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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.

Friends and I were able to catch the first set of a two-night stand by the James Carter Quartet. The jazz at Founder’s Hall is always top-notch, but the James Carter Quartet decided to add some new notches at the top of scale with what was a killer six-song, ninety minute set. James Carter, dressed like he was headed for a GQ fashion shoot, led his fellow musicians on stage carrying an armful of gleaming horns. Drummer Leonard King came on stage sporting an electric smile and dreadlock
The boppin’ and blowin’ boys from the Big Apple blew into Miller-town with their A-game, first as a cool jazz band and then as a brassed-up, opus-producing orchestra. The New York City Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra stopped in at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee for a one-nighter on a Thursday before right away coaching down to Chicago for the next day full of demo’s and teaching and another concert, and then two days later heading off to Japan to continue the tour
The boppin’ and blowin’ boys from LA-la-land blew into Miller-town with their A-game, as a cool jazz band wait, wait, that’s exactly what I wrote about a terrific one-nighter by another repertory jazz ensemble which came to Milwaukee two weeks before. Then it was the New York City Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, led from the back (kind of like a conductor-less NYC subway train) by cool and reknown Wynton Marsalis. This time -- in the third concert of the five-concert 14th seaso
This David Berkman fellow you’d better be on the lookout for him. However, he might be too tasteful and unassuming for his own good like piano aces Cedar Walton and Larry Willis, he’s got tremendous technique but he uses it to serve the music, not his ego, and like them, his style is so unfailingly lyrical, imaginative yet unhurried, subtle, tasty and tasteful, it’d be easy to take him for granted in a world with so many other, more effusive, "dynamic" piano masters. At Chicago’s
Three solo piano concerts came fast and furiously one week after the other in February to the Northampton, MA, Center for the Arts. Three distinct approaches to the piano made the series both educational and memorable, but also pointed out a characteristic which revealed clarity to the distinction among the three. Uri Caine was the first of the three soloists. Here is a pianist who goes explosively and voraciously for the piano. The marriage between Caine and the piano is noticeably mech
It seems like everyone fans and musicians become part of one big happy family at the twice-yearly jazz parties thrown by Joe Rothman and John McClure in Orange County. That’s the feeling we got at the 6th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party this past President’s Day weekend. It was held, as usual, at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel. This year’s event, incidentally, Concluding with a Count Basie tribute, set an attendance record. For fans, many of whom attend every party, it’s like going home for
The concert pairing of the Wayne Shorter Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic was an inspired match, amounting to a summit between two of the leading ensembles in their respective musical fields. Shorter is one of the most accomplished saxophonists in history, and his current quartet (rounded out by drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci, and pianist Danilo Perez) has established itself as one of this century's leading jazz units. The Philharmonic is another longstanding
29.01.2011

Winter Wonderland

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Southport's reputation as a place to listen to the best in contemporary jazz was enhanced last weekend by a highly praised Winter jazz festival. Fans from all corners of the UK and a three-day program of differing jazz styles from some of the World's best jazz musicians produced an exciting and memorable event, all organized by the Southport Melodic Jazz Cub. Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis with former Stephane Grappelli bassist Len Skeat, leading UK guitarist Mitc
TINA MAY is certainly a slow burner. In an unusually chilly Royal Clifton ballroom, she took a while to find her fire, but once she warmed up she was as hot. Looking gorgeous, with a voice to make grown men swoon, she is a charismatic and skilled vocalist. But arriving directly from Paris perhaps left her a little lagged and in early songs, such as Thelonious Monk’s "Well You Needn’t," this reviewer had the feeling that Tina and the band were holding back. Tenor sax and band leader Mike
As shown and heard in her first-ever performance in her hometown of Milwaukee, if there’s a more beautiful chanteuse than Tierney Sutton on the jazz scene today That’s beautiful as in clarity or creativity of diction Beautiful as in caressing or coaxing or even pell-melling new interpretations out of the Great American songbook... Beautiful as in an airy and pure upper pitch accented every once in a while by a little vibrato, growl, or full-bodied midrange, or frequent
This young Mr. Chris Potter has proven his tenor saxophonic mettle on many recordings, both on his own and in the service of Dave Holland and Dave Douglas. Though he has several fine discs under his own leadership, the only one (thus far) that’s knocked me for a loop is his latest, Underground (Sunnyside), which has my vote for the year’s most dazzling disc du jazz. While even edgiest musicians these days prove themselves to be predictable, Potter is
Attending this first concert of 2006 was an easy choice for me to make. It was the very idea of the duo performance of David Arner on piano and Michael Bisio on string bass that took me the distance from where I write here to where I could hear them. And the music transcended the miles I traveled. Arner chooses his musical syntax from an encyclopedic knowledge of the capacity of the keyboard. Bisio rewards the listener with a soft and dedicated approach to the bass st
"Once the prevailing popular music of the land, [jazz] has shrunk to a mere 2 percent of the market. Yet this venerable art form refuses to grow old and fade away. And if, as author Gerald Early has said, America's three great contributions to the world are the Constitution, baseball and jazz, then it's time jazz was better known in the land where it was born." So writes Matt Schudel in November's Washington Post Book World. Under these circumstances, any way to successfully present thi
For those who’ve been taking an extended nap, drummer Matt Wilson has been establishing himself as, in the words of serious-minded critics, an exciting presence on the American scene. Whether he’s tapping the tubs for big daddies such as Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz, and Denny Zeitlin or leading a couple of very different but engaging quartets, Illinois-bred drummer/leader/composer Wilson is indeed a major contender. How? Why? The answer lay on a cold, rain, snow, and slee
29.01.2011

Spotlighting the Color

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Trio X has impressed its name on the world of music. Questions were once raised about the meaning of the X, particularly by me. According to American history, the X correlates to the signature of a slave who had no name. For this trio, its name is associated with a definite sound signature. The X has become reflexive, for there is only one Trio X. In a Sunday afternoon gig arranged by the Arts for Art group at the Clemente Soto Velez Center, Trio X broadened the small stage on which th
It is perpetual, the struggle for recognition by Black Americans and all who relate to minority status within this country. The crux of the matter is that minorities long to be heard in their original tongue. It is a means to establish their identity. How often their natural language can be found in their original music, historically the music for which they are known but through which they are not heard, perhaps only taken for granted. At the last Solos and Duos concert of the UMass/A
29.01.2011

Gold Sounds

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Jazz musicians have a long history of taking different genres of music and making them their own. "Gold Sounds," a new record of jazz interpretations of work by indie rock artists Pavement, is just another example of the versatility, virtuosity and imagination of jazz artists. This quartet certainly has no problem putting their stamp on a genre of music that has barely been tapped by jazz musicians. Although not uncharted territory, this is prime example of the fruitful material available for ex
The concept of the Supergroup experienced its rise and fall in rock music somewhere between the end of the flower-power sixties and the post-punk eighties. In jazz, however, the proposition seems as viable and prevalent as ever, with the star-laden groups of Wayne Shorter and Keith Jarrett coming to mind as recent and highly visible examples of this trend. Another entrant, a good deal less-hyped but no less worthy, is the stellar trio of Ahmad Jamal, Idris Muhammad and James Cammack; their ni
Greg Godovitz is a legendary Canadian vocalist/blues guitarist/bassist, Goddo founder (and ex-Ronnie Hawkins bassist), as well as major John Lennon/Beatles fan and memorabilia collector. So it’s as natural as apple pie and ice cream, that Godovitz should perform an extremely special musical tribute to the late and absolutely great Beatle, John Lennon, on the 25th anniversary of Lennon’s untimely passing, Thurs. Dec. 8, 2005. Godovitz was backed this night by drummer an
29.01.2011

A Sure Bet

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It was another night just like every other in Las Vegas, with the casinos and bars full of desperate gamblers looking for that sure thing. Well, there was one difference; though most of the city's gaming rooms were filled with players fruitlessly throwing good money after bad in that hapless quest, the jazz fans that filled the Railhead Saloon in the Boulder Station hotel had better luck indeed, drawing the talented singer, pianist and raconteur Diane Schuur. Black may come up when you are betti