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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
 
 Thursday, 05 March 2015
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Gravatt and Magraw Bring Their "Fire" to The Nicollet, March 6 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw©Andrea Canter
 

“There was a time when big band people, if they had a hit, they had to play that same solo every night. We improvise and play off each other. It’s fresh every night.”  --Eric Kamau Gravatt

Drum veteran Eric Kamau Gravatt (Weather Report, McCoy Tyner) and eclectic guitar titan Dean Magraw (Red Planet) formed a duo only two years ago, but wasted little time developing a magical partnership. “We went the Coltrane direction,” says Magraw. “I really studied his compositions and the way he played music, improvised and writes music.” Gravatt proved to be a kindred spirit, a Philly native who’d grown up immersed in the city’s rich music scene, including the music of fellow Philadelphian John Coltrane. The two virtuosos brought little but their fertile imaginations to Creation Audio last spring, and followed their collaborative muse to light a Fire on the Nile, released in October 2014 by Red House Records. Fortunately they continue their collaboration with occasional gigs. On Friday, March 6 (8:30 pm), they provide the inaugural act for the new Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet in south Minneapolis.

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The O'Shaughnessy Presents "Raisin' Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey" E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

 

"… a sweet salute to Harlem’s Glory Days.”  — The Arizona Daily Star

On Friday, March 6 (7:30 pm), The O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine's University presents the multi-media show, Raisin' Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey, featuring actress/singer/dancer Jasmine Guy and the acclaimed Avery Sharpe Trio, a Women of Substance event. Inspired by the classic 1923 Jean Toomer novel Cane and works by the musicians, composers, poets, and actors of the Harlem Renaissance, the show celebrates and honors the legendary artists who became the voice of a new generation of African Americans at the end of World War I--Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. DuBois and more. Using text, song, music, movement and imagery, Raisin’ Cane brings to life this critical period of American history.

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Twin Cities Jazz Festival Announces 2015 Headliners! E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

 

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Francisco Mela©Andrea Canter

Five bands of incomparable artists will headline the 17th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival, held June 25-27 in and around Mears Park in St Paul's historic Lowertown Arts District. The new stage at the CHS (Saints) Field will host six-time Grammy winner Dr. John and the Night Trippers on the festival's closing afternoon. Appearing on the Mears Park Main Stage will be the Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet Featuring Othello Molineaux, Festival Artistic Director Francisco Mela's new Jazz Machine with special guest Nicholas Payton, 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition winner Marquis Hill, and an all-star quartet featuring Chris Potter, Dave Holland, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland. In addition to CHS Field and Mears Park Main Stage, the festival will present events on the Sixth Street and Union Depot Stages, and throughout downtown St Paul and beyond at over 20 clubs, bars and studio venues. 

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6th Annual Chi-Town Jazz Festival wraps up this week, March 4-8 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

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John Moulder: musician, priest, and producer of the Chi-Town Jazz Festival

Dianne Reeves open the festival on January 30, it now continues March 4th through 8th. This is a charitable event presenting great jazz with proceeds going to feed the hungry. Three jazz clubs present three different groups in a single evening including the Jazz Showcase on Wednesday, March 4th; Andy's on Thursday, March 5th; and the Green Mill on Friday, march 6th. Then on Sunday, March 8th as part of the Chi-Town Jazz Festival. PianoForte Studios presents double Monk program at noon, a Jazz Vespers Service will feature a big band whose repertoire will include selections from the Duke Ellington Concert of Sacred Music at First Presbyterian Evanston at 4:00 p.m., and starting at 6:00 p.m. Fitzgerald’s presents five bands. Details follow:
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Buster Williams Quartet at Smoke, March 6-8 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
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Buster Williams © Andrea Canter


Buster Williams, a bassist with virtuosic technique and an unmistakable sound. His vast resume includes working with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt when he was 17; backing singing legends Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughn and Nancy Wilson in the ’60s; anchoring Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi sextet into the ’70s; and co-founding the Timeless All-Stars and Sphere after that. Buster Williams Quartet featuring, Bruce Williams on alto saxophone, Eric Reed on piano, Buster Williams on bass, and Carl Allen on drums will appear at Smoke in Manhattan on Friday, March 6th through Sunday,March 8th.
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Terri Lyne Carrington and the Mosaic Project at SFJAZZ E-mail
Written by Ken Vermes   

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Terri Lyne Carrington (Photo - Jesse Costa/WBUR)
 

Terri Lyne Carrington may be one of the few women drummers leading a band in today’s jazz world, but she is not unnoticed or unloved. At SFJAZZ on February 14, Valentine’s Day, the Grammy-winning leader of the Mosaic Project received the love and admiration of a sold-out audience, and gave back to everyone with a generous and completely satisfying set. That she is following one of the oldest traditions in jazz, creating a show band, fits the idea that drummers are often great leaders. And in that tradition, players like Max Roach, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa,  Elvin Jones and others created some of the most exciting bands of all time, in their day. Currently Carrington stands out as a leader who has established a modernistic style and a focus on song, melody, and the vocalist’s ability to personalize a performance. This show band included a pacing and presentation that constantly kept listeners attentive and involved.

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Jazz Legend Clark Terry Dies at 94 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

"Our beloved Clark Terry has joined the big band in heaven where he'll be singing and playing with the angels. He left us peacefully, surrounded by his family, students and friends. Clark has known and played with so many amazing people in his life. He has found great joy in his friendships and his greatest passion was spending time with his students. We will miss him every minute of every day, but he will live on through the beautiful music and positivity that he gave to the world. Clark will live in our hearts forever." -   Gwen Terry

 

Clark Terry, U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Michael Worner

Trumpeter Clark Terry was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, named an NEA Jazz Master, and inducted into the Downbeat Hall of Fame among countless honors, was the consummate freelance musician, able to add a distinctive element to whatever band or jam session of which he is a part. His exuberant, swinging horn playing was an important contribution to two of the greatest big bands in jazz, Count Basie's and Duke Ellington's. In addition, his use of the flugelhorn as an alternative to trumpet influenced Art Farmer and Miles Davis, among others.

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The Big Band Sound of Rufus Reid at the Jazz Standard 2/26-3/1 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
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Rufus Reid, one of today’s premiere bassists on the international jazz scene, with his reputation firmly established in the education arena, now adds composition to his vitae. A year ago, as a composer and bandleader Reid released his ambitious Motema Music album Quiet Pride – The Elizabeth Catlett Project and debuted his big band st the Jazz Standard. Rufus Reid was nominated for two GRAMMY Awards, for Quiet Pride as Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and for the track “Recognition” as Best Instrumental Composition.  The big band sound of Rufus Reid returns to the Jazz Standard on Thursday, February 26th through Sunday, March 1st performing songs from Quiet Pride along with new compositions created for this large ensemble.

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