Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*After Anita Dixon of the Mutual Musicians Foundation recounted her recent trip to Copenhagen to meet members of the Ben Webster Foundation, a panel addressed the top of "How Kansas City Relates To Its Jazz Legacy" on KCUR's Central Standard program.

*KC Jazz Lark admires the atmosphere at the Green Lady Lounge during the Foundation 627 Big Band's weekly Sunday performances.

*The Kansas City Star and The Pitch reviewed of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's concert at Harrah's casino.

*KCPT provides footage Bobby Watson's birthday celebration at the Blue Room.

*UMKC keeps tabs on Michael Shults' career.

*Contrary to published reports, neither The Bad Plus nor Roscoe Mitchell will perform at the Blue Room on Friday, Oct. 3.

*Chris Burnett ponders the art of jazz.

*Tweet o' the Week: LarryvilleLife- Out here at the Lied with these bigwigs to see Wynton. Too bad we can't enjoy a nice cocktail with our pricey tickets! @liedcenterks

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar has been updated with a full slate of October gigs.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Album Review: Shades of Jade- Fingerprinted Memories, Pt. 1

When I encountered Shades of Jade two or three years ago, I was thrilled that a group of Kansas City based musicians shared my passion for the forward-thinking jazz of artists like Christian Scott and Robert Glasper. 

Fingerprinted Memories, Pt. 1, the new album by Shades of Jade, makes good on the band's promise by melding the pleasing R&B groove of smooth jazz with post-bop sophistication.   Anyone who listens to D'Angelo's Voodoo and the 1980s output of Miles Davis will feel right at home with the project.

An energetic pulse is maintained even during the most rambunctious solos of trumpeter Josh Williams and his band mates.  The sinewy rhythm of "I Want My Money Back," the urgent melody of "Dynasty" and the experimental production of "Day Dreaming" are among the album's many highlights.

Fingerprinted Memories, Pt. 1 may not be the best jazz album released by area musicians in 2014, but it's almost certainly the most accessible. 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Now's the Time: Andy Milne and Dapp Theory

Steve Coleman was awarded a "genius grant" by the MacArthur Foundation earlier this month.  Andy Milne, one of Coleman's longtime collaborators, will perform with his New York-based band Dapp Theory at the Blue Room from 9:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, September 27.  Milne did not play with Coleman during the saxophonist's memorable appearance at the Blue Room in 2009, a circumstance that makes Saturday's gig even more noteworthy. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Jorge Arana Trio was interviewed by The Pitch.

*KC Jazz Lark provides a second round of excellent photos of the Prairie Village Jazz Festival.

*Shades of Jades' Fingerprinted Memories, Pt. 1 has been released.

*Matt Kane reports on a forthcoming album featuring several of Kansas City's best-known jazz artists.

*The Pitch recommends Diverse's upcoming gig at Take Five Coffee and previews the Bridge Street Jazz and Food Fair in Smithville.

*The Education Department of the American Jazz Museum has a provided a list of supplemental activities at the 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival on October 11.  A couple highlights: a master class with Tivon Pennicott, 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Gem Theater; a jazz film discussion titled Production Techniques in Early Jazz and African American Dance Films, 4:00-5:00 at the John H. Baker Film Collection room.

*Joe Dimino interviewed Matthew Shipp and Lonnie Smith for his Neon Jazz podcast.

*Tweet o' the Week: Ryan Heinlein- Reverbnation is a joke. Thought I would play nice and put a new song up there but they wanted $40 for an upgrade. No thanks! (cont.)

*From Take Five Coffee + Bar: So the first season of Take Five Coffee + Bar comes to a close this weekend. To ease the unease over the end of a time that has been almost magical for all of us involved, we've lined up four nights of music to blast good into the universe from 151st and Nall one more time. The next season will begin in mid-October, more about that at the bottom of all this. First, we want to thank you all for your support of live music in this part of the world. All together, we can grow the circle of people for whom live music matters. Most of all, we want to tell you about this ... Thursday, September 25, 7pm: The Peter Schlamb Quartet… Friday, September 26, 8pm: Bob Bowman with Todd Strait and Roger Wilder… Saturday, September 27, 8pm: Grisha Alexiev Quartet… Sunday, September 28, 7pm: Diverse… What's next? We don't know for certain what day the doors will open at Corbin Park (all depends on inspections and permits). We do know when we're going to invite the world in to see what we think a jazz coffee shop could be. You'll have a place to set your drink. Or your plate. We'll have more than twice the seating. There'll be comfy chairs right in front of the band. A real piano. A stone fireplace. A low stage large enough to hold a screaming big band. Still intimate, still your suburban oasis, still Take Five. The new address is 6601 W 135th St, Suite A-21, Overland Park, KS 66223…

*From Kansas City Kansas Community College: Mike Ning, nationally-renowned jazz pianist and adjunct music instructor at Kansas City Kansas Community College, kicks-off the first ever “Artist’s Series” at the newly launched “The Gallery.”… Ning will host an artist’s reception from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at KCKCC’s “The Gallery,” 7250 State Ave., where he will play piano and speak about his work...  His show, “Celebration of Life! Coming to America /Goin’ to Kansas City!” is open from Sept. 22 through Oct. 3...

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Highland Cemetery

At the conclusion of the revitalized gravesite ceremony honoring Charlie Parker on August 30, Kent Rausch offered to provide a tour of nearby Highland Cemetery.  The founder and bandleader of the Vine Street Rumble Jazz Orchestra, Rausch is a leading historian of Kansas City's jazz heyday. 

Embarrassed that I'd never visited the graves of Bennie Moten and Julia Lee, I accepted Rausch's invitation.  Less than five minutes after departing Parker's grave at Lincoln Cemetery, I was looking at the new marker pictured above.  The engraved stone was installed by the people behind the Coda Jazz Fund earlier this year. 

Rausch recounted the story of Moten's shocking death and the huge turnout for his funeral.  "Moten Swing" is one of the recordings that first put Kansas City on the musical map.  Julia Lee's grave is just a few steps away.  Decades later, her risqué songs are still shocking.

Here's a map linking the two cemeteries.  Note that the entrance to Lincoln Cemetery is actually on Blue Ridge Boulevard.

(Original images by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Now's the Time: The James Isaac Group

There's a lot to like about the James Isaac Group.  The leader has distinguished himself in ensembles including Killer Strayhorn and the People's Liberation Big Band.  Bassist Jeff Harshbarger is one of Kansas City's most prominent musicians.  Multi-instrumentalist Scotty McBee plays in a wide variety of settings, including the Zappa-esque band Jazz Discharge that also includes Isaac and Harshbarger.  Yet it's the contribution of guitarist Mike Stover that makes the ensemble truly unique.  His opening solo on Joe Henderson's "Isotope" is real gone.  The James Isaac Group performs at Take Five Coffee + Bar on Friday, September 19.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The American Jazz Museum has unveiled the complete lineup of the 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival.

*Two benefits for the ailing Everette DeVan are scheduled at area clubs.  The first is Saturday, September 20, at the Blue Room.  Performers include Tim Henry, Charlie Gaschett and Ian Corbett.  The second is Monday, October 6, at the Phoenix.  Millie Edwards will perform.

*The Project H and Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle are featured by The Deli in advance of their appearances at the Ink Live Stage at the Plaza Art Fair this weekend.

*KC Jazz Lark published a gallery of photos documenting the Prairie Village Jazz Festival.

*The Pitch highlights a performance by the Matt Carrillo Group.

*A critic praises the throwback sound featured on the new single by Chris Hazelton's Boogaloo 7.

*Tweet o' the Week: Vintage Vinyl- Can't wait to see jazz legend Joe McPhee and Survival Unit III perform at Joe's Cafe (6010 Kingsbury Ave) this Friday

*From the American Jazz Museum: The American Jazz Museum and Kansas City Blues Society have partnered to target a promotion to the local blues community that highlights the appearance of Blues legend Lucky Peterson at Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival on Saturday, October 11...  General Admission Tickets to the festival are only $25 each.  However, American Jazz Museum is offering ALL KCBS MEMBERS the price of $10 each for General Admission Tickets from now until October 11.

(Original image of an orange moon by Plastic Sax.)