Monday, November 24, 2014

Concert Review: Bob Bowman at the Orion Room























The first set of Bob Bowman's album release party at the Orion Room in the basement of the Green Lady Lounge attracted a capacity audience on Thursday, November 20.  Dozens of longtime fans of the bassist and many of his fellow musicians filled the handsome room with a convivial atmosphere.

Bowman was supported by guitarist Danny Embrey, pianist Roger Wilder and drummer Todd Strait.  Vocalist Megan Birdsall joined the quartet for one selection.

Bowman's artistic and physical rejuvenation is one of the happiest recent developments on Kansas City's jazz scene.  The official function for the release of the album Songs for Sandra, consequently, doubled as a celebration of Bowman's vitality.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Now's the Time: Elliott Levin


Jazz bohemian Elliott Levin will appear at Take Five Coffee + Bar on Saturday, November 22, and at the RecordBar on Sunday, November 23.  A press release from the Johnson County venue suggests that "this will be some of the wildest, most intense music we’ve ever had at Take Five."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes















*The Wyandotte Daily reports that the owners of the Broadway Jazz Club are considering opening a second location in Kansas City, Kansas.

*A report on Bob Bowman's new album is the highlight of Joe Klopus' weekly column.

*Big crowds at Take Five Coffee + Bar and the Broadway Jazz Club are celebrated by KC Jazz Lark.

*The Pitch recommends Bobby Watson's gigs at the Broadway Jazz Club.

*Hermon Mehari's portion of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition  begins at the 3:02:15 portion of a five-hour video.

*Chris Burnett posted tips he shares with his students.

*Chuck Berg reviewed a Topeka Jazz Workshop concert featuring Chuck Redd and Nicki Parrott.

*Joe Dimino interviewed Reggie Watkins for his Neon Jazz podcast.

*Tweet o' the Week: Green Lady Lounge- GreenLadyLounge wishes a very happy b-day to Tim Whitmer - Kansas City's beloved Jazz Pianist, Entertainer & Friend.

*Comment o' the Week: danasgoodstuff- Love her Southern Comfort album, more than anything else by her although I've long been aware that she could play some. Been very disappointed in the nonresponse to my post about it on my favorite jazz bulliten board www.organissimo.org.forum

*From Take Five Coffee: It's our belief that presenting the full range of good jazz, from the most accessible to the most challenging, is the best way to honor the music's traditions and its possibilities. So when Jeff Harshbarger said Philly free jazz monster Elliott Levin would be in town and offered to bring him to Take Five, then added piano virtuoso Thollem McDonas to the mix, we made it the centerpiece of our weekend. Come see just how far out the music at Take Five Coffee + Bar can go… Saturday, November 22, 8pm… We suspect this will be some of the wildest, most intense music we’ve ever had at Take Five. Come with your ears wide open and prepare to be challenged. This is essentially Snuff Jazz — Jeff Harshbarger on bass, Mark Southerland on tenor sax and bags of tricks, and Brian Steever on drums — with two of the most powerful improvisational musicians walking the planet today. Elliott Levin, in from Philadelphia, plays tenor sax and flute and is a ferocious free jazz force. Pianist Thollem McDonas is simply traveling the world blowing up everyone’s idea of what can be done on a piano… $10 cover.

*From Broadway Jazz Club: Come see Bobby Watson, world-class musician, Grammy nominee, recent inductee into the Jazz Walk of Fame, and the 1st William & Mary Grant endowed professor of Jazz in the first of the BJC Signature Series events! Performing this night with Chris Clark, James Ward, and Mike Warren, it should prove to be a wonderful evening!  November 21, 2014, two shows, 6 & 9PM

*From the University of Kansas: The University of Kansas Jazz Ensemble I will perform with vocalist Deborah Brown at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  Admission to the event is free, but tickets are required. Please call 816-994-7222 for tickets. The performance is sponsored by Reach Out Kansas, Inc. The University of Kansas Jazz Ensemble I and director Dan Gailey proudly present an evening of big band jazz featuring world renowned jazz vocalist Deborah Brown. In addition to arrangements featuring Ms. Brown, the ensemble will present the world premiere of Gailey’s composition New Kansas City Suite, commissioned by Reach Out Kansas, Inc. The world premiere of New Kansas City Suite features: Clint Ashlock, trumpet; Matt Otto, tenor saxophone; Danny Embrey, guitar; Jeff Harshbarger, bass; and Brandon Draper, drums.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Album Review: The Ben Markley/Clint Ashlock Quintet- The Return
















The clarion call of an excellent trumpeter caught my ear as I wandered in downtown Kansas City a few years ago.  I traced the sound to a sidewalk cafe where the duo of Clint Ashlock and Mark Lowrey were playing tasteful swing.  I was reminded of the incident when I heard The Return, the fine new album by trumpeter Ashlock and pianist Ben Markley.  As might be expected of a pair of respected young musicians who double as jazz educators, Ashlock and Markley play an impeccable version of modern bop.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Now's the Time: Eboni Fondren


Eboni Fondren, one of Kansas City's finest jazz and pop vocalists, sang with the Salina Symphony in 2012.  She brought down the house with a rendition of Etta James' "At Last."  Fondren performs Friday, November 14, at Broadway Jazz Club and Sunday, November 16, at a jazz brunch at Chaz.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes
















*KC Jazz Lark lobbies for a large-scale jazz festival in Kansas City.

*Chicago's Marquis Hill surpassed musicians including Kansas City's Hermon Mehari to win the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition.  The Kansas City Star sent a shout-out to Mehari.

*An appearance by Karl McComas-Reichl Trio is highlighted by The Pitch.

*A television station aired a brief report about the fundraising efforts of members of the Kansas City Kansas Community College's jazz band.  They're attempting to finance a trip to Cuba.

*Peter Hum interviewed Pat Metheny.

*Tweet o' the Week: Chris Hazelton- Okay lovers of 45s, trying to game plan the next release. Do you want more instrumental soul-jazz, soul with vocals, or straight up funk?

*Comment o' the Week: cB- The promoter cancelled the Beat Funktion concert due to poor advanced ticket sales.

*From Take Five Coffee: A trip to Brazil and a trip back in time mark the weekend ahead at Take Five Coffee + Bar as we present a feast of rhythms from far and wide… Friday, November 14, 8pm: Sons of Brasil. $5 cover… Saturday, November 15, 8pm: Clint Ashlock presents a tribute to The Jazz Messengers… $5 cover. Sunday, November 16, 10am - 2pm: Sunday Jazz Brunch: The Peter Schlamb Quartet… No cover.

*From the American Jazz Museum: Jazz Then and Now celebrates the evolution of jazz from its earliest beginnings to the modern-day period. The exhibition pays homage to local, national, and international jazz artists whose unique styles, musical achievements, and contributions helped to shape the music. Images and artifacts from the American Jazz Museum's collection are accompanied by images by present-day photographers and visual artists, video interviews, and poetry… (November 13) 6:00 pm - Bob Bowman performance. 6:40 pm - Jazz Then and Now exhibition reveal. 7:00 pm - Artists' Discussion…

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Concert Review: Miguel Zenón at the Blue Room















Identities Are Changeable, the ambitious new release by Miguel Zenón, is the sort of album that elicits more admiration than affection.  Laden with spoken word segments and complex big band arrangements, Identities Are Changeable is the musical equivalent of a coffee table book. 

An audience of about 50 heard a very different version of the new material at the Blue Room on Monday, November 3, the night before the album was officially released.  Zenón- one of the most celebrated jazz artists of our time- was joined by the eloquent Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, Austrian bassist Hans Glawischnig and American-born drummer Eric Doob.

Pared down to their core essences, fresh compositions like "Through Culture and Tradition" were riveting.  The daring solos of the saxophonist struck me as the contemporary extension of Charlie Parker's innovations.  A companion insisted that Zenón was channeling Art Pepper.

We agreed that we were hearing one of the best performances of 2014.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)