Upcoming jazz shows:
Sunday, March 23 — Jazz Songbirds: Denise Moore, Karen Benjey, Valerie Gillespie (plus Alejandro Arena and Stephen Bucholtz), Palladium Theater (Side Door), St. Petersburg, 3 p.m.; $18 advance, $20 day of show
Monday, March 31 — Monday Night Jazz Series: Maria Schneider with the USF Jazz Ensemble, USF Concert Hall, Tampa, 7:30 p.m.; $8 and $12 advance; $10 and $15 day of show
Thursday, April 3 — Branford Marsalis Quartet, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 8 p.m.; $39, $49, and $59
Tuesday, May 7 — Rhapsody on Fifth: Wycliffe Gordon, Mark Markham, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7 p.m.; $25 and $50
Have info on jazz shows? Send details on concerts (not club listings) to firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick reminder: Suwannee Springfest, the annual extravaganza of Americana, folk, bluegrass, country, altcountry, and other related genres, returns to the Spirit of the Suwannee Park in Live Oak (north Florida).
I’ll be there for the 18th edition of the acoustic-oriented fest, with my family in tow. We’re really looking forward to seeing the Avett Brothers, the Punch Brothers, Jason Isbell, the Del McCoury Band, Donna the Buffalo, Steep Canyon Rangers, Jim Lauderdale, Sam Bush, and a multi-genre supergroup, the Southern Soul Assembly, with J.J. Grey (Mofro), Anders Osborne, Luther Dickinson, and Marc Broussard.
The fest officially starts today and continues until about 8 p..m. on Sunday, with the majority of the headliners slated late afternoon or evening on Friday and Saturday.
Complete details are HERE.
As usual, plenty of top-flight jazz was released this year, and I only had the chance to hear a fraction of it.
I’ve been asked to submit several Top 10 lists to various publications and polls, so I thought I’d go include and offer my picks here, too.
Below, in alphabetical order, are 10 of my favorite new jazz releases of 2013:
The Wayne Shorter Quartet’s “Without a Net” topped this year’s NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, which drew the participation of 136 writers (including me) from around the world.
Releases from the Craig Taborn Trio, Charles Lloyd & Jason Moran, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Steve Coleman & Five Elements, and Tim Berne’s Snakeoil rounded ou tthe Top 5 vote getters.
Interesting to see that three from my own Top 10 — Shorter’s CD, the Dave Douglas Quintet’s “Time Travel,” and Terence Blanchard’s “Magnetic” — were among the Top 10 in the NPR poll.
Refreshing concept, smartly executed: Brooklyn-based trombonist Brian Drye and his father, baritone saxophonist Howard Drye (both hail from Rhode Island), team up for a double-album featuring original compositions honoring their various influences. The horns are the thing, with the two joined by trumpeter Jeff Hermanson and clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist Mike McGinnis, and the piano-less rhythm section of bassist Dan Fabricatore and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza.
Rich sonorities and engaging themes characterize these 10 tracks, with highlights of the first disc (Howard’s pieces) including the soprano-led soul-jazz groove tune “Precious Silver,” dedicated to Horace Silver; the slinky ballad “The Empty Chair,” for Johnny Hodges; and jaunty opener “Blues for Jimmy.”
On disc two (Brian’s tunes), “Elbows,” for Monk, is all sharp angles and quirky twists, and offers plenty of space for the trombonist’s rangy, invigorating solo. Also notable: Brian’s moody, color-shifting “April 1st, 1910,” dedicated to Harry Carney, and bouncy bop burner “Home Brew.”
Dumpstaphunk, “Dirty Word” (Louisiana Red Hot Records)
The New Orleans funk is steep and the let’s-all-get-along unity groove is deep on Dirty Word, the second full-length recording from a band that’s steadily evolved since its informal start a decade ago at Jazz Fest, as an all-star collective led by keyboardist Ivan Neville. Once something of a loosely organized outfit heavily informed by the Meters and the Neville Brothers—Ivan is Aaron’s son, guitarist Ian is Art’s son, and practically the entire band has worked with Nevilles bands old or new—Dumpstaphunk now is more focused and song-oriented. And influences like P-Funk and Sly and the Family Stone make their presence known on Dirty Word.
Drummer-singer Nikki Glaspie, a relatively new addition, helps recast the sound and feel of the band, locking in from the get-go with twin bass guitarists Hall and Nick Daniels III, and sharing lead vocals on opener “Dancin to the Truth.” That tune and the title track launch the disc with hard-slamming rhythm figures and multicolor keys and guitars, the kind of sonic gumbo that typically keeps fans moving nonstop during the group’s raucous shows.
Like the band’s hometown concerts, the CD is party-packed with musical guests, starting with Ani DiFranco, who sings on “Dirty Word,” and saxophonist Skerik and Troy Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, who provide tangy blasts on “I Wish You Would.” The biggest bash comes with “Raise the House,” its Meters/Neville groove bolstered by the playing and singing of keyboardist Art Neville, Trombone Shorty and the Rebirth Brass Band. Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, makes it a triple-bass showdown on the heavy funk-rock crunch of “If I’m in Luck,” a ’70s Betty Davis track here benefiting from Glaspie’s soulful blues belting and Ian Neville’s acid-washed solo. And a three-part horn section enhances the percolating funk of “I Know You Know” and Larry Graham’s “Water.”
Jazz Grammy Nominees: Wayne Shorter, Terence Blanchard, Gregory Porter, Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge
The top Grammy nominations largely left me cold, but several worthy projects are recognized in Grammy’s jazz categories.
Several of the nominees — including Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, and Gregory Porter — made my own Top 10 jazz list (to be published by JazzTimes, NPR and the JJA). Wayne Wallace‘s “Latin Jazz-Jazz Latin,” my pick for Latin jazz CD of the year, was honored in Grammy’s Latin Jazz category. And kudos to the great — and omnipresent — jazz bassist Christian McBride, nominated for best jazz instrumental album.
Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge didn’t nab a nomination for best large ensemble for the group’s “River Runs” CD (also on my Top 10 list). It deserves one.
The good news: The longtime University of South Florida jazz prof picked up TWO nominations in other categories: best instrumental composition for “Bound Away” and best instrumental arrangement for “Side Hikes — A Ridge Away.”
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
Don’t Run – Terence Blanchard, soloist
Song For Maura - Paquito D’Rivera, soloist
Song Without Words #4: Duet – Fred Hersch, soloist
Stadium Jazz – Donny McCaslin, soloist
Orbits – Wayne Shorter, soloist
Best Jazz Vocal Album
The World According To Andy Bey – Andy Bey
Attachments – Lorraine Feather
Liquid Spirit – Gregory Porter
WomanChild – Cécile McLorin Salvant
After Blue – Tierney Sutton
Guided Tour – The New Gary Burton Quartet
Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue – Terri Lyne Carrington
Life Forum – Gerald Clayton
Pushing The World Away – Kenny Garrett
Out Here – Christian McBride Trio
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Brooklyn Babylon – Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Night In Calisia – Randy Brecker, W¿odek Pawlik Trio & Kalisz Philharmonic
Wild Beauty – Brussels Jazz Orchestra Featuring Joe Lovano
March Sublime – Alan Ferber
Intrada – Dave Slonaker Big Band
Best Latin Jazz Album
La Noche Más Larga – Buika
Song For Maura – Paquito D’Rivera And Trio Corrente
Yo – Roberto Fonseca
Egg¿n – Omar Sosa
Latin Jazz-Jazz Latin – Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet
Best Instrumental Composition
Bound Away – Chuck Owen, composer (Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge)
California Pictures For String Quartet – Gordon Goodwin, composer (Quartet San Francisco)
Koko On The Boulevard – Scott Healy, composer (Scott Healy Ensemble)
Pensamientos For Solo Alto Saxophone And Chamber Orchestra – Clare Fischer, composer (The Clare Fischer Orchestra)
String Quartet No. 1: Funky Diversion In Three Parts – Vince Mendoza, composer (Quartet San Francisco)
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Invitation – Kim Richmond, arranger (The Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra)
On Green Dolphin Street – Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band)
Side Hikes – A Ridge Away – Chuck Owen, arranger (Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge)
Skylark – Nan Schwartz, arranger (Amy Dickson)
Wild Beauty – Gil Goldstein, arranger (Brussels Jazz Orchestra Featuring Joe Lovano)
Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
La Vida Nos Espera – Nan Schwartz, arranger (Gian Marco)
Let’s Fall In Love – Chris Walden, arranger (Calabria Foti Featuring Seth MacFarlane)
The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress – John Hollenbeck, arranger (John Hollenbeck)
Swing Low – Gil Goldstein, arranger (Bobby McFerrin & Esperanza Spalding)
What A Wonderful World – Shelly Berg, arranger (Gloria Estefan)
The nominations were announced Friday night. For the full list, click here