Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook

For some reason, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra always fill me with a profound ambivalence. What they do is always excellent. It is what they leave out that troubles me. So it was March 16th when they appeared at Washington DC's Kennedy Center as part of the Washington Performing Arts Society's 2008/2009 Season.

The concert began, curiously, with arrangements of two nursery rhymes, "Old McDonald Had A Farm" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Apparently these were dedicated to

Flutist Ali Ryerson is the epitome of the hard working jazz artist; on a recent two-day visit to the Washington DC area she packed in two club performances, individual lessons with private students and a flute workshop at a local university. It will be her last road trip for some time as she turns her attention to some more long-term projects..

Ryerson's first appearance was in the lounge at the Tabard Inn, a comfortable and informal room near Dupont Circle, where bassist Victor Dvoski

It is easy for a jazz writer to get jaded with the sheer quantity of music he/she is subjected to. Our only hope of salvation is the occasional performance that reaches rare levels of brilliance. So I was especially grateful to hear Luciana Souza and her quartet at the Kennedy Center in May.

Everything seemed to just fall perfectly in place for this performance. It was the last night of a tour to promote Souza's new CD The New Bossa Nova, she was due to fly to Brazil the next day to se

As our capital city, Washington D.C. is home to many events of national importance. This applies to the arts generally -- Washington is home to the National Symphony, the National Theater, The National Gallery, etc -- and is also reflected in the jazz world. A recent flurry of activity saw several jazz masters visiting the area.

April is Jazz Month at the Smithsonian Institution, resulting in a full program of concerts, lectures and symposia, taking place at the Kennedy Center, The

Visitors to London interested in hearing good jazz are greeted by a rich and diverse scene. There are, as in the US, too many good musicians chasing too few gigs, but while this may be bad for musicians it provides many good choices for jazz fans. Tourists tend to gravitate towards Ronnie Scott's club (www.ronniescotts.co.uk) and Pizza Express (www.pizzaexpresslive.co.uk) in the West End. While these are fine venues, Ronnie's has become rather corporate since Scott's
While many regard New York as the jazz capital of the US, few people would think of Flushing Town Hall as part of that picture. Yet through a program developed in co-operation with the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts--a member of the Cultural Institution Group of New York City and an Affiliate Member of the Smithsonian Institution--the team at the town hall presents an array of arts and educational programs at the facility every year that includes some high quality jazz presentations. T
The National Flute Association, founded in 1973, is the largest flute organization in the world. According to its website, (www.nfaonline.org): "It was founded to encourage a higher standard of artistic excellence for the flute, its performers, and its literature. It has more than 5,500 members from more than 50 countries, including leading soloists, orchestral players, college and university professors, adult amateurs, and students of all ages."

The NFA's activities reflect the

With jazz venues closing, or at least struggling, in the D.C. Area, Twins Jazz seems to be thriving. Whatever the formula is--location, food, location, music, location . . . --it seems to work. It is also close to a Metro station so I solved the parking problem by jumping on a train, and enjoyed an evening with flutist Jamie Baum and the cooperative quartet, Timepiece

Jamie Baum's reputation has been growing steadily over the last decade, primarily as a flutist, but also

Like many orchestras, the Baltimore Symphony has learned that interesting programming is one of the keys to survival. To build a successful season the orchestra seeks to intersperse the staple repertoire of Handel, Beethoven and Mendelssohn with more exotic offerings, this year including works by Chinese composer Tan Dun, a Halloween tribute to Frankenstein by HK Gruber, a concert by Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, selections from Star Trek (narrated by Mr. Sulu!), Charlie Chaplin's sco
Now in its twelfth year, the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival continues to showcase some fine women musicians. The evening I caught this year--there were only tickets available for Thursday's performance--also brought into focus some issues that still plague jazz, however. One, ironically, is the continuing gender gap within the music. For the first of the three shows the headline artists presented were certainly women, but they were the only women seen on the stage. The other ten musici