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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.

On December 1, 2006 Houston, Texas was privy to one of the best concerts of the year. Billed as "A Smooth Jazz Christmas" and sponsored by KHJZ 95.7 "The Wave," four of the genre’s most notable musicians hit the stage of the Verizon Wireless Theater. Although David Benoit, Jonathan Butler, Michael Franks and Kirk Whalum have all been to Houston at various times, the event was heralded as an extra special extravaganza of smooth contemporary stylized ja
In the acoustically challenged Beat Niq nightclub located in downtown Calgary, Alberta Canada the jazz ensemble Sillan & Young still managed to wow their audience on December 21st. Led by alto vocalist Johanna Sillanpaa and guitar virtuoso Aaron Young the quintet performed two sets comprised mostly of Christmas tunes. The blonde haired Swedish chanteuse took to the intimate stage decked out in black crop jacket trimmed in matching faux, black shimmering camisole and blue jeans. He
Petula Clark, recognized by many as the greatest female singing sensation of the 1960s, graced the stage of Toronto's Hummingbird Centre, Sunday November 6, 2005. This is the second time this writer has had the great pleasure of being entertained live by this lady of song.Growing up as a child star in war-time Britain, singing on the B.B.C. and entertaining the home front and weary WW ll GI's alike, helped develop Ms. Clark's fine sense of timing and
As another example of how large scale jazz events can work, The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival enjoyed its second year October 4 - 8 with an even more ambitious program than last year, sponsoring activities that seemed to encompass the whole of the District of Columbia. The more than fifty performances were held in major venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the Inter-American Development Bank, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Duke El
The name Hariprasad Charasia may not be well known to jazz lovers but he is virtually a household name in India and in Indian classical music circles world wide. He is best known as the premier performer on the bansuri, or bamboo flute, but he has also written the scores of several very popular Bollywood movies. He has also collaborated with jazz musicians in a number of Indo-jazz fusion projects, most notably with guitarist John McLaughlin. He has also worked with San Francisco Bay Area
Born in 1930 in New York City, Theodore Walter "Sonny" Rollins has long been a fixture on the jazz scene, and he has been no stranger to the San Francisco Jazz Festival. Sonny appeared most recently in October, 2006 at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco. At the event, Milestone and Fantasy record producer Orrin Keepnews introduces him to the audience. Keepnews tells us how he had first met Rollins at the recording session for Thelonious Monk’s classic recording "Brilliant Corners."
The jazz program at the University of Maryland continued as it began this season with quality, as the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra followed the McCoy Tyner Septet into the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The difficulty in describing any performance by this award-winning ensemble comes from finding superlatives that haven't already been used. Perhaps the best compliment to pay Ms. Schneider's work and her ensemble is that it shows how far jazz has come and what its potential is becoming.
In the five years since its opening, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland has presented programs that emphasize both diversity and quality, with student recitals alternating with renowned artists in all fields of music, dance and theater. A major component has been their presentations of major jazz artists and the 2006/7 season is no exception, with Maria Schneider's orchestra following hard on the heels of the McCoy Tyner Septet and Stefon Harris
For the second time in as many weeks, Houston’s 57 West Jazz Café brought to bear a sorely needed entertainment resource that is best described as an intimate and personal club jazz experience. Having only opened for business on November 10th for the very first time, 57 West Jazz Café began an auspicious debut with guitarist Joyce Cooling; what came next was nothing short of a party waiting to celebrate a victory of sorts. To highlight an underlying commitment to bring
Creation begins in the most internal constitution of the creator. Whatever language the creator uses to describe something outside, that person is correlating an assortment of givens with the dynamics that animate them. In this case, the creator is pianist and composer Matthew Shipp and his creation is Sacred Geometry. Shipp premiered his work for strings and piano at the Kitchen on November 11, 2006. He was joined for the performance by string players Michael Bisio on bass, Mat Maneri
The Original Superstars of Jazz - The Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, Nov. 16, 2006 The Original Superstars of Jazz Fusion concert with Roy Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith, Jean Carne, Wayne Henderson, Bobbi Humphrey, Ronnie Laws & Jon Lucien was a tremendous success. The fusion occurred between the promoters, a co-production of Toronto Downtown Jazz and REMG Productions and the audience, a diverse mix of young and old. The young people were singing along to songs that were wri
Houston, Texas is the fourth largest city in the United States. Culturally speaking, the city is internationally diverse, artistically enhanced and economically sound with as much to offer as any other major city. But the jazz scene in Houston does leave much to be desired. Historically, Houston once had a strong and distinctive jazz presence. There were numerous venues and any number of native jazz artists calling Houston home. Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Bubbha Thomas, Joe Sa
Getting out of Manhattan into the greenery of Connecticut is always refreshing. On this particular weekend in late October the feeling was reinforced by crisp Autumn air, a brilliant display of multi-colored leaves, and a quality jazz performance. In celebration of her birthday, and as a benefit for the local library's new building fund, Connecticut resident, flutist Ali Ryerson, invited guitar legend Gene Bertoncini to town for a duo performance at the Brookfield Theater for the Arts. The resul

Brazilian Star Shines

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This is the second October in a row that Blue Note jazz club has had the great fortune of booking Milton Nascimento for a week-long engagement in New York City. A friend of mine who grew up in Sao Paulo tells me that Milton plays in front of huge crowds in Brazil (and around the world) so the opportunity to see him in this setting is rare blessing. Having had the pleasure of seeing him at the Blue Note last year, I certainly knew I was in for a treat. Milton is one of those
In an ever increasing environment where smooth jazz radio programming is in a continuing state of flux, it is refreshing to note a few successes as they occur. KHJZ 95.7 "The Wave" celebrated its 4th year of programming on October 28th; a feat that is very significant, especially in an arena where station after station has flipped to a more attractive format. Most recently, Dallas’ KOAI 107.5 and Philadelphia’s WJZZ 107.5 decided to change formats while dropping their smooth jazz conn
It has been a couple of weeks or more since I attended Alice Coltrane's only East coast appearance at the beautiful NJPAC concert hall in Newark, October 22nd. It has taken this time for me to sort out my thoughts on the experience because I came away strangely conflicted ambivalent about both the music and the message that accompanied it. I can't say that I have resolved any of this but I feel I should lay out the various issues and let our readers arrive at their own conclusions. To begin w
Paris Escovedo, son of famed percussionist Thomas "Coke" Escovedo; has emerged to bring Latin back to the world of jazz. "Coke" Escovedo was an original member of the Carlos Santana band in the 1970s, who later created his band entitled Azteca, and through his untimely passing, Paris is building upon the tradition set forth by his father. Paris has played the timbales since he was a child. His first set of timbales was a gift from the great Tito Puente. Paris Escov
If there's one thing there's not a shortage of, it's tenor saxophonists. There are many, but few are at all like Branford Marsalis. Many saxophonists can be summed-up in a few glib words, but Branford (I hope he forgives my familiarity) has a style that reflects many styles, many "schools," many eras, yet there's nothing pastiche about him. Classic pre-bop styles (Coleman Hawkins, Georgie Auld, Lester Young, Illinois Jacquet), proto-bop icons (Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon), hard-bop-through-f

Releasing the Rigor

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Dipping into the Meetinghouse in Amherst, MA, on a multi-city tour, reedsman Peter Brötzmann and drummer Han Bennink paired up for a performance that projected a dynamic rarely experienced in the music. A hard-edged European mode of improvisation overcame the acoustically alive room. Tenacity and intensity go hand in hand. Even though such descriptive nouns might imply a network of rules, those rules might also include flexibility fraught with determination and direction. For Brötzmann, the r
Dressed in a wine colored dress her attitude alternated between vampish and sassy but when Janiva Magness the 2006 Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year took to the stage at Calgary’s Red Onion on October 21st her passionate vocals stirred the emotions of both men and women. Backed by a scintillating performance from her rhythm section the Los Angeles native met and exceeded the expectations of an audience that had lined up two hours prior to the concert to ensure a good seat.