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Concert Reviews (849)

Nothing beats experiencing live jazz music as its being created right in front of you.  Stop here for reviews of your favorite jazz artists live and in concert.

Like many orchestras, the Baltimore Symphony has learned that interesting programming is one of the keys to survival. To build a successful season the orchestra seeks to intersperse the staple repertoire of Handel, Beethoven and Mendelssohn with more exotic offerings, this year including works by Chinese composer Tan Dun, a Halloween tribute to Frankenstein by HK Gruber, a concert by Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, selections from Star Trek (narrated by Mr. Sulu!), Charlie Chaplin's sco
29.01.2011

Winard Harper Sextet

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Drummer extraordinaire Winard Harper led his jazz band the Winard Harper Sextet through two hours of great music, that featured standards and original compositions-and that was just the first set. Playing before an appreciative audience at West Broadway’s The Jazz Cellar in Vancouver, the sextet was nothing short of marvelous, and after each solo performance, the patrons applauded them. At other times, the audience broke into spontaneous applause to spur their new found heroes onto even great
Denmark’s Christina and Carsten Dahl make sweet music together-in more than one way, for the couple are a dynamic jazz duo, and they are also husband and wife. Denmark’s first couple of jazz possesses a love for one another that is evident on stage, yet it does not come across as syrupy. Their respect for one another as musicians one would assume would contain an element of bias, but they handle this too with class and professionalism. On Saturday, August 11, the Dahl’s performed at F
29.01.2011

Jeanette Lindstrom

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Swedish jazz diva Jeanette Lindstrom opened her first set at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre on the evening of August 10, with "Always," an R&B flavored tune, that served up reminders of Taylor Dane’s song "I’ll Always Love You." Guitarist Peter Nylander, who heads up the Jazz Guitar Department at the Royal Conservatory in Stockholm, Sweden, wove his magic on some smooth and seamless chord changes, while trumpeter Staffan Svensson’s muted horn filled the room with warm, mellow melodies. <
The northern jazz scene is alive and well, Molly Johnson performs to a near capacity audience, as witnessed by me while on holiday in cottage country this past week. Having missed Molly Johnson's recent performance in Toronto, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out her performance in support of her new CD, Messin' Around. Another good reason that motivated me was the idea of a new theatre, checking out the Algonquin Theatre going into its third season of existence, offic
29.01.2011

Amanda Tosoff

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I learned a new definition for breathless on August 5th. Breathless, at least in my vocabulary can now be defined as twenty-three year old Vancouver jazz pianist Amanda Tosoff who performed at The Cellar Restaurant and Jazz Club on West Broadway in Vancouver, Canada. Tosoff played to a standing room only crowd, who responded throughout the evening with spontaneous demonstrations of appreciation. A more seasoned and perhaps less humble musician would have realized that as her final set came to
29.01.2011

David Gogo

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Canadian blues rocker David Gogo opened his set at Vancouver’s Yale Hotel on Granville Street with his massive hit "Skeleton Key," which found a home on the airwaves and in the hearts of numerous blues fans in the United States and Canada. His fans certainly cannot complain about getting their money’s worth as Gogo is one of the hardest working musicians that I have witnessed. Like a man possessed, he worked at a feverish pace for ninety minutes (and later returned for a second set). His chor
I’m in love with Joyce Cooling. I can’t remember when it happened. Maybe it happened when I heard "No More Blues" for the first time. Maybe it happened after the 10th time. Perhaps it was after hearing "South of Market," or "Mm-Mm-Good," or "After Hours," or "Talk" or, maybe just like a real love affair, you don’t really know when it happened, you just simply know that you’re in it. I knew that affair would be never-ending after listening to her new CD, "Revolving Door." With backstage
Whoever thought to bring together a perfect summer day, an imposing Victorian structure with its shiny gold dome together at one of America’s oldest city parks, and contemporary jazz is a genius. The Hartford Jazz Festival (http://www.hartfordjazz.com) had its roots in the Monday night jazz concerts at historic Bushnell Park (http://www.bushnellpark.org) started by local bass legend Paul Brown. The concert reached a turning point in 1992 when it took its current name, the Greater Hartford Jazz F
29.01.2011

Larra Skye

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Toronto jazz singer Larra Skye one of the few independent artists to strike a national distribution deal (HMV), performed two outstanding sets at The Cellar Restaurant and Jazz Club in Vancouver Canada on July 28. She was backed by an ensemble consisting of Brad Turner (keys), Jon Bentley (tenor saxophone), Darren Radtke (upright acoustic bass) and drummer Bernie Arai. Dressed in a short black sequin dress, the tall slender Skye, with her shoulder length brown hair occasionally sweepi
29.01.2011

Watermelon Slim

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Thirty-four years ago a Vietnam war veteran by the name of Bill Homans lay in an army hospital bed and taught himself how to play upside-down slide guitar using a triangle pick cut from a rusty coffee can top and used an army issued Zippo lighter as the slide. On Tuesday July 24th at Vancouver Canada’s Yale Hotel, a premier blues club on the west coast, Homans’ alter ego Watermelon Slim one of the most respected blues musicians alive continued the trend by using an assortment of unconventiona
Mela as he likes to be known took to the Pure Spirits Stage and at once became at one with the spirits of the Historic Distillery District. He explained to the audience that he had a new album and he would be playing most of the songs from the album, he said, "I would like to tell you what I’m trying to do, I want to combine the Afro Cuban with jazz and free jazz." Francisco Mela has that smokey sounding voice, of a raw Flamenco singer, full of passion and fire. He played with mallets and cre
29.01.2011

VISION FESTIVAL XII

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The 12th Annual Vision Festival took place from Tuesday, June 19 thru Sunday June 24th, 2007 and featured a smörgåsbord of the world’s greatest improvisers. As inspiring as it is unique, the festival showcases artists who have built their reputations courageously on their own terms. To celebrate all of these visionaries under one roof is a testament to the spirit and strength of the festival and its organizers. The venue, the beautiful Angel Orensanz Foundation on the Lo
On a Friday in mid-February, for about three hours, instead of the insufferable wind chills of, usually, 10 above zero, it was 90 degrees in Chicago. The heat was emanating from a performance at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. The performance was labeled an evening of Mardi Gras music from New Orleans with Dr. John headlining and guest artist Donald Harrison and his Electric Band. It’s true, Dr. John, the Gris-Gris pianist from N’awlins, was headlining and his quartet played som
At ninety-two years of age, Les Paul continues to play to a packed house every Monday night at the Iridium in New York City. Locals and tourists line up on Broadway to a get a glimpse of the Wizard from Waukesha. A Wisconsin native myself, I am particularly proud of his many accomplishments. His impact on the history and future of music is well-documented. A member of the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the N
For the twelfth consecutive year, Arts for Art has presented Vision Festival in New York City. The event, which, according to the organizers, celebrated, "A Dozen Years Of Visionary Music, Dance, Spoken Word, Film And Visual Arts," was held from June 19th to June 24th, once again at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on Manhattan's Lower East Side. This year's festival, perhaps the world's premier avantJazz event, was the most ambitious Vision Fest yet, featuring a global cast of avantJ
29.01.2011

Fusion Night

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Allan Holdsworth has long been respected as one of the fusion guitar greats. His performance on this date did nothing to tarnish that well-earned reputation. The set started out with several mellow tunes, focusing heavily on the synthesizer-infused guitar sound Holdsworth is known for. The intricate chords found in many of his compositions did not go unnoticed. One fan yelled out, "it takes me years to play one of your chords." To which Holdsworth rep
Despite being one of the 20th century’s premier pianists, "Thelonious Sphere Monk" remains unknown to most Americans. An outlandish but sadly apocryphal story brings this point home. Tabitha Soren interviewing Bill Clinton on MTV supposedly asked the presidential candidate who he had dreamed of playing saxophone with. "Thelonious Monk" Clinton replied. "Who is the ‘Loneliest Monk’?" a bewildered Tabitha responded. Thoroughly eccentric yet extremely introverted, Monk was a brilliant pianist and c
Now in its twelfth year, the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival continues to showcase some fine women musicians. The evening I caught this year--there were only tickets available for Thursday's performance--also brought into focus some issues that still plague jazz, however. One, ironically, is the continuing gender gap within the music. For the first of the three shows the headline artists presented were certainly women, but they were the only women seen on the stage. The other ten musici
What a fabulous way to spend a Saturday afternoon, enjoying the music of the nineteen piece Prime Time Big Band and the luscious vocals of Shari Chaskin at the Ironwood Stage and Grill. Having interviewed Chaskin only two days before I thought it would be a good idea to catch her gig, never expecting that on a warm June 23rd afternoon that I would be treated to the awesomely talented musicians who comprise the Prime Time Big Band and bandleader Captain Dave Jones. The first set opened