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“I am convinced that all art has the desire to leave the ordinary,and to say it one way, at a spiritual level, a state of the exaltation at existence. All art has this in common. But jazz, the world of improvisation, is perhaps the highest, because we do not have the opportunity to make changes. It’s as if we were painting before the public, and the following morning we cannot go back and correct that blue color or change that red. We have to have the blues and reds very well placed before going out to play. So for me, jazz is probably the most demanding art.” - Sonny Rollins from a recent interview for the Catalan magazine Jaç
 
 Monday, 15 September 2014
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"Live and Natural" Over Twenty-Five Years With Bruce Henry E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Live and Natural
 

"His voice is his horn, and he can swing like Goodman, spin and spiral like Parker, or levitate like Coltrane."  -- JazzINK

Perhaps the most easily identified male voice in Twin Cities Jazz, Bruce Henry relocated to his adopted home town of Chicago in 2008. But he left not only a raft of friends and fans, but some unfinished business, including an album's worth of live tracks recorded at the Dakota Jazz Club in 2005 as well as a couple tracks going back to Ruby's Cabaret in 1990 and a couple studio tracks recorded at McNally Smith College of Music shortly before his move to Chicago. Finally, this music is assembled into Bruce's third and arguably best album yet, Live and Natural.


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Roy Hargrove Quintet at the Blue Note, NY 9/20-21 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

“…with a straight-ahead group, everyone has to contribute, (both) opening things up compositionally (and) keeping the program well-rounded.” -Roy Hargrove

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Roy Hargrove © Andrea Canter

One of the finest trumpeters in the world, Multiple Grammy-Award winning jazz trumpeter/composer Roy Hargrove has always explored diverse music, from Afro-Cuban to funk, even venturing into pop mainstream. A major force on the jazz scene since his teens, Hargrove continues to stretch his musical boundaries. A collaborator in recent years with Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, and McCoy Tyner, Hargrove plays hard-swinging trumpet and lush flugelhorn. He leads his straight-ahead quintet in further explorations of post-bop modern jazz.  Hargrove performs with his quintet atthe Blue Note in New York on Saturday, September 20th and Sunday, September 21st

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Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio at the SFJazz Center, 9/20-21 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   
Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio at the SFJazz Center, 9/20-21
Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio © Andrea Canter


Chilean-born tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana who seemed to come out of nowhere to win the prestigious 2013 Thelonious Monk Competition. Melissa when she became the first female instrumentalist and first South American to win any of the Monk top honors in the 26-year history of the competition. She  released the album Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio this summer. It is the first recording featuring the three band mates together - Aldana, bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Francisco Mela (click here for a Jazz Police review). SFJazz presents Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio at the  SFJazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab on Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st.
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Come Rain or Come Shine: The 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival Mostly Shined E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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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.

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Jazz Legend Gerald Wilson, 1918-2014 E-mail
Written by Ronaldo Oregano   

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Gerald Wilson©Andrea Canter
 

Gerald Wilson, beloved conductor, bandleader, composer, educator, and multi-instrumentalist, passed away in his Los Angeles home on Monday, September 8, 2014 a few days after his 96th birthday. He had been diagnosed with pneumonia two weeks earlier.

"Gerald Wilson, who I considered a good friend, was one of the most versatile of men," says Gretchen Valade, owner of Mack Avenue Records (Wilson's label since 2007). "He was a composer, had a wonderful band and still remained humble and gentle. The Mack Avenue family will miss him dearly."

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The Ray Brown Tribute Trio Featuring Larry Fuller, Jeff Hamilton and Christoph Luty E-mail
Written by Glenn A. Mitchell, LA Jazz Scene   

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Ray Brown Tribute Trio (L-R) Jeff Hamilton, Larry Fuller and Chris Luty (photo Art Pazornik)

A special tribute to the late, great Ray Brown was put together beautifully by drummer great Jeff Hamilton on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at Newport Sunset Concerts at the Marriott Hotel.  This special trio is made up of Larry Fuller (piano), Christoph Luty (bass) and Hamilton (on drums).  All three are familiar with Ray Brown and his music compositions.  What was nice was that each of them took turns not only announcing the tunes, but sharing pertinent information about each tune, including for whom it was originally written or who first played it. Earlier in their careers,  Hamilton and Fuller spent a lot of time with Ray Brown’s trio, and memories of their days with Brown continue to inform their playing.       

 

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When Big Bands Sound Like This...Our Ears Win! Adam Meckler Orchestra CD Release E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Adam Meckler Orchestra©Andrea Canter
 

"The cool thing about the AdamMeckler Orchestra's new release, "When the Clouds Look Like This," is that sometimes I forget it's a big band." -- David Cazares (via Twitter)

Gathering eighteen of the Twin Cities most accomplished young talents, trumpeter/composer/bandleader/educator Adam Meckler has been leading one of the region’s most innovative big bands for the past two years. A monthly fixture at Jazz Central for about a year, in summer 2013 the Adam Meckler Orchestra and its expanding audience moved across the river into a similar time slot at the Artists Quarter in St. Paul.  Although they drew an unusually large audience for a midweek gig, the series ended with the closing of the AQ at the end of 2013. Showcasing original compositions and new arrangements, the AMO has since performed on the Jazz at Studio Z series, launched a monthly residency at the Amsterdam Bar, and went into the recording studio. Now ready to celebrate the result, the AMO will celebrate When the Clouds Look Like This with a series of gigs leading up to the formal CD Release Party at MacPhail's Antontello Hall on September 26. But first, you can hear the compositions in Mears Park as part of the annual Concrete and Grass Lowertown Music Festival this Friday (September 5) and in the more intimate space of Studio Z as the closing concert of the All Originals jazz series (September 11). The CD will be available at each show.

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Saturday Night Live! Steve Kenny Brings Another Series of Jazz to Lowertown E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   

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Steve Kenny©Andrea Canter
 

With his exciting All Originals series of jazz concerts ending on September 11, local trumpeter/impresario Steve Kenny is taking a very short break before launching another jazz series in Lowertown (Saint Paul), this one at the Black Dog, running most Saturday nights through 2014 and into 2015 for an indefinite term. Many of the bands and artists on the schedule are familiar to patrons of the Artists Quarter which closed at the end of 2013.

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