Saturday, February 25, 2017

Jane Monheit digs Ella - and plans to keep on digging

Jazz singer Jane Monheit's musical home is the Great American Songbook. She showed a Naples, Florida audience on Friday, February 24, that with sensible bits of personal redecorating, it is still in very good hands.
Jane Monheit

She performed two 75-minute sold-out shows at Artis Naples' Daniels Pavilion, sharing her love for "First Lady of Song" Ella Fitzgerald. Material from Monheit's recording Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald (released last year on her own label, Emerald City Records) made up half of the night's repertoire. The other half consisted of Ella-related songs that Monheit has not yet recorded as part of this project.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Afro-Cuban jazz under the banyan trees

Chuchito Valdes
Latin fire is in pianist Chuchito Valdés' genes. He's the son of Chucho Valdés and grandson of the late Bebo Valdés, two of Cuba's venerable jazz pianists.Though now based in Cancun, Mexico, he carries on the family tradition, much like his globetrotting father. 

Chuchito shared many elements of his Afro-Cuban jazz technique with a crowd beneath the majestic banyan trees at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota FL on Sunday, February 19.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A jazz event 50+ years in the making...

To say it was long overdue is an understatement. Joshua Breakstone and Don Mopsick grew up in Linden. NJ. Their families knew each other and sometimes hung out together back in the 1960s, long before either man had any designs on a career in music.

Joshua Breakstone
Guitar modernist Breakstone and Mopsick, best known as the bassist in Jim Cullum's Jazz Band for more than 18 years, performed together for the first time on Friday,. February 17 at a South County Jazz Club matinee concert at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A night of jazz with "George Who?"

You may not know him by name, but changes are great you've heard this saxophonist's performances over the past five decades on countless hit pop, rock 'n' roll or jazz recordings, movie and TV soundtracks.*

Studio musicians and even big-band section players often toil in anonymity, unlike the exposure that can come from small group jazz performances. If you do know George Young by name, so much the better. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The fine art of solo jazz piano

Dick Hyman
Either as a snowbird or a full-time resident, pianist-composer-arranger Dick Hyman has lived 30 miles up the road in Venice for a few years longer than the Charlotte County Jazz Society has existed

The stars aligned on Monday, February 13, for Hyman to make his first CCJS appearance in Port Charlotte. It was long overdue. And it was also the first solo piano concert that the society has presented in its 27 seasons.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A fine tribute to Brazilian jazz

To fully appreciate the rich place that Brazilian jazz holds today among the world's music forms, you have to go back to its roots in the late 1950s and the 1960s. So that's what a top-notch quintet did on Sunday, February 12 on Longboat Key, across the bay from Sarasota FL.

The event, co-sponsored by the Jazz Club of Sarasota and Longboat Key's Temple Beth Israel, musically transformed the temple into an acoustically superb jazz room for the afternoon, one where the instruments needed little or no amplification.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Jazz saxophonists dig the Great American Songbook - and much more

Saxophonists Peter and Will Anderson are steeped in the jazz and Great American Songbook classics, but their material is never fenced in by that repertoire.

Peter and Will Anderson
Such was the case on Friday, February 10 when they performed at a South County Jazz Club matinee concert with guitarist Felix Lemerle.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Swinging with Gates is quite a jazz journey

Giacomo Gates' jazz vocals mastery is rooted deep in the scat and vocalese traditions, then blended with his engaging ability to put songs in context and good humor. He has carved out his own special niche among jazz vocalists. His career included construction work on railroads and the Alaska Pipeline among many other things before diving into jazz full time around 1990.