Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Marcus Lewis is a recipient of a 2018 Generative Performing Artist Award from the Charlotte Street Foundation.

*Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston will perform at the 1900 Building on April 8.  Tickets are available here.

*Share Valleau objects to the tone of an editorial about the Jazz District published by The Kansas City Star.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Pat Metheny News- A new Japanese book called 'Listen to Pat Metheny 1974->2017' will come out 03/07/2018 (thnksM)

*From a press release: The American Jazz Museum, in partnership with Kansas City Public Library and The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, announces its first ever Jazz Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon, which takes place on Monday, March 5, from 3:00 to 7:00 pm in the Atrium of the American Jazz Museum. The goal of this event is to create and edit articles which preserve Kansas City jazz history, from local musicians, to historic jazz clubs in the 18th & Vine and the 12th & Vine districts, to the community leaders whose legacies continue to live on.

*From a press release: Steve Cardenas' “Charlie and Paul” kicks off Newvelle Records' Third Season. The recording is a deeply personal statement about his long standing band mates Charlie Haden and Paul Motian… Newvelle Records releases music exclusively on vinyl and in six record box sets. Members subscribe to a season and receive one record every two months over the course of a year.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Album Review: Logan Richardson- Blues People

Logan Richardson seems to be spoiling for a fight on his confrontational new album Blues People.  Listeners are forced to choose a side.  While I don’t embrace every element of the divisive project, I’ve had the saxophonist’s back for years.

I pegged Richardson for renown when he began dazzling me with his unconventional vision on Kansas City stages about ten years ago.  He fulfilled much of that promise on the 2016 album Shift.  The critically heralded Blue Note Records title placed him with an all-star band consisting of guitarist Pat Metheny, keyboardist Jason Moran, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Nasheet Waits.

Blues People will be released by the scrappy indie label Ropeadope on April 13.  Richardson literally doubles down on electric guitar on the album.  Kansas City’s Justus West and the Ukrainian guitarist Igor Osypov supplant Metheny on the instrument.  Along with bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Ryan Lee, fixtures on the Kansas City scene, the men evoke rock-oriented artists like Jimi Hendrix, James “Blood” Ulmer and Living Colour on abrasive tracks including “Underground,” “Rebels Rise” and “With You.”

Screaming electric guitars are just one of many sounds on the eclectic 66-minute statement.  “80s Kid” is true to its title.  An electrifying Reagan-era throwback, the song could have been used as dramatic entrance music at Prince concerts.  “Country Boy” is a Moby-esque country blues remix.  The muscular “Change” would fit comfortably on a playlist between tracks by Kendrick Lamar and Twenty One Pilots.

The brash “Anthem (To Human Justice),” the album’s pivotal track, suggests that Richardson merits a seat at the same table as contemporary hitmakers.  The track revolves around Richardson’s pleading saxophone, the unifying element that bonds the disparate sounds of Blues People.  Many will ask, “that’s all well and good, but is it jazz?”  Audacious improvisation that synthesizes a vast swathe of American music, Blues People is precisely what culturally relevant  jazz should sound like in 2018.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Now's the Time: Marbin

The members of the  jazz-rock band Marbin are committed road warriors.  The itinerant Chicago based band regularly visits Kansas City.  Marbin will showcase material from its forthcoming album Israeli Jazz on Monday, February 26, at Californos.  The comprehensive Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists hundreds of additional performances.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Dave Helling considers potential liquor licensing changes in the Jazz District for The Kansas City Star.

*Plaza III, a venerable steakhouse that has long hosted jazz performances, will close next month.

*Joe Klopus spoke to Josh Nelson ahead of the pianist’s return visit to the Kansas City area.

*Organizers of the Jazz in the Woods festival reiterated previous reports that this year’s event has been canceled.

*Alex Anderson reviewed an appearance by David Amram.

*Béla Fleck & the Flecktones will perform at the Uptown Theater on July 9.

*Harold O’Neal created a four-minute video highlight reel.

*Tweet o’ the Week: KC Jazz Orchestra- Always brewing ideas for upcoming concerts - what sorts of music would you like to hear us do? #kcjazz

*Comment o’ the Week: Darrel McKaig- The bassist, Tamir, was my favorite accompanist. While he was highlighted during the duet with Cyrille, his playing throughout was impeccable.

*From a press release: Mikeyy Austin will join the new project from Eddie Moore, We The People, for his Kansas City debut.  Mikeyy is a young up and coming MC out of Lansing Michigan… We The People is a Power Trio plus one with Eddie Moore on piano, Dominique Sanders on bass, Zach Morrow on drums, and Leonard Dstroy on  Turntable/Aux percussion... this fusion group brings Prog Rock, Soul, Funk, and Hiphop together in a unique way that is spread over a bed on improvisation. 7 p.m. March 8, at RecordBar. $8.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Concert Review: Cyrille Aimée at the Folly Theater

Cyrille Aimée won over a skeptical audience of about 300 at the Folly Theater on Friday.  Even though the French vocalist has been receiving rave reviews for a decade, she’s still relatively unknown in Kansas City.

I became convinced that my $20 ticket was a solid investment during the fourth selection.  A ravishing interpretation of the Dominican icon Juan Luis Guerra’s “Estrellitas y Duende” made me realize that while her petite voice is as small as a hummingbird, Aimée’s instrument possesses the spectacular beauty, speed and fearlessness associated with the tiny creatures.

The trumpet and vocal flourishes Wayne Tucker added to most songs were delightful, but the versatile pianist Hila Kulik was clearly the audience’s favorite accompanist.  Bassist Tamir Shmerling and drummer Dani Danor added dynamic support on a setlist that included striking original compositions, Adler and Ross’ "Whatever Lola Wants," Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” and Lerner and Loewe’s “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

Aimée did, in fact, dance all night.  And she never stopped smiling.  Her ebullience was merited.  The creative quintet’s imaginative approach combined a clear adoration of jazz tradition with healthy irreverence.  Exasperated by a couple false starts on a looping device during a solo segment, Aimée endearingly sighed that “it’s all part of the show.” 

Aimée’s self-deprecating humor, effervescent spirit and boundless talent secured her show placement on short lists of the musical highlights of 2018.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Now's the Time: Izabel Crane

Izabel Crane, a band from Springfield, Missouri, references Billie Holiday and Django Reinhardt as it characterizes its sound as Ozark jazz.  While I hear a lot more Bill Monroe than Charlie Parker, I’m inclined to like the ostensible hybrid.  Izabel Crane performs in the Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads on Thursday, February 22.  Dozens of more conventional jazz bookings are posted at the Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Stan Kessler is the subject of a five-minute feature created for KCUR.

*Jessie Riggins lauded the Kansas City’s Symphony’s collaboration with jazz musicians.

*UMKC’s student newspaper published a review of Lonnie McFadden’s new album.

*Joe Klopus previewed Cyrille Aimée’s concert at the Folly Theater for The Kansas City Star.

*Rod Fleeman was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*CJ Janovy deciphered the unusual circumstances of a jazz poster party.

*David Amram discussed his career with Steve Kraske on KCUR.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Rick Hellman- What a joy to hear @happyinbag give #kcjazz keeper of the flame Stan Kessler his due on @kcur!

*From a press release: Kansas City Jazz Alive… is proud to announce Musicians Assisting Musicians 101- The Business of Jazz, an educational workshop for jazz musicians in the Kansas City region. The workshop will take place… on April 21, 2018 from 8am – 1pm at Black Dolphin.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Focus on Sanity

There was no chance I would miss the discussion of Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking 1958 album The Shape of Jazz to Come last Monday at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library.  I was so giddy about the recondite event that I arrived an hour early.  While I couldn’t persuade the library’s two security guards or the disorderly vagrants they were minding to attend the seminar, my enthusiasm was shared by a handful of attendees at the listening party sponsored by The Kansas Jazz Orchestra.

John Kizilarmut, the passionate and knowledgeable moderator, set the tone for his presentation by playing a polarizing track by Mostly Other People Do the Killing.  In addition to providing context for The Shape of Jazz to Come, Kizilarmut shared a photo that his research led him to believe acted as the inspiration for the album’s lead track “Lonely Woman.” 

The small class listened to the first side of the album in reverent silence.  After Kizilarmut added additional insights, a loudmouth blogger instigated debates as the second side played.  Clint Ashlock, the Artistic Director of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, will analyze Maria Schneider’s Evanescence at the Central Library on March 12.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Now's the Time: Cyrille Aimée

“Do what you want to do, there ain't no rules- it's up to you.”  I wish more jazz-oriented musicians heeded the message of Michael Jackson’s hit.  Cyrille Aimée’s willingness to defy convention has helped make her one of the most intriguing artists currently bridging the divide between jazz and popular music.  The French vocalist will explore “the madness in the music” at the Folly Theater on Saturday, February 17.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*John Scott of the Green Lady Lounge and Deborah Brown, Chuck Haddix and Bobby Watson were guests on KCUR’s Up to Date on Monday and Tuesday.

*Clint Ashlock discussed an upcoming concert by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra on KCUR’s Central Standard.

*Bram Wijnands chatted with Joe Dimino.

*Giovanni Russonello of The New York Times praised an outing by the Logan Richardson Quartet.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Ryan Hennessey- My favorite Jazz has some funk in the sound. Good segment. I was at the Green Lady on Saturday. Always a good time. Anxious to try the Black Dolphin.

*From a press release: ‘Ask a Jazz Dude’, a live talk show/vlog presented by KKFI 90.1 FM and Marcus Lewis, where Marcus and selected guests answer questions about music, performing, the music business, social media, and pop culture, will take viewers on the bandstand and backstage into the mind of working musicians and creators.  The Facebook Live format gives viewers an easy way to interact with Marcus and his guests and ask questions in real time.  ‘Ask a Jazz Dude’ kicked off February 5 and can be found at facebook.com/askajazzdude Mondays at noon. 

*From a press release: Jazz vocalist Kathleen Holeman and her band will perform on Sunday evening, February 11, 6:00 pm at Kansas City Jazz Vespers, held at the historic First Baptist Church of Kansas  City...  KC Jazz Vespers features 100 minutes of professional jazz in two acts… There is no entry charge though a free-will offering is taken. 

*From a press release: The American Jazz Museum is expanding its Kansas City Jazz Academy by launching a partnership with the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation’s Kansas City Arts Outreach, an established music education program with mission similar to that of the Museum’s Jazz Academy...  The Kansas City Jazz Academy (KCJA), the museum’s most comprehensive music education program, completed its first year in May 2017. The program was successful in bringing 150 K-12 students together every Saturday for hands-on classes in Big Band, Combos, Improvisation, and more… Beginning in 2018, KCJA will be led by Mr. Clarence Smith

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Concert Review: Ryan Keberle & Catharsis at Black Dolphin

A stunning recital of compositions that bandleader Ryan Keberle characterized as protest songs at Black Dolphin on Wednesday was the easily best thing I heard in January.  Without compromising the music’s integrity, his quintet Catharsis artfully melded jazz with indie-rock, folk and Música Popular Brasileira.

The trombonist and pianist noted his enthusiasm for the jazz revolutionary Ornette Coleman, the Brooklyn indie-rock duo the Welcome Wagon and the Brazilian icons Ivan Lins and Elis Regina, but his band’s intricately arranged chamber jazz put me in mind of Wayne Shorter’s classic 1975 album Native Dancer.

Catharsis consists of New York based ringers.  Saxophonist John Ellis, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Eric Doob are first-call heavyweights.  Even so, Camila Meza’s star shone brightest.  The Chilean native’s vocals were ravishing while her stellar guitar work earned vigorous applause.

Only about 20 people attended each set, but the meager audience was dominated by musicians.  The galvanizing show is likely to inspire inventive new sounds on Kansas City’s jazz scene in the months and years to come.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, February 2, 2018

Now's the Time: Stephen Martin

Stephen Martin is poised to become the next graduate of UMKC’s Conservatory of Music & Dance to make a big splash on Kansas City’s jazz scene.  The saxophonist and bandleader mans the late shift at Green Lady Lounge on Saturday, February 3.