The Necks Cafe Oto London October 8, 2014 It is always a good sign when the imposing windows of Cafe Oto are misted up. If one could see through the condensation, if one could, with just one finger, remove the minuscule droplets amassed on the vertical plains, one would almost invariably spot fine music in the making. A woman, glass of red wine in hand, explains to her neighbour that, yes, this is jazz, but no, this is not like any other jazz. And that, after all, one never knows what to ...read more
Abdullah Ibrahim Zankel Hall Ubuntu: Music And Arts Of South Africa New York, NY October 17, 2014 Ubuntu. It's one little six-letter word that carries a world of meaning within its frame. The term itself, roughly translated to mean I am because you are," took root as a philosophy for black youth liberation in the '40s and '50s, but over time, ubuntu has taken on a life beyond a specific movement. It's a word that, while broad in scope, has clear implications tied to its use in South African history and culture: it's ...read more
Tribute to Prentice Pete" Douglas Douglas Beach House Half Moon Bay, CA October 4-5, 2014 In some ways, for all of us who time and again came to the Douglas Beach House in Half Moon Bay to listen to some of the finest jazz anywhere, the passing of Prentice Pete" Douglas--the absence of the man who sat along the east wall sucking on his dead pipe, listening to the music, sometimes kicking his leg out when something in particular caught his fancy--left an empty space in the hearts of all. So, what do you ...read more
Lila Downs Jazz At Lincoln Center New York, NY October 11, 2014 On her two-day residence at Jazz At Lincoln Center, Lila Downs showcased a solid set of old favorites alongside new material from Raiz (Sony Latin, 2014), a collaboration with singers Soledad and Niña Pastori. Backed by an eight-piece band rounded out by Paul Cohen (Musical Director/tenor saxophone), Jugo Moreno (trumpet), George Saenz (trombone & accordion), Leo Soqui (accordion/keys/jarana and shoe percussion), Rafael Gomez (acoustic and electric guitars), Luis Guzman (electric and ukulele bass), Samuel Torres (percussion) and Luis Huerta (drums), ...read more
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Fillmore Auditorium Denver October 4, 2014 Robert Plant's new album, Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch, 2014), is an atmospheric affair; music suitable for horseback riding at twilight in misty woods while on the lookout for the Headless Horseman. Perhaps the Led Zeppelin tune most closely matching the feel for many of the songs on the new album is No Quarter." So it was entirely appropriate that Plant and his Sensational Space Shifters began their concert Saturday night with... No Quarter." Plant and his band went on to ...read more
Kurt Elling: Passion World" Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Perelman Theater Philadelphia, PA October 5, 2014 Kurt Elling has repeatedly proved his mettle as a vocalist, accumulating so many Downbeat awards and Grammy nominations that it seems superfluous to once again critique any of his performances. One can only say, Ditto, he's done it again." But, because he keeps developing his scope, it's always worth taking a new look. A telescopic perspective can help. The last time this reviewer saw Elling live was a decade ago ...read more
Carl Bartlett, Jr. Jazz At Kitano New York, NY September 25, 2014 Alto saxophonist Carl Bartlett, Jr.'s musical bloodlines run deep. The son of Carl Bartlett, Sr. and nephew of Charles Bartlett (who formed an R&B show and dance band The Bartlett Contemporaries"), Carl, Jr. has the pedigree. He also has the chops. Bartlett attended the Manhattan School of Music. In his short career he has graced the stage with Wynton Marsalis, Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Hargrove and others. Along with the members of his quartet (Yoichi Uzeki on piano, ...read more
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