Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*David Basse cites Steve Caporale, Sam Copeland, Matt Kane, Stephen Martin and Nate Nall as UMKC jazz study musicians to watch in a University News feature.

*Stan Kessler dropped knowledge on KCUR’s Up To Date this morning. 

*An All About Jazz review of Lonnie McFadden’s of Live at Green Lady Lounge suggests the album represents “pure jazz joy.”

*Leslie MacLean, Matt Kane and Ken Lovern were interviewed by Joe Dimino.  Dimino also documented a Halloween-themed concert by a band led by Peter Schlamb.

*New York Voices will perform at Community Christian Church on Tuesday, January 22.  The ensemble will also present a masterclass at Kansas City Kansas Community College on Wednesday, January 23rd.

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar contains a thorough listing of November’s jazz bookings.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Terry Teachout- Here's my insider's perspective: any jazz bassist who gets work is loose BY DEFINITION. I place in evidence this snapshot of myself when young at a Kansas City jam session: (photo)

*From a press release: On Thursday, November 8, at 8:30 p.m., the David Basse Trio will present a free concert with vocalist & pianist John Bauers at Knuckleheads Saloon.  John Bauers is a Kansas City native who has lived and performed in the New York area for over 30 years. John won an Emmy for his composing on “Mercerville” and has released five CDs as a pianist and vocalist. He is the front man for New York’s best little big band Swingadelic.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Concert Review: The Will Matthews Quintet at Open Spaces

I didn’t detect a trace of irony in Dan Cameron’s introduction for the Will Matthews Quintet’s performance at Swope Park on Saturday, October 20.  Cameron, the artistic director of the Open Spaces festival, insisted that “Kansas City is a jazz town.”  The ten people who showed up for the free show were outnumbered by Open Spaces staffers, volunteers and craft vendors. 

Matthews reminded the members of the intimate gathering that he’s played guitar with the Count Basie Orchestra for the last 22 years during a set that opened with an interpretation of “In a Mellow Tone.”  The sentiment expressed in the title of the Duke Ellington composition encapsulates Matthews’ accommodating swing.

Trombonist Louis Neal, keyboardist Matt Villinger and drummer Clarence Smith matched Matthews’ unhurried approach.  The woefully undervalued saxophonist Charles Perkins had other ideas.  Perkins’ intense evocation of Eric Dolphy averted any sense of routine complacency in the lightly attended but enormously satisfying outing.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Now's the Time: Kamasi Washington at the Truman

The condescending ways in which many jazz purists dismiss Kamasi Washington act as a contrary indicator of his artistic merit.  The saxophonist, bandleader and composer has cultivated an enthusiastic following among members of the indie-rock and hip-hop communities.  Washington’s appearance at the Truman on Monday, October 29, is the jazz event of the year for hundreds of people who have no interest in internecine jazz conflicts.  Hundreds of less contentious performances are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The locally based pianist Addison Frei is a semifinalist in The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

*Pat Metheny, pianist Gwilym Simcock, bassist Linda Oh and percussionist Antonio Sánchez perform with the San Diego Symphony on Saturday, October 27.  Metheny discussed the concert with George Varga of The San Diego Union Tribune.

*Here’s footage of Gamelan Genta Kasturi’s interpreting Sun Ra’s “Angels and Demons at Play” in Kansas City last weekend.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Dominique Sanders- Chicago!!!! Playing at Constellation Chicago with Logan Richardson 830pm show and 945pm!!! See you guys tonight!

*From a press release: The next event in Lori Chandler’s Take Five Music Productions- Tink or Treat: Peter Schlamb Electric Tinks CD Release Party: Peter is an outstanding vibraphonist from St. Louis who lives full time in Kansas City, but plays all over the world. His Electric Tinks project is a whole new twist on jazz featuring Peter on pedal-enhanced vibraphone. This event is a true party with a costume contest to boot. Opening support from DJ Reach and The Cur3.  Sunday, October 27 at the Brewhouse at Brewery Emperial. 7pm. $10 cover charge at the door.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Concert Review: Erykah Badu at the Sprint Center

Things began to look up when Erykah Badu fell down at the Sprint Center on Friday.  I sensed a glimmer of hope as the headliner continued singing while lying prone on the stage after tripping over the curtain that had been dropped shortly after her performance began at 11:40 p.m.

Up to that moment, my $46.50 ticket- the least expensive seat for the Fountain City Blues & Jazz Festival that was slated to begin at 8 p.m.- had purchased nothing but disappointment.  CeeLo Green’s set was discombobulated.  Goodie Mob was pedestrian, a “comedian” told recycled jokes and an R&B vocalist repeatedly shouted “f--- that n-----.”  The concert's promoter had the gall to announce his candidacy for the City Council of Kansas City in the midst of the mess.  When the restless audience of more than 4,000 took up a chant of “Badu” after 11 p.m., an emcees ridiculed them before snapping “calm down, god damn it.”

Only a miracle could had salvaged the debacle.  And that’s just what occurred.  Badu admitted that “I fell down for real” as stagehands helped her to her feet.  From that moment on, she and her large band were transcendent.

As she conducted the musicians with the severity of Buddy Rich, Badu sounded like Billie Holiday singing over a keyboard-dominated remix of Miles Davis’ 1972 album On the Corner.  Otherworldly versions of hits like “Window Seat,” “Didn’t Cha Know” and “On & On” were less neo-soul than 21st century jazz.  The spell was broken only when when the house lights were abruptly switched on in the middle of a song at 12:37 a.m.

“That was Satan himself” Badu suggested of a rare “bad groove” during her hour-long outing.  Perhaps.  Her appearance at the Sprint Center was a radiant slice of heaven during a night that was otherwise a heaping helping of concert-going hell.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Now's the Time: Erykah Badu at the Sprint Center

As an astute writer suggests in a concert preview for The Kansas City Star, Erykah Badu exemplifies the creative spirit of Billie Holiday.  Badu tops the bill of the Fountain City Blues & Jazz Festival at the Sprint Center on Friday, October 19.  The trumpeter Keyon Harrold is among the jazz-adjacent musicians accompanying Badu in the embedded video.  Dozens of additional weekend gigs are listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Hermon Mehari chatted with KCUR’s Chuck Haddix.

*The editorial board of The Kansas City Star suggests that the “status quo at the American Jazz Museum is unacceptable.”

*Seven minutes of footage of last night’s concert by Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom was shared by Steve Paul.

*Mike Corrigan's instrument and instrument repair business is the subject of a two-minute feature created by NBC News.

*John Kizilarmut was interviewed by Joe Dimino.

*The season debut of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra was documented by Joe Dimino.

*Clint Ashlock is quoted in a The New York Times story about the mania surrounding Patrick Mahomes, the young quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

*Tweet o’ the Week: SpinningTreeTheatre- Jazz Great Angela Hagenbach Headlines Spinning Tree Sings! Cabaret Fundraiser. Mon Nov 12 @ 7:30pm, Just Off Broadway. Roger Wilder, Piano. Tyrone Clark, Bass. Michael Warren, Drums

(Original image of a men's bathroom in Arrowhead Stadium at Saturday's Ed Sheeran concert by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Concert Review: The Vijay Iyer Sextet at the Gem Theater

At the outset of his performance at the Gem Theater on Sunday, Vijay Iyer told the 75 members of the audience that he had an out-of-body experience at the Mutual Musicians Foundation earlier in the day. For the next 90 minutes, my $20 ticket allowed me to travel over the moon and through the stars via the transporting sound of the all-star sextet led by one of the most decorated artists in jazz.

Initially slated to be held at the 8,000-seat Starlight Theatre as the third and final installment of the Open Spaces festival’s showcase concert series, weather considerations necessitated the change in location for the show’s headlining act. The brisk temperature and unrelenting precipitation were a blessing in disguise. Iyer drew about 250 people to his previous Kansas City appearance at the Folly Theater in 2012. A quintet led by Hermon Mehari opened Sunday’s show.

Profound, revelatory and experimental without ever seeming forced, the playing of keyboardist Iyer, Graham Haynes on flugelhorn and electronics, saxophonists Steve Lehman and Mark Shim, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Jeremy Dutton evoked the 90-year-old recordings of Louis Armstrong’s band even during the most adventurous explorations. Footage of the year’s most exemplary concert of improvised instrumental music streams here and here.

(Original images by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Now's the Time: The Vijay Iyer Sextet

The Weekend, the signature event of the Open Spaces festival, consists of three concerts at Starlight Theatre.  Janelle Monáe and the Roots, the headliners of the first two shows, are depicted on a billboard on the east side of downtown Kansas City.  Vijay Iyer, the brilliant jazz artist who leads a sextet at the venue on Sunday, October 14, isn’t pictured.  Open Spaces provides few details about the pianist’s show, but Iyer’s site informs fans that he’ll be joined by an all-star band.  Graham Haynes will play cornet, flugelhorn and trumpet.  Saxophonists Steve Lehman and Mark Shim, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Jeremy Dutton round out the lineup.  A complete survey of area jazz performances is available at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Now's the Time: Weekly News & Notes

*Tim Finn reports on Lori Chandler’s new Take Five Music Productions endeavor.

*Calvin Wilson wrote a profile of Doreen Maronde for KC Studio.

*The Marcus Lewis Big Band’s appearance at the Open Spaces festival was documented by David Basse for University News.

*Winners in The Pitch’s annual poll include Green Lady Lounge (Best Blues Venue, Best Jazz Venue and Best Nightclub), Molly Hammer (Best Jazz Artist), A La Mode (Best Jazz Band) and the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival (Best Jazz Event).

*Tweet o’ the Week: Kauffman Center- Don't miss The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s season-opener “Autumn In New York” on Oct. 12 at the Kauffman Center. The performance will feature classic charts by Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, and more! Tickets: (link)

*From a press release: New Originals for the Green Lady is the fourth album length release by the Kansas City group OJT (organ jazz trio).  This release features original compositions by Ken Lovern and Brian Baggett and one completely improvised piece titled Back Yard Improv Jam.  New Originals is the follow up album to New Standards for the Green Lady, a 2015 release that gave the group’s unique organ jazz treatment to pop tunes of the last few decades.  OJT now makes a more unique and personal musical statement with a full length album of original music.  Both of these releases feature Ken Lovern on hammond organ, Brian Baggett on guitar, and Kevin Frazee on drums… New Originals will be available on November 7, 2018 in collectible green vinyl, traditional black vinyl, CD, and downloads… OJT plays at Green Lady Lounge every Wednesday and Saturday, so if you are in Kansas City there are plenty of chances to catch the group.

*From a press release: The Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College presents its ninth year of Winterlude, spotlighting jazz in full-length evening performances. The 2018-2019 season kicks off with Marilyn Maye, “90 at Last,” featuring the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in Yardley Hall… Local groups playing in the Winterlude series include: Angela Hagenbach Quintet: Dec. 2; Eddie Moore and Pamela Baskin-Watson: Jan. 20; Hot Club KC: Feb. 24; Cubanisms: March 17. These performances will take place at 7 p.m. in the Carlsen Center Polsky Theatre.

(Original image from a festival in Kentucky by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Concert Review: Ramsey Lewis and Urban Knights at the Folly Theater

Ramsey Lewis and Urban Knights got off to a rough start at the Folly Theater on Thursday, September 27.  Guitarist Henry Johnson, keyboardist Tim Gant, bassist Joshua Ramos and drummer Charles Heath stubbornly laid down an unrelenting funk groove as Lewis attempted to play a delicate improvisation on acoustic piano in an awkward interpretation of “Tequila Mockingbird.”  I feared that I’d spent $20 to watch an evening of musicians working at cross-purposes.

Even though the soul-jazz giant, 83, and his bandmates eventually found common ground in their 90-minute performance, Lewis’ unaccompanied playing on versions of John Coltrane’s “Dear Lord” and the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” provided the show’s most memorable moments.  Lewis’ unaccompanied excursions indicated that while his body may move slowly, his mind is as facile as ever.

After encouraging the audience of about 600 to clap along during the encore, Lewis jokingly snarled when they persisted.  His physical comedy was mirrored by the Urban Knights.  Each man elicited laughter at least once with amusing musical gags.  I’ve seen Lewis perform several times in recent years, but his usual closing flurry of the hits “Sun Goddess,” “Wade in the Water” and “The ‘In’ Crowd” never fails to give me goosebumps.  If Lewis returns to Kansas City in 2019, I’ll be there to greet him.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Now's the Time: John Petrucelli

John Petrucelli likens his sound to current jazz heavyweights like Donny McCaslin.  The lofty comparison isn’t unwarranted.  Petrucelli, the Director of Jazz at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, demonstrates his brawny sound and big imagination on his new album Presence.  He’ll lead a band in the Orion Room at the Green Lady Lounge on Monday, October 8, and next door at Black Dolphin on Tuesday, October 9.  The saxophonist’s gigs are among the listings at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Lonnie McFadden’s Live at Green Lady Lounge was enthusiastically reviewed by Jazz Weekly.

*Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom will perform at Musical Theater Heritage on Tuesday, October 16.

*Kait Dunton, the former keyboardist for Snarky Puppy, will lead a trio at Black Dolphin on Thursday, Nov. 15.

*Joe Dimino shares glimpses of Stephen Martin’s recent performance at RecordBar.  He also chatted with Molly Hammer.

*The 56-page program for the 2018-19 season of the Folly Theater Jazz Series lists the lineups for the forthcoming concerts.  I’m republishing them as a public service.  Larry Carlton Quintet, October 12: Larry Carlton, guitar; Gary Novak, drums; Travis Carlton, bass; Bob Reynolds, saxophone; Mark Stevens, keyboard; The Yellowjackets, January 18: Russell Ferrante, piano; Will Kennedy, drums; Dane Alderson, bass; Bob Mintzer, tenor saxophone; Kandace Springs, February 15: Kandace Springs, keyboard/vocals; Chris Gaskell, bass; Connor Parks, drums; Kurt Elling Quintet, March 9: Kurt Elling, vocals; Stu Mindeman, piano; Clark Sommers, bass; Adonis Rose, drums; Joshua Redman Quartet, April 11: Joshua Redman, saxophone; Aaron Goldberg, piano; Reuben Rogers, bass; Gregory Hutchinson, drums; Arturo Sandoval, April 27: Arturo Sandoval, trumpet; John Belzaguy, bass; Tiki Pasillas, percussion; Michael Tucker, saxophone.

*A blogger documented an area performance by Lonnie Holley and Nelson Patton.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Gravy Jones- Jazz in the restroom at the Kansas City zoo is just perfect.

*Kansas City Jazz Calendar has been updated with October’s gigs.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)