Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

="normalfirst">PRELUDE

="normal">Although a January column usually requires an obligatory look back at the year just passed and ahead to the new one, all I can say is that there used to be jazz on the radio here from noon to three Monday through Friday and again from nine in the evening to one in the morning through the week; and there were always the special New Year's Eve live-by-satellite jazz broadcasts, the Playboy Jazz festival broadcasts and other such specials. While in Indianapolis last Labor Day weekend, the radio was playing an all-star Latin jazz ensemble from the Playboy Fest and my mood swung from joy upon hearing it to sadness at the fact that I could not do so back in my hometown. Other than that, the Jazz Factory, the Seelbach and the Kentucky Center, as well as many other venues, continue to prove that jazz is viable locally. Draw your own conclusions.

="normal">RECENT CONCERTS

="normal">Don Braden at the Jazz Factory

="normal">Saxophonist Don Braden has been making annual Thanksgiving trips to his hometown for several years, now and in addition to hooking up with family and friends, he has been a featured artist at the Jazz Factory. On Saturday, November 26, at a sold-out show, he was backed by Indianapolis' Steve Allee on piano and Frank Smith on bass, with our own Jonathan Higgins on drums. Braden was just back that night from a European tour in which he had played with the Monk Legacy Band (featuring drummer Ben Riley) in Italy the night before. If there was any jet lag, the audience certainly wouldn't have known, as he opened with a solo on the standard "I Thought About You," that was long, strong and warm. He moved into another jazz anthem, "Invitation," before slowing the pace to play his mother's favorite song, "Misty." If you thought you had heard this Erroll Garner song one time too many before, you would have been mistaken, as Braden's intro was far enough afield of the theme as to lend dramatic tension to this chestnut when he finally did state the melody; midway through his next solo, his playing elicited a spontaneous round of applause. Staying with dedications to his family, he next played "The Closer I Get to You" for his wife. The Walt Disney showpiece given jazz cred by Miles Davis, "Some Day My Prince Will Come," was next and Braden and his musicians showed great dexterity in changing the tempo of the song from slow to medium and back again. The set closer was "Without a Song," which I took as a bold move in light of the fact that this is also the title song to the recent live recording by Sonny Rollins; needless to say, Braden did the song justice; in fact, it appears on his own recent release The New Hang. The second set also consisted of popular and jazz standards, including "There Is No Greater Love," "Alone Together," "The Nearness of you," an untitled midtempo blues and Thelonious Monk's "I Mean You," played with verve and intensity.

="normal">Braden's most recent recording is The New Hang (HighNote HCD 7117), featuring Kyle Koehler on organ, Cecil Brooks III on drums and trombonist Conrad Herwig on all but three of the ten songs. Beginning with a strutting and bluesy "Through the Fire," Braden maintains a varied pace, with ballads, originals and standards; particularly evocative is the saxophone/organ duo on "When I Fall In Love," dedicated to Braden's wife. This CD sounds like it was lots of fun to make, as it mixes the traditional organ groove with a more contemporary outlook. Braden is a longstanding faculty member of Jamey Aebersold's Summer Jazz Camps here in Louisville, as is Herwig and the unusual combination of instruments works well throughout this recording. Braden mentioned that a new live recording would be out soon, Live at Cecil's Jazz Club, which I was able to confirm in a conversation with HighNote president Joe Fields. Look for a discussion of this release here as soon as it is available.

="normal">The Derek Trucks Band at Headliners

="normal">The Derek Trucks Band (DTB) returned to Louisville on Friday, December 2 for a performance at Headliners. The DTB, fresh from a European tour, is back on the road to promote a forthcoming studio album (its first in four years), Songlines, scheduled to be released February 7, 2006 on Columbia. The repertoire ranges from traditional blues such as "Crow Jane" to Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Volunteered Slavery" to a new version of "Maki Madni" coupled with "Sahib Teri Bandi," which most closely emulates the sound and feel of the DTB in concert, stretching to almost ten minutes of Eastern-inspired jazz. During a telephone interview, Trucks said that this new CD represents a new peak for the band, "one of the largest steps the band has taken." When asked why he felt this way, Trucks commented that "while you're doing it, it goes smoother . . . there are new ideas, sonic ideas . . . which [together] create a picture of what the band does." In this regard, he also mentioned that it is the first release to feature Mike Mattison as a full-fledged member of the band. The DTB played a "Live Lunch" for WFPK-FM (91.9) before their evening show at Headliners. My friend and I, wary of killing time breathing massive quantities of second-hand smoke, were unpleasantly surprised to find that the show had actually started on time and so we missed the first twenty minutes or so. What we caught after that more than made up for our late arrival, however, as the band tore into the remaining pieces in the first set with fire and enthusiasm.

="normal">The second set opened with a "Louisville Soul Stew," and included, among other songs, the Hawaiian-sounding "Sailing On" which morphed into a John Coltrane-inspired version of "Greensleeves" which stoked the crowd. Kofi Burbridge's flute solo was particularly noteworthy. The Big Bill Broonzy blues classic, "Key to the Highway," also elicited great crowd response halfway through Trucks' solo. "Blind Crippled and Crazy" led into the "Maki Madni/Sahib Teri Bandi" medley. As if this weren't enough, Aretha Franklin's "Spirit in the Dark" took the crowd to church and back again. As an encore, a Meters-like song, "Wolfman Swing" [?] put a grin on everyone's face. Trucks is a formidable guitarist who can coax Eastern-influenced lines from his guitar, play jazz tunes with the best of 'em and penetrate to the heart of the blues with searing intensity. He has gone far in his career at a young age and seems to have not only the chops, but the common sense and modesty to see him through the long haul. Keep your eye on him.

="normal">Windham Hill Winter Solstice Concert

="normal">The Windham Hill Winter Solstice Concert, a Lonesome Pie Special performance at the Kentucky Center on Friday, December 16, featured the duos of Tuck and Patti and Darol Anger and Mike Marshall. Violinist Darol Anger granted a telephone interview fresh from a rehearsal with mandolinist/guitarist Mike Marshall, in which he discussed not only the tour, but his duo work with Marshall and the connections between the various styles of music which he plays, including bluegrass, jazz and European classical. In a vein similar to that espoused in my interview with Mark O'Connor (Louisville Music News, November 2005), Anger remarked on how "American music . . . keeps transforming itself." He commented on how his music, by utilizing both bluegrass and jazz elements, combined European harmony with African rhythm. He also spoke of how his duo recordings and performances with Marshall are a challenge and how he figures out how to play drum and guitar parts on his fiddle in order "to make two people sound like a symphony orchestra." The most recent Anger Marshall recording, The Duo Live/ At Home and on the Range (Compass 74332) demonstrates their abilities to mix genres on a refreshing and intelligent way.

="normal">The concert began with all four artists on stage for "Go Tell It On The Mountain." The Anger/Marshall Duo then took off on a long improvisation on what they back-announced as a "Christmas Fiddle Tune," which seemed the height of understatement after the dazzling display of chops. Next was a Brazilian "choro," which at times evoked the Hot Club of France, while at other times reflecting the sensuous nature of its country of origin. "Gloria in Excelsius Deo" was next, with Marshall picking up his guitar. The next song, "Borealis," was at times reminiscent of Jorma Kaukonen's "Embryonic Journey." Andress turned the duo into a trio for "Piacenza," named for a city in Italy extolled by Anger for its pasta. Andress' liquid lines on hollow body electric guitar complemented Marshall's work on acoustic guitar and Anger's on violin. Cathcart rejoined husband Andress and Anger and Marshall for her original "Wild Flower," which she said was inspired by her thoughts about the hearts of women. It was back to a duo format then, as Tuck and Patti performed "Love Flows Like a River." "I Got a Real Love" featured soulful scatting by Cathcart. She turned into a human beatbox for the beginning and end of the next piece, which also showed off her amazing scatting. Andress then took Carlos Santana's beautiful "Europa" to new places, at times turning the ballad into a flamenco showpiece, at other times weaving long and delicate notes through the fabric of the melody. Tapping, strumming and fingerpicking were all utilized in service to the song. The remainder of the evening was a "reunion" of all the performers in quartet format.

ON THE HORIZON

The lineup for January for The Jazz Factory, (815 W. Market St. in The Glassworks, 502-992-3242) follows; more information may be found at the website: www.jazzfactory.us. The club will feature: Tuesday, January 3: Off Ramp from Bloomington, Indiana; Wednesday, January 4: Jazz and The Spoken Word; Thursday, January 5: The Mike Tracy Quartet; Friday and Saturday, January 6-7: Through the Nothing with trumpeter Matt Lawson and others; Tuesday, January 10: Kwyjibo, an electric jazz ensemble from Bloomington; Wednesday, January 11: The Rob Allgeyer Trio From Cincinnati (Allgeyer was hot in support of David "Fathead" Newman recently); Thursday, January 12: Walker and Kays; Friday and Saturday, January 13-14: FattLab, a dynamic local fusion band; Thursday, January 19: Bennett Higgins Quartet; Friday and Saturday January 20-21: Jamey Aebersold and John Goldsby; Tuesday, January 24: The Monika Herzig Quartet from Bloomington (she was part of Beeblebrox for years, and may still be for all I know); Wednesday, January 25: Jam Session; Thursday, January 26: The Outer Orchestra; Friday and Saturday, January 27-28: Todd Hildreth Trio. The Jazz factory has also planned the following major shows: The Jim Snidero Quartet with Phil DeGregg on February 4; The Louisville Jazz Society and The Jazz Factory together will present The John LaBarbera Big Band with Wayne Bergeron and Pat and Joe LaBarbera (their latest CD, Fantazm, was reviewed here last mnonth, and this is a don’t miss show) on either February 3 or 10; legendary singer Little Jimmy Scott on February 17; the return of the phenomenal Larry Coryell Trio with Paul Egan and Paul Wertico on February 25; Mardi Gras Celebration with The West Market Street Stompers on March 3-4; the return of Chicagoan Ryan Cohan on April 14-15; Kenny Werner (date in Spring TBA); the rerturn of the delightful Lynne Arriale Trio on April 28; funky drummer Jim Payne on May 19, and the always amazing Dave Liebman Quartet on June 23-24

The Seelbach Jazz Bar, (500 S. Fourth Street, 502-585-3200), features Dick Sisto, who always provides excellent mainstream jazz, frequently with guest artists joining his trio (with bassist Tyrone Walker and drummer Jason Tiemann). Featured guests during January will be announced later.

The Jazz Kitchen (5377 N College Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46220; phone: 317-253-4900; www.thejazzkitchen.com), in addition to good local and regional talent, has announced the following: the Terence Blanchard Sextet - January 21; Tony Monaco Trio - February 3 & 4; The Bad Plus - February 6; the Bobby Shew Quartet - February 20; Larry Coryell with Paul Wertico & Mark Egan - February 27; Danilo Perez Trio - March 17; Pat Martino Trio - March 29; Steve Smith & Vital Information - April 3; and the Fareed Haque Group - April 15

In Cincinnati, “Jazz at the Hyatt,” at the Hyatt Hotel Sungarden Room, presents “The Four Tenors:” Billy Harper, Bennie Maupin, Eddie Bayard, and Bruce Menefield on Friday January 6, 2006, plus good local and regional jazz the other Fridays in January. Larry Coryell appears on February 24, the night before his performance here in Louisville. Full details are available at www.jazzincincy.com.

Back here in Louisville, the jamband moe. will appear at Jillian’s, 630 Barrett Avenue (589-9090) on January 26; while not a jazz band this group is a highly talented ensemble of improvisational musicians.<

As I have before, I urge you to subscribe to sign up for “Jennifer's Jazz E-News,” by e-mailing Jenjenjazz@louisvillejazz.org. There are so many opportunities to hear live jazz that it is both impossible for me to try to provide a complete listing here, and it would be duplicative in any event. Also, Louisville Music News’ monthly music listings are carrying more jazz events than ever, in both the print and online editions (www.louisvillemusicnews.net).

CODA

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