Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Confirmation: Weekly News and Notes

*I hereby proclaim myself the biggest champion of Kansas City jazz collective Smooth Groove. Don't let their unfortunate name fool you- they're the real deal.

While the pianist occasionally breaks out an electronic keyboard and the band is not above playing "Down Home Blues," Smooth Groove is essentially a traditional Kansas City jazz group. The versatile old-timers- the youngest member is in his fifties- remind me of the '80s version of the Scamps.

Smooth Groove lacked any internet presence until now. My photographer friend Corky joined me at the Mutual Musicians Foundation Friday. He posted the stunning results of his efforts here. Sitting in with Smooth Groove that night were saxophonist Bobby Bryant and vocalist Stephanie Wilson.

*Corky is on a roll. Present Magazine recently published his stunning photographs of the Wild Women of Kansas City.

*Regional jazz promoter Butch Berman died last week. Here's his last newsletter. His brave farewell is deeply moving. (Tip via Lee.)

*Kansas City's library system was awarded a $2,500 grant to create a "Jazz Marquee Collection".

*Last week I contemplated blues' dominance of Kansas City's roots music scene. I was more prescient than I imagined. Local trio Trampled Under Foot just won the prestigious Blues Foundation's annual band competition in Memphis.

*Randy Brecker spoke to Joe Klopus. The most crucial line from Joe's fine piece is this Brecker confession: "Now the biggest part of the jazz community is in colleges."

*A tourist offers an unbiased account of his visit to 18th & Vine.

*I won't pretend to hide my enthusiasm for Brass n' Grass, a Kansas-based New Orleans-style brass band I recently discovered online. Look out, Loose Cannon and Dirty Force!

*There's something slightly odd about the young European trad jazz band singing about Kansas City in this video.


*Craig Akin has interesting indie rock and jazz posted at his Virb account.

*Here's a television segment about Plastic Sax favorite Erin Bode. The St. Louis chanteuse's career has moved in an unlikely direction. (Tip via Lee.)

(Photo by Plastic Sax.)

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