Well, the Super Bowl is (here/over), (fill in the blank) won (in a blowout/just barely), and you're wondering how to spend those long winter nights before the bluebird of spring arrives on your doorstep announcing that it's safe to emerge from your hibernation. Gee, around here that could not come until April. If you wait that long, you'll miss out on some incredible music this month. In its ninth year, the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program's Jazz Week at the University of Louisville's music school offers an opportunity to hear some of the world's finest Jazz musicians at quite reasonable rates.
We begin our musical journey on Monday the 18th with the incomparable Elvin Jones and his Jazz Machine. Jones, known chiefly for his work as drummer with John Coltrane from 1960-1965, has been on the scene since the early `50s, working with the likes of Miles Davis, Bud Powell and Sonny Rollins before joining Coltrane. In his 70s, he remains innovative and stretches the boundaries of bop and the avant-garde. As of press time, I had not heard who he was bringing with him but suffice it to say that if Jones brings them, they will be up to the task. Is should be an exciting evening of music.
On Tuesday the 19th, Pianist Renato Vasconcellos and his trio perform. Vansconsellos studied in U of L's jazz studies program and has lent a fresh Brazilian flavor to the music there. Also appearing on that Tuesday will be the Fabulous Leopard Percussionists from Martin Luther King Elementary School. This combination promises to be one that you'll be talking about for some time. These kids came out with a CD last year that will surprise and amaze you.
Hal Miller has not been around in a couple of years and has been missed. Hal brings videos of jazz musicians taken from film, kinescope and video tape that give you a glimpse into the world of jazz that you would never have seen otherwise. His vast collection and his insightful commentary make for an entertaining and educational time. This is the only event not held in Comstock Concert Hall at U of L. Instead, Hal will be presented in the newly rebuilt Rauch Planetarium.
On Thursday the 21st, vocalist and bassist Kristin Korb joins the U of L Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble II in concert. This Montana native, who now heads the Jazz Studies program at Central Washington University, made her Telarc records debut in 1996 with the help of the Ray Brown Trio. Her new album, Where You'll Find Me, has just come out.
We enter the weekend with the help of saxophonist Jimmy Heath, who will be joined by U of L's Jazz Ensemble I and members of the U of L jazz faculty. In the past 50 years, Heath has performed with some of the greatest names in Jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Howard McGee, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and, of course, his brothers Percy and Tootie. Many of his compositions have become standards and have been recorded by some of the most well-known names in Jazz.
Wrapping up the week, we hear from trumpeter Lew Soloff with Jazz Ensemble I and members of the U of L jazz faculty. Soloff's history with large ensembles makes him particularly suited to come for Jazz Week. Following his study at the Julliard, he continued his education on the road with Maynard Ferguson, Joe Henderson and Clark Terry before joining Blood, Sweat and Tears in 1968. After that, he worked with Gil Evans for a number of years.
It's a strong lineup this year, and it will be well worth your time to attend. All the shows except the videos from Hal Miller will be at Comstock Concert Hall at the U of L School of Music at 8 p.m. Tickets are available from the school of music office at 502-852-6907. A package of $65 gets you a discount on the entire series. For more information, check out http://www.louisville.edu/music/jazz/.
Don't think that this is the only musical offering for the month! On the 14th, it's the First Annual Valentine's Day Jazz Festival featuring the Jerry Tolson Quintet, the Ron Hayden Group and the Ron Jones Quartet. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at Louisville Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available at the auditorium, 584-4911.
There's a lot going on these days, but I need your help to report it. If you have information that you feel needs to get out, let me know by emailing me at email@example.com.
And, by the way... get out and hear some live music, will ya!
Sometimes you feel the need for some ribs. Not just any ribs, but some greasy ones, thick on the bone and dripping with barbecue sauce. Add to that a side of baked beans, some cole slaw and maybe some good homemade biscuits with lots of butter. I feel that need often, but my doctor would kill me if the ribs didn't. Fortunately, I can still get the feel of those tender tidbits with Reuben Wilson's new CD, Organ Blues (Jazzateria Records). With help from guitarist Grant Green Jr, Bernard Purdie on drums and Melvin Butler providing some soulful tenor saxophone, Wilson on Hammond B3 gives just enough groove to put the meat on the ribs while letting the rest of the band speak out and lend their own spices to the sauce. We whet our appetite with a nod to the great Jack McDuff, ease through the first course with some classic Percy Mayfield, eventually come to the main course from Jimmy Smith and finish our dessert course with James Cox's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." Is it a classic? No. But then, we can't always eat Filet Mignon. Sometimes we need a little grease in our diet. But don't tell my doctor.