Jazzin' For May 2002

Rick Forest

By Rick Forest

Well, between spinning the hits on the old electric radio each evening and spending most weekends at Norton Hospital where I'm working out a year of Residency, like the man says, "'don't get around much anymore." Yes, I remember those halcyon days of youth, when I would spend half the night in the clubs of Nashville, listening to folks who made their livings in the musical sweatshops of music row and played Jazz at night to heal their weary souls, get home at 3 a.m. and make it to the office by 8 for my 9 a.m. show. I remember playing some of those gigs myself and how resilient my young body was. Alas, those days are gone. I can't work long on-calls at the hospital, spend five hours on the radio and make local club dates on a regular basis.

My already fragile health would suffer greatly...my wife would kill me. That, dear reader is where you come in. This month I seek your help and advise. Call it an informal poll, call it a simple query, call it Norma, just call it in. Tell me your favorite place to hear Jazz in our fair city.

There are a number of places you can suggest, Artemesia, Twice-Told, Billy D's, whatever. Tell me where you like the ambience best. Tell me where you like the food the best. Tell me where you like the selection of bands the best.

While we're telling, also tell me who you most like to hear. There are lots of groups to choose from and your tastes are just as important as the next person's, so don't be shy. I'll use your responses in next month's column.

Sorry, no awards, t-shirts or lovely parting gifts, just the satisfaction of getting your favorite band and venue in print. Send your list to me at rforest@wfpk.org or to the offices of this fine publication. I'm sure that Paul will send them on to me. He, like my creditors, and every telemarketer in the western hemisphere knows how to get ahold of me at home.

The other day I was spending a rare, leisurely Saturday afternoon at home, alternately napping, catching some golf on the tube and reading the paper when I noticed that the Scene had a section on summer festivals. Imagine my chagrin when I scanned the list of bourbon, burgoo and bluegrass festivals for "Jazz in Central Park," or whatever it was supposed to be called last summer when we didn't have it. I think you may remember me lamenting its loss last year. Well, I decided to make some calls and see what was up.

Apparently, a Jazz festival from the Kentucky Center for the Arts is not.

Once again, funding, or the lack thereof, stands in the way of there being a summer Jazz festival in Louisville once again. Oh yes, there is a festival at the Water Tower that a local communications firm sponsors, however calls that I have made in the past to get information about it have been ignored. I guess some folks aren't interested in free publicity.

Before we end our time together, let's talk a bit about some new recordings that have been released lately. If the names Airto Moreira, Eumir Deodato, Hubert Laws, Joe Farrell and Eric Gale ring a bell, then you are probably familiar with CTI records. Columbia Records has picked up the CTI catalog and has begun to reissue vintage CTI product. A recent package to cross my desk included George Benson's Body Talk, Antonio Carlos Jobim's Stone Flower, Hubert Laws' The Rite Of Spring and a surprise from organist Johnny Hammond with Breakout. Through the years there has been talk in the record industry of the "Motown Sound," and the same description has been used for Windham Hill and ECM records, but I believe that a case could be made for the "CTI Sound" as well. Some have disparaged these recordings as too "smooth" to be legitimately considered Jazz, but to me they are just plain fun. Word from some of my industry sources has it that there is a new batch on the way in a few weeks. I, for one, can't wait.

Have you "discovered" some new recordings that you just can't live without? Tell us about it. I'm always looking for discs to review that you want to know more about. Who knows, they may even find themselves becoming 10 p.m. feature albums on "Jazz Etc."

Whatever your taste in Jazz, get out and hear some this month. Your ears will thank you.