Edgar Winter, Vanilla Fudge, Peter Rivera formerly of Rare Earth & Savoy Brown's Kim Simmonds NYCB Theatre at Westbury WBAB Rock 'n' Brews Fest Westbury, NY August 1, 2014 Blues-rock guitar virtuoso Johnny Winter passed away in St. Gallen, Switzerland on July 16, 2014 at the age of 70. The music world lost the man who, in 2003, was ranked by Rolling Stone as the 63rd greatest guitarist of all time. The guitarist was also multi-instrumentalist, a great singer an award winning producer and a member if the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame. His ...read more
Boz Scaggs NYCB Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY August 3, 2014 Boz Scaggs first came to prominence as a member of the original and bluesier version of the Steve Miller Band. He secured a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1968, exited the Steve Miller Band, and in 1969, he released an eponymously titled album. During the past forty-five years, he has recorded as a solo artist and as a member of the New York Rock And Soul Review (with Donald Fagen, Phoebe Snow and Michael McDonald). He has also toured as a solo act, ...read more
Mustered Courage Hill Country Barbecue New York, NY July 28, 2014 Mustered Courage is a Melbourne, Australia-based quartet that plays a decidedly American-influenced brand of music. Its sound is a countrified modern mix of bluegrass, folk, rockabilly, honky-tonk, pop, western swing, rootsy rock, gospel and blues. In short, Americana. But not just any brand of Americana. Mustered Courage's brand is unique in the fact that its music appeals to the most staunch and conservative traditionalist as well as the most open-minded green and uninitiated neophyte. The group--consisting of three Aussies (Julian Abrahams on ...read more
Theory of a Deadman Marlin Room at Webster Hall New York City July 30, 2014 Even before Tyler Connolly, front man for the Canadian rock band Theory of a Deadman, told the crowd that the band still loves what they do," that fact was quite evident to those who packed the intimate Marlin Room at Webster Hall on this hot and steamy summer night. Dark clothing was the uniform for both the band and the audience. Striding across the length of the wide stage, Connolly sported a fitted black t-shirt and black pants, ...read more
David Gray Theater at Madison Square Garden New York City August 4, 2014 David Gray dances like there's nobody watching. Even in a packed NYC venue on a hot summer night. Anticipation filled the dark and cavernous Theater at Madison Square Garden. Nearly each and every plush seat was filled by an audience who was dressed slightly nicer than the average concert crowd. Hand holding, cocktails and muted tones added to the giddy vibe of a massively orchestrated date night. Something special was right around the corner, akin to being handed a brightly ...read more
Newport Jazz FestivalFort Adams State Park Newport, RI Sunday, August 3, 2014 Smack--loud and robust, the horns blasted at the audience with a sound so voluminous it seemed impossible only four horns could have created it. And yet, four horns had. Were you here yesterday?" Boston jazz radio host Eric Jackson had asked the audience during the band introductions --no doubt an obvious reference to prior day's the harrowing rain. You are hearty souls," he said in response to the cheers. Cheers from a crowd ...read more
Cassandra Wilson Lincoln Center Out of Doors August 8, 2014 New York, NY Playing before an outdoor capacity audience, Cassandra Wilson performed a concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Blue Night 'till Dawn (Blue Note, 1993), featuring many of the musicians who originally performed on the studio version. Wilson kicked off a soulful rendition of You Don't Know What Love Is" with incredible subtlety, feeling every verse deeply while the musicians played with incredible feeling. The audience was mostly silent, something that almost never happens at ...read more
Gent Jazz Festival De Bijloke Gent, Belgium July 17-19, 2014 The second weekend of this festival is traditionally devoted to musics that lurk outside of the jazz sphere, but resonating in sympathy with the core. Of course, there were a few stray acts from the mainline, just as the first weekend saw invaders such as Ibrahim Maalouf and Taxi Wars, whose stances weren't strictly jazzy. Hence the appearance of Bogus, a quartet that featured the guesting Belgian trumpeter Bart Maris on several tunes. They moved from jagged unison figures to a ...read more
Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Hargrove New Morning Paris, France July 23, August 1, 2014 Among the nightly summer concerts staged at New Morning in Paris was a double dose of electronic funk and neo-soul sounds by multi-keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Each played to capacity audiences on humid nights that challenged the air-conditioning system of the spacious no-frills hall. Smith, 73, standing in front of the stage at an elevated electronic two-keyboard rack, was armed with a rhythm section of three young musicians plus a female vocalist. For this European ...read more
Otis Brown III + Revive Big Band Blue Note Records 75th Anniversary at Central Park Summerstage August 3, 2014 New York, NY On an evening dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records (now a subsidiary of Universal Music), drummer Otis Brown III began the proceedings by leading his quintet through hard-bopping original material, opening with The Way to the Light," a rumba-based tune with a simple structure that became fodder for great improvised moments from everyone involved. A heartfelt take on Herbie Hancock's I Have a Dream" followed, which Brown ...read more
Copenhagen Jazz Festival Copenhagen July, 8-10, 2014 The ten-day Copenhagen Jazz Festival, with its 1,200 concerts, is maybe the largest of its kind in Europe. This number of concerts is the consequence of a unique concept. The core of the festival, with some international headliners, is a relatively small scale affair but there is a huge, still growing amount of associated venues (this year, 14 more) doing their own programming. All are coordinated and communicated by the central office of the core festival. Here the publicity before, during and after the festival is done, ...read more
Newport Jazz FestivalFort Adams State Park Newport, RI Saturday, August 2, 2014 From the first crushing strike against the drums, Brian Blade's heavy hand and swirling rolls captivated the audience attending a rainy installment of the Newport Jazz Festival. Blade led his Fellowship Band through Stoner Hill," a dour, gray opener that mirrored the ambiance at one of the soggiest days the outdoor festival is likely to have ever experienced. While the wet weather initially seemed to have spirits down, the raucous applause at the end of the piece left no doubt that the ...read more
Gavin Bryars Ensemble St. Michael's Church Enniskillen N. Ireland August 1, 2014 That an anonymous homeless man, singing quietly to himself on a London street in 1971, should inspire a standing ovation and a well of emotions among the audience in St. Michael's Church forty three years later says much for the power of art to alter the way we view the world. Bassist/composer Bryars was briefly part of the 1960s British free- jazz/improvisation scene in the Sheffield-based trio Joseph Holbrooke, alongside guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer Tony Oxley. When the trio ...read more
Newport Jazz FestivalFort Adams State Park Newport, RI Friday, August 1, 2014 The saxophone reed squealed, as David Sanchez tastefully demonstrated mastery of jazz, but with dark clouds looming on the horizon, music wasn't the only thing on the minds of the patrons at the 60th Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management. On a sticky and hazy morning, Sanchez opened the main stage with the expressive and appropriately titled Morning Mist." On an intriguing set of original music, the sextet explored deep grooves and emotional solos on pieces such as The ...read more
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