Friday, May 29, 2015

Now's the Time: Peter White

The scarcity of mainstream jazz in the lineup of Jazz in the Woods is no longer shocking.  Of the eight acts booked at this year’s event, five perform smooth jazz/jazz fusion/soul-lite and two are blues artists.  The outlier is a locally based straight-ahead jazz vocalist.  Peter White is the co-headliner on Friday, June 19.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Marilyn Maye promoted her concert at the Gem Theater on a morning television program.

*KC Jazz Lark ponders the contribution of a forgotten hero of Kansas City jazz.

*The Pitch recommends a brunch featuring the music of Roger Wilder.

*The Jazz Ambassadors are holding a "retirement party and mixer" for Roger Atkinson, the longtime editor of the organization's magazine, at BB's Lawnside BBQ from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m on June 14.  Millie Edwards will be among the performers.  The suggested donation/cover charge is $5.

*Randy Brecker is among Joe Dimino’s recent interview subjects.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Rolling Stones- RT @SeamusMcRock Charlie, which Stones song would you like to have heard Charlie Parker or Duke Ellington cover? (Charlie Watts’ video response)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Album Review: Addison Frei- Intentions

Joey Alexander, an 11-year-old from Bali, has already garnered more media attention this year than most jazz musicians will receive in a lifetime.  While I’m impressed by his debut album, I don’t intend to listen to it again. 

Intentions, the debut album by Addison Frei, was released in 2014 to deafening silence.  As far as I can tell, the recording received a solitary capsule review.  No one has even bothered to leave a comment about Intentions at Amazon or iTunes

Not only is Intentions as technically accomplished as Alexander’s album, Frei’s work is far more interesting.  A jazz trio album supplemented by a vocalist on two tracks and saxophonist on a third, Intentions reveals Frei’s considerable promise.

The one-time resident of Lawrence, Kansas, is an imaginative composer.  Intentions also includes interpretations of material ranging from Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 to “Home on the Range.”

Frei and Alexander have absorbed the work of Brad Mehldau, but the former Kansas City area resident Eldar Djangirov may provide a more relevant comparison.  Like Eldar, Frei plays a lot of notes.  And like the former child prodigy and media sensation Eldar, Alexander is likely to learn that the audience for adult jazz pianists is comparatively small.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Now's the Time: Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox

Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox have a profitable schtick.  The group specializes in performing contemporary hits in vintage styles.  The musicians do unnatural things to M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” in the embedded clip.  The ensemble performs at Crossroads KC on Tuesday, June 2.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The American Jazz Museum has unveiled the lineup for the 2015-16 season of Jammin’ at the Gem.

*Here’s a preview of ”Alright Now!”, the latest 7” single by Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7.

*Joe Klopus’ new column highlights Marilyn Maye’s forthcoming concert at the Gem Theater.  The Pitch also recommends her appearance.

*Michael Shults created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the recording of his first solo album.

*Here’s another analysis of the status of Kansas City’s Jazz District.

*Peter Erskine and Joey Calderazzo are among Joe Dimino’s recent interview subjects.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Katie Crawford- It makes sense if you don't think about it. (@ Mutual Musicians Foundation)

*Comment o’ the Week: Cb- Thanks for the review and thanks for coming to the performance. Dino really enjoyed Kansas City, even during his short stay (Wednesday - Sunday). We had a very nice turnout of listeners at both, Take Five (Matt Leifer on drums) and the Blue Room (Michael Warren on drums). The bar manager, Andre Tyler, told me that we had 102 paid admissions to the Blue Room. Wow! The "Jazz Beat" preview was great too!

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Concert Review: Avishai Cohen's Triveni at Take Five Coffee + Bar

Among the more than 100 people who purchased $20 advance tickets or paid $25 at the door to hear a performance by Avishai Cohen’s Triveni at Take Five Coffee + Bar last Thursday were a couple dozen faces I’d never seen. 

Most of the strangers looked as if they’d be more comfortable listening to Benny Goodman than the adventurous Israeli trumpeter.  Yet not one of them left at the conclusion of the 45-minute opening set.

Cohen, bassist Tal Mashiach and drummer Nasheet Waits seduced them with the boiling frog technique.

The trio opened with a serene reading of Don Cherry’s “Art Deco.”  They gradually turned up the heat with a version of John Coltrane’s “Wise One” and “One Man’s Idea,” Cohen’s tribute to Ornette Coleman.  The rapt audience had been fully acclimated by the time Triveni burst into free jazz.

Mashiach, a substitute for Eric Revis, held his own.  Waits, one of the world’s most enthralling drummers, made every moment matter.  Cohen’s understated playing kept the music aloft. 

The daring but never impenetrable second set included an interpretation of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and concluded with a take on the Kansas City classic “Shiny Stockings.”

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Now's the Time: Tony Tixier

The French pianist Tony Tixier is returning to Kansas City next week for a handful of gigs.  He’ll perform at the Majestic on Wednesday, at the American on Friday, at the Art Factory on Saturday and with Diverse at Sunday's Celebration at the Station.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Pitch reports that big changes are afoot at the Broadway Jazz Club.

*Gerald Dunn gives fascinating responses in a question-and-answer session with The Pitch.

*KC Jazz Lark provides context to recent developments on Kansas City’s jazz scene.

*Joe Klopus spoke to Avishai Cohen in advance of the trumpeter’s appearance at Take Five Coffee + Bar on Thursday.  The Pitch also recommends the show.

*Julian Vaughn was featured on KCUR’s Local Listen segment. 

*The new opera Charlie Parker’s Yardbird opens in Philadelphia on June 5.

*Tweet o’ the Week: negroleauguesmuseum- At @julianvaughn CD release party at the Gem Theater. His new project is called "Limitless & it's outstanding!

*Comment o’ the Week: Cb- HIB - Thanks for covering the jazz scene at (those of us who love the music don't say it enough) and for posting the link about the kind Jazz Beat feature by Larry Kopitnik in The Pitch! Dino has been here since Wednesday (May 6) and really loves Kansas City. We are looking forward to performing at the Blue Room on Friday May 8 and at Take Five on Saturday May 9. However, for some odd reason, I could not find any trace of Joe Klopus' column "Jazz Town" in The Star online. Best, Cb

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Concert Review: The Chris Burnett/Dino Massa Group at Take Five Coffee + Bar

Few things on Kansas City’s jazz scene make me happier than seeing Doug and Lori Chandler break out extra chairs to accommodate unexpectedly large audiences at Take Five Coffee + Bar.

A quintet led by Chris Burnett in his first appearance at the venue's new Leawood location drew several dozen listeners to an hour-long first set on Saturday.

Partly because he’s responsible for a relentless onslaught of social media postings, it’s easy to forget that Burnett is a fine saxophonist.  His band consisted of pianist Dino Massa, guitarist Charles Gatschet, bassist Andrew Stinson and drummer Matt Leifer.

Burnett explained that he and Massa met in Italy more than twenty years ago.  Massa played with the elegant precision associated with the Kansas City pianist Joe Cartwright.

The ensemble opened with a faithful rendition of Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance,” a selection that set the tone for a tasteful set that included several original compositions by Burnett and Massa.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Now's the Time: Avishai Cohen, Eric Revis and Nasheet Waits

The New York based trumpeter Avishai Cohen- not to be confused with the bassist of the same name- will perform with bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits at Take Five Coffee + Bar on Thursday, May 14.  Of the three, Revis has the highest profile in the United States.  His City of Asylum was one of the most exciting free jazz albums of 2013.  Revis also appeared at the Gem Theater in 2010 as part of the Branford Marsalis Quartet. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Mark Lowrey’s contribution to Tech N9ne’s new album is detailed by the producer of the project.

*This weekend’s collaborations between Chris Burnett and Dino Massa are highlighted by The Pitch.

*Karrin Allyson’s new recording with Kenny Barron and John Patitucci will be released by Motéma Music later this year.

*Joe Klopus notes the May 9 concert by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

*Joe Cartwright was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Rick Hellman- @KCMO I loved and still miss Claude "Fiddler" Williams b/c he swung hard and had a unique sweet-yet-grating tone #KCJazzDay

*From Paul Shinn: ... (T)he trio will be performing in Kansas City for four evenings this week at our "home-away-from-home" -- the Green Lady Lounge! Dominique, Ryan and I will be performing in the Orion Room (downstairs level) at the GLL located at 18th & Grand in the Crossroads District at the following times: Thursday, May 7th 9pm-12am, Friday, May 8th 9pm-1am, Saturday, May 9th 6pm-9pm, Sunday, May 10th 8pm-11pm… Also, be on the lookout for another album from the trio that will be released towards the end of 2015 and more appearances in KC before then to promote the upcoming release.

*From the American Jazz Museum: The '15 Jammin' at the Gem concert series concludes with Marilyn Maye, who will also receive the American Jazz Museum's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award… Once nominated for a Grammy in the mid-1960s as Best New Artist, her career is still going strong at age 87 as audiences are amazed to discover she still exudes the vocal strength and stamina of a singer half her age…  Sat., May 23. Gem Theater.

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

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Reading the Book of Gaia

Few Kansas City jazz ensembles make me feel more conflicted than Book of Gaia.  Some elements of the talented vocal trio thrill me.  I find other aspects of the group irritating.  A new 17-minute video profile of Book of Gaia serves as a fine introduction to the musical backgrounds of Nedra Dixon, Angela Hagenbach and Pamela Baskin-Watson.