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Concert Reviews (826)

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In an article reviewing the 3rd Annual Trinity Jazz Festival, two corrections must be made regarding the founder of the event and a well-deserving artist. The founder of the Trinity Jazz Festival is Father William B. Miller not (Marshall), Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. His insight and vision in elevating the consciousness of jazz in Houston has been extremely beneficial. In addition, the review erroneously reported that Bob Henschen was the pianist accompanying Jason
Bela Fleck, of the popular Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Edgar Meyer, member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Ensemble, both Grammy winners, and very close friends, performed together at MassMoca on last Saturday night. The house was full as was the atmosphere with musical energy. The key to understanding this duo is the stark contrast between their instruments. It is not often that you have to think about the banjo as a stringed instrument, but in this case under Fleck’s fingers, the ba
How strange to listen to Moreira freestylin’ on a hip-hop beat, while being accompanied by his daughter Diana (whose tantalizing voice was revealed to the world with the album ‘Speed of Light’ back in 1995.) While looking at times too much of a commercial exploit, the gig is great. It feels good to have Moreira back at Ronnie Scott’s, promoting his latest fatigue "Life After That" (Narada Records - Virgin / EMI); it feels great to be able to single-out the man and his overflowing energy no ma

Cleaving the Air

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On Friday night, at Sweeney Concert Hall, at Smith College, the Trio of Peter Brötzmann on reeds and saxophones, William Parker on bass, stringed instruments and flutes, and Hamid Drake on trap set and frame drum, cut through the architectural formality of the hall and broadcast acoustically alive sets of highly focused improvisation. Music is an abstraction until it is heard. The derivation of music can stem from many sources, particular to the individual musician, particular to the way in w
While the more cynical among us (like yours truly) might accuse singer/songwriter Susan Werner of "changing" her style to appeal to the jazz-is-hip-now crowd, the cabaret set or the (dwindling) retro swing scene well, shucks, that’s just wrong. While Ms. Werner was in high school and college, she’d played and sung jazz before moving into the folk/singer-songwriter milieu in which she established herself. On her latest album I Can’t Be New (Koch), she renews the jazz/torch song side of her musica

Bach in Brazil

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Listening to pianist Kenny Barron’s Classical Jazz Quarter Thursday night at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, I wondered if he wanted the quartet to resemble the Modern Jazz Quartet, or if the resemblance was mere happenstance. The veteran pianist played a double bill. The first set with the CJQ, and the second with Canta Brasil. The CJQ embodied the characteristics of the Modern Jazz Quartet during their heyday. For example, Barron’s quartet which included Lewis Nash on drums, Rufus Reid on bass, a
Cassandra Wilson graced the Pabst Theatre stage on Sunday evening, March 21. The most inspiring vocalist over the last decade, she has a brilliance no one can deny. The latest group she has assembled is a wonderful collection of musicians who create a full, almost orchestral, sound that is the perfect complement to her voice. Her set began with a song from her 1993 release Blue Light Til Dawn, entitled Children of the Night, a stirring, almost haunting number that set the tone for the evening

Rivers' Trio

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You’re as young as you feel; just ask eighty-year-old Sam Rivers- truly one of the few icons of contemporary jazz still performing like nobody’s business. The Multi-instrumentalist jazz pianist, tenor/soprano saxophonist and flutist came to play. Energetic, lively and witty as Rivers performed wonderfully at the Jazz Bakery with great support from the others in the trio, bassist and bass clarinetist Doug Mathews and drummer, tenor saxophonist and pianist Anthony Cole. A six days engagement w
Whenever jazz connoisseurs come to Houston, Texas, they have to look long and hard for a venue that offers a well-rounded selection of quality entertainment. For the most part, the options are limited and versatility is often questionable at best. In a city having a population of 2 million-plus, jazz venues are a rare commodity; as such, when a new club opens, it can best be described by a thirsty man finding an oasis in the desert. The Omni Central night club opened its doors for the fi
In a city where jazz is not necessarily one of the national past times, Houston manages to hold its own in spite of benign neglect, especially when it come to showcasing some outstanding jazz related events. Although they may be few in numbers, the concerts and festivals that highlight jazz are well-worth a view. One such event is the Trinity Jazz Festival, where spirituality and jazz come together under one roof. Already in its third year, the festival is a combined endeavor that brings
Chicago’s Reservation Blues conveniently located very near the holy trinity of Damen, North & Milwaukee does not fit the stereotype of an old-style blues bar. The walls are red brick, with photographs and album covers hung with great care adorning the walls, and shucks, it wasn’t even that smoky (thank goodness). Of course, the pics and LP covers were of a hardly traditional/stereotypical bluesman, namely, the Breezy Burg’s own Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater. The Chief reminds me somewhat
There is nothing like starting off the year with good music and Earl Klugh delivered. I was overjoyed when I found out he was coming to town because I have been enjoying his music for a number of years. His smooth and mellow guitar could be heard on all the quiet storm/lights-out radio formats in the 80's. Long before I began buying massive amounts of music, I would sit on the porch at night listening to the radio and Earl's music was a part of it. His set included such classics as "One N

Flute Fête 2004

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Maya Colemon - flute, piccolo, Selamawit Abebe & Shyesha Osler - flute, Dr. Saïs Kamalidiin - director, arranger & flute. With Dr. Thomas Korth - piano, Prof. Gerard Kunkel - guitar, Hamilton Hayes - bass, McClenty Hunter - drums Dr. Saïs Kamalidiin is the Professor of Flute at Howard University in Washington D.C., part of a program that includes a great deal of emphasis on jazz performance. Once a year he holds a public recital with his students and a special guest artist. Last year a
In these very (web)pages I’ve extolled the coolness of Chicago’s legendary jazz club the Green Mill, so I shan’t repeat myself. But this past V-Day in the Windy/Big-Shouldered City was indeed special, but not for the temporal pleasures/seizures of the holiday (feh), but rather because trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas has made a rare appearance here. [His first, maybe? I’m not certain.] It was enough of an Event that despite the cold (and it surely was, indeed), there was a line around the corner
The silver lining of music only knows one place. When musicians who are dedicated and love their art combine in a mix that is unusual and totally about making new sound, then you have the lining. The lining exists between structure and freedom. The structure is found in the make-up of the band; the freedom lies in each musician’s instinct to feel exactly the direction that the music is going or can be led. At the ICA in Boston, A Band With No Name became the moniker during the show for a perf
In the 1980's Tony's Steak and Seafood was the weekend gig site for such jazz stalwarts as Billy Higgins, Leroy Vinnegar, Frank Butler and other luminaries. Last night, January 16, 2004, jazz again made its debut at this venerable venue. Under the musical directorship of Drew Salperto, who will be the house pianist and booking person, this promises to be a hot spot for the jazz afficionados and cognoscenti alike. Drew has a musical history that promises to continue the legacy of the aforem
While some ethnocentric types go on about Jazz being "Black Music" and Anglocentric types maintain jazz is an American music (a good arguement, I'll admit), jazz is really a world music with its roots in the unique, (proudly) mongrelized contraption known as the USA. The clashes (sometimes literal) of cultures in the USA is where jazz sprang from, and attempts to "localize" it are doomed to failure (some folks eat up the "this is OUR music" spiel, but it’s baloney all the same) the band A
Howard University, Washington D.C. Flute Féte 2004 featuring David "Fathead" Newman, flute, with The Flutes of Howard University: Maya Coleman - flute, piccolo, Selamawit Abebe & Shyesha Osler - flute, Dr. Sais Kamalidiin - director, arranger & flute. With Dr. Thomas Korth - piano, Prof. Gerard Kunkel - guitar, Hamilton Hayes - bass, McClenty Hunter - drums Dr. Sais Kamalidiin runs a program in jazz flute at Howard University, and once a year he holds a public recital with a special gu
Lizz Wright - Vocals Nicholas Rolfe - Piano/Fender Rhodes Carlos Henderson - Bass Mark Collenberg - Drums The lyrics are so essential to the song. They convey emotion and tells us a story from the singer's perspective. Extraordinarily gifted vocalist/songwriter Lizz Wright brings the lyrics to life. She brings them from her heart and conveys them through her rich contralto voice and her graceful movements. Just watching her perform the past two nights at Yoshi's has bee
There’s nothing quite like an evening of holiday music to get you into the spirit of the season and, if the musicians are as good as the Klezmer Conservatory Band and the setting as compelling as the breathtaking new Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles, it doesn’t even matter if the holiday that the music belongs to-in this case Chanukah-isn’t the exact same one that you are slated to celebrate. In fact, it just makes the night that much more memorable and exciting. The KCB’s Oy, Chanukah