Friday, February 24, 2017

Now’s Not the Time: Janelle Monáe

The ordinarily forsaken office of the Kansas City jazz blog Plastic Sax has been inundated with inquiries from people who don’t know Ben Webster from Bruno Mars.  Hours after announcing that hometown hero Janelle Monáe would be the primary headliner of its new festival, the American Jazz Museum was forced to issue a retraction.  A press release from the institution insists that "we would never intentionally release false information... The museum takes full responsibility for what happened."  I've been unable to explain the baffling blunder to the associates who have turned to me for insights.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*As first reported by Plastic Sax last month, The Pitch has confirmed that Janelle Monáe will headline the American Jazz Museum’s Kansas City Jazz and Heritage Festival in May.  Trombone Shorty, John Scofield, Regina Carter, Brandy and the Hot Sardines are among the additional headliners.  Details were published by The Pitch today.  EDIT- From an American Jazz Museum press release dated February 22: This morning we were very proud to announce the Kansas City Jazz and Heritage Festival. Unfortunately, we must retract the statement of Janelle Monae performing at the Jazz Festival. Janelle was not confirmed for the event and was incorrectly advertised.

*Jazz vocalist and social activist Barbara Dane performed at the Folk Alliance conference in Kansas City last week.

*Bird lives?

*Tweet o’ the Week: Mena May- @robertglasper I'm sitting in the audience  at the Folly theater with my jaw wide open! #signothetimes  #genius 😘❤️#love

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dominique Sanders in the Spotlight

Less than 18 hours after flying high at a concert with the jazz titan Robert Glasper for an audience of hundreds at the Folly Theater, Dominique Sanders had a soft landing at the Green Lady Lounge on Sunday afternoon.  The Kansas City based bassist excelled during a lightly attended matinee show as a member of the Paul Shinn Trio.  The setting may have been less momentous, but Sanders demonstrated the formidably versatile talent that helped land him Saturday's prestigious gig. 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Now's the Time: Robert Glasper

In a preview for Robert Glasper’s concert at the Folly Theater on Saturday, February 18, a writer for The Kansas City Star suggested that the native Texan is "the most important jazz musician of his generation."  While he’s best known for his forays into funk and R&B, the embedded video demonstrates Glasper’s sensitivity in more conventional jazz modes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The smooth jazz artist Richard Elliot and the Celtic rock band the Elders are the headliners of the 2017 edition of Jazz in the Woods.

*Joe Klopus previewed Robert Glasper’s concert at the Folly Theater.  Also, the venue initially indicated that Glasper would be accompanied by saxophonist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Mark Colenburg.  Instead, he’ll be joined by bassist Brandon Owens and drummer Damion Reid on Saturday.

*The Kansas City Star posted a photo gallery of jazz-related images.

*Tweet o’ the Week: American Jazz Museum- Spent the afternoon at Roasterie cupping a new coffee blend for the Museum ☕️

*From the American Jazz Museum: Celebrate birthdays of local and national jazz musicians with the American Jazz Museum on Friday, February 17, 2017 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. This month celebrates the contributions of local musicians Myra Taylor and Ben Kynard through musical performance and unveils a mini-poster exhibition about our honorees. Join us for cake, music, dancing, and a celebration of Kansas City's unique jazz sound! The program is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Gem Theater…

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Spring Fever

Bobby Watson and Deborah Brown, the King and Queen of Kansas City's jazz scene, are dropping new albums.

Watson’s Made In America, slated to be issued by Smoke Sessions Records on April 21, is billed as "a musical portrait gallery of nine influential African-Americans."  The saxophonist is accompanied by pianist Stephen Scott, bassist Curtis Lundy, and drummer Lewis Nash on the thematic recording.

Brown’s Kansas City, Here I Come, a project recorded last year in Poland with a string section and guest vocalist Kevin Mahogany, is apparently out now.  The American album release show is at the Blue Room on March 11. 

These two albums, along with the recent release of Matt Otto’s Reunion and the Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet’s Echoes of Europe, reflect the ongoing artistic vitality of the area’s jazz community.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Now's the Time: Bruce Barth

Bruce Barth, an accomplished mainstream pianist based in New York City, will perform at the Blue Room on Saturday, February 11.  In addition to contributing to Karrin Allyson's 2006 album Footprints, Barth has played on recordings by the likes of Terence Blanchard, René Marie and Luciana Souza.  Barth will be joined by bassist Dave Baron and drummer Montez Coleman at the Blue Room.