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
8:02 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Saxophonist JD Allen Brings Luminous Bloom to the Hartford Jazz Scene

JD Allen.
Facebook

A man for all seasons, tenor saxophonist JD Allen plays ballads with warmth, beauty and truth, grooves hard in a post-bop mode or wails in a free jazz setting with passion saturated with the soulful spirituality, grace and inspired abandon recalling the power and the glory of John Coltrane.

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Jazz Corridor
9:07 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Memoir Celebrates Northampton’s Legendary Iron Horse Music Hall

An early 1980s view of the Iron Horse.
Jordi Herold

It’s hard to imagine what the regional music scene would have been like over the past four decades without the invaluable, energizing force generated by The Iron Horse Music Hall, the small but mighty powerhouse of an entertainment center in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Jazz Corridor
6:01 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Jimmy Greene Mourns Daughter’s Tragic Death While Celebrating Her Beautiful Life

Jimmy Greene.
Jimmy Katz

Jimmy Greene, the great jazz saxophonist whose life was shattered by the murder of his beloved six-year-old daughter, Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, a victim of the Sandy Hook school shooting, has created much triumphant, life-affirming beauty out of that agonizing loss by celebrating Ana’s life in a new album titled, Beautiful Life. A deeply moving, eloquently expressive and light-filled homage, the aptly named CD will be released November 25 on Mack Avenue Records.

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Jazz Corridor
6:22 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Guitarist Michael Musillami Returns to New Haven to Celebrate Imaginative Release

Michael Musillami.
Jonathan Doster

As an intrepid explorer of the human psyche and inventor of wildly imaginative, convention-defying works, guitarist/composer Michael Musillami on his new release, Pride, reveals himself to be a kindred spirit with the late, great Maurice Sendak, the renowned, wizard storyteller and illustrator of children’s books and long-time resident of Ridgefield.

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Jazz Corridor
9:51 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Trad Jazz House Party Revitalized at Robust Weekend Bash in Guilford

Eric Devine

Reports of the death of traditional jazz have been greatly exaggerated -- at least, that’s the incontrovertible evidence presented right here in Connecticut when you examine the robust life-signs of the increasingly popular trad jazz bash called Jeff and Joel’s Jazz House Party.

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Jazz Corridor
6:34 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Chick Corea Serves Top-Shelf Jazz at Hartford’s Infinity Hall

Chick Corea performs.
Sakurai Toshi

On the jacket cover of his latest CD, The Vigil, Chick Corea, portrayed as an ever vigilant knight on horseback, is equipped with a new suit of shining armor with a trusty lance at his side, a jazz Lancelot whose Holy Grail is, was and always shall be the pursuit of constant renewal and enlightenment.

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Jazz Corridor
1:15 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Hartford Jazz Society Launches Its Annual Riverboat Ramble on the Connecticut River

Bassist Nat Reeves performing in Hartford last July. Reeves is headlining the Hartford Jazz Society's annual riverboat cruise.
Maurice Robertson Hartford Jazz Society

For more than a half-century, the Hartford Jazz Society’s annual riverboat ramble on the Connecticut River—the state’s biggest, longest-running, most celebratory floating jazz concert—consistently features indelible shipboard solos that might forever dwell in your nostalgic jazz memory bank.

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Jazz Corridor
10:36 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Willie Ruff, Jazz Eminence and Master Storyteller, Tells All at Yale Art Gallery

Willie Ruff.
Vincent Oneppo

Willie Ruff, the celebrated French horn player and double bassist, venerable Yale School of Music professor, founder/director of Yale’s prestigious Duke Ellington Fellowship Program, award-winning author, documentarian, historian, linguist, ethnomusicologist, and voracious autodidact, is a man of so many intricate, smoothly running, coolly calibrated cerebral parts that he is, indeed, one of the jazz world’s true Renaissance figures.

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Jazz Corridor
1:44 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli Shows Old Lyme Fans Why Everybody Loves Him

Bucky Pizzarelli.
Brian Wittman

Many years ago, a young pianist named Bill Evans recorded an LP called Everybody Digs Bill Evans, one of those rare album titles that is forever memorable and also somehow a concise summation and mini-portrait of the artist himself.

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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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