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“It’s 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. It’s a wonderful thing to speak extemporaneously, which is something I’ve never gotten the hang of. But musically I love to talk just off the top of my head. And that’s what jazz music is all about.” - Stan Getz
 
 Tuesday, 29 July 2014
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Three Days in Jazz City: The 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Jazz fest crowd on Iowa Avenue©Andrea Canter
 

Recipe for a perfect Fourth: Take one small cultural Mecca in eastern Iowa. Add a 24 -year tradition of presenting the world's finest jazz in the context of one of the most user-friend festivals of the summer. Toss in two days of gorgeous weather. And just to be a bit challenging, add in a third day of start-and-stop drizzle during the first two sets of music. End it all with holiday fireworks shot over the dome of one of the nation's most stately capitol buildings. And don't forget the obligatory brats, beans and cones--or your favorite ethnic fare. The 24th annual Iowa City Jazz Festival was all it was cooked up to be, and then some.  Running Thursday-Saturday this year -- a day earlier than usual, the festival had the additional last-minute challenge of moving the main stage from the usual location on the spacious (and partly shady) Pentatcrest lawn in the heart of the University of Iowa campus to its old home on the concrete intersection of downtown arteries Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue, due to soggy conditions following heavy rains. But you would never know this was not the intended venue. 

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Henry Threadgill's Zooid ath the Village Vanguard, 7/29-8/3 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

“The jazz avant-garde has produced relatively few great composers. Henry Threadgill is a member of that exclusive club.”  All Music Guide  

 

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Henry Threadgill © Maarten Mooijman (mmpicture.nl)

As a groundbreaking alto saxophonist, composer and conceptualist, Chicago-based Henry Threadgill has been in a league of his own for decades. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since the ‘60s, Threadgill played with Muhal Richard Abrams’ pioneering Experimental Band and organized the heralded group Air starting in 1975. Threadgill also led such unique and stimulating ensembles as his Sextett, Very Very Circus, and Make a Move. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a U.S. Artist Fellowship in 2008, Threadgill recently recorded This Brings Us To with his exciting, genre-pushing Zooid ensemble. Henry Threadgill's Zooid featuring Henry Threadgill on flute, bass flute, and alto sax; Liberty Ellman on guitar; Christopher Hoffman on cello, Jose Davila on trombine and tuba;  and Elliot Kavee on drums will perform on Tuesday, July 29th through Sunday, August 3rd at the VIllage Vanguard. 
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Tierney Sutton and Mark Summer - Perform Joni Mitchell and More at the Dakota, July 31 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Tierney Sutton©Andrea Canter
 

(Tierney Sutton) “A serious jazz artist who takes the whole enterprise to another level.”--New York Times

From Wisconsin to Berklee to the Oak Room, Tierney Sutton’s career has been on a steady upward trajectory. Considered one of the most accomplished singers on the modern jazz scene, Sutton's recent Grammy-nominated Joni Mitchell project, After Blue, inspired her current tour with cellist Mark Summer, who appears on the album with Sutton and his Turtle Island String Quartet colleagues. On July 31st, Sutton, Summers and Parisian guitarist Serge Merlaud, celebrate Mitchell as well as re-arrangements of standards and Summer's solo repertoire at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis.

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B3 Boss Joey Defrancesco with his Trio at SPACE in Evanston 8/1 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

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Joey DeFrancesco © Andrea Canter

Twice Grammy® nominated, Master of the Jazz Organ, Trumpeter & Vocalist, Joey DeFrancesco once again was voted best jazz organist in the 2013 Downbeat Magazine readers poll. That's no surprise since nobody does it better. Joey D. along with trio members George Fludas & Jeff Parker offer a hard- driving performance that swings straight ahead. On Friday, August 1st at 8:00 p.m.  they appear at SPACE in Evanston. Tickets are $20-$35.
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Jack DeJohnette Trio Featuring Ravi Coltrane and Matthew Garrison in Stanford 7/27 & Santa Cruz 7/28 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
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Jack DeJohnette Trio

Widely regarded as one of the great drummers in modern jazz, Jack DeJohnette has a wide-ranging style that makes him a dynamic sideman and bandleader. He has played with virtually every major jazz figure from the 1960s on, including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, and Abbey Lincoln. Ravi Coltrane (son of John and Alice) has taken a remarkable journey over the past two decades, collaborating with jazz greats from McCoy Tyner to Joe Lovano, Ralph Alessi, Geri Allen and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts. Electric bassist Matthew Garrison (son of Jimmy) has recorded and appeared with some of the most exciting artists in jazz,  including Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin, and Herbie Hancock. The Jack DeJohnette Trio will appear at Dinkelspiel Auditorium in Satanford on July 27th and at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz on July 28th.

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The 60th Newport Jazz Festival - Coming August 1-3 E-mail
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   

 

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Wynton Marsalis
 

The festival that started it all will be celebrating its 60th year on August 1, 2 & 3, 2014. The Newport Jazz Festival has long been considered by jazz musicians to be one of the highlights of the summer festival season, so it should be no surprise that for this landmark 60th anniversary, the festival is hosting an abundance of musical riches. The festival has showcased a “Who’s Who” in jazz since 1954. Numerous artists have recorded live albums there, and the 1958 festival was the subject of the iconic, groundbreaking documentary film, Jazz on a Summer’s Day. All the festivals in the world, large and small, renowned and obscure, owe a debt of gratitude to The Newport Jazz Festival.

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Big Names, Local Stars, New Visionaries, More Venues, and a Bit of Rain: 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Fest E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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The Branford Marsalis Quartet headlined Mears Park Friday Night © Andrea Canter
 

The totally free "three-day" 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival really got its start in early June with the first of three Jazz in the Library gigs. The Saint Paul-centered event really expanded across the entire state as the festival-sponsored Jazz Central All-Stars launched a 3-month, six-city tour in late May. The festival's Lowertown/Downtown venues pushed beyond their usual boundaries to follow the new LRT Green Line along University Avenue, with six new "jazz stops" easily accessible via free rides on Light Rail. Names like Marsalis, Reeves and Krown shared raves with the likes of Aldana, Lea and Hagedorn.  With four active outdoor stages, more than two dozen additional club and concert venues, and more than 120 sets of music, an audience of over 20,000 enjoyed nearly three days of fabulous summer weather and endured one evening of torrential rain, forcing the final sets into alternative club spaces, with standing (or dripping) room only. The shows, nearly every set, went on without missing a beat, contributing to one of the most memorable jazz festivals in the event's sixteen-year history.

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Denny Zeitlin: Trio Splendor on "Stairway to the Stars" (2014, Sunnyside) E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

 

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Stairway to the Stars

I live in Minnesota, pianist/psychiatrist Denny Zeitlin lives in California, yet I feel like I have been his patient for years.  Listening to a Zeitlin recording is surely the equivalent to an hour on his couch without a co-pay--alternately relaxing, provocative, and refreshing. And while his latest release, Stairway to the Stars, was recorded over a decade ago with his then-new trio with Buster Williams and Matt Wilson, the music has lost none of its power to intrigue and endure.

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