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Concert Reviews (849)

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Three of the greatest entertainers on the live music scene today, are not necessarily household names, but their talent as artists is long-standing and much-appreciated by ‘those in the know’ in the music biz. Johnny Pennino is known as the Sax King of New Orleans, and rightly so! He is deservedly in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and is one of the freshest and most vibrant tenor sax players around. Pennino has been a long-time friend and musica
It’s always a great pleasure to see blues harp (harmonica) great David Rotundo in concert. Rotundo’s type of blues is the real deal -- the healing blues that makes the real blues go away. Such was a recent warm June night at the beginning of the summer for this writer, and a cheering packed house at Southside Johnny’s .. a blues hangout in Toronto’s west end Etobicoke area. The energy in the room was contagious, and the good vibes comi
Smooth jazz guitarist Norman Brown opened the act billed as Summer Storm at the 32nd annual The Harrah’s Rincon Smooth Jazz 98.1 Gaslamp Festival in San Diego, The one day festival held on May 26, featured numerous musicians and singers performing on two stages located in the city’s downtown core from mid afternoon until late evening. Brown was joined periodically on stage by keyboardist Jeff Lorber, soprano saxophonist Marion Meadows and singer Peabo Bryson. Backed by a solid quintet c
The Big Easy was in full swing for its’ 37th Annual Jazz & Heritage Festival. The city of New Orleans once again came together after the aftermath two years ago of both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita to showcase one of the largest tourist attraction in the United States. New Orleans is the original birth place of jazz with the greatest jazz sound in the world and home to some of the greatest jazz musicians that ever lived past and present. <P> Jazzfest got under
"I believe that any feeling of xenophobia and fear comes from ignorance. Often people think that when you are not like them, you are different and therefore you are a threat. It is not true. I think that the problem of xenophobia today is coming from the world economic crisis. Some people, for example, think that as foreigners we are going to take their work, we will take the bread from the mouth. It is not true. It is not like that. This fear has become a political tool to create divisions so t
The Big Easy was in full swing for its’ 37th Annual Jazz & Heritage Festival, the city of New Orleans once again came together after the aftermath two years ago of both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita to showcase one of the largest tourist attraction in the united states. New Orleans is the original birth place of jazz with the greatest jazz sound in the world and home to some of the greatest jazz musicians that ever lived past and present. Jazz fest got under way
It has been an odd few weeks at the Smithsonian Jazz Café. In spite of a succession of fine performances and packed houses, the management has suddenly decided that the venue is not profitable and announced that it may have to close, possibly as soon as September. It is a puzzling development. The Café opened six years ago, somewhat incongruously perhaps, in the American Museum of Natural History. With the Café already situated in the building next to the Imax Theater whi
Legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy, made his annual musical pilgrimage to Toronto’s Massey Hall, Saturday, April 21, 2007. He again was supported by his fabulous blues band, featuring Ric ‘Jaz Guitar’ Hall on rhythm/lead guitar; the great Marty Sammon on keyboards; Tim Austin on drums; and Orlando Wright on electric bass. All these musicians are virtu
Roberta Gambarini, New York based, Italian born and raised, has firmly established herself as one of the best jazz vocalists of our time. Just my opinion, no, this is the voice of many, including jazz legend, renowned drummer Jake Hanna. When I asked Mr. Hanna his feelings on playing with Roberta Gambarini, he replied without hesitation, "She is one of the best, and I have played with all the greats." This is no understatement, having played with vocalists from Billy Holiday to Tony Bennett, and
Youman Wilder Puts It All Together In The Vancouver Concert for Darfur This Was a Benefit Waiting to Happen Concert Review by: Herman RawlingsVenue: The Vogue Theater (Vancouver British Columbia) April 22nd,2007 Individuals who adopt worthy causes in support of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised people in society have a very difficult endeavor, especially when attempting to rise above other organ
Salif Keita, 58, a 40-year veteran of the music scene, numbers among Africa’s top musical stars. A man in motion, Salif might be anywhere from Canada to Christchurch within the space of just a few weeks. Born into a royal family, Salif found himself barred by social custom from becoming a musician. As an albino, Salif was an outcast; he found his way in music. He fled a Malian dictatorship to the Ivory Coast and later moved to Paris. He has since returned to Mali where he has built a recording s
It was certainly a truly historic musical celebration of the blues, jazz, folk and some Middle Eastern musical influences at Toronto's Massey Hall, Friday, April 13, 2007. It was just the opposite of a 'bad luck' evening of music for this ‘13th’ -- courtesy of three of the most renowned and respected guitarists around: Randy Bachman (Guess Who/BTO), Jeff Healey, and Duke Robillard (Roomful of Blues). It was also his
Last year, in a concert review on this site, I wrote "Jazz lovers would do well to check out Imani Winds." Their recent concert performances continue to reinforce this idea. I caught them again recently at the University of Baltimore's Student Center. Again, I should emphasize that this is not a jazz ensemble. It is a classic woodwind quintet performing written music. But their approach, their choice of material, their overall mode of presentation, is going a long way to build bridges bet
It was a full night around town guitarist John Abercrombie at Birdland, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane at the Blue Note, guitarist Pat Metheny with pianist Brad Mehldau at Carnegie Hall, guitarist Bill Frisell at the Village Vanguard and jazz performances were of the pickin’. Waiting at the front doors of the Iridium Jazz Club was a couple who hadn’t seen pianist Misha Piatigorsky for a few years. "He used to give my husband piano lessons," said the woman of the couple. Gregory Piatigorsky, Misha’s f

Eric Bibb

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Attending an Eric Bibb concert is a lot like sitting down with an old friend and having coffee. The blues singer / guitar virtuoso’s performance is anything but high powered, as he opts instead to create a warm, friendly ambiance. On April 21, Bibb played two forty-five minute sets at Calgary’s Theatre Junction at the Grand. The night consisted of Bibb performing songs from most of his albums including 1998’s Good Stuff and the CD Diamond Days released earlier this year. The blu
Like a picture pulled from a photo album, guitarist Pat Metheny looked the same as he did in 1977 the last time he appeared at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in downtown Poughkeepsie. He still wears his hair long and he still dresses in casual attire faded jeans, knit top and sneakers. Pianist Brad Mehldau had a more scholarly look, sporting a corduroy jacket, as both artists walked onto the Bardavon stage before a sold-out Tuesday night audience. They’ve been touring for almost a month, presenti
At around eight PM on the second Thursday in April, Randy Weston takes the stage at Yoshi's to begin a four-night run at the intimate Oakland, California club. Weston hasn’t performed in the Bay Area in recent years save at large halls festivals, so this is a rare chance to see this accomplished octogenerian master of the jazz piano at close range. He has invited a very special guest for this gig: legendary tenor saxophonist Billy Harper. Originally from Texas, Harper has played with the like
An air of both impatience and anticipation hangs in the air at Sir Garfield Sobers Auditorium on the outskirts of Bridgetown, the capital of the Caribbean island nation of Barbados. Legendary singer Anita Baker is set to take the stage to perform at the 2007 Barbados Jazz Festival. First, everyone stands to sing the Barbados national anthem. Then the curtains part to reveal Anita’s band and then Anita herself. Having kept the fans waiting for more than an hour, Anita apologizes obliquely
The Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith Blues Band played Toronto’s Silver Dollar Room, Saturday, March 3, 2007, and filled this excellent blues venue with some of the finest Chicago blues around. Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, is a much-revered and appreciated bluesman, who was the one and only Muddy Waters’ drummer for over 20 years, (replacing renowned Waters Band drummer
Jazz does have a sense of humor. Pianist Horace Silver has proven that throughout his career with titles like "Doodlin’", "Filthy McNasty", "Finger Poppin’", "The Sophisticated Hippie", "Funky Bunky", and "Rockin’ with Rachmaninoff". Fellow pianist Toru Dodo may not have such colorfully named tunes on his new release Dodo 3 (Jazzcity Spirit Productions, Inc.), but his charming wit brought about laughter from the crowd at Sunday’s Jazz Brunch at The Blue Note Jazz Club. Accompanied by Y