Sunday, December 9, 2018

Album Review: Michael Pagán and Greg Carroll- 2+2

The collaboration between vibraphonist Gary Burton and pianist Chick Corea is one of the most spellbinding partnerships in jazz.  Greg Carroll and Michael Pagán conjure similarly appealing- albeit considerably less adventurous- magic on their new album 2+2.

Pagán, one of Kansas City’s most formidable pianists, teaches at Ottawa University.  The fine vibraphonist Carroll is the former CEO of the American Jazz Museum.  Carroll adds marimba, drums and percussion accents to 2+2.  Bass and additional keyboards are provided by Pagán.

The formalists play with assured elegance on graceful tracks like “Hawk Watcher” and “Oak Tree.”  The enchanting spell is broken only on the cringeworthy closing selection “Now’s the Time: To Pay For Jazz.”  Assuming jive voices, the men demand that the people of Kansas City “stop forgetting about the jazz.”  It’s a grating conclusion to an otherwise stately recording.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Now's the Time: The Joe Locke Trio

The ensemble performing at the Blue Room on Saturday, December 8, may be named the Joe Locke Trio, but a fair number of the people in the club will be most excited to catch Marvin “Smitty” Smith.  The venerable drummer will demonstrate his mastery of his instrument with the noted vibraphonist Locke and organist Pat Bianchi.  The Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists all of December’s gigs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City jazz historian Larry Kopitnik and The Kansas City Star’s Mark Davis discussed the travails of the Mutual Musicians Foundation with KCUR’s Steve Kraske.

*Ernest Melton was interviewed by Joe Dimino.  Dimino also shared footage of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s holiday concert.

*Snarky Puppy will perform at Muriel Kauffman Theatre on June 11, 2019.

*A Bay Area musician is seeking funding for a project titled Visions of Kansas City.

*Tweet o’ the Week: KPGZ-lp 102.7FM- More variety on the radio starts this weekend! If you like good jazz, you'll want to check out Neon Jazz with Joe Dimino. Sundays at 7pm on 102.7FM #CommunityRadio #KearneyMO #ClayCountyMO #KPGZ #Jazz #SmallTownBigSound

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Zero Tolerance for Silence

My feelings are hurt.  Pat Metheny, the Lee’s Summit native who created the intoxicating music that served as a primary gateway drug into my unhealthy obsession with jazz, hasn’t performed inside the city limits of Kansas City in more than six years.  Although he tours relentlessly in a variety of configurations, Metheny repeatedly snubs Kansas City.  I blame Topeka.  Less than 400 people attended a 2014 concert by the Pat Metheny Unity Group at the 2,400-capacity Topeka Performing Arts Center.  (By point of comparison, I reviewed a sold-out Metheny concert at a 2,800-capacity Italian venue in 2010.)  He hasn’t been back since.  Not only does Metheny’s prolonged absence since the Topeka debacle reflect poorly on the greater Kansas City area, it’s compelled me to consider a trek to the comparatively cosmopolitan metropolis of Savannah, Georgia, in March.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 30, 2018

Now's the Time: Adam Larson

The New York based saxophonist Adam Larson will perform at Green Lady Lounge on Sunday, December 2, and at Black Dolphin on Monday, December 3.  Larson’s fourth album Second City was released by Greg Osby’s Inner Circle Music label last year.  All of December’s bookings are compiled at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Ernest Melton participated in The Kansas City Star’s weekly Star Sessions on Monday.  Here’s his interpretation of “Christmas Time is Here”.

*Lonnie McFadden is featured on a 74-minute podcast hosted by Joel Nichols.

*A writer for Vogue characterizes Green Lady Lounge and the Mutual Musicians Foundation as “effortlessly cool” in a much-discussed travelogue.

*Tracks by Peter Schlamb and Logan Richardson were selected in a best-of-2018 show on 90.9 The Bridge.

*Tweet o’ the Week: GreenLadyLounge- Rain, shine or BLIZZARD Green Lady Lounge has Live Kansas City Jazz 365 days a year. Music starts at 6pm today with: Wire Town 6pm-10pm Followed by RSS Trio 10:30pm-2:30am

*From a press release for Jazz Carolfest at Community Christian Church: ...This year we will be celebrating the 23rd year of this annual tradition benefitting Week of Compassion on Sunday, December 2nd at 4:00 p.m… This year’s stellar performances will include the return of Millie Edwards, Diane “Mama” Ray and the 3 Trails West Trio along with the diverse and exceptional talents of Misha Roberts, Calvin Arsenia, Missy Koonce, Charles Williams, Terry Swope, Adam Bender, Jameson Mair & Victor & Penny! Also rounding out the show will be the return of the sensational house band with Jazz veterans Tim Whitmer, Rod Fleeman, Jurgen Welge, James Albright, Jim Mair, Stan Kessler & Chris Hazelton.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

EP Review: Peter Shlamb- Electric Tinks

I equated Kansas City jazz with Jay McShann when I came of age during the Reagan administration.  Kevin Mahogany seemed to personify the sound of the city in the ‘90s.  Bobby Watson dominated the decade after he returned to Kansas City in 2000 to become UMKC’s Director of Jazz Studies. 

The most compelling sound of the past few years is the amplified vibraphone played by Peter Schlamb.  His new EP Electric Tinks is a worthy successor to his stunning 2014 release Tinks.  It’s my understanding that Schlamb is joined by saxophonists Ben van Gelder, Matt Otto and Logan Richardson, trumpeter Hermon Mehari, bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Ryan Lee on the 24-minute release, but Schlamb’s plugged-in tones that range from the grating buzz of a modem to the divine sound of a heavenly harp dominate the seven concise selections. 

“Skylar’s View” is among the tracks that mirror the futuristic sound of the Los Angeles based Brainfeeder camp more than the music of Watson, Mahogany or McShann, further evidence that everything’s up to date in Kansas City.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)