Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

PRELUDE:

CONGRATULATIONS, JAMEY AEBERSOLD NEA JAZZ MASTER

Jamey Aebersold joins Richard Davis, Keith Jarrett and Anthony Braxton in being named as National Endowment for the Arts 2014 Jazz Masters. As I write, this achievement is being recognized not only by jazz media, including DownBeat and JazzTimes, but also in local newspapers in the region. My colleague on the Louisville Jazz Society Board, Mike Tracy, is the Director of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program at the University of Louisville School of Music. He wrote the following for inclusion here: "Jamey's standards are high and he brings out the best in all of us. I know for a fact that there are people throughout the world (musicians and not, in some of the most unlikely places) who know Jamey through his publications, his famous 'count-offs' and via his students that have not met him, yet they have been profoundly influenced by what Jamey stands for. The NEA Jazz Masters designation typically has gone to performers with exceeding high standards, with long careers and who will have a profound/long-lasting influence on America's music Jazz. Jamey Aebersold the educator, performer, publisher, jazz supporter and philanthropist certainly meets those expectations and merits the title Jazz Master."

JAZZ RADIO (NOT AN OXYMORON)

First, thanks to WFPK for showing a little interest in jazz again, having featured the latest Preservation Hall Jazz band album That's It! as its featured album for July. It's a new step in that band's ongoing evolution, the first to feature all new material, and was co-produced by Jim James. I stumbled on Laura Shine's interview with PHJB leader Ben Jaffe recently and enjoyed it. I hold out no hope for reintegrating jazz into the daily schedule, but appreciate the fact that this did happen.

Second, kudos to my Louisville Jazz Society colleague Diego Palma, who produced 60 episodes for the locally oriented jazz program The Sunday Sessions, which was heard on Crescent Hill Radio (www.crescenthillradio.com) on Sunday evenings at 6:00 p.m. During the course of the show, Palma not only played music by our local jazz artists but did several interviews, as well. Time constraints have led to Palma discontinuing the show, which was co-sponsored by the LJS.

RECENT CONCERTS

Chris Fitzgerald and Friends at the Rud

The Louisville Jazz Society, on whose Board I have served for many years, now, hosted bassist extraordinaire Chris Fitzgerald. along with some of Louisville's top jazz musicians, all of whom Chris is proud to number among his friends, for a well-received concert at the Rudyard Kipling on Sunday, June 23. His friends included David Klingman clarinet, Jacob Duncan saxes, Craig Wagner guitar, Todd Hildreth electric piano, and Mike Hyman drums. The whole ensemble did not play on every song; rather, Fitzgerald changed the pace and lineup to best serve the music. Opening with a delicate duet with Klingman, Fitzgerald then played an arrangement of the Hank Williams classic, "So Lonesome I Could Cry," which featured a stunning guitar solo. "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," from a forthcoming Hildreth album of hymns, took the audience to New Orleans with Klingman soloing over second line rhythms. Fitzgerald introduced "Fifth Business" with a look back at the evolution of the Java Men, with whom he played in a later incarnation. Duncan's sax dominated Randy Newman's "In Germany Before the War." "Morning Prayer," a Fitzgerald original, was played beautifully and evocatively. Monk's "Green Chimneys" closed the evening, with sinuous clarinet, intense sax, and a rollicking feel. Fitzgerald has chosen has friends wisely.

2013 Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop Concerts at University of Louisville

Jazz lovers in Louisville had the opportunity to see and hear some of the finest mainstream artists over the course of ten nights in late June and early July, for free, courtesy of NEA Jazz Master Jamey Aebersold's series of faculty concerts during the annual Summer Jazz Workshops. I was able to catch several evenings, and offer some of my listening notes.

Preliminarily, guitarist Dave Stryker gigged with saxophonist Tim Whalen, drummer Mike Hyman and bassist Danny Kiely on Friday, June 28 at the Decca. They seemed to have a grand time together, getting funky on Horace Silver's "The Jody Grind" and turning "They Can't Take That Away from Me" into a lowdown shuffle. Stryker was in his element on Wes Montgomery's "Road Song" and played what seemed to me to be a rare all-chordal solo on Sonny Rollins' classic "St. Thomas." The groove continued into the second set, closing with a sax-fueled romp through "Lester Leaps In."

As it's post-deadline time as I wrote this, please look for coverage of the evening concerts at U of L online.

ON THE HORIZON

LOUISVILLE JAZZ SOCIETY PRESENTS JERRY TOLSON AT THE RUD

The Louisville Jazz Society presents saxophonist Jerry Tolson and his quintet doing a tribute to Cannonball Adderley, Sunday, August 18, at 6:30, at the Rudyard Kipling, in Old Louisville, at 422 W. Oak Street, phone 502-636-1311. Based on past experience, the kitchen will be open for the first hour or so. Tolson has recently released a new album, Fresh Squeezed (see my Tolson profile in LEO, at http://leoweekly.com/music/b-sides-121), so don't be surprised if he pulls out some of his originals, too.

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 August 19. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.

Decca Restaurant, 812 East Market Street, 502-749-8128, http://deccarestaurant.com, is now featuring jazz and other music. On Saturday, August 17, FattLabb plays, and on Mondays, it's The Buzzard, featuring saxophonist Tim Whalen, trumpeter Ken Slone, keyboardist

Pete Peterson, drummer Mike Hyman, and bassist Danny Kiely. Check the site or call for updates.

The Nachbar (969 Charles Street, 502-637-4377, www.myspace.com/thenachbar) features "Nachbar Jazz" on Wednesdays, with Jacob Duncan and, for the summer, Mike Hyman or Jonathan Higgins on drums, and Sonny Stephens or Chris Fitzgerald on bass. Also during the summer, Squeeze-bot plays Sundays from 8 to 11 PM. 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. A road trip might be advised for August 10: Pat Martino Trio; August 23: Tuck & Patti.

The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, is now at 700 Race St. (513-241-WISP). Wednesdays remain the province of The Blue Wisp Big Band. July is packed with mostly local and regional talent. 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

Ella Fitzgerald:

Best of the BBC Vaults (Verve CD/DVD)

This set consists of a 17-track CD, and a 34-track DVD, with performances from 1965, 1974, and 1977. Throughout, Fitzgerald is accompanied by pianist Tommy Flanagan, and various editions of his trio, plus the Johnnie Spence Orchestra on the second '65 segment, and the consummate guitarist Joe Pass on the 1974 show at the famed London club, Ronnie Scott's. The 1965 segments are in black and white, and, perhaps due to limitations of half-hour broadcasts, tend to feature the vocalist alternately swinging hard and singing softly, but rarely scatting. At Ronnie Scott's, she carries on a delightful Q&A conversation with bassist Keter Betts and rocks out on the closing "Swingin' the Blues." If anything, that title is an understatement. At Montreux, with the crispest video images of the DVD, she scats the coda of "Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues" with Betts' arco accompaniment and really stretches out with superb scatting on "One Note Samba." In my opinion, the packaging could have been better, as there is no set-by-set designation of personnel, and there is no correlation of what songs on the CD come from what performances captured on DVD. That's a small price to pay, though, for a generous 2+ hours of the exquisite artistry of Ella Fitzgerald captured on film, with accompanying CD.

Corey Christiansen:

Lone Prairie (Origin, www.origin-records.com)

Guitarist Corey Christiansen, an Aebersold Camp faculty member, shines on his new album, which includes new renditions of the title track, "El Paso," and others from the folk/country canon, as well as three originals and Ennio Morricone's "Il Grande Massacro." Joined by pianist Steve Allee and others, Christiansen seems to meld influences from Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell into his own voice. He pretty much plays "Streets of Laredo" as straight as a jazz guitarist can, while turning the traditional "In the Pines" into an eerie, almost psychedelic tune. He rocks out on the blues of "Sittin' on Top of the World," but wisely avoids doing it Grateful Dead style. In short, Lone Prairie offers fresh variations on what a jazz album can be.

EIGHTH NOTES, BLUES DIVISION

I've recently received some new blues albums from two independent labels that I would like to share with you. They are:

The Duke Robillard Band:

Independently Blue

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters:

Just for Today (both on Stony Plain, www.stonyplainrecords.com).

Robillard's last release, as the Duke Robillard Jazz Trio, was Wobble Walkin', emphasizing his laidback swing. The new disc is more in the vein of rockin' blues, with guest guitarist Monster Mike Welsh, but the pace slows for some deep blues on "Moongate," and Robillard digs deep into jazz history with his cover of Red Allen's "Patrol Wagon Blues." Earl's new album was recorded live at three Massachusetts venues, and ranges from the soulful opener, "The Big Train," to a tribute to the recently departed Hubert Sumlin, and a funky version of John Coltrane's "Equinox." Dave Limona's organ and piano alternately lay deep beds for Earl's sinuous guitar and set off on their own journeys. Another fine new releases comes from the VizzTone label (www.vizztone.com), which includes former Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin among its founders. Candye Kane and Laura Chavez! Coming Out Swingin' features the former model Ms. Kayne belting out blues with a classic swing sound, while musical partner Chavez shows she can wrangle a guitar with the best of them.

Steve Gadd Band:

Gadditude (BFM Jazz, www.bfmjazz.com)

Drummer Steve Gadd has been on countless albums . . . well, maybe not countless, but check his discography on his website, www.drstevegadd.com/discography and see how long it takes to count the many recordings listed there, in genres from folk (James Taylor, Judy Collins) to rock (Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt) to jazz (Charles Mingus, Herbie Mann) and more. There are only 11, though, with his name as leader or co-leader, so it's good to hear this new release, featuring Larry Goldings on keyboards, Jimmy Johnson on bass, Walt Fowler on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Michael Landau on guitars. While the high level of musicianship might be expected, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of material, ranging from the Miles Davis voodoo vibe of Landau's "Africa" and Goldings' "Ask Me" to the South Africa meets Memphis take on Abdullah Ibrahim's "The Mountain." "Cavaliero" is soulful, with some Santana-like guitar work. Gadd and company play with restraint on Keith Jarrett's ballad "Country," and then rock out on Jarrett's "The Windup," before closing with a jazz take on Radiohead's "Scatterbrain." Despite the varied moods and styles, Gadd's vision unifies the seemingly disparate styles, making this an exciting and fun album.

LOCAL JAZZ CONTACTS

With two fourteen-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.

CODA

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