Currently browsing category

Contemporary Jazz

At 85, Shorter Soars With Epic Musical/Literary Mashup Emanon


 
Wayne Shorter
Emanon
(Blue Note)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
August 25, 2018 marked the 85th birthday of one of contemporary music’s finest composer/musicians, Wayne Shorter. In an astounding career that has seen him ascend from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the second classic Miles Davis Quintet to co-founding Weather Report, all the while composing jazz immortals such as “Footprints,” “Speak No Evil” and Nefertiti” (to name just a few),…

Bob James Drops First Trio CD As A Leader in Over a Decade


 
Bob James
Espresso
(Evosound/Evolution Music Group)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
It’s been 10 years since keyboardist/composer/arranger Bob James has released an album leading his trio. Eager to return to a largely acoustic three man set up that has unique challenges for each player, he dives in with an eclectic program of originals and covers for the audiophile Evosound label called Espresso – an interesting title as there is no song on the collection with that name and no song that is especially “fast” as to denote a caffeine rush.

Ramsey Lewis, Tower of Power, Anthony Hamilton and More Help Playboy Jazz Festival Turn 40.

Playboy Jazz Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary at The Hollywood Bowl
 
by A. Scott Galloway
 
Under clear blue skies, 80-degree temps with a sweet breeze blowin’ on both days, the “Playboy Jazz Festival” celebrated its 40th anniversary with days split almost squarely between World Music leaning on Saturday and Jazz on Sunday.
 
Saturday June 9 began with the traditional Los Angeles County High School For The Arts Jazz of promising young students followed by Columbian party band Monsieur Perine’. Things got really interesting when blind 17 year-old organ prodigy Matthew Whitaker and his trio wowed the crowd with the passionate and eclectic set list of his original “Play it Back,” the `60s pop hit “More Today Than Yesterday” by Spiral Staircase made famous on the jazz side by Charles Earland, the Brazilian gem “Mais Que Nada,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” and the finale of a dual medley of Earth Wind and Fire’s “In the Stone/September” with Stevie Wonder’s “As/I Wish” – what a prodigious talent and people-pleaser.
 

Matthew Whitaker

Walter Beasley – The Best of Walter Beasley | The Affable Years, Volume 1


 
Walter Beasley – The Best of Walter Beasley | The Affable Years, Volume 1
by Peggy Oliver
 
Once upon a time, a particular nine year old received a life-changing gift of a Grover Washington, Jr. CD. From that moment on, Walter Beasley would dedicate his career to shear excellence — all for the love of music and for the legendary saxophonist they call Mr. Magic.

Dr. Lonnie Smith | All in My Mind


 
Dr. Lonnie Smith | All in My Mind
Blue Note Records
by Brent Faulkner
 
Ah, Dr. Lonnie Smith! He’s one of the legendary jazz musicians still alive and well who continues to record sweet music. What makes Smith most unique – besides his beard and turban – is the fact he’s a jazz Hammond B3 organist. While there are numerous organists in jazz, compared to other instruments, it’s rarer.

Quincy Jones Hollywood Bowl Tribute Soars Individually Yet Coasts Collectively


 
Quincy Jones: The A&M Years
Hollywood Bowl
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Concert Reflections by A. Scott Galloway
 
I’m going to begin this review by stating two things upfront. This salute to Quincy Jones focusing on his early `70s big band albums Walking in Space (CTI/A&M – 1969), Gula Matari (CTI/A&M – 1970) and Smackwater Jack (A&M – 1971) was THE concert in this summer’s Hollywood Bowl Wednesday Night Jazz Series that I was most looking forward to.

Ohio Players Set Hollywood Bowl On Fire Opening For Dave Koz and Larry Graham


 
Dave Koz & Larry Graham Come Out Smokin’ But OHIO Players Bring The FIRE – “Smooth Summer Jazz” at Hollywood Bowl – Sunday August 20, 2017
 
Concert Reflections and Photographs by A. Scott Galloway
 
I have to fess up, I thought saxophonist Dave Koz was just another smooth jazz softie. He started out proving me right when he opened his headlining set with the Judy Garland evergreen “Over the Rainbow,” tongue-in-cheekily “overblown” to my expectation. But a funky thing happened at the big finish.

LaBelle Tries On Jazz Hat To Troublesome Effect


 
Patti LaBelle
Bel Hommage
(GPE/Sony Red)
 
Patti LaBelle sits on a throne as among the greatest R&B to Pop singers recording and performing. However, the list of singers that can authentically swing between the Pop world and the Jazz world is a short one highlighted by Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nancy Wilson (retired) and the late incomparable Natalie Cole and Teena Marie.

Hide