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"Jazz is probably the best music for worship, because it speaks to the existential situation of a human being." - Rev. John Garcia Gensel (Sheperd of the Night Flock).
 
 Monday, 01 September 2014
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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.

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

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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.”


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More of The Ella Songbooks: Connie Evingson and Jon Weber at the Jungle, August 31 E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Connie Evingson©Andrea Canter
 

Some musical partnerships were just meant to be. Twin Cities vocalist Connie Evingson and New York-based pianist and honorary Twin Citian Jon Weber paired up during the 2012 Twin Cities Jazz Festival and on a Prairie Home Companion European cruise, where they cooked up the idea for a show for Connie's Jazz at the Jungle series at the Jungle Theater in south Minneapolis. In Summer 2013, they revisited songs of David Frishberg that Connie had recorded on her 2008 album, Little Did I Dream. In spring 2014, they teamed up again to present "Desert Island Picks" --their favorites from the Great American Songbook, the Beatles, Frishberg, Sting and more. Next in June, Connie and Jon sifted through the voluminous repertoire of Ella Fitzgerald in two sold-out performances of The Best of the Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks. On August 31, with bassist Gordon Johnson, Connie and Jon return to the Jungle to revisit the Songbooks with an all-new program of Ella's favorites, with two shows, 4 and 7:30 pm.

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

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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.

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36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival Aug. 28-31 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

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Craig Taborn © Andrea Canter

One of the world's largest free jazz festivals, the Chicago Jazz Festival takes place August 28-31. This year’s headliners include trumpeter and noted film music composer Terence Blanchard; vibraphonist and jazz education pioneer Gary Burton; Miles Davis alumnus bassist Dave Holland and his all star fusion band Prism featuring three of modern jazz’s leading lights – keyboardist Craig Taborn, guitarist Kevin Eubanks (formerly of The Tonight Show Band) and drummer Eric Harland; jazz’s most celebrated new singer in years (and rightly so), Cecile McLorin Salvant; Chicago-affiliated bassist Rufus Reid; trumpeter and now elder statesman and noted mentor Tom Harrell leading a new band, Colors of a Dream, featuring Esperanza Spalding. Finally, the Sun Ra Arkestra celebrates the centennial of Ra’s “arrival” on planet Earth from Saturn.

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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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"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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