Lee Prosser

Lee Prosser

The North Sea Jazz Festival (NSJF) in The Hague, Netherlands is the largest indoor jazz festival in the world. Within these walls, where Miles, Mingus, Blakey, Dizzy, Duke and Ella all performed, North Sea's 25-year history is a celebration of a century of great jazz performances. More importantly, North Sea breathes new life into jazz, not only presenting the old and trusted, but the avant garde as well. It is this spirit that keeps jazz alive and moving. The most amazing thing is the realizati
Jimmy Smith and his quartet offered a rousing wrap-up Sunday night to their week-long stint at Catalina’s. The Jimmy Smith Quartet has the supreme confidence of musicians who’ve been playing for 40-plus years. These guys don’t have to practice anymore -- they know their instruments so well that they can just play.

Unfortunately, the audience didn’t get to hear much of Jimmy Smith’s renowned organ playing, as he spent most of his time wisecracking and left the solos (except a few five-second t


Oregon at the Bakery

Published in Concert Reviews
The members of Oregon may be getting older and balder, but this band’s music is still as fresh as it was 30 years ago. The four musicians (three of them original members) have an obvious joy for their unique jazz style, and they continually develop new sounds. This week, May 9-14, Oregon played at the Jazz Bakery in Culver City.

It’s inevitable that Oregon be compared with easy-listening jazz, due to the instrumentation (heavy on the soprano sax) and the optimistic, relaxed sensibility of the

The Plas Johnson trio played May 27th and 28th at the Jazz Spot in Los Feliz, with special guest Herman Riley joining in on Saturday night. Johnson and Riley dueled on their tenor saxes with a range of blues and jazz standards. The audience enjoyed the old-time blues sax sound with the organ shivering underneath it, and clapped and called out, "take it, Plas!" and "tell me 'bout it!"

Riley complements Johnson nicely; he knows how to play just behind the beat to make it really swing. This subt


Bill Watrous Quartet

Published in Concert Reviews
Bill Watrous brought his trombone and his quartet Shelly Berg (piano), John Leitham (bass), and Randy Drake (drums) to the Jazz Spot April 21st and 22nd for a wonderfully varied, virtuosic performance. Standards such as "You Don’t Know What Love Is" led into originals such as "El Cajon," a spoof on Johnny Mandel’s tribute to Al Cohn. The quartet served up both "Girl From Ipanema" and "Close Enough for Love" in a uniquely happy double-time.

In slower ballads, Watrous reveled in a mellifluous l

Returning from a drizzly, sometimes sunny, but absolutely wonderful weekend of jazz, my head still echoes with the 27 (out of 200+) performances I saw during the 3-day event. It was impossible to see everyone on my list, but what I saw was memorable at this 25th anniversary year of North Sea Jazz in beautiful Holland.

A Brief Founding History

The Founding Father, Pilgrim and Godfather of the North Sea Jazz Festival was Paul Acket. He was an important figure in presenting the American jazz


Striding coolly onto stage where Tom McClung, piano, Wayne Dockery, bass and Steve McCraven, drums lies in wait, Archie Shepp steps up to the microphone. Reminiscent of NY nights, Archie is sharp in his black suit, black hat and light blue, polka dot silk tie. The lights are low, but the overhead spotlight shines down to capture the character of that great looking jazz face. At 63, Archie is still a great musician, pulling harmonic structures, swing, tonal passages, a


Performing in the large Staten Hall, the special quartet of Michael Brecker-tenor sax, Pat Metheny-guitar, Larry Goldings-keyboards and Bill Stewart-drums bent the airwaves to a large crowd of cheering fans. The dream team quartet gave the crowd a nice blend from scorching too-hot-to-handle riffs to the dreamy smooth jazz styling with Brecker taking the lead.

Brecker surprised me, however, with some funky stuff and simply went off on the openin


This performance was another great edition of "the legends" band of Marcus Miller, Eric Clapton, Steve Gadd, Joe Sample and David Sanborn. SSBB is a great band and Sanborn always surrounds himself with the best musicians around. This band was no exception with Joe Sample-piano, David Sanborn-sax, Richard Bona-bass, guitar, vocals and Brian Blade-drums.

Feeling a bit achy and wanting still another long night's sleep, Joe Sample looked none-the-worse for wear a

Last night, at a community supported performance space, FLYWHEEL, in Easthampton, Ma., two local musicians, Ben Karetnick on drums and Phloyd Starpoli on trombone were complemented in a trio by Joe McPhee on reeds and brass.

The first set began as Ben rolled to snap the snare. His sticks were light on the drum heads and cymbals, moving into a rhythm which was intercepted by Phloyd. Phloyd played in a pattern of slow to fast notes, trying to find his groove. Ben continued to maintain the rhyth