Mark Keresman

Mark Keresman

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
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
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
I have a new guitar hero. (At age 44, yet. Oy.)

As a lad, I idolized Eric Clapton then Phil Manzanera, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, then I got into other kinds of music where the Guitar Solo wasn't the dominant thang. Yet, along with fine piano, saxophone and violin playing, Amazing Guitar Players still occupy a Place In My Heart. However, there aren't too many that really get to me like they used to, as far too many guitarists substitute gee-whiz, looka-me TECHNIQUE for genuine invent
At first glance, one might take Garmarna to be just another band of alterna-rock 20-somethings, but as the Blues Poet Willie Dixon once observed, you can’t judge that chunk of reading matter by its superficial graphic design. From Sweden, Garmarna are five singers/players who take the traditional folk music of their land’s history and invest/interpret it with modern technology and edgy oomfp. They strive for a balance that treats their heritage with reverence but, thankfully, don’t try to

Sfraga Sfings!

Published in Concert Reviews
As anyone who’s familiar w/ my review/rants, most jazz singers aren’t among my favorite things. Too many are either stuck in a Great American Songbook/confusing-masochism-with-love time warp, or they are "instrumentalists" who display (way too) much (numbing) technique but seem not to care one whit for the lyrics/content of the song. NYC-based singer Barbara Sfraga is a most notable exception an "exception" in almost all senses of the word. On a humid late-summer Tuesday night, Ms. Sfraga held s
[As Mr. Haden’s Saturday night show was covered on this very site a few days ago, just a brief intro/recap:] Composer/bandleader Charlie Haden has been one of THE jazz bass giants to come of age in the post-bop generation. Aside from his many recordings as a leader (of Liberation Music Orchestra and Quartet West) and a member of Magico, Haden has performed and/or recorded with a veritable Who’s Who: Chet Baker, Jimmy Rowles, Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny, Ginger Baker, Don Cherry and even the min
Composer/bandleader Charlie Haden has been one of THE jazz bass giants to come of age in the post-bop generation. If he did nothing but play in the groundbreaking Ornette Coleman Quartet (the 50s/early 60s), his place in history would be assured. Fortunately for us, he’s done MUCH more: aside from his many recordings as a leader (of organizations including Liberation Music Orchestra and Quartet West), Haden has performed and/or recorded with a veritable Who’s Who: Chet Baker, Jimmy Rowles, Hampt
Composer/bandleader/multi-instrumentalist Gunter Hampel doesn’t get to these shores much, as European climes are notoriously more receptive to his brand of lyrical, swinging free jazz. Hampel has been at the jazz game since the 1960s he was among the first Euro-improvisers on the legendary ESP Disk label also he was of the generation of Euro-avant-jazzers who developed and defined a sound of their own, out of the shadows of the American giants. Like Charlie Mingus, many luminaries and then-to-be
The Miles-ophiles that dug the Prince of Darkness’ electric period will surely recall the name of Pete Cosey, who was one of the guitarists that was a regular in Miles Davis’ mid-70s bands (circa the albums Agharta, Get Up With It and Pangea). Where he’s been since I don’t know, except that he once "subbed" for Bill Frisell in the jazz power trio Power Tools. Now, Cosey has assembled a killer cast of characters to pay tribute to the still-somewhat-controversial electric period.

NYC’s Vi