Mark Keresman

Mark Keresman


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
Alto saxophonist/composer Lee Konitz (born 1927) has been and continues to be one of THE Grand Daddies of Modern Jazz. When Ornette Coleman was still playing R&B sax in Texas, Konitz was pushing the outer limits with Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh, recording what was likely the FIRST completely free group improvisation (1949, if memory serves) while many alto saxophonists of the 40s/50s were bent on sounding like Charlie Parker, Konitz had his own cool, unique sound. And while many jazzers of h
Salute To An American Icon time!!! This one, though, is still with us: Les Paul, the Godfather of the Electric Guitar. Without going too much into a big history lesson: Les Paul, aside from being one of the best electric guitarists EVER, regardless of genre, was one of the first if not THE first people to combine a love of music with that of technology. He invented (though not patented) multi-track recording and reverb, as well as designing the solid-body electric guitar. Every Monday night in N
The annual Vision Festival is one of NYC’s premier events for avant-garde/cutting edge jazz and improvised music. Held in a variety of rented venues, it provides a showcase for a dizzying array of improvising musicians, drawing upon performers from local, national and international orbits, often juxtaposing or featuring collaborations between the younger upstarts, established performers and the Grand Old Men (or Women) of creative music. While other festivals have bigger names and established ja
(It may seem odd to many jazz fans that the performance celebrating the release of an album by a somewhat avant-garde fellow would be held at New York City’s most legendary rock & roll club, but there you have it. But not really all that odd, when one considers a good-sized chunk of the current audience at many free jazz performances (in many cities, not just NY) are alternative/punk/avant-rock youths. Anyway, onward )

The subject: jazz violinist /composer Billy Bang. The event: the recent r

First off: electronics are not The Devil’s Toenails there’s precious little difference between a flute made from a hunk of wood and a digital sampler. Both are designed to help us humans make sounds that we otherwise could not. But then: some of us have from heard from seers, egotistical performers and critics, hypeheads and trendy jackasses that the nebulous genre known as "Electronica" music/sound/noises produced via electronic media was going to supplant rock and/or jazz and/or whatever as TH