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.

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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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Matt Wilson Quartet to Deliver a Gathering Call With Pianist John Medeski

The Matt Wilson Quartet. From left: Kirk Knuffke, Jeff Lederer, Matt Wilson, and Chris Lightcap.
Credit Tom Foley

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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Soul-Soaked Brass Maestro Graces Side Door Jazz This Weekend

Trumpeter Nicholas Payton is from New Orleans.
Credit Michael Wilson

A super talent like trumpeter Nicholas 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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed January 8, 2014

At the Right Time and Place: Keyboardist Knoblock Bends Listeners' Imaginations

Landon Knoblock

In a picturesque downtown shop called Never Ending Books, New Haven’s Uncertainty Music Series presents a bold musical explorer on Saturday night. Landon Knoblock is a 31-year-old composer and keyboardist whose soaring synthesizer solos create soundscapes of cosmic scope, reverberating  with imaginative sci-fi storylines.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Jazz Digs Hartford Library’s Smart, Contemporary Downtown Setting

Chion Wolf WNPR

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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed December 25, 2013

The Death Knell Tolls Not for Jazz

Mike DiRubbo and Steve Davis perform.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Dave Brubeck, a Time Traveler

Dave Brubeck in 1972.
Credit Heinrich Klaffs / Creative Commons

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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Dresser Quintet in New Haven to Feature Saxophonist Mahanthappa

Rudresh Mahanthappa performs Friday with bassist Mark Dresser as part of a quintet at Firehouse 12.
Credit Rudresh Mahanthappa/Ted Walton / Rudresh Mahanthappa/Mark Dresser

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.

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Jazz Corridor
5:45 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Premier Pianists Perform Back-to-Back in New Haven and Hartford This Weekend

Helen Sung performs in Hartford, and Bill Charlap performs in New Haven this coming weekend.
Credit Helen Sung / Carol Friedman / Helen Sung / Bill Charlap

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.

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