Jazz Avenues March/April BLOG 2017

By Steve Monroe

 

… follow @jazzavenues

 

 

Appreciating Buck Hill

“… Some think it was an unfortunate comment on society’s view of art that Buck Hill had to take himself to New York City in early 1982 and surround himself with established players, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams, drummer Billy Hart to burst onto the national scene as an artist worth noting in many jazz and music magazines and newspaper columns. But what of all the hours playing his ripping, driving riffs, gentle caressing tones that Hill played with talented players of D.C.’s and Baltimore’s past — players no one will ever hear of? Hill’s star was actually made then, not in New York City clubs, or New York City newspaper reviews in the ’80’s.” — From the original manuscript of “Violet Avenues: A Poetry of Jazz,” by Steve Monroe, copyright 1998, Washington, D.C.

 


Funeral services for Hill, who passed away last week at the age of 90, were held March 26 at Westminster Presbyterian Church with a sumptuous feast afterward and a celebration jam session. We appreciate you Buck Hill, who entertained us mightily many an April — Jazz Appreciation Month. And see more on Buck below, including a review of his 2013 tribute day.

 

 

Howard Univ. Jazz, Marcus, Hargrove, Cyntje on tap
as April rolls in for Jazz Appreciation Month

 

The Howard University Jazz Ensemble takes the stage at Westminster Presbyterian Church Friday March 31 to kick of the weekend at 6 p.m., with Todd Marcus, Roy Hargrove and Reginald Cyntje also among the highlights this weekend.
The Howard University Jazz Ensemble, which delivered another swinging session for its show last month at the campus that featured vibraphonist Warren Wolf, who received the Benny Golson Jazz Master Award that day, performs at Westminster tonight under the direction of the esteemed Fred Irby, followed by Jazz Night at the Movies, “Nat King Cole: A&E Biography.”

 

 

Reginald Cyntje appears at Twins Jazz March 31, April 1.
Saxophonist and composer Marcus brings a band to the Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel Friday night, while trombonist Reginald Cyntje appears with his group at Twins Jazz tonight and Saturday and trumpeter Roy Hargrove finishes his week at Blues Alley with shows Friday through Sunday. Also Friday night, sax man Elijah Jamal Balbed is at Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill. Tomorrow, Saturday, April 1, “Baltimore Rising” presented by George Spicka/Baltimore Jazz Works features a group with vocalist Charlene Cochran, Leo Brandenburg on reeds and Spicka at the piano, and a group led by virtuoso drummer John Lamkin III appears at Caton Castle in Baltimore.
Meanwhile, Jazz Appreciation Month gets into gear Saturday April 1 when the exhibit “First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald at 100” goes on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, in the Archives Center, 1 West. JAM daytime concerts are staged at the museum April 6 — beginning with the USAF Airmen of Note, and then on April 13, 20, 27, at 12, 1and 2 p.m. in Wallace Coulter Plaza 1 West. See http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month for complete JAM activities in April, including jazz objects and archives exhibits April 4, 11, 18 and 25.

 

 

Lena Seikaly performs at Westminster Presbyterian Church April 6.
The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra celebrates its 7th anniversary with a show Monday April 3 at Blues Alley. Also next week, the Twins Jazz Orchestra is at Twins Jazz April 6; “Lena Swings!” featuring vocalist Lena Seikaly with Chris Grasso, Marshall Keys, Zach Pride an C.V. Dashiell is at Westminster April 7.The SF Collective: The Music of Miles  Davis & Original Compositions is at Blues Alley April 7-9. Saxophonist/bandleader Carl Grubbs’ Jazz/String Ensemble performs his Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore April 8 at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore, while saxophonist Tim Warfield is at Caton Castle April 8. And “United Shades of Artistry,” with Levon Mikaellan, Randy Brecker and Gary Thomas performs April 9 at Twins Jazz.

 

 

 

 

 

The Carl Grubbs Jazz/String Ensemble

performs at Eubie Blake Center April 8.
Other April Highlights: Paul Carr “All In” Quartet, April 9, Jazz and Cultural Society; UDC Small Jazz Ensembles, April 11, UDC Recital Hall (Bldg. 46-West); Tony Martucci Quintet/Ingrid Jensen, April 12, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; Twins Jazz Orchestra, April 13, Twins Jazz; Howard University Jazz Ensemble, April 13, Smithsonian National Museum of American History/Coulter Plaza; Allyn Johnson, April 14, Montpelier Arts Center/Laurel; Bowie State Jazz Ensemble, April 14, Westminster Presbyterian Church; Discovery Artist/Marquis Hill Blacktet, April 14, Kennedy Center ;Tim Whalen, April 14-15, Twins Jazz; DADA People, April 15, Atlas Performing Arts Center; Integriti Reeves/Ella Fitzgerald Tribute, April 16, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Erena Terakubo Quartet, April 18, Blues Alley ; JAZZForum/”The Life and Music of Tadd Dameron, April 19, UDC Recital Hall; Bill Heid, April 19, Jazz and Cultural Society; Lenore Raphael Quartet/Oscar Peterson Tribute, April 19, Bethesda Blues & Jazz.

 

 

Integrit Reeves leads an Ella Tribute

April 16 a the DC Jazz Jam
Also: Todd Marcus Orchestra, April 20, Atlas; Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, April 20, Museum of American History; Roberta Gambarini, April 21-23, Blues Alley; Greg Hatza/CD Release Party, April 21, Westminster; Celebrating Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th Birthday, April 22, Wesley United Methodist Church; Luis Faife Quartet, April 21-22, Twins Jazz; Jazz Talk/Allyn Johnson, April 23, Montpelier; Dante Pope, April 23, Jazz and Cultural Society; Dr. Lonnie Smith, April 23, Creative Alliance/Baltimore; Jessica Boykin-Settles/Ella Fitzgerald Tribute, April 23, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Calvin Jones BIG BAND Festival, April 24, UDC University Auditorium; Afro Blue, April 24, Blues Alley; Jazz Piano in LeFrak Lobby, April 24, 25, 26, 28, Museum of American History; Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra w/Sharon Clark, April 25, Blues Alley; Cyrus Chestnut, April 26, Bethesda Blues & Jazz;

photo by Michael Wilderman

 

Andrew White’s 75th birthday bash

is April 26 at Blues Alley.

 

 

 

 

Andrew White’s 75th Birthday Celebration, April 26, Blues Alley; Jimmy Cobb/Four Generations of Miles, April 27-30, Blues Alley; George Washington University Latin Jazz Band, April 27, Museum of American History; Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald/Alison Crockett, April 28, Westminster; Thinking About Jazz/Ella Fitzgerald Celebrating 100 years, April 29, Westminster; Marty Nau, April 30, Twins Jazz; Imani Grace Cooper/Ella Fitzgerald Tribute, April 30, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Jazz Lecture/Ella Fitzgerald, Stefon Harris Master Class, April 30, Levine School of Music.

 

 

 

 

Sharon Clark appears with the Smithsonian Jazz

Masterworks Orchestra April 25 at Blues Alley.

 

 

 

 

A Buck Hill Day – Revisited

photo by Michael Wilderman
The remarkable Mr. Roger Wendell “Buck” Hill was a leading force on the tenor saxophone, as well as a fine clarinet and flute player, and a formidable composer and bandleader as well during his years on this side of ancestry. After his funeral Sunday at Westminster, he was honored by a jam session featuring many of his former cohorts in the music and many who learned at his knee, including Davey Yarborough, Michael Thomas, Jerry Jones, William Knowles, Darius Scott, Kent Miller, Tracy Cutler, Antonio Parker, Cheyney Thomas, Roberta Washington, Nasar Abadey, Russell Carter Sr., Wes Biles, Fred Foss and others.

 

 

Here is a look back at “Giving Flowers …” while you are still around, a report in the Jazz Avenues BLOG, on the June 2013 Buck Hill tribute:
“Buck Hill Day a jamming tribute

“Speaking of special tributes, thanks again from all of us Buck Hill fans to those who made the Roger ”Buck” Hill tribute June 30 a star-studded event and a great day of music for the large crowd that gathered at Queen’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Beltsville, Md.
The Buck Hill Tribute Band — Davey Yarborough, sax, Michael Thomas, trumpet, Jon Ozment, piano, James “Tex” King, bass, Keith Killgo, drums — led the way with a jamming set featuring Hill originals, including “Jasing,” “The Sad Ones,” “Scope” and “Little Bossa.”
As King pointed out, Hill’s tune “The Sad Ones” is one of his tunes that ranks with any tune by anyone, and King played it lovingly, driving the haunting melody with his throbbing, lyrical lines. Known for his golden saxophone sound and witty and lyrically fascinating riffs and solos, it was appropriate that the tribute highlighted the complete musician Hill has been and remains.

 

 

 

 

 

From the top, Michael Thomas, Nasar Abadey,

James King and Fred Foss were among those

who attended Buck Hill event March 26 at Westminster.

 

 

 
Glowing, heartfelt tributes were made by many for Hill, seated in the front pew of the beautiful, two-year-old church, and dressed to the nines in a bright blue dress shirt, tie and black suspenders that had little silver saxophones on them on each side.
Tributes came from family members and from long distance from those like saxophone guru Andrew White, drummer Billy Hart, Lenny Cujoe, Bootsie Barnes and Ted Carter, all praising Hill’s humble nature and his willingness to mentor and help other musicians and his work ethic that helped him become an icon in the industry for his dynamic saxophone stylings.
Proclamations were read from Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, and artists and others on site also honored Hill fondly, with remarks from those including King, Ozment, Killgo, Yarborough and Thomas, as well as W.A. “Bill” Brower, Nasar Abadey, Chad Carter and many others.

 

 

 

 

 

Chad Carter attended the Buck Hil Tribute

in June 2013 and the services last week at Westminster.

 

 

 

 
Other artists honored Hill with their playing in the jam session that lasted well into the evening, with a special heartfelt number done by vocalist Sharon Clark, “I’ll Remember April,” particularly capturing the essence of the day.
Clark’s stirring vocals, and those of Julian Hipkins and Selena McDay were supported well by other musicians who came for the jam session, like pianist Darius Scott, saxophonists Antonio Parker and Frankie Addison and Whit Williams, drummer Gary Jenkins, saxophone master Fred Foss and guitarist Mark Mosley, and bassists Herman Burney and David Jernigan, among others.
Thanks to Cheyney and Tonya Thomas, Undaunted Productions, Queen’s Chapel United Methodist Church and its Rev. B. Kevin Smalls, Rusty Hassan and Ellen Carter of WPFW Pacifica Radio, and everyone who had a hand in making the Roger ”Buck” Hill Tribute a warm and memorable day.”

 

 

From “Violet Avenues: A Poetry of Jazz”:
buckhill
gentle
smiling
man
cafe au lait
colored
man
easy
going on
the bandstand
now riffing
gruff, rough
tones chopping melodies
into
he gots rhythm
we gots rhythm
diving planes
of hawkins
divided by webster
multiplied by gordon
he gots rhythm.

gentle
breezes into
guts bucket
blues blowing
now lullaby
my sweet
through
your golden horn
softly
cymbal
sighing.
Clapping hands bow to you
smiling man
full
brims golden melody.”

 

 

 

 

InPerson… Brad Mehldau’s “Three Pieces After Bach”
These engagements where artists cross over, so to speak, from the jazz world to play classical and jazz with classical motifs can be a unique treat for real patrons of music and art in general, as was the case when Washington Performing Arts presented pianist Brad Mehldau at Sixth & I in D.C. March 16. The event showcased Mehldau’s “Three Pieces After Bach,” a commissioned work he debuted two years ago and has since performed at selected venues. The real treat is when one forgets what one might have read in the program at the beginning of the show and just listens, and just enjoys, and then doesn’t really notice where the “classical’ ends and the “jazz” begins, and vice versa.
So on that mild late winter night, with signs of a recent snowfall still clinging to the busy streets and sidewalks as a crowd of patrons entered Sixth & I, an august, balconied chamber, to hear Mehldau, a celebrated figure in the jazz world with Grammy awards on his shelf, the luckiest one might have been one with no ties to any particular type of music, who just sat and listened when Mehldau entered, to solid applause, dressed in all dark attire, and smiling, and sat down in front of the gleaming Steinway, lowered his hands and began playing sprightly, light ripples of melodies, becoming more insistent but no less precise as he went along, his left hand chords driving the beat under the light ripples of melody, continuing to spiral his way through his journey, then segueing into more slightly jagged riffs, still driving the mood forward, having treated that lucky one to first Bach as laid down for centuries, then Mehldau innovations on tone and form.

The audience, a good crowd though not a packed house, was nonetheless at rapt attention throughout and applauded instantly when Mehldau would stop, before obviously then starting a new piece. For the record, the program had Mehldau start with J.S. Bach’s “Prelude No. 3 in C-sharp Major, BWV848” from The Well-Tempered Clavier, followed by Mehldau’s “After Bach 1: Rondo,” from his “Three Pieces of Bach” work and then J.S. Bach’s “Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV870,” then an “Improvisation on Bach I.” Then another J.S. Bach piece, Mehldau’s “After Bach 2: Ostinato and intermission. The second half featured a similar order of J.S. Bach, then Mehldau and so forth.

That first half then, following the sprightly, precision textured melodies of J.S. Bach — which to this listener seemed an appropriate call to spring, a prelude for us all waiting to be freed from cold and snow — with Mehldau’s first piece at first a meandering stroll, then stepping up to a methodical journey forward before taking off side to side with spirals upward, settling then into contemplative intensity, his head bending down occasionally in emphasis as chords delved deeper then lighter. His J.S. Bach passages seemed appropriately more ordered and straightforward for the most part, though Mehldau and Bach are an appropriate match since Bach himself was known for complex and multi-melody works as well as more ordered compositions.

 

 

 

 

The performance, enhanced by the Mehldau choreography of sometimes rippling along steadily, then gradually slowing and bending his head to the keys, then lifting his head, and his hands up gradually, before gently laying them back on the keys to softly weave a different tapestry of sound in another direction, took place in the center of the chamber bathed in spotlight, with, on each of side of him, giant golden candelabras with bright white bulbs for more illumination.

After the brief intermission, the second half of the program was highlighted by Mehldau’s “After Bach 3: Toccata, a jamming blend of flights of colors segueing into quiet respites before more ripples and further, higher intensity and more colors, all grounded by the left-hand chords, like a bass player grooving underneath him, seeming piano/bass duet soliloquies with more than a little blues here and there. Passages somewhat reminiscent of Mehldau’s “Ode,” an acclaimed piece of jazz that veers into classical motifs with its driving singlemindedness over the top, though with diverging colors.

At the close of the final “Improvisation on Bach” the applause was steady and resounding and there were some shouts as Mehldau stood, and gently bowed, smiling, to the audience. “Thanks very much,” he said, “it’s great to be here … thanks for going with me on my Bach journey.”

He ended the formal program with the “J.S. Bach Prelude and Fugue in F minor,” with an almost waltz-like dreamy delivery, then the improvisation afterward stepped up the cadence, the intensity, the colors, adding layers, different melodies, pausing for a time for deeper more somber notes, then taking off again, rippling higher notes in a joyful romp, echoing the opening passages of the evening, seeming to call to meadows and blue skies and greenery all around, with streams and brooks winding just over the rise, an insistent stream of rhythms and colors up and down the scale, then gently slowing, as the sun might be slowly setting in the far sky, as dusk approaches, then dimming to a quiet end.

The steady applause as he rose and bowed, and then walked off, called for an encore, and he came back and delivered a Mehldau favorite, a sweetly opening “And I Love Her,” the popular Beatles tune, careful and melodic and poetic then more forceful and propulsive taking off on the melody to enhance it with layers of ordered passages interwoven with jazzier riffs.

Steve Monroe is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at steve@jazzavenues.com or @jazzavenues.

 

 

 

 

Jazz Avenues March 2017 BLOG

By Steve Monroe

…follow @jazzavenues

 

 

 

Trombonist, arranger – and pioneer
for women in jazz, Melba Liston

“Melba [Liston] had the incredible ability of making musicians sound better through what she wrote for them. That’s the mark of a great arranger,” says jazz master pianist, composer and bandleader Randy Weston in his autobiography, “African Rhythms,” written with our own DC Jazz Festival guru Willard Jenkins. “She wrote for Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Gloria Lynne, the Supremes, Bob Marley …”

 

 

melba-liston1

photo from http://www.randyweston.info

 

 

Weston, whose career has included a National Endowment of the Arts tribute and many other awards, also said in the book: ” … By this time I had met Melba Liston and this record [“Little Niles”] became our first collaboration … [It] was a great example of the genius of Melba Liston. We had Jamil Nassar on bass, Johnny Griffin on tenor sax, Ray Copeland and Idrees Sulieman on trumpet, Charlie Persip on drums, and Melba Liston herself played trombone.”

 

 

 

Washington Women In Jazz events
headline rich weekend of sounds

 

 

KarineChapdelaineppi

Karine Chapedelaine

 

 

 
This March we again celebrate Women’s Month and we here honor the legacy of women in jazz, like Melba Liston, known for her musicianship and her arrangements, (born 1926 in Kansas City, MO.; died 1999) who helped pave the way for stars of today, like this year’s Washington Women In Jazz Festival performers Amy Bormet, Leigh Pilzer, Jessica Boykin-Settles, Sarah Hughes, Shannon Gunn, Laura Dryer and many others.
Bormet leads a band tonight, Friday, March 3 for “An Evening with the Washington Women in Jazz Festival at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Performers include Bormet, piano and vocals,
Shacara Rogers, vocals, Gabrielle Murphy, alto sax, flute, Kim Sator, harp, Delandria Mills, flute, Karine Chapdelaine, bass and Ana Barreiro, drums.
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 4, WWJF presents a “Young Artist Showcase and Jam Sessions at Levine at THEARC in Southeast D.C., with “emerging jazz women musicians in high school and college,” per WWJF information. And uptown Saturday, eclectic multi-instrumentalist Anita Thomas appears with the Amy K. Bormet Trio at Wesley Church, 5312, Connecticut Avenue N.W. WWJF performers will also appear Sunday, March 5 at the DC Jazz Jam at The Brixton Restaurant and Friday March 10 at Bowie State University, with Bormet on piano, Hughes and Vinkeloe, saxophones, Karine Chapdelaine, bass and Savannah Harris, drums.

 

 

SONY DSC

Jessica Boykin-Settles appears at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum March 11.

Other WWJF events this month include vocalist-educator Jessica Boykin-Settles’ show, “Oh Ella! Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald,” a Rhythm Café performance at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 11 at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place, S.E. The free event features “a special tribute to one of jazz music’s most distinctive voices known for her scat style of singing, diction and perfect pitch.” Museum information advises to register early, online or by calling 202.633.4844. See http://www.anacostia.si.edu for complete information. And Swedish alto saxophonist/flautist and bandleader Biggi Vinkeloe leads an Improvisation Workshop at 2 p.m. March 12 at Robert Harper Books, 6216 Rhode Island Avenue, in Riverdale Park, Md.

See http://www.washingtonwomeninjazz.com for complete information on WWJF events.

 

 

 

ellaeventanacostiamuseum032017

Ella Fitzgerald

 

 

 
Other women performers this month include award-winning composer and conductor Maria Schneider and her Orchestra Saturday, March 4 at the Kennedy Center, and The Jennifer Scott World Jazz Ensemble Saturday, March 4 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, as part of its 2017 Intersections Festival.
Vocalist Christie Dashiell is at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club March 11, vocalist Alison Crockett will perform March 11 at Twins Jazz, while Vocalist Danielle Wertz appears March 11 at The Alex inside The Graham Georgetown Boutique Hotel, with Howard University’s own, vocalist Shacara Rogers at the Alex March 18.

 

 

 

dwertz2

Danielle Wertz is at The Alex in Georgetown March 11.

Christie Dashiell

Christie Dashiell is at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club March 11.

loriwilliams1

Lori Williams is at Westminster Presbyterian Church March 24.

 

 

 

Dynamic multi-genre vocalist Lori Williams will appear March 24 at Westminster. Vocalist Jackie Ryan appears March 26 at The Baltimore Museum of Art, and vocalist Marianne Matheny-Katz performs March 26 at O’Callaghan Annapolis Hotel, with a band that includes saxophonist Craig Alston, Vince Evans, piano, Eric Kennedy, drums and Tom Baldwin, bass.
And, women are featured at the Montpelier Arts Center jazz series in Laurel, Md. this month with Baltimore’s internationally known vocalist Ethel Ennis March 9; vocalist Esther Williams with her husband Davey Yarborough March 10; vocalist Kristin Callahan performing with the Thad Wilson Quartet March 17; saxophonist Laura Dreyer appearing March 24; and the series closes with the special event “Women in Jazz: From Classrooms to Careers” March 26, with Dreyer, trombonist and bandleader Shannon Gunn and others. Call 301-377-7800 or 410-792-0664 for more information on the Montpelier jazz.

 

 

 

kristincallahan1

Kristin Callahan is at The Montpelier Arts Center

with Thad Wilson March 17.

 

 

Pianists Johnson Evans, Mehldau, Eldar highlight other events

Our own pianist Allyn Johnson, jazz studies director at the University of the District of Columbia, performs Saturday, March 4 at the Intersections Festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, presenting “Music of D.C. Musicians Past and Present” for a 6 p.m. show. Later this month, Johnson plays host for this month’s JAZZforum March 21 at the UDC Recital Hall (Bldg 46-West) when he interviews living legend educator Dr. Arthur Dawkins, former professor and director of jazz studies at Howard University. See http://www.jazzaliveudc.org.

AllyJohnsonbyWABrower

Allyn Johnson appears March 4 at the Intersections Festival

at the Atlas and hosts the JAZZForum with Dr. Arthur Dawkins

March 21 at UDC.

 

 

orrinevansartsclub03062017

Pianist Orrin Evans is at the Arts Club of Washington March. 6.

 
Philadelphia’s young master pianist Orrin Evans plays the Arts Club of Washington Monday, March 6 for a 7 p.m. show in the club’s piano jazz series. Publicity for the show notes that Evans “… keeps his music on the front burner with the neo-soul/acid jazz ensemble Luv Park, the collective trio Tarbaby, and the raucous Captain Black Big Band. With 25 CD’s to his credit, Mr. Evans paints with a broad musical brush that encompasses small and large jazz ensembles, poetry collaborations, and film scoring.” See http://www.artsclubofwashington.org.
Another highly acclaimed pianist, Brad Mehldau appears at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in downtown D.C. March 16. See http://www.bradmehldau.com. Eldar, the “pyrotechnic” marvel of a pianist appears with his trio March 22 at Blues Alley. See http://www.eldarmusic.com.

 

bradmehldau03162017washperformarts

image from http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org

 

 

OTHER MARCH EVENTS INCLUDE: Jeff Antoniuk and The Jazz Update, March 3-4, Twins Jazz; Chuck Redd, March 4, The Alex/Georgetown; Project Natale, March 8, Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society (JACS); Antonio Parker & Friends, March 10, Westminster; Marty Nau, March 15, Twins Jazz; Steve Washington, March 15, JACS; Nicholas Payton CD Release Party, March 15-16, Blues Alley; Brad Mehldau, March 16, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Twins Jazz Orchestra, March 16, 30, Twins Jazz; Michael Thomas Quintet, March 17-18, Twins Jazz; Arnold Sterling’s Favorite Sons, March 17, Westminster Presbyterian Church; Rick Alberico, March 19, Twins Jazz; Howard Kingfish Franklin, March 19, JACS; Allyn Johnson Meet the Artist/Dr. Arthur Dawkins, March 21, UDC Recital Hall/Bldg. 46 West; Cheyney Thomas, March 22, JACS; Eldar Trio, March 22, Blues Alley; Kevin Eubanks Group, March 23-26, Blues Alley; R&B Jazz Quintet/Kenny Rittenhouse, Herman Burney, March 24-25, Twins Jazz; Jordon Dixon, March 26, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Marianne Matheny-Katz, March 26, O’Callaghan Annapolis Hotel; Meet the Artist/Ralph Peterson, March 28, UDC Recital Hall; Roy Hargrove, March 28-31, Blues Alley; JAZZforum/Bob Porter: Soul Jazz, March 29, UDC Recital Hall; Reginald Cyntje, March 31, Twins Jazz; Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra/Women in Jazz: The Influence of Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams and Lil Hardin Armstrong, March 31, Museum of American History; Howard University Jazz Ensemble, March 31, Westminster; Jazz Night at The Movies/Nat King Cole, March 31, Westminster; Todd Marcus, March 31, Montpelier …

 

 

michaelthomas1

The Michael Thomas Quintet is at Twins Jazz March 17-18

toddmarcus2

Todd Marcus is at Montepelier March 31.

 

 

 

“Tell Me More and Then Some”

“Baltimore was geographically located conveniently in the center of New York, Atlantic City and Washington D.C. It was also not too far from Chicago and New Orleans. With a central location in the country, it was a common stopping point for many well-known touring musicians,” says information on the website for the film in production, “Tell Me More and then Some,” about jazz in Baltimore.
“It was home to a variety of night clubs and destinations that included … the famous Royal Theatre on Pennsylvania Ave, a definitive stop on the Chitlin Circuit. Baltimore hosted legends such as Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. All the while, simultaneously having a strong local music and entertainment scene that included Eubie Blake, Chick Webb and Cab Calloway. Even the famous Lady Day spent most of her youth and teenage years growing up in Baltimore. It was a city that was an essential part of American jazz History.”
Stay tuned. See http://www.tellmemoreandthensome.com for complete information, and to donate to donate to this worthy venture.

 

 

 

Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation

herbscottmajf2017

photo by Steve Monroe

Herb Scott performing at the Mid-Atlantic

Jazz Festival in February.

 

 

 

 
Saxophonist/jazz activist Herb Scott said recently he is launching the website soon for his Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation, at http://www.capitolhilljazzfoundation.org. Scott, who spoke about the foundation at the February Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival panel presentation on “Jazz Preservation, Education and Promulgation: Building A Mid-Atlantic Network,” says “The mission of the foundation is to produce a weekly jazz jam session, annual jazz festival and Conference and, daily arts advocacy related work. Our mission is to financially assist D.C. based Jazz musicians, venues and Jazz education programs.”
–InPerson … Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

 

Vanessa Rubin, dazzling in her gold-sequined top and white pants, sang in a shout to the large crowd, “Are You Ready for Me?” at the feature show the first night of the 8th Annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival at the Hilton Hotel & Meeting Executive Center in Rockville last month. Then Rubin, with her guest Paul Carr, the festival impresario himself playing tenor sax, sang her way through a thoroughly entertaining set, including a rousing “All Blues,” delighting her fans and officially kicking off the festival.
Indeed, a VIP pre-event the night before featuring Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Rhythm Orchestra was a blast, per reports, and that first afternoon the T.C. Williams (Alexandria, Va.) High School jazz band and then trumpeter DeAndrey Howard & Collector’s Edition with sax man Tracy Cutler opened the weekend with some spicy sounds. Howard and Cutler shined on “Theme for Maxine,” “Yesterdays” and other tunes, along with pianist Bob Butta. Alto sax man Herb Scott, backed by pianist Hope Udobi’s melodic riffs. played a fine set that evening at the MAJF Club, with standards and originals, like his “Catch Me At The Jazz Show” jazzy rapping jam.

 

 

paulcarr2 (2)

Paul Carr

 

 

 
Saturday that weekend opened in the large hotel atrium with Carr’s Jazz Academy of Music group, highlighted by its Latin jam “Armando’s Hideaway,” the horns singing sweetly over he catchy beats of the rhythm section, and then the Olney Big Band delivered a fiery session of standards, with swinging horn section riffs.
The festival’s vocalist competition highlighted our own Danielle Wertz, shining on “Beautiful Love,” and a fine performance by Monica Pabelonio, among the other contestants, but Boston’s Lydia Harrell, with her dramatic, heartfelt and sultry phrasing on tunes like “Black Butterfly,” stole the show for this observer. Then Noel Simone Wippler, the 2016 MAJF vocal winner, delivered a hot set of her own, the statuesque beauty a sultry, hip-shaking wonder on tunes like “Sophisticated Lady” and “Moody’s Mood for Love.”
Also on Saturday, the panel discussion moderated by producer, journalist, promoter W.A. “Bill” Brower on “Jazz Preservation, Education and Promulgation: Building A Mid-Atlantic Network,” featured Scott, Barbara Grubbs of Contemporary Arts Inc., Prof. Judith Korey, Curator Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives at UDC, vocalist/jazz activists Aaron Meyers and others for a lively session that aired thoughts and action steps on providing a better nurturing environment for jazz, including its musicians, its venues and its audiences.
The East Carolina University Jazz Ensemble, with saxes and swinging horns overall, wowed he atrium crowd, with vocalist “Samantha Kunz” soaring on “Stella By Starlight” and “I Wish I Would Know How It Would Feel to be Free” and “September. Vocalist Kathy Kosins delivered a bluesy, downhome set and the Guitar Summit featured Russell Malone, Paul Bollenback and Bobby Broom strummed up a storm with their session Saturday night.

 

 

JanelleGillArtsClubof Wash

Janelle Gill

AkuaAllrich

Akua Allrich

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Karen Lovejoy at Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

 

 
The MAJF Collective, Akua Allrich on vocals, Janelle Gill, piano, and Savannah Harris, drums, were a highlight that Sunday of the festival, Allrich a witty and engaging entertainer as well as a stirring vocalist, leading the way on tunes like “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” “Black Coffee,” and her own tunes like “Take My Time” and “Red Bark,” with Gill’s insistent melodic charms on piano and Harris’ efficient drum passages complimenting Allrich’s rich and bluesy vocals and scatting riffs. Vocalist Karen Lovejoy, the “Jazz Goddess,” had a fine set of her own that day on “Close Your Eyes,” “St. Louis Blues,” here with her own sultriness and her vintage half-cry phrasing and then bluesy, finger-snapping, blues shouts. The Paul Carr Quartet that night featured Carr’s bluesy sax, and vocalist Jamie Davis’ booming baritone romantic treats on tunes like “Night and Day.”

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues. com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.

Jazz Avenues November BLOG 2016

by Steve Monroe

… follow @jazzavenues

 

pressandteddycover

 

Just happened to be enjoying the classic CD “Pres and Teddy” by The Lester Young-Teddy Wilson Quartet (Verve, 1956), and focusing on the exquisiteness of Wilson’s piano playing and realized Wilson (1912-1986) is one of our birthday heroes this month, and his birthday Nov. 24 is also Thanksgiving Day.

From the book “Jazz Portraits” by Len Lyons and Don Perlo, William Morrow and Company Inc., 1989: “ Working with the legacy of rough-hewn and powerfully exciting stride pianists, Wilson sculpted complex and cleanly articulated right-hand melodies that inspired his descendants to improvise with greater refinement and sophistication. He was best known in the late 1930s for his work with the Benny Goodman quartet that included Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa, although he is equally celebrated by musicians for his elegant accompaniment of Billie Holiday during the same period.

“Wilson’s parents were both teachers at Sam Houston State University in Texas, until the family moved to Alabama, where Teddy grew up. His father became head of he English department at the Tuskegee Institute, and his mother was a librarian. Teddy studied music there and at Talladega College, where he developed an appreciation for the classics and a disciplined, schooled approach to the music …”

 

 

 

 

 

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Sterling pianist Larry Brown has a busy month, playing

Friday Nov. 4 and Sat. Nov. 5 at Twins Jazz; Nov. 18 at

Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; and Nov. 19 at

Germano/Piattini’s in Baltimore.

 

 

Marshall, Brown, Marten, Seikaly and Meadows
highlight first November jazz weekend

Keyboardist Terry Marshall, pianist Larry Brown, vocalists Gail Marten and Lena Seikaly, and entertainer/keyboard specialist Mark Meadows are featured performers as November jazz gets into high gear.
Marshall leads an ensemble Friday Nov. 4 at Westminster Presbyterian Church (see more below). Meanwhile, pianist Larry Brown kicks off a two-night stay at Twins jazz with his quintet, including Kent Miller on bass, Greg Holloway on drums, Thad Wilson on trumpet, and Peter Fraize on tenor sax.

Also on Fri Nov. 4, there will be a “Staged Reading and Jazz Performance” ($20) at the Jazz and Cultural Society, on 12th Street N.E. in D.C., featuring the Black Women’s Playwright Group and Changamire. On Sunday Nov. 6 the Firm Roots Organ Trio plays at JACS (www.jazzandculturalsociety.com).
Up the road a bit, a fundraiser for Bridges to Housing Stability Saturday Nov. 5 features vocalist Gail Marten with her quartet, the Wake Campbell Quartet and a band led by a D.C. area favorite, sax man Ron Holloway, in a concert at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia. Tickets are $65 available at wwwevenbrite.com/e/just-jazz-in-tickets-26934526895, or call 410-312-5760 for more information.

 

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Keyboardist Terry Marshall leads a group

Friday Nov. 4 at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

 

 

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Vocalist Lena Seikaly performs

Sat. Nov. 5 at The Alex in Georgetown.
Meanwhile Saturday Nov. 5 marks the kickoff of pianist Chris Grasso’s latest vocalist series, “Speakeasy Jazz Nights at Alex,” a brand new venue, with Lena Seikaly and guitarist Steve Herberman to perform. The Alex – formally named The Alex Craft Cocktail Cellar – is the bar/lounge on the ground floor of The Graham Georgetown, a sleek boutique hotel in Georgetown in D.C. See http://www.chrisgrassomusic.com or http://www.thegrahamgeorgetown.com for more information. And if you have time, check out the rooftop bar. Also Sat. Nov. 5, Chucho Valdes and the Joe Lovano Quintet appear at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue (www.washingtonperformingarts.org).
On Monday Nov. 7 Mark Meadows, having made his mark recently as an entertainer and vocalist as well as pianist in the recent “Jelly’s Last Jam” production, performs Monday, Nov. 7 in the Piano Jazz Series at the Arts Club of Washington. In Bethesda on Monday Nov. 7 Larry Carlton is at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club.

 

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Songstress Kristine Key takes the stage

Nov. 9 at Jazz and Cultural Society.

 

 

 

Other November highlights include: Vocalist Kristine Key performs Nov. 9 at JACS; UDC saxophone ace Jordon Dixon Nov. 10, Twins Jazz; Peabody Jazz Combo Series, Nov. 10,Peabody Institute/Baltimore; McCoy Tyner Quartet Nov. 11-12, Blues Alley; Jeff Cosgrove Trio/ w Matthew Shipp, Nov. 11, An Die Musik/Baltimore … David Murray Quintet, Nov. 12, An Die Musik; Michel Nirenberg, Nov. 11-12, Twins Jazz; McCoy Tyner Quartet, Nov. 11-12, Blues Alley; Alison Crockett/Geoff Reecer, Nov. 12,The Alex at The Graham Georgetown; Wayne Shorter, Nov. 12, Kennedy Center; and Elijah Balbed, Nov. 13, The Brixton/DC Jazz Jam.

 

 

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Young lion sax man Elijah Balbed

leads the DC Jazz Jam at The Brixton

Nov. 13 and plays with The JoGo Project

Nov. 21 at Blues Alley.

 

 

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Sharon Clark performs with Chris Grasso

at Jazz and Cultural Society Nov. 13 and

at The Alex Nov. 19.

 

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Dazzling entertainer and vocalist

Roberta Gambarini appears at Blues Alley Nov. 17-20

 

 

 

 

 

Also: Vocal masterclass with Chris Grasso and Sharon Clark Nov. 13, JACS; Arturo O’Farrill Afro/Latin Jazz Quintet, Nov. 13, Baltimore Museum of Art; Omar Sosa & JOG Trio, Nov. 14, Blues Alley; The Bridge Trio, Nov. 14, Kennedy Center/Millennium Stage; Darden Purcell CD Release Party, Nov. 15, Blues Alley; Michael Thomas Quintet, Nov. 15, Bethesda Blues & Jazz; BSO: Doc Severinsen and Friends—The Art of the Big Band, Nov. 17, Music Center at Strathmore; Jazz Band Master Class, Nov. 17, Twins Jazz; Vince Evans Quintet, Nov. 18, Westminster; Larry Brown, Nov. 18, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; Roberta Gambarini, Nov. 17-20, Blues Alley; Jeff Antoniuk & The Jazz Update, Nov. 18-19, Twins Jazz; Tia Fuller’s Angelic Warrior Quartet, Nov. 19, Kennedy Center; Sharon Clark, Nov. 19, The Alex; Larry Brown, Nov. 19, Germano’s Piattini/Baltimore; Victor Provost, Nov. 20, The Brixton/DC Jazz Jam; Elijah Balbed & The JoGo Project, Nov. 21, Blues Alley; Swing Shift, Nov. 22, Blues Alley; Lionel Lyles, Nov. 23, JACS; Bobby Felder’s Big Band, Nov. 25, Westminster; Jazz Night at the Movies: Horace Silver, Nov. 25, Westminster; Benito Gonzalez, Nov. 25-26, An Die Musik/Baltimore; Bruce Williams, Nov. 25-26, Blues Alley; Danielle Wertz/Jonah Udall, Nov. 26, The Alex; Joe Herrera, Nov. 27, The Brixton/DC Jazz Jam; Carl Bartlett, Nov. 27, JACS; Heidi Martin Quartet “Celebrating Abbey Lincoln,” Nov. 29, Blues Alley.

 

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Vocalist Danielle Wertz appears with

guitarist Steve Herberman Nov. 26

at The Alex.

 

 

 

 

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Master percussionist Lenny Robinson

appears with Paul Carr (below) when Sharon Clark sings

Nov. 11 at Westminster, along with Chris Grass on piano

and Tommy Cecil on bass.

 

 

Paul Carr

 

 

 

Many Thanks We Give to Westminster

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, we give many thanks for Westminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I Street in Southwest D.C., a place that as its web site says, “… is an accepting, caring, risk-taking community, open to the Spirit in people and places too often rejected and ignored.” And a place which since 1999 has provided always entertaining Jazz Nights for a modest fee, as well as delicious food on Friday nights, and since 2006 a Blues Monday on Monday nights.
“Jazz Night in DC presents some of the finest jazz musicians in a lively presentation of classical, straight-ahead jazz every Friday,” says the website and this month is no different, featuring the Terry Marshall Ensemble Friday Nov. 4, with Marshall on piano, Iva Ambush, Decosta Brown and Kendra Johnson, vocals, Ben Young, guitar, David Marsh, bass and Francis Thompson, drums.

 

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Hall of Fame music maker and educator Bobby Felder

leads his big band Nov. 25 at Westminster.
Next up will be dynamic, widely-acclaimed songstress Sharon Clark on Nov. 11, with Chris Grasso on piano, Paul Carr, sax, Tommy Cecil, bass and Lenny Robinson, drums. On Nov.18 the Vince Evans Quintet Nov. 18 takes the stage with Evans on piano and vocals, Freddie Dunn, trumpet, Craig Alston, sax, Eliot Seppa, bass and Jay Jefferson, drums. The annual appearance by the Bobby Felder Big Band provides a rousing climax for the month on Nov. 25, with the legendary trombonist, bandleader and educator Felder featuring Queen Aisha on vocals, Michael Thomas, trumpet, Herb Scott, sax and many others.

 

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Craig Alston, Baltimore’s own, is to play

with Bobby Felder’s Big Band Nov. 25 at Westminster.

 

 

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Trumpet maestro Michael Thomas

is to play Nov. 15 at Bethesda Blues & Jazz,

and with Bobby Felder’s Big Band Nov. 25 at Westminster.
Our master percussionist, composer and bandleader Nasar Abadey, a frequent performer at Westminster over all these years, said this in a statement:
“Westminster Presbyterian Church has for years been committed to presenting quality (jazz} music at affordable prices on a consistent basis. Additionally, Dick Smith with Reverend Brian Hamilton’s backing and support, have maintained that only area based musicians are allowed to perform there. For that audience you have to play the truth; gotta be real or they’ll walk out on you or not show up at all. I look at the whole idea as a community service to perform there because many patrons of the church are on a fixed income and it gives me great pleasure to perform for such an appreciative audience. I could write a book about them but I’ll save THAT for later!”
So, thank you to the church and its leadership, co-pastors Brian and Ruth Hamilton. We appreciate, as the website says and their programs over the years have shown, “their creative, authentic, and innovative ministry.”
For more information, go to http://www.westminsterdc.org, or call 202-484-7700.

 

 

 

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Legendary programmer and

award-winning advocate

for the music Bobby Hill Jr.

 

 

Bobby Hill Now at WOWD-LP

Bobby Hill tells us he has “transitioned” from WPFW-FM 89.3, his longtime home (a big loss for them) to the new WOWD-LP, the Takoma Park startup playing many types of alternative music including several jazz programs. Hill’s email alert:
Did you hear? After 3-decades plus, Bobby Hill has transitioned from WPFW to WOWD. WOWD is Takoma Park’s NEW! FM (94.3FM) & streaming (takomaradio.org) radio station. Bobby brings and shares:“This! Music” – Free, improvised and other creative forms of jazz-based music. No standards. No standard repertoire. Saturdays 10AM-1PM.”

 

 

 

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photo courtesy Assaf Kehati

The Assaf Kehati Trio at Blues Alley Oct. 24.

 

 

 

InPerson … Assaf Kehati

Guitarist Assaf Kehati’s trio performed for a good crowd at Blues Alley last month, displaying a nimble sound that floated from jazz to jazz rock and more than a little jazzy blues rock at times.
Kehati, originally from Israel came to the states in 2007 and has played with performers such as George Garzone, Donny McCaslin, Anat Cohen and drummers Victor Lewis and Billy Hart. He has received acclaim for his albums “A View From My Window,” “Flowers and Other Stories,” and “Naked.
That night at Blues Alley Kehati, along with a humorous, entertaining stage presence that enlivened the evening and brought smiles from the crowd, displayed a deft touch and a feel for bright melodicism, shown on tunes like “My Little Sunshine,” with Kehati strumming gently at the start, then picking up the cadence with darting lines of free spirited joy, “Englishman in New York” and “Enjoy the Silence.”

 

 

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Assaf Kehati
High points of the set included Kehati’s playfulness on an intriguing arrangement of “Old Devil Moon,” but also some inventive, straight ahead riffing. “Naked,” the title tune from his latest album, which Kehati described as talking about “being true to who you are and what you are about,” was a mystical dramatic journey with his contemplative lines of racy and bluesy searching, and exploring emotions.
“Can You Come for A Second,” became a jamming, foot-stomping bluesy trip, Kehati picking, then strumming intensely, over the throbbing bass of Michael O’Brien and the efficient rapping and cymbal work by drummer Peter Traunmueller.

For more information see http://www.assafkehati.com.

 

 

 

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InReview … Christie Dashiell “Time All Mine”

A songbird known for her many flights of uplifting vocals with Howard University’s award-winning Afro Blue group and recordings by Reginald Cyntje and Sin Qua Non in particular, Christie Dashiell, a semifinalist in last year’s Thelonious Monk vocalist competition has stepped out with a formidable debut CD, “Time All Mine” on the House Studio Records label.
Highlights include the title tune, with Dashiell’s elegant vocals embellishing “time” in the stirring choruses, as well as “Dreamland,” an enchanting, catchy melody ride, “Dynasty,” featuring Dashiell’s seamless, quicksilver scats, “Oh,” a true gem for its emotive and rhythmic simplicity and urgent and soaring Dashiell phrasings. The true standout is “How to Love,” with Dashiell’s frank, open and pure storytelling delivery in a song, and song in a story dramatic interplay.
For more information, see http://www.christiedashiell.com.

 

 

 

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InReview …. Michael Tracy’s “Hora Certa”

From Russia to Japan to Brazil and many locations in between, educator Michael Tracy has earned laurels as one of our foremost “Ambassadors of Jazz” – and he plays a pretty mean saxophone too.
“I love being in Brazil, being around my Brazilian friends in their homeland and in the States,” says Tracy on the liner notes of his most recent CD, “Hora Certa.” “ … ‘My Brazilian Journey’ started in 1998, my first of many trips … It is my hope that this recording shares that journey, that love of the music, the life of this country and its people.”

 

 

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Saxophonist and professor Michael Tracy.
Indeed “Hora Certa” (or “Right Time”) flows through the speakers as a song of enjoyment, with the tunes, all originals by the musicians on the CD, recorded in March and May 2015.
The title tune “Hora Certa,” sizzles with Tracy’s tenor saxophone riffs ripping and rolling over the hot guitar of Eudes Carvalho, the rippling piano of Flavio Silva, Hamilton Pinheiro’s bluesy and grooving bass lines and Pedro Almeida’s colorful melodies and whipping riffs of his own on drums.
“Bem Brazil” highlights Silva’s ringing touch on piano and Tracy’s bluesy, wailing tenor flights. “Waltz for Julia” showcases Carvalho’s sweet strumming on guitar and “Com Pressa,” maybe the highlight for its twists in rhythms and spiraling intensity, is an insistent jam, featuring Tracy and Silva exchanging hot licks. “Para Casa” is a highlight because of Tracy’s searing tenor in its melancholy contemplative mode, squeezing every ounce of feeling from a phrase. “Volta ao Mundo” shows off Tracy’s soaring soprano sax melody-making – and Silva’s on piano.
But virtually every tune on “Hora Certa” is its own highlight.
Tracy earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Louisville and is a professor and director of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program at the University of Louisville School of Music, says his website. He has played with performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, J. J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Johnny Mathis, Marvin Hamlish, the Four Tops and the Temptations. Not your normal highbrow.
See http://www.michaeltracy.com or http://www.cdbaby.com for more information.

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues.com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.

Jazz Avenues September/October BLOG 2016

by Steve Monroe

… follow @jazzavenues

sam1

 

 

“Influenced by Gil Evans, Duke Ellington, and Tadd Dameron, [Jimmy] Heath’s compositions have broadened the scope of modern jazz …including the enduring ‘CTA,’ “Gemini,’ “Gingerbread Boy,’ and ‘The Quota” … [Heath] … moved to New York and recorded regularly for Riverside with sidemen such as Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, and Cannonball Adderley. On recordings from this period, Heath’s lyrical lines explore the harmonic possibilities of standard chord changes. His rich, powerful tone and aggressive phrasing resemble the sound of John Coltrane, with whom he had played frequently in Philadelphia. As a composer, Heath scores lush chord voicings, counterpoint, and double-time ensemble figures; yet his charts retain the bare rhythmic vitality of hard bop. By skillfully assigning parts for his small groups, he captures the dynamism of a big band performance …”
…from the book “Jazz Portraits” by Len Lyons and Don Perlo, William Morrow and Company Inc., 1989.

 

 

AkuaAllrich

Akua Allrich performs her annual tribute to

Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba Oct. 9

at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

 

 

 

Crockett, Tseng, Caverns band,
Jones, Balt Jazz Fest, top weekend

You can enjoy the Alison Crockett Experience, Emy Tseng, the Bohemian Caverns Band and Eugenie Jones among other musical delights this weekend.
The always entertaining jazzy, soulful vocalist Crockett entertains at Westminster Presbyterian Church tonight, Sept. 30, with Thad Wilson on trumpet, Wayne Wilentz, piano, David Jernigan, bass and Lenny Robinson, drums – a true all-star band of virtuoso players. Later at the church Jazz Night at the Movies features “Sarah Vaughan: The Divine One.”
Also tonight, jazz Brazilian vocalist Tseng presents a concert at Casa Phoenix, 1307 Corcoran Street N.W. in D.C. with guitarist Matvei Sigalov and Sunday, Oct. 1, Tseng is at Adams Morgan Porchfest with guitarist David Rosenblatt. See http://www.emytseng.com for more information.

 

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Master pianist Wayne Wilentz plays tonight Sept. 30

with vocalist Alison Crockett and friends at Westminster

Presbyterian Church and is a regular with his trio during

Sunday brunch at Georgia Brown’s restaurant in downtown D.C.

 

 

 
The Bohemian Caverns Band performs tonight at the Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel and vocalist Eugenie Jones performs tonight and Saturday night at Twins Jazz, with the Annapolis Jazztet performing Sunday Oct. 2 at Twins.
Saturday Oct. 1 features the first Baltimore Jazz Fest (see below) at Druid Hill Park, courtesy of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance and others. Monday night features pianist Yoko Miwa, a staff member at the Berklee College of Music, for Piano Jazz at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street N.W., courtesy of Burnett Thompson Music. See http://www.yokomiwa.com for email Thompson at burnett@pianojazz.com for ticket information.

 

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Yoka Miwa plays for the Piano Jazz series

Monday Oct. 3 at the Arts Club of Washington.

 

 

Other October highlights include: The Luis Faife Quartet at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 5; Saxophonist Herb Scott at Blues Alley Oct. 5; Joshua Bayer/Paul Carr and CD Live—Six by Five at Westminster Oct. 7; Gary Bartz at the Kennedy Center Oct.7, (see below); the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra presents “Jazz, Blues and Civil Rights” Oct. 8 at the National Museum of American History; Prodigy pianist Joey Alexander at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club Oct. 8-9; Akua Allrich presents her annual Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba tribute Oct. 9 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center; Percussion maestro and bandleader Nasar Abadey and Super Nova at Blues Alley Oct. 12; Cheyney Thomas at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 12; vocalist/guitarist Heidi Martin: ABBEY! at the Atlas Oct. 13-14; DeAndrey Howard/Collector’s Edition Oct. 14 at Westminster; Reginald Cyntje at Twins Jazz Oct. 14-15 and Pepe Gonzalez at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 16.

 

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Nasar Abadey and Super Nova are at Blues Alley Oct. 12

 

 

 

 

 

Christie Dashiell

Vocalist Christie Dashiell is at The Mansion

at Strathmore Oct. 19.

 

 

 

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Vocalese maestro George V. Johnson Jr.

performs at Christ Episcopal Church

in Clinton, Md. Oct. 23.

 
Also, Cheyney Thomas is at Twins Oct. 19; bassist James “Tex” King at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 19; Vocalist Christie Dashiell at The Mansion at Strathmore Oct. 19; Homecoming for Larry Brown at Westminster Oct. 21; The Airmen of Note with pianist Cyrus Chestnut at Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria, Va. Oct. 21; Terry Marshall & Bridges Oct. 21 is at Montpelier; George V. Johnson Jr. at Christ Episcopal Church/Clinton MD Oct. 23; Guitarist Assaf Kehati at Blues Alley Oct. 24; Pianist Allyn Johnson’s Ensemble at UDC Recital Hall Oct. 25; and Cecile McClorin Salvant at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Oct. 29-30.

 

 

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Photo from http://www.assafkehati.com

Guitarist Assaf Kehati, whose most recent CD

is “Naked,” released in 2014, has drawn acclaim for

his performances overseas and in New York, Toronto

and elsewhere. He plays at Blues Alley Oct. 24.

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Jazz Fest is here!

Coming Saturday, October 1 from 12 noon to 8:30 p.m. is Baltimore Jazz Fest 2016, “a free, family-friendly, full day of Baltimore jazz, held in beautiful Druid Hill Park in the heart of Baltimore City,” brought to us by the Baltimore Jazz Alliance and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. Featured performers include the Hot Club of Baltimore, the Clarence Ward III All-Stars, Rumba Club, the Dunbar Jazz Ensemble, the Greg Hatza ORGANization, Art Sherrod Jr. and the Baltimore Legends, a group including Bob Butta, John Lamkin Sr. and Carlos Johnson. See http://www.baltimorejazz.com.

 

 

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Reginald Cyntje plays at Twins Jazz Oct. 14-15.

 

 

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JJA Soprano Saxophonist of the Year

Jane Ira Bloom plays at the Kennedy Center Oct. 14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazz returns at KenCen

Saxophone master Gary Bartz’s show Oct. 7 in the Terrace Gallery kicks off the return of the music after a summer break at the Kennedy Center for the 2016-17 season. Bartz, Baltimore’s own, a veteran of bands led by Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and others, appeared at Howard University earlier this year. His most recent recording is “Coltrane Rules — Tao of a Music Warrior

 

 

 

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Jimmy Heath’s autobiography is appropriately

titled “I Walked With Giants.”

Photo from http://www.jimmyheath.com
Other October shows at the Kennedy Center include soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom Oct. 14, and Fred Hersch Oct. 15, at the KC Jazz Club; Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective Oct. 22 at The Crossroads Club; and drummer Tootie Heath Oct. 29 at the KC Jazz Club. The month climaxes with “Jimmy Heath at 90,” on Oct. 30 at the Concert Hall, showcasing the living legend Philadelphia treasure Heath, the saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, author and educator, whose birthday is Oct. 25.

 

Leonard exhibit illuminates the music

You still have  time to catch “In the Groove: Jazz Portraits by Herman Leonard” which will be on free exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in downtown D.C. until February. Leonard was a photographer considered an expert in capturing the essence of the moments of performances by those like Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Ella Fitzgerald, to name only a few. See http://www.npg.si.edu.

 

 

 

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Award-winning alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader

Carl Grubbs performed a tribute to mentor John Coltrane

Sept. 24 at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore.

 

 

 

 

InPerson … Carl Grubbs Ensemble/Celebrating Coltrane

His edgy alto sax riffs spearing the air in the second floor jazz hall at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore that September Saturday afternoon, a capacity crowd of attentive listeners enjoyed Carl Grubbs’ tribute to John Coltrane in the “Celebrating Coltrane at 90” concert, while also enjoying his band mates Rene McLean on alto sax, Eric Byrd, piano, Blake Meister, bass and John Lamkin III, drums. Grubbs, the Philadelphia native who, as a cousin by marriage to Coltrane, learned the music firsthand from the legendary saxophonist as a youngster before embarking on his own career. That afternoon Grubbs dazzled on tunes like “Giant Steps” – mixing in “Body and Soul” phrases – “Round Midnight,” “Equinox” and others, with Byrd also a highlight with his insistent melodic runs on piano.

 

InPerson … Thad Wilson/Allyn Johnson, CBCF Jazz

The good folks at JAZZAlive at the University of the District of Columbia hosted a Meet the Artist program Sept. 20 with UDC jazz studies director and pianist Allyn Johnson interviewing and playing with trumpeter, composer, film score artist and bandleader Thad Wilson, exploring Wilson’s thoughts on his philosophies about producing the music, audiences and his background. The session featured the two playing duets, including Johnson’s tune “Brother Leo” (written, he said for Wilson, who is a Leo like Johnson), a romping flight of melodies and interplay between Wilson’s spearing trumpet lines and Johnson’s ripples and heavy bluesy chords on piano.

 

 

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Photo by Steve Monroe

 

Thad Wilson, right, with Allyn Johnson

at UDC Meet the Artist program Sept. 20.

 
A few weeks before, captivating songstress Karen Lovejoy sang sultry and sexy and sweet and lovely, and down home gut-bucket bluesy on several tunes at Jazz and Cultural Society, including “The Very Thought of You,” and “Lonely Avenue.”
And thanks to George V. Johnson Jr. for the Facebook clips of the 31st annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s jazz concert last month in D.C., featuring swinging trumpet master Jimmy Owens with the Jazzmobile All-Stars and our own Washington Renaissance Orchestra swinging and popping behind percussion maestro Nasar Abadey.

 

InReview … New CDs from Whaling City Sound

New recordings from Whaling City Sound include some special sounds from pianist Tim Ray, guitarist Steven Kirby and vocalist Kristen Lee Sergeant.

 

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Ray, known for work with country style Lyle Lovett, enjoys jazz as well and does a more than creditable job on his CD “Windows” with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Mark Walker. Ray names McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Duke Ellington and Horace Silver among his influences, and his work on a couple of tunes from the CD reflect his idols. “Monk’s Dream” plays true to the Thelonious Monk and Tyner tradition of heavy chords and melodic insistency, and “Toys” becomes an intriguing interplay between the players, at times lilting, at times a driving rhythmic journey with edgy, searching lines. Other highlights include “Star Eyes,” “Windows,” with Ray’s bright melodicism, and the jamming “12 by 7.”

 

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Vocalist Sergeant’s debut recording, “Inside Out” features the New York City scene performer belting out energetic readings of standards like “Old Devil Moon,” with her own playful turn, a stirring melancholy “So Many Stars,” her joyful wishful “I Wish I Were in Love Again” and her enchanting “Never Will I Marry,” among others. Her raw high-emotion cabaret style delivery is well complimented by the fine musicianship of David Budway on piano, Chris Berger, bass and Vince Ector, drums.

 

 

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Guitarist Kirby’s CD “Illuminations” features lush orchestration and vocals as well as his deft articulation on some tunes and strumming, folk-like, wistful manner on others. The title tune “Illuminations” romps behind Kirby’s ripping tinkling and the fine work by pianist John Funkhouser, a rippling wonder here, as well as Greg Loughman on bass, Mike Connors on drums and the soaring vocals of Aubrey Johnson. Other highlights include the meditative “A Luz das Estrelas,” the rollicking “Parabola” and “I Hear A Rhapsody.”

 

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues. com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.

Jazz Avenues August BLOG 2016

by Steve Monroe

…follow @jazzavenues

 

JDensonConCirclescover

Jeff Denson celebrates his recent CD

“Concentric Circles” with a show at the

Atlas Performing Arts Center Sat. Aug. 6.

 

 

Denson homecoming, Nesmith, Cole, Jalenti
top weekend; Carr,  Chestnut, Boykin-Settles on way

One might say it has been a long and winding and yes, artistically successful road for Jeff Denson since he left our environs to learn his craft, travel widely and become a multi-genre performer. His homecoming, CD release concert at the Atlas Performing Arts Center Saturday Aug. 6 promises a fun time for all, those who knew him when, or those just discovering him.
Double bassist and vocalist Denson, an Arlington, Va., native, performs in celebration of his recent recording “Concentric Circles” at the Atlas with bassoonist Paul Hanson, percussionist Eric Kennedy and vibraphonist Warren Wolf .
“Playing music is a deeply spiritual experience for me,” says Denson on his website, “… it is sacred. When it is pure it can be like traveling without moving – a gateway to another world or reality.”
“Concentric Circles,” says his website, “is the fifth album by Denson and after the last three where he explored freely improvised music, a unique take on gospels and hymns, and a tribute to the music of Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, he has returned to exploring his original compositions in the same vein as his initial recording, Secret World.”

 

 

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Bassist and vocalist Jeff Denson is a professor

at the University of California, Berkeley.
A professor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, Calif., Denson says “I have the highest degree that a person can earn in music; however I owe a great deal of my ‘education’ to my experiences on the ‘street’ or on the bandstand.”
(see http://www.jeffdenson.com or http://www.atlasarts.org).

 

 

 

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photo credit/www.irenejalenti.com

Vocalist Irene Jalenti entertains at Twins Jazz

Friday and Saturday Aug. 5-6.

 

 

Elsewhere this weekend, classy pianist and vocalist Freddy Cole continues his stay at Blues Alley tonight, Friday Aug.5, through Sunday. Lavenia Nesmith & Friends appear at 6 p.m. tonight at Westminster Presbyterian Church, with Nesmith, vocals, Paul Carr, sax, Wayne Wilentz, piano, James King, bass and Lenny Robinson, drums. Vocalist Irene Jalenti performs at Twins Jazz tonight and tomorrow night, and Brad Linde’s Team Players band is at Twins Jazz Sunday Aug. 7.

In other August events sax master Paul Carr kicks off a series of concerts at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Aug. 12 (see below). Pianist Tim Whalen brings a septet to Twins Jazz Aug. 12-13. The Levine Music School’s Levine Jazz Jam Aug. 13 at the Levine at Strathmore MD campus in North Bethesda ($5 at the door; see http://www.levinemusic.org) is “an opportunity for musicians of any age and proficiency to experience jazz from the inside. In a fun and structured environment facilitated by Levine jazz faculty members, musicians will get a chance to play and improvise on a couple well-known jazz standards.”

 

 

 

 

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Jessica Boykin-Settles Sings Sarah Aug. 26

at Westminster Presbyterian Church
Alto Madness comes to Baltimore Aug. 15 with Richie Cole on alto saxophone, our own Larry Willis, piano, Blake Meister, bass and Billy Williams, drums, at An Die Musik (www.andiemusik.com). Vocalese maestro and Washington DC Jazz Network guru George V. Johnson plays Blues Alley Aug. 16. The inimitable Cyrus Chestnut, Baltimore’s own, settles into Blues Alley for a four-night stay Aug. 18-21. The John Lamkin “Favorites” Quintet is at Takoma Station in D.C. Aug. 19 and at Phaze 10, 855 N. Howard Street in Baltimore Aug. 28. Jessica Boykin-Settles Sings Sarah at Westminster Aug. 26.
The Petworth Jazz Project rolls on this summer at Petworth Recreation Center in D.C. Aug. 27, spotlighting emerging vocalist Cecily Bumbray at the neighborhood park where the very young, young and older folks as well can relax, chit chat, stroll, partake and enjoy fine music and the evening air.

And The Jazz and Cultural Society in Northeast D.C. this month has shows including The Christie Dashiell Quartet Aug. 10; Afro-Cuban Jazz Aug. 11; Bruce Swaim Aug. 17; Fred Foss Aug. 21 and Karen Lovejoy Aug. 24. See http://www.jazzandculturalsociety.com for the complete calendar and more information.

 

Hot sounds blossom at NGA Sculpture Garden

Paul Carr, Sin Miedo and The Moonshine Society are coming soon to provide August jazz in the picturesque National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.
Carr is the always vibrant and entertaining tenor saxophonist, whose latest albums include the romantic pairing of Carr’s golden sax tones and vocalist Sharon Clark’s unique way of phrasing a song on “Carr and Clark,” released earlier this year during Carr’s Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, and the non-stop jams on his “B3 Sessions” release from last year. Seewww.paulcarrjazz.com.

 

 

 

Paul Carr

Paul Carr plays Friday Aug. 5

with Lavenia Nesmith at Westminster

and Aug. 12 at the National Gallery

of Art Sculpture Garden.

 

 

 

As venues go, the garden shows are fresh air, outdoors musical treats of fun, for tourists and residents alike, and Carr’s show promises to be another must-go event for summer jazz lovers. Also coming up at the garden are Sin Miedo Aug. 19 and The Moonshine Society Aug. 26.
Sin Miedo is led by French pianist Didier Prossaird, Sin Miedo has been performing in the DC-Baltimore area for the past 10 years, collaborating with salsa greats Tito Allen and Frankie Vasquez, touring the US and abroad with the Washington Ballet, performing in music halls at Gala Theater and providing Salsa music for the hottest dance nights in the Capital. The repertoire of the band includes original music with Spanish and French lyrics and the Salsa classics of the 70’s to today’s latest hits as well as Latin jazz.
The Moonshine Society, is the “young acclaimed band redefining the blues genre for a new generation,” with band members including Joe Poppen (guitar), Black Betty (vocals), Christopher Brown (bass) and Barry Hart (drums). For live shows or on recordings, guest artists can include those like local jazz legend Ron Holloway on sax. Seewww.moonshinesociety.com.

 

From the 705Network Music — The Theljohn Quartet

Here’s the latest treat from the 705 Network Music folks, the Theljohn Allen Quintet … enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1UX-uR8QgQ&feature=youtu.be
And see http://www.705network.com for much more!

 

 

 

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Carl Grubbs after his Jazz/Strings Ensemble

performance at Artscape in Baltimore last month.

 

 

 

InPerson/InReview … Carl Grubbs’ “Inner Harbor Suite Revisited”

Speaking of art and nature and music few events match the annual Artscape in Baltimore festival, three days this past month, that on the closing evening featured award-winning saxophonist and educator Carl Grubbs’ Jazz/String Ensemble.
The group, a quintet led by Grubbs on alto sax, performed works from the new CD “Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore” that results from his 2014 Ruby’s Award grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. A large crowd at the Brown Center in the Maryland Institute College of Art enjoyed Grubbs’ spicy, swinging, bluesy and jamming compositions including “Bossa,” “Water,” “Like Trane,” “Barbara Dear,” and “Saturn.”
Highlights included the heartfelt, soaring lines on sax by Grubbs on the “Barbara Dear,” in honor of his wife—and marketing manager and publicist, grant writer and everything else!—and “Water,” a moving treatise of its own by the singing string section.

 

 

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The Carl Grubbs Jazz/Strings Ensemble

in performance at Artscape in Baltimore.
The CD was recorded during a May 2015 performance of the ensemble at the Ward Center for the Arts, at The St. Paul’s Schools in Brooklandville, Md., where Grubbs has been the director of jazz studies for several years. Grubbs’ Latin flavored jam “Bossa” with the strings singing their own lilting melody and Grubbs’ edgy, searing sax, leads off a varied, flowing river of his original compositions.
“Like Trane” pops and rolls with the strings again adding a unique color to formerly traditional bop tunes, lifting the mood while also contrasting with the fiery rawness of Grubbs’ sound and accenting the twists and turns of the piece. Other highlights include “Special Moments,” another jam featuring Grubbs’ twists, full stops and varied rhythmic flavors, with Byrd’s piano colors and Lamkin and Kennedy powering on percussion. “Saturn” is a Grubbs’ alto sax tour de force with his free, squawking, high-flying lines, and with an orchestral sweeping majesty to it thanks to the strings, added to Grubbs’ previous recordings of the piece.
And “Harbor Place” is a fitting, melancholy stroll led by Grubbs’ sax, the strings and Charlie Himel’s vibrant bass, recalling when it all began, with Grubb’s acclaimed “Inner Harbor Suite” recording some 22 years ago.
See http://www.contemporaryartsinc.org for more on Grubbs and his new CD.

 

–InReview … Jordan Dixon’s “A Conversation Among Friends”

As a member of “The Few, The Proud, The Marines,” Jordan Dixon has already fashioned a shiny resume. With his debut CD “A Conversation Among Friends,” the tenor saxophonist has now proudly served notice he is a musician and composer deserving wider recognition locally and beyond.
A native of Baton Rouge, he started playing music seriously at the age of 12, and served in the military as a Marine Musician. A few years ago, after his discharge, Dixon moved to the D.C. area to play and study music and has been one of the leading players, with a power and explosiveness on his axe that not many can match, in Allyn Johnson’s University of the District of Columbia jazz ensembles.

 

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Johnson, UDC’s director of jazz studies and an eminent pianist in his own right, is the pianist on “A Conversation Among Friends,” along with Dixon bandmates Steve Novosel, bass, Nasar Abadey, drums and J.S. Williams, trumpet.
Dixon’s bold, raw, bluesy tenor sax riffs provide the centerpiece, along with his fine compositional skills, for his CD, with highlights including “Wayward Warrior,” and intriguing lilting jam spurred by Johnson’s rippling runs and Abadey’s splashing drum work. “Hospital Honors” rocks and rolls in the best of the bop tradition, Dixon’s spearing sax lines intense, but also witty and thoughtful. “What You’ve Done for Me (A Ballad for Mr. Gulley)” is too, in the best of the sax man’s ballad tradition, Dixon tender and wistful on his tenor sax.
A notable recording debut for Dixon, you can check out more about “A Conversation Among Friends” and Dixon on http://www.cdbaby.com.

 

Baltimore Jazz Fest coming in October!

For jazz fans everywhere, and in particular those who have been following the discussions in Baltimore about the lack, in that great city with its great jazz heritage, of a jazz festival when many other cities and locales have them, the Baltimore Jazz Alliance has announced the long wait is over.

 

 

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Coming October 1 from 12 noon to 8:30 p.m. is Baltimore Jazz Fest 2016, “a free, family-friendly, full day of Baltimore jazz, held in beautiful Druid Hill Park in the heart of Baltimore City. Produced in partnership with Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks,” according to BJA information.
Featured performs include the Hot Club of Baltimore, the Clarence Ward III All-Stars, Rumba Club, the Dunbar Jazz Ensemble, the Greg Hazta ORGANization, Art Sherrod Jr. and the Baltimore Legends, a group including Bob Butta, John Lamkin Sr. and Carlos Johnson among others. See http://www.baltimorejazz.com for complete information.

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues. com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.

Jazz Avenues July BLOG 2016

By Steve Monroe

… follow @jazzavenues

 

 

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Roberta Gambarini entertains at Blues Alley

July 1-3 this weekend.

 

 

 

Carter, Gambarini, Alberico, GUSJC, Grasso brunch
top weekend sounds; Grubbs, Vocal Summit on way

The soulful sounds of Janine Gilbert Carter, the romantic stylings of Roberta Gambarini, Rick Alberico’s hot sax and a jazz brunch highlight this weekend’s offerings, with a jamming month of July jazz on the way between here and Baltimore.
Carter performs at 6 p.m. tonight, July 1, at Westminster Presbyterian Church with Antonio Parker, alto sax, Wes Biles, bass, Vince Smith, piano and Manny Kellogg, drums.
Gambarini, who has wowed DC Jazz Festival audiences in recent years, is at Blues Alley tonight through Sunday, July 3.
Alberico, the upstate New York native, who settled in this area several years ago and has played many venues with his Rick Alberico Jazz Project, plays at Twins Jazz tonight and tomorrow.

A special show Saturday July 2 features the venerable Brother Ah, virtuoso musician and historian of the music and WPFW programmer, presenting “Music of Sun Ra” from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Everlasting Life Cafe, 9185 Central Avenue in Capitol Heights, Md. Tickets are $15. Go to http://www.wpfwfm.org for more information or call 301-717-8057.

 

 

 

 

 

GUSTJCwebsitephoto

The Greater U Street Jazz Collective has

become a regular highight at Mulebone Restaurant.

 

 
The Greater U Street Jazz Collective (GUSJC) begins a run of Saturdays and Sundays at the Mulebone Restaurant tomorrow, Saturday July 2, at 6 p.m.
Sunday July 3 pianist Chris Grasso presents his Jazz Brunch at 1 p.m. with Nicki Parrott and Chuck Redd at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, with Lenny Robinson on drums (www.chrisgrassomusic.com). Sunday night, the Joe Vetter Quartet entertains at Twins Jazz.

 

 

 

 

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Master percussionist Lenny Robinson plays with

Chris Grasso and Chuck Redd behind vocalist Nicki

Parrott at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Sunday July 3.

 

 

 
Coming up next week is a special event helping impresario Vernard Gray of East River Jazz celebrate his 75th birthday, “Cecily/A Celebration of Womanhood” at 6 p.m. July 7 at Jazz and Cultural Society (www.jazzandculturalsociety.com) in N.E. D.C., with the show dedicated to Gray’s mother, Rae Ella Orendoff Gray. Order tickets by July 1 online at http://www.eastriverjazz.net or by calling 202-262-7571 for the $30 admission with dinner; or for $20 admission only, order online only July 2-6; tickets $25 day of event).
Cecily Bumbray (www.cecilymusic.com) is a young D.C. native vocalist and songwriter drawing acclaim for her performances and her CD, “Cecily.”

Vocalist Rochelle Rice has a CD release party for her debut album, “Wonder,” July 8 at Amy by Strathmore in North Bethesda. See. http://www.rochellericemusic.com for more information.

And Gray has another event Sunday, July 10, at Agora Bar and Grill @The Inn at the Black Olive restaurant in Baltimore, “Keeping It Soulful,” featuring the Craig Alston Ensemble, with Marshall Keys, saxophones, Benjie Poreki, keyboard, Mark Prince drums and Alston on bass. For complete information, see http://www.eastriverjazz.net.

 

 

 

 

 

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Craig Alston’s Ensemble plays at The Inn at

The Black Olive Restaurant in Baltimore July 10.

 

 

 

 

The Laker Arbor Jazz Festival returns for its 7th year at Lake Arbor in Mitchellville, Md., July 7-10 with performers including Brian Lenair, Elan Trotman, Althea Rene, Brian Simpson, Oweleo, Art Sherrod Jr., the FAME Jazz Band and many others (See http://www.lakearborjazz.com).

 

 

 

 

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The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra plays the Single

Carrot Theatre in Baltimore July 9.

 

 

 

 

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One of our queens of song Akua Allrich performs

July 17 at the DC Jazz Jam and July 22 at the

Vocal Summit at Wesley United Methodist Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reginald Cyntje

The Reginald Cyntje Group plays July 16

at An Die Musik in Baltimore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another special event July 11 “WPFW 89.3 Honors Omrao Brown” celebrates the former Bohemian Caverns guru Brown, at 7 p.m. at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. Artists to perform include Nasar Abadey, Akua Allrich, Davey Yarborough, Reginald Cyntje, Heidi Martin, Janelle Gill and many others. See http://www.wpfwfm.org or http://www.eventbrite.com for more information on the fundraising event.
In other events this month; Chelsey Green and the Green Project are at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden July 8; Alison Crockett is at Twins Jazz July 8-9; Kristin Callahan is at 49 West in Annapolis July 9, and also performs with the Thad Wilson Quartet July 22-23 at Twins Jazz; The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra is at the Single Carrot Theatre in Baltimore July 9; Antonio Parker is the featured performer at the DC Jazz Jam at The Brixton July 10, with Akua Allrich there July 17 and Brad Linde performing July 24; the Reginald Cyntje Group plays July 16 at An Die Musik in Baltimore; Tony Craddock Jr. and Cold Front are at Meade Memorial Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Va. July 17.

 

 

 

 

 

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Master musician, bandleader and educator

Carl Grubbs presents his “Inner Harbor Suite

Revisited” with the Carl Grubbs Jazz/String Ensemble

at Artscape in Baltimore July 17.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sharon Clark takes her act to the

Big Apple again for “The Swing Set”

with the Chris Grasso Trio

July 19 at the Iridium in NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

Artscape 2016 performances in Baltimore July 17 include bassist and CapitalBop guru Luke Stewart performing an experimental solo improvisation on bass and bass amp, and then later that day the Carl Grubbs Jazz String Ensemble performs his “Inner Harbor Suite Revisited” compositions, the result of a grant from his 2014 Rubys Arts Award by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, at 8 p.m. at Falvey Hall, Brown Center on Mt. Royal Avenue (www.carlgrubbsjazz.com). See http://www.artscape.org for complete information on Artscape 2016.
Also, Michael Bowie’s BLAST takes off at Blues Alley July 19; that same night, if you want to take a trip to the Apple, vocalist Sharon Clark presents “The Swing Set,” with Chris Grasso on piano, Michael O’Brien, bass and Jason Brown, drums at the Iridium in NYC (www.chrisgrassomusic.com); Introducing B.J. Simmons is at Westminster July 22; the Vocal Summit is at Wesley United Methodist  with Alison Crockett and Akua Allrich July 22, and Janine Gilbert-Carter and Amelia Brown July 23. Backing the ladies are Washington Women In Jazz guru Amy K. Bormet on piano, Nicole Saphos, bass and Lydia Lewis, drums.
And the Kenny Rittenhouse Septet is at Westminster July 29, with Rittenhouse on trumpet, Lyle Link, alto sax, Xavier Perez, tenor sax, Reginald Cyntje, trombone, Hope Udobi, piano Romier Mendez, bass and Jay Jefferson, drums.
Then there is the always charming Lena Seikaly performing July 30 for the Petworth Jazz Project at the Petworth Recreation Center, 8th and Taylor Streets N.W. (www.petworthjazzproject.com)

 

 

 

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Lena Seikaly performs July 30

for the Petworth Jazz Project

at Petworth Recreation Center in D.C.

 

 

 

 

 

“[Billy] Eckstine’s rich baritone voice made him one of the most popular ballad singers of the late 1940s, but leading the first bebop big band was his major contribution to jazz…” — “Jazz Portraits” by Len Lyons and Don Perlo, William Morrow and Company, 1989.

A Happy Happy for Billy Eckstine

We take a moment to say “Happy Happy Born Day” to our July birthday heroes, including Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Philly Joe Jones, our own Dr. Billy Taylor (featured in the July 2015 Jazz Avenues), Carl Grubbs (playing this month at Artscape in Baltimore), Kenny Burrell … and Billy Eckstine (July 10) .
” … Eckstine [born in Pittsburgh] grew up in Washington, D.C. and attended Howard University. He then worked for several years as a singer and emcee in Detroit and Chicago…In 1939 Eckstine joined Earl “Fatha” Hines’s big band and became its star attraction due to his blues hits ‘Jelly, Jelly’ and ‘Stormy Monday’…After working with Hines, Eckstine formed his own group (1944). The nucleus of the band were former Hines sidemen …At various times Eckstine’s band included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Mikes Davis, Art Blakey, Sarah Vaughan and other early boppers…” according to the book “Jazz Portraits.”
The book “The History of Jazz,” by Ted Gioia, Oxford University Press, 1997, said it this way: “… Soon after, Billy Eckstine quit [Earl Hines’ band] to form his own band, eventually bringing with him some of Hines’s finest talents, including Gillespie and Vaughan … A powerful singer with a resonant baritone voice, Eckstine had recording the hit ‘Jelly, Jelly’ while with the Hines band, and now was interested in building on that success. As it turned out, his fascination with the cutting-edge sounds of bop may have compromised his success as a pop singer. Under somewhat different circumstances, Eckstine might have approached the popularity of a Nat King Cole, or even a Frank Sinatra, but the broader audience he sought mostly eluded him.”
The book “JAZZ — A History of America’s Music” by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, Alfred A. Knopf, publisher, 2000, says about Miles Davis: “When the Billy Eckstine Band came to St. Louis in the summer of 1944 and the third trumpet fell ill, Davis got a chance to sit in for a week. He was a good sight reader and had no trouble with the arrangements, he remembered, but he had barely been able to bring himself to play ‘because I was listening to what everybody else was playing … Bird was unbelievable … [Eckstine’s] band changed my life. I decided right then and there that I had to leave St. Louis and live in New York where all these bad musicians were.’ “
Apparently much more than a great singer and innovative bandleader, consider this from “JAZZ — A History of America’s Music”: “ … When a man Billy Eckstine remembered as an ‘old, rotten cracker’ amused himself by repeatedly throwing chicken bones into the Jim Crow car in which the members of the band were riding north through Virginia, Eckstine waited till the train reached Washington, D.C., .stopped the man on the platform, demanded to know why he’d done it, and, when he didn’t answer, hit him so hard he hid beneath the train, begging for mercy.”

 

 

 

 

BillCole

http://www.billcole.org

 

The Bill Cole Trio

at the DC Jazz Festival

 

 

 

 

InPerson … Cole/Shipp, Salvant, Washington, NCJQ hits at DCJF

The Bill Cole and Matthew Shipp trios played vibrant, free-flowing sets as Transparent Productions closed out its season in a big way as part of the DC Jazz Festival’s opening weekend in June at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Cole, the 78-years-young avant interpreter on reeds, specializing in mystical, evocative sounds, and long, deep baritone chords or kazoo-like squawks and blares, exchanged riffs with violist Stephanie Griffin and horn man Ras Moshe during their sets.
The ever intensely rippling pianist Shipp then exchanged melodies with his bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker, with Baker almost stealing the show with body percussion rhythms and rolls to augment his traps.

 

 

 

 

matthewshippbyfrancescapfieffer

http://www.matthewshipp.com

Matthew Shipp
The trios concluded with a wall of sound combined finale highlighted by Griffin and Bisio exchanging their singing, strumming melodies while the horns and percussion framed the running, edgy, jagged then smoother ensembles of sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cecile McLorin Salvant
Other festival highlights included a dramatic set by vocalist Cecile McClorin Salvant – proving to this listener she is everything she has been advertised to be as a daring, multi-faceted artist, a one woman cabaret every time she picks up the microphone;  a swinging, jamming set by the New Century Jazz Quintet, winners of the first DCJF JazzPrix competition; and a rousing set by saxophonist and bandleader Kamasi Washington and friends, all at Yards Park on the festival’s final weekend. The CapitalBop DC Loft Jazz show at Arris that weekend featured innovative, inspiring sets from the Orrin Evans Capt. Black Big Band and The Washington Renaissance Orchestra Octet, powered by Nasar Abadey.
Based in New York City, the New Century Jazz Quintet is co-led by pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., with Braxton Cook, on alto saxophone; Benny Benack III, on trumpet and vocals; and bassist Yasushi Nakamura. The NCJQ competed in the finals, Saturday, June 18, against two fellow finalists – the New York City-based Cowboys and Frenchmen, and Washington, DC’s Mark G. Meadows and The Movement.
“We are excited to have successfully introduced the DCJazzPrix, a national competition that adds yet more cultural significance to the DC Jazz Festival, and is designed to help launch and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists,” said DCJF Artistic Director Willard Jenkins in a statement. “All three finalists presented impressive performances.”
In addition to a $15,000 cash prize, the NCJQ earned a year-long association with the DC Jazz Festival for professional development, business support and a mainstage 2017 DC Jazz Festival engagement. NCJQ has released two recordings, “Time is Now,” and “In Case You Missed Us,” in Japan and the U.S.
In earlier DCJF news, the 2016 DCJF awards honored Howard University professor and renowned trumpeter Fred Irby III with the DCJF 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and Howard’s Dr. Arthur Dawkins with the DCJF 2016 John Conyers Jr. Jazz Advocacy Award.

 

HerbScott (1)

http://www.herbspiceandcinnastix.com

Herb Scott

 

 

 

InPerson … Greater U Street Jazz Collective, Heidi Martin

In other shows last month, the Greater U Street Jazz Collective – which is featured at the Mulebone Restaurant in D.C. Saturdays and Sundays in July beginning Saturday July 2 — jammed hard at the Jazz and Cultural Society one Wednesday night last month, with tenor saxophonist Russell Carter Jr. a highlight with his vintage touch on the horn with a vibrant sound and witty, inventive melodies on his solos (See http://www.greaterustreetcollectivejazz.com).

And Heidi Martin (www.heidimartin.com) and Moon In Scorpio entertained a large, overflowing, diverse family gathering of very young, young and mature folks at Petworth Recreation Center in N.W. D.C. in the second Petworth Jazz Project event . Martin’s entrancing vocals and spicy guitar work were complimented in fine fashion by her top band mates, including Sam Prather, keyboards, John Lamkin III, drums, Tarus Mateen, bass, Herb Scott, saxophone, and Donvonte McCoy, trumpet on tunes like “Memphis” and “Girl from Ipanema,” the music a soulful, jazzy blend perfect for the warm early summer evening.

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues. com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.

Jazz Avenues June BLOG 2016

By Steve Monroe

… follow @jazzavenues

 

DCJazzFest2016logo

 

Regina Carter-1

Violinist Regina Carter

helps the DC Jazz Festival get rolling

with her show Friday June 10 at The Hamilton Live

 

 

 

GVJ Jr., Rittenhouse, Carter, Williams help kick off DC Jazz Festival; 

Gonzalez at Westminster, SJMO, Transparent Jazz also on tap

Washington DC Jazz Network maestro and vocalese guru George V. Johnson Jr. performs Friday June 10 at 5 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden to help kick off DC Jazz Festival events, while veteran bassist Pepe Gonzalez performs at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 6 p.m., and later that night the festival’s Hamilton Live shows begin featuring Jazz Journalists Association 2016 awardee and violin virtuoso Regina Carter with her quartet and D.C. native bassist Ben Williams with his group Sound Effect.

 

Herman Burney

Bassist Herman Burney performs

for the East River JAZZFest June 10
East River JAZZFest, part of the citywide DC Jazz Festival running June 10-19, opens with the Blue Note Tribute by the Kenny Rittenhouse Quartet with trumpeter Rittenhouse, pianist Vince Evans, bassist Herman Burney and drummer J.C. Jefferson at 7:30 p.m. Friday June 10 at We Act Radio, 1918 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE.

 

 

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Saturday June 11 at 2 p.m., the Bill Washburn Ensemble entertains for a free concert at the Dorothy Height Benning Neighborhood Library, 3935 Benning Road NE. Original jazz compositions by trumpeter Freddie Dunn & guitarist John Lee are featured at a free event at 10 am Sunday June 12 at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens 1550 Anacostia Ave. NE. And on Monday June 13, at 7:30 p.m., the Piedmont Blues compositions of legendary bluesman Phil Wiggins will be presented by the Phil Wiggins Duet at Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE.
For complete information go to http://www.dcjazzfest.org or http://www.eastriverjazz.net.

 

 

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photo by Mike Morgan

Brad Linde performs at the Atlas June 11
Other festival highlights this weekend include Brad Linde’s Team Players performing Saturday June 11 at the Atlas, while the Capital Bop DC Jazz Loft Series opens with Makaya McCraven’s In The Moment and the Marquis Hill Blacktet with Carolyn Malachi at Arris in Southeast, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra presents its “Incredible Jimmy Smith” show, Kurt Elling is at Hamilton Live and Anthony Nelson is at Twins Jazz.
Sunday June 12 Transparent Jazz has its final showoff the season (see below) with The Bill Cole Trio and The Matthew Shipp Trio performing at the Atlas, while the Hamilton Live features Etienne Charles Creole Soul and the Jimmy Greene Quartet. Monday June 13 Lena Seikaly is at the Sylvan Theatre at noon for a free show and that night the DC JazzFest Salutes Howard University Jazz in a show at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with Benny Golson, Dr. Fred Irby of the Howard University Jazz Ensemble, Dr. Arthur Dawkins and others.
Wednesday June 15 JAZZAlive at UDC presents Charlie Young with Allyn Johnson and the UDC Jazztet at 7 pm for a free show. (See http://www.jazzaliveudc.org)

 

 

Kamasi-Washington2_cred_MikePark

photo by Mike Park

Kamasi Washington performs at The Yards

during the DC Jazz Festival.
Other headliners at The Hamilton Live during the festival include Maceo Parker, Harold Mabern, Steve Turre and Joey DeFrancesco. Headliners at The Yards Park on the Capitol Riverfront June 17-19 include Jazz Journalists Association 2016 awardees vocalist Cecile McLorin, Salvant and saxophonist Kamasi Washington; The Chuck Brown Band, Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Septet, DC JazzPrix finalists, E. J. Strickland, Fred Foss and Ravi Coltrane.
Other CapitalBop shows at Arris, 1331 4th St. SE near Yards Park, include Michele Rosewoman & New Yor-uba with Amadou Kouyate June 17; and Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big band with the Washington Renaissance Orchestra June 18.
For complete DC Jazz Festival information, including ticket information, event times and locations, go to http://www.dcjazzfest.org.

 

 

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Reginald Cyntje performs at The Hill Center June 19.
Other June jazz highlights include Kenny Garrett June 16-19 at Blues Alley; Greg Lamont June 17 at Westminster; Michael Thomas Quintet June 17-18 at Twins Jazz; the Reginald Cyntje Group June 19 at The Hill Center; Charlie Young’s Tribute to Cannonball Adderley show June 24 at Westminster; Thinking About Jazz/Cannonball Adderley: Walking Tall, June 25 at Westminster; George V. Johnson Jr. June 26 at Meade Memorial Episcopal Church in Alexandria; Al Strong June 26 at the DC Jazz Jam at The Brixton; and the Dwayne Adell Trio June 27 at Blues Alley.

 

Transparent Productions: Bill Cole, Matthew Shipp

The final Transparent Productions presentation of the 2015-16 season features two powerhouse avant trios when the Bill Cole Trio and Matthew Shipp Trio perform for 7 and 8:30 pm shows Sunday June 12 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE.
The Bill Cole Trio hits at 7 pm, followed by the Matthew Shipp Trio, with a “Closing Improv Combined Trio Set” with tickets $15 advance, $20 at the door per set, or both sets for $25 advance sales only! For more information call 202-399-7993 or go to http://www.atlasarts.org or http://www.transparentproductionsdc.org.

 

 

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Bobby Hill Jr. presents his final

Transparent Productions show

June 12 with Bill Cole and Matthew Shipp.
The Cole trio includes Cole on double reeds, Ras Moshe, reeds and Stephanie Griffin, viola. Renowned bassist William Parker calls Cole the “master of the double reed”, a double reed instrument having two pieces of cane vibrating against each other.” And Luke Stewart of CapitalBop says, “…Cole is creating a new language in jazz through his use of East Asian instruments.”
Shipp is on piano in his trio with Michael Bisio, bass and Newman Taylor Baker, drums. “Whether sharing original solo interpretations of standards – What is This Thing Called Love, Autumn Leaves, Matt Shipp remains one of today’s most original and diverse piano voices,” says Transparent Productions.

 

Help! Support CD celebrating hall of fame composer David Baker

Jazz fans everywhere are asked to help celebrate the life and music of the great jazz composer, author and educator David Baker by supporting Baker friends and his widow in the production of “a recording titled Basically Baker Volume 2: The Big Band Music of David Baker featuring the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra. All proceeds generated by sales of the recording will go directly to the David N. Baker Scholarship Fund to provide a financial means for prospective students to attend the Jacobs School of Music Jazz Studies Program. The CD will be released by Patois Records,” according to Braithwaite & Katz Communications.
For more information go to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/basically-baker-2#/.

 

Thanks Jazz Lobby: DC Council passes resolution

Many thanks to the Jazz Lobby effort led by Aaron L. Myers II, Herb Scott, George V. Johnson Jr., Tacha Coleman Parr, Donald Williams and many others that resulted in the D.C. Council passing a resolution last month that honors the music and the musicians and serves as the first step of an effort to create a “working model” of cooperative support for jazz in Washington by the city government. For more information, see http://www.facebook.com/dcjazzlobby and http://www.washingtondcjazznetwork.ning.com.

 

 

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The Greater U Street Jazz Collective jammed at Vicino’s

last month and has been a regular group at

the new Mulebone Resturant in D.C.

 

 

 

–InPerson … DeAndre Shaifer; Harry Appelman; Robert Murad; Greater U Street Jazz Collective

Hot sounds last month included trumpeter DeAndre Shaifer, a growing virtuosic player with every performance, highlighting a set at the DC Jazz Jam show one Sunday at The Brixton with fiery, then introspective, then avant lines in a group that included bassist Nicole Saphos. There was vintage Harry Appelman with his smooth elegance on piano at the jam session one Saturday at Columbia Station. Another fine pianist, Robert Murad, led a swinging session, with hot saxist Luis Faife and whipping drummer Frank Williams IV one Sunday night at Jazz and Cultural Society. And the Greater U Street Jazz Collective with masterful, tasteful tenor sax man Russell Carter Jr., with guest vocalist Sendy Brown, jammed away one Monday night at Vicino’s in Silver Spring.

 

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Pianist Helen Sung’s group swung hard on some standards

and Sung originals at the Rhythm Cafe show at the

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in May.
And then there was in late May New York pianist Helen Sung at the Rhythm Café at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, displaying her deft, melodic touch with her quartet, including John Ellis on tenor sax, Boris Kozlov, bass and the inimitable Rudy Royston, drums. The group swung hard on “It Don’t Mean a Thing …” and Sung’s “The Waiting Game” was a delight with her rippling charm on piano and Royston’s empathetic drumming, and “Brother Thelonious” featured Sung’s bluesy work, and Kozlov’s grooving, bluesy solo on bass.

 

InReview … Sonny Rollins: “Holding the Stage”

The magic of Sonny Rollins, as shown again on his latest recording, “Holding The Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4 on his Doxy Records label, is what seems like an infinite capacity for blowing mind-blowing spirals of ever-changing melodies of innovation.
Beginning here with “Disco Monk,” Rollins’ homage to the late piano guru, true to Monk, an ever-shifting rhythmic landscape is colored by Rollins’ pop riffs, then soft intertwining mystical romps, all telling a story … here a joyful, playful and then sometimes serious introspection of a tale.

 

 

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Surely we won’t hear anything new on “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” right? How can you improve on a classic’s classic? Somehow Rollins gives his signature tune of his latter development as a freer, worldlier creator than his early bebop grounded days a fresh take. Still a stomping dancing jam as always, here it is nuanced with a honeyed glaze, if you will.
His players of course are integral to the magic he creates on “Holding The Stage,” and they include longtime soulmate/bandmates like trombonist Clifton Anderson and bassist Bob Cranshaw; pianists Stephen Scott and Mark Soskin; guitarists Bobby Broom, Peter Bernstein, and Saul Rubin; bassist Jerome Harris; drummers Kobie Watkins, Perry Wilson, Victor Lewis, Jerome Jennings, Al Foster, and Harold Summey Jr.; and percussionists Kimati Dinizulu, Sammy Figueroa and Victor See Yuen.
As the publicity says, “… the CD contains 7 tracks recorded between 1979 & 2012 plus a previously unreleased 23-minute medley from the Boston 9/11 concert … The album encompasses some 33 years (1979-2012) yet coheres with all of the compelling logic and narrative force of an extended Sonny solo.”
And the vintage Rollins’ solos here, are all compelling, many including those melodies from other songs within a song riffs Rollins and other master sax players weave in and out of their tunes, as he does on “H.S.” and others.
Besides of course his jamming, winding romps of tunes with seemingly endless new variations on a theme, there are his skills as a balladeer, shown here on “In a Sentimental Mood.”
One never knows, us sax lovers, which we prefer, those jamming, romping 15 minute non-stop roller coaster rides – or the master saxists’ beauty with a ballad, wrenching the melancholy out of the melody – as he also does on “Your Mine You” — over and over as Rollins does with his winding, sometimes whining, crying, sometimes growling emotions over romance’s fickle ways. Here in “Mood,” Rollins’ plaintive cries are as heartfelt as ever. “Mixed Emotions” also displays his tender way with stepping down the tension to a slow motion waltz of beauty. “Sweet Lelani” is another lilting, waltzing lullaby of charm, spiced by Rollins’ searing, wailing golden sax.
It’s all good. All timeless classic Rollins, our supreme innovator here on earth.

 

InReview … Jane Ira Bloom: “Early Americans”

For proof that Jane Ira Bloom is not just a pretty pretty good sax player, check out her latest recording “Early Americans,” in particular tunes like “Cornets of Paradise.” While Bloom is well known in some quarters for pleasing flights of melody on her soprano saxophone, her award this year as the best on her axe from the Jazz Journalists Association shows many recognize her talents go further.
“Cornets of Paradise,” while showing off her compositional range into the freer genres of the music, also displays her reaching into her edgy bag to blow some smoking, jarring riffs. The tune is just one of them on this CD that display a range of rhythmic variety, tension and intrigue that blends into a highly entertaining journey.

 

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Performing with expert, longtime bandmates bassist Mark Helias and drummer Bobby Previte, Bloom’s trio produces so much sound on the CD you have to keep looking at the personnel list to see if there are other artists, with the orchestral echoes so full. “Big Bill” for instance booms and shouts, with Previte’s whipping splashes and tapping cymbals trading with Bloom’s racy runs on sax, over Helias’ rumbling, grooving bass melodies.
As the Crossover Media publicity says, “You never know what American original soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom is going to do next. After the success of her 2014 all-ballads release “Sixteen Sunsets” Bloom shifts into another gear showcasing the kinetic energy of her acclaimed trio playing with the musicians that she knows best on Early Americans …”
Bloom’s 16th recording as a leader, and sixth for the Outline label, features 12 of her own originals, including the popping “Big Bill” and “Rhyme or Rhythm,” the sly and sinuous “Song Patrol,” and the ingenious “Hips & Sticks” with its soulful twists and turns, stops and starts, Previte exchanging drum rolls with Helias’ bass riffs, and Bloom darting in and out of the rhythm. “Early Americans” is a steady groove with lots of free range moodiness and edge along with playfulness and fun and the mystical – as on “Dangerous Times” and “Singing the Triangle” and the ethereal “Other Eyes.”
See http://www.janeirabloom.com for more information.

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues. com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.