Monday, July 21, 2014

Album Review: David Basse- The Hero and the Lover…

 When David Basse was known as the singing drummer in the City Light Orchestra in the late 1980s, it seemed as if the good times would never end.  Kansas City had over a dozen dedicated jazz venues and Basse's band was capable of filling all of them. 

The audience for jazz has since dwindled dramatically.  While Basse is still one of the the best known musicians in the Kansas City area, he's no longer a mainstay on the calendars of the handful of remaining jazz venues. 

The Hero and the Lover…, Basse's latest release, reflects this drastic transformation.  The themes of resiliance and hard-won endurance inform most tracks.  Selections including "Easy the Hard Way" , "That's Life," "Sixteen Tons" and "Vacation From the Blues" reinforce the motif of dogged perseverance. 

Backed by saxophonist Stacy Dillard, pianist Richard Johnson, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Neil Smith, Basse sounds like Mose Allison's favorite son.  The Hero and the Lover… won't restore Kansas City's jazz scene to its former glories, but it's one of Basse's best albums.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Now's the Time: Pat Metheny

Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) is the only Pat Metheny album a lot of people own.  The appeal of the lovely duet with bassist Charlie Haden extends well beyond jazz aficionados.  Haden died last week.  The Pat Metheny Unity Group collaborates with Bruce Hornsby at Crossroads KC on Saturday, July 26.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The lineup of the 2014 Prairie Village Jazz Festival is detailed by KC Jazz Lark.

*"Uncool Kids" is a track from the Project H's forthcoming album We Live Among the Lines.

*Tinks, Peter Schlamb's new album, is available at CD Baby.

*The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra has unveiled its 2014-15 season.

*The Kansas City Star documents Saturday's swing dance at the Masonic Temple.

*Here's Stephanie Bryan's obiturary.

*The Kansas City Star reports that the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the American Jazz Museum with a $133,050 grant.

*Paul Mesner Puppets was awarded a $15,000 grant for a production titled "Ragtime to Bebop: The Story of Kansas City Jazz."

*Mills Record Company celebrates the "Jazz Solo" nominees for The Pitch's music awards.

*The Pitch touts a gig by the Westport Art Ensemble.

*Chris Burnett enters the "does jazz need to be saved" debate.

*Tweet o' the Week: Joel Cunningham- It's Saturday night of @KansasCityStomp and #VineStreetRumble is on fire!

*From Tim Whitmer: July Jazz Jam #4 , the Summer Sax Summit  promises to be a hot, jumping  good time evening of music, fun and joy. 3 of Kansas City's hottest saxophonists playing a popping , upbeat variety of jazz styles  from classic KC style to blues to swing. In addition the amazing Monique Danielle with be the  guest vocalist. And the all star rhythm section includes the world class talent of guitarist Rod Fleeman...

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

EP Review: Jorge Arana Trio- Oso

In constant jeopardy of lapsing into staid routine, jazz needs an occasional swift kick in the pants.  The Jorge Arana Trio is providing the uncomfortable wallop to Kansas City's jazz scene.  The band will celebrate the release its new EP Oso at the RecordBar on Saturday, July 19.  Haymaker Records describes the band's approach as "an avant-garde geometry of rock, jazz, classical, punk, electronic, experimental, and incidental music."  I detect traces of James "Blood" Ulmer, Ennio Morricone and the noisy jazz guitar of Greg Ginn.  It's bracing stuff that's every bit as significant as the mainstream efforts of more conventional musicians.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Now's the Time: Michael Feinstein

The music of Michael Feinstein might be only tangentially related to jazz, but his longstanding commitment to American standards makes his performances worthwhile to jazz fans.  His interesting rendition of "Love Is Here to Stay" deepens listeners' appreciation of interpretations by the likes of Count Basie and Lester Young.  Feinstein will appear at Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Friday, July 11.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Lovano, Terrel Stafford and Deborah Brown are the headliners of the 2014 edition of the Prairie Village Jazz Festival.  A press release and schedule are below.

*Stephanie Bryan has died.  The trombonist was best known in Kansas City's jazz community for her association with The People's Liberation Big Band and The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

*In his survey of the area's jazz venues, KC Jazz Lark reports that the Jazz Winterlude festival won't take place next year.

*Zach Albetta wrote a profile of drummer Doug Auwarter for Online Drummer.

*L.A. Weekly recounts Charlie Parker's role in "the wildest party in L.A. history."

*The Pitch recommends an Angela Hagenbach gig.

*The Kansas City Star reviewed Fran├žois Rabbath's performance at Park University.

*Chris Burnett ponders technology.

*Joe Dimino interviewed Dallas-based musician Stockton Helbing for his Neon Jazz podcast.

*Tweet o' the Week: Mayor Sly James- The great #DavidBasse at the #BroadwayJazzClub! About to start #12thStJump. #kansascitu (the Mayor's photo set)

*From a publicist: Pianist/vocalist Candace Evans will be making her debut performance for the new Happy Hour at The Broadway Jazz Club, 3601 Broadway, on Friday’s July 18, August 15 and August 29.  All performances are from 4:30pm to 6:30 pm.

*From a press release: Internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist and KC resident Deborah Brown, with Downbeat magazine’s Tenor Saxophonist of the Year Joe Lovano, and trumpeter Terell Stafford, headline the 2014 Prairie Village Jazz Festival.  Also headlining the event is Kansas City native and internationally recognized jazz singer Kevin Mahogany, who will perform accompanied by the Joe Cartwright Trio prior to Brown.  The 2014 Prairie Village Jazz Festival is presented by the City of Prairie Village.  This year there will be a $5 admission charge for adults (children under 18 years old are admitted free). The event has seen extraordinary support from Prairie Village and from fans throughout Kansas City. In order to not only help insure the festival’s continuation, but to grow the event in years to come, the festival institutes this small charge for a day and night of jazz… Beer, wine, food and souvenirs will be available for sale.

2:00 – 2:10 p.m. Welcome by the Mayor
2:10 – 2:40 p.m. Shawnee Mission East Blue Knights directed by Kim Harrison
3:00 – 3:50 p.m. Project H
4:10 – 5:00 p.m. Shay Estes with Rod Fleeman and Matt Otto
5:20 – 6:10 p.m. The Jazz Disciples with Jason Goudeau and Stephanie Moore
6:30 – 7:20 p.m. Bram Wijnands Swingtet
7:40 – 8:40 p.m. Kevin Mahogany with the Joe Cartwright Trio
9:00 – 10:30 p.m. Deborah Brown with Joe Lovano and Terell Stafford (with Richard Johnson, piano, Tyrone Clark, bass, Leon Anderson, drums)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Album Review: Everette DeVan- For the Love of You

It's easy to take Everette DeVan for granted.  The organist and bandleader gigs so regularly that his appearances tend not to get circled on calendars. 

Yet every time the veteran of Kansas City's jazz scene takes a seat at his organ in front of a receptive audience, all is suddenly right with the world.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, DeVan seems primarily interested in steering listeners in the direction of a good time. 

The selections on the new 71-minute album For the Love of You are typical of the repertoire DeVan performs in Kansas City clubs.  The recording includes readings of material by James Brown, the Isley Brothers, James Taylor and jazz standards. 
For the Love of You features contributions from vibraphonist Greg Carroll, saxophonist Ian Corbett, guitarists Pat Kelley and Matt Hopper, percussionist Jay Rogers and drummer Danny Rojas. 

People don't turn to DeVan for flashy playing or innovative concepts.  Instead, DeVan's longtime fans know that his life-affirming grooves possess a curative quality. 

The original lyric to the title track serves as an apt summation of DeVan's appeal: "Driftin on a memory, ain't no place I'd rather be than with you." 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)