More eloquently than the written word—including even the prose of the great Ralph Ellison or the poetry of the legendary Langston Hughes—poetically expressive black-and-white photographs taken by gifted jazz photographers can capture the elusive but soulful essence of the music and its cradle-to-the-grave love affair with life.
Exuding sophistication, swing, and hip maturity far beyond her mere 24 years, Cecile McLorin Salvant, a vocalist with pitch-perfect intonation, unerring enunciation, and a rainbow array of rich timbres, is dazzling the jazz world and beyond with her Grammy-nominated, widely and wildly acclaimed American debut album, WomanChild.
Pianist Bill Charlap and guitarist Pat Metheny, two consummate artists who can never wear out the welcome mat with their relatively frequent and invariably fine visits to the area, return once again to present their unique styles with their signature groups.
With its heady mix of transcendence, activism, deep lyrical expression and soulful sense of swing, pianist/composer Noah Baerman’s triumphant new CD, Ripples, is one of the best and the brightest releases to grace our region in quite some time. It’s a bold, imaginative, inventive work that will, if there is any justice in the jazz world, have infinitely more than a rippling effect far beyond our borders along the Connecticut River.
A master of time, tone and fluent invention, bassist Dezron Douglas, one of Hartford’s great gifts to the jazz world, leads his quartet on consecutive nights on Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, at the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme.
Countless musicians and band leaders over the decades have saluted Fats Waller, the legendary jazz pianist/composer/singer and comic showman whose exuberantly high-living lifestyle and robust artistry were cut short when he died from pneumonia at only 39 in 1943.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, The Magic Triangle Jazz Series at the University of Massachusetts resonates with myth, magic and improvisational prestidigitation at 8:30 pm on Thursday, February 20, as the acclaimed saxophonist/composer/scholar Jason Robinson and his Janus Ensemble explore three of his new works and adventurous pieces from his latest, celebrated recording, Tiresian Symmetry.
Besides being the first African-American to host a network TV game show, the versatilecrooner/actor Adam Wade has enjoyed a more than half-century career crowned by countless appearances on stage, screen, and television, and a glorious, too brief flurry of chart-busting recordings in the 1960s. Among his hit singles was his tuneful trifecta of romantic ballads in 1961, "Take Good Care of Her," "As If I Didn’t Know," and "The Writing on the Wall."
At a time when many aspiring, young vocalists mistake blaring volume and grating gymnastics as the height of heartfelt artistic expression, Sara Gazarek, a savvy, swinging singer of exquisite taste, bright wit and creative vitality, is a welcome breath of fresh air. She’s a voice of reason amid the sound and the fury signifying not much of anything.
While jazz is the great American art form, it has long been graced by the welcome presence of many gifted practitioners from around the world, a sign of its universal appeal and global evolution into the hippest kind of Esperanto: a universal musical language understood by all.
Pleasant reminders of the music’s international scope pop up this weekend as three eminent émigré artists, drummer Ignacio Berroa, and pianists Laszlo Gardony and Amina Figarova -- who, respectively, are originally from Cuba, Hungary and Azerbaijan -- perform individually in Connecticut venues from Old Lyme to Middletown.
Drummer/composer Matt Wilson, a great wit, percussive prestidigitator and populist swinger in all known jazz genres, celebrates his new, diverse and delightful album, Gathering Call, on Tuesday, January 28. Wilson performs with his tightly-knit quartet and special guest, pianist John Medeski, at 8:00 pm at The Side Door jazz club in Old Lyme.
A super talent like trumpeterNicholas Payton could have easily coasted through a long, successful career by safely resting on his impressive laurels and never once rocking the boat musically or socially, thus remaining securely assured of achieving a prominent niche for himself.
A public library is probably not the first location that leaps to mind when you think about an ideal venue for jazz. What you want is a cozy, intimate refuge where you can hear every note played; aren’t seated a dehumanizing, football field length away from far distant performers; and are surrounded by a genuinely attentive, appreciative audience of kindred souls who are at least as much into the music as you are.
The perennial lament that jazz is dead had no validity in our region, the geographical Jazz Corridor between New York and Boston, in 2013. In fact, the past year abounded with many robust life signs, and a promising prognosis for a long, relatively healthy life for America’s original, perhaps most endangered, yet somehow most remarkably resilient art form.
Dave Brubeck, the jazz genius and venerable Wizard of Wilton who died a year ago this month at 91, was mad about time. Playing with time brilliantly, bending, reshaping and rewinding it, he constantly experimented with the permutations of odd-seeming, even weird time signatures, notated with funny-looking fractions like 5/4, 9/8, 7/4 and 13/4.
Mark Dresser, a noted bassist who tirelessly expands and hones his cutting-edge approach to improvising and composing, leads his creative music quintet in performances at 8:30 and 10:00 pm Friday, December 13, in the grand finale for the 2013 Fall Jazz Series at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven.
Pianophiles can double their pleasure this weekend thanks to back-to-back performances by premier pianists Bill Charlap at 8:00 pm Friday, December 6, in New Haven at Yale University’s Sprague Hall, followed the next night by Helen Sung at 8:00 pm Saturday, December 7, at Hartford’s Japanalia Eiko.