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Concert Reviews (826)

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.

Another weekend night at one of America's coolest jazz clubs, the Green Mill in Chicago, this time with one of the finest, most underrated American jazz singer, Ms. Sheila Jordan. Ms. Jordan (b. 1928) was a contemporary of Charlie Parker, and was briefly married to one of Parker's pianists, Duke Jordan. Until about 20 years ago, a day job kept her from pursuing singing full-time -- before then, Jordan sang with George Russell, Carla Bley and Roswell Rudd, and in the early 1960s recorded her debu
Jazz has since endured 50 years of growing pains and hard fought success but by the end of the sixties, it seemed old hat and circumspect. Hard Bop and West Coast had all but been exhausted, funk-inflected buggaloo and Latin-tinged jazz hammered the airwaves and the new kids were hip to the Beatles and Rock and Roll. Jackie McLean, Bobby Hutcherson and Grachan Moncur III helped to define a sound during this period of jazz by releasing a series of albums: One Step Beyond, Destination Out and Evol
Sonny Rollins plays at London’s Barbican Hall, as if 50 years never passed. The Colossus is still capable, at 73, to keep a full-house audience glued to their seats with his never-ending plastic improvisations. He explores the instrument from head to toe; he talks to you though the sax, his phrase iridescent and hypnotizing as a notational chameleon. Rollins chooses for this tour an unusual ensemble, that leaves him completely free at expressive level: electric bass (whose contribution is red
Once again tenor/soprano saxophonist Wayne shorter proves why he is the recipient of eight Grammy Awards and thirteen Grammy nominations. Shorter is joined by his quartet, drummer Brian Blade, pianist Danilo Perez and bassist John Patitucci also featuring the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra. The evening was set at the University Of Southern California in the Bovard Auditorium as the jazz fans awaited the start of the show. Thelonious Monk Institute @ USC Ensemble began the evening with great con

Good Times

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Summertime is here, regardless if you are ready for all of the good times that this season brings. This festive season officially began during Memorial Day Weekend. The weekend was celebrated in various ways: trips to Las Vegas, camping, daily trips to the beach and of course partaking in outdoor festivals. Saturday-Perhaps you were fortunate enough to attend the Old Pasadena SummerFest at Brookside Park in Pasadena. This event had something for the entire family as well for the entire community
There are drummers, and then there is Bob Moses. [Holy Hyperbole, Batman!] Well, it’s true: there aren’t many jazz drummers like Bob Moses. To say his resume is impressive is a gross understatement (Gary Burton, R. Roland Kirk, Pat Metheny’s 1st album, Steve Kuhn, etc.); he’s a fascinating, effective and engaging composer/arranger a la Gil Evans and Carla Bley (a bunch of discs on Gramavision, officially out of print but well worth seeking); and he’s a helluva drummer, a descendant of Art Blakey
The crowd was small but enthusiastic during the 24th annual Alcorn State University Jazz Festival, held at the state-of-the-art Vicksburg Convention Center in Vicksburg, Miss. The headliner was the Heads Up recording group, the Yellowjackets. Before the quartet of Russell Ferrante, Bob Mintzer, Jimmy Haslip and Marcus Baylor took the stage, however, audiences were treated to performances by several Mississippi high school and college jazz ensembles. And during the afternoon, shortly after
On a typical night, jazz masters Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland are leading their own groups in any number of theatres and clubs around the globe. On this particular night, they were part of another jazz master’s trio, the venerable Herbie Hancock. Including the encore, an inspired version of Maiden Voyage that began with a brief bluesy run that transformed into an extended introduction by Hancock, the trio delivered a 105-minute set covering six selections. The evening started with Herbie
The day before Easter it was, that for the first time I saw Billy Bang play live with his Trio. A friend of mine once said it is good to refrain from corrupting an experience with words. The following words are intended to elucidate on a past experience not an anticipatory one. If there is anything I did not anticipate, it was being totally in awe of Bang’s commitment to his instrument and to his music. That some one can be this astute within his discipline, as are many other musicians I have wr
As usual, I'm honored to be asked to 'sit in' & peruse the awesome combined talent of our local treasure........Sarasota's Florida West Coast Symphony. For their Casual Classics 'Great Escape' series (2/5/04), the orchestra delved into the area of 'Sophisticated Ladies.' Maestro Leif Bjaland with his bent for taking both the classics & the jazz/pop idiom to the edge, succeeded once again with wowing his audience in his musical choices. With an athletic, warm, & imposing conducting style, Bjal

In the Mood for Moody

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Tonight was a special night at Clancy's Crab Shack in Glendale, one in which everyone had something to celebrate. The club was marking its first full year of presenting live jazz and reveled in presenting, in the person of legendary saxophonist James Moody, perhaps its most prestigious performer to date. For Moody & his wife Linda, it was an auspicious date as well, coinciding with their fifteenth wedding anniversary. Moody, a young 79, leading a superb rhythm section consisting of such vete

Groov'in For Grover

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It was a treat to attend this concert at the Historic Pabst Theater to listen to jazz super stars Gerald Albright, Richard Elliott, Jeff Lorber, and Paul Taylor. This was a perfect venue to celebrate the life of a classy jazz artist, Grover Washington Jr. A wonderfully diverse crowd gathered to experience the awesome concert ahead. As the concert began, Jeff Lorber came on stage first and introduced Paul Taylor, Paul then introduced Richard Elliott, and then Richard introduced Gerald Albright
Once there lived a quartet, with a very solid background. Last Friday, they took the stage and thrilled a packed house at the Gold Strike Casino’s Millennium Theater in the Mississippi Delta community of Robinsonville. The Manhattan Transfer, after 30 years as one of contemporary jazz’s best vocal acts, reinforces that saying about getting better with age. Truth be told, this singing foursome of Janis Siegel, Tim Hauser, Cheryl Bentyne and Alan Paul doesn’t seem to age at all, entertaining
An icon of American music, Ornette Coleman’s innovations of the ‘50s and ‘60s continue to have an impact on forward-thinking jazz, both in terms of the way Coleman broke free of harmonic constraints and the way he placed a formal emphasis on melody. Although he has continued to document his latest developments via recordings, performance opportunities have been somewhat more limited over the years, making his appearance on the campus of the University of Michigan a rare treat. Add to that the fa
The DoubleTree Hotel, on Rockville Pike, Maryland, about 10 miles from our nation's capital, was the venue for the 13th annual East Coast Jazz Festival from February 11th through the 16th of this year. Compared with other festivals it is a small event, drawing mainly on local talent with a sprinkling of headliners, this year Frank Morgan, Rebecca Parris, Junior Mance, Richie Cole and David ‘Fathead' Newman. But after thirteen years the event is thriving, providing a very real service to t
In an article reviewing the 3rd Annual Trinity Jazz Festival, two corrections must be made regarding the founder of the event and a well-deserving artist. The founder of the Trinity Jazz Festival is Father William B. Miller not (Marshall), Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. His insight and vision in elevating the consciousness of jazz in Houston has been extremely beneficial. In addition, the review erroneously reported that Bob Henschen was the pianist accompanying Jason
Bela Fleck, of the popular Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Edgar Meyer, member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Ensemble, both Grammy winners, and very close friends, performed together at MassMoca on last Saturday night. The house was full as was the atmosphere with musical energy. The key to understanding this duo is the stark contrast between their instruments. It is not often that you have to think about the banjo as a stringed instrument, but in this case under Fleck’s fingers, the ba
How strange to listen to Moreira freestylin’ on a hip-hop beat, while being accompanied by his daughter Diana (whose tantalizing voice was revealed to the world with the album ‘Speed of Light’ back in 1995.) While looking at times too much of a commercial exploit, the gig is great. It feels good to have Moreira back at Ronnie Scott’s, promoting his latest fatigue "Life After That" (Narada Records - Virgin / EMI); it feels great to be able to single-out the man and his overflowing energy no ma

Cleaving the Air

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On Friday night, at Sweeney Concert Hall, at Smith College, the Trio of Peter Brötzmann on reeds and saxophones, William Parker on bass, stringed instruments and flutes, and Hamid Drake on trap set and frame drum, cut through the architectural formality of the hall and broadcast acoustically alive sets of highly focused improvisation. Music is an abstraction until it is heard. The derivation of music can stem from many sources, particular to the individual musician, particular to the way in w
While the more cynical among us (like yours truly) might accuse singer/songwriter Susan Werner of "changing" her style to appeal to the jazz-is-hip-now crowd, the cabaret set or the (dwindling) retro swing scene well, shucks, that’s just wrong. While Ms. Werner was in high school and college, she’d played and sung jazz before moving into the folk/singer-songwriter milieu in which she established herself. On her latest album I Can’t Be New (Koch), she renews the jazz/torch song side of her musica