For instrumental Jazz/Fusion/Jam quartet Garaj Mahal, the next logical frontier to explore would be to add vocals to its repertoire. Although the band has utilized vocal melodies as a textural component over the years, the members have never actually sung in the strictest definition of the term ... until the recent release of their seventh album, 'More Mr. Nice Guy.'
There's nothing out of the ordinary about a band doing a string of local dates to celebrate the release of an album. It is unusual when the album is nearly two years old and the band has to fly in from France for the shows. For Boogie Woogie Blues piano master Ricky Nye, the CD release hoopla is turning out exactly the way he envisioned it, if slightly after the fact.
If the United Nations is looking for a Jazz pianist, Amina Figarova would certainly fit the bill. Born in Azerbaijan, she played and composed at a prodigal age, then studied in her homeland before pursuing the Jazz performance programs at Rotterdam Conservatory and Berklee College of Music in Boston. Four years after Figarova's 1994 debut album, 'Attraction,' she was accepted into the Thelonious Monk Jazz Colony in Aspen Colorado.
When you find Igor Stravinsky, Steve Vai and the Screaming Headless Torsos in the same list, you might be forced to make connections you never thought possible. A quick listen to Joe Deninzon's music will do pretty much the same thing.
Dana Hall isn't merely a Jazz drummer — he's a magician who elicits the same jaw dropping reaction with a kit and sticks that David Copperfield gets when he makes aircraft carriers or the Statue of Liberty vanish. His two-night stand at the Blue Wisp serves as a CD release event for his album 'Into the Light,' but the real event will be witnessing the stellar work of one of music's great beatkeepers.
Setting contemporary Pop to an African beat is threatening to overtake baseball as the Great American Pastime, but there are plenty of practitioners out there who are hybridizing genres in unique and original ways. Among them is the Chicago Afrobeat Project, formed in 2002. They honed their skills playing the Windy City's loft party scene, earning a solid reputation as a complete live experience and accruing a rabid fan base.
OK, here's the deal ... a “new rule,” if you will: If you move to Cincinnati and are in a really good active band, even though your bandmates might not live here, we still get to claim you as an honorary "local band." Such is the case with Cincinnati's newest revved-up Swing/Rockabilly/Blues/Jazz band, Neon Swing X-perience, based in Pittsburgh but with singer/trumpeter Mike Urick in town for grad school.
The Dan Karlsberg Group's show Sunday will have a reunited-and-it-feels-so-good feel as bassist Steve Whipple and drummer Anthony "T" Lee return from New York City, where they both now live and work, to join Karlsberg. The trio will be heard together again later in 2010 on new releases by the Dan Karlsberg Group and saxophonist Brent Gallaher.
Veteran Jazz musician Bruce Menefield formed the Omni Works Music organization to teach about Jazz via after-school programs around the city. He teams up with a local school that does recognize the intellectual importance of music education, Walnut Hills High School, for the first Omni Works Music All Star fundraising event Monday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Menefield and his Omni Works Music All Stars (which will include Mike Wade, Marc Fields and Billy Larkin) will be joined by the school's Jazz Band.
Guitarist Bobby Broom might not have the kind of high profile that some of his Jazz contemporaries enjoy, but he has the kind of resume that would make a good many of them green with envy. He's worked in stints with Art Blakey, Dave Grusin, Tom Browne and Hugh Masekela and has successfully balanced his formidable schedule as a guitarist for hire with his burgeoning solo career.