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“My time with Monk brought me into association with a supreme architect of music” - John Coltrane
 
 Sunday, 21 September 2014
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NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi Returns to Los Angeles, Cathlene Pineda Opens 9/26 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

Toshiko Akiyoshi
Toshiko Akiyoshi

Toshiko Akiyoshi’s unique contributions to the jazz world started with a piano-loving little Japanese girl in China and brought her to prominence as an unparalleled pianist, composer and leader of the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, which began in Los Angeles. Toshiko’s recordings have received a total of 14 Grammy Award nominations, and she was the first woman to win the Best Arranger and Composer awards in Down Beat magazine's Readers Poll. The Toshiko Akiyoshi appears in trio format with bassist Paul Gill and drummer Aarron Kimmel on Friday, September 26th at REDCAT in Los Angeles. Opening this evening's double bill is emerging pianist/composer Cathlene Pineda with her quartet. Her unique approach to harmony makes her a fresh and innovative contribution to the Los Angeles jazz scene.

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The World of Steven Hobert: Improvising Through "Ocean Eyes" E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
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Ocean Eyes

"My vision is to create an authentic expression of my passion & play through music and let it sing out into the world." --Steven Hobert

Steven Hobert is one of those musicians that tends to stun you when you hear him because he typically flies under the radar. We hear him on piano with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, on accordion with Lulu's Playground, but rarely as leader or interpreter of his own creations. He played a solo set during the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, which provided a preview of some of the bold original works and spontaneous improvisations that form the bulk of the material on his new recording, Ocean Eyes. It's a release that should open eyes, and ears, to one of the more creative minds in the region. And the release will be celebrated this weekend, in Eau Claire (September 19) and St Paul (September 20).

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The 2014 Montreal Jazz Liturgy and Dialogic Sessions E-mail
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   

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Rev. Peter Woods
 

Each year, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presents an abundance of musical offerings, and inspires several of jazz-related events in the city. (See general review of the 2014 festival.)

The Fourth Annual Jamming at St. James—A Jazz Liturgy

Jamming at St. James, the jazz liturgy held on Sunday, June 29 at Montréal’s historic St. James United Church, was started by respected Canadian educator Professor Norman Cornett. Professor Cornett’s numerous activities kept him from hosting this year, although he was in attendance.  The service started with “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” which initially seemed like a surprising choice for a liturgy. This year’s host, Reverend Peter Woods (who did double duty on the saxophone), explained that he had once played it at a funeral, because the deceased had wanted that song. The congregation got a good laugh, realizing just how appropriate the song was for the occasion! During the liturgy, Cantor Stephanie Hradsky added her beautiful voice to the proceedings.

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Monterey must-sees: our Top Six picks for the 57th annual Monterey Jazz Festival and why E-mail
Written by Pamela Espeland   
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Cecile McLorin Salvant by John Abbott
 
 
Deciding to attend the Monterey Jazz Festival is easy, especially once you’ve been there. It only takes one time to fall in love with the music, the ambience, and the setting, a WPA-era fairgrounds with winding paths and mature trees and a mixture of buildings that three weeks ago hosted the Monterey County Fair, complete with pig races. This will be our 10th consecutive year at the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, co-founded in 1958 by Jimmy Lyons and Ralph J. Gleason with a big helping hand from Dave Brubeck, who paved the way by performing for the Monterey City Council in 1957 with his quartet. He charmed them, then graced the festival 15 times in 55 years.

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"Live and Natural" Over Twenty-Five Years With Bruce Henry E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Bruce Henry©Andrea Canter
 

"His voice is his horn, and he can swing like Goodman, spin and spiral like Parker, or levitate like Coltrane."  -- JazzINK

Perhaps the most easily identified male voice in Twin Cities Jazz, Bruce Henry relocated to his adopted home town of Chicago in 2008. But he left not only a raft of friends and fans, but some unfinished business, including an album's worth of live tracks recorded at the Dakota Jazz Club in 2005 as well as a couple tracks going back to Ruby's Cabaret in 1990 and a couple studio tracks recorded at McNally Smith College of Music shortly before his move to Chicago. Finally, this music is assembled into Bruce's third and arguably best album yet, Live and Natural.


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Roy Hargrove Quintet at the Blue Note, NY 9/20-21 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

“…with a straight-ahead group, everyone has to contribute, (both) opening things up compositionally (and) keeping the program well-rounded.” -Roy Hargrove

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Roy Hargrove © Andrea Canter

One of the finest trumpeters in the world, Multiple Grammy-Award winning jazz trumpeter/composer Roy Hargrove has always explored diverse music, from Afro-Cuban to funk, even venturing into pop mainstream. A major force on the jazz scene since his teens, Hargrove continues to stretch his musical boundaries. A collaborator in recent years with Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, and McCoy Tyner, Hargrove plays hard-swinging trumpet and lush flugelhorn. He leads his straight-ahead quintet in further explorations of post-bop modern jazz.  Hargrove performs with his quintet atthe Blue Note in New York on Saturday, September 20th and Sunday, September 21st

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Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio at the SFJazz Center, 9/20-21 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio at the SFJazz Center, 9/20-21
Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio © Andrea Canter


Chilean-born tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana who seemed to come out of nowhere to win the prestigious 2013 Thelonious Monk Competition. Melissa when she became the first female instrumentalist and first South American to win any of the Monk top honors in the 26-year history of the competition. She  released the album Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio this summer. It is the first recording featuring the three band mates together - Aldana, bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Francisco Mela (click here for a Jazz Police review). SFJazz presents Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio at the  SFJazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab on Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st.
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Come Rain or Come Shine: The 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival Mostly Shined E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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I'm glad I take a lot of photos at the Detroit Jazz Festival every year because, after four days of nonstop music, I am admittedly bleary-eared and brain dead, and the photos help me remember what I heard. But I wouldn't have it any other way (unless I could just be ten years younger?). The 35th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival was almost perfect, from the soaring fire of the Bad Plus with Joshua Redman that opened the weekend to the Herculean effort of Phil Woods blowing his sax while an oxygen tank ensured enough air, from the sweet and sassy vocals of multi-lingual rising star Cyrille Aimee and ferocious keyboards of festival piano competition winner Tal Cohen to the "super" sounds of the 2014 Mack Avenue Superband and the full-throttle excitement of Mack Avenue's Sean Jones Quartet, from the youthful talents of Michigan's university ensembles to the unwavering delights of veterans Tom Harell, Barry Harris, Ron Carter, Dave Holland and Pharoah Sanders. The only downbeat came at the very end of the final day, as storms--which had threatened all weekend--finally moved in to wash out Stanley Clarke's School Daze and most of Dr. Lonnie Smith's Octet and John and Bucky Pizzarelli's family affair.

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