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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.

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.

mikecaseyjazz.com

A gifted young man with a horn, a vision, and a dream, saxophonist Mike Casey is in championship form for his “biggest gig yet as a leader” when he performs with his swinging, crisply interactive trio on Friday, February 26, at 8:30 pm at Old Lyme’s prestigious Side Door Jazz Club. 

javonjackson.com

Even if Javon Jackson were just jamming in a casual, one-night session with a mediocre, local house rhythm section, it would still be more than worthwhile to hear what this top-seeded tenor saxophonist had to say.

William P Gottlieb / Wikipedia

An immodestly gifted musician yet extremely modest gentleman of the old school, the noted pianist, conductor and arranger Donn Trenner, an 88-year-old New Haven native, has performed with such jazz giants as Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Pettiford, and Ben Webster.

Eric Devine

Joel Schiavone, a flamboyant entertainer, fearless vocalist, member of the Banjo Hall of Fame, irrepressible humorist and one of Connecticut’s most avid, if not also most colorful, supporters and practitioners of traditional jazz, has yet another offbeat event up his sleeve seemingly stocked with perpetual surprises.

Credit abelita.com.br

A welcome wave of South American hipness accompanied by mixed amounts of soothing coolness and refreshing warmth is forecast for Connecticut this weekend, thanks to appearances by the Argentine-born singer/songwriter/arranger Gabriela Anders at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, and the native Brazilian pianist/singer Abelita Mateus at the Hartford Public Library.

Myles Boisen

Like a perpetual motion machine, Rova, the iconoclastic saxophone quartet, keeps running full speed ahead in its endless quest to discover new music, to boldly go on uncharted paths of expression anywhere in the endless reaches of the sonic universe.

While the voraciously eclectic and boundlessly energetic jazz pianist/composer Alon Nechushtan boldly bends and blends all genres with his steely-fingered technique, flooding the keyboard with shimmering notes and angular ideas held together with an overarching, complex architecture, his music is accessible, even delightful. 

Joseph A. Rosen

Classy offerings for the winter/spring season of 2016 burst out of the claustrophobic confines of any top ten category. 

Hartford Public Library

The Hartford Public Library's free Baby Grand Jazz has morphed from years of obscurity to become one of the hottest, most popular jazz events in town. 

sipesphoto.com

The New England Jazz Ensemble ushers in the New Year with pianist/arranger Walter Gwardyak's acclaimed jazz band adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf."

facebook.com/officialerrollgarner/

If you're looking for the perfect last-minute holiday gift for either a devout jazz fan or even a jazz skeptic, your best bet is the impassioned, madly inventive yet readily accessible The Complete Concert by the Sea, a splendid, Grammy-nominated, three-CD boxed set reissue of Erroll Garner's classic, live 1955 performance that became one of the best-selling jazz albums ever.

Jimmy Katz

Inspired by the age-old Delta blues, Noah Preminger and his delta force quartet create a 21st century re-imagining of two soul-drenched songs by legendary blues singer Bukka White on the young tenor saxophonist's dynamic, new album, Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar, a jazz bistro in Greenwich Village.

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