Sunday, January 21, 2018

Concert Review: Sons of Brasil at First Baptist Church

A pool of water had formed at my feet by the time the sermon began during the intermission of a Sons of Brasil concert at First Baptist Church on Sunday, January, 14.  The clinging ice and snow that I tracked in to the free Jazz Vespers event melted during a radiant set that included arrangements of classic compositions by the likes of Johnny Alf, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Gilberto Gil.  The sunny music of the pared-down quartet of trumpeter Stan Kessler, guitarist Danny Embrey, bassist Greg Whitfield and drummer Doug Auwarter neutralized the chill for about 75 hardy spectators on the frigid evening.  Having attended many performances by the Kansas City institution, I know that the spellbinding sound of Sons of Brasil is just as capable of transporting a sweltering audience at an outdoor concert in July to a temperate tropical beach.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Now's the Time: Michael Manring

Todd Mosby will lead a band at Polsky Theatre on Saturday, January 20.  Yet Michael Manring, the bassist in the guitarist’s band, may be the most renowned musician on the stage at Johnson County Community College.  Manring was one of the most stimulating components of the distinctive 1980s sound of the new age powerhouse Windham Hill Records.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*A promotional video for KC Jazz Alive suggests that “Kansas City is on its way to becoming the next major music city in America and retaking its title as jazz capital of the world.”

*Joe Klopus previewed Marcus Roberts’ concert at the Folly Theater.  Steve Kraske interviewed the pianist.

*Deborah Brown and Matt Otto were featured in an hour-long episode of KCUR’s Up to Date titled “From Kansas City And Beyond, The Best Music Of 2017”.

*Tweet o’ the Week: St. Louis Jazz Notes- St. Louis jazz pianist Nathan Jatcko has been missing since late Thursday night. Family is asking anyone with info on his whereabouts to contact St. Louis city PD: (link)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Album Review: Lonnie McFadden- Live at Green Lady Lounge

Lonnie McFadden’s Live at Green Lady Lounge will immediately become the most indispensable souvenir for visitors to Kansas City when it’s released later this year.  The recording- a winning blend of cornball shenanigans and refined artfulness- captures the festive atmosphere at a raucous Kansas City jazz club.

McFadden has long been admired as the trumpet playing component of the Las Vegas-style duo The McFadden Brothers.  He acknowledges his act’s association with Wayne Newton in the introduction to “What a Wonderful World,” but the album’s occasional bouts of acute sentimentality are balanced by fiery straight-ahead jazz. 

“In the Club” is a funky instrumental co-written by McFadden and bassist DeAndre Manning.  “Voyager” is a fiery showcase for pianist Andrew Ouellette.  Drummer Tyree Johnson rounds out the outstanding young band that motivates McFadden to apply his often underutilized jazz chops.

By the time he breaks into his signature tap dancing on the final selection of the 67-minute album, McFadden has convincingly demonstrated that he’s more than an outstanding entertainer.  Live at Green Lady proves that McFadden is a bona fide Kansas City jazz cat.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Now's the Time: The Marcus Roberts Trio

Marcus Roberts, a refined pianist who rose to fame as a member of Wynton Marsalis’ band, has been a foremost jazz formalist for more than 30 years.  He’ll lead a trio at the Folly Theater on Friday, January 19.  According to the concert program, Roberts will be joined by bassist Rodney Jordan and drummer Bryan Carter.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Chris Burnett’s monthly engagement at Black Dolphin was spotlighted on KCUR.

*Matt Kane and Charles Williams were interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*Bloggers document their visit to the American Jazz Museum.

*Tweet o’ the Week: KC Jazz Orchestra- Nice turnout at our #listeningparty at @WestportLibrary in @Westport_KC - Sam Wisman is guiding us through Thad Jones/Mel Lewis’ “Consummation.” We have one of these per month! #kcjazz #kcjazzorchestra

*The 11 jazz performances listed on the comprehensive Kansas City Jazz Calendar range from solo piano gigs to noisy barrage of percussion.

*From a press release: Kansas City Jazz Vespers features "The Sons of Brasil," led by Stan Kessler, on Sunday, January 14, 6:00 - 8:00 pm held at the First Baptist Church of Kansas City, MO at the corner of Wornall Road and Red Bridge Road in south Kansas City.  Its 100 minutes of professional jazz in a concert setting.   The Sons of Brasil are one of the region's best Latin jazz groups, performing all over the city.  KC Jazz  Vespers is free and open to the public.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Album Review: Danny Embrey- Dues Blues

Bob Bowman’s solo on a ballad on Danny Embrey’s Dues Blues is as life-affirming as a poem by Maya Angelou.  The bassist’s concise statement on “November” is one of many standout moments on the welcome reissue of the guitarist’s 1988 recording with Bowman, keyboardists John Beasley and Dave Loeb and drummer Steve Houghton.

A former member of the bands of Sergio Mendes and Karrin Allyson, Embrey is one of a handful of unassuming veteran Kansas City musicians who nonchalantly improve the quality of a handful gigs every week.

Dues Blues acts as a reminder that Embrey shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Not only does his impeccable playing honor the legacy of guitar masters such as Jim Hall and Kenny Burrell, Embrey flashes strong melodic skills on impressive original compositions like “Caraveles” and “Leonard.”

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)