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RIP, BEN TUCKER
Bassist Ben Tucker passed away at 82, the victim of a car crash. The bassist was known for his composition "Comin' Home Baby."
RIP, JOHNNY SMITH
Guitarist Johnny Smith passed away at 90, of natural causes. I grew up on the Ventures' version of "Walk, Don't Run," not realizing until recent years that it was originally a jazz piece by Smith.
Appalatin CD Release Show at Headliners
Appalatin has just released its second album, Waterside, and celebrated with a party at Headliners. And party they did, with giveaways of their new disc and other merch, not to mention having some of their musical friends join them onstage. As the band's name implies, Appalatin plays music (mostly original), with roots based in the folk traditions of Appalachia and Latin America. They heated up the room with "Kentucky Soul Fly Free" from the new disc, followed by "A Little Bit of Love" and the title track "Down By the Waterside." Many friends of the band joined for guest spots, including Andrea Davidson. A highlight was the arrangement of the classic "Shady Grove," featuring John Gage, who was acknowledged by the band for his encouragement early on. They closed with their version of "My Old Kentucky Home" and a Brazilian instrumental featuring lots of percussion and chanting. For those not familiar with Appalatin (are there any of you out there?), this band's instrumentation includes acoustic guitars, panpipes, percussion, harmonica, bass and more, woven together in a way that is very danceable and enjoyable.
Bumper Jacksons at Haymarket Whiskey Bar
The Bumper Jacksons' first Louisville appearance, on a lazy Sunday (June 2) at the Haymarket Whiskey Bar, was a delight. The Washington, DC duo of Jess Eliot Myhre (clarinet, washboard, vocals, ukulele, kazoo) and Chris Ousley (guitar, banjo, ukulele, vocals, mouth horn) took the audience on a musical journey to another era. Much of the repertoire was from their new release, their album Big Horn Mama, including Robert Johnson's "Hot Tamales," and "He May Be Your Dog, But He's Wearing My Collar," a 1923 song by Rosa Henderson. "Exactly Like You" featured Myre's warm clarinet alternating with her kazoo. Ousley played and sang a touching tribute to his grandmother, Doc Watson's "Long Journey Home." Most of the concert was more upbeat, though, with a long stretch back in time for "Darktown Strutters Ball," originally recorded back in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Local old time band Trapper Keepers opened, with early string band and mountain music.
Rusted Root at Diamond Pub
The crowd and band were in synch when Rusted Root played the Diamond Pub on June 13. The last time I saw them was at Bellarmine, back in 1996 and I hadn't been keeping up with the band. More's the pity, as their spirited music is unlike that of most bands. There might be a touch of Santana in the percussion, and of vintage Jefferson Airplane in the harmony vocals and lead guitar, but the end result is Rusted Root music. Highlights of the almost two hour concert included "Cat Turned Blue" and the anthemic "Send Me on My Way." One of their songs that made it to local radio back when, "Welcome to My Party" was great fun as well. The band has a new album, The Movement, which includes many of the songs played here, including the fun "Monkey Pants." I didn't see any tapers, but Rusted Root does have a number of concerts available for download at archive.org.
Marbin at the Hideaway Saloon
Chicago-based band Marbin, returned to Louisville on Sunday, June 16 at the Hideaway Saloon. The members are Dani Rabin (guitar), Danny Markovitch (sax), Justyn Lawrence (drums) and Jae Gentile (bass). They opened with the appropriately titled "Bar Stomp," a crunching blues from their second album, Breaking the Cycle. Next up was the funky "Redline," from their most recent release, Last Chapter Of Dreaming; both these albums are on MoonJune Records, a fiercely independent label specializing in fusion and prog (http://moonjune.com). "Loopy" featured sax processed through a harmonizer, for an intriguing sound. "The Depot" was a shredfest for Rabin. They closed the first set with a new piece, "Special Olympics," with an intro that sounded like updated Santo and Johnny, before turning the corner into heavy riffing and furious playing. This band tours some 300 nights a year, and they are great fun. It's a shame that they are not yet more widely known, as there are not that many bands playing with this energetic blend of funk and fusion.
Don Krekel Orchestra at The Comedy Caravan
This was the first time in ages that I have seen the Don Krekel Orchestra, a 17-piece big band. The Comedy Caravan was packed, for a send-off concert featuring trumpet and flugelhorn player Charlie Niehoff, who is relocating to Nevada with his wife. Krekel says of Niehoff: "Charlie has left a giant music footprint in the Louisville area. He was/has for many years been a regular member or first call sub for many musical groups in this area including The Ovation Orchestra, The Crusade For Children Orchestra, The Roger Dane Big Band, The West Market Street Stompers, The Rascals Of Ragtyme, The Don Krekel Orchestra, The Wednesday Night Band and The Masterpiece Brass Quintet." The band opened with "Time After Time," followed by a short, fun arrangement of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Barbara Polk sang a medley of "Some of these Days" and "After You've Gone," with lyric alterations in honor of Niehoff. "My Foolish Heart" featured Niehoff's burnished flügelhorn. Guest June Kelly-Roy joined Polk for an entertaining version of the warhorse "Why Don't You Do Right." The final song of the first set, "Outback Blues," gave almost all the musicians the opportunity to shine with solo spots.
After a brief intermission, the classic sound of Count Basie was featured on "And That's That," followed by "Stardust." Saxophonist Miles Davis took over singing duties for "The Tender Trap" and "Embraceable You." Regrettably, after just a few more songs, the power went off, and the second set was cut short. One of the things which impressed me about the performance was how the big band did not overwhelm the relatively small space. Krekel told me that, in part, this was due to the acoustics of the room, and also due too the dynamics he employs in leading the band. Bon voyage, Mr. And Mrs. Niehoff, and thanks to the Don Krekel Orchestra for a most entertaining evening.
ON THE HORIZON
2013 Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops at the University of Louisville
Classes with top jazz artists, hanging with like-minded fellow students, Jamey Aebersold does it again. And for all of us, not just the students, there are nightly concerts featuring some of the top jazz players in the country, for FREE! June 30-July 5, and July 7-12. More info at http://workshops.jazzbooks.com. Just a few of the well-known guest faculty members (subject to change) include bassists Rufus Reid, Lynn Seaton, David Friesen; drummer Ed Soph; guitarists Dave Stryker and Corey Christiansen (whose new Origin album, Lone Prairie, is a delight); pianists Steve Allee, Phil DeGreg, Andy LaVerne, David Hazeltine; saxophonists Eric Alexander, Jim Snidero; and far too many more musicians.
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 July 15. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.
The Nachbar (969 Charles Street, 502-637-4377, www.myspace.com/thenachbar)
features "Nachbar Jazz" on Wednesdays, with Jacob Duncan and, for the summer, Mike Hyman or Jonathan Higgins on drums, and Sonny Stephens or Chris Fitzgerald on bass. Jason Tiemann and other special guests will play Nachbar during Aebersold Jazz Camp (see above). Also during the summer, Squeeze-bot plays Sundays from 8 to 11 PM. 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 the Corey Christiansen's record release party on July 5; Bobby Broom Trio on July 13; and the Fareed Haque/Tony Monaco Trio on July 20.
The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, is now at 700 Race St. (513-241-WISP). Wednesdays remain the province of The Blue Wisp Big Band. July is packed with mostly local and regional talent. 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.
Standards Trio:" Somewhere (ECM-2200, www.ecmrecords.com)
Recorded in 2009 in Lucerne, Switzerland, this album is further proof, not that proof is necessary at this point, of the mastery of Keith Jarrett's ongoing collaboration with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. This concert is noteworthy for the obvious joy shared by the musicians with each other and with the audience. It's also significant for the improvised medleys of Jarrett originals and classic tunes. Opening with his "Deep Space," the trio moves into Miles Davis' "Solar" with such subtlety that it comes almost as a shock. Similarly, the lengthy rendition of the title track, from West Side Story, begins with delicacy, including a feature for bassist Peacock, before picking up steam and becoming "Everywhere" over the course of almost 20 minutes. "Tonight" is straightahead, with heart, closing with DeJohnette's sophisticated solo. It's hard to imagine a better piano trio than this, at the peak of its powers.
Rock Candy Funk Party
We Want Groove (J&R Adventures, www.rockcandyfunkparty.com)
Tal Bergman (drums, producer), Joe Bonamassa and Ron DeJesus (guitars), Mike Merritt (bass) and Renato Neto (keys) let loose in the studio for a fun session of instrumental funk with a rock edge. The cover is a shout out to Miles Davis' We Want Miles, and it's easy to hear why. The pace slows only for "The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life" and the subtle closing number, "New York Song." Otherwise, this is jazz to get up and dance to. The package includes a DVD with "making of' and other bonus features.
The White House Sessions, Live 1962 (RPM/Columbia/Legacy, www.legacyrecordings.com)
The title says it all, really: Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck, at the White House. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" had recently been released, and "Take Five" had been an unexpected hit in 1961. Brubeck's classic quartet, with Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright and Joe Morello, performs first, with a blazingly fast rendition of its signature piece, followed by three Brubeck originals, for a topnotch 36-minute set. Bennett's group, featuring pianist Ralph Sharon set, then takes a shorter turn with "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" being a highlight, before "San Francisco." Then comes the true magic, an unrehearsed 10-minute finale with Bennett "replacing" Desmond with Brubeck's group. It's hard to tell who is having a better time, the performers or the college students who made up the audience.
Toussaintville (Zoho Roots ZM 201306, www.zohomusic.com)
This is such a good idea that, in retrospect, I wonder why it hasn't happened before. Take a 13-piece band with a seriously stocked horn section and record a tribute to the great New Orleans singer-songwriter-producer Allen Toussaint. Bandleader and bassist Dave Post explains that it's to celebrate Toussaint's 75th birthday (this past January). Virtually all of Toussaint's best known pieces are here, from the happy, funky opener "Night People" to the mellow "Southern Nights" and "What Do You Want the Girl To Do?" Queen Esther sings Irma Thomas' classic "Ruler of My Heart" with soulful conviction. This is a New York area band, and the horn charts are written with more of a classic big band feel, as opposed to recreating the indigenous style of New Orleans horns, which turns the album into something more than just an imitation of the originals. If there's ever a volume 2, I vote for "Freedom for the Stallion," "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)" and "Shoo-Ra."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, email@example.com, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, guitarist Jeff Sherman;
RON JONES: www.ronjonesquartet.com, email@example.com, saxophonist Ron Jones;
STEVE CREWS: www.jazzcrews.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, pianist Steve Crews.
1) I am always interested in your comments. Contact me at email@example.com.