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Eric Dolphy: “When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone, in the air, you can never capture it again.”
 Friday, 22 May 2015
Take an "Impossible Vacation" With Firebell at the Black Dog, May 23 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

Firebell©Andrea Canter

Five years ago, three of the area's most productive and creative jazz artists came together as Firebell, a guitar/bass/drum trio drawing on the talents of Park Evans, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein. Over the years they have experimented with original compositions as well as some unique interpretations of jazz and pop standards, finally culminating in the release of their first recording, Impossible Vacation (Shifting Paradigm Records) last November. The vacation continues this holiday weekend, at the Black Dog on Saturday, May 23 (8:30 pm). Part of the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series, the night opens at 7 pm with music from Central Standard Time.

Chris Lomheim Trio at The Nicollet, May 22 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

Chris Lomheim©Andrea Canter

Long a mainstay in the Twin Cities jazz community, pianist Chris Lomheim is known for his affinity for Bill Evans, his sublime skills as a singer's accompanist, and for his creative, lush compositions. Yet Lomheim's recorded output has been limited - his first (1994, Igmod) was aptly titled And You've Been Waiting; eight years later he released The Bridge (Artegra). Figuring he had waited long enough, Lomheim applied for a state arts board grant in 2013 to write and record new trio music, yielding Timelines, released in October 2014 with a sold-out show at Studio Z in St. Paul. The trio (with Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein) returned to St Paul in November, performing at the Black Dog. With Reid Kennedy taking over the trapset, the Chris Lomheim Trio debut at The Nicollet on Friday, May 22, part of the Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet series curated by Steve Kenny.

Spotlighting Women in Jazz: The 2014 Wall Street Jazz Festival E-mail
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   

Wall Street Jazz Festival

Marking the end of summer 2014, the 11th Annual Wall Street Jazz Festival was held on Saturday, August 30.  The festivities took place on a beautiful evening in the picturesque town of Kingston, in upstate New York. Earlier in the day, the sky had been overcast, but luckily, the rain that had been threatening never appeared, and the weather was perfect for this wonderfully laid-back festival.  People packed the sidewalks and the blocked-off section of Kingston’s Wall Street, shopped at the boutiques, ate at the restaurants and delicatessens, and enjoyed a great evening of free music, whether they were relaxing to the groove or dancing in the streets!

The aim of the festival, from its inception, has been to spotlight women in jazz. The festival slogan is, “Where the traditions meet the progressives, and all the leaders are women!” Because all the music was presented on one stage, people had the chance to visit with friends between sets, grab snacks and drinks, and generally chill out, without missing any of the music.

Steve Johns' "Family" (StrikeZone, 2015) E-mail
Written by Glenn A. Mitchell, LA Jazz Scene   

 “Steve Johns is a master drummer and bandleader. His bass playing son Daryl Johns and saxophonist wife Debbie Johns are amazing.  Stellar debut and Steve proves drummers are musicians, and pretty good producers too.  Great musical family.” --Lenny White

“A tight knit modern quartet with great feel, original tunes, arrangements and soloists.”  --Randy Brecker


Master drummer Steve Johns has been in the creative jazz world for better than three decades.  He met his wife, tenor and soprano saxophonist Debbie Keefe Johns, at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1979.  They started out their career journey in New York City and both have many, many memorable credits.  Their new CD Family is a celebration to capture their music as a family before son Daryl, an upcoming dynamic bassist, goes off to studies at the Manhattan School of Music.  Daryl Johns plays both acoustic and electric bass.   They are joined by special guests, guitar great Dave Stryker (who produced the CD) on five tracks and electric guitarist Bob Devos on four tracks. 

Esperanza Spalding Presents "Emily's D + Evolution" -- Rocking at the Independent E-mail
Written by Ken Vermes   


On May 5, a packed club in San Francisco, the Independent, was about to see jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding present her new music and stage presentation,  Emily’s D + Evolution. Quite a number of the listeners that night had either never seen her, or were vaguely familiar with her music through videos or word of mouth. What they couldn’t have known was that the transformation of one of the world’s highest profile jazz bass player was about to take place in a way no one could have predicted.

Right at Home in "Foreign Territory": John Raymond's New Release E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   


Foreign Motion

Twin Cities native John Raymond seems to be living every young jazz musician's dream -- finding success in New York, on the bandstand and in the studio. With regular club gigs with his own ensembles, participating in the renowned Festival of New Trumpet, and now releasing a recording with the great Billy Hart,  John is building a reputation as one of the rising stars of the Big Apple. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and State University of New York-Purchase jazz programs, John released his first full-length recording, Strength and Song, in 2012 with support from SUNY-Purchase mentor and producer John Faddis. Noted All About Jazz New York, "Strength & Song signals the arrival of an exciting new trumpet personality poised for greater things." Greater things indeed. Now on Fresh Sound/New Talent, John Raymond is celebrating the release this week of Foreign Territory, featuring pianist Dan Tepfer, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Billy Hart. 

Charles Lloyd at SFJazz E-mail
Written by Ken Vermes   

Charles Lloyd©Andrea Canter

Like the Pharoah Sanders concert earlier this year, the Charles Lloyd series of shows at SFJAZZ on April 24-26 demonstrated how, if you persevere, your time will come. Lloyd burst onto the jazz scene with a group of fellow “new” stars, among them Chico Hamilton, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Jeremy Steig and Denny Zeitlin. From 1965-69, Lloyd led a quartet with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette, a fusion of straight-ahead post-bop, free jazz, and world music that became a hit with fans and critics, particularly their iconic album, Forest Flower: Live at Monterey. But Lloyd's popularity would be a mixed blessing for someone who would take years to come to terms with the consequences of success.

Chris Potter Takes Charge at SFJAZZ E-mail
Written by Ken Vermes   
Chris Potter © Andrea Canter

There is a reason that the saxophone has been one of the most dominant instruments in the history of jazz. Its range, timbre, flexibility, and long history in the music gives it a dynamic hard to match. It isn’t that there have not been great pianists, trumpeters, bass players, and the rest. But when sax players take charge, master the instrument, and propel themselves to the head of the class, it can be said that there is cause for a major celebration. Such moments are rare in any art. In music they happen when one player, or an entire band, creates a sense of peak effort that is sustained and memorable beyond any others like it. There are many fans of this music who never see any moments like these. And they were a lot more frequent when the great masters were on the planet, such as August 12, 1958 when the “Great Day in Harlem” photo was created, for example. Or in the time when one could walk the jazz listeners' paradise on 52nd Street in New York City.


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