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Musically speaking, Joe Sample stands as one of the most consistent and significant artists in jazz today. During his 45 years, first as a Jazz Crusader and then as a solo musician, Joe’s contributions to jazz are widely known and he has become a cultural icon amongst his fans and peers alike. His world-class prominence as one of the genre’s most prolific pianists has not tarnished him in any way and he is down to earth and personable by most standards. On any given day when he
29.01.2011

Come Ride With US

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The concert pairing of the 21st century editions of the Sun Ra Arkestra and the MC5 might at first glance strike some observers as a retro kind of gig. After all, the two groups do have a history of performing together that goes back to the late 1960s. Of course, I'm speaking of outside observers here; surely no one who was present at Royce Hall on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles when the DKT/MC5 and Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen touched d
Since being founded in 1985, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra has earned the title of Southern California's premiere big band. Tonight's performance at the Ford Amphitheatre, nestled in the Hollywood Hills, marked the group's 20th anniversary. The program featured a variety of congratulatory notes for the group, including a full-page, four-color one from a Diana and Elvis, whoever they might be. And that wasn't the only cause for celebration on the evening; as Jeff Hamilton explained from the
If there is any truth to the old saw that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, then George Duke will come out alright. The veteran keyboardist headlined the final evening of the Hollywood Bowl's 2005 jazz series, a presentation entitled An Evening of Jazz Sophistication with George Duke & Friends. Among Mr. Duke's friends performing this evening: Billy Cobham, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Bobby Hutcherson, Christian McBride, Airto Moriera, Dianne Reeves and Joe Sample. On hand
One of the fastest growing jazz festivals in Europe at this time is the Blue Note Festival in Gent (Belgium), that made its maiden flight in July 2001 as the very first jazz festival in the world to bear the name of the famous record label. From the beginning, the festival has always consisted of two main parts: "All That Jazz!" which provides a stage for mainstream, modern and avant garde jazz, and "All That Jazz?" during which new fusion forms of jazz can be discovered. While a
29.01.2011

Revering Rollins

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Writing an article about Sonny Rollins is like taking water into one’s hands for a long-awaited drink and not letting the precious liquid seep through the fingers. It is like taking a better photograph of the Grand Canyon. It is like standing on the top of Mt. Everest and absorbing the view. My seat at Tanglewood was in the first balcony way up behind the band. The people next to me were complaining how they wouldn’t be able to see Rollins. Even though I didn’t say anything, I knew that Rolli
29.01.2011

New speeds

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Hunched over their instruments in Oslo's basement-like John Dee venue, this four-piece is an unprecedented mixture of different musical styles. They are rooted in the free jazz tradition set in motion by Ornette Coleman, and all the music is wholly improvised. They are also firmly within the electronic category, especially the kind of electronica typified by artists like Autechre, who based their music around avoiding the "tension and release" of rock music. This music also involves the tradi
29.01.2011

All Aglow

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The Scene West Victoria venue is packed full for the 2005 Oslo Jazz Festival appearance of one of Norway's sweetest-sounding jazz singers and her four musical collaborators. One of these men is probably the most inventive musicians in Norway at the moment, Morten Qvenild (also a member of Susanna & the Magical Orchestra and In The Country). This band manage to mix electronic clicks and squeaks with their more conventional instruments (piano, trumpet, double bass and drums) but in an incredib
The 18th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival was held on the weekend of August 12th-14th, 2005 under clear skies in Rainbow Lagoon Park. The yearly event is presented by Rainbow Promotions, who really lived up to its name by bringing an international line-up of musically and culturally diverse artists to this year's edition. Featured performers included Japanese pianist Keiko Matsui, South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela, the British groove-meisters Down to the Bone and a special tribute to Ame
Tommy Halloran performs old-timey music anyone would appreciate, but as is often the case, his savvy draws many unusual folks. Tommy, on a first-name basis with practically anyone cool in Saint Louis, has always hung on the fringes. He is to jazz as Uncle Tupelo was to country-western or Steve Earle to bluegrass. He possesses the schooling (both formal and hard-knocks) as well as the "chops" of a great jazzman. Tommy is, however, a generalist more than a specialist. The basic truths of
Charlie O's is one of the top jazz clubs in America (and the world for that matter). On August 5th, their stage was graced by some of the icons of the jazz milieu. Appearing was Carl Saunders (a trumpeter without peer) and Med Flory (the irrepressible founder of Super Sax and an alto player who has long been a star in the galaxy of jazz). Scott Whitfield (recognized by his compatriots as the premier trombonist on the scene today) also made an appearance. Whit came in at the
Tonight's entry in the Hollywood Bowl's 2005 Jazz Series was co-titled as An Evening With Concord Records and A 75th Birthday Tribute To Ray Charles. The cream of the label's roster of artists were on hand, performing three sets. The bands of Gary Burton and Poncho Sanchez were each featured individually, while The Concord All-Star Big Band closed the evening out with a tribute to Charles under the baton of Quincy Jones. All three sets featured a variety of special guests, includin
Tony Bennett, at age 79, remains the leading vocal interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Performing a concert titled Tony Bennett: The Art of Song at the Hollywood Bowl, the great singer seemed as ageless as the wonderful tunes he delivered. Opening the proceedings was a small version of the Los Angeles Philharmonic with a short set of early 20th century jazz under the baton and trumpet of Jeff Tyzik. The worlds of jazz and concert music at times intersect, and the LA Phil has sh
Since the demise of the One Step Down, Twins Jazz, along with its sister club Twins Lounge, remains one of the few active jazz clubs in the Washington DC area, and the main alternative to the considerably pricier Georgetown establishment Blues Alley. Founded in 1986 by Ethiopian twin sisters, the club is still run in the most hands-on style, with owner Kelley Tesfaye in the kitchen supervising the menu of American, Ethiopian and Carribean dishes (I am particularly fond of th
29.01.2011

Mouthing Matt's Mantra

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Matthew Shipp, William Parker and Mat Maneri constitute a group seemingly impervious to pursuing anything other than the apotheosis of what they do. These musicians demonstrate such confidence in their attitude, approach, and propensity for simply diving into making their music that bringing it into question well that would reveal a complete lack of vision, interest, and willingness to discover on the percipient's part. All suited up, the members of the trio moved onto the stage at the
Adrian Belew has always had a cartoon character quality about him. The ease with which he does the seemingly impossible and the unique mannerisms that accompany each task make for one entertaining evening. His trio is extremely tight and playing heavy, progressive music. They came flying out of the gate with several pieces of newer material, including "Writing on The Wall," from the CD Side One. The high intensity of the first several tunes was amazing. After playing the Krimson clas
Watching Chicago Blues Reunion perform last weekend in Hollywood, a term from the film industry came to my mind: this is a high-concept group. An ensemble cast of players from legendary blues bands like the Electric Flag, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Siegel-Schwall band and the backing bands of such greats as Howlin' Wolf, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, the Reunion is also just that, a gathering of old friends from the Chicago blues scene of the early 1960s. That sense of camaraderie came throu
Danza is a style of music popularized by Juan Morel Campos and Manuel G. Tavarez in Puerto Rico. Angel David Mattos creates jazz interpretations of music by these innovators and composes his own Danza jazz. His playing can be likened to notes fallin’ off the piano like butter. Angel David Mattos & the Jazz Boricua Quartet shared their unique sound at the upper west side club, The Triad. A beautiful ballad by Tavarez featured the bass playing of Elias Cervas. Elias was nice and so was the
The Hollywood Bowl is a deservedly legendary summer institution, a beautiful natural amphitheater nestled in the Hollywood Hills where great music is the norm. Each year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association puts together an eclectic lineup of shows presenting not only its own orchestra, but some of the greatest musicians in the world representing all types of music. The Bowl is a treasure not only for patrons of classical music, but for fans of all jazz, pop, rock and the plethora of sty
It is a rare treat to hear two powerhouse artists in a single show, but the double bill from Mack Avenue Records in Washington, DC's Blues Alley on July 27 delivered deluxe. The acts - French-American vocalist Ilona Knopfler and trad bandleader and trumpet player Sean Jones - are separate artists both promoting their second CDs on Mack Avenue. Both are now getting overdue attention as startling and talented finds. It says something for them that both of these very different acts were able to gre