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RIP, Hugh Hopper, Tim Krekel, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Koko Taylor
Hugh Hoper was the distinguished bassist for England's Soft Machine, a band which incorporated influences from the minimalism of Terry Riley to the electric jazz of Miles Davis and others. Tim Krekel's untimely passing will, I am sure, be covered elsewhere in this issue; he will be sorely missed here. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who played the sarod, helped to open ears and hearts to classical Indian music in America and around the world. Lastly, Koko Taylor will probably be eulogized in Keith Clements' column; she was a force of nature in the world of blues.
AEBERSOLD JAZZ FACULTY CONCERTS
The 37th annual Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, took place this year from June 28-July 3 and July 5-10 at the University of Louisville. As is the tradition, faculty concerts were given most nights. On Wednesday, July 8, at Masterson's, I caught three combos: I: Gene Walker - tenor sax, Bobby Floyd - organ, Corey Christiansen - guitar, and Jonathan Higgins - drums; II: Jim Snidero - alto sax, Fred Hamilton - guitar, Andy LaVerne - piano, Lynn Seaton - bass, and Steve Barnes - drums; III - Eric Alexander - tenor and soprano sax, Steve Davis - trombone, Jim Rotondi - trumpet and flugelhorn, Rufus Reid - bass, and Ed Soph - drums. There is both inadequate space and time to do full -scale reviews, and I will ask in advance that any musician named above but not subsequently mentioned will forgive me.
Combo I was lots of fun, and its members showed how to catch a groove and ride it. The closing numbers, a Walker ballad "Last Night in Manhattan" and Sonny Rollins' classic "Sonnymoon for Two" demonstrated how the musicians could play gently on a slow piece and then leave the audience cheering for more on a fast bop number. The song introductions were difficult to hear during Combo II's set, although I did make out "How Deep Is the Ocean," taken at midtempo. On the prior song, a ballad, Hamilton took a lengthy solo that encompassed straightahead jazz, country, rock, and ending in double-time jazz; the stylistic changes held together far better than I could describe them here. This set ended with a blues composed by Snidero, during which Seaton showed his fine ability during an arco solo. Combo III was actually a variant on the One for All group, so the members were able to play from an established band repertoire. Opening with a fast take on Thelonious Monk's "Evidence," they demonstrated cohesiveness throughout their set, with the members all having the opportunity to stretch out. Davis' "I Found You" took the band into bossa nova territory, while Alexander's "Nemesis" was a swinging blues. They closed with a somewhat different arrangement of the Dizzy Gillespie classic "Night in Tunisia."
The following night's combos played at the U of L School of Music's Comstock Auditorium. Between running late and chatting with some fellow Louisville Jazz Society members, I missed most of Combo I. Combo II consisted of Andy LaVerne - piano, Ansyn Banks - trumpet, Gene Walker - tenor, David Friesen - bass, and drummer Steve Davis; Combo III was Steve Allee - piano, Dave Stryker - guitar, Jim Snidero - alto, John Goldsby - bass, trombonist Steve Davis, and Jonathan Higgins - drums. Combo II opened with a fast waltz composed by Wayne Shorter, "United," during which Stryker went from rock-influenced soloing into Wes Montgomery-like chords without breaking a sweat. An uptempo "The More I See You" was next, with Goldsby showing his prowess with a bow during his solo. They closed with a beautiful take on "The Nearness of You" and a rollicking version of "Bittersweet", a "blues with a bridge" by Sam Jones.
Be sure to keep a watch for next summer's series. The charge is nominal for the Masterson's concerts and there is no charge for the concerts at U of L. You would pay top dollar in most clubs to see musicians of such high caliber.
ECLECTICA AT EAR-X-TACY
On Tuesday, July 14, ear X-tacy was the site for a CD release concert by Eclectica, a new band with a serious groove combined with a sense of humor. It is led by Tracy Silverman, who plays an electric six-string violin. He was joined by Louisville favorite Roy 'Futureman' Wooten, who returned to an acoustic drum kit (featuring perhaps the world's smallest bass drum) rather than his 'Drumitar.' Steve Forrest held down the bottom on electric bass, instead of Kyle Whalum who plays on the just released CD Streaming Video Soul, on the fan-funded ArtistShare label. In performance, as on the disc, Eclectica combines elements of funk and fusion with a sense of adventure.
Opening with "Sister Swag" from the CD, the band played for more than an hour. The second piece, whose name I didn't catch (perhaps "Trust What's Inside You"), began as a countrified fiddle tune, but morphed into the Jimi Hendrix blues "Voodoo Child." The title track to the CD was next, with Forrest laying down a hyperfunky solo before Silverman and Futureman joined in on the fun. Following a Stevie Wonder cover, "I Wish," the band reached its peak, in my opinion, with "The Dharma at Big Sur," composed as part of a concerto by John Adams for Silverman. Silverman utilized live looping techniques to recreate the orchestral sound of this "homage to minimalist Terry Riley." They closed with long extrapolations on "Bi-Polar Disorder" (with a Hendrix "Manic Depression"-style riff) and "If You Could Smile Forever." Throughout the concert, Silverman's electric violin playing was virtuosic. Forrest alternated between keeping a groove and getting down and dirty. It was a special treat to see Futureman playing a real drum set again. For more information on this band, go to: www.eclecticatheband.com.
ON THE HORIZON
SELECTED CLUB AND OTHER LISTINGS
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. Bobby Falk is taking August off from his monthly "Night of Jazz" series at the club. The Don Krekel Orchestra performs the second Monday of each month, which falls on August 10. Other jazz bookings were not available as of deadline time, so please contact the club for any post-deadline dates.
The Bobby Falk Group will also be playing on August 12 and 26 at the River Bend Winery; and on August 15 at Derby City Espresso.
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.
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 plays for listeners and dancers every other Wednesday in August, on August 5 and 19. Free dance lessons are given at 7:30 PM, and the bands plays from 8:30 to 11:00.
The West Market Street Stompers continue their weekly gig at Bearno's By The Bridge, 131 W. Main St., on Fridays, from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. An added enticement, per their Newsletter, is a dance floor.
A new club has opened in the basement of the Glassworks, 815 West Market St. Called Jazzyblu, the homepage is www.jazzyblu.com. No telephone was listed. Through August, it will feature Jerry Tolson on Fridays, Neo-Soul by Maestro J or other rotating neo soul artists and The Jazzyblu Triad on Saturdays, and Cubano Africano on Sundays. The link to sign up for the club's e-mail list was not functioning as of deadline time.
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: saxophonist Sonny Fortune on August 14; trumpeter Terence Blanchard August 17; guitarist Bobby Broom on August 21; Steve Allee Big Band on August 22, and Bill Lancton's tribute to Carlos Santana on August 28; and coming up in September is Chuchito Valdes on September 12.
The August schedule for The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, 318 East Eighth St. (513-241-WISP), includes: trumpeter Terence Blanchard on August 15; Delfeayo Marsalis and Jason Marsalis; with Dan Faehnle, Jim Anderson and Jim Connerley on August 21-22; Fareed Haque Flat Earth Ensemble (whose CD Flat Planet was reviewed here in June); and Sachal Vasandani Quartet CD release concert on September 5. Wednesdays remain the province of the Blue Wisp Big Band. For details and the full schedule, the website is: www.thebluewisp.com.
Please sign up for updated local jazz listings: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to his e-mail list.
New Release by Louisville Artist Phillip Lomax Lackey
The Phillip Lomax Lackey Project: The Continuation (Self-Released; available at www.cdbaby.com) Phillip Lomax Lackey's first release, The Documentation, was favorably reviewed here in September 2005. On The Continuation, like his first disc, the music is all composed, performed and produced by Lackey, with the aid of overdubbing. Lackey's primary instrument is a Brice six-string electric bass, and he makes excellent use of its wide range. The nine songs here range in style from funk to fusion to R&B, with the emphasis on fusion. The opening number, "Boy Orpheus in Blackness," hints of influences such as Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten. "What's Buzzin' Cousins" is a showcase for Lackey's bass virtuosity. "Off to Bed You Go" is a curious and intriguing bit of spacey funk, followed by "Song for Dana," which sounds like a hopeful lullaby. The last piece, "Hoja (axmix)" is a fun and funky tune spiced with scratching. Lackey's work deserves a wider audience. For more information on him, go to www.philliplomaxlackey.com.
The Bobby Broom Trio: Plays for Monk (Origin 85234) As noted above, guitarist Bobby Broom will bring his trio to the Jazz Kitchen. Ah, for the days when he would swing through Louisville while in the region. But, as the late jazz guru Phil Bailey used to say, "Ah, but we digress." Broom, together with longtime musical colleagues Dennis Carroll on bass and Kobie Watkins on drums, takes a fresh look at songs penned by or otherwise associated with Monk. The opener, "Ask Me Now," is laidback. Not so on the next tune, "Evidence," which is played to a very urgent beat. The lovely ballad "Ruby, My Dear," is played with graceful restraint. Broom is quoted in the liner notes as saying that he thinks of his group sound as "a convergence of swing and backbeat." This approach is exemplified in "In Walked Bud." The two non-Monk pieces are "Lulu's Back in Town" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." Just as Monk reinvented them for himself, so too does Broom. The other songs reflect his commitment to interpret, not merely play, other material from the Monk canon. In short, this is another winning release from Broom.
Chris Pasin: Detour Ahead (H2O Records H2O-01, available at www.cdbaby and elsewhere) Chris Pasin is a trumpet player and composer who, shortly after recording this album in 1987, took some two decades off from the jazz scene to raise a family. The release of this disc is part of his return to jazz. He is accompanied by an all-star cast: saxophonist Steve Slagle, pianist Benny Green, bassist Rufus Reid, and legendary drummer Dannie Richmond, best known for his long tenure with Charles Mingus. Indeed, many of Pasin's compositions are reminiscent of Mingus' style, such as the opening track, "Lost and Found." The next piece also has a Mingus feel. Entitled "It Doesn't Matter Now," it shifts tempos and allows plenty of blowing room. "Detour Ahead" is a straightforward ballad. "Enigma" utilizes a stop-time rhythm to great effect. Throughout the nine songs, clocking in at just over an hour, there is great playing by all. As Pasin returns to performing, the issuing of this CD should help many to discover a talented musician and writer.
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