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Concert Reviews (826)

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.

I was lucky enough to catch Stanley Turrentine in Seattle last month at one of his last performance gigs. He played the week of August 17th at the Jazz Alley, a great club off 5th Street and home to many star players. The band began with a short number to introduce themselves-Larry Fuller on piano, Dave Streicher on guitar, Paul Thompson on bass, and Lenny Robinson on drums-before the sax legend joined them onstage. What makes Turrentine a legend? Perhaps it's his mastery of the subtone-the s
Bernie Kaplan, a famous entertainment lawyer in London used to tell people that Dave Frishberg’s "My Attorney, Bernie" was written for him. When Kaplan died, they played the sardonic little tune at his funeral, and someone later remarked to the composer, "It’s too bad about Bernie, isn’t it?" But Dave Frishberg just thought it was a nice, silly little rhyme, and had never met Kaplan. We learned all this on September 7th at the Jazz Spot, where Frishberg played to a house full of fans. The eve

Mehldau Times 2

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In an unexpected solo concert at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Ma., Brad Melhdau exhibited his incredible talents. It is fortunate that he always puts this venue on his tours, for to behold this ever developing artistry is an extremely satisfying occupation. Melhdau’s performance characteristics are immediately identifiable. He plays from a special folding stool.Each of his arms move together into positions that are between being completely outstretched to being bent well into themselves at
It was a rainy first day of autumn and Milwaukee native Bunky Green was back in Chicago for a week at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase. Physically fit, Bunky blows as though he is competing in an Olympic event. His athletic prowess is matched by a sympathetic understanding of the jazz encyclopedia. Playing many familiar standards, he made each one fresh and new with twists and turns from his alto that would make even Bird raise an eyebrow. The band was composed of Stu Katz on piano and vibes, Larry
This past weekend of October 20 & 21, Michael Ehlers designed a musical explosion of a birthday party for the 5 year-old Conway New Music Society in Amherst, Ma. As is Ehler’s forte, he never fails to bring many times, new, and always outstanding musicians to the Meetinghouse arena. There were three major sets to the weekend. The first began on Friday night with the folk/blues performance of Mike Cooper from England followed by the drum and saxophone duet of Donald Robinson and Joe McPhee.
At 3 pm on Saturday, Oct. 21st, Michael Ehlers introduced the first performer of the afternoon who had appeared in the first Meetinghouse Music Festival in 1995. The performer was Lawrence Cook. Cook played a drum solo in four movements. The structure of the first part was measured. He would place rests among the sounds that rose from the cymbals, the snare and the toms. He gave a character to each instrument while sustaining a steadiness that became similar to the hum of a sewing machine. Hi
Codifying the performance of improvised music into another language as I am doing here is a very difficult task- - one that requires removing all, sometimes unknowable, obstacles especially of cliche-ridden descriptions that do not respect the creative nature of what was heard. In the long run, I do hope that I honor with words the music I hear. And induce those who read the words to find the music. The concluding night of the Conway New Music Society’s Fifth Anniversary Concert Series reache
Hold onto your hat jazz fans, San Francisco is quickly becoming one of the hottest jazz scenes in the country thanks to high-profile jazz concerts and festivals, films, educational events and first-class jazz clubs that offer some of the world’s most outstanding jazz performances. San Francisco is not only a beautiful city, but for the diehard jazz enthusiast, a visit promises a whirlwind of venues and activities to make your heart go pitty-pat. Thanks to serious jazz devotees like Randa
The theater was crowded, packed with a healthy cross-section of humanity. Jazz-heads old & young, many folks Indian or Indian-American, fans of Indian music, well-dressed fusion fans, musical eclectics of all ages, skin hues & economic status-all have come to see/hear what legendary jazz guitarist John McLaughlin had up his sleeve that night, and/or to hear McLaughlin "revisit" a previous musical context: Shakti. Shakti was a group of McLaughlin's in the mid-to-late 70s. He'd moved away somew
I may never understand the power that creative improvised music but its existence is undeniable. Leading up to a concert by Jemeel Moondoc and William Parker I was not having a good day. It wasn't that everything was going wrong so much as nothing seemed to be going right. I was rushing around all day without much purpose or focus. The concert was set to begin at 8 p.m. and by 7 p.m. I was seriously considering the possibility of not going. Yes I had been looking forward to the concert for a cou
In the seventies, prior to the "World Music" explosion of the nineties, Brit fusion guitar god John McLaughlin teamed with a trio of Indian musicians to form Shakti in an attempt to make a jazz noise of the music of the Indian sub-continent. The joy of this particular cross-cultural union of musical souls was that McLaughlin and company - violinist L. Shankar and percussionists Zakir Hussain and Vinayakram didn’t seem to give a damn what genre they were tossed into, just as long as they could we
I have been thinking for quite a while since last Wednesday night’s concert at FLYWHEEL in Easthampton, Ma. how to arrive at the words to describe the intriguing music I heard. There were essentially distinct definable spaces in front of me in which each of the four musicians created their own place to produce their musical lines. Matt Weston’s more than complete drum set was in the back left corner of the platform. Le Quan Ninh’s large bass drum was on the right of the platform, an array of
An assemblage of quintessential musicianship performed before me last night at a concert in Amherst, Ma. The quintet was Alan Silva on bass (a rarity for him), Marshall Allen on alto sax, Hamid Drake on drums, Kidd Jordan on tenor sax and William Parker also on bass. Silva began the one set gig with a long introduction playing a lilting rhythmic line, sometimes strumming the strings like he would a guitar, setting the theme, stating the pace. The other players listened. Each one had his eyes
Approaching St. Louis and its famous arch from the East is like taking a fresh breath of crisp winter air. I was feeling a sense of anticipation for the concert I was about to see that evening. Given the images that St. Louis is famous for; the St. Louis Arch, Charles Lindbergh's plane the Spirit of St. Louis, the defending World Champion Rams, the world's home run leader and the Busch family brewery. One could only conclude that the site of the 1904 World's Fair should feature Al Di Meola's Wor
Years from now, when the work of Cassandra Wilson is discussed among jazz fans, scholars, and critics, two albums will stand out among her canon. The first, "Blue Light 'Til Dawn", her debut on Blue Note, was a breakthrough for the singer. After a tenure at Verve Records that found Wilson drifting further from the experimental jazz-funk of the seminal M-Base collective and sounding increasingly like a Betty Carter clone, producer Craig Street stressed spartan instrumentation, moody arrangements,

Pharoah Sanders Live

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John Coltrane met Pharoah Sanders in 1964, shortly after Coltrane released "A Love Supreme" and "Crescent". Those two albums signaled the end of one Coltrane's hard bop phase and the beginning of the free jazz experimentalism that would mark the rest of Coltrane's career. During Coltrane's last years he was enamored with other saxophonists; Sanders had a blustery growl of a tone that floored Coltrane, but moreover, a beautiful grasp of melody that would serve him well long after Coltrane passed

The Andy Bey Quartet

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In a world where the term 'jazz singer' has been usurped by a generation of Quiet Storm R&B crooners and cabaret hangers on, the rare chance to be in the presence of true greatness is rare. So the opportunity to see Andy Bey in one of his (tragically) rare live appearances was all the more gratifying. Though the increasing notoriety that his brilliant albums bring is rendering the labeling of Bey as an 'unsung' master obsolete, the juxtaposition of his monumental gifts and what could be calle
Though less spectacular than the other events of the JVC-NY the solo piano recitals held each year..... are a source of joy. These concerts start very precisely on time and are made to end similarly on the dot at the end of 60 minutes....While jazz audiences welcome starting things on time to terminate the music when everything is groovy and both artist and audience are willing, such military rigidity is most disconcerting. I remember Hilton Ruiz had to be almost physically removed at one of the
The Sugar Village Jazz Club, Meldert, Hoegaarden, Belgium outdid themselves in presenting another terrific jazz performance. Belgium's best kept secret, The Sugar Village Jazz Club has provided twelve years of some of the best known jazz artists for the Province Vlaams Brabant. Only three-to-four performances are held throughout the year; so jazz connoisseurs keep close watch for upcoming events as they are always outstanding. The atmosphere is warm and friendly and there isn't a bad seat in
The best recordings of Duke Ellington's music can be listened to again and again, because his works are not decorations of a familiar shape but a new arrangements of shapes. Ellington, in fact, is an authentic composer, the first jazz composer of distinction and the first black composer of distinction. His work apart from a few minor details is not left to caprice the ear of the instrumentalist; it is written out in full score. Though in the course of time variants may creep in, th