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ďItís like a language. You learn the alphabet, which are the scales. You learn sentences, which are the chords. And then you talk extemporaneously with the horn. Itís a wonderful thing to speak extemporaneously, which is something Iíve never gotten the hang of. But musically I love to talk just off the top of my head. And thatís what jazz music is all about.Ē - Stan Getz
 
 Wednesday, 16 April 2014
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Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio at the Jazz Showcase 4/17-20 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
“Rosenwinkel’s music represents the sound of the future, just as bebop once did.”  -Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

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Kurt Rosenwinkel
A guitarist whose harmonic ideas and sinuous, legato approach make him readily identifiable, Rosenwinkel is perhaps the most beloved jazz guitarist of his generation. Here’s what guitar legend Bill Frisell said about Kurt Rosenwinkel: “There’s this kind of fluidity and architecture in the lines that he plays that I don’t think I’ve heard anybody else do. There’s a mystery in it to me. It’s not obviously derived from some other player. He’s really developed his own language with the musical information and physically the way he’s playing the instrument.”

The Kurt Rosenwinkel trio will apprear at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago on Tursday, April 17th through Sunday, April 20th with sets at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. nightly plus an additional 4:30 p.m. show on Sunday.

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Poncho Sanchez Latin Band Returns to the Dakota on April 15 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano and Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Poncho Sanchez©Andrea Canter
 

Seasoned, versatile, finely meshed, and deeply, masterfully percussive, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band is perhaps the premier Latin jazz ensemble working today. They’ve recorded prolifically and have been honored with a Grammy Award and four Grammy nominations. Poncho and his band will raise the roof with "the world's greatest music" on Tuesday, April 15th at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis.

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Good Vibes, Good Music: Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio CD Release at the Icehouse, April 14 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Good Vibes Trio
 

Longtime favorite sideman, in the past two years, bassist Chris Bates has stepped to the front as leader of two very different but equally intriguing projects, his quintet Red 5 and the Good Vibes Trio. With the former, he released New Hope in fall 2012;  with the latter, he will celebrate the release of the eponymous debut CD on Monday, April 14th at the Icehouse, part of JT's Jazz Implosion series. With veteran performers/composers Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums, Good Vibes Trio (2014, Technecore) offers a collection of sublime covers from Mingus to Coltrane to Hubbard, along with a fistful of engaging original compositions from the trio.

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Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio + Lionel Loueke 4/17-18 and Octet 4/19-20 at the Jazz Standard E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
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Dr. Lonnie Smith and Lionel Loueke

The turban-clad master of the hammond B3 organ, Dr. Lonnie Smith who “remains remarkably cliché–free, even after five decades in the game….” (John Fordham, The Guardian) will be performing in the same operating room with two different groups. Hailed as a “gentle virtuoso” by Jon Pareles of The New York Times, guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke will join the doctor's trio for two nights - this colaboration is a not-to-be-missed event. Dr. Lonnie Smith's "In The Beginning" Octet combines veteran play­ers like guitarist Ed Cherry with fiery younger musicians such as trumpeter Andy Gravish and saxopho­nists John Ellis and Ian  Hendrickson–Smith. In the fall of 2013, the group released a superb two–CD set, In The Beginning, Volumes 1 & 2, on the artist’s own Pilgrimage Recordings. Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio includes Jonathan Kreisberg on guitar and  Johnathan Blake on drums perform with  special guest  Lionel Loueke on guitar on Thursday and Friday, April 17th and 18th and his Octet performs on Friday and Saturday, April 19th and 20th at the Jazz Standard.
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LA Beat: Avery Burdette and Ron Levy Trio at the Tee Room, Newport Beach E-mail
Written by Glenn A. Mitchell, LA Jazz Scene   

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Avery Burdette with the Ron Levy Trio, L-R: Merola, Burdette, May and Levy. (Photo: Carolyn Yarnell)
 

Some of the best jazz in Orange County can be found at several venues there.  The Tee Room in Newport Beach, located on Newport Beach Golf Course,  is one of these beautiful venues, offering jazz on Monday evenings.  Vocalist Avery Burdette and the Ron Levy Trio perform on the second Monday of every month.   Our visit Monday, March 10, 2014, was productive and included dinner and a show for $20.00 per person – a very reasonable bargain!

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A Drummer's Vision: Matt Slocum and "Black Elk's Dream" (2014, Chandra Records) E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Black Elk's Dream
 

Twin Cities native and alum of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, drummer Matt Slocum has established himself as one of his generation's most effective composers and bandleaders.  With composition grants from the American Music Center, the Puffin Foundation, Meet the Composer Foundation and more, Slocum gained high praise for his first two recordings as leader, Portraits (2009) and After the Storm (2011), both on the Chandra Records label. Where Portraits featured a trio of rotating horns to augment the rhythm section, the second release focused on the core trio, both boasting long-time collaborators Gerald Clayton (piano) and Massimo Biolcati (bass). Yet central to both recordings were Slocum's magical compositions - lyrical voicings, assertive rhythms, subtle shadings and bold statements, reflecting not only the drummer's talents as a drummer, but the skills as writer and arranger that set him apart from most of his peers, regardless of instrument. Returning to the quartet and quintet format, with frequent collaborators Walter Smith III and Dayna Stephens rotating on saxophones, Slocum brings us a new project inspired by the visionary Native American leader Black Elk and the book Black Elk Speaks, appropriately titled Black Elk's Dream (Chandra Records, 2014).

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Kendra Shank and John Stowell 's Musical Experiments and "New York Conversations" (2014, TCB) E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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New York Conversations
 

Acclaim for Kendra Shank’s unique approach vocal jazz has grown steadily over the past decade, including the designation “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” in the Downbeat International Critics Poll. Initially working as a folksinger, the California native studied with muse Jay Clayton in Seattle, gigged with Bob Dorough, and caught the ear of the late Shirley Horn, who co-produced Shank's debut recording, Afterglow (1994). Two recordings followed her move to New York, Wish (1998) and Reflections (2000), the latter with pianist Frank Kimbrough, bassist Dean Johnson, and drummer Tony Moreno, who have been regular bandmates ever since. Her more recent releases have taken her music in almost opposite directions: A Spirit Free (2007) revealed her sharp edges in reinterpreting the music of Abbey Lincoln, while Mosaic (2009) revealed the softer contours of a more personal, perhaps freer spirit. Her latest projects have brought more accolades to the elastic improviser, who has been described as a performer with a “unique and immediately identifiable sound and style” (Don Heckman, LA Times), as “a singer with a sound” (Abbey Lincoln) who “phrases inventively, whether crisp and sizzling or sensuously smoky” (Patricia Meyers, Jazz Times). No doubt New York Conversations (TCB), Kendra's new recording with long-time cohort, guitarist John Stowell, will further cement her standing as one of the true innovators in modern vocal jazz.

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No More "Bluesette": Toots Thielemans Announces Retirement E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Toots Thielmans©Andrea Canter
 

"I can say without hesitation that Toots is one of the greatest musicians of our time. On his instrument he ranks with the best that jazz has ever produced. He goes for the heart and makes you cry. We have worked together more times than I can count and he always keeps me coming back for more…” -- Quincy Jones, Liner Notes, Q’s Jook Joint, 1995

Toots Thielemans, perhaps the greatest jazz harmonica player of all time, has announced his retirement at age 91. Jazz Times reported that Thielemans feels he can no longer perform at a high level and “does not want to disappoint my fans.” He was recently forced to cancel two concerts due to health issues.

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