Monday, September 15, 2008
Grading the Gem's New Season
Plastic Sax graded the Folly Theater's forthcoming jazz concert series last month. I now turn my attention to the American Jazz Museum's Jammin' At the Gem 2008-2009 season.
My analysis is profoundly impacted by a bittersweet experience at the Gem last October. As I wrote at the time, Dee Dee Bridgewater's genre-bending performance was "like witnessing the inception of an extraordinary new art form." Yet the profoundly moving concert was poorly attended.
Kirk Whalum- September 20
As I've suggested many times in this forum, jazz must never stand still if it's to remain relevant. Whalum's music more closely resembles Ne-Yo than Charlie Parker; it will almost certainly fill the Gem.
Tribute To Art Blakey- October 11
With all due respect to Joanne Brackeen, Essiet Essiet, Javon Jackson and Bobby Watson, this concert is most notable for the presence of Curtis Fuller. The ensemble's Blakey alumni have substantial careers. Yet it's the chance to catch 73-year-old Fuller, a cat who appears on the opening strains of 1957's Blue Train, that makes this date special.
Blue Note 70th Anniversary Tour- February 20, 2009
I yawned when I first saw the listing for this event. Then I discovered who would be participating- Bill Charlap, Lewis Nash, Nicholas Payton, Peter Bernstein, Peter Washingtom, Ravi Coltrane and Steve Wilson. These relatively young guys are the premier musicians in today's classical jazz scene.
New York Voices- March 21, 2009
Most vocalese makes Plastic Sax immediately reach for his Tom Waits albums. I'm sure this concert is the highlight of the Gem's season for many area concertgoers. It's not for me.
The Mingus Big Band- April 18, 2009
The brilliant jazz bassist and composer will have been dead for over thirty years come next April. So much depends on which version of the touring band comes to Kansas City. Much like Mingus, this concert is a real wild card.
Poncho Sanchez- May 9
The Latin jazz journeyman has appeared regularly in the Folly's series. His concerts are a guaranteed good time.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)