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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.

Every Sunday evening, at the Tabard Inn in downtown Washington DC, bassist Victor Dvoskin provides one of the great bargains of the Washington DC jazz scene, an evening of free jazz. No, not three hours of avant-garde expression, three hours of fine jazz music with no cover and no minimum. For the price of a glass of wine or, in my case, a cup of tea, one can sit in the Tabard Inn's lounge and hear Victor, a top-quality bassist, working with a duo with the best local guitarists and/or keyboard p
Singer-songwriter Nellie McKay revealed to a San Francisco audience that she has received her share of hate mail. But don’t be alarmed, she said, continuing the story after performing several songs. Most of the messages came from people she knows. That’s McKay fearless and funny. It’s a combination that graces her thoroughly original music. McKay is a piano playing, cursing, rapping, jazz singing, cultural reference dropping, politically outspoken chanteuse who has released one of the y
The Ornette Coleman Quartet's one-night engagement at Disney Hall was one of the most eagerly anticipated events here in Los Angeles in recent memory; tickets were all but impossible to find. L.A. doesn't get enough of Ornette Coleman. Most towns could probably lay a similar claim, given the fact that Ornette scatters only a handful of dates in American cities every year; but given the important role this city has played in his career, it still seems rather shocking that this was the legendary j
The Welcome return of Bombay’s veteran jazzman Braz Gonsalves heralded the European Jazz Yatra 04. Jason Jones from Chicago exhibited strong chops on the soprano kicking off with "Mr. PC". Backed by an ebullient Tala Paral on piano, and tasteful William Fernandes on drums and the solid sheet anchor Bertie D’Silva on bass guitar,the quintet made a perfect opening for a Braz entry. Tala exhibited complex voicings on the ivories and later handled the soprano with ease. The band was joined by Yvonne
Soul Diva...Pop Diva...Diva-Goddess...When hearing these titles, one envisions a majestic woman with incredible prowess, beauty, and grace, a supernatural empress whose talent surpasses the highest achievement, a woman of the greatest distinction. Yet it is difficult to imagine that, in addition to her majestic splendor, this woman might also have the generosity, kindness, and compassion of the utmost magnitude, with an unwavering commitment to helping and reaching out to her fellow human beings
It was thanksgiving night at B.B. KINGS in Times Square. The winter wind was blistering cold outside, but Pinetop Perkins had the club steamin’ with the blues. I had the pleasure of meeting the 91-year old Mississippi bluesman before the show. He now lives in Texas and his blues is as strong and contagious as ever. The show opened with guitarist George Kilby Jr. leading the band, which consisted of an amazing array of musicians. Two saxophonists, a tenor and a baritone, complemented bass, drums
A night of amazing music opened with Russell Malone and Benny Green taking center stage, a group typically headlining most shows. They are both incredible musicians and the rapport the have developed over the years is uncanny. They opened with a beautiful rendition of the Rodgers and Hart classic My Romance. This was followed by a Wes Montgomery classic entitled Jingles. Russell Malone started letting sparks fly with his improvisational prowess. Benny Green added an artistic solo that made me he
It has been said by this writer that the seductiveness of the female voice in song, courts the soul of any man who listens. It is the lure of the siren and the irresistible call of the muse, Euterpe.... The lure of Nancy Kelly lies in the rhythmical, harmonic and melodic ideas and concepts that flow forth from this remarkable singer. From a sizzling ballad to a jump riff tune, one thing remains constant in Kelly's magical repertoire, and that is swing. It pours outward, not only in sound,
When three heavyweights of this magnitude join forces, sparks are bound to fly. The anticipation and excitement of seeing a trio of this caliber is what jazz lovers live for. And when the musicians deliver a set as spiritually and musically satisfying as this group did, our obsession with this art form is affirmed and justified. Each of these musicians represents the top tier of professionals on their instrument. They make the impossible seem simple and their rapport is simply delightful. McC
In the last concert of the year’s Solos and Duos Series produced by the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center, two of the most celebrated creative music improvisors performed one set for about two hours. The duo: William Parker and Hamid Drake. Both musicians are known for their rhythm section acumen. This time, they acted as their own lead instrumentalists as well as their own rhythm section. The stage was set in pre-performer-entry frozen time with so many music making objects that I
It is often said that one of the hallmarks of the great artists is that they can make the difficult seem effortless, like a natural extension of themselves. On November 28, 2004, at the Frederick Rose Theatre at the Dizzie Gillespie Coca Cola Center in New York City, Tony Bennett illustrated this effortless yet captivating quality, entrancing his audience with a commanding presence that resonated throughout all 1200 seats of the grandiose theatre. Only a handful of entertainers in the past ce

DeJohnette Supergroup

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A force of nature, Jack DeJohnette is one of the elite drummers of the modern jazz era. An opportunity to see and hear him should not be missed. That point was brought home with an exclamation point on Thursday night at Birdland. Pouring his heart and soul into the performance, DeJohnette displayed incredible ferocity and intensity. Better yet, he and his band mates wrote new tunes, which brought out the best of this new super group. Danilo Perez was featured on piano, John Patitucci on bass and
You’ve got to forgive me. I didn’t take notes during the Hammond B-3 summit in Columbus, Ohio because I went there solely to enjoy the music. But if you can spare a few minutes to read this, I’ve got to tell you what happened. Local jazz organist Tony Monaco continued his mission of bringing to Columbus the B-3 masters of the previous generation...actually, the greatest generation of jazz organ innovators. Perhaps Monaco is fulfilling a wish to perform side by side with them. Perhaps
Billy Cobham’s Culture Mix blends the sounds of musicians from around the world to create a creative, breathing music that at times has a modern industrial feel but also makes you want to move your feet. Recording for a new live release, the group played Tuesday through Sunday at the Iridium and featured special guests Airto Moreira and Randy Brecker. The recording should be spectacular considering the intensity of the late set I witnessed on Saturday night. Overall, the music created a very
On October 16, Barry Manilow came to Columbus, Ohio with his politics of feelgoodism. The U.S. presidential election is scheduled to take place just two weeks after the concert, and the bitter national debate is causing stress in a great number of ways. However, Manilow proved himself to be politically prescient, and he probably wasn’t even aware of it. Stopping freeway traffic on his way to and from the same venue, George W. Bush also had performed in Nationwide Arena several weeks prio
Porgy and Bess, one of America's most significant theatrical productions ever written came to Houston's Jones Hall on October 22nd and 23rd. Presented by the Society for the Performing Arts, one of the city's premier arts organizations, the musical stage play is a product of George and Ira Gershwin, two of the most prominent musical playwrights in the history of American theater and music. Taken from a novel and play written by Dubose Heyward, Porgy a
Helen Merrill is perhaps best remembered for her stunning Emarcy sessions where a fresh and very young waif like singer first unraveled her soft almost fragile like voice in that hypnotic whisper so entrancing that many listeners (myself included) we’re helplessly hooked. Fifty years later in 2004, Ms. Merrill, in top form, comes to us in the Big Apple in a concert for the ages. Appearing on the final night of a three-day engagement at the Iridium in Midtown Manhattan, Ms. Merrill and trio worke
And it was so that the audience zeroed in and focused on Joe and Mat Maneri, father and son duo, at the second of the Solos and Duos Series of concerts at UMass/Amherst on October 28. The intimacy of the experience of making music surrounded the two players as an aura. A complementary interplay emanated from the performance for the reason that Joe plays sax and clarinet and Mat plays viola. Mat’s playing is as smooth as silk and Joe’s is sporadically temperamental and melodious. However, look
Marian McPartland closed out another successful run of shows at the Jazz Bakery on Halloween night with a delightful bag of tricks and treats. Her set was adventurous and wide-ranging, including luminous originals, warhorses from the great American songbook and a handful of compositions by several of the most distinctive composers in jazz history: Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and even Ornette Coleman. Nearly as important was the graciousness, charm and wit with wh

Honing Inspirations

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For September 24, 2004, pianist David Arner arranged that pianist Dave Burrell play in two venues, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and Pauline Oliveros’s Deep Listening Space in the Hudson Valley. This day was an opportunity to expose myself to a Burrell marathon event, which became an adventure not to be duplicated. To my mind, Dave Burrell’s playing cannot simply be appreciated. Such descriptive, qualitative vocabulary implies that when you listen to him play, you are in a s