April 30, 1996 |
Sonny Fortune's quartet doesn't wear ties: The group plays too hard for that. With sleeves rolled up and dark glasses in place, Fortune hit Zanzibar Blue's compact stage on Sunday night for an 80-minute opening set that rarely dipped below fortissimo. This was hard bop at a scorch-and-burn pace. Fortune, whose two recent Blue Note recordings feature his compositions and those of Thelonious Monk, flew on "Sun Shower," the handsome, minor-keyed opening tune by Kenny Barron. His alto saxophone seemed to glow white-hot on the angular, antisocial lines of Monk's "Epistrophy.
April 9, 1990 |
Try to imagine the scene at the Village Vanguard in New York a few months ago, because something like it is bound to occur during Bobby Watson's workshop this afternoon at the Mill Creek Community Center, or his shows tonight at the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum. At the Vanguard, Watson threw the audience a curve. The alto saxophonist and his band had just performed a sustained crescendo to close "To See Her Face," written by Watson in 1977, when he was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
November 13, 1998 |
First of all, Bim Strasberg's first name isn't short for anything. Not legally, anyway. "It is my full name," he said from his New York home. "My uncle's name was Abraham, and his nickname was Bim. By the time it got to me, Bim was all I got. " Strasberg is the bassist for the New York Hardbop Quintet, which plays Ortlieb's tonight. The group is featuring drummer Mickey Roker, who is the quasi-house drummer at the Northern Liberties spot and who just happened to guest with the group in 1996 when it recorded its latest album, Rokermotion (TCB Records)
October 17, 1990 |
Art Blakey, who died yesterday at 71, had little patience with certain questions put to him by well-meaning people. One line of inquiry that seemed to annoy him was, how long was he going to put up with the endlessly nomadic life he lived for 35 years as the leader and drummer of the hard-bop band to end all hard-bop bands? "I'll retire," he once answered, "when they pat me in the face with the shovel. " Another time he said: "To retire is to sit down and wait for death, and that comes soon enough.
September 9, 1991 |
Joe Henderson, who opened the Painted Bride's fall jazz series Saturday, is a sure cure for the over-saxophoned. At a time when cookie-cutter sax gods (and goddesses) are hailed regularly, Henderson, probably the most underappreciated living tenor sax master, proves that the saxophone can do more than project industrial-strength whining sounds - or strings of uninspired blue notes. Henderson's music, which has been developing since the '60s, when he made several influential hard-bop records for Blue Note, is full of odd curlicues and thoughtful, yet unpredictable, phrases, signatures you don't find on Kenny G records or in the jazz-improvisation method books.
January 24, 1986 |
What was it that Ivie Anderson used to sing? "Oh, there's a lull in my life. It's just a void, an empty space. . . . " This weekend, I know how she must have felt. Are the big names in hibernation for the rest of the winter? Beats me. Fortunately, there is plenty of local talent to pick up the slack. Week after week, the clubs that do the best job of spotlighting local performers are Upstairs, above the Natural Foods Eatery at 1345 Locust St. (546-1350), and All That Jazz, inside Le Wine Bar at 119 S. 18th St. (568-5247)
August 31, 1991 |
Chuck D of Public Enemy instructs us not to believe the hype. But Joe Williams and Nancy Wilson are exceptions; two luminaries of contemporary African American song for whom the hype is justified. Both are among the few performers who can command a standing ovation before singing a note. When Williams, gray-haired and dignified, strode out to greet the crowd at the Mann Music Center Thursday night, that's how he was received. And Wilson, who was the last to appear on the five-act bill, got even more of the people to stand up when she came out. Both are known primarily as jazz singers, although Williams is equally adept at the blues.
February 5, 1988 |
Name your style of jazz and the sort of place you like to hear it, and it's yours over the next week. Vocal, hard bop, cutting edge, quiet storm. New faces and practiced hands. At clubs, theaters, museums, colleges and alternative arts spaces. In the city, the suburbs and New Jersey. All within the next seven nights. The week's highlight is the local debut Monday of the Timeless All Stars at the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Seventh and Arch Streets. The group is so named because it recorded its first album for Timeless Records and because it plays hard bop, a style of jazz timeless in its appeal.
October 14, 2000 |
Oh, to have eavesdropped on Wayne Shorter's music room in the mid-1960s. That was when the saxophonist quietly rewrote the book on jazz composition. He'd just released his first album as a leader, Night Dreamer, and was beginning to create music for a quintet led by his new employer, Miles Davis. Already hailed as an important voice on the tenor, Shorter was emerging as one of a handful of artists thinking about jazz in fundamentally new ways. Early in '65, Davis suffered a hip injury that took his band out of commission for seven months, and Shorter - who appears with the Davis group's pianist, Herbie Hancock, tonight at a sold-out University of Pennsylvania Irvine Auditorium - seized the time off. He wrote enough material for three of his own albums, all of them now considered classics.
August 20, 1999 |
Wherever he goes, alto saxophonist Richie Cole says, he preaches the gospel of Trenton. It's not that he has anything particularly boosterish to say, although he readily points out that New Jersey's capital has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, with the waterfront being developed and the town acquiring two minor-league professional teams. It's just that Cole is proud to be from Trenton. "I spread the word about Trenton everywhere I go," said Cole. "I don't know if I get any credit for it, but that is not the point.