Thursday, December 13, 2018

Now's the Time: Julian Vaughn

The Kansas City bassist Julian Vaughn headlines the Gift of Christmas concert at the Gem Theater on Saturday, December 15.  The show is one of 25 of the date’s gigs listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Logan Richardson’s Blues People is selected as the third best jazz album of 2018 by The New York Times’ Giovanni Russonello.

*Violinist Regina Carter is nominated for a Grammy Award for a solo on Karrin Allyson’s new album.  The Count Basie Orchestra’s All About That Basie is nominated for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.  The complete list of nominations is here.

*Molly Hammer appeared on a television morning show.

*David Basse hails the Jazz Studies program at UMKC for the institution’s student newspaper.

*A press release touts Anita Dixon’s efforts as a cultural heritage strategist.

*The Marcus Lewis Big Band, the Project H and Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 are among the best music of 2018 selections made by the staff of radio station 90.9 The Bridge.

*Chris Burnett lists his favorite albums of 2018.

*Marc Myers takes note of World Gardens, the latest album by the Italian pianist Roberto Magris that features Dominique Sanders, Brian Steever and Pablo Sanhueza.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Lee Rice Epstein- Yesterday, I was going to make an ironic joke about how outré a Count Basie album would be in 2018, and today I saw the Grammy noms, so that's a wrap, folks.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Album Review: Michael Pagán and Greg Carroll- 2+2

The collaboration between vibraphonist Gary Burton and pianist Chick Corea is one of the most spellbinding partnerships in jazz.  Greg Carroll and Michael Pagán conjure similarly appealing- albeit considerably less adventurous- magic on their new album 2+2.

Pagán, one of Kansas City’s most formidable pianists, teaches at Ottawa University.  The fine vibraphonist Carroll is the former CEO of the American Jazz Museum.  Carroll adds marimba, drums and percussion accents to 2+2.  Bass and additional keyboards are provided by Pagán.

The formalists play with assured elegance on graceful tracks like “Hawk Watcher” and “Oak Tree.”  The enchanting spell is broken only on the cringeworthy closing selection “Now’s the Time: To Pay For Jazz.”  Assuming jive voices, the men demand that the people of Kansas City “stop forgetting about the jazz.”  It’s a grating conclusion to an otherwise stately recording.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Now's the Time: The Joe Locke Trio

The ensemble performing at the Blue Room on Saturday, December 8, may be named the Joe Locke Trio, but a fair number of the people in the club will be most excited to catch Marvin “Smitty” Smith.  The venerable drummer will demonstrate his mastery of his instrument with the noted vibraphonist Locke and organist Pat Bianchi.  The Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists all of December’s gigs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City jazz historian Larry Kopitnik and The Kansas City Star’s Mark Davis discussed the travails of the Mutual Musicians Foundation with KCUR’s Steve Kraske.

*Ernest Melton was interviewed by Joe Dimino.  Dimino also shared footage of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s holiday concert.

*Snarky Puppy will perform at Muriel Kauffman Theatre on June 11, 2019.

*A Bay Area musician is seeking funding for a project titled Visions of Kansas City.

*Tweet o’ the Week: KPGZ-lp 102.7FM- More variety on the radio starts this weekend! If you like good jazz, you'll want to check out Neon Jazz with Joe Dimino. Sundays at 7pm on 102.7FM #CommunityRadio #KearneyMO #ClayCountyMO #KPGZ #Jazz #SmallTownBigSound

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Zero Tolerance for Silence

My feelings are hurt.  Pat Metheny, the Lee’s Summit native who created the intoxicating music that served as a primary gateway drug into my unhealthy obsession with jazz, hasn’t performed inside the city limits of Kansas City in more than six years.  Although he tours relentlessly in a variety of configurations, Metheny repeatedly snubs Kansas City.  I blame Topeka.  Less than 400 people attended a 2014 concert by the Pat Metheny Unity Group at the 2,400-capacity Topeka Performing Arts Center.  (By point of comparison, I reviewed a sold-out Metheny concert at a 2,800-capacity Italian venue in 2010.)  He hasn’t been back since.  Not only does Metheny’s prolonged absence since the Topeka debacle reflect poorly on the greater Kansas City area, it’s compelled me to consider a trek to the comparatively cosmopolitan metropolis of Savannah, Georgia, in March.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 30, 2018

Now's the Time: Adam Larson

The New York based saxophonist Adam Larson will perform at Green Lady Lounge on Sunday, December 2, and at Black Dolphin on Monday, December 3.  Larson’s fourth album Second City was released by Greg Osby’s Inner Circle Music label last year.  All of December’s bookings are compiled at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Ernest Melton participated in The Kansas City Star’s weekly Star Sessions on Monday.  Here’s his interpretation of “Christmas Time is Here”.

*Lonnie McFadden is featured on a 74-minute podcast hosted by Joel Nichols.

*A writer for Vogue characterizes Green Lady Lounge and the Mutual Musicians Foundation as “effortlessly cool” in a much-discussed travelogue.

*Tracks by Peter Schlamb and Logan Richardson were selected in a best-of-2018 show on 90.9 The Bridge.

*Tweet o’ the Week: GreenLadyLounge- Rain, shine or BLIZZARD Green Lady Lounge has Live Kansas City Jazz 365 days a year. Music starts at 6pm today with: Wire Town 6pm-10pm Followed by RSS Trio 10:30pm-2:30am

*From a press release for Jazz Carolfest at Community Christian Church: ...This year we will be celebrating the 23rd year of this annual tradition benefitting Week of Compassion on Sunday, December 2nd at 4:00 p.m… This year’s stellar performances will include the return of Millie Edwards, Diane “Mama” Ray and the 3 Trails West Trio along with the diverse and exceptional talents of Misha Roberts, Calvin Arsenia, Missy Koonce, Charles Williams, Terry Swope, Adam Bender, Jameson Mair & Victor & Penny! Also rounding out the show will be the return of the sensational house band with Jazz veterans Tim Whitmer, Rod Fleeman, Jurgen Welge, James Albright, Jim Mair, Stan Kessler & Chris Hazelton.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

EP Review: Peter Shlamb- Electric Tinks

I equated Kansas City jazz with Jay McShann when I came of age during the Reagan administration.  Kevin Mahogany seemed to personify the sound of the city in the ‘90s.  Bobby Watson dominated the decade after he returned to Kansas City in 2000 to become UMKC’s Director of Jazz Studies. 

The most compelling sound of the past few years is the amplified vibraphone played by Peter Schlamb.  His new EP Electric Tinks is a worthy successor to his stunning 2014 release Tinks.  It’s my understanding that Schlamb is joined by saxophonists Ben van Gelder, Matt Otto and Logan Richardson, trumpeter Hermon Mehari, bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Ryan Lee on the 24-minute release, but Schlamb’s plugged-in tones that range from the grating buzz of a modem to the divine sound of a heavenly harp dominate the seven concise selections. 

“Skylar’s View” is among the tracks that mirror the futuristic sound of the Los Angeles based Brainfeeder camp more than the music of Watson, Mahogany or McShann, further evidence that everything’s up to date in Kansas City.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Now's the Time: Thollem McDonas

The experimental keyboardist Thollem McDonas performs at YJ’s on Saturday, December 1.  The Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists all of the area’s jazz performances.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The most recent round of ugly legal woes hobbling the Mutual Musicians Foundation are detailed by Mark Davis for The Kansas City Star.

*Laura Ziegler of UMKC reports on the installation of a new board of directors at the embattled American Jazz Museum.

*The inaugural edition of the Listening Room Recording Series is slated for 7 p.m. Sunday, November 25, at Black Dolphin.  A performance by Brian Baggett’s Dojo will be recorded for playback on Green Lady Radio (and possibly a release on vinyl).  The three-hour session that’s designed to capture a “live concert feel” is free and open to the public.

*Ernest Melton is featured by the Johnson County Library.

*The Joe Locke Trio featuring Pat Bianchi and Marvin “Smitty” Smith will perform at the Blue Room on Saturday, December 8.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Josh Hurst- I'm a late arriver to this one, but Logan Richardson's Blues People is one of the wildest, woolliest, and gnarliest jazz records of the year-- powerful in how it hauls well-trod conventions into the present day.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Album Review: Ernest Melton- The Time of the Slave Is Over

Ernest Melton has arrived.  After years of raving about the young Kansas City saxophonist without much tangible corroboration of my enthusiasm, I was beginning to think my advocacy was misplaced. 

The Time of the Slave Is Over- Melton’s second release of 2018- indicates that his potential has been realized.  Filled with righteous fury, the album acts as a dangerously disruptive undercurrent in the tranquil sea of civility that dominates Kansas City’s jazz scene.

Much like Blues People, the most recent statement by the divisive Kansas City saxophonist Logan Richardson, the unpolished The Time of the Slave Is Over is loud and abrasive.  There’s nothing polite or accommodating about the confrontational album.  Even the ballads possess lacerating edges.

The aggressive funk accents provided by bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Brad Williams cause The Time of the Slave Is Over to resemble the brash work of the London based innovator Shabaka Hutchings more than the calibrated bop of the hometown hero Bobby Watson.  Melton has thrown down the gauntlet.  Will his peers in Kansas City accept the challenge?

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Now's the Time: trioKAIT

Kait Dunton, a Los Angeles based pianist and former member of Snarky Puppy, will perform with trioKAIT at Black Dolphin on Thursday, November 15.  The Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists all of the area’s jazz performances.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City Star reports on the latest developments in the reorganization of the American Jazz Museum.

*Marilyn Maye’s concert at Yardley Hall was documented by Joe Dimino.

*Take Five Music Productions will present Thollem McDonas at YJ’s Snack Bar on Saturday, December 1.  A $10 donation will be requested at the door.  The New Jazz Order Big Band Reunion featuring Ellington's Nutcracker will transpire at the Martin Event Space in Martin City. on Sunday, December 9.  The cover charge for adults is $15.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Frank Boal- I hope I have the energy this international icon and legend has when I'm 90!! The incomparable Marilyn Maye!! What a show tonight at the Carlson Center on JCCC campus. Wow, just wow!! She performed for an hour and a half and brought the house down.

*From a press release: Internationally-recognized jazz leader Dan Thomas has been named Executive Director of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, the group’s Board of Directors has announced.  Thomas, who has called Kansas City his home for nearly 20 years, the last 18 of which he served as a faculty member and administrator leading the Jazz Studies program at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music, is a well-known performer, composer, recording artist, educator and jazz leader in Kansas City and internationally.

*From a press release: The Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College will present the Angela Hagenbach Quintet on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Polsky Theatre.  Hagenbach has been a jazz icon on the Kansas City scene for nearly three decades... Performing with her on Dec. 2 are Roger Wilder, piano; Danny Embrey, guitar; Tyrone Clark, bass; and Michael Warren, drums.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Album Review: OJT- New Originals for the Green Lady

“Lamanai”, the stellar track that opens New Originals for the Green Lady, suggests that the Kansas City trio OJT has developed an intriguing new approach to organ jazz.  Organist Ken Lovern twines the styles of prog-rock keyboardists like Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson with the approaches of jazz giants such as Jimmy McGriff and Richard “Groove” Holmes.  Guitarist Brian Baggett and Kevin Frazee help Lovern gradually morph “Lamanai” from rock pomp into a Southern rock jam worthy of the Allman Brothers Band.

Alas, OJT backtracks from the bold opening salvo.   The subsequent selections on its fourth album New Originals for the Green Lady are in the established organ jazz traditions that range from vintage Jimmy Smith through John Scofield’s collaborations with Medeski Martin & Wood.  While not particularly innovative, the final seven tracks are unflaggingly groovy. 

It’s the kind of feel-good party music associated with Green Lady Lounge.  OJT honed the uncommon cohesion it demonstrates on New Originals for the Green Lady by playing at Kansas City’s most successful jazz venue every Wednesday for years.  On “Lamanai,” however, OJT transcends those influences to forge a fresh new sound, a breakthrough that the group would do well to pursue on its next recording.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Now's the Time: Marilyn Maye

One of the most astonishing things about Marilyn Maye is that her current artistry is superior to her appealing performance in this 48-year-old television appearance.  Jon Niccum interviewed Maye for The Kansas City Star in advance of her appearance with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra at Yardley Hall on Sunday, November 11.  All of the area’s gigs are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Brian Scarborough and Chris Hazelton chatted with Joe Dimino.

*A brief preview about Marilyn Maye’s forthcoming concert at Yardley Hall is among The Kansas City Star’s weekly concert recommendations.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Linda Bowlen- Our fundraiser @TheFollyTheater w/ @realOletaAdams has less than 50 seats remaining! Get online and get yours NOW! #Gospel #JazzLovers #KansasCity #philanthropy #fundraising #historicalplace

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Concert Review: Kamasi Washington at the Truman

 I thought I was about to attend a cosmic jazz recital as I paid $35 to enter the Truman on Monday, October 29.  Instead, I participated in a jam band jamboree. With two drummers, a hippie-chic aesthetic and a penchant for blustery solos, the groove-oriented seven-piece ensemble led by Kamasi Washington resembled the output of the elite jam-oriented group the Tedeschi-Trucks Band.  Rather than mirroring Derek Trucks’ evocation of guitarist John McLaughlin, saxophonist Washington roared like John Coltrane.

Uptempo selections elicited ecstatic dancing amid the audience of more than 500, while subdued material that sounded like heavily amplified variations of A Love Supreme induced peaceful meditation.  Even though it wasn’t quite what I expected, I admired almost everything I heard during the 75 minutes I spent at the show. The presence of keyboardist Brandon Coleman provided a sonic link to Washington’s more electronic-oriented compatriots Flying Lotus and Thundercat.  The cross-disciplinary bassist Miles Mosley anchored the band while the exaltations of vocalist Patrice Quinn aroused mass euphoria.

Cynics who insist that Kansas City is home to many saxophonists who are more technically accomplished than Washington are probably right.  So what? Washington has perfected a maximalist concept that renders scholastic aptitude irrelevant.  Monday’s concert proved that his status as the world’s most popular jazz musician under the age of 40 is entirely warranted.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Now's the Time: The United States Army Field Band

The United States Army Field Band begins a barnstorming tour of the area on Friday, November 2.  Various configurations of the ensemble will perform at the Lied Center, the American Jazz Museum, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Kansas City VA Medical Center.  Details are available at the band’s site and at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*David Basse cites Steve Caporale, Sam Copeland, Matt Kane, Stephen Martin and Nate Nall as UMKC jazz study musicians to watch in a University News feature.

*Stan Kessler dropped knowledge on KCUR’s Up To Date this morning. 

*An All About Jazz review of Lonnie McFadden’s of Live at Green Lady Lounge suggests the album represents “pure jazz joy.”

*Leslie MacLean, Matt Kane and Ken Lovern were interviewed by Joe Dimino.  Dimino also documented a Halloween-themed concert by a band led by Peter Schlamb.

*New York Voices will perform at Community Christian Church on Tuesday, January 22.  The ensemble will also present a masterclass at Kansas City Kansas Community College on Wednesday, January 23rd.

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar contains a thorough listing of November’s jazz bookings.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Terry Teachout- Here's my insider's perspective: any jazz bassist who gets work is loose BY DEFINITION. I place in evidence this snapshot of myself when young at a Kansas City jam session: (photo)

*From a press release: On Thursday, November 8, at 8:30 p.m., the David Basse Trio will present a free concert with vocalist & pianist John Bauers at Knuckleheads Saloon.  John Bauers is a Kansas City native who has lived and performed in the New York area for over 30 years. John won an Emmy for his composing on “Mercerville” and has released five CDs as a pianist and vocalist. He is the front man for New York’s best little big band Swingadelic.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Concert Review: The Will Matthews Quintet at Open Spaces

I didn’t detect a trace of irony in Dan Cameron’s introduction for the Will Matthews Quintet’s performance at Swope Park on Saturday, October 20.  Cameron, the artistic director of the Open Spaces festival, insisted that “Kansas City is a jazz town.”  The ten people who showed up for the free show were outnumbered by Open Spaces staffers, volunteers and craft vendors. 

Matthews reminded the members of the intimate gathering that he’s played guitar with the Count Basie Orchestra for the last 22 years during a set that opened with an interpretation of “In a Mellow Tone.”  The sentiment expressed in the title of the Duke Ellington composition encapsulates Matthews’ accommodating swing.

Trombonist Louis Neal, keyboardist Matt Villinger and drummer Clarence Smith matched Matthews’ unhurried approach.  The woefully undervalued saxophonist Charles Perkins had other ideas.  Perkins’ intense evocation of Eric Dolphy averted any sense of routine complacency in the lightly attended but enormously satisfying outing.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Now's the Time: Kamasi Washington at the Truman

The condescending ways in which many jazz purists dismiss Kamasi Washington act as a contrary indicator of his artistic merit.  The saxophonist, bandleader and composer has cultivated an enthusiastic following among members of the indie-rock and hip-hop communities.  Washington’s appearance at the Truman on Monday, October 29, is the jazz event of the year for hundreds of people who have no interest in internecine jazz conflicts.  Hundreds of less contentious performances are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The locally based pianist Addison Frei is a semifinalist in The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

*Pat Metheny, pianist Gwilym Simcock, bassist Linda Oh and percussionist Antonio Sánchez perform with the San Diego Symphony on Saturday, October 27.  Metheny discussed the concert with George Varga of The San Diego Union Tribune.

*Here’s footage of Gamelan Genta Kasturi’s interpreting Sun Ra’s “Angels and Demons at Play” in Kansas City last weekend.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Dominique Sanders- Chicago!!!! Playing at Constellation Chicago with Logan Richardson 830pm show and 945pm!!! See you guys tonight!

*From a press release: The next event in Lori Chandler’s Take Five Music Productions- Tink or Treat: Peter Schlamb Electric Tinks CD Release Party: Peter is an outstanding vibraphonist from St. Louis who lives full time in Kansas City, but plays all over the world. His Electric Tinks project is a whole new twist on jazz featuring Peter on pedal-enhanced vibraphone. This event is a true party with a costume contest to boot. Opening support from DJ Reach and The Cur3.  Sunday, October 27 at the Brewhouse at Brewery Emperial. 7pm. $10 cover charge at the door.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Concert Review: Erykah Badu at the Sprint Center

Things began to look up when Erykah Badu fell down at the Sprint Center on Friday.  I sensed a glimmer of hope as the headliner continued singing while lying prone on the stage after tripping over the curtain that had been dropped shortly after her performance began at 11:40 p.m.

Up to that moment, my $46.50 ticket- the least expensive seat for the Fountain City Blues & Jazz Festival that was slated to begin at 8 p.m.- had purchased nothing but disappointment.  CeeLo Green’s set was discombobulated.  Goodie Mob was pedestrian, a “comedian” told recycled jokes and an R&B vocalist repeatedly shouted “f--- that n-----.”  The concert's promoter had the gall to announce his candidacy for the City Council of Kansas City in the midst of the mess.  When the restless audience of more than 4,000 took up a chant of “Badu” after 11 p.m., an emcees ridiculed them before snapping “calm down, god damn it.”

Only a miracle could had salvaged the debacle.  And that’s just what occurred.  Badu admitted that “I fell down for real” as stagehands helped her to her feet.  From that moment on, she and her large band were transcendent.

As she conducted the musicians with the severity of Buddy Rich, Badu sounded like Billie Holiday singing over a keyboard-dominated remix of Miles Davis’ 1972 album On the Corner.  Otherworldly versions of hits like “Window Seat,” “Didn’t Cha Know” and “On & On” were less neo-soul than 21st century jazz.  The spell was broken only when when the house lights were abruptly switched on in the middle of a song at 12:37 a.m.

“That was Satan himself” Badu suggested of a rare “bad groove” during her hour-long outing.  Perhaps.  Her appearance at the Sprint Center was a radiant slice of heaven during a night that was otherwise a heaping helping of concert-going hell.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Now's the Time: Erykah Badu at the Sprint Center

As an astute writer suggests in a concert preview for The Kansas City Star, Erykah Badu exemplifies the creative spirit of Billie Holiday.  Badu tops the bill of the Fountain City Blues & Jazz Festival at the Sprint Center on Friday, October 19.  The trumpeter Keyon Harrold is among the jazz-adjacent musicians accompanying Badu in the embedded video.  Dozens of additional weekend gigs are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Hermon Mehari chatted with KCUR’s Chuck Haddix.

*The editorial board of The Kansas City Star suggests that the “status quo at the American Jazz Museum is unacceptable.”

*Seven minutes of footage of last night’s concert by Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom was shared by Steve Paul.

*Mike Corrigan's instrument and instrument repair business is the subject of a two-minute feature created by NBC News.

*John Kizilarmut was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*The season debut of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra was documented by Joe Dimino.

*Clint Ashlock is quoted in a The New York Times story about the mania surrounding Patrick Mahomes, the young quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

*Tweet o’ the Week: SpinningTreeTheatre- Jazz Great Angela Hagenbach Headlines Spinning Tree Sings! Cabaret Fundraiser. Mon Nov 12 @ 7:30pm, Just Off Broadway. Roger Wilder, Piano. Tyrone Clark, Bass. Michael Warren, Drums

(Original image of a men's bathroom in Arrowhead Stadium at Saturday's Ed Sheeran concert by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Concert Review: The Vijay Iyer Sextet at the Gem Theater

At the outset of his performance at the Gem Theater on Sunday, Vijay Iyer told the 75 members of the audience that he had an out-of-body experience at the Mutual Musicians Foundation earlier in the day. For the next 90 minutes, my $20 ticket allowed me to travel over the moon and through the stars via the transporting sound of the all-star sextet led by one of the most decorated artists in jazz.

Initially slated to be held at the 8,000-seat Starlight Theatre as the third and final installment of the Open Spaces festival’s showcase concert series, weather considerations necessitated the change in location for the show’s headlining act. The brisk temperature and unrelenting precipitation were a blessing in disguise. Iyer drew about 250 people to his previous Kansas City appearance at the Folly Theater in 2012. A quintet led by Hermon Mehari opened Sunday’s show.

Profound, revelatory and experimental without ever seeming forced, the playing of keyboardist Iyer, Graham Haynes on flugelhorn and electronics, saxophonists Steve Lehman and Mark Shim, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Jeremy Dutton evoked the 90-year-old recordings of Louis Armstrong’s band even during the most adventurous explorations. Footage of the year’s most exemplary concert of improvised instrumental music streams here and here.

(Original images by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Now's the Time: The Vijay Iyer Sextet

The Weekend, the signature event of the Open Spaces festival, consists of three concerts at Starlight Theatre.  Janelle Monáe and the Roots, the headliners of the first two shows, are depicted on a billboard on the east side of downtown Kansas City.  Vijay Iyer, the brilliant jazz artist who leads a sextet at the venue on Sunday, October 14, isn’t pictured.  Open Spaces provides few details about the pianist’s show, but Iyer’s site informs fans that he’ll be joined by an all-star band.  Graham Haynes will play cornet, flugelhorn and trumpet.  Saxophonists Steve Lehman and Mark Shim, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Jeremy Dutton round out the lineup.  A complete survey of area jazz performances is available at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Now's the Time: Weekly News & Notes

*Tim Finn reports on Lori Chandler’s new Take Five Music Productions endeavor.

*Calvin Wilson wrote a profile of Doreen Maronde for KC Studio.

*The Marcus Lewis Big Band’s appearance at the Open Spaces festival was documented by David Basse for University News.

*Winners in The Pitch’s annual poll include Green Lady Lounge (Best Blues Venue, Best Jazz Venue and Best Nightclub), Molly Hammer (Best Jazz Artist), A La Mode (Best Jazz Band) and the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival (Best Jazz Event).

*Tweet o’ the Week: Kauffman Center- Don't miss The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s season-opener “Autumn In New York” on Oct. 12 at the Kauffman Center. The performance will feature classic charts by Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, and more! Tickets: (link)

*From a press release: New Originals for the Green Lady is the fourth album length release by the Kansas City group OJT (organ jazz trio).  This release features original compositions by Ken Lovern and Brian Baggett and one completely improvised piece titled Back Yard Improv Jam.  New Originals is the follow up album to New Standards for the Green Lady, a 2015 release that gave the group’s unique organ jazz treatment to pop tunes of the last few decades.  OJT now makes a more unique and personal musical statement with a full length album of original music.  Both of these releases feature Ken Lovern on hammond organ, Brian Baggett on guitar, and Kevin Frazee on drums… New Originals will be available on November 7, 2018 in collectible green vinyl, traditional black vinyl, CD, and downloads… OJT plays at Green Lady Lounge every Wednesday and Saturday, so if you are in Kansas City there are plenty of chances to catch the group.

*From a press release: The Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College presents its ninth year of Winterlude, spotlighting jazz in full-length evening performances. The 2018-2019 season kicks off with Marilyn Maye, “90 at Last,” featuring the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in Yardley Hall… Local groups playing in the Winterlude series include: Angela Hagenbach Quintet: Dec. 2; Eddie Moore and Pamela Baskin-Watson: Jan. 20; Hot Club KC: Feb. 24; Cubanisms: March 17. These performances will take place at 7 p.m. in the Carlsen Center Polsky Theatre.

(Original image from a festival in Kentucky by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Concert Review: Ramsey Lewis and Urban Knights at the Folly Theater

Ramsey Lewis and Urban Knights got off to a rough start at the Folly Theater on Thursday, September 27.  Guitarist Henry Johnson, keyboardist Tim Gant, bassist Joshua Ramos and drummer Charles Heath stubbornly laid down an unrelenting funk groove as Lewis attempted to play a delicate improvisation on acoustic piano in an awkward interpretation of “Tequila Mockingbird.”  I feared that I’d spent $20 to watch an evening of musicians working at cross-purposes.

Even though the soul-jazz giant, 83, and his bandmates eventually found common ground in their 90-minute performance, Lewis’ unaccompanied playing on versions of John Coltrane’s “Dear Lord” and the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” provided the show’s most memorable moments.  Lewis’ unaccompanied excursions indicated that while his body may move slowly, his mind is as facile as ever.

After encouraging the audience of about 600 to clap along during the encore, Lewis jokingly snarled when they persisted.  His physical comedy was mirrored by the Urban Knights.  Each man elicited laughter at least once with amusing musical gags.  I’ve seen Lewis perform several times in recent years, but his usual closing flurry of the hits “Sun Goddess,” “Wade in the Water” and “The ‘In’ Crowd” never fails to give me goosebumps.  If Lewis returns to Kansas City in 2019, I’ll be there to greet him.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Now's the Time: John Petrucelli

John Petrucelli likens his sound to current jazz heavyweights like Donny McCaslin.  The lofty comparison isn’t unwarranted.  Petrucelli, the Director of Jazz at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, demonstrates his brawny sound and big imagination on his new album Presence.  He’ll lead a band in the Orion Room at the Green Lady Lounge on Monday, October 8, and next door at Black Dolphin on Tuesday, October 9.  The saxophonist’s gigs are among the listings at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Lonnie McFadden’s Live at Green Lady Lounge was enthusiastically reviewed by Jazz Weekly.

*Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom will perform at Musical Theater Heritage on Tuesday, October 16.

*Kait Dunton, the former keyboardist for Snarky Puppy, will lead a trio at Black Dolphin on Thursday, Nov. 15.

*Joe Dimino shares glimpses of Stephen Martin’s recent performance at RecordBar.  He also chatted with Molly Hammer.

*The 56-page program for the 2018-19 season of the Folly Theater Jazz Series lists the lineups for the forthcoming concerts.  I’m republishing them as a public service.  Larry Carlton Quintet, October 12: Larry Carlton, guitar; Gary Novak, drums; Travis Carlton, bass; Bob Reynolds, saxophone; Mark Stevens, keyboard; The Yellowjackets, January 18: Russell Ferrante, piano; Will Kennedy, drums; Dane Alderson, bass; Bob Mintzer, tenor saxophone; Kandace Springs, February 15: Kandace Springs, keyboard/vocals; Chris Gaskell, bass; Connor Parks, drums; Kurt Elling Quintet, March 9: Kurt Elling, vocals; Stu Mindeman, piano; Clark Sommers, bass; Adonis Rose, drums; Joshua Redman Quartet, April 11: Joshua Redman, saxophone; Aaron Goldberg, piano; Reuben Rogers, bass; Gregory Hutchinson, drums; Arturo Sandoval, April 27: Arturo Sandoval, trumpet; John Belzaguy, bass; Tiki Pasillas, percussion; Michael Tucker, saxophone.

*A blogger documented an area performance by Lonnie Holley and Nelson Patton.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Gravy Jones- Jazz in the restroom at the Kansas City zoo is just perfect.

*Kansas City Jazz Calendar has been updated with October’s gigs.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Concert Review: Mezzo String at Polsky Theatre

Ryan Lee conducted a disheartening exercise at Mezzo String’s free noontime concert at Polsky Theatre on Tuesday, September 25.  Only a few hands went up when the bandleader asked which members of the audience of almost 100 were younger than 30.  A few more responded when asked if they were younger than 40.  About a dozen additional people acknowledged that they were in their forties.  Even though it’s held on the campus of Johnson County Community College, the Jazz Series attracts retirees rather than students.

And truth be told, Mezzo String’s highly refined chamber jazz is more likely to appeal to people with naturally gray hair than to students who opt to dye their hair purple.  Lee, one of Kansas City’s most dynamic drummers, seamlessly meshes jazz musicians and a string quartet in Mezzo String.  While he and his bandmates are young, their cultivated sound never threatened to unsettle even the most conservative old-timers in the audience.  Every one of the old folks was probably already familiar with the melodies on interpretations of “Lush Life” and “My One and Only Love.”  A reading of the former standard served as a vehicle for trumpeter Nate Nall, while the later selection was played by the ensemble’s string quartet and bassist Ben Leifer.

The tone of two or three original compositions matched the genteel sensibility.  Lee insisted that the three soloists “go wild” on an interpretation of Joe Locke’s “Her Sanctuary.”  The mandate pushed the straight-laced pianist Roger Wilder out of his comfort zone to excellent effect and allowed Nall and violinist Coleen Dieker to do what comes naturally to them.  Lee noted that he’d heard and participated in “a lot of great concerts” at Polsky Theatre.  He can add last week’s distinguished show to that list.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Now's the Time: Lonnie Holley

Lonnie Holley isn’t necessarily a jazz artist, but his new album Mith features contributions from the jazz-adjacent ensemble Nelson Patton and is imbued with an improvisatory spirit.  The celebrated eccentric who received a positive notice at Pitchfork today performs in Swope Park at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, September 29, as part of Open Spaces.  The free show is one of more than 30 of the day’s gigs listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Stan Kessler shares an anecdote about a celebrity encounter with Joe Dimino.

*Harry Connick Jr. will perform at the Midland theater on Wednesday, December 19.

*Tweet o’ the Week: The CUR3- The Mayor approves..... That's a Major 🔑 TheCUR3 is ready to take over! #God1st #Family #Music #Life #mayorofkansascity #Chicago #stlouis #kansascity(photo)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Concert Review: James D’s Nouveau Noir at Open Spaces

The first of two free musical performances presented by Open Spaces in Swope Park on the afternoon of Saturday, September 22, was promoted with a jazz hashtag.  Even though James D, a.k.a. James Christos, is a Kansas City rapper who once held next-big-thing status, I had no reason to doubt the categorization.  Christos is currently associated with the Mutual Musicians Foundation and the hallowed jazz institution’s low-power radio station KOJH.

A few minutes before the Nouveau Noir performance began, a woman at Christos' merch booth told me that if I liked jazz, I’d like the show.  I was further encouraged when jazz-oriented musicians including drummer Tyree Johnson took the stage.  I was let down.

The program Christo described as a “sound journey” was intended to convey the totality of the black American experience.  It included segments of African drumming, poetry, interpretive dance, R&B and an a cappella version of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.”  Yet it was mostly a vehicle for Christos’ rapping.  At one point in the 90-minute performance for an audience of 50, Christos introduced a selection as “a little bit of a jazzy thing.”  Nope.  He rapped that he was “feeling myself” over a neo-soul groove instead.

Misrepresenting music as “#jazz” is a minor infraction.  The inconsistent quality of the show was a more serious misdeed.  I’ve heard most members of the band play far more compelling music.  I’ve also witnessed Christos rap with stunning ferocity.  The overly solicitous Nouveau Noir review catered to the sorts of middle-aged do-gooders who proudly display “Celebrate Diversity” bumper stickers on their hybrid vehicles.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Now's the Time: Ramsey Lewis

The embedded video documents an unbearably cringey television appearance by a band led by Ramsey Lewis.  An appallingly disrespectful and absurdly incongruous dance troupe shimmies through renditions of the crossover hits “The ‘In’ Crowd” and “Hang On Sloopy.”  Lewis and his Urban Knights ensemble perform at the Folly Theater on Thursday, Sept. 27.  The show is one of the evening’s 16 gigs listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*David Basse extols Stan Kessler in the University News.

*Millie Edwards was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*Max Bennett, a jazz-oriented musician with ties to Kansas City, has died.

*Erykah Badu, an R&B star who channels Billie Holiday, headlines what’s billed as the Fountain City Blues & Jazz Festival at the Sprint Center on October 19.

*Tweet o’ the Week: FOX4 News- Family, friends hold vigil for young father killed last Friday night near 18th and Highland in Kansas City’s Jazz District (link)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Album Review: The Count Basie Orchestra- All About That Basie

All About That Basie is precisely the sort of album the Count Basie Orchestra needed to release in 2018.  By blending a few impressive guest features with tracks that remain true to the institution’s tradition of powerhouse swing, the star-studded album allows the band whose leader died in 1984 to stave off cultural irrelevance.

In harkening back to Frank Sinatra’s popular collaboration with the Count Basie Orchestra, Kurt Elling’s suave vocal makes “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” the album’s standout track.  Stevie Wonder adds his distinctive harmonica to a robust instrumental version of “My Cherie Amour.”  Joey DeFrancesco’s greasy organ on a remake of “April in Paris” is delectable.

The project contains a few misfires. Two tracks are particularly egregious.  The vocal group Take 6 piles thick layers of gooey cheese on “Every Day I Have the Blues.”  And it’s disappointing that no one told the Basie crew that there’s an unofficial moratorium on covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” the most played-out song of the new millennium.

Even so, the good on All About That Basie easily outweighs the bad.  And while guitarist Will Matthews is the only member of the band who still resides in Kansas City, the Count Basie Orchestra continues to make Kansas City proud.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Now's the Time: The Sextet

Grab your sunglasses.  The Sextet has a pair of free outdoor daylight gigs lined up.  The youthful collective led by bassist Robert Castillo performs at Big Eleven Lake in Kansas City, Kansas, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 15.  The Sextet will entertain on the Ink Live! Stage during the Plaza Art Fair at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 23.  The Kansas City Jazz Calendar is a complete guide to all area performances.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Dimino interviewed Jackie Myers and Nate Nall.

*Joe Dimino created a video montage of the opening acts at last weekend’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival.

*A man was murdered in the heart of the Jazz District last week.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Crunchee- Logan Richardson and his band played an amazing set at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival last night. Too bad 95% of the crowd left when it got loud and never got to see it.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Gently Up the Stream

Let’s play a jazz version of the “would you rather” parlor game. 
Would you rather receive a cumulative 250 spins a week on non-commercial radio stations throughout the country or rack up 10,000 plays a week in the global marketplace with a single song on Spotify?

The former option involves mailing compact discs to dozens of radio stations and (ideally) hiring a publicist to persuade DJs to play it.  The latter gambit requires lobbying a well-placed connection at the music streaming service or simply relying on fortuitous serendipity to obtain placement on popular playlists.

The efforts documented on social media by many locally based musicians suggest that they covet placement on the JazzWeek terrestrial radio chart.  Karrin Allyson, an artist who launched her career in Kansas City, currently holds the #2 spot on the chart with 238 weekly plays of selections from her Some of That Sunshine album at 53 outlets.

“Fake it Till I Make It,” a track from the Kansas City based Marcus Lewis Big Band’s new album Brass & Boujee, achieved a different form of success.  Since being added to Spotify’s State of Jazz playlist a couple weeks ago, it’s been played more than 50,000 times. 

As much as I like working in the terrestrial radio format, I believe that focusing on placement at streaming services is a savvier strategy for most area jazz artists, at least until a song or album gains traction.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Now's the Time: Logan Richardson

Joe Lovano’s bold playing repelled a significant portion of the audience at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival in 2014.  The even more aggressive sound of Logan Richardson could induce mild panic at the event on Saturday, September 8.  Molly Hammer, the Enormous Guitar Project, the Kessler-Embry Conspiracy, Victor & Penny and the Shawnee Mission East Blue Knights round out the bill.  Hundreds of additional gigs are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*David Basse encourages UMKC students to catch jazz performances on the Country Club Plaza.

*The practicality of Vijay Iyer’s headlining appearance at Starlight Theater is among the issues addressed in a discussion of Open Spaces on KCUR’s Up To Date program.

*The Kansas City Star previewed Logan Richardson’s appearance at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival

*Anthony Braxton will perform in St. Louis next month.  (Tip via St. Louis Jazz Notes.)

*Tweet o’ the Week: WBGO Jazz 88.3FM- Hear our sets captured live at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival with Catherine Russell and Keyon Harrold: (link)

*From a press release: Millie Edwards and her band will kick off the fourth season of Kansas City Jazz Vespers on Sunday, September 9, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, featuring 100 minutes of professional jazz in a concert setting...  Kansas City Jazz Vespers is held at the historic First Baptist Church... 

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar has been updated with September’s gigs.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Album Review: The Marcus Lewis Big Band- Brass and Boujee

The most bracing passage of Brass and Boujee, the new album by the Marcus Lewis Big Band, comes in the final moments of the consequential project.  Kemet the Phantom raps that throughout his “whole damn life seems like I been lied to, f-ck the American dream, I’m gonna fight you” on “Ghetto Heaven.”

The incendiary lyric blows the lid off an album that’s otherwise kept at a medium simmer.  Brass and Boujee is a poised dispatch from the intersection of jazz and hip-hop.  Lewis, a Kansas City based trombonist best known for his association with Janelle Monaé, has marshalled many of the region’s top jazz artists into his big band.  His urbane charts leave plenty of room for the wildly disparate rappers Kemet the Phantom and Kadesh Flow.

The latter artist employs an emphatic style so urgent that he sometimes seems as if he’s choking.  Unfortunately, he’s assigned the quixotic task of delivering Kendrick Lamar’s lines on an interpretation of “Alright,” a track that should have been left off the album.  His outburst at the end of the album aside, the nimble Kemet the Phantom applies a lighter touch. 

In spite of the album title’s allusion to Migos’ 2016 hit “Bad and Boujee,” the band’s sound is more closely aligned with ‘70s-era R&B and the pop styles of the ‘80s than with contemporary hip-hop.  A cover of Bruno Mars’ retro-themed hit “24k Magic” reflects its orientation.  Kadesh Flow boasts that “I’m dominating rap battles because of my vocabulary” on the appealingly vulnerable “Boxes.”  In much the same way, the refined audacity of Lewis’ ensemble allows it to surpass many of its peers.

(Original image of the Marcus Lewis Big Band at RecordBar by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Now's the Time: Ken Lovern

Ken Lovern doesn’t live at the Green Lady Lounge, but it often seems that way.  The organist will perform with guitarist Danny Embrey and drummer Todd Strait in the Orion Room at Kansas City’s most popular jazz venue on Friday, August 31.  Lovern’s additional dates are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s performance of Mary Lou Williams’ “Zodiac Suite” was previewed by Libby Hanssen for KCUR.

*Joe Dimino interviewed Dan Thomas and two of his UMKC students.

*The Kansas City Star reports that the Grille at Park Place, a Johnson County restaurant that hosted jazz performances every weekend, is closing.

*Julie Denesha examined a Charlie Parker-inspired art installation for KCUR.

*”Jazz is ear poison.”

*Tweet o’ the Week: SummerStage- @Thebadplus are sounding extra good here this afternoon at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival!  – at Tompkins Square Park (video)

(Original image of Nevin Aladağ's "Resonator" by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Concert Review: Lonnie McFadden's "Charlie Parker: Past, Present & Future" at the Gem Theater

Kansas City’s top entertainer oversaw a jubilant tribute to Kansas City’s most famous son at the Gem Theater on Sunday.  In many ways, Lonnie McFadden’s "Charlie Parker: Past, Present & Future" presentation was a McFadden Brothers concert with an extra helping of chatter and contributions from two auspicious guests.  Most members of the audience of more than 400 wouldn’t have had it any other way at the momentous event.

McFadden, the man known as “Mr. Kansas City,” is a jazz saxophonist, tap dancer and Las Vegas-style showman.  He was joined by his brother, trumpeter Ronnie McFadden, and a core band of pianist Andrew Ouellette, guitarist Matt Hopper, bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Tyree Johnson.  The 100-minute show featured appearances by Kansas City’s grand master Bobby Watson and the New York based saxophonist Tivon Pennicott.

McFadden insisted that he’s a dedicated Parker scholar in a lengthy appreciation at the start of the culmination of the fifth annual Charlie Parker Celebration.  He may have felt the extended commentary was necessary because the show didn’t feature a single Parker composition or any attempts to recreate Parker’s sound.

If McFadden’s verbal acclamations represented the “past” portion of the show’s title, the vital music defined the “present.”  The McFaddens stepped aside to allow Pennicott to showcase his imposing technique on “Lush Life” and his original “Never Been.”  Watson sounded as magnificent as ever on his compositions “Sweet Dreams” and “Wheel Within a Wheel.”  McFadden’s duet with his daughter Chloe on “Unforgettable” and a tap dance routine with Ronnie were sure-fire audience pleasers.

McFadden insisted that the “future” component of the show’s title was represented by the comparatively young musicians Hopper, Johnson, Manning and Ouellette.  While they played flawlessly, none of them has yet revealed an intention to become a transgressive innovator in the tradition of Parker.  Area jazz fans will need to wait for Logan Richardson’s return to Kansas City on September 8 to hear a truer representation of Parker’s futuristic vision.

Setlist: Birdland, A Night in Tunisia, Never Been, Lush Life, Cherokee, Sweet Dreams, Wheel Within a Wheel, tap dancing, Unforgettable, Kansas City

(Original images by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Now's the Time: Nolatet

Mike Dillon, the percussion maniac who has entertained (and terrorized) Kansas City audiences for decades, returns to the Brick on Wednesday, August 29, with Nolatet.  Joined by pianist Brian Haas, bassist James Singleton and drummer Johnny Vidacovich, Dillon will perform material from the band’s bracing new album No Revenge Necessary.  The show is one of scores listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Larry Kopitnik examines the Charlie Parker Celebration for The Pitch.

*Ron Carlson’s For You was recently released.

*David Basse touts the Charlie Parker Celebration in University News.

*Jacob Wagner and Chris Burnett  discussed Charlie Parker with Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up to Date.

*Chris Burnett was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*Lonnie McFadden’s “Charlie Parker: Past, Present & Future” concert at the Gem Theater was previewed by The Kansas City Star.

*Mark Lewis, a saxophonist and flutist based in Seattle, will perform with Bram Wijnands at the Majestic on Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Brad Scott- Finally got a chance to see A La Mode Friday night. Great band and I have to say that Jesica is one of the best jazz singers I've ever heard. #kansascityjazz #alamodejazz #jazz

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Album Review: Nate Nall Quintet- Places to Go

Nate Nall travels directly to the hard bop territory currently occupied by the likes of his fellow trumpeters Sean Jones and Terell Stafford on the opening track of Places to Go, his debut album as a leader.  For the next 50 minutes, Nall, a product of Bobby Watson’s jazz program at UMKC, confidently plants a flag in a destination that almost certainly meets with Watson’s approval.  Even though they only venture beyond the familiar terrain to take in the rugged vistas of “Destination Unknown” and the craggy canyons of “Starry Night,” Nall and saxophonist Matt Baldwin, guitarist Adam Schlozman, bassist Sam Copeland and drummer Zach Morrow capture plenty of dazzling auditory snapshots.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Now's the Time: The Charlie Hunter Trio

A trio led by Charlie Hunter will perform at the Bottleneck on Tuesday, August 21.  The guitarist isn’t as esteemed in the jazz community as the so-called “big three” of Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny and John Scofield, but his playing may be no less influential.  Hunter’s appearance is one of countless gigs listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Karrin Allyson’s new album Some of That Sunshine was released last week.

*Lonnie McFadden was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*“Herman Mahari” and “Mark Lowery” are among the musicians nominated in The Pitch’s “The Best of Kansas City 2018” poll.

*The playlist Nate Chinen created to promote his new book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century includes two tracks by artists with Kansas City roots.  Logan Richardson’s “Anthem (To Human Justice)” and the Pat Metheny Group’s “The Way Up: Part Two” are represented.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Julia Mann- @RyanTedder I thought you might like this. I remember you visited Green Lady Lounge when you were here in Kansas City. Kansas City's #1 jazz bar, The Green Lady Lounge, now has it's own radio station streaming live jazz played exclusively by KC musicians!

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)