Friday, February 27, 2015

Now's the Time: Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell will perform songs associated with Woody Guthrie at White Theatre on the campus of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City on Friday, March 6.  Violinists Jenny Scheinman and Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts and drummer Rudy Royston will collaborate with the guitarist.  Frisell plays with Charlie Haden and Ginger Baker in the embedded clip.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Clint Ashlock is featured in a cover story by The Pitch.

*KC Jazz Lark reveals that his previous post about the Mutual Musicians Foundation’s plans for a radio station was poorly received in some quarters.

*Joe Klopus highlights a forthcoming concert by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

*Missouri Western State University's student newspaper published a story about The Project H.

*Sunday brunch at Take Five Coffee + Bar is recommended by The Pitch.

*Trumpeter Clark Terry has died.  I’m almost certain that a 2010 tribute to Duke Ellington at the Gem Theater that also featured Ahmad Alaadeen was Terry's final performance in Kansas City.

*Steve Kraske interviewed the Hot Sardines on KCUR’s Up To Date.

*Eddie Moore and Charles McPherson are among Joe Dimino’s recent interview subjects.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Ryan Keberle- Blues, TIME, humor, honesty - quintessential Clark Terry summed up in 2 choruses with the Count Basie Band (video)

*Comment o’ the Week: Gary- So you're getting Bill Shapiro's gig, huh?

*From a press release: The University of Kansas School of Music proudly presents the 38th Annual KU Jazz Festival concerts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union. This year’s concerts feature special guest artists Jerry Bergonzi, saxophone (March 6) and Marshall Gilkes, trombone (March 7). Both concert events are open to the public… For more information about the KU Jazz Festival visit KU Jazz Festival.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bright Lights

My detractors will be pleased to hear that I was briefly heckled and jeered during my appearance on the stage of the Folly Theater on Saturday.

Many listeners at the pre-concert talk I conducted with two members of The Hot Sardines took offense at a self-deprecating ageist wisecrack.

No such animosity was directed at the eight-piece band from New York.  The octet floored an audience of about 700.

The Hot Sardines is a clearly band that’s going places.  It’s not that its members are incomparable musicians.  While every member of the ensemble was very good, there are plenty of superior musicians in Kansas City.

The band’s remarkable showmanship sets its apart.  Describing the ensemble’s antics would make it sound corny.  It’s not.  Somehow the Hot Sardines’ audience-pleasing shenanigans don’t seem the least bit hokey.

That’s a big reason why the ensemble has the support of a major record label while many giants of jazz struggle to secure gigs and fund recording sessions.

Audiences expect to be entertained.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Now's the Time: The Hot Sardines

The Hot Sardines a New York based ensemble specializing in Prohibition-era party jazz, will perform at the Folly Theater on Saturday, February 21. The author of Plastic Sax will host an interview session with the band one hour prior to the concert at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*KC Jazz Lark scrutinizes the Mutual Musicians Foundation’s plans to launch a low-wattage radio station.

*Joe Klopus highlights the Hot Sardines’ forthcoming performance in his weekly column.

*A 1,200-word review of Dominique Sanders’ new album is posted at Demencha.

*The Pitch recommends a performance by Bob Bowman, Danny Embrey and Rod Fleeman.

*Are any jazz musicians part of the famous mural at BB’s Lawnside BBQ?  A reception with the artist at the restaurant on Sunday, February 22, will provide answers.

*Tweet o’ the Week: No Depression- A week from now, our Editor @kimruehl will be in Kansas City for @folkalliance. Who else is heading out there this week?

*From Shades of Jade: The local music group Shades of Jade has gone through several changes in the last few months. Beginning with a traditional jazz quartet instrumentation in 2011, their campaign to push towards a more popular and younger following in the last 3 months has drastically changed the band… They have just recently started an artist residency with… The Tank Room. Shades of Jade will be exclusively debuting their new original music every third Friday of the month this year from 9pm-1am.

*From Chris Burnett: On behalf of the children of Violet Lorraine Jackson Burnett, our children and spouses, I regret to inform you all of the passing of our eldest brother and my very first professional musical mentor, Richard Dean Pratt… Known professionally as Richie Pratt​, we in the family called him by his middle name "Dean".  The biggest question we have been asked all of our lives is why we have different last names.  We have the same mother and different fathers. Many of you may recall that Dean returned home to the Kansas City area to live in October of 2012 from Honolulu, Hawaii due primarily to on-going serious health issues inherent to being a really large man, along with some other ailments related to age… I am sad that he is gone, but he lived a long and wonderful life.

*From a press release: Parranderos Latin Combo performs February 21st at Take Five Coffee + Bar in support of their self-titled debut album that was recorded in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Iowa-based Latin music group, Parranderos Latin Combo (PLC), will play two sets of live salsa with a dance lesson by Josh Hernandez… This will be PLC’s debut performance at Take Five Coffee + Bar and will feature some of KC’s finest musicians including Karl McComas-Reichl, Chris Van Leeuwen, Ryan Heinlein and co-founding PLC member, John Kizilarmut.

*From Take Five Coffee + Bar: Friday night we present the Ben Leifer Quartet featuring Gunnar Gidner… a young tenor saxophonist… John Brewer is on guitar, and played some mind-blowing free improvisation at our old location, and Matt Leifer on drums… 8pm, $5 cover.  Saturday night’s extravaganza features the first Kansas City appearance for Des Moines based Parranderos Latin Combo… Free (dance) lessons at 7:30, show at 8:30 (and this one’s going late).  $10 cover.  Our last Sunday brunch before our Month of Sundays series begins is hosted by none other than Stan Kessler.  10am to 2pm, no cover.

*I will serve as the pre-concert interview host with The Hot Sardines at the Folly Theater at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 21.  Feel free to heckle.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Album Review: Rudresh Mahanthappa- Bird Calls

Anyone claiming to know what directions Charlie Parker would have taken had he not died at 34 in 1955 is being presumptuous. 

The native of Kansas City, Kansas, may have explored the same surprising paths as Miles Davis.  Or maybe his career would have mirrored the comparatively conventional work of acolytes like Charles McPherson.

It’s also possible that Parker would have eventually made music that resembles Bird Calls, the revelatory new album by a band led by Rudresh Mahanthappa.  Not since Bird Songs, the 2011 album by Joe Lovano & Us 5, has a group of musicians so ably extended Parker’s adventurous vision.

Respectful but never predictable, the New York based alto saxophonist Mahanthappa, trumpeter Adam O'Farrill, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Fran├žois Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston don’t cover Parker’s material.  Instead, the band plays “original compositions which are based on his work.”

Familiar fragments of Parker’s concepts serve as helpful reference points on an album that echoes old recordings even as it points the way forward.  The project is very entertaining for ornithologists, but it’s also certain to be among the most widely admired acoustic jazz albums of 2015.

I regularly encounter people who bemoan the lack of awareness many Kansas Citians have of Parker and his legacy.  I usually retort that honoring Parker should entail more than visiting historic sites and studying black-and-white photos.

Bird Calls is a vivid reminder that Bird lives. 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Now's the Time: Eric Johnson and Mike Stern

Eric Johnson and Mike Stern- two of the world’s most renowned guitarists- will perform at the RecordBar on Friday, February 13.  The duo trades flashy licks in the embedded video.