His guitar work graced recordings from artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Paul Simon to such disparate jazz artists as Archie Shepp and Grover Washington, Jr.
A wonderful singer and songwriter who, in large part, left the music world to care for her disabled daughter who, perhaps mercifully, passed before her. Her grace and power will be missed.
Beginning Sunday, June 4, WFPK's Sunday jazz programming, which has ended at 5:00 p.m. since the demise of the Jazz Factory's live sets a few years ago, will now end at 3:00 p.m.. This cuts off one hour of prerecorded, locally produced programming and the last vestige of the live jazz NPR shows carried locally, "Jazz at Lincoln Center." The good news is that soon my daughters will have nothing left to complain about when we are in the car on Sundays.
Monday June 6, Bellarmine opens its doors to the community for a concert featuring return visits by Gene Bertoncini and Jack Wilkins, to honor the beloved, late Louisville guitarist Jimmy Raney. Professor Jeff Sherman is rightly proud that this marks the 25th anniversary of this clinic and concert series. The Louisville Jazz Society is one of several sponsors of this event. The workshops take place Monday and Tuesday, June 6-7. The concert itself begins at 7:30 Monday evening, in the Amy Cralle Theatre of Wyatt Hall on the Bellarmine campus. More information is available at bit.ly/jazzclinic.
From a notice from Todd Hildreth: "You remember your High School prom, right? Wrong band, wrong date, a total disaster. That's why Squeeze-bot decided to give everyone a chance to do it right this time. The right band, the right date, punch, pictures the whole shebang! Try for your chance to be prom king or queen by flaunting your fancy prom threads and exhibiting the most prom spirit on the dance floor! This time, do prom right. Do it the Squeeze-bot way.
Saturday, June 11, Swiss Hall, 719 Lynn Street 40217; For more information, contact Todd Hildreth, Toddalanhildreth@gmail.com."
Not all jazz, but that's cool. One of my favorite local bands, Ut Gret, performs, as do R. Keenan Lawler, Bone Crusher (reviewed here in tandem with Zach Brock), and other bands from here, Lexington, Indianapolis, and more. Far more information than I can include here is online at www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Louisville-Experimental-Festival/152192358174236.
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 June 13. Note-Worthy appears June 20. Ladies For Liberty presents a matinee performance at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, and an evening show on Tuesday June 28. As usual, the West Market Street Stompers will delight lovers of traditional jazz every 4th Monday, June 27 this time.
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 special, road-trip-worthy shows are: Friday, June 3: saxophonist Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson with the Steve Allee Trio; and Friday, June 27: Duke Robillard Band.
The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, 318 East Eighth St. (513-241-WISP), in addition to lots of local and regional talent, will feature, on Friday-Saturday, June 10-11: Fred Hersch Trio; and Tuesday, June 28: NYC Vocalist Rondi Charleston. 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. Unfortunately, May listings were not available by deadline time.
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).
With apologies to Frank Zappa, the upcoming Bellarmine Jazz Guitar Clinic and Concert gives me a good excuse for focussing on some new guitar-based releases.
Roni Ben-Hur has performed here, at Bellarmine and elsewhere, so it's fitting that his newest release, with Brazilian bass master Nilson Matta, takes the lead-off position. While "Jazz Therapy" may evoke some type of music therapy, this series actually is a fundraising effort for the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund of the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, which provides care to musicians; twenty percent of sales will be allocated to this worthy cause. Good cause or not, the music is splendid. The leaders are accompanied by Victor Lewis on drums and Café on percussion. The program is a mix of two originals apiece by each leader, one from each percussionist, and six songs from the likes of Brazilian composers Pixinguinha and de Moraes, as well as a lilting rendition of "The Look of Love." The title track is a mellow waltz by Jobim, while Pixinguinha's "Lamentos" sounds far too happy for its title. As the album progresses, the attention paid by each of the musicians to one another becomes ever more apparent. A highlight is another choro by Pixinguinha, "Rosa," with Ben-Hur's warm a cappella playing giving way to a solo by Matta. Matta's tribute to the composer Baden Powell, "Baden," showcases the interlocking drums of Lewis and Café. While Ben-Hur does not come from a Brazilian background, one wouldn't know it from the playing here.
Guitarist Steve Khan is a musician's musician, with credits ranging from duets with Larry Coryell to working with Steely Dan. His solo resume is impressive, dating back to the 1970s. When I first received Parting Shot, I was afraid the title may have referred to Khan's retirement , but fortunately, I was wrong. Parting Shot is Khan's first album to focus on Latin rhythms and features mostly originals, plus his renditions of two Ornette Coleman songs, "Chronology" and the classic "Blues Connotation," plus Thelonious Monk's "Bye-Ya." The core band is Khan's Eyewitness, with the great Dennis Chambers on drums, Anthony Jackson on contrabass guitar, and Manolo Badrena on percussion, plus additional percussion from Bobby Allende and Marc Quiñones, with other musicians guesting. Khan and company get the album off to a lively start with "Chronology," with Latin and jazz-rock styles deftly blended. An early highlight is Khan's "Change Agent," which sounds like something Tito Puente might have done, if he used an electric guitar to replace his horn section. "Maria Mulambo" is a tip of the hat to the Godfather of Soul's "Funky Good Time," heavy on the percussion. Khan's ballad "When She's Not There" provides a gentle respite, with keyboard work by Rob Mounsey, before the seriously funky take on "Blues Connotation." Overall, the mostly stripped down ensemble of guitar, bass and percussion provides Khan with an opportunity to flex his guitar muscles, to fine advantage.
The latest installment in this archival series, is a 3-CD set with the entire November 21, 1973 Denver concert, plus a 3-song/jam from the prior night. The first set/disc is pleasant, but almost 30 years later, more of the prior night's second set would have been a better choice, to present more of the improvisation which made each concert so unique. That said, a lengthy "Here Comes Sunshine" and the closing "Brokedown Palace" are highlights. Things get interesting on the second disc, with a 15-minute "Weather Report Suite" closing the first set. There follows remarkable jamming on a 3-segment "Playing in the Band," which interpolates Marty Robbins' "El Paso" as a segue between parts 1 and 2, and "Wharf Rat" between parts 2 and 3 (which descends into deep, free jazz style improvisation), and in turn rolls sweetly into an almost thirteen-minute "Morning Dew," with dynamics ranging from hushed to crescendo. But that's not all, kids. Disc 3 concludes the second set with a rollicking "Truckin'" leading in to the traditional blues "Nobody's Fault But Mine" (rarely performed by the Dead), and on into "Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad." Two songs later, the November 20 excerpt begins with another "Truckin'" which, instead of moving into more blues, transitions after a spacey jam into a nineteen-minute "The Other One," with lots of exploratory interplay. Listening to the two medleys which each begin with lengthy "Truckin'" but move into vastly different musical territory help me remember why I stayed on the bus long after my first encounter with the Dead in '68 here at Bellarmine.
On his premier release, Barcelona native Dave Juarez seems to focus on his compositions even more than his guitar playing. All nine pieces are originals, and he is joined by an outstanding array of young musicians, of whom 40-year-old saxophonist Seamus Blake is the best established. The other players are John Escreet, piano; Lauren Falls, bass; and Bastian Weinhold, drums. Apparent influences include John Scofield and John Abercrombie. The uptempo "Montpellier View" opens the disc, with Blake taking the first solo. The title track is next, a ballad introduced by the leader. An intense piano solo spotlights "Lonely Brooklyn," before Juarez makes his presence more forcefully known in the ballad "The Echo of Your Smile." "Belleza Anónima" features blistering work by the leader over Weinhold's surging drums. The final two tracks clock in at 9 and 11 minutes respectively, with "Luna de Barcelona" containing an eerie guitar solo and "RNP" closing the album on a fast-paced composition during which the players approach the music with freeform solos. Dave Juarez bears watching as he develops.
LOCAL JAZZ CONTACTS
With two twelve-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.
I am always interested in your comments. Contact me at email@example.com.