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Concert Reviews (826)

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Marian McPartland closed out another successful run of shows at the Jazz Bakery on Halloween night with a delightful bag of tricks and treats. Her set was adventurous and wide-ranging, including luminous originals, warhorses from the great American songbook and a handful of compositions by several of the most distinctive composers in jazz history: Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and even Ornette Coleman. Nearly as important was the graciousness, charm and wit with wh

Honing Inspirations

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For September 24, 2004, pianist David Arner arranged that pianist Dave Burrell play in two venues, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and Pauline Oliveros’s Deep Listening Space in the Hudson Valley. This day was an opportunity to expose myself to a Burrell marathon event, which became an adventure not to be duplicated. To my mind, Dave Burrell’s playing cannot simply be appreciated. Such descriptive, qualitative vocabulary implies that when you listen to him play, you are in a s
Los Angeles-The summer outdoor music festival season concluded on a high note. You and I probably were in attendance at one or more of the various festivals, which were held from Memorial Day Weekend through the weekend of October 2nd and 3rd. Jazz At Drew Legacy Music Series & Cultural Marketplace Presented by Honda-celebrated its 14th year as one of Southern California’s most popular music and charity event. This year, as in the past, a stellar line-up of jazz, R&B legends performed for a c
For the first time ever, the City of Houston became the major focus of two nationally acclaimed sponsors to highlight one of the finest Jazz Festivals in performance history. Although Houston has had one major Festival for the last 14 years, it has been awhile since a nationally sponsored jazz event has visited the city. In previous years, the Kool Jazz, JVC Jazz and the General Motors Jazz Festivals have all visited Houston at one time or the other. In each and every instance, some of jazz's fi
It's hard to write about Santana without venturing into hyperbole. There's Carlos Santana himself, a singular guitarist equally adept at playing with tender lyricism and dealing in raw power; the rest of the band is hardly less accomplished with such long-term members as the versatile keyboardist Chester Thompson and potent drummer Dennis Chambers in tow. Though the line-up has shifted several times over the years, Santana is one of a very small handful of bands from the Woodstock Nation to not
To paraphrase somebody 'r' other, reality makes strange bedfellows. Producer Adrian Sherwood has twiddled the knobs for some of the trippiest dub ever to emanate from the British Isles (African Headcharge, Creation Rebel, Prince Far I) and he's done production work for nominally more "pop" acts Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. And as hard for it might be to believe for anyone under 30, there was a trio of real musicians at the core of the earliest and most influential hip-hop records (Grandmaster F
If you've been making music for 30 years and you've only had one hit song you must either have the endurance of a marathon runner or you're just doggedly determined and don't know when to quit. Jay Beckenstein and his cohorts in Spryo Gyra are built for endurance. Long after jazz fusion bands like Weather Report and Return to Forever called it a day, the Beckenstein Bunch is still making great contemporary jazz like their latest release, The Deep End and hit the road to share their mus
Historically speaking, jazz has always been about change and the pursuit of a highly evolved style of music. For well over 100 years, the genre has manifested itself into one of America's most significant art forms, yet it continues to be misunderstood and often under-rated. In the beginning, the word jazz meant controversy and in later years, bebop, cool, free as well as fusion jazz also became the topics of debate. In the latter half of the 20th century and well into the 21st century, smooth j
The Chick Corea Elektric Band's engagement last week at Catalina Bar & Grill was, as always, a popular ticket at the Hollywood venue. The keyboardist always played to a full house at the club's previous location, and the tables were just as full at Catalina's larger, new room; the only difference is that there seemed, thankfully to be more breathing room in between them. The Elektric Band offered this crowd a lengthy and challenging suite of songs from their ambitious new Stretch/Concord release
Since 1991, Fourplay has become one of the most prolific and long-standing groups in contemporary jazz. Originally, the initial make-up of this outstanding array of musicians consisted of pianist Bob James, guitarist Lee Ritenour, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason. But after a run of four albums, Ritenour left the band and was replaced by guitarist Larry Carlton. Although the shift in personnel was a dramatic one, the overall chemistry remaine

Courage and Skill

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Me’shell Ndegeocello celebrated her birthday by presenting those in attendance with a wonderful gift. She led an amazing cast of musicians through an exotic, flawless performance. Her Brazilian percussionist set the tone at the beginning of the first tune, giving the group a world music feel. Toward the end of the set he did a remarkable solo on a hand drum. Her group also included DJ Jahee Sundance, who added another interesting element to the overall soundscape. Well-placed waves of sound and
There are those artists who find a comfortable niche and work within it in for the better part of their productive lives. Others spend their careers seeking new sounds and means of expression. Which group does David Sanchez fit in? Well, consider this: his recent engagement at Boston's famed Regattabar was billed as a party celebrating the release of his latest CD Coral, but the show I saw featured compositions and arrangements that were even newer than that. The David Sanchez Quartet pla
A night of outstanding music began with the Henry Grimes Quartet. His beautiful green bass caught my eye from the moment I walked in. His playing caught my ear from the moment he picked it up until he stopped playing. The quartet started out the set with more experimental compositions and moved to less dissonant material, closing with the familiar Sonny Rollins set finale Oleo. More often than not, sets of music usually flow in the opposite direction, becoming more experimental as the night goes
The Royal Bank Glasgow Jazz Festival closed on Sunday 4th July with a fine performance by the Avishai Cohen Quartet. The brilliant double bassist playing with Yosvany Terry on saxophone and chekere, Mark Giuliana on drums and Sam Bar-Sheshet on piano entertained a mainly local audience to the background sound of celebrating Greek supporters in the background of the square during the closing number and a well received encore. The band played a couple of numbers from the new CD, Ascension and

On Fire in New York

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The evening started with an Archie Shepp composition that he wrote for his oldest daughter. After his daughter changed her name, he changed the name of the song. Beautiful and enthralling, the melody set the atmosphere and Shepp’s solo took the Iridium audience on a musical journey up toward the heavens. While the other musicians took solos, Shepp added texture and inspiration on the piano. This exchange reached its peak during Andrew Cyrille’s amazing drum solo. Shepp interspersed funky stateme
India Aries’ performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall was simply amazing Thursday evening. Arie sung beautifully in her "Brown Skin," a top ten song from her first platinum CD Acoustic Soul. Arie vast musical styles can sometimes range from Neo Soul, R&B with a pop flavor and drippings of smooth jazz vibes. Arie performed an array of songs from her first CD as well as her latest platinum CD Voyage To India, which she won two Grammy Awards. "Vagina Monologue," a song Arie wrote for an u
Wonderful concert! Once again Little Feat has put on a fun and entertaining performance. It’s like a bunch of old friends having a party out in a farm field or at a barn. The party was a mixture of the new tunes from their latest CD, Kickin’ it at the Barn, and the old tunes that we have always kicked to. The old tunes brought us to the cool Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Bingo Casino where instead of going to get your own beverage they bring it to you and no mosquitoes involved. <
Highlight of the Southport International Jazz festival was the appearances of Italian pianist Riccardo Zegna, who had Jazzers fumbling for superlatives after four exquisite performances. Pick of the bunch was a Saturday afternoon session featuring Riccardo and bassist Steve Berry. The pair only met shortly before the gig and, as Berry told the audience, "Riccardo knows as much English as I know Italian - not a lot". Between each strong, the duo played a hilarious lost-in-translation guessi
Manchester concluded its 9th Jazz festival to the explosive sounds of Hans Koller Big Band. An all guns blazing eleven piece brass section supported by bass, drums and the guiding hand of Hans Koller on Fender Rhodes. Only his second visit to Manchester he brought the festival to an exciting close with an expansive, impressive sometimes explosive set. A piece jointly written with the late Stan Lacy was the highlight of the evening for me. A moving piece that echoed the great Stan Lacy with Chris
Hollywood-The 6th Annual Thurman Green Scholarship Jazz Festival was held on August 8th at the Musicians Union. A small but lively and enthusiastic crowd of lovers of jazz music gathered to hear jazz, funk, local and future legends of jazz share their passion for America’s number one art form: JAZZ. Michael Sessions Sextet kicked off the days festivities promptly at 1:00PM. This talented saxophonist is a master of all reed instruments. Backing this local legend were Steve Smith-trumpet, Ph