Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Klopus runs down the week in jazz for The Kansas City Star.

*Marilyn Maye reveals new aspects of her career in an interview with a California-based reporter.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Green Lady Lounge- NewYear'sEve @ GreenLadyLounge Strait, DeVan & Gatschet 5-9pm Boogaloo7 9pm-1am OrionRoom OJT 10pm-2am Never a cover charge Kansas City Jazz

*From a press release: Pianist Joe Cartwright has lived, performed and taught in the Kansas City area for over thirty years.  He is a graduate of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and is currently the musical director for the critically acclaimed NPR radio show “12th Street Jump.”… (With) Tim Whitmer & the Consort Band. Wednesday, December 7, 2016 (at) Unity Temple on the Plaza. $7.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Plastic Sax’s Favorite Albums of 2016

Favorite Kansas City Albums
1. Charlie Parker- Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes, (Plastic Sax review at KCUR)
2. Logan Richardson- Shift, (Plastic Sax review at KCUR)
3. Pat Metheny Unity Group- The Unity Sessions, (Plastic Sax review)
4. Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle- Kings & Queens, (Plastic Sax review at KCUR)
5. Chris Hazelton's Boogaloo Seven- Soul Jazz Fridays, (Plastic Sax review at KCUR)
6. Matt Otto- Soliloquy, (Plastic Sax review at KCUR)
7. Mike Dillon- Functioning Broke
8. Paul Shinn Trio- Into That Good Night, (Plastic Sax review)
9. Jorge Arana Trio- Mammoth, (Plastic Sax review)
10. Matt Hopper- First Love, (Plastic Sax review)

Favorite Albums From Elsewhere
1. David Murray, Geri Allen, and Terri Lyne Carrington- Perfection
2. Nels Cline- Lovers
3. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom- Otis Was a Polar Bear
4. Amina Claudine Myers- Sama Rou
5. Elliot Galvin Trio- Punch
6. Charlie Hunter- Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched In the Mouth
7. Charles Lloyd & the Marvels- I Long To See You
8. Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur- Together, As One
9. John Scofield- Country For Old Men
10. Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life- Nihil Novi

Plastic Sax conducted similar exercises in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Now's the Time: Catherine Russell

It’s a foregone conclusion that Catherine Russell will steal the show when she performs with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Midland theater on Thursday, December 1.  Bandleader Wynton Marsalis may be a bigger star, but the veteran vocalist is likely to have the audience in the palms of her hands by the end of the concert.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Soul Jazz Fridays, the new album by Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7, was reviewed by KCUR.

*Kemet “The Phantom” Coleman wrote an appreciation of the young saxophonist Ernest Melton.

*The Kansas City sound engineer Ron Ubel has died.

*Karrin Allyson’s concert was reviewed by The Kansas City Star.  The concert was previewed by KCUR.

*Bobby Watson was interviewed by Jon Hart in a 36-minute Local 909 session.

*Ted Gioia, the author of the new book How To Listen to Jazz, chatted with Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up to Date.

*James Conqueror, the man in charge of the Mutual Musician Foundation’s radio initiative, discussed his aspirations with Joe Dimino.

*Marc Myers lauds the digital reissue of the Count Basie Orchestra’s High Voltage.

*The documentary Kansas City Dreamin’ (Music In Shadows) features Diallo Javonne French’s photographs.  (Via Tony’s Kansas City.)

*Tweet o’ the Week: My New Band- Absorbed Lasagna is the name of my new Kansas City jazz quintet

*From a press release: Jazz luminaries David Basse and Joe Cartwright will bring a septet to Polsky Theatre in the Johnson County Community College Carlsen Center at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, as part of JCCC’s Winterlude concerts... Tickets, which are $20, are available online at… Other members of the septet are Seth Lee, bass; Taylor Babb, drums; Jason Goudeau, trombone; Stephen Martin, saxophone, and Nate Nall, trumpet.

*From a press release: Community Christian Church presents Jazz Carolfest 2016! Join Tim Whitmer and his all star cast of friends on Sunday, December 4 at 4pm for a swinging start to the Christmas season. The line-up features artists of from several generations including the talents of Kelley Hunt, Millie Edwards, Diane "Mama" Ray, Molly Hammer, Greg Meise, Tevin Williams, Scotty Dennis, John Stafford, the Kansas City Bass Quartet (James Albright, Gerald Spaits, Ben Leifer, & Tim Brewer), and The Wild Women (Geneva Price, Lori Tucker, & Millie Edwards) along with pianist Tim Whitmer and the award-winning house band (Jurgen Welge, James Albright, Rod Fleeman, Everette Devan, Todd Wilkinson, & Stan Kessler)... Tickets are $25 at the door or $20 in advance and can be purchased in person or online at Community Christian Church.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Album Review: A La Mode- C'est Si Bon

The pre-war recordings of Django Reinhardt are among the greatest musical achievements of the 20th century.  I swear by this bargain-priced box set released by the JSP label.  The members of the Kansas City group A La Mode almost certainly share my admiration for the legacy of the legendary guitarist.  A La Mode’s new album C’est Si Bon recasts Parisian hot jazz for contemporary audiences.  Jesica Poell is a charismatic vocalist, but the ensemble is best when guitarist Clayton DeLong is kicking up dust with violinists Marvin Gruenbaum and Adam Galblum. 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Now's the Time: Ernie Andrews

In a reprise of a 2010 concert at the same venue, the veteran blues and jazz vocalist Ernie Andrews will perform with a big band led by Bobby Watson at the Gem Theater on Saturday, November 19.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Klopus highlights forthcoming concerts by bands led by Karrin Allyson and Bobby Watson in his latest column.

*Chepttoo Kositany-Buckner and Bobby Watson pitch the forthcoming concert at the Gem Theater featuring Watson, Ernie Andrews and American Jazz Orchestra.  The Pitch also touted the show.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Sinbad- Kansas City where is the jazz and live music in Kansas City on a Friday night

*From the American Jazz Museum: We've added more dates to our (Riffing on the Repertoire author talks) series: Dec. 1 Rashod Ollison - Soul Serenade; Dec. 15 Brian Seibert - What the Eye Hears; Jan. 12 Michael Jarrett - Pressed for All Time; Jan. 26 Sherrie Tucker - Dance Floor Democracy; March 9 Stephen Rush - Free Jazz, Harmolodics and Ornette Coleman; March 23 Dr. Richard Turner - Jazz Religon, the Second Line and Black New Orleans; April 6 - Lanston Hughes Project with Dr. Ron McCurdy; April 20 - Charles Hersch Jews and Jazz: Improvising EthnicityTed Gioia speaks at the Museum on Thursday, Nov. 17.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Teaching Moments

I joined about 20 students at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance for Helen Sung’s inspiring master class on Friday afternoon.

The session consisted of three components: a sublime demonstration by Sung and her touring band of saxophonist John Ellis, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Darrell Green, a discussion of how each musician came to jazz followed by a question-and-answer session, and a student performance that was critiqued by the professionals.

Ellis’ emphatic playing on a lively interpretation of Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love” made me regret not bringing earplugs.  He later recalled his initial college experience: “I started to get really excited about jazz and really unexcited about oboe (his primary instrument at the time).”

Kozlov described the limited access he had to Western music growing up under the oppressive Soviet regime, and noted that “Bobby (Watson) gave me one of my first breaks” after he arrived in New York City.  Green remembered that “I was the little kid who got five, six whuppings a Sunday” before his energy was harnessed by the church band.

Sung humbly insisted that “I try to get better every day.”  Each musician spoke of his or her introduction to jazz in the awed tone of a child describing a memory of unwrapping a favorite present.

Their kind but frank analysis of the students’ playing greatly enhanced my appreciation of the music.  As a bonus, Watson commandeered the piano to ably demonstrate Ellis’ points about the flexibility of time and responding to the prompts of peers. 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Now's the Time: Helen Sung

Pianist Helen Sung performs at the Blue Room on Saturday, November 12.  According to Joe Klopus of The Kansas City Star, Sung will be joined by saxophonist John Ellis, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Darrell Green.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Eddie Moore will lead a new weekly jam session at Californos.  The first session is slated for Wednesday, November 9.

*Joe Klopus highlights Helen Sung’s return to Kansas City in his weekly column.

*Tim Finn reports that Molly Hammer was a beneficiary of a medical-related grant from the Midwest Music Foundation.

*The Shawnee Mission Post reports that this year’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival “generated $10,000 in revenue."

*A blogger praises a Marilyn Maye performance at Quality Hill Playhouse.

*KCUR documented the creation of a socially-conscious mural at the American Jazz Museum.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Dominique Sanders- And people wonder why black people still talk about racism

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

In a Silent Way: Bob Gluck at the American Jazz Museum

I’m ashamed to admit that last Thursday’s presentation by Bob Gluck was the first of the Riffing on the Repertoire author talks I’ve attended at the American Jazz Museum in 2016.  I’m not the only person who’s been missing out.  Only 12 people heard Gluck speak. 

Gluck’s illuminating lecture was based on his new book The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles.  A detailed analysis of a two-minute snippet of a 1967 bootleg documenting a jam between Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams deepened my appreciation of Davis’ aptitude for assembling talent.

Revelations included anecdotes about the initial resistance of Hancock and (later) Chick Corea to comply with Davis’ insistence that they plug in and Davis’ duplicitous dismissal of Ornette Coleman.  Gluck illustrated a few of his points at a keyboard and spoke of giants like Anthony Braxton in an appropriately reverent tone.  I would have gladly listened to Gluck rap all night.

The year’s Riffing on the Repertoire series concludes November 17 with Ted Gioia’s presentation about his latest effort How to Listen to Jazz.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Now's the Time: Tony Tixier

Pianist Tony Tixier returns to the Blue Room on Friday, November 4.  He’ll be joined by his touring band of bassist Karl McComas-Reichl and drummer Tommy Crane.  The embedded profile should delight Francophiles (and features a cameo by Ryan Lee).

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Klopus scrutinized the week in jazz for The Kansas City Star.

*The Pitch previewed Tony Tixier’s return to the Blue Room.

*Marilyn Maye opens a four-day residency tonight at Quality Hill Playhouse.

*Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner of the American Jazz Museum is featured in a 435 Magazine article titled #LadyBoss.

*An early review of Echoes of Europe, the forthcoming album by Dino Massa's Kansas City Quintet, suggests that it’s “smoking contemporary jazz.”

*Tweet o’ the Week: Union Station- THIS FRIDAY! Join us for a spectacular evening of music and dance with The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (link)

*Comment o’ the Week: Jeremy- Topeka is lucky to have someone as generous as Liz Stratton supporting jazz performances. Thanks to her generosity I've been able to see two of the most amazing musicians (Sean Jones and Eldar Djangirov) that I've ever seen.

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

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)