Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The paucity of jazz among the headliners of the 2014 Kansas City’s 18th and Vine Jazz and Blues Festival is lambasted by KC Jazz Lark.

*Bobby Watson will deliver a lecture titled "From Zero to Question Mark: Defining Success in the 21st Century" in October.

*Mills Record Company extolls the virtues of the Best Jazz Ensemble nominees for The Pitch's annual music awards.

*Pat Metheny participated in an interview with Crossroads KC in advance of his performance at the outdoor venue.

*The Pitch touts Sunday brunch at Broadway Jazz Club.

*Tweet o' the Week: Todd R. Wilkinson- OK after a recent investigation, I'm calling BS on the oft heard, "But, Boots Randolph could really play jazz."

*Comment o' the Week: Dean Minderman- Hmmmm...with both Brian Culbertson and Gerald Albright, the Gem series seems to be doubling down on the R&B/funk/jazz. Kind of surprised we haven't gotten dates for one or both over here in St. Louis. Also, I wish someone here would book Terry Lyne Carrington's band. I really liked her drumming when she played here with Headhunters 2005; IMO, she was the unsung MVP of that all-star group.

*From Doug Talley: The Doug Talley Quintet will be performing at the Blue Room, 18th and Vine, KCMO, this Saturday, August 2, 8:30pm.  Stop by, enjoy the music, and say goodbye to Wayne Hawkins, our piano player, who is moving to upstate New York in August!!

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grading the 2014-15 Season of Jammin' at the Gem

I'm disappointed but not surprised by the bookings for the 2014-2015 season of the American Jazz Museum's Jammin' at the Gem series.  After witnessing legendary artists ranging from Jimmy Cobb to Joe Lovano play to a disturbing number of empty seats year after year, the forthcoming season doesn't include anyone of their magnitude.  Instead, organizers have doubled down on the proven draw of smooth jazz. 

Brian Culbertson
January 24, 2015
Brian Culbertson may look like he spends more time preening than practicing, but the keyboardist's groove-based version of smooth jazz is effective.  His latest album features contributions from Jonathan Butler, Steve Lukather and Lee Ritenour.
Grade: B-

Gerald Albright
February 14, 2015
I know where I'll be on Valentine's Day.  The sultry smooth jazz of Gerald Albright is tailor-made for the holiday.  The saxophonist's insinuating music is a staple of the quiet storm format.
Grade: B+

Terri Lyne Carrington
March 21, 2015
I'd be vastly more excited about the booking of Terri Lyne Carrington's Mosaic Project had I not attended an underwhelming concert by the drummer's band at Jazz Winterlude in January.  (The Plastic Sax concert review is here.)
Grade: B

Joe Locke Quartet
April 18, 2015
Until I set about composing this post, I didn't even know what Joe Locke looked like.  I've long thought of Locke as the most prominent jazz vibraphonist not named Gary Burton or Bobby Hutcherson.  I suspect Locke would struggle to fill the Blue Room let alone the 500-seat Gem Theater, but I'm looking forward to his appearance.
Grade: B

Marilyn Maye
May 23, 2015
I don't think I'll ever forget Marilyn Maye's antics at the Gem Theater in 2010.  (The Plastic Sax concert review is here.)  The ageless vocalist is always delightful.
Grade: A-

I conducted similar exercises for the 2013-2014 season here, the 2012-13 season here, the 2011-12 season here, the 2010-2011 season here, the 2009-2010 season here and the 2008-2009 season here.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Now's the Time: Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival

The embedded footage documents the July 23 press conference for the October 11 Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival.  Trey Runnion, Greg Carroll and Suzetta Parks offer details about the event.  The unveiling of the festival's poster at the 5:00 minute mark is the conference's most compelling moment.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The headliners of the 2014 edition of the 18th & Vine Jazz & Blues Festival are Roy Hargrove, Meshell Ndegeocello, Midnight Star and Lucky Peterson.

*Brian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Locke Quartet and Marilyn Maye are the featured artists of the 2015 season of the American Jazz Museum's Jammin' at the Gem series.

*Joe Klopus' latest column offers details on the American Jazz Museum's new American Jazz Walk of Fame.

*KC Jazz Lark provides a handy encapsulation of recent events.

*The Pitch recommends the July Jazz Jam at Community Christian Church.

*A band led by Phillip Johnston, the founder of the Microscopic Septet, will accompany a presentation by Art Spiegelman at Helzberg Hall on October 19.

*Clint Ashlock implies that music is the universal language. 

*Joe Dimino interviewed Lou Donaldson for his Neon Jazz podcast.

*Tweet o' the Week: John Hilderbrand- Enjoying the morning at the American Jazz Museum!

*Comment o' the Week: Gary- I actually saw this album in the used rack at a Savers over the weekend. Guess I should have taken it home.

*From a press release: The Debonair Duck Warner, Crooner, performing with Tim Whitmer & The Consort Band, Spirituality & All That Jazz, Wednesday, August 6, 2014. Lester Warner, affectionately known as "Duck," is a quiet, soft-spoken man who transforms himself into a spectacular entertainer when he takes the stage. His voice is a rich baritone with a beautiful full falsetto that has been compared to Nat "King" Cole. He is also a gifted instrumentalist who plays trumpet, flugelhorn and trombone.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Album Review: David Basse- The Hero and the Lover…

 When David Basse was known as the singing drummer in the City Light Orchestra in the late 1980s, it seemed as if the good times would never end.  Kansas City had over a dozen dedicated jazz venues and Basse's band was capable of filling all of them. 

The audience for jazz has since dwindled dramatically.  While Basse is still one of the the best known musicians in the Kansas City area, he's no longer a mainstay on the calendars of the handful of remaining jazz venues. 

The Hero and the Lover…, Basse's latest release, reflects this drastic transformation.  The themes of resiliance and hard-won endurance inform most tracks.  Selections including "Easy the Hard Way" , "That's Life," "Sixteen Tons" and "Vacation From the Blues" reinforce the motif of dogged perseverance. 

Backed by saxophonist Stacy Dillard, pianist Richard Johnson, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Neil Smith, Basse sounds like Mose Allison's favorite son.  The Hero and the Lover… won't restore Kansas City's jazz scene to its former glories, but it's one of Basse's best albums.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Now's the Time: Pat Metheny

Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) is the only Pat Metheny album a lot of people own.  The appeal of the lovely duet with bassist Charlie Haden extends well beyond jazz aficionados.  Haden died last week.  The Pat Metheny Unity Group collaborates with Bruce Hornsby at Crossroads KC on Saturday, July 26.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The lineup of the 2014 Prairie Village Jazz Festival is detailed by KC Jazz Lark.

*"Uncool Kids" is a track from the Project H's forthcoming album We Live Among the Lines.

*Tinks, Peter Schlamb's new album, is available at CD Baby.

*The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra has unveiled its 2014-15 season.

*The Kansas City Star documents Saturday's swing dance at the Masonic Temple.

*Here's Stephanie Bryan's obiturary.

*The Kansas City Star reports that the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the American Jazz Museum with a $133,050 grant.

*Paul Mesner Puppets was awarded a $15,000 grant for a production titled "Ragtime to Bebop: The Story of Kansas City Jazz."

*Mills Record Company celebrates the "Jazz Solo" nominees for The Pitch's music awards.

*The Pitch touts a gig by the Westport Art Ensemble.

*Chris Burnett enters the "does jazz need to be saved" debate.

*Tweet o' the Week: Joel Cunningham- It's Saturday night of @KansasCityStomp and #VineStreetRumble is on fire!

*From Tim Whitmer: July Jazz Jam #4 , the Summer Sax Summit  promises to be a hot, jumping  good time evening of music, fun and joy. 3 of Kansas City's hottest saxophonists playing a popping , upbeat variety of jazz styles  from classic KC style to blues to swing. In addition the amazing Monique Danielle with be the  guest vocalist. And the all star rhythm section includes the world class talent of guitarist Rod Fleeman...

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

EP Review: Jorge Arana Trio- Oso

In constant jeopardy of lapsing into staid routine, jazz needs an occasional swift kick in the pants.  The Jorge Arana Trio is providing the uncomfortable wallop to Kansas City's jazz scene.  The band will celebrate the release its new EP Oso at the RecordBar on Saturday, July 19.  Haymaker Records describes the band's approach as "an avant-garde geometry of rock, jazz, classical, punk, electronic, experimental, and incidental music."  I detect traces of James "Blood" Ulmer, Ennio Morricone and the noisy jazz guitar of Greg Ginn.  It's bracing stuff that's every bit as significant as the mainstream efforts of more conventional musicians.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Now's the Time: Michael Feinstein

The music of Michael Feinstein might be only tangentially related to jazz, but his longstanding commitment to American standards makes his performances worthwhile to jazz fans.  His interesting rendition of "Love Is Here to Stay" deepens listeners' appreciation of interpretations by the likes of Count Basie and Lester Young.  Feinstein will appear at Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Friday, July 11.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Lovano, Terrel Stafford and Deborah Brown are the headliners of the 2014 edition of the Prairie Village Jazz Festival.  A press release and schedule are below.

*Stephanie Bryan has died.  The trombonist was best known in Kansas City's jazz community for her association with The People's Liberation Big Band and The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

*In his survey of the area's jazz venues, KC Jazz Lark reports that the Jazz Winterlude festival won't take place next year.

*Zach Albetta wrote a profile of drummer Doug Auwarter for Online Drummer.

*L.A. Weekly recounts Charlie Parker's role in "the wildest party in L.A. history."

*The Pitch recommends an Angela Hagenbach gig.

*The Kansas City Star reviewed Fran├žois Rabbath's performance at Park University.

*Chris Burnett ponders technology.

*Joe Dimino interviewed Dallas-based musician Stockton Helbing for his Neon Jazz podcast.

*Tweet o' the Week: Mayor Sly James- The great #DavidBasse at the #BroadwayJazzClub! About to start #12thStJump. #kansascitu (the Mayor's photo set)

*From a publicist: Pianist/vocalist Candace Evans will be making her debut performance for the new Happy Hour at The Broadway Jazz Club, 3601 Broadway, on Friday’s July 18, August 15 and August 29.  All performances are from 4:30pm to 6:30 pm.

*From a press release: Internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist and KC resident Deborah Brown, with Downbeat magazine’s Tenor Saxophonist of the Year Joe Lovano, and trumpeter Terell Stafford, headline the 2014 Prairie Village Jazz Festival.  Also headlining the event is Kansas City native and internationally recognized jazz singer Kevin Mahogany, who will perform accompanied by the Joe Cartwright Trio prior to Brown.  The 2014 Prairie Village Jazz Festival is presented by the City of Prairie Village.  This year there will be a $5 admission charge for adults (children under 18 years old are admitted free). The event has seen extraordinary support from Prairie Village and from fans throughout Kansas City. In order to not only help insure the festival’s continuation, but to grow the event in years to come, the festival institutes this small charge for a day and night of jazz… Beer, wine, food and souvenirs will be available for sale.

2:00 – 2:10 p.m. Welcome by the Mayor
2:10 – 2:40 p.m. Shawnee Mission East Blue Knights directed by Kim Harrison
3:00 – 3:50 p.m. Project H
4:10 – 5:00 p.m. Shay Estes with Rod Fleeman and Matt Otto
5:20 – 6:10 p.m. The Jazz Disciples with Jason Goudeau and Stephanie Moore
6:30 – 7:20 p.m. Bram Wijnands Swingtet
7:40 – 8:40 p.m. Kevin Mahogany with the Joe Cartwright Trio
9:00 – 10:30 p.m. Deborah Brown with Joe Lovano and Terell Stafford (with Richard Johnson, piano, Tyrone Clark, bass, Leon Anderson, drums)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Album Review: Everette DeVan- For the Love of You

It's easy to take Everette DeVan for granted.  The organist and bandleader gigs so regularly that his appearances tend not to get circled on calendars. 

Yet every time the veteran of Kansas City's jazz scene takes a seat at his organ in front of a receptive audience, all is suddenly right with the world.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, DeVan seems primarily interested in steering listeners in the direction of a good time. 

The selections on the new 71-minute album For the Love of You are typical of the repertoire DeVan performs in Kansas City clubs.  The recording includes readings of material by James Brown, the Isley Brothers, James Taylor and jazz standards. 
For the Love of You features contributions from vibraphonist Greg Carroll, saxophonist Ian Corbett, guitarists Pat Kelley and Matt Hopper, percussionist Jay Rogers and drummer Danny Rojas. 

People don't turn to DeVan for flashy playing or innovative concepts.  Instead, DeVan's longtime fans know that his life-affirming grooves possess a curative quality. 

The original lyric to the title track serves as an apt summation of DeVan's appeal: "Driftin on a memory, ain't no place I'd rather be than with you." 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Now's the Time: The Foundation 627 Big Band

Does Kansas City need another big band?  Of course it does.  The Foundation 627 Big Band is the latest addition to the scene.  The ensemble plays every Sunday at the Green Lady Lounge this month.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*KC Jazz Alive's schedule of events for a "Kansas City Charlie Parker Celebration" includes a "Historical Tour & Musical Salute."

*The Pitch lauds the Green Lady Lounge's commitment to organ jazz.

*Tracks by Everette DeVan and Diverse were featured on KCUR's Up To Date.

*Chris Burnett considers his "thoughtful" approach.

*KMBC reports that an early morning shooting occurred last Saturday at 19th and Vine.

*Jazz festivals in other markets are analyzed by KC Jazz Lark.

*Joe Dimino interviewed California-based saxophonist Doc Stewart for his Neon Jazz podcast.

*Tweet o' the Week: Broadway Jazz Club- Don't forget, we will be closed on Tuesdays starting this month, but we will be having #jazzbruch starting this Sunday! #kc #kcmo #livejazz

*Comment o' the Week: Mike T.- one of my favorite tunes on the ipod is dan gailey's "point, no point." I think KU's band is exceptional... and we can see them for free? on the eve of day off from work? count me in!

*From Shades of Jade: …After years of hard work, fine tuning, and defining of its fingerprint sound, Shades of Jade, a midwestern jazz collective will release its debut album September 21st 2014.  With various influences coming from Jazz, Pop, R&B, Blues, Funk, Rock, Classical, and Hip Hop, “Shades of Jade: Fingerprinted Memories pt: I” tells the personal story of the ethos portrayed in past experiences of the average American… Great composers of this album include young conservatory trained artists like Joshua Williams (B.A.C. Endorsed Trumpet) Desmond Mason (Piano and Keyboards) Dominique Sanders (Bass) Justin McCoy (Drums) and special guest artist composer DCPLX.

*From Ticketmaster: On August 23, 2014, Kansas City will induct six great Jazz Musician's into the American Jazz Walk of Fame during its inaugural ceremony and concert featuring the Count Basie Orchestra and Bobby Watson and the American Jazz Orchestra. These artists names will be placed on bronze medallions and imbedded in the sidewalks around the American Jazz Museum in the Historic 18th & Vine District. The unveiling of these medallions will occur at 6:30 pm followed by the concert at 7:00 pm. This annual event will continue to add more bronze medallions bearing the names great Jazz Artists.

*From Doug Talley: The Doug Talley Quintet will be performing at the Blue Room, 18th and Vine, KCMO, this Saturday, July 5, 8:30pm… Our new CD, “Chess Players: Music of Wayne Shorter,” contains music written and originally performed in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and set in a variety of instrument combinations and styles.  Joe Parisi - trumpet and flugelhorn. Wayne Hawkins - piano. Tim Brewer - acoustic and electric bass. Keith Kavanaugh - drums and cymbals. Doug Talley - saxes and clarinet. 

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar has been updated for July.

(Original image of Stan Kessler, Matt Leifer and Bill McKemy by Plastic Sax.)