Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Benny Powell, the trombonist who soloed on the Count Basie Orchestra hit "April In Paris," has died. (Initial tip via KCJazzLark.)

*KCJazzLark continues his exhaustive and incredibly depressing history of the Jazz District's museum complex here and here. The latter link includes details about the infamous acquisition of Charlie Parker's plastic sax.

*A Nebraska journalist's profile of guitarist Jerry Hahn is fascinating.

*Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson has died. Here's a wonderful tribute.

*There's good news regarding one-time Kansas Citian Ronnell Bright.

*The Star caught up with Greg Carroll of the American Jazz Museum.

*Mark Lowrey plans to record a live solo piano album August 1 at Jardine's.

*The Star endorses public funding for historical renovations in the Jazz District.

*The Peachtree Restaurant has filed for bankrupcty. Longtime Plastic Sax readers will remember that the establishment left 18th & Vine in 2007.

*The Star offers a review and photos of Michael Buble's performance at the Sprint Center.

*Tony's Kansas City touts the work of Dave Stephens here and here. The blogger also extols the virtues of The Phoenix.

*Alaturka's debut CD will be available July 25. The band performs at Jardine's that evening.

*12th Street Jump features Luqman Hamza on July 3. KCUR began airing the weekly show in July of 2009.

*The owner of a new downtown establishment "hopes to offer live blues and jazz music by this fall," according to an item in Joyce Smith's column.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Review: Trombone Shorty at Crossroads KC

A multi-generational audience of over 300 danced, laughed, smoked and drank at Crossroads KC on Father's Day. Could it really have been a jazz concert? Yes and no.

Trombone Shorty improvised on both trombone and trumpet as he led a five-piece group. Much of his performance featured brass band music straight out of New Orleans' Treme neighborhood.

But Trombone Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, is a 24-year-old also conversant in hip hop, funk, rock and pop. In addition to his melodic original compositions, his band performed covers of the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started," Allen Toussaint's "On Your Way Down," Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and the Isley Brothers' "Shout."

I'd like the band even more if they lost their rock-oriented guitarist, but Trombone Shorty's good-time music is impossible to resist. In terms familiar to Plastic Sax readers, Trombone Shorty mixed Diverse's youthful energy with the wild abandon local listeners associate with Hearts of Darkness.

Good times.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Now's the Time: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Ain't nothin' but a party. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band perform Friday at Crossroads KC. Although it's not representative of their work, I chose to feature this video because I know that several of Plastic Sax's 42 readers are marching band nerds aficionados. It's hard to believe that the New Orleans mainstays have been recording since 1984. Joe Klopus recommends several other forthcoming jazz-related shows in his weekly column. And don't forget about the Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*A detailed examination of a financing campaign to secure funding for building restoration in the Jazz District contains lots of interesting back story.

*The Mutual Musicians Foundation purchased a new piano.

*Steve Paul penned a profile of cellist Helen Gillet.

*Constructive criticism is offered by KCJazzLark.

*Tony Botello wrote a nice Marilyn Maye review. The subsequent comments are most unfortunate. Brian McTavish also offers a well-deserved rave.

*The St. Joseph News-Press highlights the homegrown Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival.

*Steve Penn features the collaboration between the American Jazz Museum and the Mexican consulate.

*Tommy Johnson has died. (Tip via Bob McWilliams.)

*There's good news and bad news for music fans who sorely miss Saturday afternoon jazz jam sessions at Jardine's. Excellent music returns to the jazz club Saturday afternoon. The bad news is that it won't be jazz. Howard Iceberg, the celebrated folk-rock singer-songwriter, performs June 26.

*A regional blogger featured an out-of-print Pete Eye album.

*Saturday's edition of 12th Street Jump pays tribute to Dave Grusin and Lena Horne.

*A new missive is fired by the Black House Improvisors' Collective.

*Norman Brown released a new album this week.

*Dixieland acts will be featured at KCRiverFest on July 4.

*A recent piece in The Star referenced Kansas City's "proud history of a musical genre few people listen to anymore."

*Kevin Collison proposes "a world-class music and food festival" to "reassert Kansas City’s unique national association with jazz and barbecue."

*I'm honored (and slightly disturbed) that a Plastic Sax concept inspired St. Louis Jazz Notes.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kansas City's Star-Spangled Banners

Congratulations, Kansas City Royals, on securing the 2012 All-Star Game for Kauffman Stadium!

Now it's time to start thinking about the most important decision you'll need to make- whom will you select to perform the national anthem before the game?

The massive entertainment conglomerates will probably insist on making your selection for you. Don't let them. Show the world that Kansas City is truly "the home of the brave."

Don't settle for an obvious pick like David Cook, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge or Martina McBride. That's been done. And disallow superstar outsiders like Michael Buble, Miley Cyrus, Elton John and Alicia Keys.

Go local. Make your hometown proud by shining your spotlight on a musician with a direct connection to Kansas City.

I've taken the liberty of making 25 suggestions. They're ranked in order of my personal preference. If you're looking for a Marvin Gaye moment, Pat Metheny and Tech N9ne are candidates capable of creating headlines with an unconventional arrangement. If you'd rather play it safe, try Marilyn Maye, Kevin Mahogany or Karrin Allyson.

Good luck. I trust you'll do the right thing.

1. Bobby Watson- The top jazz artist in a jazz town.
2. Tech N9ne- This would be killer. Krizz Kaliko can provide the hooks.
3. Pat Metheny- I have no idea what he'd deliver, but I'd like to find out.
4. Myra Taylor and the Wild Women of Kansas City- Wild indeed.
5. Quixotic Fusion- The performance art ensemble would be extraordinary.
6. Marilyn Maye- Marvelous.
7. Joyce DiDonato- Classy.
8. Jonelle Monae- As fresh as it gets.
9. Ahmad Alaadeen- The preeminent elder statesman of KC jazz.
10. Ida McBeth- Long a sentimental favorite.
11. Eldar- Tremendous piano.
12. Marva Whitney- The soul legend is cooling her heels in KCK.
13. Kevin Mahogany- Elegant.
14. Sellie Truitt- He rubbed shoulders with Buck O'Neil and Satchel Paige.
15. Karrin Allyson- A natural.
16. The Elders- The Celtic rockers are one of KC's most popular acts.
17. Diverse- The most celebrated young jazz act in KC.
18. Megan Birdsall- Introduce the world to a fresh face.
19. The Wilders- KC's top bluegrass act.
20. Hearts of Darkness- An international vibe would surprise.
21. Angela Hagenbach- Beautiful.
22. Oleta Adams- Warm and inviting.
23. The McFadden Brothers- Old-school show-stoppers.
24. Ron Ron- Maybe Ron Ron will be a star by 2012.
25. Rich the Factor- Try keeping it real.

Note for Plastic Sax readers- I listed 16 jazz-related artists in bold text. David Basse, Bob Brookmeyer, The Count Basie Orchestra, Everette DeVan, the Jazz Disciples, The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, Sons of Brasil and Von Smith were left off my list of 25.

Whom would you like to perform at the All-Star Game?

(Cross-posted from There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Coleman Hawkins- Stoned

I'd forgotten about this weekend's Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival in Saint Joseph until I read Joe Klopus' latest column. The event provides an excuse to highlight Coleman Hawkins, St. Joe's finest. This 1964 performance also features Basie band alumni Harry "Sweets" Edison and Jo Jones.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Andrew Zender interviewed Jeff Harshbarger.

*Angela Hagenbach was featured in The Star's Sunday magazine.

*Everything looks better in black and white. KCJazzLark posted exemplary photos of Bobby Watson's set at Jazz In the Woods.

*The Star reviewed Marilyn Maye's second set at Jardine's on Sunday. Two additional shows have been added on Sunday, June 20.

*The Pitch offers photos of Mark Southerland and Helen Gillet performing at Birdies.

*Mark Edelman makes a few jazz picks.

*Steve Penn checks in with Max Groove and Horace Washington.

*Here's the latest installment of Megan Birdsall's MBird tour vlog.

*According to this review, a track on John Escreet's new album "features spoken work segments from an old recording of Charlie Parker himself."

*Kim Park plays the role of Eric Dolphy on Saturday's 12th Street Jump.

*Here's the latest from the Black House Improvisors' Collective.

*Notice of an "emergency meeting" was posted at the site of the Mutual Musicians Foundation.

*The excellent Jazz Wax blog remembers the late Danny Bank. The baritone saxophonist died June 5. The tribute includes of a stream of Bank playing "Night and Day" on a Charlie Parker session.

*Josh Charles recalls growing up in Kansas City.

*The Chicago Reader reports that Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson is gravely ill. Anderson, an occasional performer at the Blue Room, is beloved by several of Plastic Sax's 37 readers. (Tip via Rick in P.V.)

*No Kansas City-specific artists or entities were among the nominees, but the listings of the Jazz Journalist Association's awards makes for interesting reading.

*Hear me stutter and sputter on the archived June 11 edition of KCUR's Up To Date.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bobby Watson at Jazz In the Woods

Bobby Watson performed "In a Sentimental Mood" Saturday at Jazz In the Woods. That's what I call smooth jazz.

Most of the approximately 1,800 people braving soggy conditions didn't seem to mind Watson's presence at the otherwise smooth jazz-oriented festival.

The saxophonist was joined by keyboardist Chris Clarke, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Mike Warren. While it wasn't the best Watson set I've heard in 2010, it was still a thrill to see him engage a large audience at a suburban office park.

"It's been a pleasure and a privilege to play music with a different taste and sensibility," Watson delicately suggested. "It's called jazz."

(Original images by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Now's the Time: Mindi Abair

Thorough scrutiny of the embedded Mindy Abair video has caused me to realize that Kansas City's saxophonists really need to step up their game. The lovely lady's video contains many valuable lessons. In alphabetical order, here are specific Abair-inspired tips for a few of Kansas City's saxophonists.

*Alaadeen- Improve your lyrical chops. (See 2:51-2:58 of Abair's video.)
*Matt Chalk- Set up fans near the stage to seductively tousle your hair. (2:00)
*Gerald Dunn of The Jazz Disciples- Learn to type. (3:06)
*James Isaac of AfterGroove- Work on makeup application. (0:20).
*Hunter Long of the Black House Improvisors Collective- Pick up tips on leading a large ensemble. (1:53)
*Jim Mair- Learn to make Abair's "duck face." (4:21)
*Matt Otto- Try copying Abair's hair flip move. Oh, wait... never mind. (3:16)
*Bobby Watson- You're obviously going to have to start from scratch. (entire video)

All kidding aside, Abair excels in her chosen field. I intend to catch her Saturday at the Jazz In the Woods festival. What's more, I expect to thoroughly enjoy her headlining performance.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The recently-announced lineup of the Prairie Village Jazz Festival is stellar.

*Another video treasure has been unearthed by KCJazzLark.

*The Folly Theater has announced its jazz bookings for the 2010-2011 season.

*Tim Finn composed an excellent profile of Jeff Harshbarger.

*Guitarist Steve Cardenas garnered a review in the New York Times. (Tip via Steve Paul.)

*A marketing success story is detailed by KCJazzLark.

*Steve Penn checked in with Dennis Winslett.

*Steve Wilson, a familiar face to Kansas City jazz fans, selected Charlie Parker's "Koko" as one of five representative alto saxophone tracks in an NPR feature.

*The Star reviewed Sunday's Zappa Plays Zappa concert.

*Recent additions to the Kansas City Jazz Calendar include an August 20 performance by Larry Carlton.

*Hours after Bobby Watson and Curtis Lundy perform at this weekend's Jazz In the Woods festival, they'll be featured on KCUR's 12th Street Jump.

*There's no direct connection to jazz, but fans of serious music will be pleased to learn that Amy Beth Kirsten and Zhou Juan, young composers with ties to Kansas City, will participate in the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival. (Tip via Dean Minderman.)

*I'm scheduled to chat with Steve Kraske about jazz this Friday at 11:06 on KCUR's Up To Date.

(Original image of Gerald Dunn and Mike Warren performing at Jardine's on May 19 by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

String of Pearls

When I tell friends and colleagues that I'm going to a jazz event they often recoil in horror. I suspect they envision sedate scenes similar to the one depicted in the embedded video. They're right more often than I'd care to admit. My surroundings occasionally resemble a suburban retirement community. Just as often, however, I'm in the middle of scenarios like this or this. As Terence Blanchard notes in the trailer for "Icons Among Us", a quiet revolution is afoot.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Now's the Time: Bobby Watson

It's tempting to suggest that Bobby Watson represents the jazz component of next weekend's Jazz In the Woods festival. Yet the Kansas City saxophonist's longtime fans might recall that Watson released a smooth jazz album in 1996. On Urban Renewal Watson acknowledged the relatively popular sounds of Grover Washington, Jr., Stanley Turrentine and Hank Crawford. The performance in the embedded video demonstrates that the Plastic Sax Person of the Decade thrives in every setting.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Klopus put an end to idle speculation in his most recent column. He broke the news that a "downsized" version of the Rhythm & Ribs Festival is scheduled for October 9.

*KC Free Press offers words and photos about Jeff Harshbarger's "Game Pieces."

*KCJazzLark advises Kansas City's jazz venues on branding and marketing. I hope club owners are listening.

*Gale Tallis has replaced Doug Tatum as the executive director of the Folly Theater.

*A blogger posted Dawayne Gilley's press release about the cancellation of the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival.

*Mark Southerland and Jeff Harshbarger were among the participants in an "Oil Rig Gig" at a Westport BP station.

*Trombonist Osmond Fisher will be featured at this week's edition of 12th Street Jump.

*The dress code at the Power & Light District has been relaxed, so jazz fans can come as they are for concerts at the entertainment zone. Just take a look at the schedu... Wait a minute! Where's the jazz?

*Miles Bonny was nice to acknowledge my Kansas City Jazz Calendar. It is, in fact, quite a task. I continue to encourage submissions from artists and venues.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)