Monday, February 29, 2016

Come Sunday

Steve Lambert made a flute solo sound as tough as nails last night.  The outstanding multi-instrumentalist leads the 627 Big Band at the Green Lady Lounge every Sunday.  Contributions from notable musicians including saxophonist Brett Jackson, trumpeter Stan Kessler and organist Paul Roberts also shone.  Lambert’s formidable ensemble is one of several active big bands that continue to infuse Kansas City’s jazz scene with vitality.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Now's the Time: Walter Smith III

Walter Smith III will perform at the KU Jazz Festival on Friday, March 4.  The saxophonist from Houston is a bandmate of Kansas City’s Logan Richardson in the Next Collective.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Laura Spencer of KCUR reports on the Mutual Musicians Foundation's makeover.

*The Green Lady Lounge was named one of America’s greatest jazz clubs by Gear Patrol magazine.

*Bill Frisell’s concert at Atkins Auditorium was reviewed by The Kansas City Star.

*Lee Hartman analyzed a performance by the Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes.

*Pitch touts Friday’s concert by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

*Joe Klopus notes the week’s highlights in his latest column.

*Rudresh Mahanthappa discussed the legacy of Charlie Parker with Howard Reich.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Steve Paul- Ambrose Akinmusire, stellar trumpeter, with a quartet right now in the Blue Room. #kc #jazz (photo)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Teach Me Tonight

Stan Kessler, Plastic Sax’s Person of the Year in 2014, Larry Kopitnik, Plastic Sax’s Person of the Year in 2015, and author and radio personality Chuck Haddix are interviewed in a new three-minute feature about Kansas City jazz.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Now's the Time: The Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes

The Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes, the trio of clarinetist David McIntire, trumpeter Ryan Oldham and bassist Brian Padavic, will perform on Saturday, February 20, at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church.  The group's set will include material from its 2015 album Memory and Weather.  The Proença Band will present the world premiere of Kyle Gann’s “Proença” after the Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes' appearance.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, the new CEO of the American Jazz Museum, was interviewed by The Pitch.

*Live at Pilgrim Chapel, the new album by David Basse and Joe Cartwright, was reviewed by KCUR.

*Dominique Sanders was interviewed by Fountain City Frequency.

*Zach Albetta chatted with John Kizilarmut in a podcast for Working Drummer.

*The Kansas City Star and The Pitch highlight Ambrose Akinmusire’s return to Kansas City.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Amanda Graor- @KCCauldron I want to capo and do the occasional tap dance solo on the bar ala Lonnie McFadden thx

*Comment o’ the Week: Mike Metheny- Thank you, Mike Warren, for taking the time to review my sonic experiments, confounding as they admittedly are. Your words were thoughtful and honest, and that works for me. (Note: “Twelve” is the number of albums produced since 1982, as opposed to ten tracks on the CD. That's what I get for being too cryptic…)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Secure Parking

New reports by KCUR correspondents examine Kansas City’s Jazz District from three angles.  The taxpayer investment, tourism challenges and aspirations of people who work in the area are analyzed. 

KCUR’s fine work is commendable, but I’m compelled to address a blatant distortion that's often accepted as fact and a commonly held misconception.  I've visited 18th & Vine about 20 times a year since 2000.  Even though I don't live in the Jazz District and I'm rarely out past 1 a.m., my experiences might be instructive.

Parking. Even when attending large-scale jazz and R&B festivals in Parade Park, I've never had to park more than four blocks away from these events.  When attending concerts at the Gem Theater or shows at the Blue Room, I usually park less than 500 steps away from those venues.  I'm baffled when journalists and public officials lament the absence of a parking garage.

Safety. Visiting the Jazz District was once a dicey proposition.  I had an unsettling encounter near the intersection of 18th Street and Paseo Boulevard in the late 1980s.  That's a distant memory.  I haven't experienced a single safety-related incident in the approximately 300 times I’ve been in the Jazz District in the last 15 years.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Now's the Time: Kim Waters

Kim Waters’ sultry music is ideally suited for inclusion on playlists between mood-setting songs by Sade and Luther Vandross.  The saxophonist will provide copacetic entertainment for smooth jazz enthusiasts this Valentine’s Day weekend in his concert at the Gem Theater on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Clint Ashlock was featured in a seven-minute segment of KCPT’s Arts Upload program.

*Larry Kopitnik ponders the print medium in a revealing KC Jazz Lark post.

*Mike Metheny’s Twelve For the Road was reviewed for KCUR by Mike Warren.

*The Pitch touts a performance by a band led by Nate Nall.

*Joe Klopus notes Kim Waters’ forthcoming appearance.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Brian Scarborough- Not even 11 AM and I've written and formatted a new tune for BSQ. Looking forward to debuting it next Wednesday! #KCJazz #Journeys

*From Paul Shinn: It's been a while since our trio has been at the Green Lady for an extended run, so we are very excited for this opportunity to provide you all with some new music as well as some older favorites as well! You can find us next weekend at the Green Lady at the following times: Saturday, February 13th 9pm-1am, Sunday, February 14th 530-830pm, Monday, February 15th 8pm-12am.  We are returning in celebration of our new album release entitled Into That Good Night. Funded by a grant received in the summer of 2014, this CD features six new compositions as well as a few select standards.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Concert Review: Bukeka Shoals at Unity Temple on the Plaza

The last thing the members of Wednesday's audience of about 125 at Unity Temple on the Plaza expected to hear was hip-hop.  Yet Bukeka Shoals began her appearance at Spirituality and All That Jazz with a funky song that featured a rap segment.

The vocalist, flautist, songwriter, actor and motivational speaker also performed pop, gospel, R&B and contemporary jazz.  Assisted by keyboardist Angela Ward (and Ward’s 13-year-old son on drums for a selection or two), Shoals was full of surprises.

The senior citizens in the audience forgave Shoals for her foray into hip-hop during lovely readings of “My Funny Valentine” and “Do Nothing till You Hear From Me” and cheerfully clapped along to a lively version of “Respect.”  Saxophonist Jim Mair unleashed his inner King Curtis while bassist James Albright evoked Duck Dunn on the R&B standard.

A rendition of Shoals’ original composition ”Be Happy” was pleasing, but the evening’s most memorable selection was an emotional a cappella interpretation of a gospel song.

The concert began with a rendition of bandleader Tim Whitmer’s “Player Piano.”  The opening tune exemplified the primary appeal of the monthly series- toe-tapping, smile-inducing jazz accentuated by melodic solos.

The core group of Whitmer, Mair, Albright and drummer Jürgen Welge has entertained at the monthly Spirituality and All That Jazz concerts for more than 22 years.  Shoals rightfully commended the series' “amazing tradition” and suggested that “we ought to be proud that we have something that brings people together from all walks of life.”

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Now's the Time: Ambrose Akinmusire

Ambrose Akinmusire, one of the most exciting artists to emerge in the new millenium, will perform at the Blue Room on Thursday, February 18.  A tour schedule posted by Blue Note Records indicates that Akinmusire will joined by his longstanding band of pianist Sam Harris, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown.  The quintet is featured in the embedded video.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Pitch previewed Deborah Brown’s appearance at the Blue Room.

*Mills Record Company featured Chris Hazelton’s latest single at its blog.

*Tweet o’ the Week: 435 Magazine- #reasonstolovekc : Our jazz scene rivals the #roaring20s @ Green Lady Lounge (photo)

*Comment o’ the Week: Vine Street Records- Interesting perspective. I would have to agree with the overall sentiment. You should check out James D. Conqueror an artist out of KC who is blending Jazz,Blues,Hip Hop. Kinda finding a way to bring jazz back to more commercial relevance. Regards, Dante'

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

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)