Sunday, January 27, 2013

Benny Green pursues magical moments

Hot House has published my profile of pianist Benny Green in its February issue in conjunction with his Jazz Standard performance in Manhattan in late February, as well as his role in the 40-city Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary tour across the United States.

One of the many nuggets gleaned in our hour-long conversation this month: his view of what’s inside the music that a performer presents to his or her audience:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What a jazz herd

Reynolds, Lamb, Switzer, Hixon
When drummer Al Hixon gets a call to put together a concert band, he settles for nothing less than all-star musicians. Such was the case at Friday's South County Jazz Club matinee at the Venice Art Center.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The A Team scores big with jazz in Port Charlotte

Amanda Carr and Arnie Krakowsky
Massachusetts-based singer Amanda Carr and tenor saxophonist Arnie Krakowsky generally don't perform as a team outside New England, but their Charlotte County Jazz Society concert in Port Charlotte, FL last night demonstrated that they have what it takes to do so. And then some.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Trad jazz and more from Sayer & Co.

Cynthia Sayer's Hot Jazz Trio
Banjo ace Cynthia Sayer performed to a sellout crowd Saturday at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center in Sarasota with her Hot Jazz Trio, featuring bassist Don Mopsick and trombonist Bill Allred.

Metz-Parrott-Sportiello - jazz in Sarasota

Sportiello, Parrott, Metz
"Don't be fooled by the name of the band," drummer Eddie Metz Jr. said. "We're really just his monkeys."

Metz got a lot of laughs with that line at last night's Jazz Club of Sarasota concert by what was billed as the Eddie Metz Trio. In reality it was an artful trio of equals, teaming Metz with pianist Rossano Sportiello and bassist/singer Nicki Parrott. Each of them brings powerhouse strengths to the stage.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Jazz concert review – Randy Brecker

Trumpeter looks back four+ decades in Naples concert

Randy Brecker
Randy Brecker dug deep into his own songbook on January 17 in his second guest appearance with the Naples, Fl-based Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra. It was also a reunion of sorts with tenor saxophonist Lew Del Gatto (a 25-year veteran of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” Band), who Brecker has known for more than 30 years.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Newport Jazz Festival 2013 has a great talent mix

With the proliferation of artists and venues over the past three decades, competition for the entertainment dollar has gotten mighty fierce across the United States. Consumers have just so much to spend over the course of a season, and tend to make their choices early.

Newport Jazz Festival organizers rolled out their August lineup in April or May for many years. That’s no longer the case. The stellar lineup for the August 2 to 4 event is out today… and tickets go on sale on Thursday, January 17.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Keeping jazz tunes alive

Jim Wellen and Shelly Torman
Tenor saxophonist Jim Wellen's quintet took the South County Jazz Club on a refresher tour Friday through the some of the significant music written and/or recorded by some of the world's most powerful reed players.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

OKeh’s revival is more than OK

Record labels come and go. In the case of one historic imprint, they come back with new purpose. And it is not the first time for OKeh Records.

The OKeh label, founded in 1918, had a reputation in its early years as the home of so-called ”race records.” Its 1920 hit, Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues,” is often credited as the first blues record. OKeh also released historic early recordings by Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Duke Ellington in its heyday.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 - The Year in Jazz

The world of jazz officially went global in 2012, kicked the Grammy Awards in the shins, dealt with economic issues and Mother Nature, and found new ways to innovate in this social media and Internet-savvy age. That is the overview of my annual wrapup of significant goings on in the jazz world, and its continuing move of players to the celestial jazz band, which has been published by

The many losses in the jazz world ranged from pianist, composer and bandleader Dave Brubeck and composer Clare Fischer to drummer Pete “LaRoca” Sims, saxophonists Red Holloway, John Tchicai and David S. Ware, and singer Etta James. The list is frighteningly long again for 2012.