Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

PRELUDE:

1) Happy Birthday to my daughters, Lauren and Leah, who turn 13 this month!

2) I am pleased to announce that my first article for a national publication has just been published. I am honored that my piece on the 2011 Bellarmine Jazz Guitar Clinic and Concert is in the October 2011 DownBeat .

LOUISVILLE JAZZ SOCIETY NEWS

After last month's report to you, I just want to update by saying that our series of monthly concerts, at rotating venues, begins October 14 at Coconut Beach with Phil DeGreg . The long-delayed Newsletter is now out, and by the time you read this, it should also be available at our website, www.louisvillejazz.org. On a personal note, my review of the Modern Jazz Quartet's only two Apple Records releases, Under the Jasmin Tree and Space , is included. Check us out, and please consider joining us and volunteering to help on our committees.

RECENT CONCERTS

SOUNDBYTES FROM WORLDFEST AND MORE: THE PALMA PROJECT, UT GRET, MAESTRO J AND RON JONES

Sometimes when I hear live jazz outdoors or in bars and restaurants, the music becomes a soundtrack to socializing, eating or just taking in the ambiance. This was the case for me at WorldFest (I freely admit that I skipped the first two days of WorldFest due to temperatures in the 100° range), at dinner at the Goose Creek Diner, and the first of the Tyler Park Jazz Festival series, dubbed "Fall for Jazz in Tyler Park." So rather than attempt reviews of these performances, I will just offer a few brief impressions of these performances.

Diego Palma's Palma Project played both WorldFest and the first Tyler Park concert. Guitarist Palma deftly mixes influences ranging from Pat Metheny and Carlos Santana to more traditional jazz and Hispanic music. The band nailed Santana's "Europa" and the classic "Besame Mucho" with equal aplomb. Ut Gret (who I profiled in the August 31 edition of LEO) played music from their new release, Radical Symmetry and more. The band featured two dancers and a snake (a python on "Cobra in a Basket") in addition to the musicians. Ut Gret has deep jazz roots, but also has been influenced by everything from rock to classical music. I caught just a few songs by violinist Maestro J , which I enjoyed. If what I heard is a fair sampling, then fusion such as played by Jean-Luc Ponty would be a good point of reference. Last but certainly not least, it's been too long since the last time I saw saxophonist Ron Jones perform. My daughters and I ate at Goose Creek Diner on Saturday, September 3, and enjoyed Jones with his bassist, Sonny Stephens. I always think it's a challenge for a musician to play in an environment where the focus is not the music, and Jones played as if he were doing a jazz club date. I look forward to seeing his quartet again when I can.

ON THE HORIZON

BIG ROCK JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL

The Kentuckiana Blues Society and the Louisville Jazz Society are proud to be among the sponsors of the Highlands Neighborhood Association's Big Rock Jazz and Blues Festival , which takes place on Sunday, October 2. In the September LMN , my blues colleague Keith Clements included more detail about the opening band, the Stella Vees , who kick things off at 2:00 PM. Funky jazz follows from an expanded edition of FattLabb at 3:45. The concert closes with a rare "Piano Summit," with two grand pianos and a rhythm section, from 5:00-7:00 PM. Led by Harry Pickens , the keyboard artists also include Phil DeGreg from Cincinnati, Luke Gillespie from Indiana University and Steve Allee from Indianapolis.

OCTOBER JAZZ AT U OF L

The following concerts have been announced for October at the University of Louisville's School of Music. They are all in Bird Recital Hall at 7:00 PM and free, unless noted. October 3: Faculty Jazz Ensemble; October 4 Jazz Ensemble I (8:00 PM, Comstock Hall); October 16 Jazz Guitar Legend Bucky Pizzarelli ($12/$7 Students with ID); October 26: saxophonist David Liebman . For additional information, including the full 2011-2012 schedule, go to http://louisville.edu/music/degrees/undergraduate/jazz/jazz-studies-program.html.

JAZZ AND MORE AT IUS

" The Miles Davis Experience ," a live multi-media concert, takes place at Indiana University Southeast at Ogle Hall on October 4. According to the press release, this "presents the historical and cultural context of the most noted and accessible Miles Davis tracks from 1949 and continuing through his Blue Note years, culminating in his masterpiece and commercial breakout, Kind of Blue ." The tribute features the celebrated trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire , winner of the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the 2011 DownBeat Critics' Poll Rising Star Jazz Artist Of The Year and trumpet player. For more information on this, IUS's new Just Jazz Series and other concert presentations this season, go to www.ius.edu/oglecenter/pdf/SeasonBrochure.pdf.

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 Oct 10. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.

Coconut Beach Nightclub , 436 Baxter Avenue, Louisville, KY, 502-639-8370, will host the first Louisville Jazz Society concert, featuring Cincinnati-based Phil DeGreg with his Latin band. Even if you check him out at Big Rock, you should hear Phil in a different musical setting. He has spent a great deal of time in Brazil, and brings that influence to this ensemble. A week later, October 21, will be "Crossing The Americas" with The Palma Project & Appalatin .

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; Squeeze-bot is on hiatus; 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. The October schedule was unavailable at deadline time.

The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, 318 East Eighth St. (513-241-WISP), in October features lots of local and regional talent, plus national acts as follows; note: pianist Robert Glasper , booked for Saturday, October 1, is no longer on the schedule. Saxophonist J.D. Allen's Trio is October 13, saxophonist/flautist Greg Abate is October 15, saxophonist and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Ted Nash is October 28-29. 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. October listings unavailable at deadline time.

Please sign up for updated local jazz listings : The Louisville Jazz Society provides weekly e-mail updates for local jazz happenings. Be sure to sign up for the e-mail "Louisville Jazz Society's Jazz Insider" at www.louisvillejazz.org. 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 print and online, www.louisvillemusicnews.net

EIGHTH NOTES

SOMETHING OLD AND SOMETHING NEW: LIVE MILES DAVIS, SONNY ROLLINS, CHARLES LLOYD, JIMI HENDRIX AND GRATEFUL DEAD

Improvisational music can be captured to good effect in the studio, but it's onstage, with an audience and no second takes, where the artist's mettle is truly tested. Jimi Hendrix tells his audience that the Experience is "playing by feeling, which is the best way" (Disc 2 of Winterland, at the conclusion of a blistering "Red House," making clear that being in the moment and improvising are not limited to jazz musicians. There has been a veritable flood of new concert recordings released. All deserve more in-depth analysis than is available here, but I would rather point out some highlights for you than lose the forest for the trees.

Miles Davis Quintet

Live in Europe 1967: the Bootleg Series Vol. 1 (Columbia/Legacy)

Miles Davis' "Second Great Quintet," with Wayne Shorter (sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums), is caught here on three CDS and one DVD from their 1967 European tour. The DVD was previously only available as a bonus in the 70-CD Miles Davis: Complete Columbia Albums Collection , while none of the audio has ever been officially released until now. What is immediately apparent in these performances is that this ensemble was taking chances night after night. Although the repertoire is mostly the same, the musicians use them as springboards for fiery extemporizations. One of the earliest songs in the repertoire, Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," is transformed nightly from ballad to frenzied workout, following the one-two punch of the newly minted "Agitation" and "Footprints" on all but one sequence. Another earlier piece, "No Blues," is reinterpreted with intensity, with spiraling opening sallies from Davis and Shorter. On several occasions, "soloing" is given new meaning, as Shorter and Hancock offer spare, unaccompanied playing on "I Fall in Love Too Easily," among other songs. Throughout, Carter's bass provides foundation, and the youthful exuberance of Williams' drumming spurs his elders. The DVD performances, shot in black and white, offers new insights into the collective interplay of the group. This set, the first of a proposed series of previously unreleased Miles Davis concerts, sets a high bar.

Sonny Rollins

Road Shows, Volume 2 (Doxy/Emarcy, www.emarcy.com)

This disc is a worthy successor to Volume 1, of which I wrote here back in 2009: ". . . one hopes that future volumes will provide full concert recordings or, like the Grateful Dead's 'Road Trips,' select the best versions of songs from a particular run of shows." I'd like to think that someone was paying attention, as this new volume does, in fact, focus on music from September and October 2010. The opening and closing pieces were recorded in Japan, a stretched-out "They Say It's Wonderful" and a brief, gently rolling "St. Thomas." Sandwiched between are four pieces recorded at Rollins' 80th Birthday concert at New York's Beacon Theatre, with members of Rollins' working band and many guests. Of special interest is the 22-minute jam with, of all people, Ornette Coleman on "Sonnymoon for Two." Each of these living legends tackle the blues line with vigor and inspiration. In lesser hands, this could have been a "saxophone battle." Here, it is a confident musical conversation, with the masters goading each other to more intense musical statements. It is preceded on the CD by, of all things, "In A Sentimental Mood," a showcase for guitarist Jim Hall on which Rollins does not even play. Rollins shares the solo spotlight on "I Can't Get Started" and "Rain Check" with trumpeter Roy Hargrove, who proves a worthy complement to the elder statesman. Rollins, as quoted in the liner notes and interviewed recently on Tavis Smiley's show, remains a humble soul, still seeking to improve is amazing playing. I must add that, this past spring, Rollins blew the roof off the Jazz Tent at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Additional reviews of the following are available online:

CODA

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