Friday, August 18, 2017

Now's the Time: The Project H

The Project H is back.  One of the most vital ensembles in Kansas City recently returned from a hiatus.  The exemplary band performs at the Black Dolphin on Saturday, August 19, Saturday, September 2, Saturday, September 9, and Saturday, September 16.  The Project H is also on the lineup of the Prairie Village Jazz Festival on September 9.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Klopus previewed the opening week of this year’s Charlie Parker Celebration for The Kansas City Star.

*The Kansas City Star reviewed the MTH Theater’s jazz-based production of “An Evening With George Gershwin.”

*Shuttlecock and KC Metropolis reported on Herbie Hancock’s concert at Muriel Kauffman Theater.  Hancock was interviewed by KCUR’s Steve Kraske in advance of Saturday’s show.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Dominique Sanders- Soaking up game all day, and eating vegan with the big bro Terrace martin!!! Hype for the Herbie Hancock show tonight!!!!!

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

By the Numbers

In the aftermath of Saturday’s reprehensible “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” statement by the President, I’m receiving a bit of deserved backlash for comments I made to a journalist a few weeks ago.  My assertion that “they’re not racist- they’re just afraid” serves as the headline of an editorial in today’s The Kansas City Star.  

While I’m not going to recant my words,  I understand why I’ve been rebuked by a critic who insists that “being afraid of crime when there’s no evidence of crime means that you’re racist.”  Instead, I’ll reiterate two key points.

I’ve never felt threatened or unwelcome during the hundreds of times I’ve visited the Jazz District in the last twenty years,  Once sketchy, the immediate radius of the museum complex is safe.  The Star’s editorial gets that right.  The piece falters, however, in its implied assertion that jazz can still serve as a major attraction.  The successful festivals it cites are headlined by pop, rock and hip-hop acts.

The poor attendance at the American Jazz Museum’s Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival three months ago shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  John Scofield, the jazz headliner on the first night of the event, attracted about 400 fans.  That more or less matches the similarly woeful turnout for the jazz giant’s concert at the Folly Theater in 2014 (my review).

(Original image of Bill Stewart and John Scofield at the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Now's the Time: Helen Gillet

Is the New Orleans based Helen Gillet a jazz musician, a classical artist, a French chanteuse or a pop-oriented singer-songwriter?  As she explains in the embedded video, Gillet is all of those things.  She performs Tuesday, August 15, at the 1900 Building.  She’ll appear at the Brick on Wednesday, August 16.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Larry Kopitnick previewed this month’s Charlie Parker-related events for The Pitch.

*Marilyn Maye and Houston Person are among the performers in the 2017-18 season of The Topeka Jazz Workshop.

* The Kansas City Star and KCUR reported on how a $7 million infusion of city money has been spent in the Jazz District.

*The Mutual Musicians Foundation has a new site and promotional video.

*Mark Lowrey leads a group in a intriguing arrangement of Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days.”

*Krystle Warren created a 71-second promotional video for her forthcoming album Three the Hard Way.  AllMusic premiered the new song “Red Clay”.

*Downbeat reviewed a series of Pat Metheny outings at a Norway festival.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Ronnie Scott’s- #lastchance to get your tickets to a rare treat! Krystle Warren will perform soon at our club, grab your tickets.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Concert Review: The Harlem Quartet at Polsky Theater

Chris Burnett, the sublime Kansas City jazz musician and relentless social media irritant, insists that the future of live jazz lies in the sort of formal presentations associated with classical music.  His vision seemed particularly prescient during a performance by the Harlem Quartet at Polsky Theater on Wednesday.  The string quartet’s swinging renditions of the jazz standards “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “A Night In Tunisia” enlivened an audience of about 300 that had fidgeted through a dry 20-minute reading of Mozart’s String Quartet #17.  The Harlem Quartet solidified its credentials among Kansas City jazz aficionados in a 2012 collaboration with Gary Burton and Chick Corea at the Gem Theater.  The enthusiastic response of Wednesday’s audience to works by Billy Strayhorn and Dizzy Gillespie indicated that Burnett’s advocacy of jazz listening rooms is entirely warranted.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Now's the Time: Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock performed at the Lied Center in Lawrence in 2011, but the icon will make his first appearance within the city limits of Kansas City in more than ten years at Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Saturday, August 12.  Hancock is joined by Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, Bennie Maupin, Julian Priester and Buster Williams in the embedded footage from 1972.  Four modern-day heavyweights- Vinnie Colaiuta, James Genus, Lionel Loueke, and Terrace Martin- will perform with Hancock on Saturday.