Editor/Publisher Paul Moffett has announced that this month is the final one for the print edition of Louisville Music News. I celebrated my tenth anniversary writing for LMN earlier this year. I am going to copy the e-mail I sent to Paul when he broke the news to those of us who make up "Team LMN:"
"For the 15 or so years prior to my beginning to write for you, I sought out LMN, and would sometimes go out of my way to find a copy. I have a world of respect for all that you, and past and present Team LMN have accomplished. I was proud to become associated with LMN, and remain so. I am still old-fashioned enough to prefer a physical copy of what I read, as I think I spend too much time looking at a screen as it is. But, to quote Jefferson Airplane's "Crown of Creation" (adapted with permission from John Wyndham): 'Life is Change/ How it differs from the rocks . . .'."
I sincerely appreciate the kind words that many of you have passed on to me, in person and via the internet. I hope to "see you" online in the future.
WorldFest 2013, held Labor Day Weekend on Louisville's waterfront Belvedere, featured music, food, crafts and more from around the world. I was able to catch some of the jazz and jazz-related presentations, beginning with Red Baraat on Friday, August 30. The Indian-infused dance rhythms coupled with the New Orleans brass got much of the audience up and moving. Next for me was Ut Gret on Saturday, August 31. The sun was high and the audience a bit sparse for their set; nonetheless, the band played well, with its trademark blend of jazz, prog, and world music, with a particularly engaging take on Frank Zappa's "Peaches en Regalia." The Afrophysicists , with some personnel from Ut Gret, played a hot set with an emphasis on songs from the great Fela Kuti, including his "Zombie." On Sunday, Squeeze Bot did a rollicking set, with repertoire ranging from the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper" to Chick Corea's "Armando's Rhumba." The world's best accordion-tuba-banjo-tiny drums band did it again, with leader Todd Hildreth demonstrating more rock star moves than any other squeezebox player around. Vibraphonist (and talking drummer) Dick Sisto brought bassist Jeremy Allen and drummer Kenny Phelps down from Bloomington and Indianapolis, respectively, for a set of originals and classics. Boobby Hutcherson's "Little B's Poem" was dedicated to Sisto's grandchildren, and he later performed Ornette Coleman's blues "Turnaround" as well as a Latin-style "Giant Steps," the Coltrane classic. Liberation Prophecy was up next, with a blistering set of originals from their recently released album, Invisible House. All these artists deserve more coverage than I can provide, and I urge you to support them.
The final print edition will most likely be available before this concert, so . . . One of the most significant and eclectic jazz trumpeters around today, Dave Douglas will bring his quintet to the Clifton Center on Sunday, September 29 at 7:30 PM. This is the same lineup featured on Douglas' last two albums, Be Still and Time Travel (reviewed here in June): Jon Irabagon (saxophone), Matt Mitchell (piano), Linda Oh (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums). Look for an interview in the LEO Weekly on Wednesday, September 25. Ticket information at www.cliftoncenter.tix.com.
Sarod master Amjad Ali Khan is celebrating 50 years of performing with a tour which brings him to the Bomhard Theater on October 4. He performs with his two sons, also sarod players, and two tabla players. Look for an interview/preview in LEO on Wednesday, October 2.
Pianist Laurence Hobgood and his friend, saxophonist Ernie Watts , return to Kentucky Country Day on October 8 for an evening of sophisticated modern jazz, with Louisville's own Liberation Prophecy opening. The ensemble also includes Marquis Hill – trumpet, Jared Schonig – drums, and Clark Sommers – bass. Tickets are $15, $10 for Louisville Jazz Society members, $5 for students. For more show information, check http://kcd.org/theater or cal 502-423-0440. For background information, please see my preview and review of the 2012 concert, at http://www.louisvillemusicnews.net/webmanager/index.php?WEB_CAT_ID=50&storyid=7656&headline=Jazzin&issueid=278 and http://www.louisvillemusicnews.net/webmanager/index.php?WEB_CAT_ID=50&storyid=7716&headline=Jazzin&issueid=279. KCD is located at4100 Springdale Rd.
Big Rock Jazz and Blues Festival
Olmsted Parks Conservancy presents the thirteenth annual Big Rock Jazz and Blues Festival on Sunday, October 6, 2013 from 2-7 PM in the Big Rock area of Cherokee Park.
The headliner for 2013 will be Unit West: Tim Whalen – tenor sax, Kris Eans – trumpet, Steve Snyder – Hammond B-3 organ, and Mike Hyman – drums. Also on the bill is Everett Greene , a fine singer from Indianapolis will sing, accompanied by Todd Hildreth, Tyrone Wheeler and Jonathan Higgins . The blues segment of the concert will come from Lexington's Tee Dee Young . Big Rock is a gorgeous area, and this event is always fun for both serious music fans as well as picnickers and families.
Bill Frisell returns to Louisville with his Big Sur ensemble, on Wednesday, December 4; save the date, more details to come. Ticket information at www.cliftoncenter.tix.com.
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 October 21. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.
The Nachbar (969 Charles Street, 502-637-4377, www.myspace.com/thenachbar) features "Nachbar Jazz" on Wednesdays, with Jacob Duncan . Duncan also told me that D'arkestra is playing on Wednesday October 9th, and that he's "trying to figure out a way to diversify Wednesday nights at Nachbar, and that was my first move." 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 October 4: Billy Cobham and his all-star Spectrum 40 Band, featuring Dean Brown (guitar), Gary Husband (piano) and Ric Fierabracci (bass).; October 7: Hobgood/Watts (see above for Louisville details); October 16: Nnenna Freelon . Other shows may be added, so check the site.
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. October 3: Bernie Worrell (from Parliament-Funkadelic and Talking Heads); October 11: Greg Abate ; October 19: Nnenna Freelon ; October 26: Marbin ; November 1-2: Ramsey Lewis ; the rest of October 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.
Prism (Dare2 Records, www.daveholland.com)
Dave Holland has gathered a monster group for his latest project, with Kevin Eubanks on guitar, Craig Taborn on piano and Fender Rhodes (specifically), and Eric Harland on drums. In many ways, this outing is reminiscent of Holland's days with Miles Davis, featuring blistering guitar work and a classic fusion sound. All the musicians contribute tunes, which creates variety within the overall group sound. For example, Eubanks' opening "The Watcher" is edgy, with soloing over a fast and funky drum line. Taborn's "Spirals" leans more toward the abstract. The leader's "The Empty Chair (for Clare)" builds on a slow blues line, with a bass solo leading into a guitar solo which moves the piece to a climax before returning to the groove. Taborn's acoustic piano work comes to the fore in Holland's "A New Day," notwithstanding the rock feel and Eubanks very electric playing. Prism presents original music with topnotch players sounding like they are having too much fun.
The Swallow Quintet
Into the Woodwork (XtraWATT/13, ECM, www.ecmrecords.com)
Electric bassist and composer Steve Swallow, together with his music and life partner Carla Bley (here heard on organ) have created a recording which takes the listener on a journey through subtle textures and evocative writing without abandoning the trademark humor found in much of their work. They are joined by Steve Cardenas on guitar, Chris Cheek on tenor sax, and Jorge Rossy on drums. Many of the pieces flow into one another like movements of a suite. The album opens with the quiet, subtle "Sad Old Candle," which morphs into the title track, a lovely midtempo waltz, which, in turn, leads into "From Whom It May Concern (for Paul Haines [librettist for Bley's Escalator Over the Hill], a ballad featuring warm saxophone work, and which rounds the corner into "Back in Action," an uptempo, fun piece. "Grisly Business" is aptly titled, calling to mind some of Cab Calloway's playful spookiness. Throughout, the players blend well, with subtlety and grace. This album bears repeated listening, revealing more each time around.
I'm sure it was coincidence, but I received a package of big band reissues from British FiveFour Records, a subsidiary of Cherry Red ( www.cherryred.co.uk) on the same day that Dave Liebman posted a piece about the relevance of big bands. The albums are: The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix , Duke Ellington Jazz Party , and The Don Ellis Orchestra's Autumn . Each, to me, represents a progressive take on the big band idiom. The label has included both original liner notes and recent liners. Evans did not just play Hendrix in a straightforward manner, simply augmenting the melodies with a large ensemble; rather, he used his arranging talent (augmented by arrangements from some of his band members) to put a new spin on the Hendrix canon. Ellington's album, from early 1959, includes guests such as Dizzy Gillespie, and features a percussion ensemble on two innovative tracks. Johnny Hodges solos beautifully on "All of Me," and Jimmy Rushing adds verve to the closing "Hello Little Girl." Don Ellis, trumpet player, composer, arranger and bandleader, recorded Autumn under the producer Al Kooper, who had recently founded Blood, Sweat & Tears. The album is bookended by the 20-minute "Variations for Trumpet" and the 18-minute "Indian Lady," each providing lots of exciting solo space for the band. Shorter tunes such as "Scratt and Fluggs" and "Pussy Wiggle Stomp" show how Ellis could fashion strong statements on more standard-length pieces. Time signatures include 5/4 and 7/4, sometimes alternating with others, to keep band and listener on their collective toes.
The 6th Story (www.moonjune.com)
MoonJune continues to release exciting albums, both archival and newly recorded. simakDialog hails from Indonesia, and incorporates acoustic and electric keyboards (Riza Arshad), electric guitar (Tohpati), electric bass (Adhitya Pratama), and Indonesian percussion (Endang Ramdan, Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia) into a heady mix. A quick point of reference might be Weather Report or the Zawinul Syndicate, but the music incorporates elements of gamelan as well as Western jazz. This is the band's sixth album, and shows originality, adventurous playing, and enough stretching out to keep the music exciting without making songs go on too long.
Mack Avenue SuperBand
Live from the Detroit Jazz Festival – 2012 (www.mackavenue.com)
Mack Avenue is a Detroit-based label, and boasts an illustrious lineup of both established and new jazz musicians. Many gathered for the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival, captured in this release. The rhythm section is Carl Allen, drums; Aaron Diehl, piano; and Rodney Whitaker, bass. Saxophonist Tia Fuller and trumpeter Sean Jones open with Jones' blues "Liberty Avenue Stroll," after which vibraphonist Gary Burton and guitarist join Allen and Whitaker for the classic "All Blues," with Eubanks cutting loose and Burton playing at the top of his game. Next up is a solo piano deconstruction of "Guantanamera" by Alfredo Rodríguez, followed by guitarist Evan Perri and the trio with a lovely "Nuages." Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, whose name you will soon know if you don't already, shows her blues side on a rendition of Bessie Smith's "Oh Daddy Blues." The Saxophonist Diego joins all the instrumentalists (except Alfredo Rodríguez) for a gutbucket blowout on Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk," performed as a tribute to Detroit bluesman Johnnie Bassett, who had recently passed away.
Remembering Billie (Blue Duchess, www.blueduchessrecords.com)
Scott Hamilton burst on the scene as a traditional saxophonist in an era of modernity. Here he pays tribute to Billie Holiday, playing with his customary warmth and reverence for an earlier period of jazz. His accompaniment is tasteful with pianist Tim Ray, bassist Dave Zinno and drummer Jim Gwin. Labelmate and album producer Duke Robillard adds tasty guitar to "FoolingMyself" and "I'll Never Be the Same." Fans of classic jazz will find much to savor in this recording.
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 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.
1) I am always interested in your comments. Contact me at email@example.com.