Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

It’s been a terrific first full calendar year here in southwest Florida – making new friends, enjoying the weather, getting acquainted with a boatload of fine jazz musicians and supporters we’d previously not known of – or only knew of by name.

The Jazz Notes staff and family send our very best wishes for this special season and the new year to the jazz community near and far, new friends, old friends - and future friends.


We hope you enjoy these two classic takes on Christmas music that have always been among our favorites.


 

 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A jazzy "green Christmas" gig

Tom Ellison and June Garber
Saxophonist Tom Ellison's quartet Hip Pocket, with special guest June Garber on vocals, performed at the Centennial Park gazebo in Venice, FL this afternoon in a holiday concert sponsored by the South County Jazz Club and Venice MainStreet community nonprofit.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday jazz with a B-3 twist

Stan Heffner and Katt Hefner
Singer Katt Hefner and her brother, Pittsburgh-based Hammond B-3 player Stan Heffner, brought their own brand of holiday cheer to the South County Jazz Club's Venice Art Center series this afternoon in Venice, FL.

The B-3 is a distinctive instrument in jazz, and any opportunity to hear it played well is welcome. Stan Heffner is one who knows how to dig in and make it smile, moan, cry and testify.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Trumpeter Bob Zottola's jazz quartet was sublime

Bob Zottola and his "secret weapon"
Naples-based trumpeter Bob Zottola was a marvel today in his appearance at the South County Jazz Club's Englewood Art Center jazz series, working in splendid fashion with pianist Michael Royal, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Henry Ettman.


Zottola, a former big band and Broadway shows trumpeter in New York (he spent 16 years in the pit band for "Les Miserables"), has a knack for embellishing a tune's melody without ever sounding like he's overplaying. His soloing is always tasty and creative.

An identity challenge taken in stride

Jazz pianist and composer William Evans splits the bulk of his time between Florida's Tampa Bay area, where he has lived part-time since 1984, and Switzerland, where he teaches and performs frequently.


William Evans with bassist Dominic Mancini,
drummer Dane Hassan and clarinetist Paul Vrakas
Like most musicians, he travels a lot and is tough to difficult to pin down, particularly on the Information Highway. Google jazz pianist William A. Evans and you’ll find 80 or more pages about jazz giant Bill Evans. No matter that Bill Evans was William J. (for John). William Evans says he is often teased about the name similarity but has a different outlook about it. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Abate on fire

Saxophonist Greg Abate is a bebopper pure and simple. He plays with a feverish intensity that on a great night is counterbalanced by his rhythm section. As a busy soloist, the rhythm section and city - and sometimes country - change from gig to gig.
Greg Abate and Kenny Drew Jr.
Last night, he performed in Port Charlotte, FL for the Charlotte County Jazz Society’s Artists Series at the Charlotte Cultural Center, bringing his intense brand of hard bop (think Charlie Parker and Phil Woods if you need comparisons) to an audience of about 350.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

R.I.P. to a jazz icon

Dave Brubeck, 1987
Jazz giant Dave Brubeck died this morning in Connecticut, one day before what would have been his 92nd birthday. Condolences go out to Iola Brubeck, their children and their families, and the jazz world at large.

Brubeck was a pianist, composer, rhythmic innovator and bandleader who worked comfortably both in jazz and classical circles. Many of his liturgical works were nothing short of brilliant.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brothers in life - and jazz

Tonight's special moment at the South County Jazz Club's weekly jam session at Allegro Bistro in Venice FL belonged to the Mancini brothers.

Dominic Mancini, a longtime fixture on the southwest Florida jazz scene, is the regular bassist for the jam sessions and one of the busiest musicians around. He's one of the very best at what he does. That trait seems to run in the family. His brother Joe, making a pre-holiday visit from southern New Jersey, is a fine pianist.

Tonight, Joe sat in with Dominic for the first time at a South County Jazz Club jam session. Together with drummer Dane Hassan, they explored "I Close My Eyes," "What is This Thing Called Love?" and the beautiful Harry Warren waltz "Summer Night" to wind down the evening's first set.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A tired tune walked into a bar...

There’s a musicians’ joke that goes something like this: “How many jazz singers does it take to sing ‘My Funny Valentine’ [or ‘Summertime’ or ‘(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66’ or ‘All of Me’]?”

Answer: “Apparently all of them.”     

Bah-dum-dum.

Only it’s no joke. Too many singers, and wannabees, go right to the tiredest of tunes in the Great American Songbook. It’s not that these are bad songs. Far from it. But the new purveyors show NO imagination. And most times they’re doing the great tunes an injustice.

They fail to seek out and freshen other excellent songs that they can identify with, illuminate and present to ears who might like to hear something different. Something that may have bypassed the listeners’ own radar screens, or something they loved but haven’t heard in a while. A singer's failure to do that is lazy - and insulting to his/her audience.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Some holiday cheer for musicians

Things are looking up for musicians - economically - if you take the PNC Christmas Price Index® as more than just a whimsical economic analysis.

The bank’s 29th annual price calculation for the gifts in the holiday classic, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," showed the overall gift cost rose 3.5 percent over the past year. The 12-gifts price tag this year is $25,431.18, which is $1,168 more than 2011’s CPI.


As for the musicians… the prices for hiring 11 Pipers Piping ($2,562.00) and 12 Drummers Drumming ($2,775.50)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deck the halls with songs from jazzmen (and women)


There is no shortage of holiday-inspired jazz material. Classics abound by the dozens, some long out of print. (Some of the double-entendre variety, most as covers of holiday fare with spirited soloing). And every year new ones arrive to add to the litany.

Here’s a sampling of this year’s presents to we listeners:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The best of 2012 - my take

T’is the season for the outpouring of Top 10 lists, and their many variations, for jazz, world events, etc. The jazz lists tend to have a lot of variation depending on the individual reviewer's personal tastes, as well as what he or she had a chance to hear during the year.* Bottom line, all are very subjective.

My choices below (except for the top 10 new songs of the year) have been submitted to the Jazz Times and Rhapsody.com 2012 compilations (the latter a Francis Davis-produced poll that through 2010 was published by The Village Voice.) My lists have also been posted to the Jazz Journalists Association's website, where you can get a sense what other writers and reviewers liked this year.

As I begin preparing my review of significant events and trends in jazz in 2012 for posting on allaboutjazz.com, I thought I'd share my "best of 2012" lists. *Always keep in mind the above caveats.

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2012
1. Ryan Truesdell, Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans (artistShare)
2. Gregory Porter, Be Good (Motéma)
3. Paolo Fresu & Omar Sosa, Alma (Otá)
4. Ahmad Jamal, Blue Moon (JazzVillage)
5. Jeff Hamilton Trio, Red Sparkle (Capri)
6. Kurt Elling, 1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project (Concord Jazz)
7. Pat Metheny, Unity Band (Nonesuch)
8. Edmar Castaneda, Double Portion (Arpa y Voz)
9. Stacey Kent, Dreamer in concert (Blue Note)
10. Lisa Hilton, American Impressions (Ruby Slippers Productions)

Friday, November 23, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs from Jeff Holmes, Scott Robinson, Mike Longo, Ed Cherry and The Osland/Dailey Jazztet...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A drum summit with finesse


Tony Bruno, Jim Prosser, Ron Drischel and Johnny Moore
Drummer Tony Bruno's group Jazz Around The Corner, with Jim Prosser on piano and Ron Drischel on tenor and alto saxes, performed at the Venice Art Center on Friday with drummer Johnny Moore as a featured guest.

It was an interesting instrumental doubling for this concert, sponsored by the South County Jazz Club. The two drummers' interaction was more complementary than a full-bore drum battle - though there were some high-energy opportunities, particularly with "Caravan" and "A Night in Tunisia."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tamburr & Co. bring fire and subtlety

Vibes player Christian Tamburr’s quintet, featuring trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, closed out a three-week, 5,000-mile tour up and down the East Coast last night in Port Charlotte FL as part of the Charlotte County Jazz Society’s Artist Series.

Extended solos and a blend of subtlety and fire were the order of the night for this band, which showed from the opening notes how much it enhances a band’s chemistry if the players work together for extended periods. The band also included pianist Scott Giddens, bassist Billy Thornton and drummer Justin Varnes.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

An abundance of chops and chemistry

Lew Del Gatto and Dan Miller
A newly formed organ jazz-inspired band in southern Florida is shaking things up from its home base in Naples and a regular weekly gig in Fort Myers. The Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto Quintet ventured north to Sarasota last night to open the South County Jazz Club’s five-concert series at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center.
Dan Heck

The band was formed in May and has been working steadily ever since. Trumpeter Miller is a veteran of bands led by Harry Connick Jr., Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman and Wynton Marsalis. Tenor saxophonist Lew Del Gatto spent 25 years in prime time as the baritone player in NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” band. The band also includes pianist Stu Shelton, drummer-singer Patricia Dean and guitarist Dan Heck, who earned his pro stripes with his Seattle-based band Bebop and Destruction before moving to the New York jazz scene, then the fertile music scene in and around Naples.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Hat Lady swings and sings

Carol Stein
Jazz pianist and singer Carol Stein can’t hide her solid chops, even when she’s working her “day job.”  Actually, it’s an evening job.

Five nights a week, Stein is “The Hat Lady” at Epcot’s Rose & Crown Pub at Walt Disney World. At the pub’s console piano, she breezes through what seems an endless litany of pop songs, English and Irish pub songs embellished with her vocal improvisations to fit the moment, jazz and classical flourishes – and a grand smile. Every tune or two, Stein changes her hat to another of the dozen odd or outlandish ones hanging on the wall or a nearby rack.

”It’s a special thing to have a full-time job as a jazz musician,” Stein told me this week between sets.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to help musicians reeling from Sandy

Jazz angel Wendy Oxenhorn and her Jazz Foundation of America staff in New York have been put to the test once again, helping musicians who have been hit hard by the impact of superstorm Sandy.

"It's so much worse than one might have imagined,” Oxenhorn wrote in today's email. “Aside from the most obvious need of water, warmth, food and money, hundreds of musicians have lost gigs because of Sandy. Clubs are closed, and musicians haven't been able to travel out of town for work either. Lost gigs means no money for the rent. No money for the rent means the Jazz Foundation will be providing emergency assistance."

She tells it well, and shares a lot of heartfelt stories about the struggles here, and efforts that are underway by the Jazz Foundation  through its Jazz Musicians Emergency Fund.

There's also a link for those of you who care to join me in helping through donations from near and far at a serious time of need by musicians who have given so much to jazz throughout their careers.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs from Joey DeFrancesco, Frank Macchia and jazz programmer Rio Saikiri's "Home" project....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trio gig becomes much more

When is a trio gig NOT a trio gig? When the bandleader decides at the last minute to add another player without advance notice. Such was the case with yesterday's opener of the South County Jazz Club's new Englewood Art Center concert series in Englewood FL.
Rodney Rojas and Billy Marcus

The 60 or so concert goers expected to hear pianist Billy Marcus's trio with bassist Mark Neuenschwander and Steve Bucholtz. Because one key out of 88 on his electric keyboard was down for the count, without time to get it repaired, Marcus called saxophonist Rodney Rojas to supplement the solid lineup.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ellis Marsalis on music



Ellis Marsalis
The November issue of Hot House is out. It includes my profile of pianist Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of today's first family of jazz. Marsalis, whose work is rooted in the styles of his native New Orleans, chooses his notes with great care. That focus is essential to his subtle and relaxed sense of swing. He is at the Blue Note in New York November 8-11 with his quartet. Three days later he turns 78.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes


Today we take a look at three new CDs from four musicians with Rhode Island roots, Greg Abate, Daryl Sherman,  Harry Allen and Scott Hamilton....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kenny Drew Jr. delights

Pianist Kenny Drew Jr.'s  performance at the Venice Arts Center yesterday was rich in originality, a dazzling command of the keyboard and tips of the hat to late piano greats who have influenced him mightily.
 He blended standards from the jazz canon and the American Songbook and his dazzling  solo improvisation on one classical piece, the first movement of Franz Liszt's "Liebestraum."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A golden career is being honored this week

Larry Monroe
(Photo by Phil Farnsworth)
Larry Monroe helped shape and expand the reach of Boston-based Berklee College of Music over the past 50 years in many ways. Most notably, Monroe helped establish Berklee’s international network of schools in 12 countries, including Berklee Valencia, the college's new campus in Spain.

His Berklee ties are strong - as a student, teacher, dean, vice president and global ambassador. As an educator, he influenced saxophonists Branford Marsalis, Miguel Zenon, Donald Harrison and countless others. Early in his career, alto saxophonist Monroe performed with Lou Rawls, Buddy Rich and Dizzy Gillespie.

The college will celebrate Monroe’s many contributions, but in some ways likely mourn his retirement, with a Berklee Performance Center concert on Thursday night, October 18, featuring students and faculty, former Monroe student Donald Harrison and Italian bassist Giovanni Tommaso, who helped Monroe create Berklee's 27-year partnership with the Umbria Jazz Festival.

It’s a fitting sendoff. What a run it has been.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Jazz at New Jersey's southern tip continues

It is great to see that Cape May hasn’t given up on jazz – particularly having its own charming jazz festival.

Two years ago, the Cape May Jazz Festival ended its twice-a-year run (34 weekend festivals in 17 years) due to financial and organizational shortcomings. Some wondered whether the string of November and April festivals would ever be back as a way to extend the tourism season in quaint and charming Cape May.

The good news is that there will be a full-blown jazz festival next month.
The Exit 0 International Jazz Festival has scheduled performances by 21 bands Friday night through Sunday afternoon, November 9 to11.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The value of the ingredients that shape jazz

Musicians and listeners alike draw many positives from jazz beyond the immediate listening experience. It can be a healer, a soother, a creative outlet, a common meeting ground.

It's core ingredients also can have an impact on other disciplines, including business. A brief read  from Time magazine this week distills those essentials quite nicely.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Swinging the oldies with fresh arrangements

Johnny Varro
The Florida edition of pianist Johnny Varro's Swing 7 opened the Charlotte County Jazz Society's 2012-13 season tonight by giving a swinging vitality to vintage jazz material. Material that would be "no later than the '60s. That's beyond our time," Varro told the Charlotte Cultural Center audience.

The Port Charlotte FL concert featured tunes that Varro borrowed heavily from the Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestra songbooks, along with material composed by W.C. Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, Al Cohn, John LaPorta, Frank Foster, Benny Carter and Mel Powell, among others. Even Frederic Chopin made it into the mix.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mining the bluesy side of jazz

June Garber and Tom Ellison
Toronto's loss is Southwest Florida's gain. That's become very apparent very quickly since last month's arrival of singer June Garber, who moved to Sarasota with her husband, Bob Doherty.
Two weeks ago at the South County Jazz Club's Tuesday night jam session at Allegro Bistro in Venice, she wowed the crowd, including yours truly, with one of the bluesiest renditions of "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" I've ever heard.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating music and culture in the Big Easy


Amid the tragedy and devastation of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, many of us found an even deeper appreciation for New Orleans musical contributions – past, present and future. Quite simply, there is no other city like it. And it is important that seven years after Katrina, New Orleans survived, continues to rebuild its infrastructure and remains such a music incubator.

There is a lot of focus on that tradition this fall, as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, founded and led by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Mayfield, who lost his father to Katrina, is a modernist with a bright, swinging sound. He is also a busy fellow. Besides running the big band, he co-leads Los Hombres Calientes, runs two jazz clubs bearing his name, is an educator and New Orleans’ cultural ambassador. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

And they're off...


Jake Pinto
The 2012-13 jazz concert season in Southwest Florida is under way. The South County Jazz Club inaugerated its new schedule this afternoon with the Jake Pinto quartet at the Venice FL Art Center.

Sarasota-raised, New York-based Pinto, a recent graduate of NYU's jazz program, was the South County Jazz Club's inaugural concert offering two summers ago as an arts center fundraiser, so it was only fitting that the pianist return with his latest band, consisting of one NYU student and two other recent graduates.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mat Domber - R.I.P.

Mat Domber
A true hero of classic jazz has left us. Arbors Records founder Mat Domber died yesterday (September 19) from cancer. He was 84.

In 1989, Domber, who was a lawyer, created Arbors and began recording classic jazz artists - from Dixieland to mainstream swing - who weren’t getting the attention they deserved. Over the next 20+ years, they found a welcome home on his Clearwater, Florida-based label. What began as a labor of love for Mat and his wife/business partner Rachel, and evolved into a significant force on the jazz scene. In many cases, Arbors was a career revivalist for many significant elder statesmen of jazz and a career nurturer for younger players who loved and felt most comfortable in the classic jazz style.





Saturday, September 15, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs from Michael Pedicin, Ralph Peterson, Iris Ornig and Kurt Elling...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bringing 9/11 reflection to jazz


Saxophonist Tom Ellison didn’t mention the date at tonight’s jam session at Allegro Bistro in Venice FL. He didn’t have to. But he found a way through his music to bring remembrance to this 11th anniversary of 9/11.

He selected a song written by a man with New York connections - comic actor, director and composer Charlie Chaplin. If you measure it by title alone, “Smile” would seem an odd choice. But Ellison made sure to first sing the lyrics at this edition of the South County Jazz Club weekly jam session.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky  
you'll get by.

If you smile through your pain and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through
For you.
 
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying.
You'll find that life is still worthwhile -
If you just smile.

Then, morphing into an instrumental balladeer, Sarasota-based Ellison delivered a poignant  tenor sax solo that in its own way also sang of sadness and gladness.

Bravo.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another gem brought to the table – and refreshed

Tommy Goodman
The South County Jazz Club’s weekly Tuesday evening jam session at Allegro Bistro is notable for two things: it’s always packed… and one of the rhythm section regulars always brings a tune the audience hasn’t heard – or heard in a long while. Then it gets refreshed in splendid fashion.
Last night, it was pianist Tommy Goodman’s turn.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

SW FLA's jazz busy season is fast approaching

It's time to prepare your listening calendars

Giacomo Gates
Pianist Billy Marcus’s five nights last month at JD’s Bistro & Grille in Port Charlotte as part of a fill-in trio with bassist Dominic Mancini and drummer-singer Patricia Dean had more than terrific listening value. It whetted my appetite for the Southwest Florida concert season, which pretty much runs from late September through the end of April.

I’ve compiled a rundown of interesting concert choices stretching from Sarasota to Naples that was published today at jazztimes.com. There is a lot going on, not including two rival series of weekly jam sessions.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A tip of the hat richly deserved

Eric Jackson
WGBH-FM may not fully appreciate the impact that longtime jazz broadcaster Eric Jackson* has on his listeners - and the Boston community in general - but the jazz community at large does.

This week, Jazz Week has awarded Eric its annual Duke DuBois Humanitarian Award. The award is given to recognize an individual's long-standing commitment to jazz, jazz radio, jazz education and generous service to the jazz community. Jackson certainly is qualified, given his three decades of playing jazz, interviewing countless musicians, hosting live performances and informing his listeners of what’s going on throughout the southern New England jazz scene.

Friday, August 24, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs from Michael Occhipinti, Pat Metheny and Gene Ess...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A thing of beauty, and then some...

The South County Jazz Club's weekly jam sessions each Tuesday evening at Valenti's Allegro Bistro, in Venice FL, continue to pack in the crowds. Tonight's musical treat came deep into the third set. Bassist Dominic Mancini held the spotlight, even silencing most of the distant-table yackers, with his gorgeous intro and solo work on the 1930s jazz standard "Beautiful Love." His extended intro set up rhythm section mates Tommy Goodman on piano and Dane Hassan on drums for subtle, tasty and sparing fills behind him. The bass work - a blend of wood and honey, rich and supple, solid on the beat and inventive with Mancini's touch and vocal-like bass sound - made it resonate with emotion filling the room.

Friday, August 17, 2012

You don't always get what you expect

Danny Sinoff quartet
Tonight's jazz outing in Port Charlotte FL was a fine reminder that the finest moments in jazz often involve something unexpected.
It was jazz trio time, with pianist-singer Danny Sinoff in his weekly Friday night gig at JD's Bistro & Grille. But the trio format only lasted through the first set, as Miami-based percussionist Carlos Salazar then joined the band. Sherrell McCants was on upright bass and Rich Iannuzzi was at the drums.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Orleans to Newport

Offbeat magazine, which covers Louisiana music and culture, has just published several more of my Newport Jazz Festival images. The focus was on the opening night angle, as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dr. John's Lower 911 Band and special guests performed, bringing music from the birthplace of jazz to the birthplace of the jazz festival.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bovi’s Allmark-Maslov double play

Eugene Maslov
Big band jazz has been the Monday night staple been at Bovi’s Tavern for 43 years – and it is still going strong,  Some locals  jazz cognoscenti consider it the musical highlight of their week. The John Allmark Jazz Orchestra has been at Bovi’s in East Providence RI for the past 13 years. The band took the Monday night reins at Bovi’s from the Duke Belaire Orchestra, which had been there for three decades
.
Needless to say, a Bovi’s stop was mandatory on my trip north for last weekend’s Newport Jazz Festival. And one of the treats was hearing pianist Eugene Maslov, a Russian émigré who has been with the band for four years.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More depth on Newport

 Jazz Times has just posted Bill Beuttler's extensive review of last weekend's Newport Jazz Festival, along with 10 of my images. With more than 30 acts performing on four different stages Friday-Sunday, there was a lot more to hear and see. Here for your viewing pleasure are 12 more of my images.
Singer Kurt Elling
Jenny Scheinman and Bill Frisell

Monday, August 6, 2012

Steamy days and music at Newport

More in the coming days on the 2012 edition of the Newport Jazz Festival, which took place over the weekend. As usual, the three overlapping stages provide an opportunity to park yourself for a full set by a favorite or intriguing band or to nibble at the music tapas-style by wandering from stage to stage. The daytime crowds were a bit light but the weather was New Orleans-like with oppressive sun and high humidity.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Keeping the candle burning

Given finite resources and wavering community support, it can be challenging to keep the jazz candle burning in many areas. The ebb and flow can vary from gig to gig, month to month, season to season.

The latest example is on Florida’s east coast, where the Jazz Arts Music Society of Palm Beach has announced that it is suspending its annual concert series for the upcoming 2012-13 season. That after 13 years of presenting more than 250 concerts featuring an array of international, national, regional and local mainstream jazz musicians.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs from Branford Marsalis, Paul West, Grant Geissman, Kevin Coelho. and Randy Hoexter....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Newport beckons

The folkies are headed for Newport this weekend, where the 2012 edition of the Newport Folk Festival is an advance-sales sellout for both days at picturesque Fort Adams State Park. That means jazz is just around the corner, with the Newport Jazz Festival set for August 3, 4 and 5. Kudos to George Wein (pictured) and his production team for putting together a diverse array of talent with a continuing increase on younger acts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ron Carter

 



The August issue of Hot House magazine is online and includes my profile of bassist Ron Carter (page 31). He's one of the most prolifically recorded musicians in jazz history. He'll be at Birdland with his Great Big Band for a six-night run that begins August 28. He's fresh off a European tour with his trio featuring guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Donald Vega.

Friday, July 13, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Jazz singers are in today’s spotlight. Taking a closer look at new CDs from Alison Wedding, April Hall and Ori Dagan....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

If You Build It, They Will Come

The South County Jazz Club's weekly jam session at Allegro Bistro in Venice has become a vibrant entertainment staple in southwest Florida, no matter that we are well into the steamy summer off-season. The jam session moved to Allegro in early March, and attendance has been strong, even after the northward exodus of the snowbirds.

Last night's jam was proof positive.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Please welcome Professor Sanabria

Latin jazz is back for next year's Grammy categories, thanks in large measure to the efforts of New York-based drummer Bobby Sanabria who led the protest charge after that category was eliminated last year, among many others.

Today, Sanabria is using a different forum to show how deeply embedded Latin music is in American musical culture.

Friday, July 6, 2012

WGBH needs to revisit its short-sighted decision, not dig in its heels

Last night was Eric Jackson’s final weeknight broadcast and tonight brings Steve Schwartz’s final broadcast as WGBH-FM in Boston retools (deeply cuts and moves to weekends) its jazz programming. That is sad indeed, unless station management takes a step back and admits it made a mistake. (Sadly, I fear radio executives never admit they were wrong about something).
But maybe last night’s heavily attended jazz funeral and protest outside the station, led by musician Ken Field, will prompt a reconsideration. I doubt it will happen, but the optimist in me hopes it does.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What's your take?

An interesting conversation developed the other day at the weekly jazz musicians’ brunch in Sarasota FL, which has been an off-the-gig informal weekly gathering for area musicians for more than a dozen years.

Just what makes someone – male or female – a jazz singer?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs from La Lucha, The Black Butterflies and The ABC & D of Boogie Woogie....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Sonny day at JJA; overdue honor for Silver

Horace Silver and Sonny Rollins topped the winners list at the Jazz Journalists Association’s 2012 Jazz Awards gala on Thursday at the Blue Note in New York. Rollins has become the awards’ iron man, collecting three awards (musician of the year, record of the year, tenor sax player of the year), while Silver received lifetime achievement honors for his impressive career as a composer, pianist and bandleader.

Here are four key awards:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A sad day for jazz in Boston (updated)

I expect the protests to start rapidly, accompanied by a severe fall off in the checks and pledges that fund Boston's premier public radio station.

Word came from broadcaster Steve Schwartz this afternoon that WGBH-FM in Boston is dropping his Friday night show, and it is eliminating jazz programming on weeknights as well. It is moving longtime host Eric Jackson (of Eric in the Evening fame) to weekends only. These changes take effect in July.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

CDs of Note - Evans and Evans

Taking a closer look at new CDs from Ryan Truesdell and Bill Evans....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What a pair

Today’s the first day of issue in the United States and France for a pair of postage stamps being issued to honor jazz great Miles Davis and French singer Edith Piaf.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A sizzling victory of sorts for Latin jazz

Yes, boys and girls, there is value in being the skunk at the lawn party. We saw proof of it yesterday.

The Recording Academy has made a partial but significant rollback this week from its 2011 decision to cut 31 Grammy Awards categories. It’s decision, made by the Board of Trustees last month and announced yesterday, added two awards and reinstated the Best Latin Jazz Album category.