Sunday, August 25, 2013

A smashing moment for live jazz

I love it when I walk into a club just before the magic happens. Such was the case Saturday night at JD’s Bistro & Grille in Port Charlotte FL. The house band that evening tried something a bit different – and it was marvelous.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Berkshires jazz post-Tanglewood [updated]

You don’t have to go far within the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts to find jazz these days. That's the case despite the Boston Symphony Orchestra organization’s bottom-line decision two years ago to pull the plug on its Tanglewood Jazz Festival, which had grown into an area jazz fixture over the prior 24 years.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Newport Jazz Festival 2014 - Consider the numbers with care

The main stage crowd, 2013
Be wary of some of the touted numbers leading up to, during and after next year’s edition of the Newport Jazz Festival. You’re likely to read a lot of conflicting and confusing figures.

Here’s why: 

2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the first festival, then called the American Jazz Festival, which was held July 17 and 18, 1954 at historic Newport Casino. It opened to the strains of Eddie Condon’s Dixieland band playing “Muskrat Ramble.”
But the 2014 event won't be the 60th edition of the festival, just as this year's was not the 59th. Next August 1-2-3 will mark the 50th edition of the Newport Jazz Festival to be held in Newport.  

The explanation is very simple.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Remembering Bill Evans - and his words of wisdom

Today would have been pianist Bill Evans' 84th birthday. He was born August 16, 1929 in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Evans preferred to speak through his music, but did open up substantially when he was a guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz public radio program on November 6, 1978, less than two years prior to his death (on September 15, 1980 in New York).

If you haven't heard the Concord Jazz  CD of the program (issued on its The Jazz Alliance imprint, TJA-12004), check it out. It is a must listen for serious jazz fans.

Ponder the photo here for more Evans wisdom. He's spot on.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 Newport Jazz Festival - visual treats

Esparanza Spalding
An array of my images from this year's Newport Jazz Festival have been published by here and here, with more featuring the festival's New Orleans artists by Offbeat magazine.

Here is a blend of favorites from last weekend in Newport (in no particular order). There are quite a few more on at the sites referenced above .

A great jazz night - with a fine surprise

John Allmark
Bovi'sTavern is Rhode Island's home for big band jazz on Monday nights. Well, on most Monday nights. This past Monday, the bandleader threw us a pleasant curve.

Rather than bring his full jazz orchestra, John Allmark presented his octet - a brass-rich unit reminiscent of Phil Woods' Little Big Band.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Newport weekend - lots of jazz

I'll be doing contributing follow-up coverage of this year's Newport Jazz Festival (Presented by Natixis Global Asset Management), at, Offbeat magazine's website, and here at blog central, particularly with imagery.

Some Newport Jazz Festival fans
arrived by water
Festival attendance totaled17,200 between Friday night, Saturday and Sunday events. There was fine music to be had all weekend, but Sunday in particular stood out with set after set of top performances on every stage. Personal weekend favorites: guitarists Jim Hall and Julian Lage, singer Gregory Porter, pianists Jonathan Batiste, Michel Camilo and Chick Corea (with his new electro-acoustic band The Vigil), saxophonists Donny McCaslin and Joshua Redman, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and drummer Roy Haynes. Among the big bands: Eddie Palmieri's Salsa Orchestra.

Suffice it to say that Wayne Shorter's footprints were all over Newport this time around.