Bryan Zoran

Bryan Zoran

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
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


A True Gem

Published in Concert Reviews
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
The second week of Elvin Jones’ two-week 75th Birthday Festival paid homage to his late, great friend and musical soulmate John Coltrane. Together they expanded the jazz canon. Gathered for the honor of playing tenor saxophone this evening were Ravi Coltrane, John’s son, and Mark Shim, two fresh, inventive soloists. The spotlight was on Shim early. One of Elvin’s originals, E.J. Blues, started off the night. The band came out roarin’. Mark really stretched out on this composition. Solos followed
Much anticipation preceded the show. Getting an opportunity to celebrate the final night of Elvin Jones’ weeklong Birthday Engagement at the Blue Note is a blessing for any jazz fanatic. He has blazed a path over the last half century that has redefined the most essential aspect of the art form: rhythm.

The evening started with a rendition of Hello Brother. Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis’ New Orleans heritage was evident on this Louis Armstrong classic. He took the first solo and his eloquent p

Arriving for the late show, I was excited at the thought of hearing both Kenny Barron and Regina Carter on the same bill. Although they have performed and recorded together, no musical dialogue was heard between the two on this particular night. Instead they were both featured in their own high-powered ensembles.

Kenny Barron instigated the festivities. He wasted no time setting the tempo. As soon as he reached his instrument he took flight. Brazilian rhythms provided an inspiring canvas for

Despite being in his 80s, master jazz pianist Hank Jones displayed the endurance of a young lion. Two sets of music amounted to roughly three hours of the straight-ahead jazz for which Hank Jones has come to be known. I have attended other jazz shows at this venue that offered only half as much music. The length of the sets, with so many different tunes, made one realize the wealth of knowledge and library of music someone with Jones’ experience and stature has to draw on. To set the tone, he be


Published in Concert Reviews
The evening was ripe for the band to be in a festive mood. The date marked the release of their new album, Uberjam, and the opening night of their American tour. Two high-energy sets were testimony to the celebration. Early in the first set, one of Scofield’s pedals wasn’t working. He needed batteries. One of his many fans ran across the street and quickly returned with the double A’s. Scofield kept his cool and used the brief window to lighten up the crowd with his witty personality. With the p
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