Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Love - and Bossa Nova - were in the air

Eighteen months since its 2019-20 concert season was cut short by the pandemic, and its 2020-21 season canceled, the Charlotte County Jazz Society had music in the air again on Wednesday, September 22. A matinee “Love and Bossa Nova Live” performance by guitarist Nate Najar and Brazilian singer Daniela Soledade was a mighty welcome warm-up for the CCJS evening concert series, which resumes in October.

Nate Najar, Daniela Soledade
The St. Petersburg-based couple performed for CCJS at the Grill at 1951 in Port Charlotte, treating the crowd to the joyous, exotic intimacy of bossa nova and samba. Soledade, a third-generation member of a Rio de Janeiro family with strong ties to the roots of bossa nova, is blessed with a captivating, wide-ranging voice whether singing in her native Portuguese or English. Most of the lyrics this day were in Portuguese, a few blended both languages, and a few more were shared in English. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

CDs of Note – Short Takes

 Taking a closer look at CDs by Acme Jazz Garage, Lili Añel, Miles Donahue and Yoko Miwa ….

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

George Wein: A legacy of innovation without ego

A day after announcement of his departure from this vale, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the news that George Wein is gone. The music impresario died peacefully in his sleep on Monday at age 95 – just three weeks shy of his 96th birthday. 

My, what an imprint he left the world of music, jazz in particular, though there was so much more given his creation (with Pete Seeger) of the Newport Folk Festival, creating the more-global New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and much later, producing the Essence Music Festival in the Crescent City, which celebrated a much broader spectrum of Black music

Let me dig a bit into the essence of George Wein. Advancing the music and creating opportunities for musicians were the driving force in his life. He wasn’t in it for the money, although that came to him through his success in creating new performance formats, and adding innovations throughout his 70-year career.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Looking ahead: Southwest Florida jazz preview

Here is a rundown of noteworthy jazz events, principally in the Sarasota to Naples territory, from now through October. Keep in mind the reality of COVID-19 protocols, expect possible cancellations, and mask up to keep yourself and others safe.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

A trumpeter’s legacy of paying it forward

The fine trumpeter Bobby Shew, now one of the horn’s elder statesmen, gave Dan Miller an unforgettable present on his protégé’s 30th birthday.

As Miller recalls 22 years later, those sage words of wisdom went like this: “You don’t want to be a sideman all your life. You’re going to turn 50 years old and the phone is going to stop ringing. It is not because you can’t play well, it’s because there are two younger generations of players who are working with all the big acts. You have to become your own boss. You have to book your own gigs. You have to teach. You have to do clinics. You have to travel. You have to lead your own bands. You have to diversify how you work in music.” 

Dan Miller
Miller has done all that with an energy that seems tireless. While he keeps busy as a player, bandleader and trumpet ambassador, the jazz education side of his career seems most satisfying. More so lately in the pandemic environment and being sidelined for the past two months after surgery on a broken foot.

He grew up in Chicago, immersing himself in the Windy City’s jazz scene as a listener and student player. Then he headed to the University of North Texas in 1987, where he found even more mentors, including brass instructor Don Jacoby, before going on the road with the Woody Herman Orchestra two years later.

In 1991, Miller moved to New York City with his brother, trombonist David Miller. Whenever Dan was in town, he made sure to go to pianist Barry Harris’ Tuesday night jazz workshops to soak up more ideas on the art of improvisation. Harris, at 91, still runs his workshops.