Thursday, August 25, 2016

Now's the Time: The Jorge Arana Trio


Jorge Arana Trio plays with the daring spirit if not the style of the Kansas City jazz innovator Charlie Parker.  The improvisatory instrumental group will celebrate the release of the new album Mammoth at RecordBar on Friday, September 2.  Oso, the Jorge Arana Trio’s previous recording, ranked #5 on Plastic Sax’s Top Kansas City Albums of 2014 list.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes














*The lineup of the 2016-17 season of the Topeka Jazz Concert Series was unveiled by Bill Blankenship.

*Joe Klopus examines the seond and final week of the annual Charlie Parker-related activities that “culminate in the annual saxophone salute at Parker’s grave in Lincoln Cemetery” on Saturday.  The Pitch also surveys the week’s events.

*Bill McKemy of the American Jazz Museum and saxophonist Tivon Pennicott were interviewed by Steve Kraske.

*Kevin Whitehead reviewed the new archival Charlie Parker release for NPR.

*Ink magazine profiled Macy Layne, the communications director of a jazz advocacy organization.

*A music video (of sorts) has been created for Echoes of Europe, the title track of the forthcoming album by the Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet.

*Tweet o’ the Week: RappersIKnow- our boy and @rappersiknow fam @moorepiano's new album #KingsAndQueens drops Sept 2 on @ropeadope. Get ready!

*Comment o’ the Week: Michael Shults- After playing sets with Tivon the last two nights, I have to say that his playing is, empirically, beyond reproach. I hope you give him a second or third listen!

*From a press release: The next edition of the "Riffing on the Repertoire" speaker series examines the life and times of (Stan Levey) in in a special public presentation by Frank R. Hayde, author of the newly-released biography Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight. The program takes place on Thursday, September 15, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Atrium of the American Jazz Museum… Hayde’s presentation continues the Museum’s new speaker series, called Riffing on the Repertoire, that is bringing top jazz scholars and authors to the 18th & Vine Jazz District throughout the rest of 2016. Other speakers in lineup include Kim Gabbard, author of Better Git It in Your Soul, an interpretive biography of Charles Mingus, on Thursday, October 6; Rashida Braggs, author of Jazz Diasporas: Race, Music, and Migration in Post-World War II Paris, on Thursday, October 20; Bob Gluck, author of The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles, on Thursday, November 3; and Ted Gioia, speaking about his highly-acclaimed new book How to Listen to Jazz, on Thursday, November 17. All programs in the Riffing on the Repertoire series are admission free and take place in the Atrium of the American Jazz Museum at 6:30 p.m., with a public reception beginning at 6 p.m.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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.