Sunday, November 18, 2018

Album Review: Ernest Melton- The Time of the Slave Is Over














Ernest Melton has arrived.  After years of raving about the young Kansas City saxophonist without much tangible corroboration of my enthusiasm, I was beginning to think my advocacy was misplaced. 

The Time of the Slave Is Over- Melton’s second release of 2018- indicates that his potential has been realized.  Filled with righteous fury, the album acts as a dangerously disruptive undercurrent in the tranquil sea of civility that dominates Kansas City’s jazz scene.

Much like Blues People, the most recent statement by the divisive Kansas City saxophonist Logan Richardson, the unpolished The Time of the Slave Is Over is loud and abrasive.  There’s nothing polite or accommodating about the confrontational album.  Even the ballads possess lacerating edges.

The aggressive funk accents provided by bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Brad Williams cause The Time of the Slave Is Over to resemble the brash work of the London based innovator Shabaka Hutchings more than the calibrated bop of the hometown hero Bobby Watson.  Melton has thrown down the gauntlet.  Will his peers in Kansas City accept the challenge?

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Now's the Time: trioKAIT


Kait Dunton, a Los Angeles based pianist and former member of Snarky Puppy, will perform with trioKAIT at Black Dolphin on Thursday, November 15.  The Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists all of the area’s jazz performances.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes












*The Kansas City Star reports on the latest developments in the reorganization of the American Jazz Museum.

*Marilyn Maye’s concert at Yardley Hall was documented by Joe Dimino.

*Take Five Music Productions will present Thollem McDonas at YJ’s Snack Bar on Saturday, December 1.  A $10 donation will be requested at the door.  The New Jazz Order Big Band Reunion featuring Ellington's Nutcracker will transpire at the Martin Event Space in Martin City. on Sunday, December 9.  The cover charge for adults is $15.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Frank Boal- I hope I have the energy this international icon and legend has when I'm 90!! The incomparable Marilyn Maye!! What a show tonight at the Carlson Center on JCCC campus. Wow, just wow!! She performed for an hour and a half and brought the house down.

*From a press release: Internationally-recognized jazz leader Dan Thomas has been named Executive Director of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, the group’s Board of Directors has announced.  Thomas, who has called Kansas City his home for nearly 20 years, the last 18 of which he served as a faculty member and administrator leading the Jazz Studies program at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music, is a well-known performer, composer, recording artist, educator and jazz leader in Kansas City and internationally.

*From a press release: The Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College will present the Angela Hagenbach Quintet on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Polsky Theatre.  Hagenbach has been a jazz icon on the Kansas City scene for nearly three decades... Performing with her on Dec. 2 are Roger Wilder, piano; Danny Embrey, guitar; Tyrone Clark, bass; and Michael Warren, drums.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Album Review: OJT- New Originals for the Green Lady














“Lamanai”, the stellar track that opens New Originals for the Green Lady, suggests that the Kansas City trio OJT has developed an intriguing new approach to organ jazz.  Organist Ken Lovern twines the styles of prog-rock keyboardists like Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson with the approaches of jazz giants such as Jimmy McGriff and Richard “Groove” Holmes.  Guitarist Brian Baggett and Kevin Frazee help Lovern gradually morph “Lamanai” from rock pomp into a Southern rock jam worthy of the Allman Brothers Band.

Alas, OJT backtracks from the bold opening salvo.   The subsequent selections on its fourth album New Originals for the Green Lady are in the established organ jazz traditions that range from vintage Jimmy Smith through John Scofield’s collaborations with Medeski Martin & Wood.  While not particularly innovative, the final seven tracks are unflaggingly groovy. 

It’s the kind of feel-good party music associated with Green Lady Lounge.  OJT honed the uncommon cohesion it demonstrates on New Originals for the Green Lady by playing at Kansas City’s most successful jazz venue every Wednesday for years.  On “Lamanai,” however, OJT transcends those influences to forge a fresh new sound, a breakthrough that the group would do well to pursue on its next recording.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Now's the Time: Marilyn Maye


One of the most astonishing things about Marilyn Maye is that her current artistry is superior to her appealing performance in this 48-year-old television appearance.  Jon Niccum interviewed Maye for The Kansas City Star in advance of her appearance with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra at Yardley Hall on Sunday, November 11.  All of the area’s gigs are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes













*Brian Scarborough and Chris Hazelton chatted with Joe Dimino.

*A brief preview about Marilyn Maye’s forthcoming concert at Yardley Hall is among The Kansas City Star’s weekly concert recommendations.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Linda Bowlen- Our fundraiser @TheFollyTheater w/ @realOletaAdams has less than 50 seats remaining! Get online and get yours NOW! #Gospel #JazzLovers #KansasCity #philanthropy #fundraising #historicalplace

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Concert Review: Kamasi Washington at the Truman






  
 I thought I was about to attend a cosmic jazz recital as I paid $35 to enter the Truman on Monday, October 29.  Instead, I participated in a jam band jamboree. With two drummers, a hippie-chic aesthetic and a penchant for blustery solos, the groove-oriented seven-piece ensemble led by Kamasi Washington resembled the output of the elite jam-oriented group the Tedeschi-Trucks Band.  Rather than mirroring Derek Trucks’ evocation of guitarist John McLaughlin, saxophonist Washington roared like John Coltrane.

Uptempo selections elicited ecstatic dancing amid the audience of more than 500, while subdued material that sounded like heavily amplified variations of A Love Supreme induced peaceful meditation.  Even though it wasn’t quite what I expected, I admired almost everything I heard during the 75 minutes I spent at the show. The presence of keyboardist Brandon Coleman provided a sonic link to Washington’s more electronic-oriented compatriots Flying Lotus and Thundercat.  The cross-disciplinary bassist Miles Mosley anchored the band while the exaltations of vocalist Patrice Quinn aroused mass euphoria.

Cynics who insist that Kansas City is home to many saxophonists who are more technically accomplished than Washington are probably right.  So what? Washington has perfected a maximalist concept that renders scholastic aptitude irrelevant.  Monday’s concert proved that his status as the world’s most popular jazz musician under the age of 40 is entirely warranted.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)