Jazz Corridor

Owen McNally writes about jazz and other music events in Connecticut's Jazz Corridor, stretching from the tip of Fairfield County, right through New Haven and Hartford, and on up beyond the state into the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. Keep up with the best our area has to offer in music.

Franck Bohbot

Although he’s now hailed as a rising young star and has just released his second, red-hot album, the brilliant French virtuoso violinist, Scott Tixier, seemed like a nobody from nowhere nearly a decade ago when he first arrived from Paris to New York City.

Michael Schlüter

If you’re looking for a cool cornucopia of high-quality, live guitar music, check out The Connecticut Guitar Society’s 2016-2017 season. It's stocked with eight concerts bristling with genre-bending, premier players inventing on everything from Bach and bop to bluegrass and flamenco and beyond.

Jay Corey

Listen to alto saxophonist Kris Allen’s splendid, new CD, Beloved, and you might well hear in his rich, expressive playing, evocations of but never imitations of Jackie McLean’s searing, soulful sound or Ornette Coleman’s profound, plaintively moving lyricism. 

Maurice Robertson

A king-size floating concert, festive party, picnic and delightful sight-seeing tour along the scenic Connecticut River Valley, the Hartford Jazz Society’s celebratory riverboat ramble weighs anchor on Saturday, September 10 at 11:30 am from the State Pier at Haddam.

Eric Murray

Even as a toddler, Christian Sands, the onetime wunderkind who grew up in New Haven, could play the piano well enough to turn sophisticated listeners’ heads.

By age 4, he had taken his first baby steps into “formal” studies, which prepared him for writing compositions by 5.

Samirah Evans

A powerhouse jazz and blues artist who was uprooted by Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans to Brattleboro, Vermont, Samirah Evans is an unstoppable force of nature on-stage, a sexy, high-octane blend of ebullient personality and explosive showbiz savvy.

Before the noted, jazz-loving Berkshire watercolorist Marguerite Bride had pledged her troth to art in the 1990s, the Pittsfield painter had worked as a dedicated registered nurse and a highly regarded software engineering manager with a degree in computer science.

Steven Sussman

Few, if any, sane gamblers back in 1996 would have bet that the Litchfield Jazz Festival (LJF) -- a then at-risk brainchild of the fearless cultural crusader Vita Muir -- would survive its infancy to become an annual crown jewel among Connecticut’s premier summer arts and entertainment events.

Leyla Kayi

A robust celebration of urban life and culture, the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival -- a free, day-long, outdoor gala reveling in global sounds, arts, crafts, dance, theater and local and ethnic cuisine -- steps off Saturday, August 6, at 11:00 am at Court Square in the heart of the city’s downtown.

Jan Mullen

Living for decades in the shadow of his famous, beloved big brother, Nat “King” Cole, Freddy Cole didn’t begin to emerge as a fine singer and pianist in his own right until the 1990s, when he was already in his 60s.

Irene Cowern

Traditional jazz fans can double their pleasure as the identical twin Midiri brothers, Joe and Paul, coast-to-coast co-champions of classic jazz, display their parallel musical wizardry at the Elks Lodge in Branford on July 15 at 7:30 pm.

Richard Conde

Unlike some piano virtuosos, Laszlo Gardony, Hungary’s great gift to the American jazz scene, uses his dazzling keyboard mastery to enhance his soulful expressiveness rather than relying on pyrotechnical prowess as his sole claim to international fame.

Maurice Robertson

Break out the cooler, corkscrew, suntan lotion, shades, lawn chair and picnic basket for the grand July opening of the free, lavish summer jazz festivities in Hartford’s Bushnell Park.

Steven Sussman

Summer is the most remarkably abundant season for premier local jazz festivals, stomping everywhere from downtown Springfield to the New Haven Green, from Litchfield County’s Goshen Fairgrounds to Hartford’s Bushnell Park.

Matt Criscuolo

As you approach Matt Criscuolo’s Wilton Pizza nestled on the Wilton Town Green, be prepared to be enveloped by, perhaps even enraptured by, a savory, swinging, shrine-like, aromatic ambience celebrating the nourishing power and the delicious glory of both jazz and pizza.

Courtesy Eric Wyatt

Born and bred in a jazz-saturated home in Brooklyn, New York, the globe-trotting, big-toned, take-no-prisoners tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt has been on a lifelong quest to discover and hone his own sound and voice.   

Enid Farber / Mario Pavone

Appropriately titled Blue Dialect, bassist/composer Mario Pavone’s fourth piano trio album flows with the fluent, articulate grace and freedom of a great, witty conversation, reveling in spontaneous, interactive musical dialogues in which everyone gets to speak his mind. 

Steven Sussman

If you were selecting a patron saint of jazz for Hartford, a strong contender for canonization would most certainly be Paul Brown, a miracle worker whose countless good works for the music and local jazz musicians over many decades brought great joy, peace and comfort to the capital city.     

James Spione / Katie Bull

Growing up in her parents’ hip, intellectually buzzing bohemian digs -- vibrant cultural and social centers where cadres of jazz musicians, modern dancers and experimental theater artists hung out and jammed -- it’s little wonder that the extraordinary improvisational singer/songwriter Katie Bull was destined to become an artist.

gracekellymusic.com

It was one of those historic, passing-of-the-torch moments when the legendary Phil Woods, a monarch of the alto saxophone, took off his signature leather fisherman’s cap and, in a regally symbolic act of confirmation, placed it on the head of a worthy heir-apparent, the then 14-year-old alto prodigy, Grace Kelly.

Joe Mabel / Creative Commons

Gary Bartz, a long reigning, if not officially crowned, jazz master and one of the music’s all-time great alto saxophonists, is the headliner for the Hartford Jazz Society’s Concert and Workshop series on Friday, May 6, at 8:00 pm at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford.

Matthew Sussman / Jane Ira Bloom

Jane Ira Bloom, the innovative soprano saxophonist and composer, loves to tap into non-musical art forms as sources of inspiration for her bold, original music.

Pramod Pradhan / Hartford Public Library

Basking in warm, sentimental, adulatory acclaim, pianist Emery Austin Smith -- a high-energy octogenarian and one of the last great patriarchs of Hartford’s first Golden Age of Jazz -- returns once again.

The Artistry of Jazz Horn / Facebook

At this moment, one of the hottest, rapidly rising young jazz singers is the phenomenal, 24-year-old Jazzmeia Horn, a life force on stage. 

Courtesy: Briene Lermitte

As much in the American grain as Aaron Copland, William Carlos Williams, or Emily Dickenson, the celebrated composer/orchestrator and conductor/bandleader Maria Schneider is a great, lyrical celebrator of memory, home, and friendship in her latest masterwork recording, The Thompson Fields.

Ann Braithwaite / Braithwaite & Katz Communications

Before settling down and committing himself to jazz, blues, classical, and Brazilian music, the rising, young West Coast pianist/composer Danny Green immersed himself for long periods of time in numerous genres, artists, and composers. 

Courtesy/Brandee Younger

Whether you call it pushing the envelope, thinking outside the box, or just plain bending the rules, the boldly independent harpist and composer Brandee Younger creates a genre-crossing, smart, soulful, freewheeling, happy hybrid of hipness.

Steven Sussman / Steven Sussman Photography

What accounts for the ring of authenticity resonating through Giacomo Gates’ unaffected, yet affecting vocal craftsmanship is that the hipster, singer, and wordsmith from Connecticut always sounds as if he’s telling you all about life-shaping events and emotions that he himself has actually experienced and reflected upon.

Martin Zeman

  

On Fred Hersch’s 2014 trio masterwork, Floating (Palmetto Records), the superb pianist/composer opens the session’s creative floodgates with "You and the Night and the Music," infusing the song with streaming contrapuntal lines whose richness, fluidity, and invention make it seem as if there were actually two pianists playing simultaneously.

Thomas Chapin

In a heart-wrenching, unforgettable performance, Thomas Chapin -- a gaunt, desperately ill, but still brilliant and resilient 40-year-old cutting-edge saxophonist/flutist and composer -- played his final concert on February 1, 1998, to a loving SRO audience of friends, family, and fans at Cheney Hall in Manchester.

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