Archive | Album/Artist Review RSS feed for this section

Treme in Seattle – A Concert Review

5 Sep

“A Night in Treme” Featuring the Rebirth Brass Band, Donald Harrison, and Glen David Andrews at Jazz Alley in Seattle, September 1-4, 2011.

The musical New Orleans neighborhood of Treme showed up to Jazz Alley last week, featuring the likes of the Rebirth Brass Band, saxophonist Donald Harrison, and trombonist Glen David Andrews.

I attended the opening night sold-out first set at Jazz Alley, and right away it was apparent that the musicians had every intention of turning the club into a Pacific Northwest sliver of New Orleans.

I wasn’t sure how the show would be divided up for the performers ahead of time, but as it turned out the Rebirth Brass Band would be the featured performers throughout, sprinkled with guest appearances by Harrison and Andrews.

The energy that Rebirth brought was immediate and throughout. The seven member band, joking around and wearing street clothes, opened with the Fats Domino Tune I’m Walkin, which took about three seconds to get people out of their seats dancing. Rebirth followed that with three songs very different from each other – Grazin’ in the Grass, the Professor Longhair tune Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and a song they called Mexican Special.

I always find myself concerned when the initial band brings such an intense overload of energy, the special guests who join them mid-concert wont be able to keep that energy up. This was not the case.

Donald Harrison joined Rebirth after four songs, showing exactly why he is Big Chief Donald Harrison. While he went on stage with his sax, he spent the majority of the time on vocals, starting with an emotional and intense Mardi Gras Indian chant before the band joined in with song. When he did play his sax, we were all reminded why he is both a New Orleans musician and a national recording artist, blowing the roof off of the alley with exploding improvisation.

Harrison was followed by Glen David Andrews, who is not only a good New Orleans trombone player, but at 6 foot 4 inches tall, a massive stage presence and performer. Starting his performance from his dressing room, Andrews performed Down in the Treme (written by John Boutte, the theme song for the HBO television show Treme), everywhere from on stage, up the stairway, on the second floor, on tables, and everywhere in between.

With a show featuring as much talent and excitement as this, I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that Glen David Andrews stole the show, but the endless line of people wanting to meet him following the show might suggest that he did.

Seattle needed to have this neighborhood of New Orleans brought to it. It wouldn’t have been right if waiters and waitresses had open walkways to deliver food. Instead the staff fought through the sold out crowd on the first floor, all of which was up on their feet dancing and waving their napkins, needing little encouragement to do so. Seattle not only got a slice of true New Orleans culture, but were given an opportunity to get up, dance, and smile. No doubt many audience members left wondering how soon they could make their next trip to NOLA for more dancing and smiling.

A Tour of Treme with Donald Harrison and Glen David Andrews

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (781-790)

21 Aug

Here is another 10 to add to the list.

Remember that there is no ranking system here, and if you don’t see your favorite jazz album yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

Hopefully these lists will inspire you to seek some of these albums out that perhaps you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Either way, let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 771 through 780.

1. The Survivor’s Suite – Keith Jarrett (ECM, 1976) CLICK HERE TO BUY

2. A New Perspective – Donald Byrd (EMI Music Distribution, 1963) CLICK HERE TO BUY

3. Liberation Music Orchestra – Charlie Haden (Impulse!, 1969) CLICK HERE TO BUY

4. Change of the Century – Ornette Coleman (Atlantic, 1959) CLICK HERE TO BUY

5. Two Blocks From the Edge – Michael Brecker (Impulse!, 1997) CLICK HERE TO BUY

6. Sonny Rollins Plus 4 – Sonny Rollins (Original Jazz Classics, 1964) CLICK HERE TO BUY

7. The Second John Handy Album – John Handy (Koch Jazz, 1967) CLICK HERE TO BUY

8. The Kicker – Joe Henderson (Milestone/OJC, 1967) CLICK HERE TO BUY

9. Morning Fun – Zoot Sims/Bob Brookmeyer (Black Lyon, 1956) CLICK HERE TO BUY

10. Blossom Dearie – Blossom Dearie (Verve, 1956-1959) CLICK HERE TO BUY

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (771-780)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (761-770)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (751-760)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 750

“Now in Stores” XIV

6 Aug

Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. Bouncer by Cedar Walton (Half Note Records, July 19, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

NEA Jazz Master Cedar Walton has enjoyed an up-tempo career, which never seems to slow down. As a composer, Cedar is one of the finest in jazz whose works have been widely recorded with many now being recognized as jazz standards. For his latest HighNote recording, Walton returns to his favored quintet format with poll-winning trombonist Steve Turre adding his luxurious, velvet tone to Vincent Herring’s saxophone sound.

2. Dawn of Goodbye by Dominick Farinacci (Entertainment One Music, July 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Following the acclaim that greeted his first album for eOne Lovers, Tales & Dances the young trumpet genius Dominick Farinacci returns with a new set of tunes that reveals new dimensions and nuances in his emerging, individual blend of instrumental fire and ice. Doms first album was a lush, orchestirated affair but on Twilight Blue, he is fronting a smaller, more swinging and agile ensemble that navigates standards and originals with equal finesse.
The buzz on Farinacci has been building in core jazz circles for two years. His club appearances in Los Angeles and New York have been well-attended by tastemakers such as Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, and Wynton Marsalis, who has served as a mentor to Dominick since Doms days at Juilliard. And award-winning jazz blogger/journalist Doug Ramsey has been an influential champion at his website, Rifftides.
Now, the jazz world prepares for a new taste of the Farinacci magic: melodic, colorful, and always in the groove. This album may be called Twilight Blue, but its kaleidoscopic vibe shines through all the time.

3. The Unissued Seattle Broadcast by John Coltrane (Rare Live Recordings, June 14, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Import-only live archive release from the Jazz legend. On September 30, 1965, John Coltrane took his new group to The Penthouse, in Seattle, to make a professional recording during that engagement which would later be issued on Impulse as Live In Seattle. That same day, the group was broadcast over the radio and the music was taped by an amateur fan. All preserved music from this broadcast, which doesn’t duplicate a single note of the aforementioned album, is presented on this release. Among its highlights are a long version of an untitled original tune, and Trane’s final version of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’, which only appears in his discography on two other occasions.

4. The Gathering by Diane Schuur (Vanguard Records, June 7, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Two-time Grammy® Award winner and one of contemporary jazz’s leading vocalists, Diane Schuur, has signed with Vanguard Records. She will be releasing her label debut, The Gathering, on June 7th. With a distinguished career that spans nearly three decades, Schuur’s new album is unique in both material and style, and features special guests Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Mark Knopfler, Larry Carlton and Kirk Whalum. The Gathering is a collection of 10 classic country songs, mostly written during the golden era of the 1960s, and is the first time Schuur has featured this genre of music. On selections like Willie Nelson’s “Healing Hands of Time,” Roger Miller’s “When Two Worlds Collide,” Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again” and Tammy Wynette’s “Til I Can Make It on My Own,” Schuur’s great vocal versatility shines through.

5. Family Fugue by Bucky & John Pizzarelli (Abors Records, July 12, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Pure Pizzarelli magic at its finest! A special Benny Goodman salute by Bucky and John Pizzarelli, recorded live at Tanglewood with Martin Pizzarelli on bass, Larry Fuller on piano, and Tony Tedesco on drums.

 

 

“Now in Stores” XIII

“Now in Stores” XII

“Now in Stores” XI

“Now in Stores” X

“Now In Stores” IX

“Now In Stores” VIII

“Now In Stores” VII

Now in Stores (Late May, June, and July)

“Now in Stores” – 5/16/2010 to 5/22/2010

“Now in Stores” – 5/2/2010 to 5/8/2010

Now in Stores” – 4/25/2010 to 5/1/2010

“Now in Stores” – 4/18/2010 t0 4/24/2010

“Now In Stores” – 5 Noteworthy Jazz Albums Released this Week (4/11/2010-4/17/10)

"Now in Stores" XIV

6 Aug

Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. Bouncer by Cedar Walton (Half Note Records, July 19, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

NEA Jazz Master Cedar Walton has enjoyed an up-tempo career, which never seems to slow down. As a composer, Cedar is one of the finest in jazz whose works have been widely recorded with many now being recognized as jazz standards. For his latest HighNote recording, Walton returns to his favored quintet format with poll-winning trombonist Steve Turre adding his luxurious, velvet tone to Vincent Herring’s saxophone sound.

2. Dawn of Goodbye by Dominick Farinacci (Entertainment One Music, July 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Following the acclaim that greeted his first album for eOne Lovers, Tales & Dances the young trumpet genius Dominick Farinacci returns with a new set of tunes that reveals new dimensions and nuances in his emerging, individual blend of instrumental fire and ice. Doms first album was a lush, orchestirated affair but on Twilight Blue, he is fronting a smaller, more swinging and agile ensemble that navigates standards and originals with equal finesse.
The buzz on Farinacci has been building in core jazz circles for two years. His club appearances in Los Angeles and New York have been well-attended by tastemakers such as Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, and Wynton Marsalis, who has served as a mentor to Dominick since Doms days at Juilliard. And award-winning jazz blogger/journalist Doug Ramsey has been an influential champion at his website, Rifftides.
Now, the jazz world prepares for a new taste of the Farinacci magic: melodic, colorful, and always in the groove. This album may be called Twilight Blue, but its kaleidoscopic vibe shines through all the time.

3. The Unissued Seattle Broadcast by John Coltrane (Rare Live Recordings, June 14, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Import-only live archive release from the Jazz legend. On September 30, 1965, John Coltrane took his new group to The Penthouse, in Seattle, to make a professional recording during that engagement which would later be issued on Impulse as Live In Seattle. That same day, the group was broadcast over the radio and the music was taped by an amateur fan. All preserved music from this broadcast, which doesn’t duplicate a single note of the aforementioned album, is presented on this release. Among its highlights are a long version of an untitled original tune, and Trane’s final version of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’, which only appears in his discography on two other occasions.

4. The Gathering by Diane Schuur (Vanguard Records, June 7, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Two-time Grammy® Award winner and one of contemporary jazz’s leading vocalists, Diane Schuur, has signed with Vanguard Records. She will be releasing her label debut, The Gathering, on June 7th. With a distinguished career that spans nearly three decades, Schuur’s new album is unique in both material and style, and features special guests Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Mark Knopfler, Larry Carlton and Kirk Whalum. The Gathering is a collection of 10 classic country songs, mostly written during the golden era of the 1960s, and is the first time Schuur has featured this genre of music. On selections like Willie Nelson’s “Healing Hands of Time,” Roger Miller’s “When Two Worlds Collide,” Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again” and Tammy Wynette’s “Til I Can Make It on My Own,” Schuur’s great vocal versatility shines through.

5. Family Fugue by Bucky & John Pizzarelli (Abors Records, July 12, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Pure Pizzarelli magic at its finest! A special Benny Goodman salute by Bucky and John Pizzarelli, recorded live at Tanglewood with Martin Pizzarelli on bass, Larry Fuller on piano, and Tony Tedesco on drums.

 

 

“Now in Stores” XIII

“Now in Stores” XII

“Now in Stores” XI

“Now in Stores” X

“Now In Stores” IX

“Now In Stores” VIII

“Now In Stores” VII

Now in Stores (Late May, June, and July)

“Now in Stores” – 5/16/2010 to 5/22/2010

“Now in Stores” – 5/2/2010 to 5/8/2010

Now in Stores” – 4/25/2010 to 5/1/2010

“Now in Stores” – 4/18/2010 t0 4/24/2010

“Now In Stores” – 5 Noteworthy Jazz Albums Released this Week (4/11/2010-4/17/10)

HBO’s “Treme” kept music a centerpiece in Season 2

9 Jul

Season 2 of the HBO television series Treme just came to a close, and was renewed for a third season.

While one might say that an ongoing theme in Season 1 was immediate recovery and adjustment for the city of New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina, and Season 2 examined issues with violence and corruption a year later, music remained a vibrant focal point throughout.

Far from simply offering an enjoyable soundtrack, Season 2 of Treme shows the overwhelming importance of music in New Orleans on a variety of levels. Keeping with the mission in the first season, Treme continues to use New Orleans musicians as reoccurring characters playing themselves, in venues they might normally be found, as well as great cameo appearances from jazz and folk superstars.

Season 2 featured musical highlights including scenes and performances by NOLA locals and non-locals, including Dr. John, Donald Harrison, Henry Butler, Kermit Ruffins, the Hot 8 Brass Band, Galactic, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ron Carter, John Hiatt and Shawn Colvin.

Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers

These performances and appearances were not only entertaining, but keep in stride with the attempts of the program to offer a certain element of “real”. Kermit Ruffins is regularly found leading groups in NOLA bars and clubs to packed crowds. Donald Harrison is recruited late in the season to perform on a record designed to mix modern jazz with the sounds of Mardi Gras Indians. As KPLU’s Robin Lloyd pointed out to me, this is very appropriate for Harrison. He is the Big Chief of the Congo Nation Afro-New Orleans Cultural Group which keeps alive the secret traditions of Congo Square, but has also spent a great deal of time being involved in everything from smooth jazz to hip-hop.

In the Season 2 finale, hope was offered after a tumultuous season, where Jazz Fest takes center stage, and the program closes out with an emotional montage set to the Louis Armstrong recording of Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.

While the close of Season 2 suggests more optimism than the finale of Season 1 did, several elements of pain and struggle to come for the city of New Orleans in Season 3 are indicated. No doubt that it will be set to the wonderful sounds and music of a city that continues to struggle in recovery.

HBO's "Treme" kept music a centerpiece in Season 2

9 Jul

Season 2 of the HBO television series Treme just came to a close, and was renewed for a third season.

While one might say that an ongoing theme in Season 1 was immediate recovery and adjustment for the city of New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina, and Season 2 examined issues with violence and corruption a year later, music remained a vibrant focal point throughout.

Far from simply offering an enjoyable soundtrack, Season 2 of Treme shows the overwhelming importance of music in New Orleans on a variety of levels. Keeping with the mission in the first season, Treme continues to use New Orleans musicians as reoccurring characters playing themselves, in venues they might normally be found, as well as great cameo appearances from jazz and folk superstars.

Season 2 featured musical highlights including scenes and performances by NOLA locals and non-locals, including Dr. John, Donald Harrison, Henry Butler, Kermit Ruffins, the Hot 8 Brass Band, Galactic, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ron Carter, John Hiatt and Shawn Colvin.

Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers

These performances and appearances were not only entertaining, but keep in stride with the attempts of the program to offer a certain element of “real”. Kermit Ruffins is regularly found leading groups in NOLA bars and clubs to packed crowds. Donald Harrison is recruited late in the season to perform on a record designed to mix modern jazz with the sounds of Mardi Gras Indians. As KPLU’s Robin Lloyd pointed out to me, this is very appropriate for Harrison. He is the Big Chief of the Congo Nation Afro-New Orleans Cultural Group which keeps alive the secret traditions of Congo Square, but has also spent a great deal of time being involved in everything from smooth jazz to hip-hop.

In the Season 2 finale, hope was offered after a tumultuous season, where Jazz Fest takes center stage, and the program closes out with an emotional montage set to the Louis Armstrong recording of Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.

While the close of Season 2 suggests more optimism than the finale of Season 1 did, several elements of pain and struggle to come for the city of New Orleans in Season 3 are indicated. No doubt that it will be set to the wonderful sounds and music of a city that continues to struggle in recovery.

School of Jazz: Volume 7 available

7 Jun

Only available online – purchase here

Several of Western Washington’s finest high school jazz bands and jazz professionals are showcased on KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 7, the station’s latest CD release which is the culmination of this year’s mentoring project.

In 2005, as part of its continuing support of music education in the schools, KPLU developed a mentoring program involving bands from 10 high schools and one middle school, and the participation of 11 local jazz professionals. The fruits of this partnership yielded the first KPLU School of Jazz CD release.  Volumes 2 through 6 have featured a core group of bands from the inaugural group along with one or two new participating jazz bands and guest artists.

In addition to 11 area high school jazz bands, KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 7 includes the advanced ensemble from Seattle JazzED, a non-profit organization that offers the highest level of jazz education and performance to the youth of the Seattle metropolitan area.

The complete list of participants on KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 7: Stadium High School (Tacoma), North Thurston High School (Olympia), Jackson High School (Mill Creek), Squalicum High School (Bellingham), Mercer Island High School, Shorewood High School (Shoreline), Mountlake Terrace High School, Edmonds-Woodway High School, Kentridge High School (Kent), Bellevue High School, Mt. Vernon High School, and the advanced ensemble from Seattle JazzED.

Guests artists included on KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 7: David Marriott, Chad McCullough, Jay Thomas, Maria Joyner, Thomas Marriott, Jim Sisko, Tom Varner, Josh Cook, Ken French, Gary Shutes, and Andy Omdahl.  All proceeds benefit Western Washington school music programs.

KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 7 includes songs by Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Bobby Timmons, Dusko Goykovich, Arturo Sandoval, and Radiohead.

This year’s project is made possible through the generous support of BECU, Chaplins Subaru, Fischer Plumbing, and Cornish College of the Arts.

%d bloggers like this: