Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Please note the expanded club and gig listings below and support our great Louisville talent.

RIP, Freddie Hubbard

By the time you read this, you will probably already be aware that trumpet great Freddie Hubbard passed away at the end of December, at the age of 70. His recordings under his own name and with a panoply of jazz legends, ranged from hard bop to modal to free jazz and beyond. In addition to his prowess as a musician, many younger jazz players who performed with him attested to his skills as a bandleader who expected the most from his protégés.

RIP, David "Fathead" Newman

Just before submitting this month's column, I received the sad news that David "Fathead" Newman succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, January 20, at the age of 75. His career took off as a saxophonist with Ray Charles, and he recorded many albums as a leader over almost five decades. He performed here at the Jazz Factory as well as at the University of Louisville. He was not only a soulful musician, but a warm and friendly gentleman.

RECENT CONCERTS

U OF L SAXOPHONE WEEKEND WITH PAT LA BARBERA

First of all, I extend my apologies to sponsors, participants and readers; I overlooked this event for previewing last month. With that off my chest, I can go on to report that Pat La Barberablew away the audience in Bird Hall at the University of Louisville's School of Music on Saturday, January 17. His musical partners were U of L faculty members Jim Connerley on piano, Tyrone Wheeler on bass, and Jason Tiemann on drums. La Barbera, brother of U of L's renowned faculty member, composer and arranger John La Barbera (and of drummer Joe), concentrated on tenor sax but did pull out his soprano for a few tunes during the 90-minute concert. They hit the deck running, with a fast-paced take on Billy Strayhorn's "UMMG" ("Upper Manhattan Medical Group"). Next up was the evening's only original, a Tyner-esque midtempo waltz for Pat's then-newborn daughter (now 30), entitled "Little Lady." Both Connerley's piano solo and the leader's solo on soprano grew increasingly intense. Pat amiably yet briefly discussed the songs performed, sometimes introducing them, and at other times back-announcing them. During the concert, it seemed that Connerley and Tiemann were especially connected; they could frequently be seen nodding and smiling at one another, particularly as solos built.

"I Wished On the Moon" had a Latin feel, especially in Tiemann's work. "In Your Own Sweet Way," the Dave Brubeck jazz standard, was played in Pat's arrangement rather than being a mere copy of the original. After this tune, he said that the ending vamp was a precursor to the modal tunes of the '60s, which led him and the band into John Coltrane's "Impressions." This song began as a tenor/drums duet, free yet focused, before the others joined in. Keep in mind that Pat was, for a good many years the featured soloist in Elvin Jones' band, and his playing here and throughout the concert demonstrated why he was such a good choice for Coltrane's former drummer. The mood softened for the ballad "There's a Lull in My Life," showcasing not only the leader's lyricism, but also Tiemann's brushwork and an eloquent, yet not overly busy solo by Wheeler. A Duke Ellington composition, "Fantazm," was next. "I gave it to my brother," said Pat; it was the title track of John's 2005 CD. "You can see the deserts and the sand dunes," he elaborated, and indeed you could, through Pat's serpentine soprano work and Tiemann's mallets. Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple" closed the evening out in grand style.

ON THE HORIZON

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE JAZZ FEST AND MORE

What was once titled "Jazz Week" at the University of Louisville is now "Jazz Fest," which features a slightly shortened "week" toward the end of February (as traditional), together with other events. The preliminary show is "Big Band Night with The Army Blues," on Monday, February 9, at Comstock Concert Hall. Chicago trumpeter Orbert Daviswill be the guest artist and presenter at the African American Music Heritage Institute, headed by Jerry Tolson, director. He will highlight the 2-day program with a concert at 7:30 p.m., February 15, featuring the U of L Faculty Jazz Rhythm Section and the University Symphony Orchestra, at the Comstock Concert Hall, School of Music.

Jazz Fest officially kicks off with the Open World Ensemble, Davide Logiri (Italy, piano), on Wednesday February 25; Thursday night the 26th is Jazz Ensemble II with Jim Carroll (sax), Tim Coffman (trombone), Sean Parsons (piano), Terry O'Mahoney (drums); on Friday the 27th is NEA Jazz Master Lee Konitz(saxophone) with Jazz Ensemble I and Faculty Jazz Combo; the series closes on Saturday 2/28 - U of L Alumnus Jimmy Walker(flute; formerly part of the classical/jazz ensemble Free Flight) with Jazz Ensemble I and Strings and with Faculty Jazz Combo.

More information is available at www.louisville.edu/music/jazz; or call 502-852-6907 for tickets.

BLUE NOTE 7 AT THE KENTUCKY CENTER

In celebration of 70 years of recording some of the finest jazz, the Blue Note label has put together an all-star ensemble which is touring the country. The lineup is musical director and pianist Bill Charlap, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash. They come to town for one show only, on March 15 at the Bomhard Theater in the Kentucky Center. Further details are available at www.kentuckycenter.org; or phone (502) 584-7777 or toll free at (800) 775-7777, (502) 562-0730 TTY.

SPARROW QUARTET AT UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE

Although not jazz, Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet, featuring Bela Fleck, Casey Driessen & Ben Sollee, will perform a 2 p.m. concert on Sunday, February 15 at U of L.This ensemble is known for its blend of American folk and acoustic music with Chinese music. More information is available at www.louisville.edu.

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. Following the demise of the Jazz Factory, the Comedy Caravan entered into an agreement with Ken Shapero to use the Jazz Factory name and logo as it becomes home to the "Jazz Factory Orphan Series." The Don Krekel Orchestraperforms the second Monday of each month, which falls on February 12. Other jazz bookings were not available as of deadline time, so please contact the club for any post-deadline dates.

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 Galt House Conservatory,(140 N. 4th St., 502-589-5200, www.galthouse.com), features saxophonist Mike Tracy's Trio every Friday 5:30 - 7:30. This group often features visiting musicians and folks are welcome to sit-in.

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 West Market Street Stomperscontinue their weekly gig at Bearno's By The Bridge, 131 W. Main St., on Fridays, from 5:30 7 p.m, An added enticement, per their Newsletter, is a dance floor.

The Skybar @ Saints, (131 Breckenridge Lane) will feature the Speakeasy Big Band directed by Brad Tharp every Wednesday in February .

The Ron Jones Duowill be performing for Brunch at Brendan's Restaurant and Pub on Sunday February 1st, from 12 noon to 3 p.m, (Brendan's is at 3921 Shelbyville Road, 502-895-1212; www.brendanslouisville.com).

The Black Cat Jazz Band with Steve Crews on cornet, will perform tunes from the early Jazz and Ragtime Era on Sunday, February 8 at Clifton's Pizza, 2230 Frankfort Ave.

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. February shows (and an end of January one) include: Saturday, January 31: Deep Blue Organ Trio (guitarist Bobby Broom, organist Chris Foreman, and drummer Greg Rockingham); Friday, February 20: Brazilian Carnival (Details TBA); and Saturday, February 21: a Mardi Gras celebration.

The schedule for The Blue WispJazz Clubin Cincinnati, 318 East Eighth St. (513-241-WISP), includes: Thursday, February 12: Astral Project;Friday, February 13: Brad Goode; Saturday, February 14 and Thursday, February 19: Dan Faehnle; Saturday, February 28: Lee Konitz; Wednesdays remain the province of the Blue Wisp Big Band. The website is: www.thebluewisp.com.

While I haven't heard the new debut by band White Rocket, the self-titled White Rocket, the press release is intriguing. "The band features two Dubliners, pianist Greg Felton and drummer Sean Carpio, and New York trumpeter Jacob Wick, who met at Banff Centre for Jazz & Creative Music; the group creates music that is original and uncompromising." They will be in Cincinnati at Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave. (513) 542-3603 on Sunday, February 15.Websites: www.northside-tavern.com; band: www.myspace.com, search "White Rocket."

Important Note, Part 2, Slight Return:

"The Jazz E-News" service has been discontinued. The Louisville Jazz Society has revamped its website (www.louisvillejazz.org), and now 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." In any event, 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-Journaland LEOand 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 jacobduncan@me.com to be added to his e-mail list.

EIGHTH NOTES

This is an occasional feature to survey new releases with more than just "So and so has a new release," but with less detail than a track-by-track detailed analysis. Without further ado, here is the latest installment.

Ralph LaLama: Energy Fields(Mighty Quinn, www.mighty-quinn.net)

Saxophonist Ralph LaLama, who was here in Louisville with The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra for University of Louisville's Jazz Week (now Jazz Fest) in 2004, has released his first domestic CD (after several on the Criss Cross label) as a leader. Sharing the spotlight is the excellent guitarist John Hart, with backup from bassist Rick Petrone and drummer Joe Corsello. From the opening romp on Woody Shaw's classic "The Moontrane" to the tender balladry of The closing song, "Blackberry Winter," this is an album which shows that LaLama should have the opportunity to do more dates as a leader.

CODA

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