Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
|On stage, L to R: Doug Haining, Kristin Sponcia, |
Rhonda Laurie, Maryann Sullivan, Trevor Haining
What began in August has become a going thing. Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie are co-curating the music, and owner Jeremy Konecny is hoping to score a beer and wine license before too long, which should help make the place even more of a destination.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This will be their twelfth Christmas at the Dakota. According to club owner Lowell Pickett, here's how the tradition began. (Note: Dave King is from here and still lives here. Reid Anderson grew up in Minneapolis; Ethan Iverson is from Menomonie, Wisconsin.)
Dave called me in 2000 and said he had two friends coming into town for the holidays to record some stuff. He wanted to know if they could play a couple of nights. I ran an ad for "Dave King and Friends" and we charged $5.
Dave saw the ad and called me and said, "Can we change that to The Bad Plus?" Who was The Bad Plus? Nobody knew, so I changed it to "The Bad Plus Featuring Dave King and Friends."
Monday, December 19, 2011
"Bebopified caps--they are the only brand that keeps heat and awesome improv ideas from escaping out the top of your head."
Hats keep rolling off the needles in my quest to warm the heads of jazz musicians whose music I enjoy, and others associated with jazz whose efforts I appreciate. In November, I saw Miguel Zenon in New York, at the Jazz at Lincoln Center listening party for his remarkable new CD Alma Adentro (which is appearing on end-of-year Best Jazz Albums lists everywhere, and topped Patrick Jarenwattananan's at NPR's A Blog Supreme). Afterward, I thanked him for speaking and mentioned that I'd made him a hat a while back, and he introduced me to his lovely wife, Elga Castro.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
|The Aakash Mittal Quartet at the Dakota by John Whiting|
Five presenters and three ensembles will be recognized with CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming at the 34th Chamber Music America National Conference on Sunday, January 15, 2012. The ceremony will take place at the Westin New York at Times Square (207 W. 43rd Street) in New York City. Cia Toscanini, vice president of concert music, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), will present the awards.
Established jointly by Chamber Music America and ASCAP, the annual awards recognize U.S.-based professional ensembles and presenters for distinctive programming of new music composed in the past 25 years. The recipients were chosen by an independent panel of judges, who evaluated the applicants on the basis their programming of recent works and innovations in attracting audiences to new music performances...
The Aakash Mittal Quartet (Boulder, CO) will receive the jazz ensemble award. Led by saxophonist Aakash Mittal, the group performs its members’ original works and draws heavily on the improvisational vocabulary and compositional aspects of the North Indian classical raga tradition. Mittal’s Videsh Suite takes the listener on a journey to India through the use of post-bop, raga music, serialism and electronic samples.
Related: Larry Englund's March 12, 2011 interview with Mittal.
From today's press release:
Nordstrum will work with SPCO staff to develop projects that provide new access points to a broad range of audiences for experiencing and learning about classical music. Her work will include planning a new series for SPCO Center focused on introducing contemporary classical composers and musicians to the Twin Cities, capitalizing on the flexibility of the Music Room to serve as a comfortable, casual and intimate performance setting for artists and audiences.Kate's work at the Southern (and subsequently) has broadened and deepened my musical world, and for that, I'm grateful. She's been my introduction to artists including Nico Muhly, Gabriel Kahane, Alisa Weilerstein, Nadia Sirota, and, most recently, the fascinating sad sack Corey Dargill. I'm overdue to hear Accordo, the Minnesota-based chamber group she presents in league with the Schubert Club and Northrop Concerts and Lectures.
Congratulations, Kate. I'm looking forward to what comes next.
Monday, December 12, 2011
For music writers, and aspiring music writers, this annual compilation is a banquet of styles and opinions, personal responses and approaches to a topic that's almost impossible to put into words. How can you write about sound and emotion? About rhythms that change your breathing and heartbeat, and melodies, notes, lyrics, or moments in time that make you want to dance with joy, scream with rage, join a revolution, burst into tears, laugh out loud, confess everything, change your life, kill yourself, or kiss someone?
Friday, December 9, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wadada Leo Smith + Vijay Iyer Duo
Vijay Iyer - Solo
The Vijay Iyer Trio (Marcus Gilmore, Stephan Crump, Vijay Iyer)
Mike Ladd + Vijay Iyer Duo
Vijay Iyer - Solo
Tirtha (Nitin Mitta, Prasanna, Vijay Iyer)
Saturday, November 26, 2011
This just in: Tomorrow morning, Sunday, Nov. 27, at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, the Rev. James Gertmenian will preach "in conversation" with jazz saxophonist Nathan Hanson at the 10:30 service. According to an article in today's StarTribune, "Gertmenian says he will speak about a reading from Isaiah for a few minutes, then Hanson will respond with a musical interpretation for a couple of minutes. The two of them will go back and forth in this manner for the length of the sermon, about 20 minutes." I haven't heard Gertmenian preach, but Hanson is a soulful, intuitive player who communicates on his instrument as clearly as the rest of us speak English (if we're lucky). It's a good reason to go to church. 1900 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
New York, NY (November 16, 2011) - St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT), and Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) announce today an unprecedented global partnership, bringing two New York icons together to concept and create a series of jazz clubs around the world in St. Regis hotels. With a shared ambition to open five jazz clubs in the next five years, St. Regis and JALC will open the first jazz club at The St. Regis Doha in April 2012.
Friday, November 11, 2011
I'm back from almost a week in NYC, during which I heard as much jazz as I could: Henry Butler at the Standard, the Three Cohens at the Vanguard, Miguel Zenon discussing his new CD with Phil Schaap at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Blue Note for Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin, and a little place on the Lower East Side called the Rockwood Music Hall. Midwest expat bassist Chris Morrissey sent me a message on facebook telling me he was playing there at midnight on Wednesday, so I went to hear him. He has a lot of fans. We had to squeeze in.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
This just in from NYC music marketer Giant Step:
Friday, October 14, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
|Sonny Rollins by John Whiting|
Tonight, Friday, Oct. 7, at the Black Dog in St. Paul’s Lowertown, the Community Pool: Deep End series of improvised music continues with a stellar trio: Nathan Hanson on saxophones, Pete Hennig on drums, and Douglas Ewart on saxophones, clarinet, bassoon, flute, hand drums, didgeridoo, and Lord knows what else; he makes musical instruments, often from found objects including pot lids and crutches. No cover; starts at eight-ish. This is St. Paul Art Crawl weekend, so Lowertown will be a busy place. Read an interview with Ewart here.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
|Paul Metsa by John Whiting|
Other people came from faraway places including Paul's friend Joe, whose last name I forgot but will have to ask Paul about because he, too, is writing a book about music, forthcoming from SUNY Press. Photographer Darin Back was there, and Paul's lovely girlfriend, Amy, who has a farm where Paul finished writing his book and where his dog, Blackie, now prefers to stay, returning only reluctantly to Paul's apartment in Northeast Minneapolis.
Music promoter Sue McLean stopped by, and Paul thanked her for giving him his first gig at the Guthrie—the old Guthrie, which he had futilely tried to save from demolition in the mid-2000s. (He writes about that in his book, in a chapter called "Slings and Arrows.") We had scandalous early-afternoon cocktails and talked with our friends Jon Tevlin and Ellen Hatfield.
Friday, September 30, 2011
My editor at MinnPost asked for a post on jazz coming up this fall in the Twin Cities. She probably got more than she bargained for, simply because there's so much going on. To borrow words from Davis Wilson at the Artists' Quarter, I continue to be pleased and flipped at the quantity and especially the quality of live jazz available to us in flyover land. We're not New York City, but we surely are Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The MinnPost piece replaces my usual This Week's Jazz Picks post.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
|Arne Fogel by John Whiting|
ALL PHOTOS BY JOHN WHITING FOR KBEM
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Judi Donaghy is guest vocalist.
JazzMN's artistic director Doug Snapp has announced the evening's program.
Monday, September 26, 2011
|Greg Paulus (l) and Stephen Paulus|
All rehearsal photos by John Whiting
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Here's the press release, abbreviated:
E.G. Bailey adapts Amiri Baraka's Wise Why's Y's, an epic journey through the history of Africans in America, and a perfect blend of avant-garde poetry with the griot consciousness. Paying homage to Langston's Ask Your Mama, William Carlos William's Patterson, and Melvin B. Tolson's Liberia alike, it attempts to articulate the history of a people or a place. Wise Why's Y's questions and answers broad themes of history and cultural identity.
by Susie Knoll
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
|Sonny by Johnny |
(Sonny Rollins by John Whiting)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
|Donny McCaslin (L) and Dan Oullette (R) by John Whiing|
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The Khyber Pass is Emel Sherzad's place. Emel is an artist and a great supporter of improvised music. His art is inspired by improvised music, and he hosts a weekly radio show on KFAI called Radio Duende (formerly International Jazz Conspiracy), heard Mondays from 10 p.m. 'til midnight.
Here's the latest schedule. I've added these events to the live music calendar and will continue updating as news is made available. Watch the website for more.
- Friday, Sept. 23: Davu Seru and Dean Magraw
- Saturday, Sept. 24: Merciless Ghost (George Cartwright, Josh Granowski, Davu Seru)
- Sunday, Sept. 25: Charcoal (Anthony Cox, Milo Fine, Davu Seru)
- Thursday, Sept. 29: Jelloslave (Jacqueline Ultan, Michelle Kinney, Greg Schutte, Gary Waryan)
- Friday, Sept. 30: Dave King Trucking Company
- Saturday, Oct. 1: Andrew Broder
- Sunday, Oct. 2: Joan Griffith and Clea Galhano
Monday, September 19, 2011
|Bill Carrothers by John Whiting for NPR|
Saturday, September 17, 2011
|Helen Sung by John Whiting|
|Zacc Harris by John Whiting|
Friday, September 16, 2011
Tonight (Friday, Sept. 16) at the Black Dog in St. Paul: High Dive into the Deep End. The excellent Community Pool: Deep End series of improvised music performances resumes at its welcoming home in Lowertown. Curated by Nathan Hanson and Brian Roessler of Fantastic Merlins fame, this series has for me been one ear-opener after another. Tonight: Eric Fratzke on guitar, Hanson on saxophone, Roessler on bass, and two drummers: Pete Hennig (of the Merlins, Atlantis Quartet, the Zacc Harris Trio, and more) and Peter Leggett (Heiruspecs). Together they have recorded a not-yet-released collection of tracks called Fort Knox Nostalgia; check out "Morgan's Raid" on Soundcloud. Here's an interview with Roessler about the series. 8 p.m. No cover.
Tonight and tomorrow (Friday–Saturday, Sept. 16–17) at the Artists' Quarter in St. Paul: Bryan Nichols, Anthony Cox, Dave King. This newly-minted trio has already been dubbed a "supergroup" and who's to argue? McKnight artist Nichols is, to me, the most consistently interesting, surprising, and satisfying pianist in the Twin Cities, whether leading his own groups small and large or playing well with others (Gang Font, James Buckley Trio, Zacc Harris Quartet). His quintet's debut recording, Bright Places, released earlier this year, features all original compositions. Both bassist Cox (who has played with Geri Allen, Joe Lovano, ad infinitum) and drummer King (The Bad Plus, The Dave King Trucking Co., etc. etc.) are beasts. 9 p.m. both nights. ($9) You can reserve online and I would if I were you.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
It's hard to be descriptive about the Fellowship Band's music. Where is the vocabulary to convey pure emotion? From the first moments—Cowherd's delicate piano chords, accompanied by Thomas's elegant bass—I was lifted up and carried like a baby. When the rest of the band entered on the first tune and Butler stepped hard on his soprano, I thought for a moment we were in for a wild time, but Walden's bass clarinet announced a beautiful melody, cushioned by piano and arco bass, and beauty remained the mood for much of the evening. It was all about beauty, and a torrent of pure emotion.
When Butler and Walden switched to tenor and alto saxes, then traded eights, their music was a series of rhyming couplets, a conversation among close friends. When they played together, it was two rivers meeting and separating, flowing together and branching out and joining again. The last time I heard a pair of horn players who made me feel that way, I was listening to David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon.
There was no talking to the audience during the sets, but after each set, Blade announced what we had just heard. First set: "Landmark" and
The second set began with a slow simmer on the tenor and alto saxes, and a solo by Blade. Then Walden cut loose on his alto sax and everything changed.
Although this is technically a drummer-led band—Blade started it, and it's his name most people know—it's a genuine ensemble, a fellowship. Unless someone is soloing, you are aware of all five musicians equally, and there is no clear leader. Your attention shifts from one player to the next, then back again, following the sound around the stage. But Walden was the star of this set, with the other four giving him all the support and companionship he could possibly need as he leaned over the edge of a high place and jumped. He soared, he roared, he screamed, he shook us hard. At the end, as the audience yelled its approval, my face was wet with tears. When Walden lowered his horn and raised his face to the ceiling, eyes closed, it could have been over, but it wasn't. Butler entered with his tenor, soft and caressing, the calm after the storm, and led us safely home.
Second set: "Farewell Bluebird," which Blade explained is a song written about a cafe in New Orleans. Then "Season of Changes," the title track to their latest CD. "Shenandoah," which began with a lyrical, thoughtful organ solo by Cowherd. And "Migration," which began with a solo by Blade that made me think of a watercolor painting. The encore: a melody Blade wrote for his mother, "Friends Call her Dot." Sweet and tender.
I haven't said nearly enough about Cowherd or Thomas or Blade. I wish I could write more about them all, if only to communicate (or try) what it was like to hear this music. When the concert had ended and most of the audience had left, and the staff was going around the room picking up plates and bottles, Walden sat at the side of the stage, hands clasped, head bowed, looking exhausted. People approached him to greet him and thank him, and he roused himself each time, but in between, he folded. I have rarely heard music so full of feeling. I felt I'd been in the presence of five preachers, and I left convinced that they were speaking truth. If jazz is as much about feeling as technique, if expression is as important as history and repertoire, I can't imagine better spokesmen than the musicians of the Fellowship Band.
This was my first visit to the Kuumbwa, which must be one of the best rooms on the planet for live jazz. It's a serious listening room, seating maybe 200, with food and beverages (including wine and beer) available, but no service during performances. People are there to hear jazz, not to see and be seen or talk with their friends (except during breaks). Kuumbwa is supported by grants and memberships, and it books jazz during the weeks, not on the weekends, catching major jazz acts as they travel down the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Tim Jackson is artistic director for the Kuumbwa, and also for the Monterey Jazz Festival; he knows everyone. The sound in the room is brilliant, and the door is left open to the outdoor patio, letting in the fragrant night air and sending music into the neighborhood.
If I lived in Santa Cruz or nearby, I would come back next week for Branford Marsalis, and again in October for Rudresh Mahanthappa, and then for Gary Burton, and after that for McCoy Tyner with Jose James and Chris Potter. An amazing lineup for a room that Santa Cruz and mid-coast California are very lucky to have.
Friday, September 9, 2011
|Brian Roessler by John Whiting|
Earlier this month, I spoke with bassist Brian Roessler, who co-curates the series with saxophonist Nathan Hanson.
Pamela Espeland: First Fantastic Fridays, now Community Pool, but always at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar in St. Paul. How did that relationship begin?