Music

All jazz, blues, and other music-related posts.

Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, known as Donald Byrd, passed away February 4, 2013 at the age of eighty. Byrd was a superb trumpet player whose music spanned a period of some five deacdes. After playing with Lionel Hampton before finishing high school and service in the United States Air Force, Byrd completed his bachelor's degree in music at Wayne State University in 1954 and moved to New York in 1955 to get his master's at the Manhattan School of Music.

Rebecca Cooke

Last Call presents an interview with saxophonist Donny McCaslin. The  saxophonist received a 2004 Grammy® nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” for his work with the Maria Schneider Orchestra. He has also worked extensively with trumpeter Dave Douglas and his band. Inspired by the full tenor sound of Sonny Rollins, McCaslin explores a trajectory through electronic jazz on his latest effort, Casting For Gravity.

Patricia Barber has long been an important voice on the progressive jazz scene. Barber, an internationally acclaimed pianist, vocalist and composer, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003, the only songwriter ever to be so awarded. Her ability to craft sophisticated lyrics has been documented on a series of fine recordings, which continued until some years ago.

Guitarist John Pizzarelli will return to Omaha in February.  Two performances with the Omaha Symphony, Thomas Wilkins, conducting, will be presented on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 8 p.m. &  Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Blues at the Crossroads 2: Muddy & The Wolf

Jan 14, 2013

Omaha Performing Arts Presents BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS 2: Muddy & The Wolf on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center. This performance is part of the Omaha Performing Arts 2012/2013 Season.
Tickets for Blues at the Crossroads 2: Muddy & The Wolf start at $25 and can be purchased online at TicketOmaha.com, by phone at 402.345.0606, or at the Ticket Omaha office in the Holland Performing Arts Center, 13th and Douglas streets.

This month Last Call celebrates its 17th anniversary on the air with a consideration: What is the state of the guitar in progressive jazz?  To answer that, it's helpful to review the arc of the instrument since the 1960s. Guitarists such as Wes Montgomery & Larry Coryell made very important contributions in that decade; also one must acknowledge the huge influence of rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix on jazz & the decision by many jazz artists to "plug in" during the late 1960s.

KIOS will once again air Toast of The Nation to ring in the New Year. The annual broadcast will begin New Year's Eve, December 31st at  8:00PM. An NPR tradition every New Year's since 1979, Toast of the Nation is perfect for the occasion. It's jazz you can party to, all night from coast to coast, with countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones.Spirited, improvised, grooving, and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations and contributing something new to the musical feast. WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton anchors the show.

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH – January, 2013      (and some related comment)

The November, 2012 issue of The Atlantic contained a pitifully myopic article entitled “The End of Jazz”. Essentially, its author argued that since the traditional songbook has become passe and with nothing new coming into the jazz repertoire since 1960 the music has exhausted its relevancy. What we have here is a severe case of ignoratio elenchi.

Jazz Piano Christmas XXIII to air Monday on KIOS

Dec 22, 2012

NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Jazz Piano Christmas presents NEA Jazz Master Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Geri Allen, and Taylor Eigsti and other artists who will perform their favorite holiday songs. Tune in for JAZZ PIANO CHRISTMAS XXIII on Monday, December 24th at 8:00pm on KIOS,

Kathy Kosins / To The Ladies of Cool / Resonance Records
Pharez Whitted / For The People /  Origin Records
Dr Lonnie Smith / The Healer / Pilgrimage Records
Bob Mintzer Big Band / For The Moment / MCG
Frank Basile / Modern Inventions / Independent
Arturo Sandoval /Dear Diz /  Concord Jazz
Steve Turre / Woody's Delight / High Note
Takuya Kuroda / Six Aces / Independent
Mike Longo Trio / Celebration of Diz and Miles / Consolidated Artists Productions
Lewis Nash Quintet / The Higher Mountain / Cellar Live

Last Call Best of 2012

Dec 8, 2012

Spending another year with you via the Last Call on Saturday nights has been a pleasure. Once again we have listened to a potpourri of compelling, adventuresome jazz artistry. Here are the highlights of 2012 as I see them based on their artistic merit:

One of the great names in jazz, Dave Brubeck, passed away a day before his 92nd birthday, on December 5, 2012.

Jazz legend  Dave Brubeck died Tuesday at age 91, one day shy of his 92nd birthday. It was the end of one of the most accomplished lives in jazz history.

Artist / CD Title / Record Label

Artist / CD Title / Record Label

Bob Mintzer Big Band / For The Moment / MCG
Bobby Broom / Upper West Side Story / Origin
Stacey Kent / Dreamer In Concert / Blue Note
Jimmy Owens / The Monk Project / IPO
Frank Basile / Modern Inventions / Independent
Bruce Barth / Three Things Of Beauty / Savant
Cassandra Wilson / Another Country / EOne
Corey Weeds / Up A Step / Cellar Live
Lewis Nash Quintet / The Higher Mountain / Cellar Live
Laverne Butler / Love Lost And Found Again / Highnote

As usual I have trouble confining my annual “Best of the year” list to the traditional ten and have thus weaseled my way around the issue by adding a few vocal releases and reissues. Your sympathetic tolerance is appreciated. Our hungry ears were substantially rewarded through the year with these fine recordings:

Frank Basile Modern Inventions – independent through CD Baby - Omaha native and baritone burner Frank Basile leads a vibrant sextet on this refreshingly straight-ahead release.

KIOS will air the final show in the 2012 Jazz Heritage Series on Friday December 7th at 2:00PM.

Cuneiform Records continues to release some of the most daring and visionary progressive jazz recordings of our time. Two new efforts are of special interest to jazz fans.

KIOS will air the two-hour special The Best of the 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival on Friday August 31st at 8:00PM. Join us for another spectacular showcase of some of the world's finest jazz musicians as they perform at one of the largest jazz festivals in the U.S.  Among the highlights are performances by Paquito D' Rivera, Joe Lovano, Jeff "Tain" Watts, and Helen Sung. The program is hosted by Ed Love of WDET and Linda Yohn of WEMU.

Last Call Notes

Jul 30, 2012

Strong new recordings from well known guitarists Pat Metheny and Mike Stern will be featured this month. We will also present a new disc from Japanese jazz trumpeter deserving much wider recognition, Shunzo Ohno.

NPR Music will hit the road again this year and head north to Newport, R.I. with a live broadcast and webcast from the Newport Folk Festival, July 27-29. The coverage begins with a live webcast of Wilco on Friday July 27th. It'll also include opening sets from Megafaun and Blitzen.

Jazz concerts at NPR

May 8, 2012

Jazz fans can turn to NPR Music for archived performances with today's leading jazz artists.  This month you can listen to new performances from Steve Coleman and Third World Love. Recently The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca presented a concert with the Ingrid Jensen Quintet. That performance has been archived, along with recent performances from drummer Al Foster and pianist Geri Allen at the Live at the Village Vanguard concert series.  You may listen to these and other concerts anytime at  http://www.npr.org/music 

A prolific guitarist whose music has been featured on the Last Call for many years, Joel Harrison has returned with two recordings worthy of your consideration.

Holy Abyss is a superb project with Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati and trumpeter Cuong Vu. Roy Powell is at the piano and Dan Weiss is on the drums.  A series of captivating, moody, unpredictable tracks greet the listener, with highlights being "Requiem For An Unknown Soldier" "Saturday Night In Pendleton" and the gripping "Faith".

South High School celebrates 50 years of show choir

Apr 11, 2012
courtesy OPS

Omaha South High School’s Ambassadors Show Choir is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

A 50 year reunion concert is scheduled for Saturday evening at South High School. The Ambassadors Show Choir began in 1962 as the Choralaires. Among the 100 participants in this weekend’s reunion show are members of that choir.

KIOS will air a special to usher in Jazz Appreciation Month in April. The Art of the Jazz Solo can be heard Friday April 6th at 2:00PM. The one-hour program is part of a series from Interlochen Public Radio in Michigan called The New Jazz Archive hosted by Jeff Haas.

KIOS celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month, a national celebration sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute to help raise awareness of this great American art form. The objective, is to draw greater attention to jazz by encouraging musicians, concert halls, schools, colleges, libraries and public broadcasters to offer special programs on jazz every April. You can learn more about Jazz Appreciation Month at www.smithsonianjazz.org

 

Experimental percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani performs at the Bemis Center Saturday, April 7th.

Joel Damon, Underground Curator, says Nakatani plays a traditional gong with a bow.  He says it creates an atmospheric sound that can be felt and experienced on multiple levels. 

Damon says Nakatani also plays singing bowls, and uses cymbals in new ways.  He says the Bemis is always interested in performers and artists who may not fit comfortably within traditional concert venues.

Once again this year KIOS will air highlights from the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival.
The one-hour 2012 edition will air Thursday March 29 at 8:00PM. The festival took place on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and featured a wide array of high school jazz bands ranging from small combos to big bands. On this years' broadcast you'll hear performances by Omaha Central, Omaha Burke, Westside, Papillion-LaVista, Millard North,Thomas Jefferson, Kearney, Lewis Central and Bloomington North High School, all the way from Bloomington, Indiana.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding; and trombonist Steve Turre's new release “Woody's Delight” is a rich and highly palatable blend of straight ahead, relaxed and Latin sounds enhanced by an array of talented musicians augmenting the leader's consistently engaging compositional skills and playing. It's a marvelously diverse session and our CD of the month.

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