Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

PRELUDE:

Although I mention these events below, I am going to use this space to grab your attention. The Bellarmine Jazz guitar Concert and the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop Concert Series bring in top talent from around the country to perform HERE, in Louisville, for nominal charge (Bellarmine) and free (Aebersold). Don't be whining about no live jazz in listener-friendly venues if you pass on these.

RECENT CONCERTS

The Steve Crews Quartet at the Rudyard Kipling

Steve Crews brought his electric piano and a top-flight group of musicians to the Rudyard Kipling on a warm Sunday night, May 20, for a concert sponsored by the Louisville Jazz Society. He was joined by Hunt Butler on alto and tenor saxes and flute, and longtime colleagues Butch Neeld on bass and Hubert Griffin, Jr. on drums. I was running late, and regrettably, missed the opening act, an ensemble of U of L jazz students. Crews was his usual ebullient self, obviously happy to be playing for a virtually full house of enthusiastic jazz supporters. Over the course of two sets, Crews played a variety of music, mixing his arrangements of other musicians' songs with his own compositions. He spotlighted Butler's flute and Griffin's brushwork on Bill Evans' lovely waltz, "How My Heart Sings," in the first set, and returned to that format in the second set for another waltz, "Little Dancer," written by Tom Harrell for his daughter. Crews grabbed the attention of the audience with his organ tones on the classic "Moanin'" with Butler's spirited tenor. Among his originals were "Feline Fancy," which he described as "a blues in F with a bridge, in honor of my wife Debbie's and my cat." A second set highlight was the group's rendition of the recently-passed Sam Rivers composition for his wife, "Beatrice." The evening ended on a soulful note, with Butler's alto paying homage to Cannonball Adderley on "Sack O' Woe," with the leader vamping and quoting one tune after another. It's been a while since Crews has performed in the quartet format, and here's hoping he will return sooner rather than later for an encore performance.

ON THE HORIZON

LOUISVILLE JAZZ SOCIETY CONCERT SERIES: SWING 39

The Louisville Jazz Society's monthly series continues with Swing 39 on June 3, at the Rudyard Kipling, 422 W. Oak Street, 502-636-1311. It begins at 6:30, with doors open at 5:30, and a cover of only $5.00. Swing 39 consists of Ben Andrews on guitar, Jane Halliday on violin and John Thornberry on bass; their music evokes the spirit of Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club. More information on the concert at www.louisvillejazz.org; the band's site is www.swing39.com.

BELLARMINE JAZZ GUITAR CLINIC AND CONCERT

The 26th Annual Bellarmine Jazz Guitar Clinic is going to take place June 4-5, and features Howard Alden and John Stowell , in addition to Bellarmine's own Jeff Sherman . The concert will be held June 4th at 7:30 in Wyatt Hall. Both have been featured over the years, and while both play jazz, their styles are different, making for an interesting mix. For more information or concert tickets, go to http://home.insightbb.com/~rush/Bellarmine, call (502) 452-8182 , email Sherman at jeff.sherman@insightbb.com. , and the artists' sites are http://howardalden.com and www.johnstowell.com.

JAMEY AEBERSOLD ANNUAL SUMMER JAZZ WORKSHOPS AND LOUISVILLE JAZZ SOCIETY SCHOLARSHIPS

The Jamey Aebersold Annual Summer Jazz Workshops take place here on the campus of the U of Louisville from July 1st July 6th, and July 8th July 13th. A full list of scheduled faculty is at: http://workshops.jazzbooks.com/faculty. Among the better known are Rufus Reid, Ed Soph, Dave Stryker, Steve Allee, David Hazeltine, Antonio Hart, Eric Alexander, Jim Snidero and David Baker, to name but a few. In addition to the workshops, the artists perform nightly for the students and public-at-large. STUDENTS : The Louisville Jazz Society is offering scholarships for up to two students, but time is running out. More information is available at www.louisvillejazz.org/Forms/Scholarship_Application_2012.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 has been performing the third Monday of each month, and is scheduled for June 18. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.

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; check the club for updates or changes. The club also has a Facebook page with occasional updates.

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 trips might be advised for Jeremy Pelt Quintet featuring JD Allen June 13; Steve Smith & Vital Information June 20; Benny Green Trio + Peter Washington & Kenny Washington June 22-23; Acoustic Alchemy June 25; and the Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet June 27.

The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, is now at 700 Race St. (513-241-WISP). Guitarist Russell Malone June 2; Javon Jackson with Les McCann June 15-16; Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet June 25-26.The rest of the month features local and regional talent. Wednesdays remain the province of The Blue Wisp Big Band. For details and the full schedule, the website is: www.thebluewisp.com.

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:

JAZZ FACTORY ENCORES

With the permission of Jazz Factory owner Ken Shapero, I am initiating an occasional feature of reviews of albums by artists who the Jazz Factory brought to Louisville, "Jazz Factory Encores." On a personal note, as avid a jazz fan as I am, I was not only able to hear not only musicians with whom I was familiar but also to be introduced to many wonderful artists, such as Tony Monaco and Lynne Arriale.

Celebration (Chicken Coup/Summit Records CCP 7016, www.summitrecords.com):

This Columbus, Ohio-based organist was one of many artists introduced to the Louisville audience at the Jazz Factory. It's been several years since his last studio disc, and Monaco gives extra bang for the buck here, as he adds a second disc of originals chosen from his prior recordings. He has frequently used images of flames to evoke his fiery playing, and this cover continues that trend. Indeed, the leadoff track, "Daddy Oh," is a burning waltz. With a background in the food and restaurant business, Monaco's "Aglio e Olio (2012)" is another hot, tasty treat. He varies the pace with the midtempo and soulful "Indonesian Nights," followed by the Latin-flavored "Happy Sergio." Monaco has endured some difficult times over the past several years, and he offers "Give Thanks and Praise" as a gospel affirmation. This is an original piece, not the Bob Marley composition, and Monaco is joined by vocalist Mary McClendon, and the Columbus Choir Singers; it's reprised as an instrumental at the end of disc 2. Monaco's primary inspiration, jimmy Smith, is honored in the romping "I'll Remember Jimmy (2012)." Primary backing on disc one is by his working group of drummer Reggie Jackson and guitarist Derek DiCenzo, although other musicians appear. The second disc boasts a variety of heavy hitters on different tracks, including fellow B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco, guitarist Bruce Foreman, and more. Fans of solid, swinging organ-based jazz will get more than their money's worth out of this new offering.

Solo (Motéma MTM-83, www.motema.com)

Pianist Lynne Arriale became something of a regular at the Jazz Factory, working in a trio format. Solo is her first release featuring her alone with just her piano. Recorded live in Tampa this past October, this album is notable for the nonexistence of any applause or other evidence of an audience. Perhaps Keith Jarrett would feel at home here. Through most of the 12-song program, Arriale's approach is quiet and contemplative, on originals such as the opening "La Noche," and her meditative "Will O' the Wisp." Two Monk pieces are here, "Evidence," in which she softens some of the composer's characteristic jagged edges, and "Bye-Ya," which is more evocative of its creator. The most overtly "jazzy" piece is her rendition of Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love." The usually lilting "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" is reimagined as a slow and wistful piece, adding a new perspective to the familiar melody. In her liner notes, Arriale states: "My challenge as a pianist, composer and arranger is to 'go within,' and hopefully find the notes that will resonate with you." In my opinion, she has achieved her goal on this beautiful album.

Upper West Side Story (Origin 82617, http://originarts.com)

Bobby Broom visited the Jazz Factory several times, with his working trio (Dennis Carroll, bass, and Kobie Watkins, drums), with his Deep Blue Organ Trio, and as a guest of Dick Sisto. Although Broom is based in Chicago, this disc represents "an ode to where I'm from," New York City. The guitarist takes a giant step forward here by featuring only his own compositions. (On three of the nine tracks, Makaya McCraven sits in for Watkins.) "D's Blues" digs deep, getting the album off on solid ground. The trio moves at a fast pace through the title track, before slowing down for the waltz "After Words." As the CD progresses, it becomes increasingly evident that the sparse instrumentation can sound quite full, as there are frequent segments where the musicians are soloing together, not simply comping for whomever is taking the lead at the moment. It is a testament to a history of working together for some 15 years that they can do so without stepping on one another's musical feet. Broom's sound can be stinging or mellow, lean or full, always providing what the music calls for. If you have heard Broom in person or on his prior recordings, you will certainly find this a worthy addition to his canon; and because of the emphasis on original work, it can serve as a great introduction to this splendid artist

LOCAL JAZZ CONTACTS

With two thirteen-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 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.

Additional content from the May 2012 Jazzin' column is below.

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 has been performing the third Monday of each month, but at deadline time, this was not listed at the club's site, so please check it out as it gets updated; if the tradition continues, it will be May 21. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.

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; check the club for updates or changes. The club also has a Facebook page with occasional updates.

The Jazz Kitchen (Indianapolis)

May 2: the Bad Plus ; May 4-5: Nicholas Payton XXX ; May 28: the Dirty Dozen Brass Band 35th Anniversary Tour

The Blue Wisp Jazz Club (Cincinnati)

May 5: Dave Bixler Quartet with Special Guest Trombonist Conrad Herwig ; May 19: Roland Vazquez ; June 2: Tentative Booking -- Guitarist Russell Malone

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

Part One, Following Up from the Louisville Jazz Society Concert: Recordings from Laurence Hobgood, Ernie Watts, Matthew Rybicki

As noted elsewhere in my May column, the Laurence Hobgood Trio, with Ernie Watts, presented a great evening of music. Hobgood, Watts, and bassist Rybicki all have recordings under their own names; herewith are my comments about them.

Laurence Hobgood

When the Heart Dances (www.naimlabel.com)

Pianist and composer Hobgood recorded this heartfelt and engaging album of duets with renown bassist Charlie Haden in 2008, with a 2009 release date. It is full of gentle beauty and quiet reflection, with a mix of originals such as the title track, and reinterpretations of classics including "Que Sera Sera" and Duke Ellington's "Daydream," on which Kurt Elling sings. Elling is also heard on two other tracks, but this is primarily an instrumental outing whose topnotch engineering brings out the span of the piano and the depth of the bass. There are too few recordings these days which, like this one, seem to define "elegance."

Ernie Watts

Oasis (Flying Dolphin Records www.erniewatts.com)

Ernie Watts and his wife have started their own label, and this 2011 release is the most recent Watts recording. His working group, which recorded this, consists of Christof Saenger, piano, Heinrich Koebberling, drums, and Rudi Engel, bass. The title track was performed with great emotion with Hobgood at the recent concert, and here sounds slightly more restrained while still carrying emotional depth. On John Coltrane's "Crescent," Watts summons Trane's spirit in the opening and closing segments, while going his own way for the solo. Throughout the album, Watts displays his warmth and versatility. Known for his work with pop artists as well as jazz musicians, Watts here takes the Beatles' ballad "Blackbird" and turns it into a midtempo, jazzy rollick. Other tunes include the gentle "I'll Fly Away," Saenger's burning "Palmito" and a classic reading of "Shaw Nuff." Watts and company deliver a fine, modern jazz album worthy of your collection.

Matthew Rybicki

Driven (Accession Records, www.matthewrybicki.com)

Bassist Matthew Rybicki carried his weight alongside the better known musicians Hobgood and Watts. This solo outing was recorded in 2010, and features nine originals and interpretations of "Yellow Bird" and "Secret Love." He is accompanied by the very strong lineup of Freddie Hendrix on flugelhorn and trumpet, Selloane Nkhela on vocals, Ulysses Owens (who produced the date) on drums, Matthew Baranello on percussion, Ron Blake on tenor and soprano saxes, and Gerald Clayton on piano. They open with the updated swing of "The Slow Stride," followed by "Seventh Sun," which features jagged bass intro and outro, with uptempo solos by the other in between. A personal favorite is "Lowcountry Boil," a lowdown slow blues. The closing "Nouakchott" is a fast-paced Afro-beat piece with wordless vocals. Both in his playing and composing, Rybicki shows great promise in this well-rounded set.

Part One, More New Releases

Chick Corea/Eddie Gomez/Paul Motian

Further Explorations Concord Jazz CJA-33364-2 www2.concordmusicgroup.com

Jazz fans may need no further incentive to pick up on this than the mere knowledge that it is out. Pianist Corea is an icon, local students and the public were blown away earlier this year when bassist Gomez taught and performed at the University of Louisville, and drummer Motian's November 2011 passing was all over the jazz press, and noted here in December. Over the course of 2 CDs, this trio not only celebrates the legacy of Bill Evans (with whom both Gomez and Motian performed), but also mixes in standards such as "But Beautiful," jazz classics including Monk's "Little Rootie Tootie," and originals. Motian drives Evans' opening composition, "Peri's Scope," and later shows his compositional prowess on "Mode VI," where he displays his brushwork mastery. Gomez gets plenty of opportunities to take listeners on voyages with his exquisite bass work. "Alice in Wonderland' not only opens with his impeccable playing, but also provides him additional space for soloing with comping by his mates. Corea's playful nature comes through on the group improvisation"Off the Cuff," while his more romantic side is revealed, anew, in Evans' "Song No. 1." Over the course of more than two hours, culled from two weeks at New York City's Blue Note, the trio engages in stunning interplay. This set is one that rewards multiple listenings. Also, in an age of digital downloads, it is gratifying to see a booklet containing intelligent liner notes by Bob Belden, song annotations by Corea, and reflections by Gomez and Motian.

Billy Hart Quartet

All Our Reasons (ECM 2248, www.ecmrecords.com)

Master drummer Billy Hart has a lengthy and distinguished resume, having worked and recorded with such giants as Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Dave Liebman's Quest (which, if memory serves, played the Fig Tree here in Louisville in the '80s), and more. His discography as a leader is far more sparse, and All Our Reasons is a worthy addition. He is joined by three well-respected younger musicians, Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus) on piano, and Ben Street on bass, for an hour of modern jazz that is edgy enough to be provocative, without going so far out as to lose all but the most dedicated enthusiast. Hart composed four of the disc's nine songs, including the lengthy opener, "Song For Balkis," which slowly unfolds undergirded by his deft mallet work on the drums and cymbals. Iverson's "Ohnedaruth," a tribute to John Coltrane, (who was sometimes referred to by that name), is based on his "Giant Steps" and features the composer playing solo for almost half of the six minute song. Hart's "Tolli's Dance" is, indeed, very danceable, while Iverson's "Nostalgia For The Impossible" goes in the opposite direction, sounding like chamber music. The second half of the disc continues to move from mood to mood, ranging from the the yearning solo sax which introduces Turner's "Nigeria" to the whistling over soft mallet-played tomtoms on Hart's closing "Imke's March." In short, it's been too long since Hart has been in the spotlight, and with this release, one hopes it will soon shine on him again.

CODA

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