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“They’re not particular about whether you’re playing a flatted fifth or a ruptured 129th as ong as they can dance to it.” - Dizzy Gillespie
 Monday, 01 September 2014
George Coleman Quartet with special guests Louis Hayes & Bob Cranshaw at Smoke 9/5-6 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

George Coleman
George Coleman

Recently named an NEA Jazz Master, the spectrum of George Coleman’s musical career extends from playing blues in the Beale Street clubs of Memphis on one end to blowing modern jazz on the New York stages on the other. His deeply soulful tone continues to provide memorable support to the numerous jazz greats he works with and is woven tightly into the fabric of his own compositions. The quartet featuring George Coleman on tenor saxophone, Mike Ledonne on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Louis Hayes on drums will appear at Smoke on Friday, September 5th and Sautirday, September 6th with sets at 7:00 and 9:00 PM. Tickets $45.

The 35th Montreal Jazz Festival—A Landmark Celebration in 2014! E-mail
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   

Aretha Franklin

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal commemorated its 35th anniversary from June 26 to July 6. Since 1980, the Festival has grown into a world-wide music celebration. This year, Montréal hosted over 3,000 musicians from over 30 countries, and two-thirds of the concerts were free! Over 2 million people attended the Festival, which Guinness World Records ranks as the world’s largest.  

The 35th Festival was dedicated to Paco de Lucía (1947-2014), the Spanish guitar virtuoso, flamenco superstar, and prolific composer whose masterful arrangements made him an ambassador for the beauty of his country’s music. Paco de Lucía was also posthumously honored with the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, which is given “to an artist distinguished in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz and cultural crossover is widely recognized.”

David Martin and Mike Doolin Manage a "Tough Commute": CD Release Parties! E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

Mike and Dave

Long-time cohorts in Portland, Oregon, guitarists/bassists David Martin and Mike Doolin teamed up on the well-regarded Reflections (2009). Once Martin relocated to the Twin Cities a few years ago, their collaboration required a "tough commute."  Determined to make another recording of their original music, recounts Doolin, Martin "loaded up the van with all his guitars and amps and drove the 1,729 miles back to the House of Doolescu in Portland. He had just 17 days in Portland, and we put the time to good use, recording 11 original tunes." The result, Tough Commute, will be celebrated throughout the Twin Cities over the next two weeks, with Doolin now making the long drive to join Martin, along with local pals Chris Bates and Pete Hennig. The release events begin Monday, August 25 with a 9 pm show at the Icehouse in south Minneapolis, followed by gigs at the 318 Cafe, State Fair,  Black Dog, Jazz Central and Hell's Kitchen (see schedule below). At Jazz Central, the CD celebration will be preceded by Doolin's guitar-making workshop.

Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (Concord, 2014): Raising, Hurdling Over the Bar E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio

At the finals of the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition at Kennedy Center last September, then 24-year-old Melissa Aldana not only won first prize, she became the first woman instrumentalist and first South American to win any of the Monk top honors in the 26-year history of the prestigious competition. Tenorist Aldana earned the $25,000 first-prize scholarship with the Monk Institute and a recording contract with Concord Music Group. The resulting album, Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio, was released in June, right before the trio's festival debuts at the Twin Cities and Iowa City Jazz Festivals. Anyone who had the opportunity to enjoy the trio live will find the album to be a pleasurable reminder of the energy and synergy of the live event; anyone who has not yet experienced Aldana and company (bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Francisco Mela) on stage will revel in the discovery of her talent as performer, composer and bandleader.

"Jazz Speaks for Life": The 35th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival, August 29-September 1 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   


“We’re proud of our great city, and through this festival, we’re able to show the world that Detroit is a vibrant, cultural hub of creativity and expression. Jazz is an inspiring genre, and we want to share its impact with as many music enthusiasts whenever possible. By producing the world’s largest free jazz festival, we’re able to do that.” --Gretchen Valdade (Chair, Detroit Jazz Festival Board of Directors)

Every Labor Day Weekend, one of America's most challenged cities becomes a preferred destination for thousands --make that several hundred thousand--jazz fans who make a beeline for the largest free jazz festival in the world. The 35th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival takes place August 29-September 1, spanning the central urban area from the banks of the Detroit River and Hart Plaza up Woodward Avenue to Camp Mauritus in the heart of downtown. That's about four square blocks encompassing five outdoor stages, a "Talk Tent," rows of culinary and merchandise tents, kids' activities, and two nights of fireworks, all supported by foundation grants and private and corporate donors, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Opportunity Detroit, Carhartt, Mack Avenue Record, DTE Energy Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Erb Family Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. In addition to music and Talk Tent interviews with artists, winners of two festival competitions will be announced -- for performance and composition.

Kenny Drew, Jr., 1958-2014 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

Kenny Drew Jr ©Andrea Canter

" impeccable jazz pianist in his own right who could play with dashing swing, breathtaking control and lush romanticism." --Marc Meyers, JazzWax

Kenny Drew, Jr., a prolific pianist raised on classical music and steeped in blues and bop, died August 3 at his home in St. Petersburg, FL.  Although hhe cause was not reported, Drew had suffered in recent years from complications of diabetes. His death was confirmed by Scott Elias of Random Act Records, the last label for which Drew recorded.

LA Beat: Legendary Bassist Ron Carter Trio at Catalina Jazz Club E-mail
Written by Glenn A. Mitchell, LA Jazz Scene   

Ron Carter Trio, L-R: Donald Vega, Ron Carter, Russell Malone (Photo byGlenn A. Mitchell)

Longtime, highly successful bassist Ron Carter brought his dynamic trio to Catalina’s Jazz Club for a three-day run, July 24-26.  His interesting trio is on tour for several weeks and is made up of remarkable all- star performers, Donald Vega (piano) and Russell Malone (guitar).  

I have been a fan of Carter’s for now fifty years, going back to the mid-sixties with his important and dynamic role in the best Miles Davis Quintet (in my opinion).  He also has gathered a long list of musical credits during approximately six decades performing jazz as a premier bassist.  The instrumentation of the Carter trio is somewhat unorthodox in not having the usual piano, bass, drums situation, but Carter is a strong bassist.  This mix makes a memorable sound – both as a unison voice and trio-wise in backing each member solos.  

Jacqui Naylor Group at SF Jazz: The Power of Giving, Sharing, and Crafting Song E-mail
Written by Ken Vermes   

Jacqui Naylor (Photo by Oliver Heinemann)

This summer, SFJAZZ is running a series called the Summer Sessions, and if the show presented by Jacqui Naylor and her group was any indication, these concerts are worth serious consideration. The rule of jazz is that there are hundreds of artists in the idiom that must be seen live. Usually the reason for this is that they are not only great performers, but their very presence in person is a special sort of experience that usually cannot be captured solely by studio productions. Many jazz musicians have argued for years that the recording art is not the real experience of seeing and participating in a jazz. For that, it is said, an audience is required. And then there are those musicians who are especially inspired by a crowd and when things are right, everyone has a special time, and truly fantastic music is created by a performer who thrives in front of a responsive group of listeners.


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