Monday, July 26, 2010
Grading the 2010-11 Folly Season
Word that Folly Theater executive director Doug Tatum was stepping down was greeted with a great deal of consternation in the Kansas City jazz community. Tatum, a genuine advocate of jazz, had curated the series for years. It turns out that the hand-wringing was seemingly unnecessary. The quality of the forthcoming season is incredibly strong.
The Bad Plus- September 25
Better late than never. A The Bad Plus booking would have represented an adventurous step forward a few years ago. In 2010, the trio is practically part of the jazz establishment. The future has finally arrived.
Dave Brubeck Quartet- October 14
Jazz Methuselah Dave Brubeck will be two months shy of ninety when he returns to The Folly. Skeptical fans are advised to analyze footage of Brubeck from earlier this month. It's not a particularly exciting engagement, but hey, it's Brubeck.
Sachal Vasandani- December 10
Youthful crooner Sachal Vasandani is the anti-Michael Buble. Buble covers the Eagles. Vasandani covers Iron & Wine. And Vasandani exudes little of the smarminess that can make Buble unbearable. There will never be a suitable replacement for Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme or Tony Bennett, but Vasandani carries the same torch with tactful aplomb. "Every Ocean, Every Star" is typical. While I believe that he'll eventually find a wider audience, my sole objection with this booking is scale. Vasandani would have a difficult time filling the Blue Room, let alone the Folly Theater.
Earl Klugh Quartet- January 15
Remember when jazz was popular? Earl Klugh once possessed mass appeal. My bias against smooth jazz doesn't apply to the guitarist.
Arturo Sandoval, March 4
I first saw Arturo Sandoval in the '90s when he conducted a clinic at the sorely missed Kansas City Jazz and Blues Festival. The Cuban defector wasn't yet fluent in English, but he had most definitely mastered the word "m*therf***er. His new album, A Time For Love, is a fine Clifford Brown-style trumpet-with-strings project. If I was told that a string section would be sitting in with Sandoval for this show, I'd boost my rating accordingly.
Joe Lovano "Us Five"- April 2
He's not Ornette Coleman or Sonny Rollins. That's about the only criticism that can be laid on this excellent booking. Joe Lovano is a jazz giant. I'm crossing my fingers that jazz giant in-the-making Esperanza Spaulding will still be a member of Us Five come April.
Karrin Allyson- May 7
Karrin Allyson certainly isn't a stranger in these parts. She played Jardine's three months ago and she's scheduled to perform at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival in September. I'm shooting for an attendance trifecta. Allyson's a wonderful talent.
I conducted similar exercises for the 2009-10 season and the 2008-09 season. And here are my notes on the 2007-08 season.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)