Thursday, May 26, 2016

Now's the Time: Roy Ayers

Even though Roy Ayers and his band are only pretending to play their instruments, the one-two punch of “Searching” and “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” on a 1977 episode of “Soul Train” is wonderful.  Ayers performs in Kansas City for the first time since 2012 at the Blue Room on Friday, June 3.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*A recent KCUR report about an announcement by the American Jazz Museum’s new leader Cheptoo Kositani-Buckner reveals a classic good-news/bad-news scenario.  Kositani-Buckner recognizes that Kansas City lacks a proper jazz festival featuring international artists.  The disappointing aspect of her disclosure is that the museum presumably won’t present a proper festival in 2016.

*The Pitch offers a helpful survey of the summer jazz slate.

*Jessie Riggins reviewed the Dee Dee Bridgewater and Irvin Mayfield concert at the Folly Theater.

*Joe Klopus previewed Logan Richardson’s appearance at the Blue Room.  The saxophonist promoted his show on a morning television program.

*Calvin Wilson interviewed Bobby Watson.

*Chris Burnett provided an update about his forthcoming album with Dino Massa.

*Tweet o’ the Week: westportcoffeehouse- The Visceral Trio-classic organ, guitar, drum from Denton TX #westportcoffee1 #kcjazz

*Originally issued on Mercury and Clef, but ultimately housed on Verve, the (Charlie) Parker/(Norman) Granz studio collaborations were well-designed and thoughtfully conceived to display Bird's unparalleled talents in a variety of contexts. These included Parker's four to six piece ensembles (both working and pick-up groups); Latin Jazz efforts, some of which were labeled "South of the Border;" the orchestral Charlie Parker including his masterpieces with strings; standard Big Band; and Parker's prescient view of the Third Stream. Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes touches on all of these, including a couple of brief false starts on "If I Should Lose You" that were not included in the remarkable 2015 companion set, Charlie Parker With Strings: Deluxe Edition… Spanning the years 1949-1952, Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes displays the immortal master of the alto saxophone Charlie Parker at the peak maturity of his prodigious talents.

*From a press release: 22nd Spirituality & All That Jazz Anniversary Celebration featuring 1994’s very first Special Guest Diane "Mama" Ray performing with Tim Whitmer & The Consort Band…  In 1962 Diane came to Kansas City from New York City, and was immediately caught up in the great Jazz and Blues scene here. 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1. $7 at the door.

*From a press release: Johnson County Community College’s Winterlude is back!  It looks a bit different for 2016-17, but the intention is the same: to bring some of the best of Kansas City’s jazz and world music community to an audience in the comfortable performance spaces in the Carlsen Center. Winterlude 2016-17 will feature bands on a series of Sunday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. from October to March. The Winterlude series will include a finale in Yardley Hall, Jazz 100. It will be a celebration of the anniversaries of a number of jazz greats: Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Mongo Santamaria.  Jazz 100 will feature Dizzy Gillespie’s long-time pianist, Danillo Perez, joined by Chris Potter (tenor sax), Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Wycliffe Gordon (trombone), Ben Street (bass), Adam Cruz (drums), Roman Diaz (percussion) and Lizz Wright (vocals). Sunday, October 16: Will Matthews B-3 Organ Trio featuring Bobby Floyd and Marty Morrison, Polsky Theatre; Sunday, December 18: David Basse/Joe Cartwright Septet, Polsky Theatre; Sunday, January 22: Sons of Brasil, Polsky Theatre; Sunday, February 26: Alaturka, Polsky Theatre; Sunday, March 19: Jazz 100, Yardley Hall. Tickets can be purchased as the Winterlude Series, as individual concerts, or as part of a Performing Arts Series package.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Album Review: Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny

The title of the new album Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny is inadequate. 

Free jazz enthusiasts might suggest that Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny on the Mountaintop is a more accurate indication of its contents.  Traditionalists with an antipathy to noisy improvisation might counter that Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny in a Dark Alley is a better appellation. 

Metheny’s playing on the project is entirely different from his contributions to Logan Richardson’s recent release Shift and the extrapolations on his latest offering The Unity Sessions

Hearing Metheny work with trumpeter Cuong Vu, bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor provides a different sort of thrill.  While “Seeds of Doubt” won’t distress groove-oriented fans of the Pat Metheny Group, the epic scale of the powerful “Telescope” evokes Led Zeppelin. 

A few of the tortured sounds Metheny makes on “Acid Kiss” could be mistaken for the work of avant-garde guitarists like Marc Ribot and Nels Cline.  Metheny’s primary solo on the opening track, however, possesses the signature sound of the stupendously versatile man from Lee’s Summit. 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Now's the Time: Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dee Dee Bridgewater’s appearance at the Gem Theater in 2007 is one of the most exhilarating concerts I’ve attended.  She was accompanied by African musicians during the innovative performance.  On Saturday, May 21, Bridgewater will be joined by a band from New Orleans at the Folly Theater.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*KCUR’s Up To Date aired a segment about Ida McBeth.

*The Pitch and The Kansas City Star previewed an upcoming concert at the Folly Theater starring Dee Dee Bridgewater and Irvin Mayfield.

*Charles Ferruzza explains why it’s impossible to stand on the corner of 12th & Vine.

*Tweet o’ the Week: JP McGinnis- lived in downtown KC for four years and hadn't been to the Green Lady Lounge. was missing out—this Sunday night band is tight.

*Comment o’ the Week: Chris Hazelton- Chris Hazelton- If Cecil Taylor is what you're basing your opinion of jazz from, then it's hard to disagree with him.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Album Review: Pat Metheny- The Unity Sessions

The most striking element of the enormously satisfying The Unity Sessions by Pat Metheny's Unity Group is the pairing of “Cherokee” and “Police People.”  After the guitarist and saxophonist Chris Potter fly through a fleet version of the standard, the ensemble tears into a thorny reading of Ornette Coleman’s composition.  The contrast exemplifies the vast scope of The Unity Sessions, a project that may be the single most representative album of Metheny’s career.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, May 12, 2016


It takes a lot of nerve to disparage jazz from the stage of the Folly Theater in Kansas City.  That’s precisely what comedian Fred Armisen did during his appearance at Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest on April 30.  He uses a clip from a Cecil Taylor’s 1956 album Jazz Advance as the punchline of his gag.