Sunday, June 25, 2017
I met a fellow music obsessive at the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival last month. After he raved about a stellar performance by the drummer Brian Blade, the man from Springfield, Missouri, told me about his infatuation with the Green Lady Lounge. Although he’d long loved the sound of the instrument, he’d never actually seen a Hammond organ played until he visited the dimly-lit jazz venue at 1809 Grand Boulevard. Even though I’m not a huge fan of organ jazz- the style that dominates the schedule of the venue’s primary stage- the enthusiasm of my new friend served as another reminder not to take the Green Lady Lounge for granted.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)
Thursday, June 22, 2017
The unexpected musical detours taken by the British pop star Joe Jackson introduced millions of people to the music of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and Louis Jordan. The enthusiastic jazz, swing and jump-blues aficionado performs at the Uptown Theater on Friday, June 23.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
*Kansas City’s Oleta Adams discussed her new album Third Set with KCUR.
*The members of the Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes were
interviewed by a representative of the Johnson County Library.
*The Guardian reviewed the London production of the opera “Charlie Parker’s Yardbird.”
*Tweet o’ the Week: KC Jazz Orchestra- Join KCJO for a USO Style Dance @UnionStationKC Friday, July 7, 2017, 8 - 10 pm. $15 in advance / $20 at the door. (link)
*Comment o’ the Week: Carol Murray- I had out of town guests last weekend who said they would definitely pay a subscription fee to be able to see my daughter's performances in KC. They are 4 hours away and want to stay up on what she's doing. So would her uncles who are out of state. When I record with Facebook live many people from Hays (where she grew up) join in. Finally, people who are in poor health and house-bound would feel connected and could support their favorite musicians during times when they can't be there in person. I think this has the potential to be a great thing. I would expect the quality of the sound and video to be better than my grainy Facebook live videos. It's the quality and convenience you pay for. - Carol Murray
*From a press release: KC Jazz Alive is proud to announce the 4th Annual Charlie Parker Celebration, to be conducted, Aug. 17-26. This year’s event again explores and recognizes the legacy of Charlie Parker- a Kansas City native and arguably the most influential saxophonist and jazz icon to ever perform. In addition to the Parker tribute, the event serves as an opportunity to promote the musicianship of local Kansas City jazz artists as they perform alongside award-winning Artists-in-Residence Tivon Pennicott (tenor saxophone) and Sullivan Fortner (piano). The CPC is the only jazz event of its kind that pairs KC jazz musicians with internationally renowned jazz musicians from across the country. The celebration harkens back to jazz’s truest tradition of collaboration, which Charlie Parker fostered during his career. As CPC continues to grow locally and gain recognition through the U.S., this year's event will provide a New York City focus. For nine days, the Kansas City musicians and the Artists-in-Residence will further the dialog about Kansas City and Charlie Parker’s indelible impression on jazz with a variety of concerts and educational programming (schedule to be announced in the next two weeks). KC Jazz Alive again has partnered with several Kansas City jazz clubs and leading jazz promotional organizations to enhance jazz in Kansas City, while sustaining a connection to the jazz world and honoring Parker's legacy. This year’s event is again open to the public. Tickets will range from free to modestly priced.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Jokes are often little more than exaggerations of the truth. The old saw about bass solos acting as excuses to talk is funny because it’s enacted at jazz performances every night. Gerald Spaits’ 2016 release Solo Bass is a stupendous demonstration of what gabby people are missing. The sublime artistry the Kansas City bassist exhibits on the 18-minute set shows why he’s a first-call musician for notables including Karrin Allyson and Marilyn Maye.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
François Rabbath makes an annual trek to Kansas City to participate in the KC Bass Workshop. The tone of the corresponding showcases by the French theoretician, 86, is conveyed by the embedded video. This year’s concert will be held at Grace and Holy Trinity Church on Saturday, June 17.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
*Pat Metheny has been named a NEA Jazz Master.
*Tweet o’ the Week: Michael Shults- Thanks David and Dee! Always a pleasure to hang and play at @GreenLadyLounge . @smartinjazz is pushing boundaries in Kansas City jazz.
*Comment o’ the Week: Anonymous- Jazz has a legacy and tradition . It is important for musicians to both be curators and innovators. This music does neither. No opinion on whether it is pleasant entertainment. It is not JAZZ, thus your comparison to jazz is entirely misinformed
*From Kansas City Jazz Alive: Sullivan Fortner is already making a significant impact on the jazz world, even at his young age! The Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianist Association is joining us in Kansas City to celebrate our native legend, Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. August 17 - August 26, 2017, the New Orleans native will be performing at venues around Kansas City with local musicians and with a second Artist in Residence!.
(Original image of Max Groove performing at the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival by Plastic Sax.)
Sunday, June 11, 2017
As I sat behind a camera that was transmitting a live internet broadcast of a performance by the Chris Burnett Quintet at Westport CoffeeHouse last week, I contemplated the validity of the bandleader’s assertion that “this technology will create more performance opportunities for artists in an age where live venues and clubs are not capable of booking all of the artists on the scene today.”
The impulse is commendable. Given the scarcity of jazz venues and the ostensible tyranny of the owners of some establishments, many musicians are undoubtedly eager to circumvent the existing gatekeepers. Even so, I wondered if Burnett was delusional for requesting that online viewers pay for the privilege of joining the 18 flesh-and-blood members of the audience in the room during the 30 minutes I spent taking in the first set. He was competing with a vast universe of free live video content, including feeds on the behemoths Facebook Livestream and YouTube’s Live channel. Remarkably, Burnett reports that 11 people forked over money to watch the concert online.
I hope Burnett continues the initiative. For the purposes of Plastic Sax, however, I’m more desirous of shareable footage. The shortage of well-lit, high-quality performance videos of representatives of Kansas City’s jazz community occasionally results in dubious weekly Now’s the Time posts that inspire derisive commentary from Plastic Sax readers.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)