Friday, December 30, 2016

Now's the Time: Rich Hill and Bryan Hicks

Rich Hill and the Riffs were a top-tier attraction in the Kansas City area 34 years ago.  Hill and vocalist and bassist Bryan Hicks remain musical partners.  The men wlll perform at Eddie V’s on New Year’s Eve. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Jessie Riggins reviewed a concert by a band led by David Basse and Joe Cartwright.

*The Kansas City Star reported that Houston Smith was slated to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” prior to the Chiefs-Broncos game at Arrowhead Stadium.

*The Kansas City Star’s forecast for 2017 references redevelopment in the Jazz District.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Sunflower Soul Records- We may not be too active on Twitter, but we've been active behind the scenes. Thanks for a great 2016. BIG things coming in 2017!

*Comment o’ the Week: Frank Valazquez- Thanks for exposing me to their music.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Top Jazz-Related Stories and Trends of 2016

1.Dicking around
A resounding tempest in a teapot, John Scott’s characterization of adventurous improvisation as “jazz dick music” in an article about the dearth of jazz-oriented venues roiled the insular scene.  The owner of the Green Lady Lounge apologized for his choice of words here.

2. Not so festive
The American Jazz Museum elected not to present a festival in 2016.  The Jazz in the Woods festival was transformed into the decidedly non-jazz SoJo Summerfest and the Parkville River Jam, a previously reliable showcase for jazz musicians, was discontinued.

3. The sound of silence
The American Restaurant, Louie’s Wine Dive, Art Factory and Prohibition Hall are among the venues that once presented jazz that either closed or changed formats in 2016.

4. Buds
Eddie V’s and Ça Va are among the new and established restaurants that began hosting jazz performances.

5. Jazz millions
A new round of public funding and redevelopment of the Jazz District began.  Additionally, Paseo Park is being transformed into the Urban Youth Academy.

6. Blue notes
With the release of Shift on Blue Note Records/Universal Music Group, Logan Richardson became the first jazz artist from Kansas City other than Karrin Allyson or Pat Metheny to issue an album on a major label in the new millennium.

7. Cold shoulders
While this site, KCUR and Jam magazine assiduously reviewed albums by locally based musicians, very few of these efforts received more than a smidgen of attention from publications outside of the Kansas City area. 

8. Prince Edward
Eddie Moore, Plastic Sax’s Person of the Year, was saluted by hundreds of new fans and by several institutions.

9. Straight and narrow
The swinging drummer Todd Strait returned to Kansas City.

10. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Pat Metheny and Bobby Watson performed at the White House in April to mark International Jazz Day.

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

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Date With Big Joe Turner

"Every day is Christmas and I ain't got a thing to do, spend all my time making heavy love to you."  Born in Kansas City in 1911, Joe Turner was the original rock and roller.  "Christmas Date Boogie" is the b-side of a 1948 single.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*David Basse and Joe Cartwright were interviewed by Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up to Date talk show.

*Eddie Moore is profiled in a two-minute video feature created by KCPT.

*Mills Record Company recommends recordings by Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7, Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle and the Jorge Arana Trio as attractive gift ideas for jazz fans.

*Patrick Alonzo Conway was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*Chris Burnett listed his favorite albums of 2016.

*Logan Richardson’s Shift placed in Nextbop's top albums of 2016 list.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Marilyn Kallet- The latest issue of New Letters has a great poem by Yusef Komunyakaa, four by Alice Friman, as well as jazz photos from Kansas City. Bravo!

*Comment o’ the Week: Kelly Buckley- Love love love Eddie and his music! Thanks for honoring him in this way!

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Eddie Moore: The Plastic Sax Person of the Year

Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle’s album release party for Kings & Queens at the Tank Room in October was markedly different from the hundreds of jazz performances I’ve attended since I founded Plastic Sax in 2007. 

Dozens of revelers even younger than I was ten years ago paid a $10 cover charge to sway and dance to the ensemble’s masterful improvisation-oriented fusion of jazz, funk and hip-hop.

The joyous event was an encouraging anomaly in a jazz scene that’s in acute need of fledgling enthusiasts.  While the keyboardist, composer and bandleader also thrives in straight-ahead settings, Moore’s recognition that hip-hop is part of the same continuum of American music as jazz suggests that his approach to improvised music will continue to attract new adherents.

Moore’s progressive perspective and copious achievements make him an obvious choice for Plastic Sax’s Person of the Year.

The previous recipients of Plastic Sax's Person of the Year award are Larry Kopitnik (2015), Deborah Brown (2014), Stan Kessler (2013), Doug and Lori Chandler (2012), Jeff Harshbarger (2011), Mark Lowrey (2010) and Hermon Mehari (2009).  Bobby Watson was named the Plastic Person Person of the Decade in 2009.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Now's the Time: The Abel Ramirez Big Band

The Abel Ramirez Big Band has been delighting area fans of the music of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey for years.  The ensemble’s robust swing will incite dancing at the Camelot Ballroom on the afternoon of Sunday, December 18, and on the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Chuck Haddix interviewed Chris Hazelton on KCUR.

*Jessie Riggins lauded the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s most recent concert.

*The Kansas City Star reviewed the Owen/Cox Dance Group and the People’s Liberation Big Band’s production of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”

*Joe Klopus advises readers that Logan Richardson will return to the Blue Room on Thursday.

*Jorge Arana analyzed one of his compositions for KCUR.

*Flatland commends the Charlotte Street Foundation grant recipient Eddie Moore.

*Todd Strait chatted with Joe Dimino.

*Marc Myers examines 1970s-era Count Basie.

*The Kansas City Star reports on construction projects in the Jazz District.

*Tweet o’ the Week: David Megee- Psychedelic xylophone at Green Lady Lounge. Yep.

*From Michael Shults: ”Wisconsin Public Television produced a documentary on the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, airing now. Here's a clip of KC jazz heavyweights Schlamb, Kizilarmut, and Bowman backing festival guest artists Jimmy Heath and Stefon Harris at the finale concert."

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Georgia on My Mind

As the epicenter of the hip-hop industry, Atlanta has provided the primary soundtrack for much of the world’s population for the last 20 years.  I found that the rising musical tide hasn’t lifted all proverbial boats during a four-day respite in the vibrant city last week.  While I joined about 700 people at a concert by the touring bassist Stanley Clarke, I was unable to locate a session by locally based jazz musicians, let alone a jazz-oriented venue like the Blue Room or the Green Lady Lounge.  Jazz-lovers in Kansas City are blessed by a commensurate embarrassment of riches.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Now's the Time: Cécile McLorin Salvant

The impeccably fashionable Cécile McLorin Salvant makes her Kansas City debut at the Folly Theater on Saturday, December 10.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City drummer Donivan Bailey has died.

*Chris Hazelton spoke to The Kansas City Star about the new album Soul Jazz Fridays.

*Joe Klopus surveyed the week in jazz in his weekly column.

*The Kansas City Star reviewed the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s concert at the Midland theater.

*Laura Spencer of KCUR reports on supplemental city funding for the Jazz District.

*Logan Richardson’s Shift is #33 on NPR’s Best 50 Albums of 2016 list.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Alaadeen- Services for Donivan Bailey will be this Sat.

*Comment o’ the Week: Jeremy- Coming soon to Topeka--Trombonopolis 3! Trombonopolis is a trombone festival and workshop at Washburn University that culminates with a concert performance by guest trombonists as well as the workshop participants who range in age from grade school through college…

*From a press release: The KU School of Music’s award-winning Jazz Ensemble I will perform at the historic Gem Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. The free public concert will also feature Blue Valley West High School Jazz Ensemble I and guest soloist Matt Otto on saxophone… Directed by Dan Gailey, the KU Jazz Ensemble I is one of the top-rated collegiate jazz bands in the country.

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

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Plastic Sax's Favorite Performances of 2016

Favorite Performances by Kansas City Artists
1. Marilyn Maye- Quality Hill Playhouse
2. Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle- Tank Room
3. Logan Richardson- Blue Room (Plastic Sax review)
4. Matt Otto Septet- Blue Room (Plastic Sax review)
5. Matt Villinger- Orion Room at the Green Lady Lounge
6. Karrin Allyson- Folly Theater
7. Gerald Spaits’ Sax & Violins- Westport CoffeeHouse (Plastic Sax review)
8. Jorge Arana Trio- Mills Record Company
9. Hermon Mehari Quartet- Polsky Theatre (Plastic Sax review)
10. Mark Southerland, Annie Ellicott, Jeff Harshbarger and John Kizilarmut- Californos

Favorite Performances by Artists From Elsewhere
1. Tortoise- Granada
2. Christian McBride Trio- Folly Theater
3. Pablo Ziegler’s Quartet for New Tango- Polsky Theatre (Plastic Sax review)
4. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom- Blue Room
5. Roy Ayers- Blue Room
6. Candido- American Jazz Museum (Plastic Sax review)
7. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra- Midland theater
8. The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman- Gem Theater
9. Bill Frisell- Atkins Auditorium
10. Béla Fleck & the Flecktones- Muriel Kauffman Theatre

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

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Now's the Time: Tim Warfield's All-Star Jazzy Christmas

I’ve invested a considerable amount of time and money on tickets and recordings by a few of the seven musicians who will be featured at a concert at the Gem Theater on Friday, December 9.  I’m less enthused about hearing them play seasonal music with Tim Warfield’s All-Star Jazzy Christmas ensemble.  The group includes Nicholas Payton, Stefon Harris, Cyrus Chestnut, Rodney Whitaker, Clarence Penn and Joanna Pascale.