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Concert Reviews (826)

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It is a full house at The Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, with people lining up outside, trying to squeeze in for tonight's gig, the second and last by Soweto at the club - after which he is to continue with his hectically busy touring schedule. Soweto proves to be an excellent be-bopper, and also an amazing hip-hopper: not only can he rap, his presence on stage is that of a 'jazz-rapper' (the way he moves and welcomes the audience on stage with a 'wazzup... everybody cool?') The quartet


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Marcus Belgrave believed a trumpet God blessed the 11 players who participated in his Trumpet Summit. For three afternoons, at the 24th annual Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival (FDIJF) the ensemble played as if the trumpet God had anointed their horns. "Jazz music is all about love, and the trumpet is the instrument of the Gods, and they told us to bring the music to you’ll, " Belgrave told the audience. The 67-year-old trumpeter has worked with Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Ella
We only live once. And for some, to be able to experience pianist Brad Mehldau in his Trio with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jorge Rossy on drums more than once is surely a blessing. Last night in the small but densely cultured town of Northampton, MA, in a club which Mehldau visits frequently, the SRO audience was vocally aghast at the Trio’s performance. There are good reasons why. First of all, these three musicians have been together for a long time. Their union, faithfulness and dedicatio
"Why y’all so quiet?" With these words Stefon Harris broke the silent expectation of the crowd at Albany’s Center for the Performing Arts, colloquially known as The Egg, on Friday, June 6th. As a low chuckle spread through the audience, someone shouted out: "We’re waiting for you!" Harris laughed. "Well, we’re ‘bout to have some fun." Harris emphatically remarked as the five members of Blackout readied their instruments. Fun is an inadequate word for what followed. Put simply, Blac

Mitch Holder Quartet

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There have been many exceptional performances at Michael D's Jazz Club, and a few have gone beyond exceptional, entering the rarefied realm of what is known in jazz circles as "Smokin' " or musically "tearing up the joint" On June 14th. Mitch Holder, Ray Pizzi, Domenic Genova and Steve Barnes joined a select group that have made history in this fine venue. (see reviews of Nancy Kelly, Carl Saunders, Mike Melvoin). To me the word swing connotes a manner of playing that generates excitement or

Soul at the Bowl

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The 25th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival was held over a picture-perfect weekend in mid-June at the venerable Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Featuring a who’s who line-up of performers befitting the historic nature of both the event and venue, it is all the more remarkable-and encouraging-that one of the most engaging performances of the first day came from neo-soul singer Lizz Wright, two years younger at age 23 than the festival itself. Ms. Wright’s enchanting blend of jazz and soul grabbed the a
Bodrum is the yachting centre of Turkey and is nestled in hugging curves of the irregular Aegean coastline. The harbour is dominated by the 'Gulet', a large wooden motor sailor that offers chartered trips around the coast. The boats are beautifully made and quite unique, and it is this which makes Bodrum so special. It is not surprising then, that the glitz and glamour of the place attracts a crowd that wants more than just grunge bars with thumping sequenced sounds. Turkey straddles Europe and

Roy Haynes Day

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The President of Milwaukee’s Common Council, Marvin Pratt and a jazz drummer from Milwaukee, Victor Campbell presented legendary bebop artist Roy Haynes with a Proclamation, making May 31 Roy Haynes Day. Graciously accepting the award, Roy seemed a bit surprised to receive a Proclamation from the city of Milwaukee. When he recently told a friend he had a gig in Wisconsin they asked "Do people like jazz in Wisconsin?" Nonetheless, Roy seemed impressed with the Proclamation and with the enthusiasm
This year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival was billed as "26 days of Jazz’ in celebration of its 26th anniversary. Performances were held in venues throughout the Atlanta area the first 23 days, with the last 3 days reserved for the free Memorial Day Weekend Concert Series, held in Piedmont Park, in Atlanta’s Midtown area. After 2 years of having 2 stages, one for emerging artists, this year’s weekend concerts returned to one stage. Also, the internationally known performers seemed to come from a wide
Judging by a rare club appearance, Diana Krall’s next album will be her most adventurous to date. A surprise mix of blues and pop songs by contemporary songwriters made up the bulk of a recent show at Yoshi’s, a favorite Bay Area jazz spot. Krall hasn’t played such a small club in years, but the intimate setting was the perfect place to test run the new material. She was heading into the recording studio just two days later. Krall covered songs by Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Mose Allison a
On Easter Sunday evening, I saw Patti Austin at Kimball's East. Her current show is called BeboperElla which is a tribute to the music from the Bebop era and celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald. It also featured music from her Grammy-nominated album "for Ella." Her band and backing vocalists were comprised of the very talented jazz students from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Patti received an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee i
Don’t confuse Austin’s Asylum Street Spankers with the down-into-the-dustbin-of-History neo-/retro-/whatever Swing/Lounge knee-deep-in-sharkskin trend that thrived in the hep urban environs of LA, SF, et. al. in the 1990s. Not that there wasn’t any good music in it Squirrel Nut Zippers and Frenchy were and are still pretty swell but a great deal of it was musically shallow and ain’t-we-HIP style over substance jizz by people who had never even touched or SEEN a Count Basie album. These As
Tuesday night at the Village Vanguard proved to be an amazing night of unique music, played by some of the most talented musicians around: Don Byron, clarinet and percussion; James Zollar, trumpet; Leo Traversa, electric bass; George Colligan, piano; Milton Cardona, congas; and Danfis Prieto on drums. The ensemble is known as "Music for Six Musicians," and has been together in various forms for the past eight years. Don Byron started off the first set by telling the audience that he was plea
Over the past 20 years, Mike Stern has assembled various bands to showcase his compositions. The latest incarnation with Richard Bona on electric bass/vocals, Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, and Bob Franceschini on tenor saxophone is one not to be missed. This collection of excellent musicians proved to be perfect for performing Mike’s blazing modern be-bop tunes, as well as his signature melodic ballads. I spoke with Mike Stern a couple of days before show and he expressed some concern that
Hundreds of people crowded into the Musicians Union at 817 N. Vine St. in Hollywood for a memorial concert for the late great tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards. This memorial was filled with lots of jazz, blues and great camarade. Teddy Edwards was remembered as a fun loving, father, brother, uncle and friend by all who knew him. Teddy Edwards passed away on April 20th, in Los Angeles at the age of 78, after a long bout with prostate cancer. Many people in the audience have seen Teddy perform a
The Amherst Unitarian Meetinghouse was literally packed for the first concert of a seven venue tour, mastered by Michael Ehlers, of the Peter Brötzmann Trio which included, of course, Brötzmann on tenor and taragato and the pinnacle of rhythm sections, William Parker on bass and Hamid Drake on drums. The trio played two sets. The texture was outstandingly similar in both. Rapidity, energy, constancy, measurable devotion pervaded the music. The Brötzmann fire persisted, but the fire at this

Judy Wexler Quartet

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Judy Wexler has a sense of time and a innate feel for the lyric, two important ingredients, and when you add clarity of tone to the mix, you have one fine vocalist. From "Baby, Baby All The Time" to "Get Out Of Town" Wexler cut a wide swath, alternating jazzy hipness on the former and dusky counsel on the latter. Without a doubt, the ability to stay on pitch is a gift that one is born with and Judy Wexler is unerring in this facet of her musicianship. Julie Kelly and Denise Donatelli, t
Mariza, born in Mozambique, living in Portugal, is a truly amazing singer she is a singer of Fado, a folk form that is Portugal’s country blues and torch song/cabaret rolled into one. Her presentation Sunday night at the nearly sold-out show at Chicago’s classy but unpretentious Hot House one of THE BEST places in this windiest of cities to experience jazz and world music(s) was minimal, to say the least: two guitarists and a bassist sitting in a half-circle. But the audience’s focus was on the
Pinky Winters (Vocals), Tom Garvin (Piano), Chris Colangelo (Bass), Kendall Kay (Drums) Pinky Winters cooly swung in her free and easy style, giving respect to the melody and soul to the lyrics. It was an impressive performance. A leisurely mood lingered on "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" This tune was given new meaning by a slow excursion into sweet romanticism. Miss Winters swank urbanity was in full bloom on this exquisite rendering. "Early To Bed" featured hip sophistication and
Who knew? Who in the 900-plus audience for the Regina Carter Quintet at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee knew? A few found out when they joined many dozens of others after the fourth and final concert of the 10th annual Hal Leonard Jazz Series to buy Carter’s brand new CD. What audience members heard in concert were five musicians in consort, heard them mesh and throb, play off each other and push each other, highlight and yield to each other through nine beautifully developed pieces colored f