Thursday, February 22, 2018

Now's the Time: Marbin


The members of the  jazz-rock band Marbin are committed road warriors.  The itinerant Chicago based band regularly visits Kansas City.  Marbin will showcase material from its forthcoming album Israeli Jazz on Monday, February 26, at Californos.  The comprehensive Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists hundreds of additional performances.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes














*Dave Helling considers potential liquor licensing changes in the Jazz District for The Kansas City Star.

*Plaza III, a venerable steakhouse that has long hosted jazz performances, will close next month.

*Joe Klopus spoke to Josh Nelson ahead of the pianist’s return visit to the Kansas City area.

*Organizers of the Jazz in the Woods festival reiterated previous reports that this year’s event has been canceled.

*Alex Anderson reviewed an appearance by David Amram.

*Béla Fleck & the Flecktones will perform at the Uptown Theater on July 9.

*Harold O’Neal created a four-minute video highlight reel.

*Tweet o’ the Week: KC Jazz Orchestra- Always brewing ideas for upcoming concerts - what sorts of music would you like to hear us do? #kcjazz

*Comment o’ the Week: Darrel McKaig- The bassist, Tamir, was my favorite accompanist. While he was highlighted during the duet with Cyrille, his playing throughout was impeccable.

*From a press release: Mikeyy Austin will join the new project from Eddie Moore, We The People, for his Kansas City debut.  Mikeyy is a young up and coming MC out of Lansing Michigan… We The People is a Power Trio plus one with Eddie Moore on piano, Dominique Sanders on bass, Zach Morrow on drums, and Leonard Dstroy on  Turntable/Aux percussion... this fusion group brings Prog Rock, Soul, Funk, and Hiphop together in a unique way that is spread over a bed on improvisation. 7 p.m. March 8, at RecordBar. $8.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Concert Review: Cyrille Aimée at the Folly Theater














Cyrille Aimée won over a skeptical audience of about 300 at the Folly Theater on Friday.  Even though the French vocalist has been receiving rave reviews for a decade, she’s still relatively unknown in Kansas City.

I became convinced that my $20 ticket was a solid investment during the fourth selection.  A ravishing interpretation of the Dominican icon Juan Luis Guerra’s “Estrellitas y Duende” made me realize that while her petite voice is as small as a hummingbird, Aimée’s instrument possesses the spectacular beauty, speed and fearlessness associated with the tiny creatures.

The trumpet and vocal flourishes Wayne Tucker added to most songs were delightful, but the versatile pianist Hila Kulik was clearly the audience’s favorite accompanist.  Bassist Tamir Shmerling and drummer Dani Danor added dynamic support on a setlist that included striking original compositions, Adler and Ross’ "Whatever Lola Wants," Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” and Lerner and Loewe’s “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

Aimée did, in fact, dance all night.  And she never stopped smiling.  Her ebullience was merited.  The creative quintet’s imaginative approach combined a clear adoration of jazz tradition with healthy irreverence.  Exasperated by a couple false starts on a looping device during a solo segment, Aimée endearingly sighed that “it’s all part of the show.” 

Aimée’s self-deprecating humor, effervescent spirit and boundless talent secured her show placement on short lists of the musical highlights of 2018.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Now's the Time: Izabel Crane


Izabel Crane, a band from Springfield, Missouri, references Billie Holiday and Django Reinhardt as it characterizes its sound as Ozark jazz.  While I hear a lot more Bill Monroe than Charlie Parker, I’m inclined to like the ostensible hybrid.  Izabel Crane performs in the Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads on Thursday, February 22.  Dozens of more conventional jazz bookings are posted at the Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes













*Stan Kessler is the subject of a five-minute feature created for KCUR.

*Jessie Riggins lauded the Kansas City’s Symphony’s collaboration with jazz musicians.

*UMKC’s student newspaper published a review of Lonnie McFadden’s new album.

*Joe Klopus previewed Cyrille Aimée’s concert at the Folly Theater for The Kansas City Star.

*Rod Fleeman was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*CJ Janovy deciphered the unusual circumstances of a jazz poster party.

*David Amram discussed his career with Steve Kraske on KCUR.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Rick Hellman- What a joy to hear @happyinbag give #kcjazz keeper of the flame Stan Kessler his due on @kcur!

*From a press release: Kansas City Jazz Alive… is proud to announce Musicians Assisting Musicians 101- The Business of Jazz, an educational workshop for jazz musicians in the Kansas City region. The workshop will take place… on April 21, 2018 from 8am – 1pm at Black Dolphin.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Focus on Sanity














There was no chance I would miss the discussion of Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking 1958 album The Shape of Jazz to Come last Monday at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library.  I was so giddy about the recondite event that I arrived an hour early.  While I couldn’t persuade the library’s two security guards or the disorderly vagrants they were minding to attend the seminar, my enthusiasm was shared by a handful of attendees at the listening party sponsored by The Kansas Jazz Orchestra.

John Kizilarmut, the passionate and knowledgeable moderator, set the tone for his presentation by playing a polarizing track by Mostly Other People Do the Killing.  In addition to providing context for The Shape of Jazz to Come, Kizilarmut shared a photo that his research led him to believe acted as the inspiration for the album’s lead track “Lonely Woman.” 

The small class listened to the first side of the album in reverent silence.  After Kizilarmut added additional insights, a loudmouth blogger instigated debates as the second side played.  Clint Ashlock, the Artistic Director of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, will analyze Maria Schneider’s Evanescence at the Central Library on March 12.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Now's the Time: Cyrille Aimée


“Do what you want to do, there ain't no rules- it's up to you.”  I wish more jazz-oriented musicians heeded the message of Michael Jackson’s hit.  Cyrille Aimée’s willingness to defy convention has helped make her one of the most intriguing artists currently bridging the divide between jazz and popular music.  The French vocalist will explore “the madness in the music” at the Folly Theater on Saturday, February 17.