Friday, November 28, 2014

Now's the Time: Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy

Now's the time to go back in time.  The lively 1930s recordings of Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy are eternally engaging.  While much of the Kansas City band's discography may be purchased through dodgy European labels, a set of 11 tracks including "Dunkin' a Doughnut" is available as a free download at the Internet Archive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Bobby Watson made an appearance on a local television program.

*The Kansas City Star documented the deterioration of Highland Cemetery.  Plastic Sax visited the cemetery in September.

*Hermon Mehari posted a clip of a recent performance to SoundCloud.

*The Pitch recommends Friday's offerings at the Green Lady Lounge.

*Tweet o' the Week: Ryan Heinlein- Great, Christmas jazz. Now we'll never make the iTunes charts

*From Chris Burnett: I am writing on behalf of Ms. Jayne McShann-Lewis, daughter of the late legendary pianist, Jay McShann.  Jayne is producing a Gospel-Classical-Jazz musical on Friday, December 19th.  She believes this musical to be the first of its kind produced in Kansas City.  Gospel-Classical-Jazz music will be performed together at this event, demonstrating the two genres have an inherent unity of history and sound. The event will also feature a panel discussion on the topic... Boone Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, 1317 E. 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106, 7pm. $15.

*From Jim Mair: The Kansas City Kansas Community College Jazz Ensemble has been given the distinct honor of being invited to perform at the 30th Annual Havana (Cuba) Jazz Festival December 16-22, 2014.  For the December 3rd Spirituality & All That Jazz program, they will be performing a complete dress rehearsal of their introduction of Kansas City Jazz to the islands... Unity Temple on the Plaza - 707 W. 47th Street…$7.00

(Original image of Highland Cemetery by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Concert Review: Bob Bowman at the Orion Room

The first set of Bob Bowman's album release party at the Orion Room in the basement of the Green Lady Lounge attracted a capacity audience on Thursday, November 20.  Dozens of longtime fans of the bassist and many of his fellow musicians filled the handsome room with a convivial atmosphere.

Bowman was supported by guitarist Danny Embrey, pianist Roger Wilder and drummer Todd Strait.  Vocalist Megan Birdsall joined the quartet for one selection.

Bowman's artistic and physical rejuvenation is one of the happiest recent developments on Kansas City's jazz scene.  The official function for the release of the album Songs for Sandra, consequently, doubled as a celebration of Bowman's vitality.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Now's the Time: Elliott Levin

Jazz bohemian Elliott Levin will appear at Take Five Coffee + Bar on Saturday, November 22, and at the RecordBar on Sunday, November 23.  A press release from the Johnson County venue suggests that "this will be some of the wildest, most intense music we’ve ever had at Take Five."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Wyandotte Daily reports that the owners of the Broadway Jazz Club are considering opening a second location in Kansas City, Kansas.

*A report on Bob Bowman's new album is the highlight of Joe Klopus' weekly column.

*Big crowds at Take Five Coffee + Bar and the Broadway Jazz Club are celebrated by KC Jazz Lark.

*The Pitch recommends Bobby Watson's gigs at the Broadway Jazz Club.

*Hermon Mehari's portion of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition  begins at the 3:02:15 portion of a five-hour video.

*Chris Burnett posted tips he shares with his students.

*Chuck Berg reviewed a Topeka Jazz Workshop concert featuring Chuck Redd and Nicki Parrott.

*Joe Dimino interviewed Reggie Watkins for his Neon Jazz podcast.

*Tweet o' the Week: Green Lady Lounge- GreenLadyLounge wishes a very happy b-day to Tim Whitmer - Kansas City's beloved Jazz Pianist, Entertainer & Friend.

*Comment o' the Week: danasgoodstuff- Love her Southern Comfort album, more than anything else by her although I've long been aware that she could play some. Been very disappointed in the nonresponse to my post about it on my favorite jazz bulliten board

*From Take Five Coffee: It's our belief that presenting the full range of good jazz, from the most accessible to the most challenging, is the best way to honor the music's traditions and its possibilities. So when Jeff Harshbarger said Philly free jazz monster Elliott Levin would be in town and offered to bring him to Take Five, then added piano virtuoso Thollem McDonas to the mix, we made it the centerpiece of our weekend. Come see just how far out the music at Take Five Coffee + Bar can go… Saturday, November 22, 8pm… We suspect this will be some of the wildest, most intense music we’ve ever had at Take Five. Come with your ears wide open and prepare to be challenged. This is essentially Snuff Jazz — Jeff Harshbarger on bass, Mark Southerland on tenor sax and bags of tricks, and Brian Steever on drums — with two of the most powerful improvisational musicians walking the planet today. Elliott Levin, in from Philadelphia, plays tenor sax and flute and is a ferocious free jazz force. Pianist Thollem McDonas is simply traveling the world blowing up everyone’s idea of what can be done on a piano… $10 cover.

*From Broadway Jazz Club: Come see Bobby Watson, world-class musician, Grammy nominee, recent inductee into the Jazz Walk of Fame, and the 1st William & Mary Grant endowed professor of Jazz in the first of the BJC Signature Series events! Performing this night with Chris Clark, James Ward, and Mike Warren, it should prove to be a wonderful evening!  November 21, 2014, two shows, 6 & 9PM

*From the University of Kansas: The University of Kansas Jazz Ensemble I will perform with vocalist Deborah Brown at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  Admission to the event is free, but tickets are required. Please call 816-994-7222 for tickets. The performance is sponsored by Reach Out Kansas, Inc. The University of Kansas Jazz Ensemble I and director Dan Gailey proudly present an evening of big band jazz featuring world renowned jazz vocalist Deborah Brown. In addition to arrangements featuring Ms. Brown, the ensemble will present the world premiere of Gailey’s composition New Kansas City Suite, commissioned by Reach Out Kansas, Inc. The world premiere of New Kansas City Suite features: Clint Ashlock, trumpet; Matt Otto, tenor saxophone; Danny Embrey, guitar; Jeff Harshbarger, bass; and Brandon Draper, drums.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Album Review: The Ben Markley/Clint Ashlock Quintet- The Return

The clarion call of an excellent trumpeter caught my ear as I wandered in downtown Kansas City a few years ago.  I traced the sound to a sidewalk cafe where the duo of Clint Ashlock and Mark Lowrey were playing tasteful swing.  I was reminded of the incident when I heard The Return, the fine new album by trumpeter Ashlock and pianist Ben Markley.  As might be expected of a pair of respected young musicians who double as jazz educators, Ashlock and Markley play an impeccable version of modern bop.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Now's the Time: Eboni Fondren

Eboni Fondren, one of Kansas City's finest jazz and pop vocalists, sang with the Salina Symphony in 2012.  She brought down the house with a rendition of Etta James' "At Last."  Fondren performs Friday, November 14, at Broadway Jazz Club and Sunday, November 16, at a jazz brunch at Chaz.