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Concert Reviews (826)

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.

The Jazz Attack Tour 2009 marched into Las Vegas for a highly energetic musical assault on the aural sensory nerves, both entertainingly pleasing and extremely satisfying. Piloted by a blend of world-renown musicians including master trumpeter Rick Braun, peerless tenor saxophonist Richard Elliot, and charismatic guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Butler; this version of the perennial crowd favorite concert attraction packed plenty of punch into a 100 minute presentation of great musicianship
I had never witnessed a live Milford Graves performance. I had heard his playing on numerous records and recent CD’s. I knew of his powerful style and frenetic energy. I had listened to his chanting and foreign sounding communications that accompanied his recorded performances. I had always imagined that the wall of sound he created was studio enhanced. Special effects, overdubbing and extra tracks for all these percussive sounds that aren’t normally associated with a drum set. There is nothing
I recently attended an extremely interesting and unusual venue for the Tom Robertson Blues Band. This was an outdoor afternoon annual Family Day 2009 at Canada Post’s huge South Central Letter Processing Plant in Toronto. (It’s the largest mail sorting plant in Canada). This was an ideal sunny day, perfect for listening to ‘da bluz’ outdoors . . . in a beautifully tranquil setting of grass and trees and a nature trail to the south . . . with the beach at Lake Ontario just
There are not many places where Italian jazz fans, who mostly love free jazz, can hear AACM, avant-garde, radical improvisation and the greatest musicians of these ever fresh sounds: the Sant’Anna Arresi festival "Ai Confini fra Sardegna e Jazz", near Cagliari in Sardinia, is one of those few. This is a kind of festival that does not care about how many people attend the concerts, considered that «quality is not measured by figures», as art director Basilio Sulis stated. And if many j
For the past few months it has been my pleasure to attend several blues shows at the downtown Delta Chelsea’s Monarchs Pub. The Delta has done something that no other major hotel chain in Canada has dared to do which is to offer world-class live blues shows every Thursday evening, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. One of the two major attractions to these great blues nights, is the always entertaining, Juno Award-winning blues guitarist Jack de Keyzer. His performances have always been
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
It was a ‘magical’ night of blues at Toronto’s venerable Massey Hall, when blues guitarist Buddy Guy and his fabulous blues band appeared on stage.Prior to their always enjoyable show, blues diva Shemekia Copeland and her band played a 45-minute set that got the blues fans in attendance warmed up just right for Buddy.Buddy’s show opened with the high-energy "Best Damn Fool" and went right into "Only Nin
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
"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
Prince Edward County Jazz festival is a different and very special jazz festival. The board of directors and especially Brian Barlow have done an outstanding job of putting together one of the best festivals of straight ahead jazz. They have found a common thread in bringing together Canadian artists with international recognition and bridging young artists with seasoned pros. They have the community involved in a big way - from boutique estate wineries, book stores, restaurants, bars and even a
A fans artistic ingestion of a vocalist’s performance has, in some way, to do with the backdrop. For a rising vocalist, a live performance creates a technical and emotional euphoria that, in many cases, escapes the studio setting. Such is the case for jazz vocalist Taeko Fukao, as she pierced into the psyche of the crowds, adorning Bushnell Park in Connecticut. The pulse of that July performance warmed the masses and created a genuine compassion for her unique expression of an ever-evolving j
Africa may be the ancestral home of jazz, but there are few African-born jazz musicians of renown. The best known is undoubtedly Abdullah Ibrahim. A multi-instrumentalist, Ibrahim is justly famed for his sublime piano playing. Born Dollar Brand in South Africa, Ibrahim, who will turn 75 this October, has led an incredible and very complex life. To summarize, Ibrahim was raised in a ghetto as "coloured" under the Apartheid system. Ibrahim’s father, a member of the Sentso tribe, had
Holding musical concerts for worthy causes isn’t a new concept. Oftentimes, as with George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, magical melodious moments result. Such was the case on a hot August Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. The inimitable contemporary jazz saxophonist Paul Taylor, along with the assist of some other great local Vegas musicians, provided an evening of music that was indeed both magical and truly memorable. Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Fund, founded

Roy Hargrove

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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

Mood Indigo

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The new CD by Rita de Ghent on Groove Records Sprawl Indigo is a disc that I will be paying close attention to. I recently became aware of Ms. di Ghent during her performance as part of Lisa Particelli’s, Girls Night Out. I could hear a blues influence, a Chicago blues tinge, is that harmonica or sax phrasing from her vocal renderings? That sustained note bending in the middle, to swoop back down low, then rising up and striking you with a flash of brilliance, just like a cottonmouth
Is there anyone that doesn’t know Ornette Coleman is one of the most important jazz musician/composers of the 20th century? For those that don’t, thumbnail sketch: In the late 1950s Coleman developed an alternative method of jazz improvisation, far looser/flexible in terms of harmony and chord progression. His approach was "freer" than other saxophonists yet was based firmly in the blues (the feeling, if not structurally). At the time, some critics, listeners, and musi

Canada Day 2009

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The big show at the Main Stage - Nathan Philips Square featured a performance that will go down as one of my favorite all time concerts. The opening to this memorable occasion started with the singing of "O-Canada" the full house was led through the national anthem by the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival artistic director, Jim Galloway. He played the melody on his soprano saxophone, a swinging version and the crowd sang with pride. The opening act featured Canadian award winning bassist Bra

Pilot Jazz

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The Toronto Jazz Festival is a massive event; on any given night or day for that matter during the ten day festival it is possible to see a varied group of musical acts. As most jazz festivals are now mixing musical styles so to is Toronto Jazz Festival. On June 29th, the Main stage at Nathan Philips Square had lots of activity as they prepared to welcome Kool & The Gang with opening act Harrison Kennedy. I ventured out to the Toronto harbor front, the Fleck Dance Theatre was playing host to

Fern Lindzon

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Fern Lindzon is a Canadian pianist and a vocalist. She exhibits equally accomplished talents on both instruments. I managed to catch her at Chalkers Pub in midtown Toronto, a great up and coming jazz club that has played host to some fantastic jazz folk including vocalist Sheila Jordan. As I walked up the stairs to the 2nd story pub housing the jazz club, billiards room and large outdoor patio - I heard an enchanting melody, "Never Never Land" performed as an instrumental jazz version. Ms. Lindz
Mose Allison took over the Fleck Dance Theatre on Tuesday night as part of the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival. The 81-year-old Mississippi born jazz singer, pianist and composer blessed the audience with his joyful spirit and accomplished easy going singing and piano playing. An unassuming blues based, jazz piano player whose influence is felt through his well known songs - many of them performed by the biggest rock acts. His accompanists, Neil Swainson on acoustic bass and John Sumner