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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.

The wonderful performances at this year’s Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival have proven that this festival is reaching world-class status rapidly.In Riverside Park, located in West Bend, Wisconsin, thousands gathered to listen to great Jazz. A huge tent covers the stage and main seating area, capable of seating 2000. Around the main covered sections are grassy seating locations for lawn chairs, blankets and picnic tables. Surrounding the entire area, artists and restaurants setup shop to keep ever
29.01.2011

The Greatest Groove

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On Saturday, the 14th of September, The Fire in the Valley Festival in collaboration with the Boston Creative Music Alliance moved to the Institute of Contemporary Art Theater venue where over a dozen musicians collected in five groups took to the stage to perform from their hearts, their minds, their souls. I must have taken 50 pages of notes, sequenced with arrows & lines & drawings & words intended to coalesce my experience of six hours of music so that I could write a coherent, truth
On last Monday night, at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA, Branford Marsalis performed with his quartet: Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Eric Revis on bass and Joey Calderazzo on piano. Marsalis played both the soprano and tenor saxes. It is not surprising that the hall was packed to hear this quartet. The Marsalis name is almost like a magnet to listeners. I attended because I wanted to hear Branford, whom I believe has an edge to his playing that puts him in a category other th
At first glance, one might take Garmarna to be just another band of alterna-rock 20-somethings, but as the Blues Poet Willie Dixon once observed, you can’t judge that chunk of reading matter by its superficial graphic design. From Sweden, Garmarna are five singers/players who take the traditional folk music of their land’s history and invest/interpret it with modern technology and edgy oomfp. They strive for a balance that treats their heritage with reverence but, thankfully, don’t try to
29.01.2011

Dianne Reeves Quintet

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Dianne Reeves is a vocalist with much more than just a great voice - she is an instrumentalist bearing the torch of her idols and keeping vocal jazz alive and well. Reeves along with her seasoned band, performed a diverse set of material throughout the evening - featuring selections from the Grammy- winner’s latest Blue Note release, "The Calling" (a tribute to Sarah Vaughan), while including varied originals. Ms. Reeves performed 12 powerful selections from her vast recorded history wh
29.01.2011

Hearing Voices

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Drummer Ben Karetnick artfully drew together a quartet of seemingly out of balance proportions: the members of the group could be described with a graph that measured hyperbolic waves of maturity and experience of each individual. Joe McPhee played tenor & soprano saxes and pocket trumpet; Cliff White, a player from the Western Massachusetts area, was on alto & tenor; Joe Fonda, who has worked with Anthony Braxton among numerous other musicians, was on amplified double bass, and Karetnick, also
Exactly a year to the date, Indian tabla master Sandip Burman returned to Milwaukee’s Shank Hall with a new version of his East Meets Jazz group. Last year’s tour (cut short by the events of 9/11) featured a blistering all-star 6-piece ensemble. They navigated the twists and turns of Burman’s Indian music, creating a true fusion of genres. This year, he is taking a scaled down trio of himself, saxophonist Dave Pietro, and guitarist Paul Bollenback on a 40 date jaunt across the country.
29.01.2011

Sfraga Sfings!

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As anyone who’s familiar w/ my review/rants, most jazz singers aren’t among my favorite things. Too many are either stuck in a Great American Songbook/confusing-masochism-with-love time warp, or they are "instrumentalists" who display (way too) much (numbing) technique but seem not to care one whit for the lyrics/content of the song. NYC-based singer Barbara Sfraga is a most notable exception an "exception" in almost all senses of the word. On a humid late-summer Tuesday night, Ms. Sfraga held s
San Sebastián is the perfect atmosphere for seeing jazz. For the past 37 years, the city tucked away in Basque Country of northern Spain, has hosted the Jazz Festival. Many artists, such as BB King, Diana Krall, and Branford Marsalis, have brought their music to this town facing the atlantic ocean, surrounded by mountains. The Festival, recently sponsored by Heinekin, has brought fans and artists alike to this town for an extended weekend of jazz spanning all genres and musical times. Spanish cu
(It may seem odd to many jazz fans that the performance celebrating the release of an album by a somewhat avant-garde fellow would be held at New York City’s most legendary rock & roll club, but there you have it. But not really all that odd, when one considers a good-sized chunk of the current audience at many free jazz performances (in many cities, not just NY) are alternative/punk/avant-rock youths. Anyway, onward ) The subject: jazz violinist /composer Billy Bang. The event: the recent r
Bizar Bazaar is a super group of Bay Area musicians joining forces for a month long project reinterpreting funk/jazz/soul dance hall classics. Every Tuesday night, they come together at the historical Boom Boom Room, San Francisco’s blossoming home base for the area's funk, jazz, and jam scene. Event creator and guitar wizard Michael Bizar (AJ Croce, Wayside, Citrus) is joined by Simon Rochester (!Tang, Tangria) on electric piano and Hammond B3, Murph (Citrus, Freddy Jones Band) on
Arriving for the late show, I was excited at the thought of hearing both Kenny Barron and Regina Carter on the same bill. Although they have performed and recorded together, no musical dialogue was heard between the two on this particular night. Instead they were both featured in their own high-powered ensembles. Kenny Barron instigated the festivities. He wasted no time setting the tempo. As soon as he reached his instrument he took flight. Brazilian rhythms provided an inspiring canvas for
The annual Vision Festival is one of NYC’s premier events for avant-garde/cutting edge jazz and improvised music. Held in a variety of rented venues, it provides a showcase for a dizzying array of improvising musicians, drawing upon performers from local, national and international orbits, often juxtaposing or featuring collaborations between the younger upstarts, established performers and the Grand Old Men (or Women) of creative music. While other festivals have bigger names and established ja
Josh Roseman Unit (JRU) spread their freaky vibes across Northern California, spawning gushing reviews across many local Bay Area mailing lists. While most had never heard the band, they went on to proclaim the show ranked among their musical highlights for the first half of the year. A JRU show is fresh and exciting as they surf interesting worlds of rhythm and texture collided with a blend of musical genres such as acid-jazz, straight jazz, jazz-funk, reggae, jungle house, and electroni
Jazz Live! From the Blue Note, Thursday night was both an epiphany and a delight with James Cater and The Organ Trio featuring: Gerard Gibbs (Hammond B-3), and Leonard King (drums) with special guest David Murray. The Bluenote is unquestionally one of the finest jazz clubs in the country, as you walk through the door, it immediately hits you - Jazz. Carter , a snappy dresser steps boldly onto the stage and immediately sadles up to the microphone, chest poised and then emotes pure fire fro
29.01.2011

A Blue Note Welcome

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"Please welcome," said saxophonist James Carter with his jazz poster-boy looks, immaculate gray suit and rapper’s diamond ring, "in his debut on this stage ." Could that be true of the former enfant terrible of the Seventies loft scene, co-founder one of jazz’s most universally acclaimed and innovative ensembles, the World Saxophone Quartet, and the man Gary Giddins and the Village Voice named "Jazz Man of the 80’s"? His first gig at the Blue Note - and as a sideman for one of his disciples?
29.01.2011

What We Cannot Ignore

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On Friday night at the Meetinghouse in Amherst, every seat was filled by those who came to hear Sunny Murray at the helm playing the drums, Alan Silva on bass, Louis Belogenis on tenor, and Sabir Mateen on reeds with second set guest, Raphé Malik on trumpet. I went to this concert with a totally open mind: interested in listening to musicians I had never heard before in combination particularly aiming at being present for Sunny Murray whose performance frequency is small. Just as I had h
Salute To An American Icon time!!! This one, though, is still with us: Les Paul, the Godfather of the Electric Guitar. Without going too much into a big history lesson: Les Paul, aside from being one of the best electric guitarists EVER, regardless of genre, was one of the first if not THE first people to combine a love of music with that of technology. He invented (though not patented) multi-track recording and reverb, as well as designing the solid-body electric guitar. Every Monday night in N
Alto saxophonist/composer Lee Konitz (born 1927) has been and continues to be one of THE Grand Daddies of Modern Jazz. When Ornette Coleman was still playing R&B sax in Texas, Konitz was pushing the outer limits with Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh, recording what was likely the FIRST completely free group improvisation (1949, if memory serves) while many alto saxophonists of the 40s/50s were bent on sounding like Charlie Parker, Konitz had his own cool, unique sound. And while many jazzers of h
Bizar Bazaar is the appropriately titled name of a group of Bay Area musicians getting together every Tuesday night at the Boom Boom Room. Musically, it's an open market of improvising and jamming on a variety of styles from jazz/funk to dance hall classics that are infused with the energy of rock and roll. The local ingredients in the market change each week, adding to the flavor of the show. This week's theme ingredient was the unique taste of Paul Hanson<