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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.

29.01.2011

Rachel Z

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When pianist Rachel Z led her trio into the intimate confines of the 5:01 Bar, you had to forgive her if she was slightly disoriented. Rachel put on hold her solo career and promoting her new CD interpreting the music of Joni Mitchell, Moon at the Window, for a stint touring America’s biggest arenas in the band of prog-rock icon Peter Gabriel. The Manhattan-born and raised Rachel Nicolazzo (a.k.a. Rachel Z) joined Gabriel for a 20-city North American tour in fall 2002. "Peter Gabriel
29.01.2011

Alto Madness

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The Frank Morgan & Sonny Fortune Quintet featuring George Cables is one of the more intriguing units currently on the road. Certainly any one of those names would jump out at you from the page of your local newspaper’s calendar section--Morgan, the legendary bop alto saxophonist and survivor, Fortune, the musical seeker whose fiery sax (this time an alto) has informed so many diverse projects through the years, and Cables, as good an accompanist as there is on piano--the presence of three such a
The Green Mill is one of the oldest bars in Chicago if not indeed THE oldest bar. I don’t know if it was one of the places he owned, but it was one of the favorite hangouts of legendary underworld boss "Scarface" Al Capone. On the walls within are idyllic paintings framed by the kind of elaborate, baroque-style woodwork that you just don’t see in bars (or just about anyplace) built after 1930. Though time has somewhat dulled the shine, the Green Mill (near the corner of Broadway & Lawrence on th
29.01.2011

Frank Morgan

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Last Monday, February 3rd, alto saxophonist Frank Morgan (born Dec.23, 1933) was performing in Belgium in the legendary ‘Hnita Hoeve,’ known by most jazz musicians worldwide as "Jules’ Place." For nearly 55 years, the greatest names in jazz have been playing at Jules’ Place; Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins, Abbey Lincoln, Art Pepper, Lee Konitz, Roy Hargrove, Mike Stern. You name them, he had them! It was an honor for both Jules and Frank that this unforgettabl
When Poncho Sanchez walked off the plane in Milwaukee on Saturday morning he had over half a dozen voice mail messages. Mongo Santamaria had passed away only hours ago in Miami. In honor of the major contributions he made to the music, Poncho’s entire first set that evening consisted of selections either written or performed by the master. Riveting bass lines, hot trumpet solos and aggressive saxophone work marked the early part of the set, which began with Black Stockings. Poncho really let loo
Halloween night marked the fourth evening of special performances by Toots Thielemans at New York’s Blue Note. Belgian-born Toots was in town for his 80th Birthday Celebration and on the stage with him was longtime collaborator Kenny Werner on piano and special guest Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone. This was a very special night of music initiated by a duet performance of Herbie Hancock’s Dolphin Dance. Kenny and Toots displayed their remarkable ability to interpret jazz standards with the unus
29.01.2011

A True Gem

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As the inventor of the solid-body electric guitar and multi-track recording, Les Paul’s role in shaping the sound of modern music cannot be overstated. From his string of hit records with Bing Crosby and Mary Ford in the 1940s and 1950s and his innovative studio in Hollywood of the same era to the greatest rock guitarists using his signature Les Paul Model Guitar and his Grammy-winning recording with Chet Atkins in 1976, Les Paul’s stamp is evident over the changing sound of popular music throug
Carl Saunders..Trumpet / Drums, Ron Stout..Trumpet / Flugelhorn, Barry Zweig..Guitar, Chris Conner..Bass There were more chops on the bandstand at Michael D's Santa Rosa Jazz Club last night than at Schwartz's Meat market in Pomona. Carl Saunders is the best Trumpet player in jazz today and Ron Stout ranks right up there with him. Put these two together and you have a spellbinding duo that is simply beyond description.. Notes flew around this Camarillo Jazz spot like a snowstorm in Moscow.
For the sixteenth time since the first Jazz Yatra way back in 1978, an amazing number of Jazz lovers showed up at Mumbai's Rang Bhavan for Jazz Yatra 2002. What happens to Jazz fans in between yatras will remain one of life's biggest mysteries. The once upon a time 'Jazz by the bay' is now ready for a third name change to 'Just not Jazz by the bay!' Anyway credit goes to Mr. Niranjan Jhaveri and his Jazz-India team for reviving this great form of music every couple of years. The Jazz Yatra is no
Last week I had the opportunity to hear the Eleonor England Trio play a pretty dead show at the Elbo Room in San Francisco's Mission Neighborhood. Man. I wasn't sure if it was jazz or a standup routine. One minute they were playing beautifully orchestrated standards with soaring vocals and the next minute the vocalist was improvising lyrics about the surrounding Mission Neighborhood and people were rolling around clutching their sides with laughter. One of the many highlights was when the band s
Founded in 1974, the Willem Breuker Kollektief has been bringing their joyous and virtuosic blend of jazz, European traditions and Dutch humor to a worldwide audience for well over 25 years now. The Kollektief’s engagement at Jazz Alley was their second stop on an extensive North American tour. In live performance even more so than on recordings the parallels between Mr. Breuker’s artistic vision for the Kollektief and that of the late Edward Kennedy Ellington for his orchestra become apparen
Some people’s idea of celebrating the official start of Autumn is to relax at home with some food, a nice bottle of wine and to check out the many sporting events on the television. For 45,000 die-hard jazz fans, the 45th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival had all that and more. Great golf, good food, nice wine, and some top names in blues, jazz and Latin jazz musicians were on hand to add to this festive occasion, considered by jazz aficionados as "The Annual Rites of Autumn." Friday night could
Carl Saunders ..Trumpet / Drums Steve Huffsteter..Trumpet / Flugelhorn John Giannelli..Bass Frank Collett..Piano It was a night of blistering counterpoint and 8-4 and 2 bar exchanges with two of the elite trumpeters in jazz. The notes flew like lightning flashes across the Kansas sky . On "Straight No Chaser" Saunders and Huffsteter set Monk's theme with a blazing unison display. On the 4 bar trades, Frank Collett's Piano and the trumpets parried with each other in playfu
Dynamic, magnificent and truly outstanding are just a few of the words that can be used to describe the Regina Carter Quintet. They recently performed at the Herbst Theatre as part of the San Francisco Performances series. I was first introduced to her music in 1994 when Regina was with the Detroit all-female band Straight Ahead. Early on, I noticed her outstanding musicianship and knew she was definitely a leader. Regina infuses her Detroit roots and her classical training into her jazz violin.
Saturday evening was the crowning night of the SF Jazz Festival for me for two great jazz legends of our time were performing at the Masonic Auditorium, Shirley Horn and Ahmad Jamal. Shirley's set opened differently than it had in the past. George Mesterhazy replaced Shirley on the piano, Eddie Howard replaced the late Charles Ables on "the baas" (as Shirley would say) and her old faithful, Steve Williams was on the drums. They warmed up the crowd with an instrumental. Shirley was then wheeled o
The Iridium Jazz Club is one of my favorite jazz spots to hit while in New York. It has one of the best atmospheres for jazz as well as a fantastic menu. Originally scheduled to be performing on this Thursday night was the legendary Hank Jones Quartet featuring Joe Lovano. Sadly Hank Jones took ill and was not able to perform. In his place the Joe Lovano Quartet stepped in to please the crowd. The Lovano quartet featured, Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone, Jacky Terrasson on piano, George Mraz on ba
Solo percussion is an intriguing venture, especially at the improvisational level, where it can move beyond music to a state of pure communication. At it’s best, it is a language that tells stories and engages the audience to be participants. So it was with Chicago percussionist Tim Daisy. Daisy is one of the busiest young drummers on the Chicago scene, and rightfully so. He brought a small drum kit, some cymbals and gongs, a few rattles, and a lot of imagination to the basement gallery of Myopi
Taj Mahal spoke of Americana and how folks in this country are now just beginning to appreciate the beautiful diversity and amazing history of something people in other parts of the world have enjoyed for many years. He then proceeded to cut a slice. An amazing musician and songwriter, Taj Mahal is one of those rare talents who encompass a plethora of styles but yet has a style all his own. Because of his vast library of tunes, fans wonder in anticipation of what gem they might hear next. Fis
You never know what Cassandra Wilson might sing. From album to album, she has shown bold originality, weaving a rich tapestry of music from jazz to folk, pop to blues. A recent sold-out concert at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco proved that Wilson is still unconfined by musical boundaries. Barefoot and wearing a white dress, Wilson opened with Bob Dylan’s "Lay Lady Lay," wrapping her deep, rich voice around the line "Lay across my big brass bed." Her last CD, "Belly of th
The 13th annual Rehoboth Jazz Festival: raise your hat and regain your soul! This year's theme, "Hat’s off to Jazz", was exemplified by a variety of artists and genres from Blues to Bebop, from Big Band to Contemporary Jazz. From October 17th to the 2lst the Rehoboth-Dewey Beach area was alive with the sound of Jazz. Over the festival’s four days, as well as the 11 main ticketed events, it featured live musical brunches, lunches and dinners at many area clubs and restaurants. The headliners