Posted by flotz on Thursday, November 19, 2015 | Live Review

Hugh Masekela consummate entertainer, half the show anecdotes, the other half tunes. His tone is so gorgeous. Just piano and trumpet, plus his singing and cowbell playing too. Set list was great, including Miriam Makeba tunes, Fats Waller, “Sleepy time Down South”, “Easy Living”, a Stylistics tune, “Grazing In The Grass” and ended with Cantaloupe Island.  His vocal delivery mesmerizing, the timbre compelling.  Great anecdotes about Miles Davis, living in Manhattan, etc. A must see.

Band playing in the Musicquarium as the show let out, playing “Mercy Mercy Mercy” saw Cole Shuster on the bandstand; he’s a killer jazz guitarist, seen him a lot at The Angry Beaver sessions tearin it up. Listenin to Masekela wax poetic about goin all over NYC to jazz clubs to hear the greats, same thing happening in this town, you can hit three venues in one night and catch a ton of players.

Posted by flotz on Saturday, November 7, 2015 | Live Review

Love shows like this: where amazing players unite for a unique moment, a configuration never been heard before and perhaps never will again.   Ed Reed was awesome, had a Bay area vibe about him, singin the standards off that Hartman/Coltrane record plus other standards, him delivering the lyrics with authority. And, Anton Schwartz, who organized the event, provided a great compliment to Reed.

Not kidding when they said a “particularly fine rhythm section” in the blurb: Dawn Clement, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; and D’Vonne Lewis, drums. The three were really in tune on these cuts, esp Clement and Lewis, wonder if they’ve played together before? Prob, this town aint that big. Love hearing/watching Lewis, what a drummer.

They did all the cuts off the record plus other standards like “Body and Soul” and “Something I Dreamed Last Night.”  Really cool how Schwartz refracted Reed’s singing, yeah, Schwartz found a ton of nice lines. Reed took a couple breaks and the band got to open up on some other Coltrane tunes, like “Cousin Mary.”  

Side note: what’s the deal with Tula’s? Love that space and hope them and Shorty’s can stave of demolition. 

Posted by flotz on Sunday, March 15, 2015 | Live Review

Living legends doing what they do to a packed audience. Was thinking 70 is the new 40 as these guys put on a show of melodic virtuosity. Their collaboration defies genre, invoking classical music more than anything in how it moves around. So many ideas, exchanges, gives/takes, etc. Always something to tune into as the music flowed. They spent most of their time on the grand pianos, but did occasionally move to respective keyboard/synths. Hancock busted out both “Maiden Voyage” and “Canteloupe Island” – playin his hits. And there was both a verbal and musical nod to Miles Davis, with “Solar” being quoted as well as Corea grabbing the mic and talking about his and Hancock’s time under their shared mentor.

Dug the high school jazz band in the lobby – nice touch, STG.

Here’s a recent interview with Hancock:

Posted by flotz on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 | Year End List

Been all about classic jazz this year, hardly listening to anything new. Here’s what in heavy rotation:

Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage. Can’t get enough of this record. Tony Williams drumming is mesmerizing and Freddie Hubbard is blistering and Wayne Shorter is so thoughtful. Love the compositions, love the vibe. Plan on reading his autobiography.

Miles Davis Miles In The Sky. Hancock on the electric keys for the first time, cameo by George Benson,  Miles being Miles, so good. Read great bio on him this year: So What.

Grant Green – Just got hip to him this year. Read his biography, written by his son’s ex-wife, which is awesome. Hilarious stories, tragic jazz figure. Never got the attention that Montgomery or Benson got, but he sought it. Love his lines and grooves. Great anecdotes in the book, all is fair game. Digging his jazz sides more than anything else.

George Benson – All his early, sixties stuff is deluxe. Reading his autobiography at present. Lotsa cats. Love his comment about Grant Green “that guy knew what he was going to play four measures before he played it.”

Joe Henderson The Milestone Years. Choice stuff. No book to read (yet).

Posted by flotz on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 | Reviews (Live Show)

Been to this a couple times now and always dug it. Lotta great players, guys (and girls!) come out of the woodwork, show up with an instrument, ready to get on stage and blow. Quality of musicianship super high. Some blazing sax players, fierce. And some really talented guitarists. Different bass players each time, again, top notch. And keys were awesome too, some killer solos. Holmberg holding it down throughout, but also will give up the drums to other folks. Love hearing jazz in a hockey bar.  $2 PBRs and no cover, ya can’t beat it. Sound is good too. 

Seems like Max Holmberg, the host and drummer, is doing a lot around town, bring jazz to new places, like Pies & Pints, Havana, etc. Says on his website’s bio that he’s a local and just graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.