June 11, 2007

Mary Lou Williams Resurgence Project Concert

LJ

This was the fifth consecutive year that the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Big Band has performed at this festival and I have witnessed them all. Every one of them have been magical. I have the feeling that when I come to their concert that they are playing for my own personal pleasure, since I know most of the musicians on stage.

I think it's mandatory that I should relay some off my friend's names to you. Reed section: Brian McCarthy, Bryan MacNamara, Michael Zsoldas, Dave Grippo & Alex Stewart (also the band master). Trumpet section: Chris Gribnau, Cam Cross, Dave Ellis & Paul Brana (17 y.o. H.S student). Bone section: Lori Salimando-Porter, Andy Moroz, Dan Silverman, & Rick Davies. Piano: Tom Cleary, Bass: John Rivers, & Jeff Salisbury on drums.

Kudos to Cecilia Smith (vibes) for putting  this concert together. She was ably assisted by Amina Claudine Myers (piano & vocals) and Elon Robin Dixon (vocals).

Congratulations to Champlain Valley Union H.S. chorus, especially to the six girls on the upper two levels (stage left). They were singing and swaying to the beat just as if they were in the choir at a black Baptist Sunday church meeting. The director, Carl Recchia is to be commended for his chorus's performance. I must admit that every time I see young people like this in performance, my throat starts to constrict and I have to take out my hankie as I must have had some particle stuck in my eye. Strange, it's happening again as I write this. Maybe it's because I'm jealous. The only time that attention has been brought to me is when my name has been published in the daily newspaper court report.  Just think how Paul Brana feels like today after being on stage as part of the band. Or how many members of the chorus didn't fall asleep until the wee hours of this morning.

Having extolled this concert, I see a black cloud in the future for this event. Less than 400 people attended this concert. Maybe the BDJF folks need a new hook for the general public. Mary Lou Williams is not a stranger to jazz heads like me, but the attendance figures show that there needs to be a new approach. I would hate to see this concert eliminated because it's "losing" money, and as you well know the local performing arts scene ain't in the business to do that.

This is my last posting  on this blog. I want to personally thank Cathy Resmer (7D Online Editor) whose job is very much like the photograph in the 7D jobs section. You know the one I mean. The one where a woman is standing behind an elephant with a canvas bag and is catching the bowel movement. She has been cleaning up behind me for several weeks now and god knows I can produce an enormous amount of drek.

June 11, 2007 at 02:30 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2007

Waterfront World & Early Evening Club Cruising

LJ

I bypassed Main Street in Burlington and made my way down to the waterfront via Maple Street and was captivated by the long uninterrupted view of the shimmering lake as George described. What a great day to be alive and watching live music.  Not much to add to his review other to say that I never thought I would live long enough to see three white guys playing in the Skatalites. I also departed after their set, because...

I wanted to see Sambatucada (local Brazilian Samba street band) at the Saturday Night Block Party
on Church Street. There nothing like a percussion ensemble to make folks start bobbing their heads and feet.

I then made my way to Club Metronome to see the extended version of the 35th Parallel (local duet of guitar and tabla) who change their name to the Mediterrasian Jazz Ensemble when they add some jazz horns into the mix. Interesting to say the least.

Also picked up Guagua (local Brazilian & Latin ensemble) at City Hall Stage at 3:00pm. Always enjoy this group and so did the spectators. Kal Traver (alto sax), who Jill Kilpatrick mentioned in her posting of 5/15/07 (Let's Get Local) has added some serious chops since she and Alex Toth have moved to Boston.

Sorry to see the sun set on this day.

June 10, 2007 at 03:02 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 09, 2007

On Bass/Drum/Bone Part Deux

LJ

I don't know where to start. Lou's review of this concert was so totally, like totally, right on dude. So like, I should like totally write something like soon before the bloom fades.

I probably should start with their interview with Bob Blumenthal. I saw no difference between the interview and the performance. Bob would ask a question for the group as a whole and one of them would reply as an individual after a safe pause and without looking at the others for the go ahead nod. I guess after thirty years, you can do that. I was only married for twenty-two, and we could complete each other's sentences. They described their relationship as 3 (five-year-old) kids playing the sandbox at a pre-school. I agree.

Everything that Lou wrote about Mark Helias, Gerry Hemingway, and especially Ray Anderson was right on. I can only surmise that Ray's lack of "parlor tricks" while playing is because all the tunes were very recent compositions and since he is only five years old, his attention span hadn't  collapsed yet.  In fact, the whole ensemble's playing was somewhat subdued compared to what they've done in the past. Then again, I am unable/or choose not to do things that I could do easily thirty years ago. Great, great concert.

Before finishing this posting, I would be remiss in not mentioning that the FlynnSpace is my favorite joint. I usually see all the BDJF concerts at this site and this year was no exception. Kudos to Harry Chaikin who takes care of the sound board and to Brian Johnson who is the house manager. The joint wouldn't be the same without their expertise and warped sense of humor. You need to have possession of those two things when you dealing with performing artists and wacko customers like myself.

June 9, 2007 at 05:23 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2007

Musings Continued

LJ

Before I mention some of the local stuff I've seen in the last few days, I thought I would give you a short (hopefully) history of the jazz "scene" in Burlington. My short bio for this blog says that I moved to Burlington in 1989. That's not completely true. I have actually lived here in three different decades. The first time I moved here was in 1967. I was living in NYC and visited some of my NYC friends in the Bad Liver Valley (Mad River). My then-child bride, who was born and raised in Manhattan fell in love with the area, so we moved here.

First of all, I couldn't find a job, because I wore a neatly trimmed goatee (it was black in color then). My hair was short cropped and neat. It's still neat, but I have more growing out of my ears than on the top of my head. There was only one other person in this area who wore a beard and he was an engineer at the G.E. plant off Pine Street. We soon discovered that after NYC, Burlington was a cultural shock for us in 1967.

The only club that had jazz on a regular basis was the High Hat which was located where Nectar's is now. The bandstand was positioned on a raised platform in the middle of a horseshoe-shaped bar. I can only remember the house band (C.R.S. Syndrome), which consisted of a rhythm section plus a reed player. The members of this ensemble were all African-Americans. The Roostertail was located where the Ground Round is now. They had a Hammond B-3 organ (with a Lesley speaker) trio. They could play jazz, but were only allowed to play dance music. If I had consumed vast amounts of alcohol, I would drop by and listen every once in a while. That was the total jazz
scene. Consider yourselves lucky. We lived at the edge of the flat earth then.

Monday (6/04) - UVM "Post-Bop Ensemble - Basement of Memorial Auditorium(rain site) - I've seen a lot of these players on campus and made it a point to pay my respects.

Wednesday (6/06)  - South Burlington H.S. Jazz Ensemble - Dave Grippo always brings his troops prepared. Last tune of the day was a smoking Latin piece.

Wednesday (6/06) - Harwood "A" Band &Harwood "B" Band back to back. Bruce Sklar (director), has the same mine set as Grippo.

Wednesday (6/06)  Mike Hardin Sextet. This is Michael's third year leading his own group of H.S. players. I've seen them all and can testify of their musicianship.

Thursday (6/07)  - Moss Point (Mississippi) H.S. Jazz All-Stars. Old fashioned instrumentation        (brass driven). This band must make a lot of pilgrimages to New Orleans. Excellent.

Friday (6/08) - Union College Jazz Ensemble - Ugh!! I would put up any of the aforementioned local H.S. bands against this group. After the second song, they drove me up the street into the arms of the...

Wes Ruielle Trio (I think? because there was an additional two reed players) who were performing under the tent at Leunig's Bistro. Just as I began to appreciate their straight-ahead playing, the boss came out and said to tone it down, because nobody wanted to sit up front next to the band stand. I don't understand. This is a jazz festival isn't it?  Okay, if you want the diner crowd, then hire the Lester Lanin Orchestra (inside NYC joke). I departed soon after.

Thursday (6/07)  - Ellen Powell Quartet at Leunig's -  Damn, I wish that Ellen's foot would permit her to pick up the upright base again. She sounds better with it.

Wednesday (6/06) - Nicholas Cassarino & Joseph Davidian at The Daily Planet - Some  more of the upcoming young lions.

Every time I've made a search up Church Street, I poke my head into the 1/2 Lounge and I like everything I've heard. It's always been some adventurous music. The ambience is classic old school NYC hole in the wall jazz club. A postage stamp-sized bandstand and the customers are actually listening! I don't know what they do the rest of the year, but I'm planning to visit more often. Of course, my recommendation may be their death knell.


June 8, 2007 at 08:14 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Musings

LJ

David Beckett's eagerness to see comments on the BassDrumBone concert last night reminds me of an old joke. It seems like there were two bulls on the top of a hill, and they were looking down into the valley at a heard of female cows. The young bull said, "Let's run down and make love to a couple of those cows". The old bull said, "Let's walk down and make  love to all of them". Have patience, it's good for your blood pressure. 

I am deferring my comments to this concert until Lou makes his. I thought that our comments would overlap, so at the end of the concert, I asked Lou if he would go first. Last night was Lou's last concert of the festival, because he will have a cataract operation on Monday morning.

I am leaving this computer momentarily to go down to Church Street and see the Union College Jazz ensemble and will return to mention some local artists that I have seen over the last few days.

June 8, 2007 at 03:51 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

Esperanza Spalding Concert

LJ

I liked this concert, "but" not as much as some people did. She's a capable singer, but all I heard were elements of Blossom Dearie, Betty Carter, and Carmen Macrae. I would hope that her delivery and tone will "mature" in time. She's a capable bass player, but again I don't think she has fully developed her own tone on the instrument. She scatted note for note while playing on two songs which I liked better than her regular vocals. I also wish that in the future that she would develop an ability to play with a bow(which I did not see on the stage). I mention this is because, it would be nice to see a woman do something in the style of Slam Stewart and Major Holley. I think that it would be wonderful if she could pull it off.

Miss Spalding definitely has a stage presence. Her introductions to the tunes were warm and sometimes very humorous. She didn't seem to mind poking fun at herself. To showcase her naturally abilities, she played three different types of acoustical basses. One of her better singing efforts was a Brazilian song which she sang in Portuguese. Her voice, which I've made comments on previously was perfect in this setting.

Regardless of what I have said about her performance, Ms. Spalding knows how to choose musicians. There were a couple of instrumentals that transported me to the "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" recordings(1961). The pianist, Leonardo Geonvese has a physical resemblance to Bill Evans which may have influenced my self-induced time machine trip . Lyndon Rochelle is the perfect percussionist for this ensemble.

With apologies to Cornelious Ryan, Ms. Spalding's encore was "a song too far". Having said that, I would not mind purchasing a ticket to her concert if she ever appears in the Burlington area again, just to hear her if she "ages" gracefully.

June 7, 2007 at 02:36 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 05, 2007

Comments on Miguel Zenon Concert

LJ

Ah! Beckett has stolen my thunder. Well, that won't keep me quite for long. This performance is the highlight of the festival for me so far. The whole ensemble was excellent. I can add nothing to Beckett's comments about their musicianship other than to tell you that Aaron Parks (piano) had never played with this group before and with just Miguel and himself, they went over the music for  an hour and a half yesterday afternoon.

I think most of the music were original compositions by Miguel with exception of a bolero and the final song of the night which was Monk's "Rhythm 'A'  Ning." Here, Miguel was outstanding in his "Bird-like" interpretation of the great jazz standard.

June 5, 2007 at 04:59 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 04, 2007

Contois Auditorium

LJ

This is actually an addendum to Lou's posting of 5/31/07. Most of the artists that he mentioned performed at Contois. In the nearly twenty years that I have attended BDJF, I can honestly say that I have not seen a bad concert in that venue. I sit upstairs, in an aisle seat, just to the right of the center section. I have an unobstructed view of the stage and as far as I know the same sound expert (formally from Russia) has been taking care of business there for a least a decade and I've never had a complaint. 

Having said all that, can anyone make a comment as to last night's performance of MaMaVig and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey? I'm entering the third day of a nasty cold and went to bed "real" early in the evening and did not attend. I would prefer a review from some reader here than what I may see in the local newspaper which I wrap my dead fish in.

June 4, 2007 at 04:41 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 03, 2007

Kenny Garrett Concert Comments

LJ

Have you ever attended a National Drag Race competition? The vehicles go from zero to 300+MPH in less than 7 seconds in a race that measures 1,320 feet. That's the feeling I got with the first song of last night's performance of the Kenny Garrett concert.   

Excellent musicianship by all concerned. Benito Gonzalez played sheets of music and drove the soloists when he wasn't soloing. Jamire Williams didn't need to solo on his drum kit, because his playing behind each soloist to me was a solo in itself. It reminded me very much of the musical collaboration between Elvin Jones and John Coltrane. While all this interplay was going on, Nat Reeves anchored the music with his steady bass play.   

With a microphone attached to the bell of his horn, Kenny was a perpetual motion machine on stage whether he was soloing or directing/suggesting things to the ensemble. Good song selections with an eye for different tempos.  Beautiful rendition of the classic Naima by both Kenny and special guest Pharoah Sanders. The last song of the night showed that Kenny knows how to work a crowd.   

When Pharoah soloed, he remained steadfast behind his microphone. When he wasn't playing, he would start dancing when the mood hit him. It was almost like a statement to the audience, "Yes, I'll be 67 years old in the fall, but I can still shake my booty". While taking a sip of water during one of Kenny's solos, Pharoah began to blow across the top of his water bottle into the microphone, further demonstrating that he was still capable of improvising at a moment's notice.

Grade for concert=A   Grade for sound=A * 
Great balance and I never took my ear plugs out of my pocket.

June 3, 2007 at 02:33 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 02, 2007

Late Night Street Tour (6/01/07)

LJ

I tried to slip out of the Flynn Theater after last night's performance but I got kidnapped by an old friend who is aware of my distaste of club crawling in my old age. We walked up Church Street and stood in front of the Red Square and watch one song from Dave Grippo's Funk Band who were performing in the alley way. I would have made my way up to the bandstand to pay my respects, but the joint was full of people who were on the "one."

We continued our journey and stopped for the final song from Jenni Johnson's last set which took place under a tent outside Leunig's Bistro. Paid my respects to Jenni and gave her an apologetic hug since I had not seen her in performance in some time.

Made a left hand turn down College Street and decided, after looking at my rolled up festival guide in my back pocket, to make another left hand turn on St. Paul Street and we made our way to American Flatbread to see Anthony Santor and Friends. God, I'm getting old. I recognized no one in this ensemble but Nick Cassarino (guitar) and that was only because WRUV has his latest CD and his face was familiar. I got to get out more. The music was adventurous, especially by the alto player. 

My eyes starting burning around 12:30 a.m. and thought it was best that I make my way home. When you reach a certain age, you have to learn to pace yourself. Ten days of music is a long time for some people. Ten days of anything  is a long time.    

June 2, 2007 at 02:42 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack