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 Thursday, 23 October 2014
The 2014 Montreal Jazz Liturgy and Dialogic Sessions PDF Print
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   
Thursday, 18 September 2014

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.

Monterey must-sees: our Top Six picks for the 57th annual Monterey Jazz Festival and why PDF Print
Written by Pamela Espeland   
Thursday, 18 September 2014
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.

Come Rain or Come Shine: The 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival Mostly Shined PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Friday, 12 September 2014


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.

The 35th Montreal Jazz Festival—A Landmark Celebration in 2014! PDF Print
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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.”

36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival Aug. 28-31 PDF Print
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
Sunday, 24 August 2014

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.

"Jazz Speaks for Life": The 35th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival, August 29-September 1 PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Wednesday, 06 August 2014


“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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