May 15, 2007

Let's Get Local

JillOne of the best parts of living in Burlington, is that whenever something cool is going on, I feel like I have a 70% chance of knowing someone involved. The Jazz Fest is no exception.

My favorite part of Jazz Fest is not the selection of amazing jazz artists performing at the Flynn and other ticketed venues. It's the open air concert in City Hall Park, usually featuring local artists. This year, the concert has been dubbed Big Joe Burrell Day, and one of my favorite local musicians will be there.

You may recognize saxophonist/vocalist Annakalmia "Kal" Traver from any of a number of herKal_3 projects. I've seen her at Radiobean with the self proclaimed "psycho-tropical" group Gua Gua. I've seen her in Soulvation Army, Burlington's own 17 piece funk band. She tours with the popular reggae group John Brown's Body. She is also the lovely lady of Alex Toth and the Lazybirds, with whom she will be performing on Big Joe Burrell Day.

I happen to have seen Miss. Traver many times other than with the projects listed, at pep rallies, band concerts, etc. While we've never met, we hail from the same high school, Woodstock Union, in beautiful, rural southern VT. My memories of Kal Traver are all music related. I'm not sure how many school assemblies featured announcements of new honors awarded to Miss. Traver for her musical achievements. She has stood out from other young musicians from the start.

She never fails to impress me, particularly what I've heard of her vocals on the new Lazybirds album Birdhead, which the Boston Phoenix says "...hits the hard-bop sweet spot."

So don't miss this local treasure of a musician this Jazz Fest. I would say Kal Traver is a promising young musician, because that's what people says about people like her, but she's already fulfilling those promises.

May 15, 2007 at 05:25 PM in Jill Kilpatrick | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 03, 2007

Hope for a champion performance...


I can't disagree with anything Michael says! This is why it's great Seven Days brought together such a varied group of jazz experts. My jazz knowledge springs from a passionate love of the music, and absolutely no real technical knowledge whatsoever.

Michael's educated opinion has given me hope for Chick Corea and Béla Fleck! It also prompted me to do some further research. Check out this video of a Corea tune, Spain with the two gentlemen in question, as well as vocalist Bobby McFerrin. This video is a little quiet, so turn up your computer speakers, but this is a great interpretation of an old Return to Forever favorite.

May 3, 2007 at 10:01 AM in Jill Kilpatrick | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 01, 2007

Cheese fest or Champions? Béla Fleck and Chick Corea


I'm breaking with the Eddie Palmeri kick. I really enjoy the idea of examining the Jazz Fest schedule an artist at a time, but ever since I heard of this duo, I've been bursting with questions.

Since my love affair with jazz fusion began, Chick Corea has been there. The first jazz album I fell in love with was Miles Davis' In a Silent Way. Chick Corea joins the jaw dropping line up of Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Dave Holland and Tony Williams for this, considered the first of Miles Davis' fusion recordings.

Chick Corea went on to form Return to Forever, a whimsical fusion group who recorded through the 1970's in various forms. My favorite iterations of Return to Forever feature Brazilian born drummer Airto Moreira and his wife, vocalist Flora Purim. These are not albums I can listen to often, despite their charm. As the leader of these project, Chick Corea's tendency towards, as I refer to it, cheese, begins to show through. I will play these albums (check out 1972's Light as a Feather) when I have children. The playful Latin beats paired with Purim's unusual voice seems like perfect nursery music to me, but that is the next time in my life I plan on listening to these albums with any frequency.

With Chick Corea, we observe a phenomenon common among jazz fusion artists.  They excel when paired with other musicians of equal talent and status,  but when given too much creative control, the cheese factor grows exponentially.

On Crystal Silence, also released in 1972, vibraphonist and former president of Berklee School of Music, Gary Burton was the perfect balance for Mr. Corea. This album is my most prized of all my record collection. When I purchased it, the gentleman I bought it from asked me to come back in an hour before I bought it, when I returned, he was giving it one last listen. It was that hard for him to part with an album of this magnitude in perfect condition.

So here's my question: Will Béla Fleck's fast picking be enough to reign in Chick Corea. Or will this Flecktone fuel the phenomenon in question?

May 1, 2007 at 12:06 PM in Jill Kilpatrick | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack