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Issue: June 2009
Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

I have been on the Board of the Louisville Jazz Society for several years now. I believe it is important for jazz enthusiasts to be aware of the good works the LJS performs. Of the events listed below, the LJS has helped to underwrite the Bellarmine Jazz Guitar Clinic and Concert for many years. Additionally, the LJS continues to offer a scholarship to the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop. The LJS site is www.louisvillejazz.org; the scholarship form may be downloaded at www.louisvillejazz.org/Forms/AebersoldScholarshipApp2009.pdf. I urge all jazz lovers to visit the website and to join this organization.



Guitarists Jack Wilkins and Howard Alden return to Bellarmine University for its 23rd Annual Jazz Guitar Clinic and a concert. The clinic takes place Monday and Tuesday, June 8 and 9, with the concert on the 8th. These superb New York-based guitarists have played and taught at Bellarmine many times over the years. They also perform regularly as a duo, primarily in New York. Further information is available at: http://home.insightbb.com/~rush/Bellarmine. Alden and Wilkins will also perform at Varanese, 2106 Frankfort Avenue on Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7. For more info or reservations call 899-9904 or go to www.varanese.com.


Bill Frisell played the 930 Listening Room in April of 2007, in a solo performance that used acoustic and electric guitars, sometimes with loops, to create atmospheric reveries (from my May 2007 LMN "Jazzin'" review). Frisell has a discography which is eclectic and goes back a quarter of a century. He embraces a wide-ranging repertoire of originals and interpretations of all styles of music. He returns to the venue on Saturday, June 13, with his trio of bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wolleson. They have toured and performed together for several years, so this should be a special night of creative improvisational music. Tickets are available at The 930 Center, 930 Mary St., or through the organization's website: www.the930.org.


The 37th annual Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, will take place this year from June 28-July 3 and July 5-10 at the University of Louisville. Aebersold always recruits a topnotch faculty, and this year is no exception. Although faculty and performer listings are subject to change, this year includes, among others: Piano: Phil DeGreg, Steve Allee, Andy LaVerne, Todd Hildreth, Harry Pickens, David Hazeltine; Bass: Lynn Seaton, Rufus Reid, Tyrone Wheeler, David Friesen, Bill Moring, John Goldsby, Chris Fitzgerald; Drums: Steve Davis, Jonathan Higgins, Ed Soph, Colby Inzer, Jason Tiemann; Guitar: Steve Erquiaga, Fred Hamilton, Craig Wagner, J. Scott Henderson, Dave Stryker, Pat Lentz; Trumpet: Jim Rotondi, Pat Harbison; Saxophone: Jamey Aebersold, Mike Tracy, Jerry Tolson, Antonio Hart, Jerry Coker, Gary Campbell, Tim Armacost, Jim Snidero, Gene Walker, Don Braden; Flute: Hunt Butler; Trombone: Steve Davis, Rick Simerly; Strings: David Baker; Vibes: Dick Sisto; and many more.

For many years, there has been a tradition of major faculty concerts at on Wednesday of each week, at 8 p.m. at Masterson's, 1830 South Third Street, (502) 636-2511. At deadline time, this could not be confirmed for this year. There are free concerts by various faculty players at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings at U of L's Comstock Hall.

For more information on the Workshops and concerts: www.summerjazzworkshops.com.

As noted above, the Louisville Jazz Society is offering a scholarship to the Aebersold Workshop. To apply, go to www.louisvillejazz.org/Forms/AebersoldScholarshipApp2009.pdf.


The Comedy Caravan, 1250 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204, 502-459-0022 www.comedycaravan.com, has long been a venue for quality musical acts. After a year of presenting "Jazz Factory Orphan Series," the jazz will now be featured as "Jazz at the Caravan." According to club owner Tom Sobel, this name change will become part of a broader series of musical presentations, such as "Americana at the Caravan," Blues at the Caravan, and so forth. June's Jazz at the Caravan includes the next Bobby Falk-produced "Night of Jazz" on June 1, with guitarist Craig Wagner, Sandpaper Dolls (described by Falk as a cappella/experimental, with some jazz influences), and, of course, the Bobby Falk Group, with an open jam session to follow. The Don Krekel Orchestra performs the second Monday of each month, which falls on June 8; "Theme Songs of the Big Bands" is the theme. Another "Night of Jazz" will happen June 22, with OK Kino (Drew Miller– vocals/sax, Wade Honey– keys/synth, Nick Kuypers– bass, and Mike Hyman– drums), plus an open jam session to follow. Other jazz bookings were not available as of deadline time, so please contact the club for any post-deadline dates.

The Seelbach Jazz Bar, (500 S. Fourth Street, 502-585-3200), features vibraphonist and occasional pianist Dick Sisto, who always provides excellent mainstream jazz, frequently with guest artists joining him. In a last-minute conversation with Sisto before getting this column out, Sisto said that some of the Aebersold faculty, including Rufus Reid, would be joining him. Details were not available, however.

The Galt House Conservatory, (140 N. 4th St., 502-589-5200, www.galthouse.com), features saxophonist Mike Tracy's Trio every Friday 5:30– 7:30. This group often features visiting musicians and folks are welcome to sit in.

The Nachbar (969 Charles Street, 502-637-4377, www.myspace.com/thenachbar), features Vamp (saxophonist Jacob Duncan, drummer Jason Tiemann and a revolving crew of bassists) every Wednesday, and was featuring Squeeze-bot on Sundays; check the club for updates or changes.

Jockamo's Pizza Pub (corner of Goss Avenue and Krieger Street, 502-637-5406) now has jazz every Thursday night with guitarist Craig Wagner, drummer Jason Tiemann, and others.

The Skybar @ Saints, (131 Breckenridge Lane, 502-648-4500) will feature the Speakeasy Jazz Orchestra directed by Brad Tharp every other Wednesday in June, on the 10th and 24th.

The West Market Street Stompers continue their weekly gig at Bearno's By The Bridge, 131 W. Main St., on Fridays, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. An added enticement, per their Newsletter, is a dance floor.

The Jazz Kitchen (5377 N College Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46220; phone: 317-253-4900; www.thejazzkitchen.com), presents nightly offerings of local and regional jazz; check the website for the full schedule and updates. You may want to consider a road trip for the following special engagements: June 5, 2009: JJ & Kai Tribute featuring trombonists Tom Garling (Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson) and Dave Dickey; June 6: Unity featuring Everett Greene, Cynthia Layne, Steve Allee, and Rob Dixon; June 19: Steve Allee Quintet; June 27: violinist Cathy Morris.

The June schedule for The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, 318 East Eighth St. (513-241-WISP), includes: June 5: Fareed Haque; June 9: Joey DeFrancesco; June 27: Aebersold faculty members Dave Friesen, Fred Hamilton, Gary Campbell and Jason Tiemann. Wednesdays remain the province of the Blue Wisp Big Band. The website is: www.thebluewisp.com.

Important Note, Part 2, Slight Return: The Louisville Jazz Society has revamped its website (www.louisvillejazz.org), and offers a new means to disseminate news of live performances locally: be sure to sign up for the e-mail "Louisville Jazz Society's Jazz Insider." It is both impossible for me to try to provide complete listings here, and it would be duplicative of the weekly listings in the Courier-Journal and LEO and the Louisville Music News' monthly music listings, in both the print and online editions (www.louisvillemusicnews.net). Also, Jacob Duncan has initiated a series of local jazz updates. You may contact him at jacobduncan@me.com to be added to his e-mail list.


June is shaping up to be Jazz Guitar Month here in Louisville; see the previews above of Bellarmine's Jazz Guitar Clinic and Concert with Howard Alden and Jack Wilkins, followed by the Bill Frisell performance at the 930. So, it's a good time to check out some new guitar and related releases.

Mike Stern: New Morning: The Paris Concert (Heads Up HUDV 7166)

Mike Stern was Miles Davis' first guitarist after his late 1970s sabbatical. Stern's May 2008 performance the New Morning club in Paris has just been released on DVD. Stern's versatile playing is reinforced by his band, consisting of Bob Franceschini on sax, Tom Kennedy on bass, and Dave Weckl on drums. They roar through the opening 22-minute, hyperfunky "Tumble Home" and continue the groove with "KT," which has an early '80's Miles feel. "Wishing Well" is delicate and understated, and is followed by "What Might Have Been," which begins with Weckl playing with his hands and evoking a tabla ambiance from his kit. "Chatter's" free-form intro turns the corner into funk with an edge. "That's All It Is" has a "Jean-Pierre," vibe, and shows off Franceschini's Sonny Rollins-like penchant for quoting from other songs. "Wing and a Prayer" slows the pace before the band ends with the fast and fun "Chromazone." Throughout the 140-minute concert, Stern rocks out when appropriate, and plays gently in a more traditional jazz mode during the quieter pieces. In a brief bonus feature, Stern mentions how he has played this club several times over the years, and how it has a special feeling; the music proves his point eloquently, as he clearly enjoys his playing and the feedback from the appreciative crowd.

Grateful Dead: To Terrapin: Hartford '77 (Rhino GRA2-6008)

The Grateful Dead's 1977 Spring Tour remains a highlight for many Deadheads; this crisply recorded 3-CD set documents a revitalized band at an improvisational peak. Guitarist Jerry Garcia's liquid lines counterpoint the unique rhythmic stylings of Bob Weir, while the drummers interlock, and the melodies soar. In later years, first sets were pretty ho-hum; not here, as "Bertha" flows into "Good Lovin'" and on into an amazing 19-minute "Sugaree." The second set shows even more of the musical segues the band hit on a good night. "Estimated Prophet" (in 7/4 time), flows effortlessly into "Playing in the Band" (in 10/8)," which leads into an early performance of the mythopoetical suite "Terrapin Station." A brief drum break announces the Buddy Holly standard "Not Fade Away," which twists and turns for some 15 minutes before the band slows the pace by easing into "Wharf Rat." The focussed jamming frequently has a jazzy tinge, and this concert shows that for all the cultural hoopla which surrounded the Dead, they were first and foremost serious musicians.

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Eagle Rock ER 20150 CD and EV 30263 DVD)

Guitarist Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton's successor in the seminal group the Yardbirds, was one of the first players to utilize feedback as a musical expression. After unleashing Rod Stewart on the world on his first solo LP, Beck went on to create some of the best fusion to be heard in the 1970s. These CD and DVD releases document a run at the legendary London jazz club, Ronnie Scott's, from November of 2007. Beck is joined by Tal Wilkenfeld (bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), and Jason Rebello (keyboards). The CD features the jazz-rock sound Beck embraced with such albums as Blow By Blow. The DVD contains all the material from the CD, and adds five songs featuring guests including Clapton, with soul and blues material including Joss Stone's rendition of "People Get Ready." Beck utilizes a unique style of slide guitar on several of the pieces. Pleasant surprises include his takes on the Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Eternity's Breath" and Billy Cobham's "Stratus." If straightahead is your cup of tea, you should look elsewhere; if daring electric jazz from an established master sounds like your brew, then fill up on either or both of these releases.


I am always interested in your comments. Contact me at mzkjr@yahoo.com.

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