Melissa Aldana and Lionel Loueke Summerstage at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival Marcus Garvey Park New York, NY August 23, 2014 Playing before a packed audience at Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park, Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana made her Charlie Parker Jazz Festival debut backed by a piano-less trio rounded out by Pablo Menares (bass) and Francisco Mela (drums), kicking off with a down-tempo take on George Gershwin's I Loves You Porgy" in which the bandleader took advantage of the blank spaces left in the music to improvise. She followed with the original ...read more
Gov't Mule Paramount Theater Rutland, Vermont August 15, 2014 The cozy confines of the stage at Rutland's Paramount Theater barely held Gov't Mule's equipment set up this mid-August Friday night and, similarly, the beautifully restored venue's walls and ceiling barely contained the thunderous sound of the quartet. Luxuriating in its movement through a two-set, three-hour performance (perhaps to a fault), the quartet nevertheless finished with a fast flourish, in doing so confirming this late summer show had been conceived as a single entity unto itself. Unusually animated throughout the evening with calls to ...read more
Swallow-Talmor-Nussbaum TrioDouglas Beach House Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society Half Moon Bay, California August 10, 2014 A rare U.S. performance by the highly sophisticated and seasoned jazz trio of Steve Swallow, electric bass; Ohad Talmor, tenor saxophone; and Adam Nussbaum on drums, set the stage for a two-set performance. Before his passing on July 12, 2014, Pete Douglas, the legendary club owner and founder of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, talked about this trio and how much he had looked forward to hearing them, and for good reason. Swallow has played with many ...read more
Earl Klugh Blue Note Jazz Club New York, NY August 14, 2014 On a pleasant, Thursday evening in mid-August, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Earl Klugh treated the packed and very enthusiastic audience at New York City's Blue Note Jazz Club to a spectacular night of silky smooth jazz. The slightly muggy venue was packed, but not overcrowded. The anticipation was high as Klugh and his quartet started his show (the first of two separately scheduled sets) promptly at 8pm. Klugh and his band immediately warmed up the crowd and created a perfect mood with ...read more
Edgar Winter, Vanilla Fudge, Peter Rivera formerly of Rare Earth & Savoy Brown's Kim Simmonds NYCB Theatre at Westbury WBAB Rock 'n' Brews Fest Westbury, NY August 1, 2014 Blues-rock guitar virtuoso Johnny Winter passed away in St. Gallen, Switzerland on July 16, 2014 at the age of 70. The music world lost the man who, in 2003, was ranked by Rolling Stone as the 63rd greatest guitarist of all time. The guitarist was also multi-instrumentalist, a great singer an award winning producer and a member if the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame. His ...read more
Boz Scaggs NYCB Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY August 3, 2014 Boz Scaggs first came to prominence as a member of the original and bluesier version of the Steve Miller Band. He secured a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1968, exited the Steve Miller Band, and in 1969, he released an eponymously titled album. During the past forty-five years, he has recorded as a solo artist and as a member of the New York Rock And Soul Review (with Donald Fagen, Phoebe Snow and Michael McDonald). He has also toured as a solo act, ...read more
Mustered Courage Hill Country Barbecue New York, NY July 28, 2014 Mustered Courage is a Melbourne, Australia-based quartet that plays a decidedly American-influenced brand of music. Its sound is a countrified modern mix of bluegrass, folk, rockabilly, honky-tonk, pop, western swing, rootsy rock, gospel and blues. In short, Americana. But not just any brand of Americana. Mustered Courage's brand is unique in the fact that its music appeals to the most staunch and conservative traditionalist as well as the most open-minded green and uninitiated neophyte. The group--consisting of three Aussies (Julian Abrahams on ...read more
Theory of a Deadman Marlin Room at Webster Hall New York City July 30, 2014 Even before Tyler Connolly, front man for the Canadian rock band Theory of a Deadman, told the crowd that the band still loves what they do," that fact was quite evident to those who packed the intimate Marlin Room at Webster Hall on this hot and steamy summer night. Dark clothing was the uniform for both the band and the audience. Striding across the length of the wide stage, Connolly sported a fitted black t-shirt and black pants, ...read more
David Gray Theater at Madison Square Garden New York City August 4, 2014 David Gray dances like there's nobody watching. Even in a packed NYC venue on a hot summer night. Anticipation filled the dark and cavernous Theater at Madison Square Garden. Nearly each and every plush seat was filled by an audience who was dressed slightly nicer than the average concert crowd. Hand holding, cocktails and muted tones added to the giddy vibe of a massively orchestrated date night. Something special was right around the corner, akin to being handed a brightly ...read more
Newport Jazz FestivalFort Adams State Park Newport, RI Sunday, August 3, 2014 Smack--loud and robust, the horns blasted at the audience with a sound so voluminous it seemed impossible only four horns could have created it. And yet, four horns had. Were you here yesterday?" Boston jazz radio host Eric Jackson had asked the audience during the band introductions --no doubt an obvious reference to prior day's the harrowing rain. You are hearty souls," he said in response to the cheers. Cheers from a crowd ...read more
Cassandra Wilson Lincoln Center Out of Doors August 8, 2014 New York, NY Playing before an outdoor capacity audience, Cassandra Wilson performed a concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Blue Night 'till Dawn (Blue Note, 1993), featuring many of the musicians who originally performed on the studio version. Wilson kicked off a soulful rendition of You Don't Know What Love Is" with incredible subtlety, feeling every verse deeply while the musicians played with incredible feeling. The audience was mostly silent, something that almost never happens at ...read more
Gent Jazz Festival De Bijloke Gent, Belgium July 17-19, 2014 The second weekend of this festival is traditionally devoted to musics that lurk outside of the jazz sphere, but resonating in sympathy with the core. Of course, there were a few stray acts from the mainline, just as the first weekend saw invaders such as Ibrahim Maalouf and Taxi Wars, whose stances weren't strictly jazzy. Hence the appearance of Bogus, a quartet that featured the guesting Belgian trumpeter Bart Maris on several tunes. They moved from jagged unison figures to a ...read more
Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Hargrove New Morning Paris, France July 23, August 1, 2014 Among the nightly summer concerts staged at New Morning in Paris was a double dose of electronic funk and neo-soul sounds by multi-keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Each played to capacity audiences on humid nights that challenged the air-conditioning system of the spacious no-frills hall. Smith, 73, standing in front of the stage at an elevated electronic two-keyboard rack, was armed with a rhythm section of three young musicians plus a female vocalist. For this European ...read more
Otis Brown III + Revive Big Band Blue Note Records 75th Anniversary at Central Park Summerstage August 3, 2014 New York, NY On an evening dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records (now a subsidiary of Universal Music), drummer Otis Brown III began the proceedings by leading his quintet through hard-bopping original material, opening with The Way to the Light," a rumba-based tune with a simple structure that became fodder for great improvised moments from everyone involved. A heartfelt take on Herbie Hancock's I Have a Dream" followed, which Brown ...read more
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