Thursday, December 5, 2019

Now's the Time: The Messthetics


Many longtime associates of the man behind the curtains at Plastic Sax know that the pursuit of a viable fusion of punk and jazz is his white whale.  The Messthetics, the trio of guitarist Anthony Pirog and Fugazi’s rhythm section of Joe Lally and Brendan Canty, come tantalizingly close to achieving a convincing version of that seemingly incongruous synthesis.  Messthetics performs at RecordBar on Tuesday, December 10.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Chris Hazelton chatted with a Canadian journalist.

*The Kansas City Star previewed concerts by Julian Vaughn, the Messthetics and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

*Wynton Marsalis spoke to Patrick Neas in advance of his concert at the Midland theater.

*Wing Walker Orchestra’s Hazel and Joyce DiDonato’s Songplay, albums with ties to Kansas City, are among the 272 titles given a Best Albums of 2019 designation by Downbeat magazine.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Karen Abrams- Hit up a bit of the black music scene at 18th & Vine in Kansas City - jazz, blues and trap music bar/ Raiders Party in one block. Tomorrow is a BBQ spot. Weirdly dope so far.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Concert Review: Logan Richardson’s Blues People at Capsule

“Charlie Parker was trap.”  The declaration was among the provocative statements made by Logan Richardson during a bracing performance at Capsule on Thanksgiving.  An audience of about 60 at the free show heard Richardson, vibraphonist Peter Schlamb, bassist Dominique Sanders and drummer Ryan J. Lee honor the most important musician from Kansas City by advancing Parker’s innovations.  Defiant, confrontational and extremely loud, the plugged-in quartet ingeniously transferred Bird’s vision to a futuristic- and yes, trap-informed- setting.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 29, 2019

Now's the Time: Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra


The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the band led by the world’s most famous living jazz musician, returns to the Midland theater on Thursday, December 5.  Vocalist Denzal Sinclaire, pianist Dan Nimmer and baritone saxophonist Paul Nedzela are featured on Carlos Henriquez’s arrangement of “We Three Kings” in the embedded video.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City Star noted that Logan Richardson plays on one track of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s “Ancestral Recall,” a project nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.

*KCUR lists Logan Richardson’s show at Capsule in its weekly arts newsletter.

*The Kansas City Star recommends Matt Villinger’s show at the Blue Room.

*Joe Dimino shares footage of a Kansas City Jazz Orchestra outreach event.

*JazzTimes lists 18 places “where you can find the historical documents of jazz.”  Kansas City institutions don’t make the cut.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Community Christian Church- Join host Tim Whitmer for Community Christian Church's 24th annual Jazz Carol Fest on Sunday, December 8 at 4 p.m. We have a great lineup featuring Kansas City's premier vocalists, including headliner Molly Hammer! Tickets are on sale now!

*From a press release:...Charlie Parker will be honored throughout 2020 with a worldwide celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth (August 29, 1920)... (The) centennial will include a host of major initiatives including exciting new music releases, a tribute tour, festivals and events, prestigious exhibitions, special partnerships, a unique graphic novel, exclusive collectible art, and a myriad of independent appreciations and concerts.

Parker’s longtime label Verve Records… will kick off the yearlong celebration this week with a limited edition vinyl pressing of the rare 12” LP, The Magnificent Charlie Parker, an exclusive release for Record Store Day’s Black Friday… Verve/UMe plan to celebrate Parker with several releases throughout 2020…

Bird’s incredible legacy and immortal music will soar throughout the year with a variety of festivals, concerts, events and an exciting tribute tour.  Sanctioned by the Estate of Charlie Parker, “Fly Higher: Charlie Parker @ 100” features acclaimed co-musical directors Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto saxophone) and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums) as they celebrate the jazz master, one of the most innovative and influential artists in modern musical history and examine his impact in pop, hip-hop, rap, rock and jazz.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Concert Review: Bobby Watson Tribute Concert at White Recital Hall

Mitch Butler dulled the luster of the Bobby Watson Tribute Concert at White Recital Hall before the first note was played on Tuesday, November 19.  The Assistant Teaching Professor at UMKC and the director of one of the two student bands on the bill revealed that additional tributes to Watson would take place on February 28 at Grand Street Cafe and on April 14 at the Folly Theater. 

Most of the friends and family of the three dozen students performing at the concert didn’t flinch.  As one of the dedicated Bobby Watson enthusiasts among the audience of 400 who paid $8 to attend the event in honor of the man who transformed the Kansas City jazz scene during his recently concluded 20-year tenure as the William and Mary Grant/Missouri Distinguished Professor in Jazz Studies at UMKC during the past 20 years, I was startled by the unceremonious tone of Butler’s significant announcement. 

I was still processing the news when the UMKC Jazz Ensemble directed by Aryana Nemeti tore into Rob McConnell’s arrangement of “Just Friends.”  Watson and members of Horizon joined the big band on separate selections.  Witnessing the young men in the trumpet section smile appreciatively as Terell Stafford soloed and guitarist Zak Jonas react to pianist Benny Green’s deft comping with awe was delightful.

A performance by Horizon- this edition of the fabled group consisted of Watson, Stafford, Green, bassist Carroll Dashiell and drummer Victor Lewis- followed.  The good cheer and comradery among the five men was matched by their jubilant form of hard bop.  Knowing that nothing was likely to top Horizon’s 35-minute outing, I left at intermission.  (Horizon setlist: Country Corn Flakes, Heckle and Jeckyl, Falling In Love With Love, E.T.A., outro theme)

(Original image of Benny Green, Carroll Dashiell, Terell Stafford and Bobby Watson by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Now's the Time: Charles Williams


Charles Williams delivers a gospel selection at a Sunday morning worship service in the embedded video.  Eddie V’s will provide an entirely different setting for Williams’ trio on Sunday, November 24.  Details about the in-demand musician’s additional gigs this weekend are here.