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Jazz & Cabaret News & Reviews

Jazz Notes: Rising-Star Pianist Christian Sands ‘Reaches’ for New Horizons in the Jazz Cosmos

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, July 11, 2017 Pianist Christian Sands’ debut Mack Avenue recording, Reach, pretty much tells the evolving story of a 28-year-old artist who is embracing the vanguard of expansive expression. On Reach, the New Haven, Connecticut-based rising star on the ...

Jazz Notes: Guitarist Mary Halvorson Is the Avant-Leaning Artist for the New Generation

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, July 7, 2017 Mary Halvorson has been heralded as the next “new” guitarist who has been captivating listeners for the last decade, whether it’s sitting in (i.e., joining Marc Ribot’s band the Young Philadelphians) or recording albums ranging from solo ...

Jazz Notes: Jazztopad Festival Presents Its Third Annual Best of Polish Jazz Bash

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, June 15 2017 For the past thirteen years, the Jazztopad Festival has taken place at the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Poland. It’s commissioned genre-stretching new works as well as given young musicians the opportunity to perform for large ...

Grand Rapids Symphony Brings More Than Great Music to Carnegie

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, April 17, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony arrives in New York this week for its first Carnegie Hall appearance in thirteen years with 85 players, a 135-member chorus, the world-renowned pianist Nelson Freire and its dynamic conductor Marcelo Lehninger. But according to ...

Review: Martha Graham Dance Company Continues Its Legacy and Ensures ...

By Bethany Hopta, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 The Martha Graham Dance Company, the oldest dance company in America, continued its 92nd season with performances of their Scared/Profane program at New York City Center this past weekend. On Saturday evening Janet Eilber, the artistic director of ...

Review: Basil Twist's Aquatic 'Symphonie Fantastique' Is Visually and Sonically ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 Twenty years ago, third-generation puppeteer, Basil Twist, decided to create a totally abstract work based on the music of Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. This year, HERE, the Off-Broadway theater, has revived the work as part of their 25th ...

Review: The Drama of Mozart's Music (and Life) Fills Geffen ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 The New York Philharmonic’s April 14 screening of Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning movie Amadeus, with the musical score performed live, was bittersweet; Forman died the day before, at eighty-six. Conductor Richard Kaufman dedicated the presentation to Forman, and ...

Jazz Notes: On April 20, Jazz Foundation of America Returns to ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 16, 2018 Every year, New York’s nonprofit the Jazz Foundation of America—whose motto is “Saving jazz and blues…one musician at a time”—helps to be a key factor for helping musicians who have faced natural disasters and ...

Review: An Expurgated ‘Carousel’ Nonetheless Thrills

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Each year, when I cover Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in my musical-theater history course at the Boston Conservatory, we have a lengthy discussion about what I call “The Elephant in the Room.” Carousel barker Billy Bigelow hits his ...

Art Break: Freud at the Center for Book Arts, Mixed ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Humans and their place within the community, landscape, and the planet in general, is a topic of fascination to artists throughout the centuries. Art Break is looking at several shows opening this week that examine and discuss how ...

From Rio With Love — Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 20 for the second time in the orchestra’s 88-year history. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary there in 2005, the orchestra returns with the 140-member Grand Rapids ...

Ecstatic Music Festival Features Diverse Programming and Collaborative Performances

By Leonard Bopp, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival, now in its eighth year, presents collaborative performances from a broad, diverse range of musical groups. As Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos notes, “since Kaufman Music Center launched the pioneering ...

Review: 'Children of a Lesser God' Continues To Provoke Discussion ...

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The much anticipated revival of Children of a Lesser God is a testament to the timelessness of a story about the human struggle to connect and to communicate. Mark Medoff’s Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Award-winning play made ...

Jazz Notes: The Duo Project ‘Endless Field’ Celebrates Its Genre-Resistant Debut Album

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer, June 13, 2017 Endless Field gives new meaning to the term “genre-resistant music.” It is at once ambient music, jazz music, pop music, and yet to call it any one of these things alone would fail to capture the breadth of this group. Guitarist Jesse Lewis and ...

Jazz Notes: Project Grand Slam Bandleader Robert Miller Talks About Its Post-Fusion of Jazz and Rock

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, May 25, 2017 On the eve of new fusion ensemble Project Grand Slam’s fifth recording, The PGS Experience, founder and leader Robert Miller says that even though his 11-year-old group experienced a profile elevation this past year, he still finds that ...

Jazz Notes: Virtuoso Violinist Regina Carter Brings Positive Vibes to Jazz Standard With the Music of Ella Fitzgerald

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, May 22, 2017 Last month, virtuoso violinist Regina Carter released her tenth album, Ella: Accentuate the Positive, on SonyMusic Masterwork’s imprint OKeh. It’s not only a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald’s in the centennial of her birth, but it’s a ...

Jazz Notes: Trumpeter Sean Jones Plays It Live and Raw for His Album Release Party at Jazz Standard

By Dan Ouellette, ZEALnyc Senior Editor, May 17, 2017 For his NYC record release party for Live at the Jazz Bistro at Jazz Standard, trumpeter Sean Jones brings his longstanding sparkplug quartet—pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Obed Calvaire—to join in with him in what ...

Jazz Notes: Spirited African Songbird Angélique Kidjo Channels Talking Heads and Burns Down the House at Carnegie

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, May 10, 2017 It’s not unusual for crowds at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium to give standing ovations to well-deserving artists at the finale of a superb performance. But what the striking vocalist Angélique Kidjo did on Friday, May 5 was one better. ...

Jazz Notes: Wes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Star in a Newly Discovered Recording

By Denin Koch, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, May 9, 2017 Guitarist Wes Montgomery and pianist Wynton Kelly trio’s 1965 masterpiece Smokin’ at the Half Note is considered by many to be the greatest jazz guitar album of all time. As such, the release of a previously undiscovered recording of these ...

Jazz Notes: Jazz Icon Ella Fitzgerald Honored With NYC Mayoral Proclamation on Her Birthday

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 25 2017 Even though the legendary Ella Fitzgerald died in 1996 at her home in Beverley Hills, she was a bona fide New Yorker throughout her remarkable career. Her story as The First Lady of Song began at the Apollo Theater in 1934 when she won the ...

Jazz Notes: 4 Stars for Guitarist Ralph Towner’s New ECM Solo Album ‘My Foolish Heart’

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer, April 19, 2017 It’s been more than ten years since guitarist Ralph Towner’s last solo album, but his latest release on ECM, My Foolish Heart, has made the wait worth it. On this album, Towner seeks out the delicate interplay of the individual voices of the ...

Jazz Notes: The Young Legend of the Hammond B-3—Joey DeFrancesco Continues to Revitalize the Power and Grace of the Organ in Jazz With His New Album ‘Project Freedom’

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 12, 2017 The first time I saw Joey DeFrancesco play the Hammond B-3 organ he was 22 and performing the globe with the electrifying guitarist John McLaughlin’s trio called The Free Spirits. The band, including volcanic drummer Dennis Chambers, settled ...

Jazz Notes: Review of Kevin Eubanks’ Superb New Recording: ‘East West Time Line’

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer ZEALnyc, March 23, 2017 Too often, jazz concept albums are so dedicated to their premise that the music suffers. The tunes aren’t interesting, the rhythm section doesn’t groove, and the soloists are phoning it in. With East West Time Line, however, Kevin ...

Jazz Notes: Trumpeter Maurice Brown’s ‘Mobetta Tuesdays’ Residency at Jazz Standard—A Terrific Shot in the Arm for a Stale Jazz Landscape

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, March 10, 2017 A common shout-out in the jazz community shakes down to “Keep Jazz Alive!” (Have you heard this term being overused on jazz radio stations during fundraising time?) But too often that call-to-action is coming from the aisles of ...

7th Annual Alternative Guitar Summit Features Headliner Pat Metheny

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, March 7, 2017 Last year in talking to the founder and producer of the annual Alternative Guitar Summit, Joel Harrison called the event a labor of love that he likens to the idea of having a “musical commons.” He explained, “It’s my ...

Jazz Notes: Album Review of Kurt Rosenwinkel’s Adventurous New Recording ‘Caipi’

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer ZEALnyc, March 6, 2017 Here’s the thing about Kurt Rosenwinkel’s newest release, Caipi: if you approach it expecting to hear the Rosenwinkel that fans have come to know over the years, this album will let you down. This is Rosenwinkel’s version of a rock ...

Jazz Notes: Profile of Tigran Hamasyan—The Best Jazz Pianist You’ve Never Heard Of…But Should

By Dan Ouellette, ZEALnyc Senior Editor, March 1, 2017 Born in Gyumri, Armenia, in 1987, Tigran Hamasyan grew up in a household that was full of music—his father more of a rock fan while his uncle was a huge jazz buff. When he was just a toddler, Tigran gravitated to tape players and the piano ...

Jazz Notes: Keyboardist Craig Taborn Makes a Rare Village Vanguard Appearance to Deliver His New ECM Recording

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 23, 2017 The best jazz is the music that’s embedded with surprise. That’s the modus operandi of pianist/keyboardist Craig Taborn who’s going to be making only his second six-night showcase at Village Vanguard in his career that ...

Jazz Notes: Graceful—Album Review of Guitarist Mark Whitfield’s New Album

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer ZEALnyc, February 13, 2017 Review of guitarist Mark Whitfield’s new recording, Grace, which he will be celebrating for two nights, February 17-18, at The Django, Tribeca, NYC. Considering that Mark Whitfield began his career under the influence of Wynton ...

Jazz Notes: Pedrito Martinez—A Look Back on the Journey Thus Far

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 9, 2017 Unless something unexpected happens (and given this political season, it’s a great possibility), 2017 will fill the air with more Cuban music by the best the island nation has to offer. Cuba has quickly become a destination for musical ...

Jazz Notes: Cuba’s Pedrito Martinez Looks to the Future

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 8, 2017 In anticipation of percussionist Pedrito Martinez collaborating with pianist Alfredo Rodriguez at Jazz Standard (February 9-10), the following is the life-story bio of the Cuba-born maestro of the beats (in five parts). Part 1: Percussionist ...

Jazz Notes: Cuba’s Pedrito Martinez Returns Home to Record

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 7, 2017 In anticipation of percussionist Pedrito Martinez collaborating with pianist Alfredo Rodriguez at Jazz Standard (February 9-10), the following is the life-story bio of the Cuba-born maestro of the beats (in five parts). Part 1: Percussionist ...

Jazz Notes: Cuba’s Pedrito Martinez Moves to the U.S.

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 6, 2017 In anticipation of percussionist Pedrito Martinez collaborating with pianist Alfredo Rodriguez at Jazz Standard (February 9-10), the following is the life-story bio of the Cuba-born maestro of the beats (in five parts). Part ...

Jazz Notes: Cuba’s Pedrito Martinez on His Cuban Childhood and Influences

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 3, 2017 In anticipation of percussionist Pedrito Martinez collaborating with pianist Alfredo Rodriguez at Jazz Standard (February 9-10), the following is the life-story bio of the Cuba-born maestro of the beats (in five parts). Part ...

Jazz Notes: Cuba’s Pedrito Martinez—Percussionist and Vocalist Extraordinaire

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 2, 2017 In anticipation of percussionist Pedrito Martinez collaborating with pianist Alfredo Rodriguez at Jazz Standard (February 9-10), the following is the life-story bio of the Cuba-born maestro of the beats (in five parts). PART 1: In July 2016, ...

Virtuoso Pianist Marcus Roberts Uplifts the Art of Jazz With His Simpatico Trio at Miller Theatre

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, January 23, 2017 When pianist Marcus Roberts and his longtime simpatico trio of bassist Rodney Jordan and drummer Jason Marsalis settle into Miller Theatre for the first time, they’ll be transcending beyond a typical jazz date in the stately Columbia ...

A new concert series ‘Voices on the Hudson’ premieres next week at City Vineyard

ZEALnyc, January 17, 2017 Do you ever think ‘where can I get a great glass of wine, good food AND hear great music?’ Well, City Winery has got you covered. In 2008, Michael Dorf (founder of the Knitting Factory) opened City Winery (155 Varick Street) as a way to showcase two of his ...

Jazz Notes: Maestro Composer/Arranger Miho Hazama Leads Her Superb m_unit Ensemble in a Wonderland of Energetic Jazz

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, January 10, 2017 When Miho Hazama headlined Jazz Standard on September 30, 2015 in celebration of her spirited second album, Time River, her authentic music and graceful poise as the conductor of her 13-piece chamber band called m_unit proved to be the ...

Chicago-Based Cellist Ian Maksin Performs a Compelling Eclectic Solo Show at Le Poisson Rouge

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor, January 3, 2017 Unknown to many people, the legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter began his string career playing the cello, the low-register voice of a standard string quarter. In talking about the four cellos in his nonet ensemble, he said, “I love the sound of ...

The Best Jazz Festival of the Year Happens to be in NYC

Various locations

http://www.winterjazzfest.com/

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor, December 28, 2016 What started twelve years ago as an inspired goal of giving voice to the plethora of relatively unknown but immensely talented jazz musicians toiling in the multitude of the New York’s tiny and obscure clubs, the NYC Winter Jazzfest (January ...

Jazz Notes: Distinctive Cuban Pianist David Virelles Highlights ECM Records’ ‘Unroutine’ Showcase Evening at Winter Jazzfest

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, December 22, 2016 Each year as Winter Jazzfest expands, you can expect new twists in the mix. One of the most prominent this season is the one-night record imprint showcase of Germany-based ECM Records (Saturday, January 7), presenting nine vital artists who ...

Jazz Notes: Top 5 Sizzling Hot Winter Music Festivals in Frigid New York City

(l. to r.) Andrew Cyrille; photo: Petra Cvelbar; Thelonious Monk (1966); photo: Everett Collection By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, December 19, 2016 Think the brutal cold and sometimes snow or freezing rain of New York in January can keep musicians and crowds off the streets and huddled ...

The Twin Flute Adventure Seekers ‘Flutronix’ Bring Their ‘Urban Pop Art’ to Baruch PAC for Milt Hinton Jazz Perspective Series

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor, November 21, 2016 It’s about time. The flute is coming back. The instrument best known in the classical world had been an emotive, fiery and dreamy component of the pop and jazz worlds in the ‘60s and ‘70s. In jazz, there were Bobbi Humphrey and Hubert Laws ...

Jazz Notes: With History Behind Him, Christian McBride Celebrates James Brown, the Godfather of Soul

By Dan Ouellette, ZEAL Senior Editor, November 9, 2016 In the mid ’90s when he was a young, frisky jazz guy from Philadelphia who was taking New York by storm, bassist Christian Scott talked to me for an article in Strings magazine about some of his heroes. On the jazz bass tip, he singled ...

Jazz Notes: Dynamic Duo of Jazz Piano Improvisation: Herbie Hancock Converses Musically With Chick Corea in His Birthday Engagement at the Blue Note

Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea (late 1970s); courtesy of artists By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, November 1, 2016 “It’s special playing with Chick,” said Los Angeles-based musical polyglot Herbie Hancock in New York last week to take in a performance of Hamilton. ...

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