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Concert Reviews (849)

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Guitarist Jeff Healey’s nightclub Healey’s in Toronto, has gained an international reputation as one of the finest blues clubs around. Many of the most renowned U.S. blues acts (James Cotton comes to mind, as well as the late A.C. Reed, and drummer Levon Helm’s Barnburners -- a concert whose first set the great humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof of Live Aid/Live 8 fame> attended) have performed on its well lit, spacious stag
When one speaks of saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., considered by many to be one of the finest contemporary jazz saxophonists of his time, the word "legend' has to come to mind. His impact on the jazz world has been long-lasting and has influenced any number of today's up and coming musicians. For more than 30 years, Grover's influence not only stretched the boundaries of contemporary, soul and smooth jazz styles, it also pu
29.01.2011

Stimulating the Space

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To the uninitiated audience, a performance by the Peter Broetzmann Tentet may seem cacophonous, potentially unendurable and incomprehensible. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most salient means to identify with a performance of this group is, without resistance, to fall into the energy, sincerity and the joy underlying the making of the music. The Tentet is a group of musicians that fluctuates in personnel. For some reason, I always thought that this ensemble woul
The members of Trio X are Dominic Duval, Jay Rosen and Joe McPhee. Each has his own unique sound. Taken further, the group’s capacity to put these unique sounds and their unique temperaments together result in a brilliant and common determination: to make their music unforgettably engaging. Trio X is a young ensemble maybe seven years old. In the beginning of a new venture, the musicians start as innocents with each other. The more they play together, the more the audience can wrap
Since its dedication in January of 2004, the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium at the New York Bahá'í Center located at 53 East 11th Street (between University Place and Broadway)-- has featured a series of jazz performances every Tuesday evening. Organized by former Gillespie pianist Mike Longo himself a follower of the Bahá'í faith and dubbed "Jazz Tuesdays," these regular concerts offer high-quality performances in a pleasing space at very reasonable ticket prices $15 or $10 for student
All fans of music would enjoy the pleasure of hearing an innovator like Les Paul. With a weekly Monday night gig at the Iridium there is no reason anyone should miss this musical icon. Turning ninety years old this June, Les still has that sweet sound that made him famous. The first selection of the evening was the classic All of Me, sung by the other guitarist on the gig, Lou Pallo. This was followed by the rhythmically complex Brazil and a compelling version of Up a Lazy River. On these number
Gordon Lightfoot’s much anticipated 2005 Massey Hall Spring Concert Series in Toronto, Ontario, Canada started on Wed. May 18th, and ran for four successful evenings of music and mirth. This annual event is hosted by Toronto’s ‘Old Lady of Yonge St.’ -- the much revered Massey Hall. Canada’s singer/songwriter/folk music hero, Gordon Lightfoot, is as much respected and appreciated, as ‘the old Hall’ is herself! Lightfoot’s songs capture the spirit of Canada and its identity
Barbara Sfraga has assembled an impressive group of musicians to perform their unique and soulful compositions. The complex arrangements highlight the many talents of each musician. Regarding the formation of their new, forthcoming CD, which contains many of these compositions, Barbara had this to say, "Our original concept started when Michael "T.A." Thompson & Mala Waldron surprised me with a bunch of tunes they had written for me. They knew me well, and knew the twists and turns I like
29.01.2011

World Jazz

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Friday the 13th is a day sometimes associated with bad luck, evil spirits and danger. At Joe’s Pub on Friday May 13th, there were definitely strong spirits. However, they were of the positive variety. Jack DeJohnette was celebrating the Official Label Launch Party of his new, independent record label, Golden Beams Productions. "Music in the Key of OM" was Jack’s first release on the label and focuses on the healing powers of meditation. The second release, "Music From The Hearts of the Masters,"
The music of Marta Gomez is honest in its beauty and directness and maybe just a little deceitful in its complexity, seeming simpler than it actually is. The Colombian singer and songwriter seems to be using simple forms and language to express the world around her, but there is an awful lot of craft going into it and, making their first West Coast appearance last month at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, it was obvious that she and her band play with tremendous technical ability. Their debut wa
29.01.2011

Routing Out Roots

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Susie Ibarra’s recent project with Electric Kulintang speaks of her upbringing within a community of Filipinos. She seeks to bring the folk traditions manifest in Filipino culture into the setting of contemporary music. With only two of four members of the group performing, Ibarra and Roberto J. Rodriguez carried out her intention at the last concert of the Magic Triangle Series at UMass, Amherst. The major component of Kulintang is a group of eight distinctly pitched gongs, charact
Every city in the United States has a number of favorite jazz musicians. In the case of Houston, Texas, the crowd pleasers have always been Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Richard Elliot and Peter White. Collectively, their performances have always been a cornucopia of musical delight and showmanship. At various times, these guys have performed individually or as members of the 'Guitars & Saxes Tour' to the delight of thousands of Houston jazz enthusiasts. Recently, a tour of a differen
At the close of his trio’s recent Merkin Hall concert in New York, pianist Tord Gustavsen introduced the group’s last offering of the night as "another wordless hymn." It’s as honest a description of this Norwegian export’s musical métier as one can find. In typical exploratory fashion, the trio began the 75-minute set not with a familiar piece from their acclaimed debut Changing Places or something from the just released The Ground, but with a new piece entitled "At Home." Though the band’s
29.01.2011

Roy Haynes Quartet

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The house was full for the second set on opening night for the Roy Haynes Quartet at the Village Vanguard. Joining Roy were John Sullivan on bass, Martin Bejerano on piano, and Marcus Strickland on tenor and soprano saxophones. It’s easy to see why Roy has kept this lineup for the past few years. The band functions as a tight unit and the level of musical communication between each member is amazing. The band played a set comprised mostly of Thelonious Monk pieces that kept the audience capti
Queens College Professor Neil K. Friedman Ph.D. was the host to a neighborhood jazz outing for nephew Adam Kassell Hoffman of Londonderry, New Hampshire and college gal friend at Cleopatra’s Needle, 2485 Broadway between 92nd and 93rd Street, New York, NY on March 18, 2005 to introduce The Spirit of Life Ensemble’s world-beat to the youthful neophytes.
Well, Ronnie Wells and her dedicated band of helpers have pulled it off again. For the 14th year in a row they have put together the East Coast Jazz Festival, a kaleidoscope of events including twenty-three ticketed performances on the main stage, eighty-six free, open to the public concerts, workshops and jam sessions, and forty high-quality exhibitors and vendors. Attendance exceeded expectations with an estimated three-thousand people participating in one way or another, including many comple
One of the greatest bandleaders of his time was William "Count" Basie. From 1935 until his death on April 26, 1984, Count Basie was considered by many to be one of the most influential individuals in the realm of big band, swing and blues music. He and his hand-picked band members became jazz icons and made hundreds of some of the most memorable recordings in jazz. When Basie died, some critics and fans theorized that his was the end of an era; however, under the direction of such notable
29.01.2011

Alto-ternative

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A group of musicians as eclectic and pioneering as this come together only so often. It is with great sincerity that I thank the musicians for this rare collaboration. Arthur Blythe took this opportunity at the Blue Note to feature some of the most venerable members of the "free jazz" genre. Arthur, a genius on his instrument (alto saxophone), is a giant pillar of this art form in his own right. Manning the tenor sax was none other than world music and free jazz innovator Dewey Redman. One of th
The evening began with a quiet acoustic bass solo by Andy LaCloud. As the solo intensified in volume and complexity, Savion Glover walked onto the stage and joined in, matching Andy’s rhythms and melodies with precision. This intricate duet set the tone for a set of amazing tap dance and jazz pieces that were choreographed to allow each member of this quintet to improvise over a set of jazz themes composed mainly by John Coltrane. The second piece had a Hammond B-3 sound provided by Tommy Jam
It was an exciting evening. I was going to see Pablo Menendez, an incredibly unique guitarist and songwriter, whom I was only recently exposed to. Pablo was born in Oakland but went to school in Cuba in 1966 to study art at Escuela Nacional de Arte at the tender age of 14. He got married, raised a family and has made this island nation his home ever since. Promoting a hot, new record (CD release party) with unbelievable compositions, half penned by Pablo, he took NYC by storm. His opening select