Friday, April 21, 2006

New Harry Connick, Jr. Collection 'Harry On Broadway, Act I'

Harry On Broadway, Act I, a two CD collection of Broadway music performed by Harry Connick, Jr. The new collection, released by Columbia Records, includes separate discs devoted to The Pajama Game Cast Album and Thou Shalt Not and will be in stores on Tuesday, May 9.

The first disc included in Harry On Broadway, Act I is devoted to the new Broadway cast recording of the Roundabout Theatre Company's critically-acclaimed revival of "The Pajama Game, " starring Harry Connick, Jr. in his Broadway stage debut, Kelli O'Hara, and Michael McKean. Based on the novel, "7-1/2 Cents, " by Richard Bissell, "The Pajama Game" is set in the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory during a strenuous labor negotiation and centers on the simmering romance between a handsome new manager and a lovely union representative that is threatened by the impending strike. With book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, the original 1955 Broadway production of "The Pajama Game" won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The current production, part of the 40th anniversary season of the Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director), is in performance at the American Airlines Theatre through June 17, 2006 and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall.

In addition to stellar interpretations of the musical's classic songs including "Hey There, " "Steam Heat, " and "Hernando's Hideaway, " both the Roundabout Theatre production and The Pajama Game Cast Album feature three songs -- "If You Win, You Lose" and "The Three of Us, " written by Richard Adler, and "The World Around Us, " written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross -- not included in the original production.

Thou Shalt Not, the second CD in the Harry On Broadway, Act I collection, showcases "The Pajama Game" stars Connick and O'Hara performing jazz interpretations of songs written by Connick for the Broadway musical "Thou Shalt Not." The program includes songs featured in the 2001 Broadway production, which received a Tony nomination for Best Score, as well as music written for but not included in the production. With the exception of "The Other Hours, " which Connick sang on his platinum-selling Sony/Columbia album Only You, none of the songs on Thou Shalt Not have been previously recorded in vocal versions or sung by Harry. The Harry Connick, Jr. Quartet, which features Charles "Ned" Goold (tenor saxophone), Neal Caine (bass), and Arthur Latin, II (drums), appear throughout the Thou Shalt Not album to provide Connick (who also plays piano) and O'Hara with swinging and sophisticated accompaniments.

Harry On Broadway, Act I

The Pajama Game Cast Album
1. Overture 2:25
2. Racing With The Clock 2:49
3. A New Town is a Blue Town 2:51
4. I'm Not At All In Love 4:06
5. I'll Never Be Jealous Again :24
6. Hey There 4:00
7. Sleep Tite :40
8. Her Is 2:42
9. Once-A-Year-Day 4:37
10. Once-A-Year-Day Playoff :50
11. Her Is (Reprise) 1:36
12. Small Talk 3:20
13. There Once Was A Man 3:31
14. Slowdown :54
15. Hey There (Reprise) 1:22
16. Steam Heat 4:47
17. The World Around Us 2:31
18. Hey There (Reprise)/If You Win,
You Lose 3:24
19. Think of the Time I Save 2:37
20. Hernando's Hideaway 8:02
21. The Three of Us 2:33
22. Seven and A Half Cents 4:34
23. There Once Was A Man (Reprise) :48
24. Hernando's Jive :52
25. The Pajama Game 2:59

Thou Shalt Not
1. Oh, My Dear (Something's Gone Wrong) 4:17
2. Can't We Tell 3:59
3. Such Love 5:48
4. I Like Love More 3:05
5. My Little World 4:30
6. All Things 2:22
7. I Need To Be In Love 4:29
8. Oh! Ain't That Sweet 4:00
9. Other Hours 3:48
(10) Take Advantage 4:45
(11) Take Her To The Mardi Gras 3:45
Executive Producer - Ann Marie Wilkins
Produced by Tracey Freeman & Harry Connick, Jr.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

2006 MAC Awards

The 2006 MAC Awards were presented on Monday, APRIL 17 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at BMCC, 199 Chambers Street. The evening was highlighted by performances by MAC Lifetime Achievement honorees Betty Buckley, Sheila Jordan and Clark Terry, as well as MAC Board of Director Award honorees Phoebe Snow and Judy Gold.







Female Vocalist
Diana Templeton

Male Vocalist
Colm Reilly

New York Debut - Female
Alisa Schiff

New York Debut - Male
Matt Sigl

Major Engagement
Karen Mason

Cabaret Comedy / Musical Comedy
Nancy Witter

Rick Skye (Liza Minnelli)

Variety Production/Recurring Series
Julie Gold (Fridays at the 'Plex)

"A Marvelous Party" for Noel Coward

Special Production / Vocal Duo or Group
Sue Matsuki and Gregory Toroian: 10 Years in the Making

Piano Bar/Restaurant Singing Entertainer
Colm Reilly

Piano Bar/Restaurant/Hotel Lounge Instrumentalist
Ricky Ritzel

Phil Geoffrey Bond

Technical Director
Shane Mathews

Musical Director
Rick Jensen

The Party Upstairs -- music by Ronny Whyte, lyrics by Francesca Blumenthal

Special Musical Material
I Think About Sex -- music and lyrics by Ray Jessel

Lee Lessack... In Good Company

Jazz Recording
Sonny Rollins... Without A Song: The 911 Concert

Jazz Pianist
Fred Hersch

Jazz Instrumentalist
Wycliff Gordon

Jazz Ensemble
The Frank & Joe Show

Female Jazz Vocalist
Karrin Allyson

Male Jazz Vocalist
Andy Bey

Male Stand-Up Comic
Bill Burr

Female Stand-Up Comic
Jessica Kirson

Patti Wicks Makes First SF Bay Area Concert Appearance

Saturday April 22, The Pacifica Performing Arts Center will present jazz pianist/vocalist Patti Wicks in her first concert appearance in the San Francisco Bay area with bassist Ruth Davies. On Sunday afternoon, April 23 she will also be performing in concert at Jazz Chez Hanny, 145 Filmore, San Francisco, with bassist Jeff Chambers.

Although she is new to the Bay Area, Ms. Wicks is a veteran performer, having begun her professional career in New York in the late 60's where her duos and trios included such jazz greats as bassists Sam Jones, Richard Davis, Brian Torff, and drummers Louis Hayes, Mickey Roker, Alan Dawson and Curtis Boyd. Throughout her career, she has worked with an extensive list of artists, including horn players Ira Sullivan, Flip Phillips, Clark Terry, Pete Minger, Greg Abate; guitarists Larry Coryell and Randy Johnston; and has accompanied renowned vocalists Sheila Jordan, Giacomo Gates, Rebecca Parris, Anita O'Day, Roseanna Vitro and Carol Sloane. Now living in South Florida, Patti performs locally and continues touring the US and Italy.

Her most recent CD, "Basic Feeling", recorded in Italy and featuring the excellent Italian musicians with whom she regularly tours, has received rave reviews from both International and US jazz critics.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Two new CDs for Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett is one of the rare recording artists to have new albums chart in five different decades. Over the course of his career, he has earned 13 GRAMMY Awards, including a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and honors for Record of the Year ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco, " 1962) and Album of the Year (MTV Unplugged, 1993). He is also the recipient of an EMMY Award and the Kennedy Center Honors.

To commemorate this lifetime of achievement--and in celebration of the artist's 80th birthday milestone--Starbucks Hear Music will introduce customers to two Tony Bennett CD projects this year. The first of these is a Starbucks Hear Music Opus collection, Through the Years, which will be available exclusively at Starbucks Company-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada beginning April 4.

For Through the Years, Starbucks Hear Music worked with Bennett to select landmark hits as well as some of the artist's handpicked personal favorites, to create a portrait of Bennett's musical career. On the 15-track CD are songs for which Bennett created definitive interpretations including "I Left My Heart in San Francisco, " Cy Coleman's "The Best Is Yet To Come, " Hammerstein's Sound of Music classic, "My Favorite Things, " Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart, " Rodgers and Hart's "Blue Moon, " "The Way You Look Tonight, " "Smile, " and "It Had To Be You." Also among the tracks are the memorable "Just In Time, " "I Wanna Be Around, " "The Good Life, " "I Could Write a Book, " "Steppin' Out with My Baby" and a version of "My Foolish Heart" recorded with the great jazz pianist Bill Evans.

The Starbucks Hear Music Opus series showcases songs by artists essential for any music collection. The Starbucks Hear Music content team compiles a mix of classic tunes with songs people may not have ever heard to create a portrait of each artist. Previous Starbucks Hear Music(tm) Opus Collections include: Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Ray Charles.

This fall, Starbucks will offer a second CD, an RPM/Columbia release, which will feature newly recorded duets with Bennett and a wide range of musical artists, among them Bono, the Dixie Chicks and Billy Joel. The repertoire will include the songs most closely associated with Bennett's celebrated catalogue, which comprised countless hits over five decades of recorded output. The duets album, which is currently untitled, will be available simultaneously at Starbucks Company-operated locations and traditional retailers.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Joy Bellis - "Coming Alive" debut CD

Listen. Experience. Joy…

One of New York music scene’s best kept secrets – vocalist Joy Bellis – is thrilled to announce her long overdue CD debut, Coming Alive, released on March 7, 2006 on the White Butterfly record label. Coming Alive is an eclectic mix of selections from the American songbook, Brazilian tradition and even contemporary pop. You wouldn’t think you could hear songs popularized by Frank Sinatra and Britney Spears juxtaposed on the same recording, but with Joy’s unique take on these tunes, the transition happens seamlessly. Drawing you in with her warm tones, intelligent phrasing, lyrical empathy and soulful style, she creates the perfect ambiance with each rendition on Coming Alive – this is sophisticated chill music.

An excellent group of musicians (David Epstein - piano, Robert Sabin - bass, Jeff Davis - drums and Doug Hinrichs - percussion) back Joy in delivering fresh arrangements of less-often-heard gems by celebrated songwriters such as Jimmy Van Heusen, Jule Styne, Harold Arlen, Leslie Bricusse and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Although Coming Alive marks Joy’s official debut recording, she’s no stranger to the stage: Joy Bellis is an experienced performer, having graced clubs all over town for the past 7 years. What fans might not know is that Joy originally hails from Wall Street, spending her initial New York years in investment banking. Lucky for us, she traded her late-night hours at the office, for later nights on stage, perfecting her style, and gaining fans and critical acclaim. And we’re even luckier, now that Joy has expanded into the world of recorded sound. So sit back, listen and experience Joy Coming Alive…

The Songs:

1. Is You Is or Is You Ain't (My Baby)
2. Baby One More Time
3. All the Way
4. Never Will I Marry
5. Bonita
6. Look at That Face
7. It's Over Now (Well, You Needn't)
8. Time after Time
9. Out of This World
10. The Meaning of the Blues
11. Sugar
12. For Me
13. To Say Goodbye (Pra Dizer Adeus)

Go to CDBaby

Monday, April 17, 2006

JULIE HARDY @ La Lanterna / Bar Next Door

On Monday, April 24th (8:00-11:30pm) at La Lanterna / Bar Next Door, vocalist and composer Julie Hardy will perform with guitarist Ben Monder and bassist Matt Clohesy.
Both Monder and Clohesy will be featured on her next CD release on Fresh Sound New Talent records. A vast array of material will be presented including standards, original compositions and modern pieces from Hardy’s latest CD release, “A Moment’s Glance”. La Lanterna / Bar Next Door is located at 129 Macdougal Street, between 3rd st & 4th Street. $8 Cover.

About the Vocalist:
As the only American vocalist currently signed to Fresh Sound New Talent records, Julie Hardy is well on her way to becoming one of the most important voices of the modern jazz scene. Hardy's debut CD, “A Moment’s Glance” was released in April 2005 to critical acclaim. This innovative record combines fresh interpretations of standards and pop classics with sophisticated original compositions, and showcases Hardy's diverse talents as an improviser and an interpreter of lyrics. She is joined by Rob Stillman, tenor saxophone and Randy Ingram, piano. Ben Street, bass, and Adam Cruz, drums (of the Danilo Perez trio) round out the ensemble.

Last year Hardy released “A Moment’s Glance” to a full house at the Jazz Standard in New York City. She was also selected to perform at the Women in Jazz Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center. This year Hardy has been acknowledged for her talent as a composer by receiving the 2006 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award for her composition “No Turning Back” which is featured on her recent Fresh Sound release.

Hardy grew up in Fremont, New Hampshire and holds a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. In 2002 Hardy was one of two vocalists in the nation invited to participate in the Jazz Academy Snowmass in Aspen, CO directed by Christian McBride. The following year Hardy was chosen to attend the Betty carter Jazz ahead program where she performed her original composition at the Kennedy center in Washington, D.C.

PERFORMERS: Julie Hardy, voice and compositions; Ben Monder, guitar; Matt Clohesy, bass.
DATE: April 24th, 2006
TIME: 8:00 – 11:30 PM
VENUE: La Lanterna / Bar Next Door is located at 129 Macdougal Street, between 3rd st & 4th Street
COST: $8 cover, one drink minimum.

Mindi Abair - Life Less Ordinary

April 18, 2006 GRP Records releases Life Less Ordinary, Mindi Abair's New Album.

The personnel of this CD is: Mindi Abair - Alto Saxophone, Vocal, Keyboards; Matthew Hager -Programming, Guitar, Bass, Producer, Percussion, Keyboards; Mike Landau - Guitar; Ricky Petersen - Piano, Organ and others. Life Less Ordinary launches its seduction of the listener's senses with the cool, clubby/soulful chill of "Do You Miss Me, " a track that, for Abair, captures the mood of the whole project."The reason it's first is that if you like it, you'll like the rest of the album, " she says. "It's got a little of everything, it always makes me want to dance, and the title is a perfect sentiment about me being on the road all the time."

With its swirling mix of nouveau-old school percussion, trippy atmospheres and energetic horns, the next song chronicles her "Long Ride Home" perfectly. "It's a great driving song, a Euro-inspired tune we had a lot of fun with, " she says.

"The Joint" is a down and dirty, rock/soul jam that's both retro and raucous; Robinson keeps it swinging, while Abair's alto takes a sexy low road over Peterson's Wurlitzer and organ harmonies. "I've come up the ranks playing in so many little dives. There's an energy to being in a broken down vibey club and feeling like you're one with the audience. I wanted to capture that feeling of a smoky dark room filled with people shaking their bodies to the beat."

Abair takes a 180-degree turn emotionally for the next track, the darkly ambient and emotionally wrenching ballad "Rain, " which was inspired in part by the victims of Hurricane Katrina. "It starts out with a melancholy air, but as it emerges, it becomes more optimistic, " she says. "It captures the way we respond to a tragedy of that magnitude, with sadness that gives way to determination and strength to survive." Songs like the peppy and playful "True Blue" (which features some of Abair's most catchy and mouthwatering wordless harmony vocals ever) and the boldly produced, jangly pop-rocker "Bloom" have the joyful feel of Abair's most familiar pop hits, while the percussive, crunch-funk hip-hop grooves of "Slinky" propel her further into a new sound that will no doubt become the standard for the ever evolving fusion of instrumental jazz, chill and pop.

Perhaps more than any other track, the sweetly-rendered Brazilian-tinged vocal track "Ordinary Love" sums up Abair's attitude towards love. Where most love songs address the intense passion at the beginning or the heartbreak at the end, Mindi pens a playful and endearing song which celebrates the sustaining beauty and freedom of every day, or ordinary, love. In what is now a Mindi Abair signature, she ends the CD with a lonely heartfelt ballad "Far Away". "It started out with me singing the melody and playing it on piano to demo the song. I always envisioned it with soprano saxophone as the main instrument, but when we recorded the saxophone track, we forgot to mute the "guide" vocal that I had put down. The two were so haunting together. We kept it!"

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sherri Roberts at Yoshi's

Sherri Roberts will celebrate the release of her new CD The Sky Could Send You on Blue House Recordings, an associate label of Pacific Coast Jazz, Tuesday, April 18 at Yoshi's Jazz House,Jack London Square, Oakland, CA. The Sky Could Send You is the third collaboration between Roberts and Harvie S, following their critically acclaimed recordings on the Brownstone label, Twilight World (1996) and Dreamsville (1998), which charted for seven weeks on the prestigious Gavin Report. S brings his mastery of jazz and Latin vocabulary to the helm of this new project, which is truly a musical voyage.

"Via adventurous rhythms and vivid language, this record carries the listener through new places, cultures, and emotional landscapes, " says Roberts. Drawing from a broad palette of instrumental and rhythmic colors, The Sky Could Send You features re-imagined jazz and Brazilian standards, original compositions by contemporary artists and unexpected covers of pop tunes such as Harry Belafonte's Jamaica Farewell. The jazz and world grooves provide a rich foundation for Roberts' liquid vocals and intimate lyric delivery. And the incredible talent who accompany Sherri on this recording are the best in their fields - Phil Woods and Lew Soloff.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Deborah J. Carter - New CD "Daytripper"

Deborah J. Carter releases her new jazz tribute to the Beatles with Daytripper (Timeless Records). For this project, Deborah and pianist Coen Molenaar wrote completely new arrangements for eleven standards by the Beatles. They recorded these pieces with drummer Enrique Firpi, bassist/producer/engineer Mark Zandveld, and guest musicians Ed Verhoeff (guitar), Joris Roelofs (clarinet) and Daniel Patriasz (percussion). The enthusiasm for her concert performances in Europe already has proven that this repertoire is extremely well received by a wide audience of not just jazz fans, but music lovers in general.

Here is an excerpt from the liner notes by Frits Lagerwerff (VPRO Radio & TV): “By her interpretation of Lennon-McCartney compositions, Deborah demonstrates eminently the distinction between jazz and pop. Her feeling for phrasing, improvisation and variation brings excitement in these songs which she considers part of the soundtrack of her life. With a fascinating penchant for free-spiritedness she creates-- in personal versions--a sparkling cocktail of contrasts.”

Daytripper (Timeless Records CD JSP 473)
Just released! A CD with Deborah's original and surprising versions of Beatles-repertoire.

Can't Buy Me Love
Oh! Darling
Ticket To Ride

Read: CD buyer feedback press reviews

Friday, April 14, 2006

Jazzkaar Festival - Tallinn

Jazzkaar Festival - Tallinn

From April 15-30 the Tallinn International Jazzkaar Festival will open its doors for the 17th time featuring Dianne Reeves, Vinicius Cantuaria and The Bad Plus. This year's festival includes 50 concerts in thirteen Estonian cities - Tallinn, Tartu, Prnu, Jhvi, Viljandi, Narva, Tri, Haapsalu, Valga, Rakvere, Plva, Elva and Keila. The concerts in Tallinn will take place in 15 different halls altogether.

The festival will feature musicians from 24 different countries, including Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Georgia, Indonesia, India, Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chilie, Israel and the USA.

The opening concert of the festival will be by a rising Estonian artist Liisi Koikson, who will be presenting her debut album. The young woman was awarded the title of the best jazz singer and best female singer at the last Estonian Music Awards ceremony.

The main performers of the festival will be jazz diva Dianne Reeves, a four time Grammy award winner, the power piano trio The Bad Plus from the USA, and Vinicius Cantuaria quintet from Brazil, continuing with the best traditions of Antonio Carlos Jobim's music.

The European jazz elite is also impressively represented at Jazzkaar - the best French saxophone and clarinet players Michel Portal and Louis Sclavis, Spanish saxophone and flute players Jorge Pardo and Jose Louis Gutierrez, etc.

Youth is one of the keywords for this year's festival. The youngest star will be a 16-year-old Italian saxophone player Francesco Cafiso, who has gained substantial international recognition, despite his young age.

23-year-old wonder-voice Eivor Palsdottir, who was voted the best female vocalist in Iceland, will be performing with Villu Veski's world music group. A special kind of energy will be brought to the festival by the saxophone player and rap artist Soweto Kinch, who has been awarded several prestigious British awards. Norway will be represented by Solveig Slettahjell with her Slow Motion Quintet. Young Estonian singers Uku Suviste and Kadri Voorand will have their Jazzkaar debut this year, while Sofia Rubina and Chalice are both already well-known artists for the festival audience.

World music and jazz will be wonderfully combined by groups Boi Akih (Indonesia - India-the Netherlands), The Shin (Georgia), PercaDu (Israel), Sanju Sahai and Fida Hussain Khan (India), Anna- Mari Khr orhcestra (Finland) etc.

Estonian musicians will be giving 20 concerts and the audience will have a chance to see the brand new shows of Meelis Vind, Bonzo Dream Orchestra, Tnu Naissoo, Hedvig Hanson, Riho Sibul, Raivo Tafenau, etc.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ella Fitzgerald festival hits the big time


April 4, 2006
The Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival, now in its ninth year, is looking all grown up. How so?

First off, it's a third bigger.

This year's event at Christopher Newport University has swelled to include a fourth night of world-class music. A beefed-up Wednesday concert will feature the critically acclaimed singer Kurt Elling.

Secondly, there's the marquee strength of this year's headliner, Branford Marsalis. The saxophonist, who performs at the Saturday night finale, is part of the nation's first family of jazz music. His father Ellis and brother Wynton are among the most popular and respected jazz players in the country.

Big names are nothing new to the festival. It has featured Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Sonny Rollins and Diana Krall in years past. But an appearance by Marsalis - who has recorded and performed with rock standouts including Sting and Bruce Hornsby - gives the festival more popular punch. At least it should.

Finally, the Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival moves into a grander physical space for 2006. Last year's edition took place at the 440-seat theater inside the Ferguson Center for the Arts. This year, the only show happening in that theater is Wednesday's kickoff. The other three performances are inside the Ferguson Center's much larger 1,700-seat concert hall.

It's a big step up from the festival's beginnings in the tiny and unpretentious Gaines Theatre at CNU.

Here's a closer look at the festival's four headlining concerts.

Kurt Elling with the CNU Jazz Ensembles, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Music & Theatre Hall, Ferguson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20.

Chicago native Kurt Elling's brand of scat singing was surely influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, so he's a natural choice for the festival. Having developed his own style in the clubs of the Windy City - including the legendary Green Mill - Elling emerged as a creative and unpredictable presence in vocal jazz. For example, he began his 2001 album "Flirting with Twilight" by singing a Charlie Haden bass solo.

Eddie Palmieri and La Perfecta II with Tiempo Libre, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Concert Hall, Ferguson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20, $30 and $40.

A seven-time Grammy Award winner, Palmieri is described as one of the greatest Latin piano players on the road today. He went professional in 1955 and formed his influential band La Perfecta in 1961. Palmieri's is noted for bringing the piano styles of McCoy Tyner, Thelonious Monk and others into a Latin music context. Tiempo Libre is a Miami-based group that plays high-energy blend of Latin jazz and Cuban timba music,

Patti Austin and the Count Basie Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Concert Hall, Ferguson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20, $30 and $40.

Austin is best known as pop and R&B singer, but she's always loved jazz. As a child performer, she was a protégé of Dinah Washington and Sammy Davis Jr. As a studio pro, she's sung countless jingles as well as for sessions by Quincy Jones, George Benson and Paul Simon. Her duet with James Ingram "Baby, Come to Me," was a No. 1 pop hit in 1982. More recently, Austin's been indulging her jazz side. In 2002, she released "For Ella," a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Branford Marsalis, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Concert Hall, Ferguson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20, $30 and $40.

The oldest of Ellis Marsalis' jazz playing sons, Marsalis learned from Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis before striking out on his own. Jazz purists howled when he joined Sting's post-Police band. But Marsalis continued to chart his own course. For a few years, he served as musical director for Jay Leno's "Tonight Show." In 1994, his Buckshot LeFonque project mixed jazz, hip-hop, blues and rock with contributions from Albert Collins, Victor Wooten, Nils Lofgren and poet Maya Angelou. Branford Marsalis' most recent disc, "Eternal," was released in 2004.

Ella and Dean!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

9th Annual Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Festival

Ferguson Center for the Arts April 5-8; 7:30 p.m. This year’s festival includes Kurt Elling with the CNU Jazz Ensembles; Eddie Palmieri & Tiempo Libre; Patti Austin with the Count Basie Orchestra and An Evening with Branford Marsalis. The festival includes educational programs including performances, workshops and master classes. $20-$40. One University Place. (NN) 594‑8752,

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tribute Does Justice to Ella Fitzgerald

by Mike Joyce

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

You can't go wrong by kicking off Jazz Appreciation Month with a salute to Ella Fitzgerald -- unless, of course, you miscast the principal role. The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra avoided that pitfall by recruiting vocalist Delores King Williams for its performance at the National Museum of American History's Carmichael Auditorium on Sunday night.

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra dedicated a Jazz Appreciation Month concert to Ella Fitzgerald.

Williams may have a gift for mimicry, but she clearly had no intention of imitating Fitzgerald's nonpareil artistry. Not that there weren't occasional reminders of Fitzgerald's trademark effervescence and flawless scat, especially when Williams thoroughly refreshed "Swing It, Mr. Paganini." But, from the outset, Williams imbued her performances with her own personality and interpretative finesse. Most of the tunes were drawn from Fitzgerald's classic songbook collections, neatly arranged by Chris Madsen for a seven-piece ensemble. And thanks to some lesser-known ballads -- "A Ship Without a Sail," for example -- the concert offered listeners more than just usual hit parade of standards.

Under the direction of Loren Schoenberg, the ensemble compensated for the absence of a full horn section by showcasing the group in a variety of settings. At one point, the spontaneous pairing of bassist James King and drummer Ken Kimery produced an evocative 12-bar blues tribute to Keter Betts, Fitzgerald's late bassist and friend. Another delightful duet found Williams and trombonist-vocalist Eric Felten conjuring Fitzgerald's chummy collaborations with Louis Armstrong via "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Other performances were enlivened or soulfully shaded by Schoenberg, on alto sax, trumpeter Tom Williams, baritone saxophonist Scott Silbert and pianist Robert Redd.

Monday, April 03, 2006

2006 Jazz & Blues JUNO Winners

2006 Jazz & Blues JUNO Winners:

Single of the Year, Home, Michael Buble
Album of the Year, It's Time, Michael Buble
Artist of the Year, Michael Buble
Pop Album of the Year, It's Time, Michael Buble
Vocal Jazz Album, Christmas Songs, Diana Krall
Contemporary Jazz Album, Radio Guantanamo, Jane Bunnett
Traditional Jazz Album, Ask Me Later, Don Thompson Quartet
Blues Album, Let It Loose,, Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne

Kim Nalley - "Need My Sugar"

1. September In The Rain
2. At Last
3. Say It Isn't So
4. Nature Boy
5. Need My Sugar
6. I Was Telling Him About You
7. Too Close For Comfort
8. Goin' To New York
9. Our Day Will Come

To listen to samples go to THIS PAGE

In 2003 Kim Nalley took the musical reins firmly in hand by producing "Need My Sugar" (CE Jazz & Blues/City Hall Records) which is now available nationally at all major music stores. It features Etta James' pianist David K. Mathews, the world-class bassist Jeff Chambers and Nocturne Band drummer, Kent Bryson. Both Mathews and Chambers playing featured on several Grammy Award nominated albums including two from this past year. Since its release this year, Need My Sugar" has reached #17 on the American Jazz Countdown Main Stream Jazz Chart. Kim Nalley says, "I think that this CD will appeal to both the jazz and blues crowds. There is something on there for everyone.

Everyone loves the Latin groove on "Nature Boy," I have DJs asking to remix it, "At Last" is just so soulful with Dave Mathews' playing and the jazz numbers just plain swing." Here is what the critics say about the CD "Need My Sugar."

Kim Nalley - "She Put A Spell On Me" a tribute to Nina Simone

Known for her ability to turn a chattering cocktail sipping crowd into a rapt audience of lifelong fans in minutes, Kim Nalley combines a devastating stage presence with finely tuned powerful voice. A trip to San Francisco is often said not be complete without hearing Kim Nalley perform. Glamorous, garrulous and dramatic like a diva of the 1950’s, Kim evokes an era when women were classy and brash. And she is a real community leader to boot; she was the receipient of the “Most Influential African-American in the Bay Area” Cityflight Award 2005 Entertainment Category. This CD was recorded live over five sold out runs of Kim Nalley’s Tribute to Nina Simone since Dr. Simone’s death and all the reviews have been exuberant:

“Nina Simone was a singer, a social commentator, and a fighter. Often called the High Priestess of Soul, she was revered for her command of folk, blues, protest songs, and show tunes. So is it any wonder that Kim Nalley's show "She Put a Spell on Me: Kim Sings Nina" has been so popular? Nalley, whose hand in reopening the North Beach hot spot Jazz at Pearl's has made her into something of a hero in her own right, seems the perfect choice to interpret and pay tribute to the late, great Dr. Simone.”

Hiya Swanhuyser-SFWeekly

"Like Nina Simone, Nalley is able to vocally plow a mighty road of jazz and spiritual, classical, folk, blues, pop, African chant and freedom without losing a note, without relinquishing her spell. Blended, simmering, sustained elusiveness, Ms. Nalley’s vocal was inexhaustible melodic poetry. Too many stars to rate." Jean

Bartlett-Pacifica Tribune

"Jazz Diva Kim Nalley has arrived back in San Francisco, after living and touring in Europe. Nalley is fast becoming internationally known for her breathtaking charisma, an assured vocal style wholly her own, and every bit the chanteuse of the 1930's and 40's. She evokes the style and presence of artists like Billy Holliday, Dinah Washington, and Ella Fitzgerald, even the elemental flame of Nina Simone, who passed away less than a year ago. "SHE PUT A SPELL ON ME-- A TRIBUTE TO NINA SIMONE" had people standing on the sidewalk outside Pearl's February 17th, 2004."

Andrei Hedstrom-Driving Socrates

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Andrea Wolper - Small Hours

Track Listings
1. Dancing on the Ceiling
2. You and the Night and the Music
3. Gray, Not Blue
4. Night Time Was My Mother
5. Crazy Love
6. Rendezvous in Providence
7. Today
8. Not Sleeping in Your Arms
9. Little Suzie's Humming
10. Moanin'
11. Small Day Tomorrow
12. I Like You, You're Nice

By Dan McClenaghan

The title of The Small Hours suggests an obvious comparison. Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours was one of those early Capitol Records “concept” albums—a mastepiece, one of the finest three or four vocal sets ever produced—that featured a downtempo, melancholy mood wrapped in some of Nelson Riddle's most subtle arrangements (with strings) on record.

Vocalist Andrea Wolper's second record has a similar mood as the similarly-titled classic, with excellent but spare arrangments on a set of moody, late night tunes—like a saloon singer playing for a spare crowd as closing time nears. And what a delivery! Wolper sounds as if she's singing just for you as the set opens with the classic Rogers/Hart gem ”Dancing on the Ceiling,” a song also included in the Sinatra disc, incidentally. Wolper's voice—weary, dripping heartache—embraces the guitar/bass accompaniment and the beautiful essense of the classic melody. Hushed at times, smoky, emotion-laden, singing just for you.

The songstress' take on “You and the Night and the Music” has an eerie feeling, with the addition of Lou Marini's flute over the exotic rhythm of drummer Victor Lewis. Wolper's voice is very much an ensemble instrument—as opposed to the singer standing out front—with a good deal of fluid scatting that slips sinuously around the flute.

“Grey, Not Blue,” a Wolper-penned tune and an extraordinarily soulful selection, wallows in the blues in front of Ken Filiano's fat bass lines and Ron Affif's delicate guitarlines; while Van Morrison's “Crazy Love” has the bass/guitar/voice meshing beautifully, making the song sound like it was written just for Andrea Wolper. Another original, “Not Sleeping in your Arms,” is a dark, hard-hearted (with reason, I suppose) highlight, sad and tinted with bitterness, like something Billie Holiday might have written and sung.

Andrea Wolper is a new name to me, but she's come up with one of the strongest and most interesting vocal efforts of the year.

Visit Andrea Wolper on the web.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Christine Rosholt - "Detour Ahead"

By Dan McClenaghan

Twin Cities-based vocalist Christine Rosholt comes from a theater background, but her debut CD, Detour Ahead, shows that she can take a side road and turn it into a very appealing main thoroughfare. The set's atmosphere is elegant and a bit sassy, with Rosholt—in front of a crack band that really knows how to swing—displaying sharp articulation and a clear, clean tone from the Ella Fitzgerald school of jazz vocals.

The set opens with style on the familiar standard “East of the Sun (and West of the Moon),” where Rosholt eases her cool vocal into a piano trio arrangement that features a jewel of a piano solo from Tanner Taylor. Johnny Mercer's “Early Autumn” shifts the tone into a higher gear that has the band bouncing and Rosholt's voice cutting through sweetly. It's hard to take your ear off her easy phrasing and subtle shifts in inflection, but again Taylor sparkles with a style that compliments Rosholt's vocals perfectly.

An interesting addition here is Antonio Carlos Jobim's “Chega de Saudade (No More Blues).” Rosholt's delivery, in English, is crisper than the normal bossa nova mode, before vocalist/guitarist Robert Everest takes a turn in Portugese, with the hushed and slightly fuzzy intonation usually associated with the bossa sound. The title tune, a melancholy ballad with an achingly beautiful, no-frills vocal by Rosholt, is another highlight.

The set also features “You and the Night and the Music”; a couple of Cole Porter tunes, ”It's De-lovely” and “From This Moment On”; “Daydeam,” from the Strayhorn/Ellington songbook; “I Cover the Waterfront,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and an unusual take on Fats Waller's ”Honeysuckle Rose” with a B3 organ in the mix, giving the tune less of the traditional rollick, more of a cool flow.

A fine debut by vocalist Christine Rosholt.

Visit Christine Rosholt on the web.

Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald

April 2,
The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra at National Museum of American History's Carmichael Auditorium. Renowned reedman Loren Schoenberg will conduct SJMO's tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, part of its "From Harlem To Hollywood" series. Vocalist Delores Williams, who has the requisite talent and charm, will join the orchestra for an evening that will likely embrace everything from sunny swing novelties to Ella's classic pop songbook collections.

Details 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 2
National Museum of American History - Smithsonian Institution

14th Street and Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC

• Information: 202-252-0012
• Price: $26