Sunday, June 26, 2016

I Don't Mess With You

The artistic director of a prestigious New York City jazz venue made an ornery assertion in The Village Voice’s fascinating profile of bassist Linda Oh.  Rio Sakairi of Jazz Standard suggests that: 
"One of my pet peeves is when organizations say, 'Jazz: America's greatest art form.' My reaction is always like, 'Are you saying this because you don't want people to listen to it?' Because that sounds really goofy and not very attractive.... I'm thinking, 'Why are you putting out this really goofy, douche-y image of jazz?' I'm puzzled by that."
I share her distaste for the sentiment and for the similarly grating phrase “America’s classical music.”  Variations of the verbiage are frequently employed by arts organizations in Kansas City. 

I reflexively check to make sure my wallet’s secure every time I hear language of this type because I know that someone is trying to shake me down for a donation.  The assertions often seem as if they’re intended to impress gullible philanthropists.

The disingenuous pronouncements are inherently dismissive of blues, gospel, country, bluegrass, R&B, rock and roll and hip-hop.  The form is further marginalized by the implication that listening to jazz is the musical equivalent of eating one’s vegetables.  Potent and powerful, jazz shouldn’t come with a catch.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Now's the Time: 5 Star Jazz Band

5 Star Jazz Band is among the participants in the Future Stages Festival at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, June 26.  The mission of the youth ensemble is explained in the embedded video.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Kevin Collison reports on obstacles that have impeded progress in the Jazz District.

*KC Jazz Lark continues to underscore the latest issue of Jam magazine.

*The Pitch recommends a gig by GuitarElation at the Green Lady Lounge.

*Diallo Javonne French has initiated a crowdfunding campaign for  a documentary titled “Kansas City Dreamin' (Music In Shadows).”

*Gerald Dunn, Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle and the Blue Room are featured in a short film.

*A Libertarian think tank created a video in which it suggests that private investment is essential to the successful revitalization of the Jazz District.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Green Lady Lounge- We're blessed ~ when Kansas City decides to have a Jazz Festival we don't have to bring in "national" jazz musicians, they already live here

*Comment o’ the Week: Gary- SoLo Summerfest is more like it.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Concert Review: A La Mode at SoJo Summerfest

Although organizers of the festival formerly known as Jazz in the Woods went out of their way to assure potential attendees that presenting jazz was no longer a priority at the rebranded event, SoJo Summerfest opened Friday with a 45-minute performance by A La Mode.

As the photo indicates, not many people were willing to endure the suffocating heat to revel in A La Mode’s hot jazz at the free festival.  The quartet concentrated on playful material like “C’est Si Bon,” “I Want to be Loved by You,” “Dinah,” “Don't Get Around Much Anymore” and “Zazou.”

The charming vocalist Jesica Poell and the tasteful guitarist Clayton DeLong seem to be the only official members of the group, but the beguiling contribution of guest violinist Adam Galblum distinguished the ensemble from other hot jazz revivalists.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Now's the Time: Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom

Otis Was a Polar Bear, the new release by Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom, is one of the most exciting acoustic jazz albums of 2016.  The drummer-led band includes violinist Jenny Scheinman, cornet player Kirk Knuffke, pianist Myra Melford, clarinetist Ben Goldberg and bassist Todd Sickafoose.  Miller’s group will perform at the Blue Room on Thursday, June 30.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City Star reports that the $27 million funding initiative for the Jazz District has stalled.

*The 2016 edition of the Parkville River Jam, an annual festival that has traditionally featured jazz and blues artists, has been cancelled.   The Parkville Rock & Roll festival has sprung up in its place. 

*A critic for The Kansas City Star reviewed last night’s concert by Béla Fleck & the Flecktones at Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

*The Pitch’s jazz columnist highlights Tim Whitmer’s longstanding association with the Phoenix.

*KC Jazz Lark promotes the 30th anniversary issue of Jam magazine.

*Chris Burnett continues his "real time album project release clinic" for the forthcoming album by the Dino Massa Kansas City Quartet.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Jay Farrar- Spending the weekend in the old Jazz District of KC and the hospitality of the locals is the antithesis of staying for Grand Prix in MTL.

*Comment o’ the Week: BGO- I hope you're right about Cheptoo. I met her in the summer of 1996 when I got my first part-time job at KCPL.

*From a press release: I am pleased to announce the forthcoming new CD by multi-talented contemporary jazz vocalist/pianist/composer/producer Carol Duboc, Open the Curtains, with an all star girl power cast of musicians celebrating the enduring power of women, scheduled for release August 19th, 2016.  Duboc, who has been first call for such heavyweights Maurice White, Teddy Riley and George Duke, has assembled a star-studded line-up of musicians, who not only happen to be women but who are also some of the baddest musicians to grace this planet --  including percussionist Sheila E., pianist/ vocalist Patrice Rushen, saxophonist Mindi Abair, guitarists Bibi McGill and Jennifer Batten, drummer Queen Cora Coleman, bassist Rhonda Smith and trombonist and singer Aubrey Logan.

*From the site of the Mutual Musicians Foundation: The Mutual Musicians Foundation International is excited to present the Legacy 627 Music Awards. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts, ART WORKS. Enjoy the night as we we gather together surviving musicians who once belonged to segregated musicians unions in America. As we honor  their presence, remember their journeys and their contributions to art and culture globally; we enshrine them in this ceremony to remember Local 627, now known as  the Mutual Musicians Foundation, 1823 Highland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri, a National Historic Landmark.  Our night begins with heavy hors d'oeuvres and drinks from 6PM - 7PM; with the awards ceremony immediately following from  7PM - 9PM.  Friday, June 17, 2016. $30.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Album Review: Kathleen Holeman- Live at Corbin Theater

Kathleen Holeman is adored by jazz enthusiasts in Kansas City who prefer the tried-and-true swing of vocalists like June Christy to the contemporary innovations associated with artists such as Gretchen Parlato.  Holeman is a first-call vocalist for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and regularly collaborates with other prominent area ensembles.  Her new album Live at Corbin Theater is a convincing showcase for her vivacious approach.  Saxophonist Doug Talley, guitarist Rod Fleeman, keyboardist Walter Bryant, bassist Bob Bowman and drummer Al Wiley accompany Holeman on a dozen standards.  I know a few people who might weep with appreciation at the band’s interpretation of “Skylark” and jump for joy upon hearing the arrangement of “Almost Like Being in Love.” 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)