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Concert Reviews (826)

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The sometimes dialectical and sometimes no so dialectical relationship between composition and improvisation has long been an issue of much thought for aficionados and performers of jazz. And yet while watching Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang perform their June 21 summer solstice concert I was struck by just how irrelevant the two made the issue seem. Drake and Zerang are Chicago based percussionists who are probably best known for collaborating together as members of the Peter Brotzma
The performance put on at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts by the group Bang on a Can manifested the pure meaning of the word synergy. This word came into use particularly during the period in the 60’s and 70’s when the design world of Bucky Fuller was in Biblical vogue. A word stemming from biology, "synergy", in the context in which I am applying it, addresses metaphorically how an idea can develop through a collection of elements which when put together create a larger idea or unit tha

Crossing Thresholds

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A trio of musicians, Matthew Shipp on piano, Rob Brown on alto sax, flute, and clarinet, and Warren Smith on drums, excited the air on a stagnantly humid summer night at the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro, Vermont. The group played two sets. Although the ornamentation in each was different, particularly with the change in reeds, both manifested serious dedication to the pursuit of resolving musical ideas. The truth simply put is that these three musicians are relentless. Each member
"THIS PERFORMANCE WAS QUITE LITERALLY A CLINIC IN THE ART OF ENTERTAINING AND SINGING" - A Musician -------------------------------------------------------------- Nancy Kelly-Vocals Chris Colangelo-Bass Tim Pleasant-Drums Dino Losito-Keyboard ------------------------------------------------------------- "Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory." - Sir Thomas Beecham
It can be argued that Linda Ronstadt’s best work was the music she made beginning in 1983 with arranger Nelson Riddle. The 1970s’ rock princess wrapped her big, soaring voice around a collection of impeccably chosen standards, showcasing her talents in ways that "When Will I Be Loved" and "Tumbling Dice," as good as they were, never could. Ronstadt, 56, recently revisited the work she did with Riddle during a concert at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Opening with "What’s New," s
Composer/bandleader/multi-instrumentalist Gunter Hampel doesn’t get to these shores much, as European climes are notoriously more receptive to his brand of lyrical, swinging free jazz. Hampel has been at the jazz game since the 1960s he was among the first Euro-improvisers on the legendary ESP Disk label also he was of the generation of Euro-avant-jazzers who developed and defined a sound of their own, out of the shadows of the American giants. Like Charlie Mingus, many luminaries and then-to-be
Sound Tribe Sector Nine is a pioneering 5-piece band that dives into thought provoking musical journeys with unpredictable improvisation and group interplay. While people like to put labels and categories on fresh new types of music, this bands ability to seamlessly blend Jazz, Ambient, Rock and Dance music subgenres such as Drum ‘N Bass and Organica makes them extremely hard to classify. They mix the earthy grooves of soul jazz with elements of free jazz, fusion, and even big band/swing.
Composer/bandleader Charlie Haden has been one of THE jazz bass giants to come of age in the post-bop generation. If he did nothing but play in the groundbreaking Ornette Coleman Quartet (the 50s/early 60s), his place in history would be assured. Fortunately for us, he’s done MUCH more: aside from his many recordings as a leader (of organizations including Liberation Music Orchestra and Quartet West), Haden has performed and/or recorded with a veritable Who’s Who: Chet Baker, Jimmy Rowles, Hampt
[As Mr. Haden’s Saturday night show was covered on this very site a few days ago, just a brief intro/recap:] Composer/bandleader Charlie Haden has been one of THE jazz bass giants to come of age in the post-bop generation. Aside from his many recordings as a leader (of Liberation Music Orchestra and Quartet West) and a member of Magico, Haden has performed and/or recorded with a veritable Who’s Who: Chet Baker, Jimmy Rowles, Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny, Ginger Baker, Don Cherry and even the min
North America’s largest free jazz festival is one of the most heavily attended jazz festivals in the world. This year’s extravaganza is, typically, jam-packed with a Who’s-Who of internationally acclaimed jazz artists. Most notable are: Friday, August 30: Straight Ahead. The all-woman quintet led by bassist Marion Hayden is Detroit-based and internationally renowned. They recorded a trio of albums for Atlantic and served as a launching pad for violinist Regina Carter. Mavis Staples.
The 15th Anniversary of the Long Beach Jazz Festival once again proved to be one of the most long awaited and successful event of the year. Jazz enthusiasts attended the festival in record numbers over the three-day weekend of August 9th, 10th, and 11th at the Lagoon Park in Long Beach, California. Friday night’s performances belong Al Jarreau, Alphonse Mouzon and Eugene Groove. Drummer/keyboardist, Alphonse Mouzon multi-talented musician dazzled the audience with his great creativity and uncann
As part of the 2002 week-long jazz festival, the Sarasota Jazz Club presented Don Scaletta’s Jazz Orchestra in a tribute to Stan Kenton. The mostly gray-haired crowd filed into Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and hunkered down for the matinee of music.Before the Scaletta band appeared, vibraphonist Peter Appleyard performed with a quartet featuring Eddie Higgins on piano. Appleyard delighted the audience with his stories about Lionel Hampton and played some classic Hampton riffs, one with Appl
Touring in support of their new CD release, Show Em Where You Live, Vital Information tore it up in Milwaukee. Opening with the jazz/funk of Mr. T.C., the band set the tone for the evening. Featuring the "B3" organ sound of Tom Coster, the nimble guitar of Frank Gambale, the solid groove of bassist Baron Browne, and the driving drums of leader Steve Smith, the band plays a thoroughly modernized 60s/70s instrumental funk sound. If you can imagine Booker T & the MG's, Junior Walker,
The third of the 2002 revival of Eremite Records’ Meetinghouse Concerts featured Joe McPhee on saxophones and Paul Hession on drums. The miracle of spring opens the doors for enlivening insights and feelings that lay deep inside me waiting to come out while the clouds and low pressure still hover. Last night’s concert opened those doors. It presented to me the ways in which McPhee is bringing to his playing the foundations which laid the groundwork for his evolution (as is exemplified in
Critics and fans of mainstream jazz and more experimental improvised music rarely agree on much but both laud trumpeter Dave Douglas. In the nine years since his first release as a leader, Parallel Worlds on the Italian Soul Note label, the 39-year old Douglas has come to be widely regarded as one of the most gifted and accomplished musicians and composers of the current period. For several years I've been a fan of John Zorn's Masada, a quartet that specializes in combing free jazz an
A capacity crowd turned out on a stormy night to see Daryl Stuermer as he debuted a selection of new songs with his band. He explained that he had a streak where he wrote eight songs in three weeks. The results were heard right from the start of the tight show. Retrofit is a funky groove where the band dug in. Keyboardist Kostia played a B-3ish organ sound while Daryl’s guitar soared on top with a gritty solo. The powerful song was a great show opener. It’s Your Move settled int

East Coast Jazz 2002

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I walked in the front door of the DoubleTree Hotel Rockville and was greeted not by a member of the hotel, but by the sounds of music... sweet music - horns, piano, drums - and applause. Not every hotel greets its guest this way, except during the East Coast Jazz Festival. Musicians from around the globe are invited to showcase their talents. It's a warm, friendly and very inviting atmosphere. After getting my bearings, and there is a lot to see, everything from the vendors (clothing, paintings,
The Hal Leonard Jazz Series brings to Milwaukee one of the premier "Young Lions" of the jazz music industry. Imagine seeing the great Lionel Hampton or Milt Jackson when they had just began to crave out their many years of establishing the vibraphone as an accepted part of the jazz music scene. Well the 28-year old Stefon Harris is continuing that lineage today by exploring uncharted pathways of composition and jazz performance with the vibraphone. With a B.A. in classical music and a M.A. in ja
On April 5th, 2002 the Pat Metheny Group put on a show to remember at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts. This was a performance I couldn't wait to go to. I wish I had the money to travel to every city they perform in during 2002. The concert was everything I expected and much more. In addition, the Center has wonderful acoustics, so that contributed to the richness of the performance, sound and lighting. I don't think there's a bad seat in the house.In my opinion, there's no oth

Back To The Bridge

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Featuring Joshua Redman (tenor saxophone) Bill Frisell (guitar) Brian Blade (drums) Larry Grenadier (standup bass) I’m a guy who makes things up as I go along so nothing is ever going to be finished There are so many different ways to approach a piece of music in my mind That’s why you always have to practice. If you’re not practicing, you’re not going to be there when the revelation comes. - Sonny Rollins Back to ‘The Bridge’ at the Herbst Theater was an all-sta