Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival was previewed by Joe Klopus.  The Pitch’s Jazz Beat writer focused on Conrad Herwig’s appearance at the annual event.

*Jessie Riggins reviewed the opening concert of the Kansas Jazz Orchestra’s new season.

*Logan Richardson introduced his new album Shift in a four-minute EPK.

*KC Jazz Lark shared photos of last month’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival.

*Mark Lowrey was featured on KCUR’s weekly Local Listen segment.

*The Kansas City Star highlighted Vewiser Dixon’s plans for the area to the south of the Jazz District.

*A blogger recalled two Phil Woods concerts in Kansas City in a remembrence of the late saxophonist.

*A barbecue restaurant named 18th & Vine opened in Dallas this week.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Oddly Correct- 2 evenings with @jacobfredjazzodyssey coming up this weekend at our shop. Taste & see…

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Album Review: Matt Villinger- All Night

Peter Schlamb’s electrifying Tinks was Plastic Sax’s top album of 2014 by a Kansas City musician. 

The sonic innovation, emphasis on memorable compositions and an absence of prolonged solos made Tinks entirely refreshing.

All Night, the solo debut of keyboardist Matt Villinger, features Schlamb on vibraphone.  Recorded in the same Edwardsville, Illinois, studio as Tinks, All Night sounds like Tinks’ funkier sequel. 

Villinger evokes a young Bob James on the soulful opening track “Chillinger.”  “You’re the One for Me” is like an update of James’ “Angela,” the theme song for television’s “Taxi.”  Villinger also uses a vocoder on the title track, a midtempo song capable of resonating with Daft Punk fans.

Trumpeter Hermon Mehari is excellent throughout.  Hiis heavily processed solo on “Dart Bomb” is particularly thrilling.  Bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sean Mullins round out the band.

Following in Schlamb’s footsteps, Villinger recently moved from St. Louis to Kansas City.  All Night indicates that he promises to be a similarly constructive presence on the scene. 

(Original image of Louise Bourgeois' "Spider" by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Now's the Time: Kahil El'Zabar

Jazz purists might initially be alarmed when they first glance at the lineup of the American Jazz Museum’s 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival.  Blues and R&B acts make up a significant portion of the offerings.  A closer inspection reveals a handful of jazz-oriented gems.  I’m most enthused by the presence of Kahil El’Zabar.  The Chicago based percussionist is closely associated with his city’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.  El’Zabar is slated to perform with an ensemble led by Dennis Winslett.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Hermon Mehari spoke to Tim Finn about his victory at a trumpet competition in Texas.

*A large swathe of Kansas City’s jazz community will receive new grants from ArtsKC.

*Sam Mellinger comments on the Kansas City Royals’ new baseball youth academy in the Jazz District.  KC Jazz Lark speculates that the project could lead to a brighter future for the area.

*The Kansas City Star reports that four people were shot in the Jazz District early Sunday morning.

*The Kansas City Star reviewed Zappa Plays Zappa’s concert at Crossroads KC.

*Joe Dimino’s recent interview subjects include Ron Miles.

*Phil Woods, one of Charlie Parker’s most devoted acolytes, has died.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Tony Tixier- Playing a house concert with #Diverse on a beautiful lawn under the #lunareclipse @kctrumpeter (photo)

*Comment o’ the Week: Anonymous- Glad to have you back. Thrash metal and hip hop ain't got nothing on melodic bop!

*From a press release: The vivacious vocals of Lori Tucker performing with Tim Whitmer & The Consort Band, Wednesday, October 7, 2015, at Unity Temple on the Plaza.  Tickets at the door only $7.00.  The Pitch recommended the concert.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Album Review- Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein

Karrin Allyson performed a concert of adult pop at the Folly Theater ten months ago.  I expected her next release to sound like James Taylor.  Instead, she resembles Marilyn Maye on the sophisticated cabaret album Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Backed by pianist Kenny Barron and bassist John Patitucci, Allyson sings material from The King and I, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music and South Pacific.

Allyson makes it clear that she has no intention of playing it straight on the seemingly unpromising album opener “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’”.  Her blues reading of the composition that’s often subject to cornball interpretations demonstrates Allyson’s aversion to cliches.  All 14 tracks contain similarly unconventional twists. 

Effortlessly sensuous and wise without seeming sanctimonious, Allyson is never overshadowed by the impeccable work of Barron and Patitucci.  Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein is an entirely welcome surprise.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Now's the Time: Larry Carlton

It must not be the hair.  The awe-inspiring coiffure Larry Carlton sports in the embedded clip is long gone, but the guitarist is still capable of playing like a man possessed.  Best known for his session work for artists including Michael Jackson and Steely Dan, Carlton appears at the Gem Theater on Thursday, October 1.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Hermon Mehari won the 2015 Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Solo Competition in Huntsville, Texas.

*Bobby Watson was interviewed on a morning television program.

*The Pitch recommends a gig led by Will Matthews.

*The complete schedule of the 18th & Vine Jazz & Blues Festival has been posted.

*A new documentary about Mary Lou Williams inspires an extensive essay about the artist in The New Yorker.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Brian Scarborough- Always love rehearsing and playing with the People's Liberation Big Band of Greater KC. Happy to be playing with them moving forward #kcjazz

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)