Kenny Garrett visited Afternoon Jazz this weekend, as he celebrated his recent release, Sketches of MD, on Mack Avenue Records. Kenny brought a young group to the Iridium last week, and to J&R Music World on Saturday: Cory Henry on Hammond B-3 organ; electric bassist Kona Khashu, and drummer Justin Brown. Monifa Brown hosted the concert and interview. Click here to listen.
A bonus photo from WBGO's Thurston Briscoe after the jump.
The band returned from dinner. Chris Potter is warming up the tenor. Adam Rogers is drinking coffee. We're live in fifteen minutes.
This is "Facing East." The band has played it before, but this is the first time for posterity.
I'll be surprised if we get five songs during this set. They play long.
This is "Viva Las Vilnius," from Follow the Red Line, Underground's most recent CD. Recorded live in this club last year. Love these grooves.
Pop Tune #1
What a great solo by Adam Rogers. Dirty blues.
Chris Potter blistering the audience with a solo. Quotes of "Jean Pierre" and "Nature Boy" in the solo.
Chris Potter has picked up the bass clarinet.
Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe." As a ballad. This is beautiful.
Wow, that was lovely.
Untitled Original. New music
Chris Potter and Nate Smith are playing duo. Whole lotta music goin' on.
Thanks for joining us tonight. It seems that New Yorkers consistently pack the Village Vanguard when Kenny Barron plays. Tonight is no exception to that rule. Another crowded house for our live show. Enjoy.
The Kenny Barron 4 are:
Kenny Barron - piano
Kiyoshi Kitagawa - bass
Francisco Mela - drums
Dayna Stephens - tenor saxophone
It has come.
After a brief introduction of the band members, Kenny Barron launches into "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise."
A standard from a standard-bearer of modern improvisation.
Nice bass solo from Kiyoshi Kitagawa. I can hear him breathing. Kiyoshi has been with Kenny Barron for ten years.
9:15pm Um Beijo, a Barron original. On the new CD, The Traveler. Lyrics on the record, sung by Grady Tate.
Dayna Stephens is a young saxophonist with a well-tempered sound. Smoky. I like it.
"Shuffle Boil," a Thelonious Monk composition. Perhaps you know about Sphere, the band that assembled after Monk's passing to continue his music in the famous Monk quartet sound? Kenny Barron, Charlie Rouse (then Gary Bartz), Buster Williams, and Ben Riley. Great records.
Shuffle Boil is at a full boil. Dayna Stephens with a Charlie Rouse-ing solo. Forgive the bad pun...People who know me will tell you I cannot help myself...
Who needs the Democratic National Convention? Give me this.
"Blame it on My Youth"
Kenny Barron was a great admirer of pianist Tommy Flanagan. Flanagan's photo is right next to the piano at the Village Vanguard.
Another original, "New Samba."
Let it be said that trumpeter and flugelhorn player Roy Hargrove is still leading the style competition in jazz. Aside from his really fresh Adidas kicks (see above), Roy brought his highly functional quintet (saxophonist Justin Robinson, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Danton Boller, and drummer Montez Coleman) to close the Friday evening festivities in City Hall Park. Listen to this tightly executed set of music, most of it coming from Roy Hargrove's new release, Earfood. My favorite? The ballad "Never Let Me Go." I've heard Roy play this so many times, I'm beginning to think the song belongs to him alone.
Check out the set.
Pianist Aaron Parks opened the day of free music at City Hall Park on Friday. Parks played music from his newly minted Blue Note recording, Invisible Cinema, released earlier in the week. Perhaps you heard our studio session?
Or checked out the Song of the Day on NPR?
Anyway, as Darcy Argue points out, Parks and company (guitarist Mike Moreno, bassist Matt Penman, drummer Kendrick Scott) started promptly at 5pm. Sharp. You can thank or curse me for that (radio is a slave to the clock, folks). Or you can just listen to the full set now, and dig the shape of jazz to come.
Bassist, composer, and singer Esperanza Spalding is starting her professional career on a fast upward trajectory. "With a bullet," as the record industry would say. She has plenty of star power, and she's parlayed her recent television appearances into a sideline attraction - putting new faces in the jazz crowd. Check out her set of music from the J&R Music Festival, and you'll see why. She's got skillz.
Esperanza and the band - Leo Genovese on keys, Ricardo Vogt on guitar, Otis Brown III on drums - added serious panache to the day of free live music in City Hall Park.
If you missed the show, listen to it now.
Kudos to JazzTimes! In the September issue, the cover story is "The Future Is Now: New Jazz Visionaries." Let me start by saying that I love the first part of that headline. I get so tired of hearing about the status of jazz, where is it going, what's going to happen to it, who will save it...you get where I'm going. My frustration comes from being on the jazz scene and seeing and all of the amazing talent, projects, bands, artists, compositions, collaborative efforts, etc. and then hearing those statements. It's like "What are you talking about? Have you checked out a show lately on any given night, at any given venue in the city, for starters?"
This article covers just a few of the "new visionaries." Christian Scott, Aaron Parks, Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spaulding, Marcus Strickland and others. Each artist has a full page story and photo. I think this issue was so necessary, and I really give it up to JazzTimes for making the blatently obvious even more obvious - that jazz is alive, well, and thriving. (Now, if cats could only earn the money that the music's worth...but that's another story).
Check out each of these artists when they're in a city near you. Both Aaron Parks and Esperanza Spaulding will be performing at the J&R MusicFest next Friday, August 22, and WBGO will be broadcasting it live! Learn more about it by clicking here.
Check out a live performance of Aaron Parks' "Nemesis" from the WBGO studios. It's NPR's "Song of the Day" with commentary by WBGO's Josh Jackson.