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“I am convinced that all art has the desire to leave the ordinary,and to say it one way, at a spiritual level, a state of the exaltation at existence. All art has this in common. But jazz, the world of improvisation, is perhaps the highest, because we do not have the opportunity to make changes. It’s as if we were painting before the public, and the following morning we cannot go back and correct that blue color or change that red. We have to have the blues and reds very well placed before going out to play. So for me, jazz is probably the most demanding art.” - Sonny Rollins from a recent interview for the Catalan magazine Jaç
 
 Saturday, 23 August 2014
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George Cables Trio at the Village Vanguard, 8/19-24 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
George Cables ©Alan Nahigian

Jazz pianio legend George Cables is a significant voice in modern jazz. In addition to composing and arranging for his own albums, George Cables has contributed to recordings by Dexter Gordon, Art Pepper, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Bobby Hutcherson and many others. He is noted for his fresh Interpretations of classic compositions and for his innovative style of writing. He will appear with his trio feturing Victor Lewis and Essiet Essiet at the Village Vanguard on Tuesday, August 19th through Sunday, August 24th
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Courage! We're Losing Brian to New York E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Brian Courage©Andrea Canter
 

About two years ago, I met a tall young man with a long pony tail and bright smile who was filling in for the scheduled bass player with the Laura Caviani Quartet at the Artists Quarter. He had just graduated from the Lawrence Conservatory (2012) and was hoping to break into the Twin Cities jazz scene. And what a way to start-- with Laura Caviani? I figured  Brian Courage had to have something special. He sure had the right name for an up-and-coming jazz musician!

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

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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.

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

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Kenny Drew Jr ©Andrea Canter
 

"...an 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.

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

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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.  

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

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

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“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.

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Larry Coryell Wows Audience at Piedmont Piano Show E-mail
Written by Ken Vermes   

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Larry Coryell (photo by Ken Vermes)
 

Guitar has certainly been the most popular instrument in American music for many years. So it is very hard to imagine that the instrument would be taken for granted or ignored in this day and age. But in music stores, one sees the emergence of the ukulele as the instrument of choice for string instrument fans, just by the number of models of this instrument on display. This could be a major shift for fans of the older style of guitar itself. On top of this development, visibility of rock n’ roll, has been greatly diminished recently with the disappearance of rock on the radio, the lack of rock bands on television shows or in movies, and the lack any great rock band leaders to lead the next generation of this style of music.

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