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PRELUDE I : BRIGHT MOMENTS
Do you ever go through phases where you just can't hear enough of a particular artist? Thanks to some good deals on some out-of-print boxes by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, I have been discovering some of his music which I had not previously heard, and renewing my acquaintance with the CD issues of some LPS I hadn't heard in ages. It took me a while, when I was first getting into jazz in the late '60s and early '70s, to appreciate what he was doing. I had him pegged - he was progressive, doing a Coltrane medley. No, he was "old-fashioned," playing out-dated New Orleans trad jazz and accompanying Al Hibbler in a bunch of stuffy Duke Ellington tunes. It may have taken me until 1973, with the release of his 2-LP (now 2-CD) live album, Bright Moments , to appreciate that he saw it all as a continuum, and that I should too. I was fortunate to see him live 2 or 3 times, but most memorably at a long defunct club in Lexington, after his stroke. With one side of his body paralyzed, playing saxophones and other instruments one-handedly, he played brilliantly and with great heart and soul. As he rapped on the album, "Bright Moments is like hearing some music that ain't nobody else heard, and if they heard it they wouldn't even recognize that they heard it because they been hearing it all their life but they nutted on it, so when you hear it and you start popping your feet and jumping up and down they get mad because you're enjoying yourself but those are bright moments that they can't share with you because they don't know even how to go about listening to what you're listening to and when you try to tell them about it they don't know a damn thing about what you're talking about!" Bright moments, y'all.
PRELUDE II : NOT SO BRIGHT MOMENTS
The tiny audiences for Jane Bunnett with NEA Jazz Master, 91-year old Candido Camera and Hilario Durán, and the jazz concert for MERF (Musician's Emergency Resource Foundation). As dey say in N'awlins, where was you at?
LIBERATION PROPHECY SEEKS YOUR ASSISTANCE
The progressive Louisville-based jazz ensemble Liberation Prophecy, headed up by saxophonist and composer Jacob Duncan, is back after a hiatus. The band seeks help to release its forthcoming album, Invisible House , via kickstarter. Music videos and performance clips are available at www.liberationprophecy.com. The site for contributing to the project is www.kickstarter.com/projects/1595225731/liberation-prophecy-world-domination?ref=email.
Jane Bunnett at the Clifton Center
I took a close friend, whose taste runs more to rock and blues, to see Jane Bunnett and he was thoroughly delighted. Although I comment above that the audience was somewhat sparse, he made the point that the same crowd in the Jazz Factory, where she had played on two occasions, would have been a full house. Bunnett is a Canadian saxophonist and flutist who has immersed herself in the music of Cuba. Indeed, her latest release is the title of her recently completed "Cuban Rhapsody" tour, which featured her longstanding pianist Hilario Durán and special guest Candido Camero, one of the earliest Cuban musicians to bring the rhythms of his native land to the American jazz scene beginning some 60 years ago (he is now 91). The focus on the CD (with just Bunnett and Duran) is on the popular music of Cuba from the 1920s and 1930s, and in concert the two of them opened with a sprightly version of "Son de la Loma" from the disc. After two more pieces by the duo, with Bunnett alternating on curved soprano sax and flute, Candido was called to the stage. Walking with an ornate cane and aided by an assistant, he began "Lágrimas Negras (Black Tears)" with a steady pattern which gradually grew more intricate. Bunnett set Candido loose in "Conga Jam," which included quotes from "Mambo," "Manteca" and more. Two more pieces from the latest CD followed, "Danza Lucumi" and "Almendra (Almonds)," with Bunnett referencing "Oye Como Va" during her flute solo. After a 70-minute set, the band took a long intermission, while Bunnett graciously spoke to fans and autographed CDS. A highlight of the second set was the group's Latin arrangement of Mary Lou Williams' "Rosa Mae," which they had performed at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. Another was the Santeria chant "Osain," for the Mother Nature Saint. Throughout both sets, the warmth and communication among the artists was palpable, and moved the audience. After the concert, Bunnett expressed hope that she might return to Louisville, and I echo that.
MERF Benefit with JAZZ at the Rudyard Kipling
MERF stands for Musician's Emergency Resource Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping working musicians who encounter unexpected problems, which may range from medical issues to instrument repair. More information about this worthy organization is online at http://www.merfbenefit.org. MERF has hosted benefits for years at venues around town, most recently a night of jazz at Diamonds Pub, the former Jillian's site. A mere $7.00 donation brought the attendees into a five hour extravaganza, on Sunday, November 18. The featured artists, all of whom donated their time, were Jeff Sherman, Walker & Kays , Pete Peterson with Tim Whalen ; Fred Bogert with Larry Abrams; and Harry Pickens, who let out his inner funkateer in a set played on electric piano and accompanied by Bogert on bass (who had previously played piano and sang), and Paul Culligan on drums (from Peterson's lineup), in an impromptu trio performance. Some family concerns had me in and out during the evening, so pardon me if I am a bit sketchy. Sherman's classic jazz guitar stylings were enhanced by the always reliable Tyrone Wheeler on bass and Bruce Morrow on drums. Greg Walker and Jeanette Kays were joined for the first part of their set by bassist Sonny Stephens, who had to leave due to other commitments. Their vocal harmonies were well suited to pieces such as "Centerpiece" and "Cheek to Cheek." Peterson and Whalen took things a bit farther out, and folks I knew said they were excellent, but regrettably I was out during their portion of the concert. Bogert's set was fun and jaunty, with original tunes in an older style such as "OCD." Pickens told the audience how playing the electric piano brought flashbacks, recalling when he was 14 and would stay up to all hours of the night practicing with headphones. Opening with "Some Day My Prince Will Come," followed by "Autumn Leaves," before taking off with Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," using the different textures and sonorities of the keyboard rather than trying to copy the sound of an acoustic piano. "St. Louis Blues," followed by a solo Gospel song, led to the energetic Hancock classic "Chameleon." As one who was asked by the MERF Board to help with the planning of the evening, I want to commend the members who made it all happen, all for the sake of assisting our fine local musicians.
ON THE HORIZON
LOUISVILLE JAZZ SOCIETY ANNUAL MEETING + FREE JAMEY AEBERSOLD CONCERT
The Louisville Jazz Society is pleased to announce that its Annual Open Member Meeting will be held at the Rudyard Kipling on Sunday, December 2. It will include a FREE concert by the Jamey Aebersold Quartet. Members, and those interested in joining, please arrive by 5:30 PM to participate in the election of officers at the annual General Membership meeting, voice your ideas for what you would like LJS to sponsor and support in the coming year, and pick up your personal Membership Cards so you can receive discounts at concerts and shops around Louisville. Doors open at 5, meeting at 5:30, concert at 6:30.
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND AT THE BROWN THEATRE
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB) is celebrating its 59th anniversary this year. Part of the celebration includes the release of a retrospective box set, The 50th Anniversary Collection (Sony Legacy) and St. Peter & 57th St. (Rounder Records), recorded live at Carnegie Hall on January 7, 2012. The box set does not proceed in chronological order, so it is fun to try to guess which pieces go back to the early days, and which are more recent (although the King Britt remix of "St. James Infirmary" and the Del McCoury band's appearance on "I'll Fly Away" and "A Good Gal Is Hard To Find" definitely sound more contemporary). Ben Jaffe, son of the founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe, is Creative Director and tuba player for the PHJB, and contributed memories and notes to the lengthy booklet. The live set gives a good sense of how traditional New Orleans jazz continues to grow and accept influences while remaining true to the spirit of the pioneers. When the PHJB comes to Louisville, for a performance at the Brown, on Saturday, December 8, they will be joined by Trey McIntyre Project, a modern dance troupe with which the musicians have previously collaborated. More information can be found at http://www.kentuckycenter.org/Kentucky-Center/12-13/Trey-McIntyre-Project--The-Preservation-Hall-Jazz-Band/9584#tab-show-information-link.
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. The Don Krekel Orchestra has been performing the third Monday of each month, and is scheduled for December 17. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.
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 - not sure if this is still right, hard to find updated information, if any of you know how to get better info, drop me a line, please; check the club for updates or changes. The club also has a Facebook page with occasional updates.
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. A road trip might be advised for Pharez Whitted with Bobby Broom , December 14.
The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, is now at 700 Race St. (513-241-WISP). Israeli-American guitarist Dani Rabin and Israeli saxophonist Danny Markovitch form the basis of the adventurous Marbin , a MoonJune label ensemble; they perform on December 1. The rest of the month features local and regional talent. 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 provides weekly e-mail updates for local jazz happenings. Be sure to sign up for the e-mail "Louisville Jazz Society's Jazz Insider" at www.louisvillejazz.org. 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 print and online, www.louisvillemusicnews.net.
Gary Burton Quartet:
In Concert (FiveFour, www.cherryred.co.uk)
For virtually as long as I have been writing about music on a regular basis (a decade, now), I have been pestering the publicists from Sony/Legacy, and commenting on the Amazon listing, that this album was long overdue for being issued on CD. No more complaints, pestering, or disappointment-tinged comments, because the British reissue label, Cherry Red, through its FiveFour subsidiary, has finally licensed this groundbreaking record and made it available. This was among the first jazz records I ever bought, back in the summer of '68, and to hear it on CD is like seeing an old friend after years of separation. Vibraphonist Burton's quartet consisted of Larry Coryell on guitar, Steve Swallow on acoustic bass, and Bob Moses on drums. Before Miles Davis began issuing fusion, or jazz-rock albums, this quartet was making use of rock-influenced guitar, covering then-contemporary rock music (a lovely rendition of Dylan's "I Want You"), and breaking boundaries. My vinyl copy was misfiled when my basement was flooded, but if I recall correctly, it was not as long as this 51-minute disc. Although Burton has never been a prolific composer, this concert includes 3 originals (including an improvised-on-the-spot solo, "Dreams"), a co-write with Coryell (the edgy and intense "One, Two, 1-2-3-4"), plus Coryell's "Lines" (a gentle duet for Burton and Coryell) and "Blue Comedy," by Michael Gibbs a composer whose works Burton has interpreted many times. Burton's "Walter L." is fueled by Coryell's very electric guitar, full of sustains and controlled feedback. Coryell's more straightahead side is demonstrated on his "Wrong Is Right." It should be noted that the engineering and remastering is excellent, bringing the musicians from Carnegie Hall into the listener's living room.
Kudos to FiveFour and Cherry Red for not only this long overdue reissue, but also for releases of two short albums by Luiz Bonfá on one CD, Introspection and The New Face of Bonfá , and the 2-LP-on1-CD Chappaqua Suite by Ornette Coleman . Introspection features the captivating solo guitar of Bonfá, while New Face finds him, in my opinion, drowned in overproduction. Coleman's 1965 Chappaqua Suite was issued briefly in 1965, in conjunction with the Conrad Rooks film of the same name. It features Coleman's trio with bassist David Izenzon and drummer Charles Moffett , augmented by an orchestra and supplemented with Pharoah Sanders' sax work. This is challenging and adventurous music, as expected from Coleman.
I hope that the next Columbia/RCA LPS to be reissued will include Jeremy Steig's Flute Fever , a delightful debut from this influential player, and which included Denny Zeitlin on piano; as well as Burton's Duster and Country Roads ..
David Gilmore: Numerology
Live at Jazz Standard (Evolutionary Music EVMU001, www.evolutionarymusic.com)
First, let's be clear - this is the jazz guitarist David Gilmore, not the Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. Gilmore came to the attention of many almost 30 years ago with his work in the avant-funk collective, M-Base. This new recording features a truly all-star lineup, namely Claudia Acuña – voice; Miguel Zenón – alto sax; Luis Perdomo – piano; Christian McBride – bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts – drums; and Mino Cinelu – percussion. This is conceived as a suite in two movements, based on numerology concepts. The first movement consists of four pieces which flow into one another for some 28 minutes; the second, three pieces at almost a 1/2-hour. Gilmore credits the Chamber Music America/Doris Duke New Works: Creation and Presentation Program for assistance in realizing this work. Indeed, the music is smart and innovative, and it is sometimes difficult to determine what is improvised and what through-composed. Gilmore's lines dance and interlock with those of Zenón, with McBride, Watts and Cinelu thundering underneath, while Perdomo's solo stretches add color and more straightforward melodicism. That it was recorded live, not in the studio with opportunities for makeovers, makes this release even more amazing.
Saltash Bells (ECM 2266, www.ecmrecords.com)
One used to be able to refer to British musician John Surman as a jazz saxophonist; he now incorporates a wide variety of instruments into his recordings, and would no doubt fell hemmed in by referring to his work as jazz. This newest release is an evocative soundscape, recalling his youth in Devon, in the southwest of England. He uses synthesizer loops, three different saxophones, three different clarinets, plus harmonica to shimmering effect. There are times when the music seems to reference the influential work of Terry Riley, while at other times Surman's blend of sounds calls to mind (as he intended) foggy seascapes. This a an album to savor in quiet moments.
LOCAL JAZZ CONTACTS
With two fourteen-year-olds, it's hard to get out as much as I would like to hear music. As a result, picking and choosing which performances to catch sometimes require that I postpone seeing some of the local musicians and singers in order to not miss the one-night-stands from out-of-town artists. Invariably, I feel guilty, so in an effort to assuage my guilt and, more positively, to provide more exposure to our community of great local jazz performers, I am initiating this feature containing website and e-mail contact information. I am only including those artists who have given their permission to me; some have indicated a preference for website listing only; others have only e-mail addresses. If you wish to be included, drop a line to me with your permission and preferences, at email@example.com. I reserve the right to edit and to exclude those whose connection to jazz is, in my opinion, tenuous; and this feature may end up online if it begins to take up too much space in print.
MIKE TRACY: www.michaeltracy.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, saxophonist and teacher Mike Tracy
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE JAZZ PROGRAM: www.jazz.louisville.edu
BOBBY FALK: www.myspace.com/bobbyfalk, drummer and composer Bobby Falk;
WALKER & KAYS: www.walkerandkays.com, singer Jeanette Kays and guitarist Greg Walker;
JENNIFER LAULETTA: www.jenniferlauletta.com, singer Jennifer Lauletta;
JEFF SHERMAN: email@example.com, guitarist Jeff Sherman;
RON JONES: www.ronjonesquartet.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, saxophonist Ron Jones;
STEVE CREWS: www.jazzcrews.com, email@example.com, pianist Steve Crews.
1) I am always interested in your comments. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.