Thursday, February 27, 2014

The joy of sax - and trumpet - in a solid jazz setting

Mark Gould, Bob Switzer
Mark Gould's intense tenor sax artistry and Bon Switzer's lyrical trumpet and flugelhorn work blended beautifully at today's South County Jazz Club matinee concert at the Venice Art Center in Venice FL. The pair were featured in drummer Al Hixon's Underheard Herd, a revolving band who this time out also included pianist Dick Reynolds and bassist John Lamb.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Profiling jazz bassist Buster Williams

Buster Williams, Newport 1988
The March issue of Hot House magazine is out. Its features include my profile of bassist Buster Williams, who brings his quartet Something More into Manhattan’s Smoke jazz club at the end of the month. This extraordinary musician has worked with a very long list of jazz giants over the past 55 years. (Her went on the road with saxophonist Sonny Stitt at age 17). 

He talked extensively about the fine art of making jazz, which he described as “living in the realm of danger.” Not all of his perspective fit into the profile’s word limit. So here is a bit more to savor: 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Finding the jazz at a “jazz festival”

The cachet of jazz sometimes is stronger than the music itself. Madison Avenue continues to use bits and pieces for some of its commercials, and more than a few events across the country bill themselves as jazz festivals when nothing could be farther from the truth. A couple come to mind in the Mountain and Pacific time zones whose lineups are mostly R&B or pop stars with perhaps a bit of “smooth jazz” – a radio programming consultant’s term for contemporary instrumental music that raged across the country in the mid-1980s and well into the 1990s.

Friday, February 21, 2014

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs by Craig Handy, Herb Silverstein, Dave Stryker, Helen Sung and Volcán...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Klaus Bader's jazz digs deeply into the swing tenor tradition

Klaus Bader
The South County Jazz Club's matinee series took on an international flavor at the Venice Art Center in Venice FL with an appearance by tenor saxophonist Klaus Bader. He flew in for Friday's gig from his native Germany, along with guitarist Peter Starkmann. The quintet also included three Southwest Florida musicians - pianist Johnny Varro, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Tony Martin.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Small group jazz in the spotlight

Two very different approaches to small group jazz got strong workouts in Monday night's Charlotte County Jazz Society artist series concert at the Charlotte County Cultural Center in Port Charlotte FL.

Zoot and Jug go to church through jazzman Terry Myers

Terry Myers
Saxophonist Terry Myers was the featured guest soloist at Sunday's Jazz at First Church concert series in downtown Sarasota with two excellent sets.

Iowa native Myers, a longtime Central Florida resident best known for leading his Tribute to Benny Goodman Big Band, as well as leading the current edition of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, excels in the small group format in which he was featured at First United Methodist Church.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A jazz samba kind of day

Kenny Drew Jr.
Drummer Tom Carabasi brought his Samba Jazz Quartet to the Englewood (FL) Art Center Friday for a matinee concert sponsored by the South County Jazz Club. The band included pianist Kenny Drew Jr., saxophonist Rodney Rojas and electric bassist Patrick Bettison.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Freddy Cole - still the consummate jazz balladeer at 82

Singer Freddy Cole was last night's special guest of the Naples Jazz Orchestra. The Cambier Park outdoor concert in Naples FL also featured one of Cole's longtime accompanists, guitarist Randy Napoleon.

Cole is the master of the jazz ballad. He can turn bluesy or take a more uptempo swing approach as the situation warrants, but ballads have always been his forte. Napoleon became the 17th member of the NJO for the evening, relishing its strong support as he dug into Cole's numbers as well as several of his own interesting originals. Here's the link to my more extensive review for JazzTimes.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs by Cava Menzies and Nick Phillips, Anton Schwartz, and the Rossano Sportiello-Ed Metz-Nicki Parrott trio...