Thursday, October 21, 2010

Conference Call - What About.....?

Free jazz took root over 50 years ago in rebellion against the confines of traditional jazz formats. Now, as then, free jazz practitioners seek new forms of expression outside of common modalities. While recent popular music has undergone several insurgencies such as rock, rap and hip-hop, and has enjoyed the nostalgic reflections of Americana and roots music, in many ways jazz still leads a paradoxical existence, maintaining a strong tonal tradition on one hand and a desire for experimentation and deviation from convention on the other. Audiences still demand familiar standards and musicians enjoy playing them, but progressive musicians and audiences aspire to strain the boundaries or break them down completely. Some musicians have successfully split hairs and embraced both extremes, but currently there has been no evolutionary union of the two that would give birth to a wholly new and unique offspring. However, when the free jazz idiom is wielded with such authority and prowess as demonstrated by Gebhard Ullmann and Conference Call it seems clear that a transformation is underway...MORE...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra; Darrell Katz, Director - Live at the Regattabar, Charles Hotel, Cambridge, MA October 12, 2010

The Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra debuted in late1985 and they have now released 8 critically acclaimed CDs since their first recording in 1992. The Regattabar performance on October 12, 2010 was the release party for their latest CD, “A Wallflower In The Amazon.” The JCA Orchestra is led by founder Darrell Katz, who, teamed with lyricist Paula Tatarunis, composes or arranges the orchestra’s material. Many of the other band members have deep roots in the jazz community as bandleaders, composers, arrangers and teachers: Phil Scarff, tenor sax (Natraj), Alan Chase and Jim Hobbs, alto sax (Fully Celebrated Orchestra), Bob Pilkington, trombone (Chandler Travis), Norm Zocher, electric and steel guitar (Abby and Norm Group) and Rebecca Shrimpton, voice (Rebecca Shrimpton Quintet). These examples serve as a meager sampling of the JCA Orchestra’s sundry bona fide credits...MORE...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Norm Zocher Group - Live at Berklee Performance Center September 23, 2010

Norm Zocher is often identified as a fusion guitarist, a convenient label but only marginally applicable and potentially misleading. Zocher, prolific composer (Boston Jazz Composers Alliance) and Berklee College of Music professor, performs many of his own compositions and his tastes run cross-genre. For this particular concert at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, he played nearly half (5 of 12) of the tunes on pedal steel guitar, most notably “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane and “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Zocher has changed with the times, many years ago performing as half of a folk duo with his now wife, Abigail Aronson. Aronson was not part of this Berklee performance but they are still a team on stage and off with two CDs, (Volume 1: The Book of Norman and Melodic Miner’s Daughter) among their many credits. Zocher was joined Thursday night (September 23, 2010) by Alex Smith, bass and Pablo Bencid, drums,  for the Norm Zocher Group @ Berklee – 20th Anniversay Concert in celebration of Zocher’s 20th year at Berklee...MORE..

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dave Liebman Group - Live at Scullers Jazz Club, Doubletree Guest Suites, Boston, MA September 16, 2010

During an incredible career spanning more than 40 years and over 300 recordings Dave Liebman has been sideman, leader, teacher, composer, writer and philosopher. Perhaps most often publically recognized for his early work with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis, he defies being boxed into a cool jazz, hard bop, modal, fusion or any other stylistic cubbyhole. In fact, by his own admission, and even within his own compositions he rarely settles on an ultimate conclusion, a set-in-stone finality. He philosophizes that for the active, progressive artist, tastes shift, aesthetics are continually refined and additional knowledge and experiences are constantly being assimilated. Things change...MORE...