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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.

Friday, the thirteenth of April, in Boston, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, was another performance within the Boston Creative Music Alliance of DIE LIKE A DOG TRIO with guest Joe McPhee. The trio is Peter Brotzmann, reeds, Hamid Drake, drums and William Parker, bass. Brotzmann played the taragato whose tones automatically lend to the music a sound of the world. He broke the silence of waiting for the music to begin with a line that resembled a call of the wild. Parker sat as he fingere
It's never a good sign when you roll up on the theatre where a favorite musician is scheduled to perform and you see something dreadful on the marquee. No, not "cancelled." Much worse than that, though after a jarring trek over a pothole-riddled interstate a cancelled show would be a major depressant. No, some idiot has actually misspelled the name of one of the performers. The marquee outside the Royal Oak Theatre in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak announced: "Tonight at 9:00 - Bob Jame
29.01.2011

Sonny Rollins

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For many people new to jazz their first exposure to Sonny Rollins was the image of him practicing his saxophone on New York's Williamsburg Bridge in 1958, lovingly documented in Ken Burns' recent "Jazz". No mention was given of the legacy Rollins has built upon since then. A consummate perfectionist with a well of imagination that is seemingly bottomless, Rollins has stayed on top of his game for decades thanks largely to a rigorous practice routine. As a result, Rollins sounds as vital and
The concept of blending jazz and Latin music is not a new thing. The two styles have been borrowing each other since the 1920's. Rare, however, is the musician or band that is equally versed in both styles. When trumpeter and conga player Jerry Gonzalez formed his Fort Apache Band nearly twenty years ago his ability to blend the two styles in equal measure turned heads and has since had a gigantic effect on jazz, one not fully realized until the arrival of Danilo Perez and David Sanchez as b
The Gnawa musicians of Morocco are a fascinating group of players. Their music is not merely meant to entertain, but to heal. The Gnawa were brought up from sub-Saharan Africa hundreds of years ago in bondage. They are master musicians who believe that everyone has a color and a musical note to which he or she vibrates. During healing ceremonies individuals respond to their chosen color and note. Ultimately the goal of the Gnawa is to play every note perfectly lest a wrong note adversely aff
Gaining momentum and now in it's second year, the brainchild of promoters Thompson, Parrish and Paddock (better known as The Oasis Group, LLC) took Chicago by storm bringing with it the hottest names in Smooth Jazz all under one beautiful roof. The Second Annual National Smooth Jazz Awards, presented to a sold out audience of better than 3,500 delivered an evening of more than nineteen hot hits performed by the original artists and well-deserved awards and honors to some of the genres greatest.
29.01.2011

The Phoenix Rises

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Part of the Impulse Response Series at the iEAR studio at RPI in Troy, New York, a performance with Joe McPhee, Philip Gelb, dancer, Eri Majima, and the group, Nyquist, brought a studio space, heavily laden with black velvet curtains and every other sort of absorptive material, to life. Both Gelb and McPhee played by themselves to begin the concert and then joined to accompany dancer Majima. Nyquist, which includes Seth Cluett, Scott Smallwood, and Joel Taylor, were also joined by Gelb and M
29.01.2011

Is Cab Calloway Back?

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After the band vamp (as if for a stripper's entrance) and Birdland's announcement, "The Prince of Hi-De-Ho, Calloway Brooks", a tall lean gent jumped on stage to front the mostly hatted variously attired twelve member ensemble wearing a long white coat to his knees, white high draped pants over black & whites, a pheasant feathered white wide-brimmed hat and matching red deco clipped tie. He's a sight and when he extends his long arms and opens his mustachioed mouth flashes of his Grandfathers' v
29.01.2011

Trio for Three Voices

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Last Thursday night at Flywheel in Easthampton, MA. performed a trio including Marco Eneidi on alto, Spirit on percussion and drums, and Jessica Loos doing vocals. This group is creative, well appointed, conceptually rich. And excellent. Once, in a conversation Morton Feldman was having with another composer about a piece that Feldman was writing for voice and orchestra, I interjected the question to Feldman : "Well, Morty, when does the voice become an instrument?" His reply was: "That is a
The name Toots Thielemans is synonymous with jazz harmonica. This is true partly because there are so few practitioners but mostly because of the degree to which he has mastered the instrument. If you have never heard Toots before you may wonder how he does it. It is difficult to imagine jazz harmonica, the instrument not seeming to lend itself to jazz. Until you hear Toots, that is. When he puts the harmonica to his lips, it's magic. He has a deep respect for the music that comes across in his
The term "super group" may be overused, but a true all-star quartet hit the stage in Milwaukee this past Thursday night. On the third date of their inaugural fourteen date midwest-eastcoast tour, the quartet known as CAB (drummer Dennis Chambers, guitarist Tony McAlpine, bassist Bunny Brunel, and keyboardist Brian Auger) laid down two sets of intense instrumental fusion. With a sound that harked back to the glory days of fusion in the seventies, they thrilled the packed house with their instrume
Now in its 16th year, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival is well established as one of the West's premium music forums and one of the finest international music showcases in the world. For ten days, the VIJF offers the sights and sounds of the music's edge pushers, mainstayers and international ambassadors in a panoramic city sweep that keeps the focus on the music amid the vitality of Canada's West Coast urban cultural Mecca. That's as it should be. Yet in a city as stunning as Vanco
The 21st Annual Mellon Jazz Festival produced by the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz got off to a flying start the weekend of June 15 in capital city, Harrisburg, PA. The 3-day event centered at the Hilton Hotel drew hundreds of jazz enthusiasts where headliners and local jazz musicians satisfied every jazz appetite. While the Hilton was central to the weekend festivities, the whole city supported this year's tribute to Louis Armstrong with a Jazz Walk-a-thon at 15 sites, all within walking
29.01.2011

Together Again

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The Art Ensemble of Chicago was one of those rare bands that would have come together regardless of the musical climate that necessitated its formation, so powerful was the attraction between the musicians. But they did form primarily due to the jazz scene depleting in 1960's Chicago, the advent of rock and roll, and then fostered by the encouragement of the then-fledgling musical collective, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Artists (AACM). Depending on whom one might talk to
It's a ritual. Each and every year we await a most longed-for event: Spring, and only secondarily, we wait for it to roll over into Summer in all its temperature-raising glory. And each and every year since I've lived in Vancouver I go through a personal ritual directly related to the weather. I forget what June can be like. That June can be cruelly, unseasonably chilly and even rainy. I think it's a mental block and there's only one thing that could make a jazz fan forget the unpredictability o
Bill Bruford has always been a jazz drummer at heart. It showed on those early YES records, with such songs as 'America', 'Something's Coming', and 'Everydays'. With the latest edition of his band, Earthworks, he brings that to the fore. While many in the packed crowd came to see him based on his reputation with such bands as King Crimson and his 70's rock/fusion band, Bruford, they were in for a pleasant surprise with his current 'British jazz' quartet. This was the sixth date on a 16 date coas
29.01.2011

Atlanta Jazz Festival

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Now in its 24th year of existence the Atlanta Jazz Festival signals the beginning of the summer jazz festival season for this writer. The AJF always features a variety of local and international performers from most genres of jazz. Even though the free admission Memorial Day weekend concert series is the major part of the festival, there were several other free and paid performances held over a 9-day period throughout the Atlanta area. This year a second stage, reserved for emerging artists,
29.01.2011

Festival Review

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Vienne is a small town on the river Rhone, population around 30,000 some 30 minutes south of Lyon, which was the second largest city of France till Marseilles took over just a few months ago. The venue of the festival is an ancient Roman open air semi-circular theater where the bulk of the audience has to sit on blocks of stones and the last row is high up - rising 200 feet from the stage! Yet, the "Jazz A Vienne" festival attracts nearly 100,000 (average of 6300 per night) over two weeks - that
I was lucky enough to catch Stanley Turrentine in Seattle last month at one of his last performance gigs. He played the week of August 17th at the Jazz Alley, a great club off 5th Street and home to many star players. The band began with a short number to introduce themselves-Larry Fuller on piano, Dave Streicher on guitar, Paul Thompson on bass, and Lenny Robinson on drums-before the sax legend joined them onstage. What makes Turrentine a legend? Perhaps it's his mastery of the subtone-the s
Bernie Kaplan, a famous entertainment lawyer in London used to tell people that Dave Frishberg’s "My Attorney, Bernie" was written for him. When Kaplan died, they played the sardonic little tune at his funeral, and someone later remarked to the composer, "It’s too bad about Bernie, isn’t it?" But Dave Frishberg just thought it was a nice, silly little rhyme, and had never met Kaplan. We learned all this on September 7th at the Jazz Spot, where Frishberg played to a house full of fans. The eve