these guys have performed individually or as members of the 'Guitars & Saxes Tour' to the delight of thousands of Houston jazz enthusiasts. Recently, a tour of a differen
At the close of his trio’s recent Merkin Hall concert in New York, pianist Tord Gustavsen introduced the group’s last offering of the night as "another wordless hymn." It’s as honest a description of this Norwegian export’s musical métier as one can find. In typical exploratory fashion, the trio began the 75-minute set not with a familiar piece from their acclaimed debut Changing Places or something from the just released The Ground, but with a new piece entitled "At Home." Though the band’s