Sunday, August 21, 2016

Album Review: The Brandon Draper Quintet- Live 7/1-2/2010














Brandon Draper did connoisseurs of Kansas City’s jazz scene a tremendous favor on July 16 when he made thrilling music culled from a pair of live 2010 dates available as a free download.

Live 7/1-2/2010 features tenor saxophonist Rich Wheeler, trombonist Kevin Cerovich, vibraphonist Peter Schlamb, bassist Craig Akin and drummer/percussionist Draper collaborating at the since-shuttered Jardine’s.

The 80 minutes of stellar improvisations range from jubilant Kansas City swing to experiments that recall Alaturka, the Turkish jazz band that includes Draper and Wheeler.  The interplay between Wheeler and Schlamb occasionally evokes Out To Lunch, the 1964 masterpiece that featured Eric Dolphy and Bobby Hutcherson.

The newly unearthed recordings may be six years old, but music this good is timeless.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Now's the Time: Tivon Pennicott


Joe Klopus characterized Tivon Pennicott as “brilliant” in his survey of the week’s Charlie Parker-related events.  I had a less enthusiastic reaction when I heard the saxophonist perform at the  the 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival in 2014.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes















*Pam Hider Johnson promoted a series of Charlie Parker-related events on Kansas City's official YouTube channel.  (Via Tony’s Kansas City.)

*Joe Klopus notes the commencement of the annual Charlie Parker-related functions in his column for The Kansas City Star.  Larry Kopitnik highlights the annual observation for The Pitch.

*KANU won Jazz Week's Station of the Year award in the category of "stations with fewer than 40 hours" of weekly jazz programming.

*Kurt Elling will perform with the Branford Marsalis Quartet at Helzberg Hall on May, 11, 2017.

*Carol Duboc’s new album Open the Curtains was reviewed at All About Jazz.

*Tweet o’ the Week: McClain Johnson- Nels Cline was tearing up the solo in "Impossible Germany" last night. A full moon was glowing in the sky as the breeze was wafting through.

*Comment o’ the Week: Dean Minderman- I'm glad to see positive comments about David Sanborn, who's a fine musician and seems to be a genuinely decent person. But I've got to push back a bit against the notion that he's a deliberate knock-off of Maceo Parker.  Sanborn has said many times (including to me when I interviewed him a few years back) that his thing is heavily influenced by Hank Crawford and David "Fathead" Newman… (continued at link)

*From a press release: This year’s Kansas City’s Charlie Parker Celebration 2016 at the American Jazz Museum commemorates the 96th anniversary of the birth of legendary jazz great Charlie Parker with… a presentation by Dr. Ron McCurdy… who speaks on The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Atrium of the American Jazz Museum. A 6 p.m. public reception precedes the program. Admission is free.  Complementing McCurdy’s talk, will be the unveiling of a new temporary exhibit titled A Musician in the Making: Charlie Parker in Kansas City, 1920-42. The five-panel traveling display, created from the collections of the American Jazz Museum and other archives… McCurdy’s presentation also kicks off the Museum’s new speaker series, called Riffing on the Repertoire that will bring top jazz scholars and authors to the 18th & Vine Jazz District throughout the rest of 2016. The lineup features noted authority Ted Gioia… and… Rashida Briggs.

*From a publicist: Seattle area saxophone and flute master Mark Lewis will be in Kansas City to play at the Majestic with Bram Wijnands on Aug. 26 and 27.  Mark’s new CD The New York Session is ready for listening! We will have it with us on the tour, though it won’t be officially released and promoted until January… The CD features Mark on alto sax and flute, George Cables on piano, Victor Lewis on drums and Essiet Essiet on bass.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cold Pizza














Wags like to suggest that even bad pizza is good.  The same can’t be said for jazz.  When jazz is bad, it’s really bad.  I attended a disturbingly uninspired performance last week.  Watching musicians bury their noses in sheet music during round after round of drab solos was excruciating.  At a time when the jazz scene is being enlivened by scores of inventive musicians, joyless facsimiles of Cannonball Adderley’s 1958 album Somethin’ Else are intolerable.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Now's the Time: Marcus Hampton


I was charmed by Marcus Hampton’s performance at the Gem Theater during the 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival in 2014.  He and a band of Kansas City all-stars interpreted the elder statesman’s sturdy original compositions with elegant enthusiasm.  Hampton leads a band at the Blue Room on Friday, August 12.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes













*Joe Klopus surveyed the week in jazz for The Kansas City Star.

*The Pitch recommended Marcus Hampton’s outing at the Blue Room on Friday.

*The Kansas City Star previewed a new production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” that features Nedra Dixon.

*A television station reported that items related to the late Oscar “Lucky” Wesley of the Scamps were given to his grandson after they turned up in an auction.  (Via Tony’s Kansas City.)

*KOJH, the radio initiative affiliated with the Mutual Musicians Foundation, recently began streaming a blend of jazz, soul and old-school hip-hop.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Dave Holland- Dave @DeJohnetteMusic @morethan88 free show at Tompkins Square Park NYC for Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, Aug 28. (link)

*Comment o’ the Week: Anonymous- Totally agree with Beau Bledsoe. Audiences at KC jazz clubs talk almost the entire time. It can ruin a great gig for those who like to listen. It is esp. bad at the Blue Room on Mondays and Thursdays.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Concert Review: Dave Koz and David Sanborn at Muriel Kauffman Theatre














Dave Koz behaved like a shameless ham at Muriel Kauffman Theatre last Thursday, but one of his many adornments was spot-on.  Koz called David Sanborn a “change agent,” praising his co-headliner for liberating the saxophone from the confines of jazz.

Koz’ insight was accurate.  Although it’s called contemporary jazz or smooth jazz, the sound with which Koz achieved fame and fortune isn’t really jazz at all.  The music played by Koz and other stylistic descendants of Sanborn is actually a polite form of funk. 

Sanborn’s breakthrough in the 1970s was his realization that there was an enormous market for a mainstream adaptation of Maceo Parker’s style.  That’s not a denunciation.  I am, in fact, a fan.  Besides, Sanborn has great taste.  He used his portion of Thursday’s show to interpret stylish material including D’Angelo’s “Spanish Joint” and Marcus Miller’s “Maputo.” 

Even though Koz’s corny antics were exasperating, I heeded his suggestion to get out of my $35.50 seat in the back row of the balcony to dance to covers of Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers’ go-go classic “Bustin’ Loose” (my Instagram video) and Joe Cuba’s salsa staple “Bang Bang.” 

That’s a change agent I can believe in.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)