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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.


Keiko Matsui

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As the rain of early afternoon subsided into the warming sunshine of evening it was the sparkling on stage presence of keyboard player Keiko Matsui that really brightened a Southern California day. She was in town to play her part in the latest chapter of the summer long Champagne Jazz Series and, with a glorious selection of her most memorable tunes, instantly confirmed her credentials as one of the most influential contemporary jazz musicians of the last twenty years. Despite her ex
The 2010 TD Toronto Jazz Festival came and went like a comet. It came with smoke and broken glass, riot police and anarchists. As the normally sedate streets of Toronto became a caged security zone. Some 10,000 protesters marched on the G20 summit of world leaders. Amid the chaos the main stage concerts at Nathan Phillips Square carried on. An oasis in a sea of troubled times. Maceo Parker played on Day 1 of the festival, coinciding with the start of the G8 and G20 summits. Herbie Hancock Im
The famous poet James Russell Lowell wrote in his most enduring poem: "What is so rare as a day in June, then if ever, come perfect days." Well some nights in June can also approach perfection. One such energized evening was the much anticipated Las Vegas return by R & R (Richard Elliot and Rick Braun), two of the most expressive and explosive stage presences that Contemporary Jazz can offer. The celebrated duo made a visit to The Access Showroom located inside the beaut
Dee Dee Bridgewater has been always unbounded in all things she does. Like the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, she has an imposing chronicle. The 15th annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, celebrating the centenary of Mary Lou William’s Birth, hosted the All-Star Quintet composed by Dee Dee on vocal, Grace Kelly on saxophone, Geri Allen on piano, Esperanza Spalding on bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. The addition of these musicians says a lot about the lead
As any regular reader of this site knows, there are many super-fine musicians that soar beneath the discerning radar of even the jazz world. Perhaps they don’t want to move to NYC, Los Angeles, London, or Paris; they’ve no feeling for the "business" side of the music biz, don’t tour much (or at all), or in some cases, a player has a parallel career. Take Denny Zeitlin-not only is he an aces-back-to-back jazz pianist but also a practicing psychiatrist. Zeitlin also did the electronics-l
The 2nd Annual Waterfront Blues Fest took place at Woodbine Park, in Toronto’s trendy Beach area of east Toronto, for three glorious days of blues, Friday June 4th to Sunday June 6th, 2010. Many times throughout this very bluesy weekend, rain clouds did their thing, raining on the sometimes sparse and other times quite well-attended crowds who came out to this show. Despite the bad weather which prevailed throughout most of this weekend, there w
Mingling in the lobby of the Glenn Gould Theatre, chatting with the local stars, including Canadian jazz icon Phil Nimmons and enjoying coffee, cakes, crackers, fruit and cheese, a token of appreciation from JPEC for supporting their inaugural season of jazz. There were many of influence on hand to witness the final concert of the 2009/2010 season of the Jazz Performance and Education Centers concert featuring the Canadian pianist Renee Rosnes and her husband and piano partner for the evening, B
Kronos Quartet Any performance by Kronos Quartet is a special occasion. Three of the ensemble’s four woodwind performers have been playing together for more than three decades and have released more than 45 recordings. No run-of-the-mill chamber quartet, Kronos have collaborated with the a diversity of performers including Chinese pipa player Wu Man, a Romanian Roma band, and an Inuit throat singer named Tanya Tagaq. They have performed on stage with performers as diverse as Betty Carter, the Mo
The Crowne Plaza in Los Angeles was packed, and the crowd was abuzz with excitement. Nancy Kelly, vocals, Llew Matthews at the piano, Roy McCurdy on drums and Chris Colangelo on bass swung like trapeze artists on steroids. Nancy Kelly phrases like no other singer. Her range is amazing and her interpretive powers are legendary among the jazz cognoscenti. She scatted, she balladized and she ran the gamut from sweetly defining the ballads to power punching the up tunes. Cameras f

Karrin Allyson

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Larry Green, local jazz radio host made the announcement - welcome Karrin Allyson - the audience cheered. Ms. Allyson came on stage and thanked the audience for coming out on a Thursday evening. For most this was the March break, our pleasure to have some time off with delightful entertainment. Karrin Allyson has a commanding stage presence. She has a way with words and phrases like no other singer, she takes chances in her song selection, seemingly with no fear. Her delivery is strong, and c
Jacqui Naylor journeyed to all points on her rich musical landscape during a recent show at Yoshi’s in Oakland, Calif. Back in her native Bay Area after extensive touring, Naylor was loose and confident, kicking off the show with the Talking Heads’ "Once in a Lifetime." Her smoky vocals made the song soar as her band smoothly melded the music of Weather Report’s "Birdland" behind her. The song is an example of Naylor's "acoustic smashing," her process of blending a rock song with a jazz tu
I came upon Pat Metheny’s music late in my forties, when my fiancée encouraged me to buy his Secret Story album. From that point, we (and subsequently, our two tiny children) avidly listened to and loved most of his music (except the Zero Tolerance for Silence album, which we just didn’t understand.) We went to his concerts in the U.S. and Europe, and really became FANS. I have always had the impression that he felt happiest being a soloist, or leading a small combo an impression supported by su
JPEC presents the Ingrid Jensen Quintet with special guest Christine Jensen at the Glenn Gould Theatre A piano introduction, trumpet joins in. A haunting sound, a slow drawn out tempo with a beautiful tone - the soothing trumpet sound of Ingrid Jensen cries out for attention. The stage is set for the sisters Jensen to serenade a receptive Toronto audience. The show, care of Jazz Performance & Education Centre is their third of the series and by all accounts is deemed to be a success. The inau
How appropriate that the New Year starts off with a week of Jack DeJohnette at Birdland. Jack DeJohnette’s music has always been about starting anew. And like Birdland, he has a proud history. The element of freshness to his sound is the result of him continually searching for something new. This year, his reconfigured group features guitarist David Fiuczynski (Fuze), someone who has gone down his own musical path in pursuit of a unique voice on the guitar. Having been a fan of his from his d
Looking back at jazz’s rich history and tradition, female vocalists have always had a stand-alone relevance as one of the genre’s most significant influences. Without a doubt, the music of Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Ma Rainey have served as a series of guideposts to light the way for others to follow. But the shoes of those legendary mistresses of song hav

Terra Brasil

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Imagine fourteen gifted and completely dedicated dancers accompanied by the same amount of superb musicians. Imagine one of the most talented modern choreographers and artistic directors of the day and add a masterful Brazilian percussionist and musical director teaming up to transform a cold Toronto winters night into one of the hottest shows around imagine then, Terra Brasil. If you were one of the lucky three hundred or so people in attendance at the show, no need to imagine. The program indi
"Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart." ~ Pablo Casals The intimate Chrome Showroom located inside the Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino provided the setting for a night of masterful musicianship and beautiful poetic music by one of contemporary jazz’s premier performers. Saxophonist Michael Lington, a native of Denmark, made his fifth appearance at this cozy venue. Along with a very distinguished collection of sidemen, they furnished the ap
No excuses Nashville! You have the top shelf, Nashville Jazz Orchestra (NJO) now performing LIVE Big Band Jazz every Tuesday night at the French Quarter Café in East Nashville. First note at 7pm, you catch two mind-blowing sets and be on your way home by 9:30pm. The minimal cover charge of $10.00 and no drink minimum is a perfect value for today’s entertainment dollar, especially if want a sample of what big band music is all about. Once you hear it, be fair warn

Ornette Coleman

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There aren’t many 1960s elders of jazz still performing these days. Pianists McCoy Tyner and Randy Weston come to mind, as does saxophonist Sonny Rollins, but few others come to mind. That’s one of the things that made the appearance by Ornette Coleman and his group at the San Francisco Symphony Hall as part of the San Francisco Jazz Festival so compelling. Despite the demise of longtime collaborators such as trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry and drummer Ed Blackwell and Bill
I started my Guelph jazz experience on Friday afternoon the colloquium featured Professor Milford Graves. I ended up arriving early and I caught the tail end of a workshop entitled New Communities of Sound: Improvising Across Borders. The improvisers included Jane Bunnett, Hamid Drake, Jah Youssouf, Abdoulaye Kone, Getatchew Mekuria, Rob Wallace, Alain Derbez, Terrie Hessels and Brad Muirhead. This was an entertaining jam session with an African feel, percussion heavy, some great horn playing an