Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*That’s My Jazz, a short documentary in which “Milt Abel II, a world-renowned pastry chef, reflects on his relationship with his deceased father Milton Abel Sr., famed Kansas City jazz musician,” will be screened at a film festival in New York City next month.

*The Pitch reports that John Scott, the man behind the jazz venues Green Lady Lounge and Black Dolphin, has assumed control of operations at the midtown space formerly occupied by Uptown Arts Bar.

*KC Studio published a profile of Marcus Lewis.

*Alex Abramovitz chatted with Joe Dimino.

*The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is returning to the Midland theatre to play a Christmas-themed concert on December 5.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Tony’s Kansas City- The Uptown Arts Bar Was Always Sketchy But Recently Denizens Of The Establishment Had Failed To Inspire Creativity And Now More Sober Management Hopes For A Turnaround. More Backhanded Hints About Why This Biz FAILED As Broadway Corridor Struggles

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The 411 on 424 Lounge

A swank jazz club opened in January.  It’s not in downtown Kansas City, nor is it situated in an affluent suburban development.  424 Lounge is in Leavenworth, a town closely associated with a famous penitentiary and a large military installation.  424 Lounge may alter that perception. 

On Saturday, March 9, I paid a $8 cover charge to hear a sublime performance by trombonist Jason Goudeau, keyboardist Eddie Moore, bassist Seth Lee and bassist Mike Warren.  Similarly auspicious artists perform every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the handsome, old-school venue.

The room isn’t merely stylish by local standards.  424 Lounge would be one of the nicer jazz venues in New York City.  The friendliness of somewhat uneven service and the fine acoustics are commendable.  Situated 30 miles from downtown Kansas City, 424 Lounge doesn’t lend itself to spontaneous visits, but it’s well worth the trek.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Now's the Time: Adam Nussbaum's Lead Belly Project

Jazz renditions of songs associated with the blues icon Lead Belly doesn’t seem like a promising proposition.  Yet Adam Nussbaum validates the unusual concept with his Lead Belly Project.  The drummer will be joined by guitarist Steve Cardenas (his third Kansas City appearance in four months!), guitarist Nate Radley and saxophonist Ohad Talmor in the intimate Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads on Thursday, March 21.  The performance is one of the date’s 19 shows listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The story behind a 1953 photograph of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Roy Haynes is told by Peter Facini of The New York Times.

*Joe Dimino documented a performance by Kerry Politzer at Black Dolphin.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Ben Putano- I'm not hating… but I think if someone came to KC for a Jazz-related vacation they'd leave disappointed. And that's a shame.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Concert Review: Ryan Keberle & Catharsis at Mod Gallery

Camila Meza sang “the order is rapidly fading” in a ravishingly melancholy rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” at Mod Gallery on Sunday, March 3.  How I wish it were so!

While the celebrated Chilean musician and her bandmates- trombonist Ryan Keberle, saxophonist John Ellis, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Eric Doob- were playing what Keberle characterized as political “protest music”- I couldn’t help but apply the sentiment to the group’s progressive musical approach.

Kansas City remains largely impervious to the charms of forward-thinking improvised music, an aversion reflected by the show’s attendance.  Less than 20 people braved frigid conditions to pay the $15 cover charge.  That’s even fewer than at the group’s free performance at Black Dolphin in 2018.

As Downbeat’s review of the band’s performance two days earlier in St. Louis and a 2014 appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert indicate, Catharsis is one of the most notable jazz-based touring groups of recent years.

With its surfeit of star power, emphasis on imaginative arrangements and commitment to banishing standard practices, the group resembles a modern-day Weather Report.  The abundance of talent occasionally led to frustration.  Individual expression was repressed in favor of a commitment to ensemble work.  (I posted one of Meza's brief solo statements to Instagram.)

Ellis didn’t let loose until the last set was almost over.  The saxophonist’s solo on “Fooled and Pushed Apart,” a composition inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again,” was as gloriously poignant as Ray Charles’ singing on “America the Beautiful.”  It was the sort of inspiring statement that everyone in Kansas City deserves to hear.  Yet for the time being, the times are a-changin’ elsewhere.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Now's the Time: Kurt Elling

I gushed about Kurt Elling in a preview of his Saturday, March 9, concert at the Folly Theater for The Kansas City Star, so there’s no need to embarrass myself a second time in this spotlight.  The vocalist will be joined by guitarist John McLean, pianist John Beasley, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Adonis Rose.  The show is one of 27 of Saturday’s engagements listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Chris Tickner, the man responsible for the jazz bookings at Johnnie’s Jazz Bar & Grille and B&B Theatres Liberty 12 Cinema, pitches his business on a television news program.

*Tim Finn conducted a question-and-answer session with Shay Estes.

*Rick Hellman objects to The Kansas City Star’s editorial about stasis at the American Jazz Museum in a letter to the newspaper.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Wing Walker Music- YESSS. I'm so excited that Hazel is listed along with all of these incredible artists as one of the Best Jazz releases on @Bandcamp for February 2019. Thanks to Dave Sumner!(@BirdIsTheWorm)

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists all of March’s bookings.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Album Review: Norman Brown- The Highest Act of Love

I tried on a posh fur coat in a bid to amuse my family and friends at a holiday party in December,  While I got plenty of laughs for modeling something I would never otherwise consider wearing, the joke was on me.  I discovered that donning the pelts of dozens of dead animals feels really good.  While I’ve been conditioned to think less of people who wear fur, I suddenly comprehended the appeal.

Smooth jazz carries a similar stigma.  Condescending detractors deride the form as an intellectually barren music intended for dimwitted sensualists.  Whatever.

Anyone who willingly hits play on Norman Brown’s eleventh solo album The Highest Act of Love will quickly become too blissed out to worry about such trivial matters.  The guitarist from Kansas City expertly establishes an impeccably relaxing vibe.  What’s wrong with that?

While The Highest Act of Love employs contemporary production techniques, it’s really just an extension of the sultry albums George Benson recorded for the CTI label in the early 1970s.  Brown emphasizes mood rather than technique.  Even so, selections including the title track make it clear that he’s capable of playing with as much finesse as Benson, Lee Ritenour and his Kansas City contemporary Will Matthews.

I’ll understand if you tag me with spray paint should you catch me luxuriating in a fur coat next winter.  I only ask that you don’t damage my headphones.  I might be basking in the comforting warmth of The Highest Act of Love.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Now's the Time: Kerry Politzer

Kerry Politzer, an exemplary representative of Portland’s thriving jazz scene, will perform at Black Dolphin at Wednesday, March 6, and Thursday, March 7.  She’ll be joined by saxophonist David Valdez, bassist Jeff Harshbarger and drummer Anthony Pinciotti.  All of March’s gigs are posted at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The editorial board of The Kansas City Star questions the wisdom of Kansas City allotting more than $1 million of its next fiscal-year budget to the American Jazz Museum.

*Kurt Elling chatted with Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.

*Controversy continues to swirl around the Garment House, the multi-story entertainment complex that includes the jazz-oriented Hush Speakeasy.

*Dave Scott chatted with Joe Dimino.

*Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston will perform at the Wichita Jazz Festival on March 30.  (Tip via PF.)

*Tweet o’ the Week: Grant- The Jazz Museum & NLB Museum next door deserve as much tax revenue as it takes to sustain them. Such rich culture and important history on display. They're critical in maintaining the identify of Kansas City, although it's astounding how many KC suburbanites haven't visited them.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Concert Review: Ben Allison's Think Free at Mod Gallery

Ben Allison menacingly lurched toward Steve Cardenas at Mod Gallery on Sunday, February 17.  An instant before it seemed as if the bassist was about to strike the guitarist who was shredding with unconscious abandon, Allison pulled back and smiled.

The theatrical gesture reflected the threatening tone of the first set of the touring quartet from New York.  Violence was implied in Cardenas’ furious guitar attack.  Allison’s electric bass rumbled like a tank brigade while the drumming of Allan Mednard ricocheted off the bare walls of the room like the blasts of a machine gun.  Trumpeter Shane Endsley of Kneebody was often overpowered by his bandmates.  (Here’s a representative snippet.)

The volume was justified.  The longtime collaborators continue to make vital and consistently surprising music.  While I was eager to hear a few more selections featuring Allison on acoustic bass in subsequent sets, I abandoned the audience of about 60 at Mod Gallery for a different type of thrill a few blocks away.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Now's the Time: Camila Meza

The extraordinary contributions of Camila Meza played a large role in making a show by Ryan Keberle & Catharsis at Black Dolphin my third favorite jazz performance of 2018.  The multi-talented Chilean possesses innate star power.  She’ll further her rewarding collaboration with Keberle at Mod Gallery on Sunday, March 3.  The group also headlines the KU School of Music’s 42nd Jazz Festival on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2.  Hundreds of additional gigs are listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Laura Spencer of KCUR reports on the resolution of the lawsuit that’s tarnished the reputation of the Mutual Musician Foundation.

*Eddie Moore chatted with Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard program.

*Joe Dimino plugs the “Big Bands Are Better” revue and documents a performance by the Brad Cox Octet.

*Not a single Kansas City or Kansas City-affiliated artist is mentioned in JazzTimes2018 Expanded Critics’ Poll Results.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Sarah Kelly- God Kansas City would be such a haven if I actually liked jazz music

*I booked one the last available rooms in the fancy convention hotel at the hub of the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville next month.  I still need a roommate.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Album Review: Karrin Allyson- Some of That Sunshine

Even by the standards of an admirably restless artist, Karrin Allyson’s 2014 concert at the Folly Theater was a startling surprise.  She traded swing-based jazz and interpretations of Brazilian standards for straightforward adult pop.  (I reviewed the concert for The Kansas City Star.)  Allyson returned to a jazz orientation the subsequent times she’s performed in her former hometown of Kansas City.  I was beginning to think I’d fabricated the tone of the 2014 concert out of whole cloth.  Her latest album Some of That Sunshine indicates I’m not crazy.  Released six months ago, the project documents Allyson’s intriguing foray into the sophisticated realm of sophisticated singer-songwriters like Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin and James Taylor.  Her 13 original compositions sound as if they belong on the impeccably curated playlist of an urbane coffee shop. 

(Original image of Karrin Allyson and Houston Person performing at the Gem Theater in 2015 by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Now's the Time: Sammy Miller and the Congregation

Jazz musicians who embrace zany showmanship tend to be older men and women.  Young artists are likely to dismiss clowning as passé.  Sammy Miller and the Congregation defy the trend.  The members of the New York based band insist that “we play joyful jazz- music that feels good.”  The group will entertain at Knuckleheads on Saturday, February 16.  The show is one of the innumerable gigs listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Zach Albetta interviewed Sam Wisman for his Working Drummer podcast.

*Bobby McFerrin and Pablo Ziegler and among the bookings in the 2018-19 season of Carlsen Center Presents at Johnson County Community College.

*The owner of a new jazz club in Omaha suggests that “(from) Kansas City all the way down to Tulsa, there's a Midwest run right now.”

*A few days after being lauded at Plastic Sax, Drew Williams’ Wing Walker Orchestra received an enthusiastic notice in The New York Times.

*The KU Jazz Festival is slated for Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Liam Hogan- woke up this morning & checked all the texts i sent out last night, realized i mixed up the name of green lady & black dolphin, & had been telling friends to meet me at “the black ladies lounge” all night

(Original image of a page from a Kansas City-themed puzzle book published in 2002 by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Roommate Wanted

Only a churlish ingrate would complain about the offerings on the Kansas City jazz scene.  The Kansas City Jazz Calendar indicates that more than two dozen performances transpired last night.  Still, I crave even more variety. 

I’m demoralized every time adventurous notables ranging from the jazz giant Dave Holland to the brash upstart Jamie Branch play St. Louis without bothering to venture across the state.  Yet who can blame them?  All but a few dozen attendees fled during Logan Richardson’s closing set at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival last September.  A concert by the Vijay Iyer Sextet, the heavily promoted headlining act at the Open Spaces festival, drew less than 100 people a month later.  Au courant jazz is a tough sell in Kansas City. 

That’s why I’m traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Big Ears Festival next month.  The opportunity to spend four days immersed in sounds created by the likes of Nik Bärtsch, Mary Halvorson, Craig Taborn, Nicole Mitchell, Makaya McCraven and Shabaka Hutchings- none of whom have performed in Kansas City- is irresistible. 

I hope to defray a portion of the considerable expense of the trip by finding a like-minded roommate- churlishness optional- to enable me to afford a room in a downtown hotel within walking distance of the festival.  My only regret: as I take in an outing by Mathias Eick in Knoxville on March 21, I’ll miss Adam Nussbaum’s performance at the intimate Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads in Kansas City.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Now's the Time: Kandace Springs

Kandace Springs will perform in Kansas City for the second time in seven months when she appears as the Folly Jazz Series’ “spotlight artist” on Friday, February 15.  While the embedded track is only tangentially related to jazz, Springs will likely emphasize her swing orientation at the Folly Theater.  Her performance is one of almost 500 gigs listed on the The Kansas City Jazz Calendar in February.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City Star and WDAF-TV report on the shooting death of a man in the Jazz District on Saturday night.

*Laura Spencer of KCUR relays details about the lawsuit that’s rocked the Mutual Musicians Foundation.

*Bukeka Blakemore chatted with Joe Dimino.  Dimino also documented a performance by Lonnie McFadden at Black Dolphin.

*Pedrito Martinez spoke to Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Daily Tribune in advance of his concert with Alfredo Rodriquez at Stephens College on February 7.

*Pat Metheny was voted top guitarist in JazzTimes2018 readers poll.

*Comedian Negin Farsad enjoyed jazz at the Green Lady Lounge and the Majestic during a visit to Kansas City.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Pat Metheny- Pat Metheny is launching a new playing environment called “Side Eye” for this upcoming season. The first edition of Side Eye will feature James Francies and Nate Smith. Tickets to the 2019 US Tour are available now.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Album Review: Drew Williams' Wing Walker Orchestra- Hazel

The New York based Drew Williams recently informed Plastic Sax that “I didn’t really start playing jazz music seriously until college so I didn’t play that much in KC while living there, except for the odd Blue Room jam session.”  Williams made up for lost time.  Created with his Wing Walker Orchestra, Williams’ new album Hazel announces the irrefutably significant arrival of an auspicious talent.

Produced by trombonist Alan Ferber, Hazel compares favorably to the output of Snarky Puppy and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at the vanguard of improvisational large ensembles.  As with those groups, Wing Walker Orchestra is susceptible to accusations of intellectual fussiness.  Yet Hazel isn’t merely the sort of clinical exercise associated with the academic products of music schools.  (Williams honed his craft at Truman State  University and New York University.)

A riotous arrangement of Tune-Yards' "Look Around" reflects the inclusive intent of Hazel.  “High” sounds as if Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is sitting in with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vanguard.  A portion of “Lying (or the Will)” reflects the influence of the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.  The most accessible moments are balanced by wooly solos that will resonate with aficionados of the Vijay Iyer Sextet.  (Here's the album trailer.)

Williams grew up in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, the town that produced the jazz giant Pat Metheny.  While Hazel isn’t likely to catapult Williams to Metheny’s level of acclaim, it’s a consequential step in that direction.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Now's the Time: "Big Bands Are Better"

The starpower at Kansas City jazz clubs will be slightly dimmer than usual for much of February.  Many of the town’s heavy hitters are part of the ”Big Bands Are Better” production at Musical Theater Heritage.  The show opens Thursday, Feb. 7.  All of February’s jazz gigs are posted at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Lori Chandler ponders the relationship between jazz performers and audiences.

*An outing by Havilah Bruders and Charles Williams is praised by a blogger.

*Chris Burnett is profiled by The Leavenworth Times.

*Joe Dimino documented the Yellowjackets’ concert at the Folly Theater.  He also attended a jam session hosted by the Waldo Jazz Collective.

*Dean Minderman of St. Louis Jazz Notes previews a performance by Jamie Branch.

*Tweet o’ the Week: KansasCityJazzCynic- It seems as though if it were not for the support from other jazz musicians, this city would have no support for their jazz musicians..

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Fake Fest

What would an optimal three-day festival consisting of jazz artists based in or affiliated with Kansas City look like?  I used a Coachella lineup generator to answer that question.  While it’s marred by unfortunate omissions, I’m pleased by my effort.  I was forced to rearrange the order of the lineups and make a few odd name abbreviations to fit the template.  For instance, Tech N9ne backed by We the People should be the headliner of the groove-centric third day, but the number of characters didn’t fit.  Neither was I able to indicate that I wanted the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra to back Marilyn Maye on the swing-based opening night.  Three-day passes to the hypothetical event in the Crossroads Districts are $125.  Single-day admission is $50.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Now's the Time: Havilah Bruders

Havilah Bruders is among the many Kansas City musicians who flit between genres.  The vocalist is known to the rock community as a member of Cadillac Flambé.  Theatergoers know Bruders for her appearances in musicals.  Bruders will display her jazz artistry at Chaz on Friday, January 25, and at a jazz brunch at Johnnie’s Jazz Bar & Grille on Sunday, January 27.  All of the region’s listings are posted on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Karen E. Griffin of the American Jazz Museum hosts Kansas City’s “The Weekly Report” video communiqué.

*The Leavenworth Times follows up on its initial story about the 424 Lounge.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Christian Swan: BOOM SHAKA LAKA, GOD IS GOOD! The CUR3 is taking off today for it's first trip to LA. We will be playing at NAMM for CTMonitors and networking throughout the city. If you'll be at #NAMM, catch us at booth #15728.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Concert Review: Al Foster's 75th Birthday Party at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

I hugged Al Foster last night.  Anyone familiar with my Asperger’s-like traits knows such embraces are out of character for me, but the extraordinarily gracious drummer seemed to enjoy greeting well-wishers at the conclusion of the last of three sets at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

In an engagement billed as his 75th birthday party, Foster lead a band of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, saxophonist Danye Stephens, pianist Adam Birnbaum, and bassist Doug Weiss.  The superstar saxophonist Chris Potter sat in.  It was swinging.

Less than 20 people heard the vital set by the auspicious musicians.  The $40 cover and $20 bar minimum were prohibitive.  Sure enough, a couple dozen people poured into the club for the subsequent free after-midnight set by a band of young musicians who took advantage of the opportunity to impress Foster.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Now's the Time: Lisa Henry

Vocalist Lisa Henry will join a quartet led by keyboardist Eddie Moore at Polsky Theatre on Sunday, January 20.  The concert is part of the Winterlude series at Johnson County Community College.  It's one of 17 events on Sunday listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Justin Wilson, the heir to Soundtrek Studios’ jazz-based legacy and the owner of Sound 81 Productions, is the subject of an audio profile created for KCUR.

*The Leavenworth Times reports that 424 Lounge, a venue with live jazz three nights a week, is slated to open this week.

*Forthcoming shows presented by Take Five Music Productions include Ben Allison & Think Free (February 17 at Mod Gallery) and Ryan Keberle & Catharsis (March 3 at Mod Gallery). 

*The latest edition of Downbeat contains a 13-page spread about 25 of the “world’s best jazz cities”.  Kansas City didn’t make the cut. 

*Tweet o’ the Week: Alex Hutchinson- Ha -- well, I am heading to Kansas City next week, and hope to check out the American Jazz Museum, which has the plastic alto that Charlie Parker played at the famous Massey Hall concert in Toronto in 1953. Maybe someone will want to talk to me about that.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Concert Review: Ben Tervort, Matt Otto and Brian Steever at Westport Coffee House

I’m considering forgoing future trips to New York City.  I periodically visit the jazz capital partly to hear music that isn’t performed in Kansas City.  I was thrilled, consequently, when Ben Trevort’s Classically Trained filled a crucial component of that void at Westport Coffee House last Tuesday. 

Bassist Tervort, saxophonist Matt Otto and drummer Brian Steever played an hour of impressionistic, European-style jazz.  The rhythmically unconstrained trio shifted between joyous swing and unhurried avant-garde musings on original material and standards.

Trevort judiciously gave his bandmates free reign.  Listening to Otto delineate the melody of a ballad is akin to watching a masterful Japanese artist paint a wondrous landscape.  And every time I see Steever perform I’m certain that he’s my favorite drummer in town.

Unlike in New York City, attending Tuesday’s show didn’t require navigating a subway system, paying a drink minimum or battling a crowd.  In fact, all of the people who paid the $10 cover to catch the first set could have fit inside a taxicab.  It’s too late to cancel my forthcoming trip to New York, but Tervort’s adventurous endeavors in Kansas City may play a decisive role in my subsequent travel plans.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Now's the Time: New York Voices

New York Voices will perform at Community Christian Church on Tuesday, January 22.  Details are available here.  Out of respect for the event’s organizers, I elected not to embed the group’s “colorful” rendition of “Traffic Jam.”  Every area jazz performance is listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Ernest Melton is featured at the site of Quincy Jones' streaming entertainment startup Quest TV.  The photo that accompanies the article looks familiar.

*Not a single release by a Kansas City artist earned a spot on the list of the Top 50 albums in The 2018 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll.

*The man behind Plastic Sax extolled Logan Richardson on KCUR’s Up To Date program last week.

*John Stafford spoke to Joe Dimino about the new album by a vocal ensemble at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

*In her guest editorial about the Open Spaces festival for The Kansas City Star, Anne Gatschet writes that “(t)ourists are unlikely to say, ‘I’m going to Kansas City. Can’t wait to see the Mutual Musicians’ Foundation.’”

*Tweet o’ the Week: Ryan Heinlein- Pretty remarkable to neither honor the tradition or be forward thinking at all. That’s how this dies.

*From a press release: The Kansas City Jazz Summit will take place April 23 - 26, 2019. This event caters to middle school, high school and college jazz bands, combos and jazz choirs and will take place at Kansas City Kansas Community College. The festival will highlight Kansas City's rich jazz heritage through the "Basically Basie" Jazz Heritage Competition. Bands are judged on their ability to capture the essence of the Kansas City style as best exemplified by the Count Basie Orchestra. There is also a non-competitive category (Summit) that allows bands to showcase their own unique style and personality.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Peter Schlamb: The Plastic Sax Person of the Year

Peter Schlamb has been feverishly praised at Plastic Sax since his name was first mentioned at this site in 2010.  Almost every one of the rave reviews garnered by the brilliant vibraphonist is entirely organic.  Schlamb doesn’t promote his work.

Schlamb’s stellar seven-song EP Electric Tinks was furtively released a few weeks ago without a smidgen of publicity.  Schlamb doesn't even list it at his site.  Yet in my review of the EP- the sole critique the project has received- I assert that Schlamb’s plugged-in vibraphone is “the most compelling sound of the past few years” in Kansas City. 

It’s not an accident that the arrival of the St. Louis transplant has coincided with the artistic renaissance of Kansas City’s jazz scene.  That’s why Shlamb is the Plastic Sax Person of the Year for 2018.  Mum’s the word.

The previous recipients of Plastic Sax's Person of the Year award are John Scott (2017),  Eddie Moore (2016), Larry Kopitnik (2015), Deborah Brown (2014), Stan Kessler (2013), Doug and Lori Chandler (2012), Jeff Harshbarger (2011), Mark Lowrey (2010) and Hermon Mehari (2009).  Bobby Watson was named the Plastic Sax Person of the Decade in 2009.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Now's the Time: Earl Harvin

It’s going to get loud at the Ship on Saturday, January 5.  Earl Harvin and Mike Dillon are likely to make a racket akin to the percussive workout in the embedded video.  Two dozen additional jazz gigs on Saturday are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Green Lady Radio now also streams on YouTube.

*WBGO shares a new version of Bobby Watson’s “In Case You Missed It.”  The selection is from a forthcoming album by the Ralph Peterson Messenger Legacy band that includes the Kansas City saxophonist.

*Dean Minderman of St. Louis Jazz Notes compiled dozens of “best jazz of 2018” lists.

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar contains (almost) all of January’s bookings.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Weldon Williams- A decent treatment of jazz in Kansas City, it showed more like a kiddy museum than a serious destination. (link)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)