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... it is very difficult to put music into words. .. I am reminded of a Picasso-statement. One time a writer asked Picasso: "What does this painting mean?" And Picasso answered: "If I knew that I would be a writer.". -Dewey Redman
 
 Friday, 25 July 2014
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Now Is Now: Irv Williams Celebrates New CD on July 26th E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Then Was Then, Now is Now
 

"When we finished recording the tune 'Then Was Then, Now Is Now,' we had an epiphany as to what to name the album. Irv has enjoyed a career where his 'Then' burns bright but his 'Now' glows with a richness that can only come from a long life in music." -- Jason Rupert

A number of years ago, tenor saxophone legend Irv Williams hinted at retirement in his liner notes for That’s All (2004), but clearly that was premature. Three CDs later, the then 88-year-old known fondly as “Mr. Smooth” issued a more dramatic hint with the release of Finality (Ding Dong Music) in 2008.  But apparently the title only referred to Irv’s feelings about recording sessions, not performing opportunities. In Spring 2011, Irv seemed more determined that we let him rest his chops, proclaiming the release of yet another CD (Duke’s Mixture) at the Dakota Jazz Club to be his “Retirement Party.” Shortly thereafter, he was back playing for the Dakota’s Friday Happy Hour with Peter Schimke.  Then came the May 2012 “Retirement Party” at the Dakota, followed by more happy hours, and a special guest performance in spring 2013 with Estaire Godinez at the Museum of Russian Art.  And still he held weekly happy hours at the Dakota, which in early 2014 saw a cast change -- now a trio with guitarist Steve Blons and bassist Billy Peterson.

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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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Jazz Legend Ron Cater at Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles 7/24-26 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

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Ron Carter Laura Manchinu.jpg

Ron Carter's dexterity and harmonic sophistication on the bass have few rivals in the history of jazz. In addition to the bass, he has also employed both the cello and the piccolo bass (a downsized bass pitched somewhere between cello and contrabass), one of the first musicians to use those instruments in jazz settings.  He remains the most original, prolific, and  influential bassists in jazz. With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of music's greats: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons. In the early 1960s he performed throughout the United States in concert halls and nightclubs with Jaki Byard and Eric Dolphy. The Ron Cater Trio performs atCatalina Jazz Club on Thursday, July 24th through Saturday, July 26th.

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Donald Harrison Quintet with special guest Steve Turre at the Jazz Standard, July 24-27 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
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Donald Harrison, Jr

Saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr.  a.k.a The King of Nouveau Swing is a musician who can play it all - from traditional New Orleans, to swing, bop, post-bop, modern, smooth, avant-garde, and beyond. In 2012, Harrison’s album Quantum Leap explored new concepts in time, harmony, and melody, melding cutting-edge jazz with New Orleans funk. He’s gigged and/or recorded with scores of greats ranging from Art Blakey and Lena Horne to Dr. John and Eddie Palmieri; and mentored such rising stars as trumpeter Christian Scott and singer/horn man Trombone Shorty. This engagement will feature a very special guest: Trombonist and shells player Steve Turre, another Blakey veteran and an esteemed bandleader and recording artist in his own right. Donald Harrison quibtet with Steve Turre  on  trombone and shells, Detroit Brooks  on  guitar (Thursday, Friday, Saturday only), Zaccai Curtis  on  piano, Max Moran  on  bass, and Joe Dyson  on  drums will appear at the Jazz Standard on Thursday, July 24th through Sunday, July 27th
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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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The New Jersey Performing Arts Center: Home of the TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival E-mail
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   

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New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NPAC)
 

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark has become a major go-to venue for jazz lovers in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state area, with a year-round schedule of jazz performances. Just some of the artists to appear recently at NJPAC include Bill Charlap, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Bernie Williams, Hilary Kole, Freddy Cole, and Audra McDonald (who just won a history-making sixth Tony award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday). NJPAC also continually hosts events dedicated to up-and-coming young artists.

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