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.

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Jazz Corridor
1:43 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Adventurous Singer Kavita Shah's Fresh Take on World Music at Side Door Jazz Club

Kavita Shah

An artist of many parts, Kavita Shah, an ascending, young singer/songwriter of Indian descent, applies her keen, empathetic intelligence, ethereally beautiful voice and adventurous spirit by using global music and multi-cultural influences as sources of inspiration for expressing her personal and cultural identity on her adventurous debut album aptly titled Visions.

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Jazz Corridor
10:31 am
Wed August 13, 2014

New Haven Jazz Festival Features Harold Mabern in Free Concert on the Green

Harold Mabern
Alan Nahigian

“With the wind at his back, he can sound like an ocean roar.” Using meteorological and oceanographic allusions fit for portraying a mythic hero, jazz critic Gary Giddins described the powerhouse pianist Harold Mabern, a life force on the jazz scene for more than half a century.

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Jazz Corridor
9:10 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Cyrus Chestnut Displays Piano Prowess at Prestigious Litchfield Jazz Festival

Cyrus Chestnut.
Cyrus Chestnut

Graced with the robust technique of a premier concert hall pianist, Cyrus Chestnut is totally absorbed in exploring and celebrating the seemingly unlimited sonic potential of his grand instrument, using its keyboard and pedals to generate resonant, thickly-textured, amazingly agile, nuanced orchestral effects. 

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Jazz Corridor
12:33 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Crescent City Singer Charmaine Neville Struts Soulful Stuff at Springfield’s New Festival

Charmaine Neville performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
nojazzfest.com

Elated to be alive and once again playing at the top of her game after a debilitating, three-year struggle with a life-threatening brain condition, the whirlwind New Orleans singer/dancer and entertainer Charmaine Neville is looking forward to performing with her famous father, saxophonist Charles Neville, on August 9 at the first Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival in downtown Springfield’s historic Court Square.

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Jazz Corridor
10:56 am
Wed July 23, 2014

“The Segovia of Jazz” Spices Up Musical Fare at Bethel Restaurant

Gene Bertoncini
James L. Amos

Even though the guitar had been at the heart and soul of his existence since age seven, the future great jazz guitarist Gene Bertoncini went to the prestigious University of Notre Dame in the mid-1950s to study architecture.

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Jazz Corridor
1:50 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Celebrated Saxophonist Javon Jackson Jams at Hartford's Free, Alfresco Jazz Fest

Javon Jackson.
Javon Jackson

Javon Jackson, a top-seeded modern jazz tenor saxophonist, has plenty to celebrate this weekend as he brings his A-game to The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, a free, outdoor bash that’s expected to draw more than 50,000 fans to Bushnell Park on its 23rd annual run from Friday, July 18, to Sunday, July 20.

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Jazz Corridor
10:57 am
Wed July 9, 2014

How Litchfield Jazz Festival's Vita West Muir Transformed a Dream Into a Crown Jewel

Vita West Muir.
Litchfield Performing Arts

Maybe what accounts for Vita West Muir’s stunning success with founding and leading the celebrated Litchfield Jazz Festival since 1996 is the way she was taught by her Jesuit professors to think in a clear, cool, logical manner while she was majoring in biology and philosophy at Fordham University.

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Jazz Corridor
1:42 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Hartford’s Bushnell Park Alive with the Sound of Jazz

Monday Night Jazz at Bushnell Park
David Newman photobynewman.com

Hartford assumes its traditional summer role as the Connecticut state capital of free, high quality, mega-outdoor jazz festivals this month as Monday Night Jazz in Bushnell Park and The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz camp down once again on their scenic stomping grounds on the city’s historic Bushnell Park.

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Jazz Corridor
8:23 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Celebrated Hartford Cabaret Series Closes After Triumphant Five-Year Run

Dan Blow in front of the Japanalia storefront on Hartford's Whitney Street.
David Borawski

After a triumphant five-year run that offered a sparkling array of top live cabaret entertainment in Hartford, the flamboyant, innovative impresario/fashion-designer Dan Blow wraps up his popular Music@Japanalia Series at 7:30 pm on Saturday, June 28, with a grand finale performance by the noted, Hartford-based diva Dianne Mower.

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Jazz Corridor
3:01 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Icelandic and Israeli Notes Resound at Shoreline Jazz Club in Old Lyme

Sunna Gunnlaugs
Hör∂ur Sveinsson

In an international cultural coup d’etat this weekend, highly-skilled jazz performers from Iceland and Israel roll into Old Lyme to seize absolute emotional and aesthetic control over at The Side Door Jazz Club, the Connecticut shoreline’s key strategic jazz center.

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Jazz Corridor
4:05 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Innovative Cellist/Composer Erik Friedlander Presents Bold, Fresh Sounds in New Haven

Erik Friedlander.
Eliseo Cardona

With his ability to pluck and bow powerful portraits of emotions ranging from the foot-stomping, rustic joy of a barn-packed hoedown (think of robust Regionalist murals by Thomas Hart Benton) to the contemporary solitude and loneliness of an urban dark night of the soul in New York City (think of Edward Hopper’s loners), Erik Friedlander is a one-of-a-kind cellist/composer.

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Jazz Corridor
4:11 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Linda Oh Brings Sun Pictures to New Haven

Bassist Linda Oh.
Linda Oh Facebook

Linda Oh, the phenomenal young bassist who was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, and raised in Western Australia, performs music from her acclaimed, atmospheric and aptly-named CD, Sun Pictures, as she leads her quartet at 8:30 and 10:00 pm on Friday, June 6, at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven.

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Jazz Corridor
3:37 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Nicki Parrott, Peerless Aussie Double Bassist and Vocalist, Leads Trio In Hartford

Nicki Parrott.
Nicki Parrott

As part of his musical legacy, the late Les Paul, the legendary guitarist, electronic wizard and iconic guitar designer, played a key role in encouraging Nicki Parrott, the gifted Australian-born double bassist, to spread her wings a bit and also become a first-rate, expressive jazz singer.

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Jazz Corridor
12:04 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Israeli Trio Fuses Modern Jazz With Middle Eastern Sounds In Connecticut Debut

Trio Shalva. From left, Assaf Gleizner, Nadav Snir-Zelniker, and Koby Hayon.
Peter Salo

While playing his weekly gig at Manhattan’s Caffe Vivaldi some four years ago, pianist Assaf Gleizner, a Tel Aviv native, decided to please his parents by mixing traditional Israeli folk music with the modern jazz fare that he and his fellow Israeli sidemen, Koby Hayon and Nadav Snir-Zelniker, were to serve that night at the popular West Village restaurant and live music hot spot.   

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Jazz Corridor
2:48 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Jazz Goes to Church In Its Sunday Best

The interior of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford.
Asylum Hill Congregational Church

Long a welcoming haven for jazz, Asylum Hill Congregational Church embraces Duke Ellington’s sacred music Sunday, May 18, at 4:00 pm as it presents "The Best of the Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts" with full-scale, soulful re-creations blessed with four mighty choirs singing, a powerhouse jazz band swinging, and a tap dancer tapping in the historic Hartford church’s majestic sanctuary.

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Jazz Corridor
3:37 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Sicilian Singer/Songwriter Sissy Castrogiovanni Sizzles at Middletown’s Buttonwood Tree

Sissy Castrogiovanni.
Sissy Castrogiovanni

In the exciting, event-packed upcoming days, jazz gets happily hitched to lyrics sung enticingly and beautifully in Sicilian dialect by the young, sensational, Sicilian-born Sissy Castrogiovanni on Saturday, May 10, at 8:00 pm at Middletown’s Buttonwood Tree. 

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Jazz Corridor
11:02 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Two Modern Jazz Powerhouses Generate Merry May Mayhem

The Cookers, including Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart.
The Cookers

Thanks to The Side Door Jazz Club, one of Connecticut’s newest and hottest venues, and the Hartford Jazz Society, the nation’s oldest jazz society in continuous operation, May gets off to an explosive start with performances by two powerhouse modern mainstream ensembles that believe in the aesthetic primacy of unabashedly hard-swinging jazz crackling with unashamedly soulful feeling. 

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Jazz Corridor
10:51 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Ali Ryerson’s Luminous Flute Illuminates Her Musical "Dark Side"

Ali Ryerson.
J. Barry O' Rourke Ali Ryerson

“We’ve switched over to the dark side for real now.” No, that’s not an ominous utterance from Dick Cheney. It’s the celebrated flutist Ali Ryerson joking on the phone when discussing her touring quintet’s contemporary, plugged-in sound that marks a giant switch for her from the modern mainstream palette that has long been a hallmark of her acclaimed artistry.

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Jazz Corridor
1:21 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Singer Marianne Solivan Brings Subtle, Soulful Style to Hartford

Marianne Solivan.
Marianne Solivan

Besides possessing a lovely instrument of a voice graced with rich, sensuous timbres, Marianne Solivan is a gifted, wise singer who never feels compelled to use her ample skills to push the envelope so hard that she murders the enclosed message in the song.

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Jazz Corridor
10:31 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Cabaret Star Brings New, Searing Show to Hartford

Baby Jane Dexter.
BabyJaneDexter.com

Baby Jane Dexter, a consummate and passionate cabaret performer who can wring every torrid ounce of emotion out of classic romantic ballads or edgy original songs with searing social messages, returns for another one of her perpetually power-packed performances at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 12, at the Music@Japanalia series at Japanalia Eiko, 11 Whitney Street in Hartford.

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Jazz Corridor
9:50 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Yale Photo Show Offers Intimate Insights Into the Jazz World

Louis Armstrong, Hotel Room, Seattle, 1954. Gelatin silver print.
Milt Hinton The Milton J. Hinton Photographic Collection, milthinton.com

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.

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Jazz Corridor
9:33 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Future Jazz Superstar Gives the Past a Present Voice

Cecile McLorin Salvant.
Dr. Steven Sussman

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.

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Jazz Corridor
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Maestros Metheny and Charlap Return for Encore Performances

From left, Chris Potter, Giulio Carmassi, Ben Williams, Antonio Sanchez, and Pat Metheny.
Credit Pat Metheny

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.

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Jazz Corridor
12:39 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Pianist Noah Baerman’s Art and Activism Overcome Adversity

Noah Baerman.
Credit Noah Baerman

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.

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Jazz Corridor
3:00 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Bass Wizard Makes Side Door Swing Open

Dezron Douglas.
Credit Gulnara Khamatova / Dezron Douglas

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.

His primetime quartet features the premier pianist Cyrus Chestnut—Douglas’s longtime boss—the drummer Victor Lewis, a consummate synthesizer of subtlety and swing; and the smart saxophonist Lummie Spann, another one of Hartford’s Young Lions making a name for himself both on and beyond the New York jazz scene.

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Jazz Corridor
9:16 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Fats Waller Tribute Comes to Deep River

From left, Kevin Dorn, Bob Barta, and Dan Levinson of the sextet Jeff Barnhart and His Hot Rhythm.
Credit Jeff Barnhart

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. 

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Jazz Corridor
9:15 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Myths and Music Resonate at UMass Magic Triangle Series

Saxophonist Jason Robinson.
Credit Scott Friedlander

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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Crooner Wade Visits Hartford

Adam Wade, now and then.
Credit Adam Wade/Orbit Records

Besides being the first African-American to host a network TV game show, the versatile crooner/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." 

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Jazz Corridor
11:55 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Vocalist Gazarek Blends Candor and Genuine Feeling in Her Performance

Sara Gazarek.
Credit Sara Gazarek

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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed January 29, 2014

International Jazz Treats Around the State This Weekend

Ignacio Berroa
Credit Ignacio Berroa

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.

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