Delicious, de-lovely, demonstrative Lena Horne, in centenary tribute 1

Dance · Music
Vocalist Candice Hoyes, draws from rare cinema, musical theater, jazz and soul music to debut a night of music inspired by the life of Lena Horne.  One of the most iconic jazz vocalists, Horne blazed a trail of remarkable song discography and bravery as one of the leading American civil rights activists across a sixty ...

Juan de Marcos’s Afro-Cuban beat to pulsate The Soraya

Music
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Cuban music has tantalized and insinuated itself into the United States since the 19th Century. New Orleans-born composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) was smitten with the Cuban tresillo, cinquillo and habanera, and incorporated those elements into his compositions. Ragtime pianists were subsequently taken with what Jelly Roll Morton called “the Spanish tinge.” Then came the ...

Low-key & tasty: Kenny Burrell’s swinging guitar a generation ago today

Music
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Ed. note: Universal Music continues to mine the Verve catalog for jazz treasures. arts·meme jazz writer Kirk Silsbee shares his liner notes for‘’A Generation Ago Today.’ When Kenny Burrell’s A Generation Ago Today was released in the spring of 1967, a debate was raging in jazz. It was the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, ...

At Zardi’s in Hollywood … with Ella Fitzgerald 1

Music
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Ed. note: Universal Music continues to mine the Verve catalog for Ella Fitzgerald material. arts·meme jazz writer Kirk Silsbee excerpts his liner notes to ‘Ella at Zardi’s.’ ♣               ♣               ♣               ♣ In his enviable career as a jazz entrepreneur, Norman Granz (1918-2001) balanced far-reaching vision and a social change agenda with shrewd business acumen. His ...

Jason Moran, in a Monkish mood @ CAP UCLA

Music
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“The horn is blowing according to what the drummer is playing, you know?” –Thelonious Monk to Hall Overton, 1959 Thelonious Monk’s 1959 Town Hall concert was an artistic landmark and a personal triumph for the iconoclastic pianist and composer. His pieces, conceived for the small ensemble format, had been orchestrated for the evening by the ...

Ella at 100: virtuosity, joy and swing 4

Music
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arts·meme jazz critic Kirk Silsbee excerpts his liner notes to the new four-CD set, Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For a Centennial (Verve 2016-00957) At first blush, one hundred songs from any artist seem like overkill. In the case of Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996), whose recordings number in the thousands, one hundred is just about enough to ...

Greek tragedy in Alphabet City: the death of Lee Morgan

Film · Music
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Trumpeters have the most tragic lineage of any instrument in jazz history. Car accidents, mental illness, congenital defects, drugs and alcohol have claimed some of the greatest players. But the murder of trumpeter Lee Morgan in 1972 was a laceration on the music that never healed. That a great but floundering musician regained his footing ...

Singer/swinger Jennifer Keith’s winning act at Vibrato Grill 1

Music
Styling retro-singer Jennifer Keith doesn’t just look the part — although she really looks the part! With her full-skirted, fifties dress, flowers in her hair like Billie Holiday, she echos the vintage ‘girl’ singer of the big band and swing era. But she delivers too. Keith and her boys, a swinging sextet under the leadership ...

Jazz for angels and others at Angel City Jazz Festival 1

Music
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It’s been nine years but the Angel City Jazz Festival, the Los Angeles music conflagration built on bringing cutting-edge sounds to the Southland, has not only survived, it has flourished. Impresario Rocco Somazzi, well regarded for the adventurous booking policy of his Rocco Ristorante in Bel Air, embarked on a week-long series of concerts for ...

The brilliant business of Miles Davis

Music
A hillside Los Angeles home. Awesome acoustics. The stylized sound the trumpet master was famous for. Repertory standards and originals. All on tap at Jazz at the A-Frame‘s upcoming “Unfinished Business” tribute to Miles Davis Sunday November 6 at a private home. In the house: Kenny Dennis (drums), John Campbell (piano), John B. Williams (bass), ...