Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*KCUR surveys the Charlie Parker centennial celebration events in Kansas City this month.

*Calvin Wilson considers Charlie Parker’s legacy for KC Studio.

*Harvey Mason apparently references the conference rooms at the downtown Marriott hotel when he insists Kansas City has “lots of hotels…  with rooms named after famous jazz musicians… even streets may be named after them…” on Regina Carter’s new album
Swing States: Harmony in the Battleground.

*Tweet of the Week: ECMRecords- Finally,@PatMetheny’s complete ECM catalog of 11 albums, which includes such titles as Bright Size Life, Offramp, 80/81, is available as high-resolution masters for download and streaming: (link)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Exhibit Review: Saxophone Supreme at the American Jazz Museum

Chuck Haddix recently told me the Saxophone Supreme exhibit at the American Jazz Museum is like a CliffsNotes version of his 2013 book Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker(Plastic Sax review.)  A recent examination of the new installation Haddix co-curated with the American Jazz Museum’s Geri Sanders confirms his assessment.

Anchored by twelve handsome panels designed by Sean McCue of UMKC Libraries, Saxophone Supreme is a three-dimensional rendering of Haddix’s text.  Ephemera including album covers, biographies, performance contracts, artistic renderings and a menu from the second version of Birdland are displayed.  Several interactive sound clips are useful for visitors who bring their own headphones.  Here’s a link to a rendition of “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”.  Haddix tells me it's otherwise unavailable.

I wholeheartedly recommend Saxophone Supreme to anyone who knows little about Parker.  Admission is free.  Yet nothing in the exhibit is new to me, nor does the array of artifacts deepen my understanding of Bird.  An edition of CliffsNotes can be an indispensable tool for an apprehensive student.  But when it comes to Parker, I insist on complete and unabridged editions in the form of a biographies such as Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Now's the Time: Carmell Jones


Carmell Jones was born in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1936.  He’s probably best known for his contribution to Horace Silver’s classic 1964 recording “Song for My Father”.  Locally based jazz enthusiasts regularly turn to Jones’ 1965 album Jay Hawk Talk.  Jones appears alongside Joe Henderson in Silver’s band in the embedded video.  The trumpeter died in 1996.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Mark Wiebe’s 5,000-word examination  of economic and racial disparities in the testing and treatment of the coronavirus centers on the late Brandon McRay.

*Mike Dillon was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*We the People’s latest single is titled “Worst Nights”.

*Birdsong, Champion Fulton’s tribute album to Charlie Parker, will be released August 28.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Charlie Parker- Available for pre-order now, the rare 1955 12”, The Magnificent Charlie Parker. The collection contains the classics, “Au Privave,” “She Rote,” “Star Eyes,” “Lover Man” and “In The Still Of The Night.” Available everywhere August 7th! (link)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Dolphin Dance

As more than 500,000 hip-hop fans watched Snoop Dogg perform “Doggy Dogg World” in a rap battle with DMX on Instagram on Wednesday, July 22, a dozen viewers enjoyed OJT’s rendition of “Take the Three” on a Facebook stream from the Kansas City jazz venue Black Dolphin.  The staggeringly divergent numbers don’t tell the whole story.  The simultaneous free live broadcasts offered wildly different experiences not limited to the immense chasm separating confrontational popular music and comforting old-school organ jazz.

As with all Verzuz broadcasts, the static shot of the rappers was plastered with advertisements and scrolling comments from celebrity wellwishers like Keyshia Cole, J Balvin and Method Man.  The comparatively clean Black Dolphin streams feature multiple camera angles managed by a producer attuned to the band’s grooves.  The club’s signature mood lighting enhances the music.

Snoop and DMX rapped over pre-recorded backing tracks.  Fans of the genre are accustomed to tinny sound fields.   The majority of quarantine-era free livestreams of jazz performances also sound terrible.  While I regularly tune in to catch big names like Cyrus Chestnut and Nicholas Payton, I’m rarely impressed by the technical components of the offerings.   The production values of Black Dolphin’s efforts are superior.  The crisp fidelity is matched by excellent visuals.  Don’t just take my word for it.  See and hear for yourself.  While I choose not to live that lifestyle, Black Dolphin welcomes patrons at its live presentations.  Feel free to give me a wave.

(Screenshot of Black Dolphin livestream by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, July 24, 2020

Now's the Time: Horace Washington


Horace Washington was a fixture on Kansas City’s jazz scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  The loyal following of the saxophonist and flautist ensured steady gigs at the town’s top jazz venues.  The embedded video captures a band led by Washington performing at the Blue Room a year before his death in 2014.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City Star reports on a spate of vandalism at the American Jazz Museum complex.

*The Johnson County Library interviewed Trevor Turla.

*Joe Dimino documented Bobby Watson’s drive-in concert.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Bix Jazz Society- Band Showcase #4: Roarin’ out of KC… Kansas City's VINE STREET RUMBLE Jazz Orchestra is a 14 piece big band, celebrating the legacy of Kansas City Jazz in the 30's & 40's. The only band of it's kind in the country, VSR re-creates the incredible music that made KC world famous!

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)