Theresa Crushshon - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 14:01:08 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Ramsey Lewis: The Great Performer http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/ramsey-lewis-the-great-performer.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/ramsey-lewis-the-great-performer.html Piano-bass-drums were the weapons of choice for the highly celebrated trio headed by Ramsey Emanuel Lewis whose performing career alone spans over five decades of recordings, 80 plus recordings, seven Gold records, three Grammys, and the nationally syndicated radio show "The Legends of Jazz." The 74-year-old jazz composer and classical-trained pianist performed August 13th at Orchestra Hall with a surprise for all in attendance an evening of pure blues, Chicago style! Ramsey Lewis, a Chi-T

Piano-bass-drums were the weapons of choice for the highly celebrated trio headed by Ramsey Emanuel Lewis whose performing career alone spans over five decades of recordings, 80 plus recordings, seven Gold records, three Grammys, and the nationally syndicated radio show "The Legends of Jazz." The 74-year-old jazz composer and classical-trained pianist performed August 13th at Orchestra Hall with a surprise for all in attendance an evening of pure blues, Chicago style!

Ramsey Lewis, a Chi-Town native, talked briefly about the blues at the evening’s opening. "Americans know about the blues. We go to the blues and embrace the blues. We laugh, talk and sing about the blues," said Lewis. "The blues may not always be blue. It can be very contemplative," he added.

When one thinks of the blues we think of folk songs and spirituals. Musicians like Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sonny Boy Williams, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and Muddy Waters come to mind. Guitars, harmonicas and fiddles are instruments of choice.

Even those who sanged gospel -- The Staple Singers, Al Green, Edwin Hawking Singers, Mahalia Jackson, and Aretha Franklin -- were strongly influenced by the blues. So some audience members wondered "what did Ramsey know about the blues." And most importantly, was there going to be any jazz performed on this particular occasion, considering Ramsey Lewis is a legendary jazz master.

Introducing the trio, Irvin Mayfield, Artistic Director of jazz for Orchestra Hall, laughed as he said, "I called Ramsey a year ago and told him that he was going to play in Minnesota at Orchestra Hall. I told him he was going to play the blues. Then I started calling him everyday, two months ago, to remind him that he was going to play the blues."

Recalling Ramsey Lewis history, he recorded and had much success with "Wade in the Water," which contained jazzy harmonies deeply rooted in the blues. Even though Lewis is classically trained, he had long recognized the beauty in primitive music that possesses soul piercing emotional power. Afterall, Chicago was a powerhouse for blues musicians, especially those who migrated from Mississippi and nearby areas. Surely, Lewis must have jammed with some of these musical cats on occasion.

"Satchmo," Sidney Bechet, King Oliver and "Jelly Roll" Morton recorded with blues artists back in the mid-20s. I wondered if Lewis ever recorded with any noteworthy blues musicians, since his musical repertoire is so extensive? But since there was no question and answer forum as we see at other theaters like the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts or historical video footage presented on the genre on the musical giant serving as a backdrop during his performance, audience members were left to find out intricate details about his musical involvement in the genre through the gift of listening.

Onstage the Ramsey Lewis trio slipped from spirituals to swing. From "Wade in the Water" to an original composition "To Know Her Is To Love Her" to "Conversation" these jazz masters - Larry Gray on bass, Leon Joyce Jr. on drums and Ramsey Lewis on piano feverishly displayed levels of musical sophistication that was mesmerizing to jazz aficionados. Their relaxed nature was potent and their elegance earnest. Their performance was free and unpretentious. It was as graceful if they were breathing air. Like a prayer, the music formed a tapestry for a deeper state of consciousness.

The collaborative brilliance a sincere and genuine love for blues-reached out in a variety of musical flavors capturing bits of classical, pop and jazz. The message driven via the blues is that you don’t have to obliterate from the fundamentals in pursuit of a more glamorous form of music.

Even though he had mastered blues melodies on pieces like "Exhilaration" the free flow of melody poured through. Ramsey Lewis kept the fire and rhythmically danceability over swing rhythms, showing him as a true jazzman at heart. Larry Gray’s bass solos were colorful and enchanting. Gray embodied sounds through the bow and utilized skillful pizzicato techniques while Ramsey Lewis was soulfully swinging on piano.

Leon Joyce, Jr. was a very generous drummer displaying incredible expertise at giving the arrangements dramatic flair. Joyce never let his right hand know what his left hand was doing while he created three to four different rhythms, all at one time. Amazing in creating sounds and texture, he employed fingertips, palms and various parts of his arm into his drumming routine. Mallets, brushes and drumsticks were obvious back ups. His percussion artistry truly left the audience in a state of awe!

Interestingly, the large Scandinavian crowd hardly moved or barely clapped at the genius of their music unfolded on stage. Perhaps the stage overshadowed the event in this massive hall.

But I didn’t think so. The most intriguing part of the evolution was occurring in front of us as we sat back and merely watched the masters play. At various intervals, the trio was so animated. It was fascinating to see just three performers on this huge stage, keeping me enthralled and in awe with the majesty of their combined artistry. I was wowed at their wisdom and was grateful for candid communication between songs while listening to the power of their musical ideas expressed abstractly.

The evening was a truly magical night, all about a natural feeling that celebrates freedom and its journey through the world of the blues. In the end, the trio received the ultimate reward from the Minnesota crowd a standing ovation. Not one, but two.

Twin Cities vocalist, Bruce Henry opened the show. His line-up included Brian Nicholas on piano, Darryl Boudreaux on percussion and washboard, Chris Bates on bass and Kevin Washington on drums. Their performance of "Embrace Me" was delightful and Nina Simone’s "Rising Sun" enchanting. I was especially taken by Darryl Boudreaux’s performance on the washboard on the tune entitled "Jump the Broom " truly enthusiastic and energetic.

Overall, it was a marvelous evening of music and true blues from the master of jazz, Ramsey Emanuel Lewis and company.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Theresa Crushshon) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:41 -0600
Nat King Cole Tribute http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/nat-king-cole-tribute.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/nat-king-cole-tribute.html Five musicians. The quartet sounded like a full orchestra. Three vocalists. The trio sang for an unheard of three-hour concert at the Artist's Quarter Friday, September 11, 2009. Best of all, the music was all Nat King Cole! When you have the musical library of musical icon Nat King Cole, an evening of music is guaranteed to please. Cole was an international star, and even hosted his own national television program, when our own country was full of racial strife. Pianist Bob Po

Five musicians. The quartet sounded like a full orchestra.  

Three vocalists. The trio sang for an unheard of three-hour concert at the Artist's Quarter Friday, September 11, 2009.  

Best of all, the music was all Nat King Cole!  

When you have the musical library of musical icon Nat King Cole, an evening of music is guaranteed to please. Cole was an international star, and even hosted his own national television program, when our own country was full of racial strife. Pianist Bob Pontius, guitarist Reuben Ristron, saxophonist Andy Nelson, drummer Jason Price, bassist Bob Galombeck -- teamed with vocalists Arlys Marie, Liz Cummings and Maurice Jacox -- to bring the Nat King Cole voice to the 21st Century!. The stage was truly full of the sound of jazz music as the group gigged all the classics, like "That Ain't Right," "Ramblin' Rose," "Orange Colored Sky" -- all presented with professional authority in style and sound. If I may be so bold, it was an "Unforgettable" concert.  

But it was Jacox's a cappella rendition of "Calypso Blues" that silenced the appreciate audience. Interesting and spiritually intense, his interpretation encompassed African rhythms threaded with folk traditions. Marie and Cummings joined in and paraded eclecticism as they added bass tones and provided choral accompaniment.  

A telling moment came when Jacox stepped forward and addressed the audience on what he considered a serious issue. He asked if anyone had smoked a cigarette. History reminds us that Nat King Cole passed away on February 15, 1965, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He smoked an average of a pack of cigarettes a day, believing that smoking helped him maintain his soft, baritone voice. Looking back, Jacox made the audience wonder if there was anything Nat King Cole could've changed about his life, if that would've been it!  

Nat King Cole, instrumental not only in knocking down racial barriers in his time, but also spreading the sound of jazz kept fully alive by Jacox and his fellow musicians.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Theresa Crushshon) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:40 -0600
Ella Jane Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/ella-jane-fitzgerald-first-lady-of-song.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/ella-jane-fitzgerald-first-lady-of-song.html "Ella," a fascinating showcase performance at The Guthrie Theatre, is an in-depth look at the life and times of Ella Jane Fitzgerald. Tina Fabrique, on stage for the entire evening as singer and star, truly made this viewer walk away from the hot lights with a tour-de-force performance and a much deeper appreciation of the woman known as the "First Lady of Song." Since its premiere in 2005, "Ella" has shined as a touring show in 18 venues across the United States. It’s a show in which the

"Ella," a fascinating showcase performance at The Guthrie Theatre, is an in-depth look at the life and times of Ella Jane Fitzgerald. Tina Fabrique, on stage for the entire evening as singer and star, truly made this viewer walk away from the hot lights with a tour-de-force performance and a much deeper appreciation of the woman known as the "First Lady of Song."

Since its premiere in 2005, "Ella" has shined as a touring show in 18 venues across the United States. It’s a show in which the title actress is either going to sink or swim, and Fabrique is truly an adventurous singer and actress, coming off like a true champ as she keeps the audience fully engaged in the variety of musical techniques and a presence that totally resembles Fitzgerald. This is a show that was conceived around Fabrique and her abilities as an actress and a singer and her enthusiasm for the character shines in every word and note!

Fabrique is no stranger to the world of Fitzgerald music, gracing the stage in such Broadway hits as "Bring in ‘Da Noise,’ Bring in "Da Funk,’" "Ragtime," "The Wiz" and "Bubbling Brown Sugar." More importantly, her scatting Fitzgerald was one of the best is brilliantly seasoned and a delight to hear.

The life story of Ella Fitzgerald is perfect for the stage. Born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917 to William and Temperance "Tempie" Fitzgerald, her parents separated shortly after her birth. Mom and baby Ella moved New York City where Tempie remarried. Step-dad Joseph Da Silva. was a chauffeur and Tempie worked as a laundress. In 1923, Frances Da Silva, Ella's half-sister, was born.

Growing up, Ella loved to dance. She would spend more time dancing than singing, and watch acts at the famed Apollo Theater. She would dance on the streets with friends. She also had a sense of adventure and self-perseverance, running numbers for local gamblers, and spent time as a look-out for a bordello. Her life was just beginning when her mother died from injuries suffered in a car accident. Ella was only fifteen.

Ella eventually found herself living with her mother’s sister, Virginia. The transition was challenging and Ella was miserable. Her step-father died from heart failure and step-sister Frances joined Ella. But Fitzgerald often skipped school, a defiant behavior that saw her sent to the Colored Orphan Asylum, a reform school located in the Bronx. The first lady of swing endured several beatings by the hands of her caretakers at this reformatory. Miraculously, she escaped the hands of her abusers, but lived homeless in the boroughs of New York.

At age 17, in 1934, she won an amateur night singing contest and was discovered by Chick Webb, in search of a lead singer for his orchestra. His eye for talent took Ella’s career to levels she never imagined. While most jazz fans are purely interested in the songstress songbook, the adversity and hardships Ella endured in life is what makes this whole play, and the way she looked at music, interesting. Bring some tissue(s), Minnesota-bred playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, who was brought in to rewrite the book, tells all. Ella’s personal journey is full of heart-felt twists and turns, and glorious triumphs, too. Has to be. There are sweet fragrant meadows of music constantly telling us that Ella Fitzgerald was a woman before her time.

Fitzgerald was dedicated to her music. She sold over a million copies of a "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," based on a nursery rhyme. When the song hit number one it stayed on the charts for nineteen weeks. Her musical career included thirteen Grammy wins, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Medal of the Arts, to name a few select honors. In 1991 Fitzgerald performed her last concert at Carnegie Hall. She passed June 15, 1996 from complications associated with diabetes.

For the touring show, set designer Michael Schweikardt magically transforms the Guthrie stage into a star-studded music hall, circa Nice, Italy in 1966, including all the glitz and glamour the jazz enthusiasts would find in a quality cabaret. Lighting designer John Lasiter and sound designer Michael Miceli add to the mystical feel of a "Queen of Jazz" concert.

The two-hour musical includes a cast of poised musicians. Favorite tunes among the 23 performed included "Cow Cow Boogie," "Angel Eyes," "Blue Skies," "You'll Have to Swing It," "Night and Day," "Cheek to Cheek" and "That Old Black Magic." Hip swinging piano man George Caldwell, who also serves as the musical director of Ella, sets the tone for each song. Clifton Kellem shines on the bass, and Rodney Harper keeps the whole show on a steady pace on drums. Band trumpeter Ron Haynes also plays the role of Louis Armstrong, you want to see more of him interacting with Ella as Satchmo. But Haynes, like the other supporting cast members, are truly just a chorus for star Fabrique.

At one point Harold Dixon, who plays the infamous Norman Grantz, Ella’s manager, initially tells her to lose a song so she can talk more with the audience. A wonderful decision, as I found the talk from the Ella character to be a delight educational, informative and enlightening about one of the great singers in modern American history. Yes, it came at the expense of even more songs from the marvelous Tina Fabrique, a voice I could listen with enjoyment for many, many hours. But I was glad to learn that there was so much more to Ella Fitzgerald’s life that contributed to the making of this jazz icon.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Theresa Crushshon) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:39 -0600
Roy Hargrove http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/roy-hargrove.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/roy-hargrove.html Hard bop jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove filled the house with eclecticism during a two-hour performance June 2nd at the Dakota Jazz Club. Hargrove is a musical genius who is not afraid to explore sounds from various instruments, instrumentalists, and ensembles. Coupled with his versatility and good taste in music is just one reason why Hargrove's concerts draw pivotal figures in the music industry as well as jazz enthusiasts to gigs like this. Bristling with energy, unorthodox and daring, Har

Hard bop jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove filled the house with eclecticism during a two-hour performance June 2nd at the Dakota Jazz Club. Hargrove is a musical genius who is not afraid to explore sounds from various instruments, instrumentalists, and ensembles. Coupled with his versatility and good taste in music is just one reason why Hargrove's concerts draw pivotal figures in the music industry as well as jazz enthusiasts to gigs like this.

Bristling with energy, unorthodox and daring, Hargrove’s quintet came out swinging on blues, gospel, and funk tunes that were strongly weaved in jazz. Performing a variety of songs from his 2008 CD entitled "Earfood," these jazz cats swung throughout the whole set. Before leaving the bandstand they did something quite miraculous in Minnesota they had everyone in the joint swinging to Sam Cooke’s signature tune "Bring It on Home to Me." This was an amazing feat for a conservative, but jazz friendly Scandinavian group. Their bluesy inflections of pitch and gospel-like harmonies took me back to those days of revival spent at my grandmother’s small country Baptist no air-conditioned church.

The stylized sounds created from some highly individual improvisers included: Dwayne Burno (bass), Sullivan Fortner (piano), Montez Coleman (drum set), Justin Robinson (saxophone), and Roy Hargrove (trumpet/flugelhorn).

Robinson stated backstage that he was a former member of jazz vocalist’s Betty Carter’s ensemble and was once in charge of running the rhythm section during jam sessions at the Blue Note in New York. Extremely disciplined, he brings a variety of flavors to the group. Rarely predictable, he often works at a high level of creativity. Robinson’s mastery of the sax brings sensitivity and delicacy, excitement and power which was intelligently delivered on Cedar Walton's "I’m Not So." Thus, the ensemble forms a funky unison with the young and gifted Fortner, a native of New Orleans native. Burno creates unconventional accompaniment patterns that are both light and weighty.

Throughout the entire performance, Coleman’s presentation on the drum set was mesmerizing. His rhythmic conceptions were free and fiery, expressive and dramatic. Coleman possesses stunning technical prowess and imagination. Unlike any drummer I have seen, Coleman is incredibly outstanding. He assigns a variety of improvisations to every part of the drum kit available which allows him to effectively contrast rhythmic and timbral dimensions.

In depth, each musician displayed incredible dexterity and remarkable talents on their respected instruments that were free from clichés. Their sound is well articulated and possessed strength in tone quality, rhythmic conceptions, and melodic techniques. Collectively the Hargrove experience is a brilliant model of musical exuberance.

The highlight of the evening occurred on Ogden Nash’s "Speak Low." Hargrove showed off his musical range and treated his audience to a spectacular show on the flugelhorn, an instrument known for its softer pitch. This was also an instrument of choice for Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker, and Miles Davis, a few of the trumpeter's favorite musicians.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Theresa Crushshon) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:35 -0600
Dakota cooks with the Delfeayo Marsalis quintet http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/dakota-cooks-with-the-delfeayo-marsalis-quintet.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/dakota-cooks-with-the-delfeayo-marsalis-quintet.html Marsalis
On Tuesday, May 12th, Delfeayo Marsalis appeared with his quintet at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The quintet included: Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone), Richard Johnson (piano), Marion Felder (drummer), Dean Hewlett (bass), and Mark Gross (saxophone). Marsalis who has a unique improvisational style says that when he is performing in Japan or in South America people often come up and ask... "Why do you not have any words to your music?" He said that he actually had to stop and
On Tuesday, May 12th, Delfeayo Marsalis appeared with his quintet at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The quintet included: Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone), Richard Johnson (piano), Marion Felder (drummer), Dean Hewlett (bass), and Mark Gross (saxophone).

Marsalis who has a unique improvisational style says that when he is performing in Japan or in South America people often come up and ask... "Why do you not have any words to your music?" He said that he actually had to stop and think about that for a minute.

"I called dad. Long distance and collect," Marsalis chuckled. He continued, "I explained the situation to dad. He said, Well... do something with words."

The next thing we knew jazz vocalist Charmin Michelle was on stage singing a sultry rendition and richly textured version of "Bye, Bye Blackbird."

Her presentation was animated and touching. She enchanted the audience by toying with phrasing, pitch and tone which was fluid and graceful. Coupled with the amazing sax solo, the gentle and brisk piano improvisations, the light and airy bass lines, the muscular drumming syncopated with Marsalis’ infectious pitch and dramatic silences, the moment became jazzical.

As a producer, Marsalis did the obvious. He took advantage of each performer’s unique sound and created unforgettable moments throughout the evening. Scenes and subtleties became picturesque on the intimate stage at the Dakota. What unfolded was a delicate yet smooth and swingful event which exemplified how jazz musicians are able to spiritually connect with one another on the bandstand and create rhythmic brilliance.

The magic of the band came to life on "Do Wap, Do Wap, It Don’t Mean a Thing." On this Ellington piece, the ensemble started off on a slow musical discourse before moving into a lively tempo that escalated into a full-blown jam. Even with no human voice, we could hear the words vivaciously swing through the saxophone and the trombone. Once the musicians respectfully began a rigorous conversation with the piece the movement became piercing, poignant, and powerful. The pianist’s improvisations were remarkable.

On the other hand, "Johnny Hodges - Track 13" was equally as interesting. Johnny Hodges was one of Duke Ellington’s sideman. He was known for his polished deep lush tone and his ability to slide from note to note on his saxophone. Thereby, making his sax sound like a trombone. Gross skillfully projected this technique throughout the night. It is always a delight to watch musicians cruise like this and it brought to mind some of Marsalis' homegirls Germaine Bazzle and Charmaine Neville who do just the opposite by transforming their voice into musical instruments.

But, yet the musical brilliance and productive spirit of Marsalis extended musical palette is intense, engaging, and full of thought provoking surprises.

Question. Who is dad?

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Theresa Crushshon) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:24 -0600
Blue Note Seven http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/blue-note-seven.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/blue-note-seven.html By Theresa Crushshon The Blue Note Seven Blue Note Records, America’s premier jazz label, celebrates their seventieth anniversary with Blue Note Records On Tour featuring: Bill Charlap (piano), Peter Washington (bass), Lewis Nash (drums), Steve Wilson (alto saxophone, flute), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Nicholas Payton (trumpet) and Ravi Coltrane (saxophone). Performing Sunday, March 25th at Minnesota Orchestra Hall, the talented Blue Note Seven performed selected

By Theresa Crushshon

The Blue Note Seven

Blue Note Records, America’s premier jazz label, celebrates their seventieth anniversary with Blue Note Records On Tour featuring: Bill Charlap (piano), Peter Washington (bass), Lewis Nash (drums), Steve Wilson (alto saxophone, flute), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Nicholas Payton (trumpet) and Ravi Coltrane (saxophone).

Performing Sunday, March 25th at Minnesota Orchestra Hall, the talented Blue Note Seven performed selected pieces created by musicians from the hard bop era. The music featured the genius of jazz giants: Horace Silver, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakely, and Lee Morgan. The music was performed with such profound musical intensity and respect it felt like The Blue Note Seven had been performing together on a regular basis. But, then when you consider the musicians and their expertise on their given instrument, one could not expect nothing less than a world-class performance loaded with stellar solo performances throughout the presentation.

Herbie Hancock’s "Dolphin Dance" was performed with precision. Arranged by Peter Washington, Payton provided a sweet and extremely relaxed trumpet opening full of intricate melodic figures. Charlap was equally engaging on piano. His lines extracted warmth and richness and effortlessly played. The passion created by the musicians was very soulful.

Lewis Nash portrayed such meticulous attention to technique on the Wayne Shorter tune entitled "United" that he left the audience in awe. His versatility is mesmerizing and a delight to watch. His elaborate and graceful arrangements contained a range of moods that gave the audience something to cling to. Both, daring and impulsive, Nash started off on the drums performing with brushes before bringing out the mallets. He created illustrious sounds using his fingertips and palms and eventually moved on into the piece with traditional drumsticks. His performance on "United" was beyond belief. Lewis Nash possesses superior melodic gifts and is one helluva drummer.

"It is unique what Wayne Shorter has done over the years," stated Ravi Coltrane. He continued, "There is greatness to his music. He is a major contributor to the jazz language and the tenor sax," Coltrane added.

And, theirs as well. It is interesting to see the diversity of each performer, especially during performances like this where they are not performing with their respective bands and we are able to witness the extended beauty of their musical palette.

After receiving a standing ovation, The Blue Note Seven closed with Lee Morgan’s "Party Time." Full of swing, it was rightfully fitting for the hard bop cause and the colorful dimensions that it gave to the genre. Nash even threw in some scatting as an extra treat.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Theresa Crushshon) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:20 -0600
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/jazz-at-lincoln-center-orchestra-with-wynton-marsalis.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/jazz-at-lincoln-center-orchestra-with-wynton-marsalis.html On national tour, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis appeared at Minnesota Orchestra Hall Friday, March 6, 2009 and presented a dynamic show featuring the music of jazz pianist, Thelonious Monk. Monk was one of the most brilliant jazz musicians of all time who was known for his highly syncopated and distinctive percussive style of playing the piano. The amazing line-up of musicians appearing in the big band included: Grammy Award winning Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Freddie H
On national tour, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis appeared at Minnesota Orchestra Hall Friday, March 6, 2009 and presented a dynamic show featuring the music of jazz pianist, Thelonious Monk. Monk was one of the most brilliant jazz musicians of all time who was known for his highly syncopated and distinctive percussive style of playing the piano.

The amazing line-up of musicians appearing in the big band included: Grammy Award winning Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet), Ryan Kisor (trumpet), Shaun Jones (trumpet), Marcus Printup (trumpet), Vincent R. Gardner (trombone), Eliot Mason (trombone), Chris Crenshaw (trombone), Sherman Irby (saxophones), Ted Nash, (alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet), Walter Blanding (tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet), Victor Goines (tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet), Paul Nedzela (baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriques (bass) and Ali Jackson (drums).

Favorite tunes performed by JLCO included: "Light Blue," "Epistrophy," "We See," and " Criss Cross." JLCO well improvised interpretations of Monk’s music was quite daring and full of delightful surprises.

JLCO came out swinging on "Criss Cross" which was fused with Latin elements. This piece was uniquely performed in three bar phrases. "Criss Cross" was arranged by jazz drummer Ali Jackson, a force to be reckoned with. Jackson provided polished rhythms throughout the piece. His inventive solo’s provided colorful tone quality that moved him beyond the role as timekeeper.

In the same composition, Victor Goines provided a riveting solo on the saxophone. His lines swing gracefully. Goines performed with a precise touch and impeccable sense of tempo as he gradually glided from one note to another.

"Coltrane said that when you are playing with Monk sometimes it feels like you are falling into an elevator shaft," quoted Marsalis. He continued, "Monk’s music is logical. "Superlogical," Marsalis emphasized.

Indeed. And evidently mastered by stellar musicians who performed composition after composition with the highest standards. With the bass, piano and drums skillful accompaniment, we experienced an inventive take on the music of Monk.

The JLCO tour continues throughout the month of March and will perform in Englewood, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; and Morristown, NJ.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Theresa Crushshon) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:18 -0600