Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

PRELUDE:

Happy 12th Birthday, Leah and Lauren. I love you!

ON THE HORIZON

BIG ROCK JAZZ FEST

I virtually grew up at Big Rock Park, in Cherokee Park. My daughters and I love to go there to hike and take in the surroundings. For jazz and blues fans, this is the place to be Sunday, October 3, from 2-7 p.m.. The Highlands-Douglass Neighborhood Association, the Louisville Jazz Society and other organizations bring you this free event, now in its eleventh year. This year's lineup is: Steve Crews' Black Cat Band (traditional New Orleans jazz); Mike Tracy Quintet (straight-ahead and Brazilian jazz) featuring guitarist Craig Wagner, bassist Doug Elmore and drummer Mike Hyman; and The Walnut Street Blues Band. Also, car buffs will enjoy a display of vintage Jaguars. Tracy's new CD is Wingspan, which I reviewed in the current Louisville Jazz Society Newsletter (www.louisvillejazz.org).

PAT METHENY: THE ORCHESTRION PROJECT AT THE BROWN THEATRE

Pat Metheny continues to challenge himself and his audience with new projects. The Orchestrion Project finds Metheny fronting a band composed of himself and . . . himself. "Orchestrion" refers to a collection of percussion instruments mechanically triggered by Metheny. His recording, simply titled Orchestrion, was released early this year on Nonesuch, and provides the listener with the opportunity to hear what Metheny can do in this setting. The percussion parts and melodic instruments triggered by the orchestrion deliver a sound more full than one might expect, with Metheny's distinctive guitar playing remaining at the heart of the music. The concert is Saturday, October 2, at the Brown Theatre. Ticket information at www.kentuckycenter.org.

LOUISVILLE JAZZ SOCIETY PRESENTS HARRY PICKENS

The Louisville Jazz Society plans to have its annual Open Meeting for members on Sunday, November 7, at River Bend Winery, 120 S. 10th Street, Louisville, KY 40202. After the meeting, Harry Pickens will perform. More details next month, but now is a good time to mark your calendar.

LOUISVILLE JAZZ PERFORMANCES POSTED ON YOUTUBE

Ken Beilman, a local internist and jazz enthusiast, recently wrote to tell me that "I'm excited about my YouTube videos of 20 years of my jazz parties. It's a history of Louisville jazz and I've at least another 100 to add to the 100 clips I've already posted." This, the good doctor said, "is an ongoing project. I'm deliberately adding the clips slowly so I don't overwhelm my YouTube audience and keep them interested. I'm not trying to make any money on this but simply want to support Louisville jazz." Check out www.youtube.com/user/kenbeilman.

RECENT CONCERTS

DR. MICHAEL WHITE LABOR DAY WEEKEND

New Orleans clarinetist Dr. Michael White returned to Louisville for performances Labor Day Weekend, including "Live Lunch" on WFPK (FM 91.9; www.wfpk.org) on Friday, September 3, at WorldFest that evening, and at Adath Jeshurun on Saturday, September 4. In addition to being a musical ambassador from the Crescent City, Dr. White also was here to help raise money for post-BP relief. Best known for his playing traditional New Orleans jazz, both standards and his originals in the style, he also showed his mastery of the swing idiom at WFPK. He was accompanied by guitarist Pat Lentz's Quartet, with Dave Clark on alto, Doug Elmore on bass, and Terry O'Mahoney on drums. They opened with "Bye Bye Blackbird," and followed it with "Manha de Carnaval." Dr. White's clarinet soared on the former, and was elegant on the latter. He introduced "Summertime" with a quick historical note acknowledging Sidney Bechet's 1939 hit recording of the tune. During Laura Shine's perceptive interview, Dr. White discussed the importance of both keeping the tradition alive and keeping it fresh. Next up was a bright rendition of "On the Sunny Side of the Street," featuring contrapuntal playing by Dr. White and Clark. Lentz retitled "The Second Line" as "Blues for Augie," to note the passing of WFPK jazz announcer Mark Bacon's beloved dog. It was a befittingly jaunty end to the show, inducing some in the audience to dance - so where were the decorated umbrellas?

Although I missed WorldFest Friday, I caught up with the good doctor the following night. Cantor David Lipp of Congregation Adath Jeshurun was the prime mover for bringing Dr. White here five years ago and again this year. The evening was recorded for broadcast on WFPK as part of John Gage's Homefront series. This time he was joined by his own New Orleans krewe, with Mark Baud on trumpet, Mitchell Player, bass, and Seva Venet, banjo. Another rendition of "Summertime" led to a commentary by Dr. White on some of the relationships between jazz and Jewish music, after which he introduced his "Give It Up," based on that cultural interaction. R. White and Cantor Lipp collaborated on "Avinu Malkeinu" ("Our Father, Our King," traditionally sung at the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which were then just around the corner). Guest pianist Harry Pickens performed a solo version of "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," with Baud joining on trumpet near the end. Pickens and the ensemble then performed a lovely ballad, whose title I didn't catch. "And the Angels Sing," a short story by congregation member Bob Sachs, was performed as a reader's theater presentation, before Dr. White and company closed the night with a rollicking "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön." Dr. White was thoroughly in his element, swinging with joie de vivre. Kudos to all those responsible for bringing him to Louisville and allowing us to experience authentic New Orleans jazz by one of its foremost contemporary champions. Dr. White's site is www.myspace.com/drmichaelwhiteofficial, and his label is Basin Street Records, a great independent New Orleans company (www.basinstreetrecords.com).

UT GRET FEATURING RURIC AMARI, AND DIEGO PALMA BAND AT WORLDFEST 2010

Friday and Saturday, September 3-4, the City of Louisville presented WorldFest on the Belvedere, with music, food, crafts and more from around the world. On Saturday I caught Ut Gret featuring Ruric Amari, and Diego Palma Band. Ut Gret (www.utgret.net) currently consists of Joee Conroy (bass and guitars), Steve Good (woodwinds), Gregory Acker (sax), Steve Roberts (keyboards), Jackie Royce (bassoon), and Gary Pahler (drums). For roughly half the set, the band was joined by belly dancer Ruric Amari and two of her colleagues, inspiring children in the audience to dance along. Song titles were not announced, but overall they showed an eclectic mix of influences, ranging from Middle Eastern to Klezmer to soul, with references to Frank Zappa and more. The musicianship, as always with this band, was of the highest caliber. They have recorded a new CD, but to my knowledge it has not yet been released.

The Diego Palma Band features the leader on guitar, Rafael Barake, second guitar; Astrid Gonzalez, bass; and musicians on percussion/vibes and drums (whose names I didn't catch; apologies). Hampered at the outset by audio gremlins, the sound cleared up and Palma and friends played a mix of the leader's original pieces and familiar tunes such as "Watermelon Man" and the closing "Besame Mucho." They were great on the Pat Metheny classic, "James." Among the original pieces, "And Less Than Tomorrow" from the new CD, This One World, was a delight (www.guitaristdiegopalma.com). I review this new disc in the current Louisville Jazz Society Newsletter. Palma's interaction with his band, and his spotlighting his players, showed not only good musicianship, but soul and a good heart.

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 performs the second Monday of each month, which falls on October 11. The West Market Street Stompers will delight lovers of traditional jazz every 4th Monday, October 25 this time. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.

A special concert at the Comedy Caravan with jazz violinist Christian Howes is set for Tuesday, October 12. As of (post-)deadline time, this was not listed on the Comedy Caravan's website, but it is on Howes', www,christianhowes.com. Howes' new CD, just out, is Out of the Blue, on Resonance (www.resonancerecords.com). It features guest guitarist Robben Ford, organist Bobby Floyd (always a crowd please at the Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop concerts), and others. Howes and company tackle three originals, including the second-line romp "Gumbo Klomp," as well as a varied selection of covers which range from Fats Domino's hit "I'm Walkin'" to a very deep bluesy take on Carla Bley's "When Will the Blues Leave" to the closing, charming piano/violin duet on "Sweet Lorraine." Highly recommended.

The Seelbach Jazz Bar, (500 S. Fourth Street, 502-585-3200), features vibraphonist and occasional pianist Dick Sisto, who always provides excellent mainstream jazz, sometimes with guest artists joining him.

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.

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. Some road trip-worthy shows: Friday, October 1: famed drummer Louis Hayes Trio; Saturday, October 2: Steve Allee Quartet featuring guitarist Corey Christiansen; Friday, October 8: violinist Cathy Morris; Friday, October 15: saxophone great George Garzone Quartet, featuring Pete Zimmer, Steve Allee and Jeremy Allen; Wednesday, October 20: Max Weinberg Big Band .

The October schedule for The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, 318 East Eighth St. (513-241-WISP), includes: Friday-Saturday, October 1-2: Sax Summit w/ Jim Snidero and Dave Bixler; Friday, October 8: Drummer Louis Hayes Trio; Thursday, October 28: Garaj Mahal; Saturday, October 30: Violinist Christian Howes Quartet. Wednesdays remain the province of the Blue Wisp Big Band. For details and the full schedule, the website is: www.thebluewisp.com.

The Redmoor, Mt. Lookout Square, 3187 Linwood Avenue, in Cincinnati, 513-871-6789, www.jazzincincy.com or www.theredmoor.com/calendar. At press time, the music is mostly local for October.

Please sign up for updated local jazz listings: The Louisville Jazz Society has revamped its website (www.louisvillejazz.org), and 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." 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 both the print and online editions (www.louisvillemusicnews.net).

EIGHTH NOTES: ENCORES AND MORE

This month we look at new releases by two artists who have performed in Louisville over the past few years, and one who was recently in Indy (Stanley Clarke, Jazz Kitchen, June).

Mark O'Connor - Jam Session (OMAC 15, www.markoconnor.com) Fiddler/violinist/composer Mark O'Connor has performed in and near Louisville since his days as a child prodigy bluegrass champion. This release might better be titled Jam Sessions, as the tracks are taken from four different performances, from 2000-2004. Five of the nine tracks feature Bryan Sutton on guitar, with Frank Vignola on the other four. Chris Thile plays mandolin on all but two tracks, with the bass chores divided between John Burr and Byron House. "Granny White Special" opens the disc with an uptempo number reminiscent of the New Grass Revival at its hottest. "Gypsy Fantastic," the next track, is appropriately titled, and shares a "Hot Club" vibe with "Swingin' on the 'Ville" and the closing Django Reinhardt classic, "Minor Swing." An unexpected treat is the 16-minute sweet, slow blues, "In the Cluster Blues," which gives the leader, Thile, Vignola, Sutton and Burr a chance to stretch out. O'Connor tips his hat to his bluegrass roots with the traditional "Don't Let the Deal Go Down," accompanied only by Vignola and Burr. Despite the varying styles and lineups, the disc displays a unity based on topflight musicianship and improvisational prowess.

Ryan Cohan - Another Look (Motéma Music, www.motema.com, www.ryancohan.com)

Pianist/composer Ryan Cohan was introduced to many Louisvillians, myself included, by Ken Shapero and Dianne Aprile at the Jazz Factory. Another Look features this Chicago-based artist with his working group of Geof Bradfield, clarinet and saxophones; Lorin Cohen, bass; and Kobie Watkins, drums, with guest artists Joe Locke (another Jazz Factory performer), vibes and Steve Kroon, percussion. With the exception of the ensemble's renditions of "Joshua" and "Caravan," all the tunes are by Cohan. Unlike many of his prior original works, many of which were thematic in nature, these songs were written to maximize improvisation. They open with a piece that was part of the group's regular Jazz Factory repertoire, "Monkin' Around." The arrangement of "Caravan" emphasizes its Latin feel. "Intro/Gentle Souls" is delicately performed and appropriately titled. Another very personal piece is "Intro/Song for My Grandfather," in which is a lovely waltz performed as a trio piece, and makes one wish to have met Cohan's grandfather. The uptempo "Steppin' Up," closes the disc with Locke's vibes engaging in a subtle duet with Cohen's bass before the others rejoin the fun. Throughout the album, bandmates and guests mesh in a seemingly effortless fashion. What a treat it would be to have Cohan return for a Louisville concert, but this will suffice for now.

Stanley Clarke: The Stanley Clarke Band (Heads Up, www.headsup.com) Bassist Stanley Clarke's newest release finds the master mixing early fusion styles with delicate acoustic outings, and nary a trace of the pop or "smooth" sounds he has sometimes used over the years. Hiromi and Ruslan play keyboards, both piano and synthesizers, and Ronald Bruner Jr. kicks on drums on this fine recording. Clarke is joined by guests, as well, but the focus is firmly on his virtuosity. He revisits the Return to Forever classic "No Mystery," and keeps the wattage up for "Larry [Coryell] Has Traveled 11 Miles and Waited a Lifetime for the Return of Vishnu's Report." "Bass Folk Songs No. 6 and No. 10) remind us of Clarke's gentle side, while "Sonny Rollins" adds horns to the calypso vibe honoring Newk. This band was a highlight of the 2010 New Orleans Jazzfest (surmounting tech problems), and plays its collective heart out on this release.

LOCAL JAZZ CONTACTS

With two eleven-year-olds (twelve later this month), 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 mzkjr@yahoo.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, michael.tracy@insightbb.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: jeff.sherman@insightbb.com, guitarist Jeff Sherman;

RON JONES: www.ronjonesquartet.com, rjmusic@ronjonesquartet.com, saxophonist Ron Jones;

STEVE CREWS: www.jazzcrews.com, jazzcat@iglou.com, pianist Steve Crews.

CODA

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