Last Topeka Jazz Festival · Last Topeka Jazz Festival was a bittersweet affair Jazz Fest continued...

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By Tom Ineck Last Topeka Jazz Festival was a bittersweet affair Jazz Fest continued on page 4 TOPEKA, Kan.—Knowing that we likely were witnessing the “swan song” of the Topeka Jazz Festival made for a bittersweet experience, but the high quality of most per- formances May 27-29 kept our minds focused on the bright moments. What follow are my impressions of the festival’s highs and lows. Several hundred people who arrived for the Friday Yard Party scrambled into the To- peka Performing Arts Center when the rains came, creating the criti- cal mass, festive atmo- sphere and enthusiasm on which jazz artists thrive. Longtime TJF fave Ken Peplowski fronted a six-piece outfit that performed the standards “Old Folks,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and an outrageously fast rendition of Sonny Rollins’ bop classic “Oleo.” Area high school musicians were featured in a well-received session with professional clinicians. Saxophonist Rob Scheps led the band on “C Jam Blues,” and with trumpeter Claudio Roditi, per- cussionist Norman Hedman, and gui- tarist Rod Fleeman joined them on “Blue Bossa.” Hedman’s “Gypsy Caravan” was a vehicle for a septet that also in- cluded Roditi, saxophon- ist Bobby Watson, pia- nist Misha Tsiganov, vi- braphonist Alexei Tsiganov, bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Victor Lewis. Gifted vocalist Giacomo Gates joined the band on “Four,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “How High the Moon/Orni- thology,” and “Night in Tunisia.” Illustrating the broad range of the 2005 festival, The Hot Club of San Francisco offered up a rousing set of “gypsy jazz” to finish the free concert. Leader Paul Mehling and his young cohorts delivered on “The Man I Love,” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” In this issue of Jazz.... Prez Sez................................................... 2 TJF Photo Gallery ............................... 8-9 Tomfoolery: TJF Gamble ...................... 10 Topeka Workshop.................................. 11 Fred Hersch Review ............................. 12 Tierney Sutton Review ........................ 13 Joe Locke/NJO Review ......................... 14 John Jorgenson Review ...................... 15 Kathy Kosins Review ............................. 15 Alaadeen & Group 21 Review .............. 16 Jazz on Disc ........................................ 17 Discorama .......................................... 19 Poetry by Butch Berman .................... 21 Chicago Blues Reunion......................... 22 Letters to the Editor ............................. 23 July 2005 Vol. 10, Number 2 Claudio Roditi and Jay Leonhart at the 2005 Topeka Jazz Festival Photo by Rich Hoover Photo by Rich Hoover Giacomo Gates and Bob Bowman

Transcript of Last Topeka Jazz Festival · Last Topeka Jazz Festival was a bittersweet affair Jazz Fest continued...

Page 1: Last Topeka Jazz Festival · Last Topeka Jazz Festival was a bittersweet affair Jazz Fest continued on page 4 TOPEKA, Kan.—Knowing that we likely were witnessing the “swan song”

By Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Last Topeka Jazz Festivalwas a bittersweet affair

Jazz Fest continued on page 4

TOPEKA, Kan.—Knowing thatwe likely were witnessing the “swansong” of the Topeka Jazz Festival madefor a bittersweet experience, but thehigh quality of most per-formances May 27-29kept our minds focusedon the bright moments.

What follow aremy impressions of thefestival’s highs andlows.

Several hundredpeople who arrived forthe Friday Yard Partyscrambled into the To-peka Performing ArtsCenter when the rainscame, creating the criti-cal mass, festive atmo-sphere and enthusiasm on which jazzartists thrive.

Longtime TJF fave KenPeplowski fronted a six-piece outfit thatperformed the standards “Old Folks,”“Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and anoutrageously fast rendition of SonnyRollins’ bop classic “Oleo.”

Area high school musicians werefeatured in a well-received session with

professional clinicians. Saxophonist RobScheps led the band on “C Jam Blues,”and with trumpeter Claudio Roditi, per-cussionist Norman Hedman, and gui-

tarist Rod Fleemanjoined them on “BlueBossa.”

Hedman’s “GypsyCaravan” was a vehiclefor a septet that also in-cluded Roditi, saxophon-ist Bobby Watson, pia-nist Misha Tsiganov, vi-braphonist AlexeiTsiganov, bassist JayLeonhart and drummerVictor Lewis. Giftedvocalist Giacomo Gatesjoined the band on“Four,” “Straight, No

Chaser,” “How High the Moon/Orni-thology,” and “Night in Tunisia.”

Illustrating the broad range of the2005 festival, The Hot Club of SanFrancisco offered up a rousing set of“gypsy jazz” to finish the free concert.Leader Paul Mehling and his youngcohorts delivered on “The Man I Love,”and “I’ll See You in My Dreams,”

In this issue of Jazz....Prez Sez...................................................2TJF Photo Gallery...............................8-9Tomfoolery: TJF Gamble......................10Topeka Workshop..................................11Fred Hersch Review.............................12Tierney Sutton Review........................13Joe Locke/NJO Review.........................14John Jorgenson Review......................15Kathy Kosins Review.............................15Alaadeen & Group 21 Review..............16Jazz on Disc........................................17Discorama..........................................19Poetry by Butch Berman....................21Chicago Blues Reunion.........................22Letters to the Editor.............................23

July 2005Vol. 10, Number 2

Claudio Roditi and Jay Leonhart atthe 2005 Topeka Jazz Festival

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Giacomo Gates andBob Bowman

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Page 2 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

Prez SezJazz happenings past, present and futureBy Butch Berman ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Hi Jazz Fans…

Happy summertime and the liv-ing is easy, and sometimes not so easy,as you’ll soon read about. My new-est catch phrase, “a tough biz…thisjazz is,” seems to have become amajor-league reality, at least here inthe Midwest.

The Topeka Jazz Festival cameand went as a complete artistic suc-cess, but lost miserably at the box of-fice. I know the damage done by theformer head honcho’s inability togracefully transfer his allegiance andconstituents to help continue fundingthrough sponsorship was big time. Yet,there are still a lot of other jazz fanswho, maybe due to the former tradi-tion of holding this event on the Me-morial Day weekend, had too manyother options available to make jazzits main priority.

We had sufficient coverage onall media months in advance, and ourTaste of Topeka Jazz Yard Party pic-nic was well attended, probably be-cause admission was free. We had tomove inside due to storms brewing,but the energy flowing between themagnificent musicians and their fanswas spellbinding. Yet, when it cameto paying for the actual festival thefollowing two days…Zippo. I think wehad as many Nebraskans there asfolks from K.C., Lawrence and Man-hattan, Kan., combined during somesets.

On the other hand, I want tothank all the wonderful people that didcome and supported jazz and hungaround to catch some of the bestmusic they’ve heard in years. I, mystaff, and the entire crew from TPAC(especially Assistant Director Mark

Radziejeski) can all share in our heartsthat we put on one of the best To-peka Jazz Festivals in its eight-yearhistory. If it is the last one, we wentout on top swinging.

One hundred percent of all thecats that played it this year said theyreally enjoyed themselves and feltmore creative and groovin’ under ourmore relaxed manner of presentationthan ever before. That made me feellike a winner, NO MATTER WHAT.If you lead with your heart, you getback pure soul music, whether it’sjazz, blues or rock ‘n’ roll. To all mymonster player buddies who blewtheir asses off on every song, everyset, every day, a mutherfuckin’ thankyou, and I love you all for doin’ yourthang so well.

Tom will fill you in with his blow-by-blow account of all the hot bops.Yeah, we did stretch a bit, and triedsome different stuff: Gypsy jazz, Afro-Cuban Latin world beat, a little more

bebop, lots of new faces and still a lotof the same pros that preserved theoriginal jazz party scene the TJF wasfirst noted for. All in all, I applaud you.BRAVO!

One week after the festival wasover I received the shocking news thatthe fabulous staff that had made ev-erything possible for our BMF toflourish and create the jazz in Kansasthat I could never sustain here in myhometown had been let go by their

Photos by R

ich Hoover

The Topeka Performing Arts Center was the scene of many great performancessince the Topeka Jazz Festival began in 1998.

Kathryn Sinclair, Monica Schwarz,Grace Sankey Berman and Butch

Berman at 2005 Topeka Jazz Festival

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Page 3July 2005○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Ames, Iowa-based bosses, for undis-closed reasons—but mostly comingfrom the lack of enthusiasm towardentertainment in downtown Topekasufficient to fill enough seats to main-tain its budget and cost of operations.

This sucks and is so sad for themand their families, as well, and for thevery uncertain future of the TJF andthe Berman Jazz Series. However,after 10 years in this crazy jazz biz,I’ve become even more determinedto be an advocate of this wild musicI’m so passionate about. Have jazzwill travel, I guess, as we’re alreadyin the process of contacting otherfoundations dealing with the samekinda stuff to collaborate in keepingjazz alive, or working with other edu-cational institutes, hoping to bring oraugment whatever jazz programs theynow may or may not have.

Check out my other story in thisissue reporting on the ever-so-suc-cessful master class we held in To-peka prior to the festival. They maytake away our venues, but they can’tkill the curiosity, drive and determina-tion of our youth towards jazz that isgrowing all over the country despiteall the bullshit, egos, apathy and badpolitics that seems to try to screw upeverything in our world today. We shallovercome…one day…someday.

Even though we weren’t in-volved in booking for Lincoln’s Jazzin June this year, we were instrumen-tal in obtaining, through the Mid-America Arts Alliance roster of finetalent, the master himself—saxophon-ist, composer and educator AhmadAlaadeen and his Group 21 from Kan-sas City, Mo., for this year’s concertseries. I met him and his manager,Fanny Dunfee, eight years ago at aMid-America convention in K.C. andhave loved them, and his brilliant mu-sic, ever since. It was indeed a plea-sure and honor to have had themheadline the last show of this year andjust tear the place up. Tom’s reviewsof that gig and Alaadeen’s sensational

new ASR Records release, “NewAfrica Suite,” also appear in this is-sue.

Some other news before Iscram. Got a nice letter from formerLincolnite Carter Van Pelt, whose jobworking at the Lincoln Center inN.Y.C. has become fulltime. A superjournalist, his recent interview withpianist Marcus Roberts graced thecover of the center’s publication.Carter has written some great piecesin the past on Bob Marley, Fela Kutiand Monty Alexander, to name a few,as well as superb concert presenta-tions such as the one we did togetherat Lincoln’s Royal Grove, bringing inBrooklyn’s great Antibalas. Nicegoin’, my friend.

I’m hoping to bring in Minneapo-lis trumpet player Kelly Rossum andhis band, and Bob Bowman’s newK.C. group, perhaps to P.O. Pearssometime this fall, as well as debut-ing my new buddy, vocalistextraordinaire Giacomo Gates, hope-fully with the Nebraska Jazz Orches-tra in 2006. My dear pal sax playerRob Scheps is also planning to be inthe area around October. We willkeep you posted on all the haps asthey appear.

Things on our jazz front may bea little shaky as of late, but if I sur-vived the San Francisco earthquakeof 1989, then these minor setbacks areonly little aftershocks to the really bigpicture of protecting, preserving andpresenting this great American musicto you for years to come. Have a veryhappy and safe summer.

Yours in jazz,

Butch Berman

JazzJazzJazzJazzJazz is published online at:www.bermanmusicfoundation.orgThe office of The Berman Mu-The Berman Mu-The Berman Mu-The Berman Mu-The Berman Mu-sic Foundation sic Foundation sic Foundation sic Foundation sic Foundation is at 719 P St.,Studio G, Lincoln, NE 68508.

Editor and Designer:Editor and Designer:Editor and Designer:Editor and Designer:Editor and Designer:Tom Ineck

Contributing writersContributing writersContributing writersContributing writersContributing writers:Butch Berman, Phil Chesnutand Tom Ineck

Photographers:Photographers:Photographers:Photographers:Photographers: PhilChesnut and Rich Hoover

For inclusion of any jazz orblues related events, letters tothe editor or suggestedarticles, mail them to theoffice, phone (402) 476-3112,fax (402) 475-3136 or [email protected].

To be added to our mailinglist, call (402) 476-3112, fax(402) 475-3136 or [email protected].

The Butch BermanThe Butch BermanThe Butch BermanThe Butch BermanThe Butch BermanCharitable MusicCharitable MusicCharitable MusicCharitable MusicCharitable MusicFoundationFoundationFoundationFoundationFoundation is a non-profit, taxexempt, 501(c)(3) private foun-dation recognized by the Inter-nal Revenue Service and theNebraska Department of Rev-enue. It was established in thespring of 1995 to protect andpromote unique forms of jazzmusic.

Trustee:Trustee:Trustee:Trustee:Trustee: Butch Berman

Consultants:Consultants:Consultants:Consultants:Consultants: Grace SankeyBerman, Russ Dantzler, DanDemuth, Norman Hedman,Gerald Spaits, Leslie Spaits andWade Wright

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Page 4 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

Jazz Fest continued from page 1

among others. At evening’s end, I re-turned to my hotel room in high spirits,hoping that the performances had beenjust enough of a tease to entice return-ing, paying customers.

Saturday’s marathon began witha session featuring singer KathleenHoleman, whose talents are more im-pressive in live concert than on her de-but CD. With a band consisting of Kan-sas City’s finest, she scatted through“Exactly Like You,” soared on a sopranoflight on “Mood Indigo,” preached gos-pel style on “Get Happy,” and againscatted impressively on “I Can’t GiveYou Anything But Love,” featuringMehling on guitar. Holeman was espe-cially effective on “Don’t You Won-der?” the ballad of a tragic relationship.

Mehling kept the stage and wasjoined by the Interstring quartet—gui-tarists Danny Embrey and RodFleeman, bassist Bob Bowman anddrummer Todd Strait. They took “Bodyand Soul” as a Latin-style ballad, alsoperforming “Whispering” and DjangoReinhardt’s “Daphne.” Mehling lackedthe assertiveness of his swinging com-panions and seemed out of his “gypsyjazz” element during the first two num-bers, but regained his poise for theReinhardt classic.

Trombonist Paul McKee was thenominal leader of a strong ensemblethat featured tenor saxophonist RobScheps assuming the true leadershiprole. Scheps’ inspired solo on Sam Riv-ers’ “Beatrice” dominated the perfor-mance, as did his solo on “It’s You or

No One.” Joe Cartwright on piano andStan Kessler on trumpet and flugelhornalso contributed notable solos. Kesslerand bassist Jay Leonhart joined for astunning duo passage on “Invitation.”

The annual return of young pia-nist Eldar Djangirov has become a fes-tival tradition, awaited for with eageranticipation as fans wonder just howmuch better he can get. Now 18, wecan say that Djangirov has exceededthe promise that was evident at age 11,when his precocious talent may haveseemed little more than a freak of na-ture.

With longtime sidemen GeraldSpaits on bass and Todd Strait on drums,Djangirov now exhibits even greaterconfidence as a composer and soloist.The original opener, “Point of View,”was taken at a hair-raising clip, whilehis breezy composition “Raindrops”combines classical and folk influencesin an irresistible riff.

Standards, however, still play animportant role in the trio’s perfor-mances. Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’”included a piano-drums dialogue;Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight”received a balanced ensemble readingthat relied largely on lush arpeggios and

chords; “Fly Me to the Moon” wasgiven a Latin treatment with the key-board wizard doubling and subdividingthe time; and “What Is This Thing CalledLove?” was taken at an insane tempothat had Spaits sitting out much of thetune as Djangirov and Strait went head-to-head.

Flugelhornmaster ClaudioRoditi fronted aneight-piece bandthat includedtrumpeter StanKessler, allowingthe two to mixand matchbrassy state-ments in good-natured repar-tee. “Samba de

The Quintet of the Hot Club of SanFrancisco, led by guitarist PaulMehling (above) were the hit of theFriday night pre-festival concert.

Photos by R

ich Hoover

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Eldar Djangirov

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Todd Strait

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Gerald Spaits

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Orfeu” by Luiz Bonfa was a logical tunefor the Latin-tinged ensemble. Roditi,Kessler and Bobby Watson improvisedgroup riffs behind trombonist PaulMcKee on “C Jam Blues,” which alsofeatured outstanding solos by Kessler,pianist Joe Cartwright and bassistGerald Spaits. “Milestones” was high-lighted by Roditi’s solo and a set oftrades between drummer RayDeMarchi and conga master NormanHedman.

Scheps led a quintet with his usualauthority on “Fantasy,” a DannyEmbrey original called “Ergo,” with thecomposer playing acoustic guitar andbassist Bob Bowman contributing awonderful solo. An uptempo version of“Lover” brought out the best in every-one. Using brushes, Todd Strait set themanic pace for outstanding solos byRoger Wilder on keys and Scheps ontenor sax. Never one to rely too heavilyon standards, Scheps finished withKenny Wheeler’s obscure “Kayak,”which provided an excellent basis forsolos by Embrey, Scheps and Wilder.

The vocal pyrotechnics ofGiacomo Gates were in full flight dur-ing a set that featured prominent con-tributions by Ken Peplowski on tenorsax and Rod Fleeman on guitar. TaddDameron’s “Lady Bird” beautifully il-lustrated Gates’ trademark sonority,

while Gershwin’s “Oh, Lady Be Good”(lyrics by Eddie Jefferson) exercisedhis highly developed rhythmic impulses.Singer Kathleen Holeman joined thefray for “All of Me,” matching Gatesscat for scat. Roditi made a guest ap-pearance on “Speedball,” which alsohad the singer slyly trading bass lickswith Jay Leonhart.

By comparison, Saturdayevening’s lineup was somewhat disap-pointing. Ahmad Alaadeen and Group21 delivered a lackluster performance,the leader’s Coltrane-inspired tenor andsoprano sax styles occasionally clash-ing with the rhythm section’s funk ten-dencies. A slow vocal on the old blueswarhorse “Driving Wheel” and theband’s listless take on the ballad “AFlower Is a Lovesome Thing” did noth-ing to improve things, although pianistChristopher Clark contributed some in-spired playing throughout the set.

Norman Hedman’s Tropique, al-ways more impressive for their en-semble sound and intricate arrange-ments than for their solo excursions,struggled through a set that lacked thecohesion of past performances. Bass-ist Ron Monroe shouted out thechanges as his colleagues attempted toachieve the fine audio balance forwhich Tropique was known under the

past musical direction of percussionistWillie Martinez.

Ada Dyer delivered a nice vocalon “Angel of the Night,” and leaderHedman and his new percussionistteamed up for a wonderful conga duoon “Flight of the Spirit.” Eventually, 11musicians crowded the stage as trum-peter Roditi and saxophonists Watson,Alaadeen and Bill Wimmer rotatedthrough the solo spotlight on “Hed-Theme.”

The day ended on a sweeter noteas an intimate late-night jam session inTPAC’s lower level established a re-laxed mood among the most avid fans.Pianist Eldar Djangirov initially assumedthe role of maestro, with trumpeter StanKessler, trombonist Paul McKee, vibra-phonist Alexei Tsiganov and bassistGerald Spaits backing him on “AloneTogether.”

Giacomo Gates, however, quicklyput the impetuous young piano playerin his place. Gates counted off “FiveSpot Blues” at a slower tempo. Joiningthem in a wonderful rendition of theMonk tune were Bobby Watson on altosax and Bob Bowman on bass, in addi-tion to Kessler, McKee and Tsiganov.For the bop classic “Confirmation,” Vic-

Kathleen Holeman

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Ahmad Alaadeen

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Claudio Roditi

Jazz Fest continued on page 6

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Page 6 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

tor Lewis made a rare appearance ondrums. On Gershwin’s “But Not ForMe,” Watson on alto sax and Schepson flute squared off, ending in Watson’shilarious extended quote of the 1960spop hit “Downtown.”

As the audience began to file out,Kessler and pianist Roger Wilder per-formed a duo flugelhorn-piano renditionof Jobim’s “Pele.” As if to top that,Roditi at the piano and Tsiganov at thevibes explored variations on Jobim’s“Triste.”

The festival’s final day began withbassist and comic genius Jay Leonhartteaming up with fellow musician andhumorist Ken Peplowski. First,Leonhart reprised the solo bass-vocalperformance of his hilarious composi-tion “It’s Impossible to Sing and Playthe Bass.” Peps, pianist Roger Wilderand drummer Tommy Ruskin (sitting infor Victor Lewis) followed with “Sur-rey With the Fringe on Top.” Roditi onflugelhorn joined them for “I’m OnlyDreaming.” The obligatory “I GotRhythm” changes were employed yetagain for a tune featuring the front lineof Peplowski on tenor sax, PaulMcKee on trombone and Rodition flugelhorn.

In the conspicuous ab-sence of the world-class drum-mer, Peplowski jokingly referredto the “Victor Lewis MemorialConcert.” Leonhart followedthat with a jab at the “VictorLewis in-absentia set.” Lewisfans were especially disap-pointed that the drummer choseto sit out two consecutive sets,including one for which he was the des-ignated leader.

Featured players for this set in-cluded Scheps, Kessler, McKee,Cartwright, Bowman and Ruskin. JoeCartwright wins accolades for the bril-liant crab-like construction of his soloon Dave Brubeck’s “In Your OwnSweet Way.” Kessler, Scheps and

Cartwright turned in great solo state-ments on an uptempo rendition of Weil’s“Speak Low.” Gates joined the rhythmsection for “Summertime,” later match-ing his versatile voice with McKee’strombone and his flute-like whistle withBowman’s bass.

Interstring gradually reassembledfor a set that eventually featured vo-calist Kathleen Holeman. GuitaristsEmbrey and Fleeman began with twinacoustic guitars on Jobim’s “Triste,”

adding bassist Bowman on the lovelyJohnny Mandel waltz “Emily.” Drum-mer Strait slipped behind the trap setfor “East of the Sun (and West of theMoon),” with Fleeman switching toelectric guitar. Both guitarists took im-pressive solos, proving that their stylesare both very different and very com-patible in the context of the Interstring

quartet. Holeman added a scatting Latincapper to the set with “That’s All.”

Bobby Watson and Claudio Roditifronted a stellar quintet that also fea-tured pianist Roger Wilder, bassist JayLeonhart and drummer Todd Strait.They wittily put “things” in a thematiccontext with a medley consisting of“What is This Thing Called Love?” “Allthe Things You Are,” and “These Fool-ish Things.” Wilder acquitted himselfwell with an outstanding solo on “All

the Things.” Roditi soared onClifford Brown’s “Joy Spring,”and Watson matched the trum-peter lick for lick on a very fastrendition of Charlie Parker’s“Donna Lee.”

A Stan Kessler-led quintetdelivered a very nice reading of“Yesterdays,” then the twintrumpets of Roditi and Kesslerfired a swingin’ blues take on“Moanin’,” the Bobby Timmonsclassic. Rod Fleeman and Jay

Leonhart also delivered remarkablesolos, as drummer Tommy Ruskin keptimpeccable time.

Introduced with a personal testi-monial by longtime fan and benefactorLiz Stratton, Eldar Djangirov’s final fes-tival appearance was a pleasant sur-prise. Expanded from the publicized soloperformance, it began with a piano-gui-

Jazz Fest continued from page 5P

hoto by Rich H

oover

Jay Leonhart, Tommy Ruskin and Ken Peplowski

Norman Hedman, congas, and Alexei Tsiganov, vibes

Photo by R

ich Hoover

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tar duo with Rod Fleeman, and thencontinued with Djangirov’s very capabletrio bandmates, bassist Gerald Spaitsand drummer Todd Strait. HerbieHancock’s “Maiden Voyage” got thingsoff to a rousing start. The pianist ex-plored the outer reaches of the upperregisters on “Nature Boy,” and infusedhis composition “No Regret” with abreezy, folk-rock drive. It was back toHancock for the energetic closer, “Can-taloupe Island,” which included a piano-drums interlude that challenged bothplayers to deliver the goods.

Interstring returned to open theevening set with the elegiac “DearlyBeloved,” followed by “Swifts,” a gen-tly soaring piece reminiscent of PatMetheny’s heartland jazz, with its evo-cation of open spaces. Using the samechords as “Someday My Prince WillCome,” the quartet played its originalversion, cleverly referred to as “TheSong Formerly Known as Prince.”

The festival’s last set in the mainhall was a very special one. The con-cert performance of Bobby Watson andHorizon had been anxiously anticipatedall weekend by a large segment of theaudience. With only slight changes inthe personnel, the quintet has recordedand toured off and on for 15 years,and their deep mutual respect andmusical chemistry is evident.

Watson and drummer Vic-tor Lewis are especially close.The alto saxophonist told me inan interview more than a decadeago that he considers Lewis thegroup’s essential co-leader, andhis rhythmic contributions cer-tainly play an integral role inHorizon’s very advanced and pro-pulsive sound. Trumpeter TerellStafford, pianist Edward Simon andbassist Essiet Essiet are the other keyingredients.

Among the superb offerings thatevening were “Quiet as It’s Kept,”Jimmy Heath’s “Gingerbread Boy,” adirge-like version of “The Look ofLove,” and Lewis’ raucous original

“Hey, It’s Me You’re Talkin’ To,” withan astounding drum solo introductionleading to bop time and solos by Staffordand Watson. Similarly, Essiet introduced“Heckle and Jeckle” with an incrediblebass solo.

The lovely ballad “The Love WeHad Yesterday” was written by

Watson’s wife, Pamela Watson. Fromthe criminally out-of-print “Post-Motown Bop,” Horizon’s 1991 debutrecord on the Blue Note label, came“The Punjab of Java Po,” a rousing tunethat embodies all the creativity and tech-nical virtuosity of this masterful aggre-gation of musicians.

After witnessing this transcendentperformance by Horizon, we floateddownstairs for the final “after-hours”session. Giacomo Gates was holdingcourt on “Stolen Moments,” also fea-turing Joe Cartwright, piano; GeraldSpaits, bass; and Rod Fleeman, guitar,

the cream of Kansas City-basedplayers. Gates also turned in awonderful reading of “I Got theBlues,” a vocal variation onLester Young’s “Lester Leaps In”with lyrics by Eddie Jefferson.

Kathleen Holeman joinedGates for a vocal duo on “Cen-terpiece” and “They Can’t TakeThat Away From Me,” withRoger Wilder at the piano. Bass-ist Bob Bowman took the stagefor “Over the Rainbow,” and bass-

ist Jay Leonhart paired off with Gateson a hilarious version of “You Go to MyHead,” with Leonhart vocalizing in har-mony with the bass line and leadingGates astray with his late-night antics.

It was a fitting end to the 2005Topeka Jazz Festival. Sadly, it was thelast of its kind.

Bobby Watson and Horizon were thehit headliners of the 2005 Topeka JazzFestival, with Watson on alto sax(above), Victor Lewis on drums andTerell Stafford on trumpet.

Photos by R

ich Hoover

Bobby Watson, Jay Leonhart, Claudio Roditiand Todd Strait

Photo by R

ich Hoover

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Page 8 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

Photo GalleryImages from the 2005 Topeka Jazz Festival

Eldar Djangirov and Rod Fleeman

Danny Embrey

Ray DeMarchi

Giacomo GatesJoe Cartwright

Ken Peplowski and Rod Fleeman Norman Hedman

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Danny Embrey and Rod Fleeman

Photos byRich Hoover

Bob Bowman and Paul McKeeMisha Tsiganov

Bob Bowman

Stan Kessler, Gerald Spaits and Rob Scheps Tommy Ruskin

Roger Wilder

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Page 10 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

By Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

TOPEKA, Kan.—We knew go-ing in that the 8th Annual Topeka JazzFestival might be the last. Advanceticket sales—having never achieved alevel that would sustain the three-dayMemorial Day weekend festival—were so low that Monday’s perfor-mances had been cancelled.

The only thing that would allowthe event to survive another year wasa burst of paid attendance for individualsessions on Saturday May 28 and Sun-day May 29. Friday evening’s free“teaser” concert was forced indoorsdue to rain and drew a significant audi-ence, but not enough of them returnedwith money in their pockets to recoupexpenses. Our worst fears had beenrealized.

In the final analysis, attendanceand revenue figures for the 2005 To-peka Jazz Festival were insufficient, theexpenses too high. It is impossible tosay if anything could have saved theTJF. In its eight-year history, perhaps ithad simply run its course, its aging au-dience irrevocably depleted by attritionand apathy.

Like so much arts programmingnationwide—from jazz to classical mu-sic, from live theater to classical ballet,the Topeka Jazz Festival failed to at-tract a younger audience, despite aneffort to expand beyond the staid swing-style format to incorporate the gypsyjazz of The Hot Club of San Francisco,the post-bop inventiveness of BobbyWatson & Horizon and the Latin jazzof Norman Hedman’s Tropique. With-out an infusion of new blood, the finearts will die of arteriosclerosis.

Even under the best conditions,jazz festivals are a gamble that few areprepared to risk. In recent years, boththe longstanding Kansas City Blues and

Jazz Festival and the KC InternationalJazz Festival folded their tents. If ametropolitan region of nearly two mil-lion people can’t support an annualevent, what hope is there for Topeka, acity of less than 125,000?

It is especially sad that some jazzfestivals—and free concerts such as theJazz in June series in Lincoln, Neb.—have attracted many people whocouldn’t care less about the music, whoare there to exploit the social aspect ofthese gatherings with little or no finan-cial support for the music, which is sodesperately in need of funding. Thesedilettantes, dabblers, and amateur jazzfans do nothing to increase the surviv-ability of the art form.

Worse yet is the increasing num-ber of people who simply stay at homerather than patronizing live music andother performing arts. As vibraphonist

Joe Locke said—in praising thepopular Jazz inJune concerts—Americans have“ c l o i s t e r e d ”themselves withtheir computers,televisions, CDsand DVDs to thepoint where the

nation is losing its humanity, its sense ofcommunity.

Let’s raise a glass one more timeand toast some of the great jazz artistswho graced the stage of the TopekaPerforming Arts Center with theirmagic since that first TJF in 1998: RayBrown, Monty Alexander, BobbyWatson, Terry Gibbs, Junior Mance,Nancy King, Jeff Hamilton, KenPeplowski, Karrin Allyson, JohnClayton, Bill Charlap, Jennifer Leitham,Rebecca Parris, Scott Hamilton, BuckyPizzarelli, Victor Lewis, Bob Kindred,Oliver Jones, Jay Leonhart, Paul Smith,Tiger Okoshi, Bill Watrous, Joe Ascione,Gerry Wiggins, Jackie Williams, EldarDjangirov and all the stalwart KansasCity players.

Regardless of the reasons for itsdemise, we mourn the passing of theTopeka Jazz Festival. At eight years ofage, she was just too young to die.

TomfooleryTopeka jazz fest lost a long-shot gamble for survival

Among the greats who performed at theTopeka Jazz Festival are (clockwisefrom top left) bassist John Clayton andpianist Monty Alexander; bassists JayLeonhart, Gerald Spaits, HassanShakur and Ray Brown with KarrinAllyson; and saxophonist ScottHamilton. All of them played in 2001.

File Photos

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Topeka Workshop

Young jazz students learn from the masters

TOPEKA, Kan.—Nine semi-nervous, yet jazz-hungry young men andone lone female graced the halls of theTopeka Performing Arts Center late onthe morning of May 27. They wereaccompanied by the hardest-workingguy on the TPAC staff, Assistant Di-rector Mark Radziejeski, who led thejittery group to the large meeting roomin the basement like a preacher takingthe condemned to the gallows. But in-stead of getting hung, these eager stal-warts get to hang out with a group ofprofessional musicians armed with caf-feine and the sole intentions of teach-ing these kids something about jazz.

Mark had already screened theseyoungsters from a variety of highschools in the Topeka area. Readingtheir essays on why they want to pur-sue careers in music took me back tomy early days of hopes and dreams.Mark and I had judged them weeksearlier, and I couldn’t wait to see whatthe experienced teachers could do tohelp mold these pliable minds into someform of a group that in less than fourhours would be performing on theTPAC stage.

The clinicians were supposed tobe chaired by N.Y.C. drummer VictorLewis, but for some reason ended upin the hands of another New Yorker,bassist Jay Leonhart, who along withthe other panel members—guitarist RodFleeman, vocalist Giacomo Gates, pia-nist Misha Tsiganov, reedman RobScheps, percussionist Norman Hedmanand trumpeter Claudio Roditi—joinedforces to become a forum that gavethese students a lifetime of invaluablemusical instruction and encouragement.

Everything from how to stand,breathe, think, focus, listen, study andmarket “all that jazz” had these juve-

niles’ heads spinning. After the bravehopefuls tried to play a tune for thesecats, and were gently put in their places,the old pros took over their instrumentsand showed ‘em how to really do it.No pain, no gain, as the teachers andpupils split up into small groups, includ-ing one-on-one training. If these kiddiesever want to feel their music swing, theyfirst had to get their bells rung.

All’s well that ends well, as theirafternoon mini-set went over with nomajor snafus. Teaching the young adultsa taste of the blues led way to a near-perfect rendition of “C Jam Blues” thatgot the audience of jazz fans’, parents’,and high school peers’ toes a-tapping.

These youngsters hung around allweekend to soak up more of the incred-ible sounds their teachers were puttingout. When one of them approached meto autograph the program and thank me,

all I could do was grin and let this tal-ented bunch know that they may be thenext headliners of the future, and werealready an inspiration to their friendsand families. The future of the TopekaJazz Festival is in doubt, but no doubtabout it, some of the musicians in thisgroup are going places. Mission accom-plished.

The players’ names, instrumentsand high schools are:

Allegra Fisher, Perry Lecompton High,pianoNathan Frost, Seaman High, guitarT.C. Gomez, Topeka High, saxFritz Helbert, Topeka High, trumpetSam Hershberger, Topeka High, bassChris Maxwell, Seaman High, trumpetJason Pukach, Seaman High, saxCharlie Stern, Topeka High, trumpetJordan Tennant, Seaman High, drumsGalen Zachritz, Topeka High, drums

By Butch Berman ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Clinicians (left) gather withhigh school students for theworkshop. Below, TopekaPerforming Arts CenterAssistant Director MarkRadziejeski stands behindsome of the young musicians.

Photos by R

ich Hoover

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Page 12 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

Concert Review

Hersch interprets Walt Whitman in jazz suiteBy Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

LINCOLN, Neb.—It was onlya matter of time before the riffing,daring and energetic free verse ofWalt Whitman, that most Americanof “modern” bards, was interpretedin the riffing, daring and energetic artform known as jazz, that most Ameri-can of modern musical genres.

Indeed, it was exactly 150 yearsfrom the publication of Whitman’s 600-page masterpiece “Leaves of Grass”to the current tour by the Fred HerschEnsemble, which performed itsWhitman homage March 31 at theLied Center for Performing Arts inconjunction with a University of Ne-braska-Lincoln symposium on the fa-mous collection of poems.

A jazz pianist-composer in thelyrical, impressionist tradition of BillEvans and Keith Jarrett, Hersch hasbuilt a reputation on solo and trio ren-ditions of jazz standards in the record-ing studio and in concert. This is hismost ambitious project, as he leads a10-piece ensemble featuring vocalistsBradley Fox and Kate McGarrythrough a two-part suite of pieces hecomposed.

Hersch’s music served to elevateand enhance Whitman’s timelesswords, eschewing long solos for anemphasis on the ensemble: RalphAlessi, trumpet; Mike Christianson,trombone; Bruce Williamson, clarinet,alto sax and bass clarinet; TonyMalaby, tenor sax; GregoryHeffernan, cello; John Herbert, bass;John Hollenbeck, drums and percus-sion; and Hersch at the keyboard.

In the instrumental overture, “ARiddle Song,” expansive brass harmo-nies and dense colors vibrantly set thestage for the bold lyrics that followed.

McGarry leaped into the fray

with shimmering vocal flights on“Song of the Universal.” Brief instru-mental breaks marked the seguesbetween the many stanzas of “Songof Myself,” but the operatic Fox, sub-stituting for jazz singer Kurt Elling, wasmore effective in his tenor vocalizingthan in his occasionally awkward reci-tation and stilted phrasing.

Hersch used his gifted instru-mental soloists to good effect—cre-ating tension, conversational reparteeand appropriate sound effects to fur-ther enliven Whitman’s words. Likethe “talkers” to which the poet refersin “Song of Myself,” the trumpet andclarinet “chattered” at each other.Hollenbeck used sizzling brushes tokeep time with the rhythmic recita-tion. At the moment of Whitman’s“dazzling sunrise,” Alessi’s trumpetleaped into a soaring solo statement.

The poet’s ear certainly wastuned to music, repeatedly emphasizedby his phrases “bravuras of birds,” “allsounds ring together,” and “I hear the

violoncello, the keyed cornet.” Thosereferences beg for musical accompa-niment, and Hersch and his ensembleprovided it tastefully and effectively.

McGarry returned for an emo-tionally resonant reading of “TheMystic Trumpeter,” pairing her vocalinstrument with Alessi’s trumpet be-fore the entire ensemble joined in alovely brass chorale. “At the Closeof the Day” was an instrumental bal-lad, introduced by Hersch in his mostEvans-like mood, then adding bass andbrushes.

Fox stumbled over the wordsduring his sung recitation of “To You /Perfections,” but he quickly recoveredhis poise. Hersch on piano andMalaby on tenor sax teamed up withFox for “The Sleepers.” McGarry lenther lilting, soulful voice to “Spirit ThatForm’d This Scene,” punctuated witha bass solo.

“On the Beach at Night Alone”was a Coplandesque brass choralethat led to the final piece, “After theDazzle of Day,” featuring Fox sing-ing the words, followed by Fox andMcGarry on wordless vocals and re-turning to the timeless theme “I cel-ebrate myself. I sing myself.”

For the 300 people in attendance,the performance served as a reminderof how far Whitman was ahead ofhis time. It also should inspire in lis-teners a return to that yellowed, dustyedition of “Leaves of Grass” for an-other glimpse of the author’s provoca-tive genius.

The entire “Leaves of Grass”suite of nearly 70 minutes was re-leased earlier this year on PalmettoRecords and features Elling andMcGarry on vocals.

Fred Hersch

File Photo

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BROWNVILLE, Neb.—Early inher April 16 cabaret-style concert at theBrownville Concert Hall, singer TierneySutton endeared herself to the audienceby revealing that she was born in Ne-braska.

It was the second of three perfor-mances by the Los Angeles-based vo-calist and her trio at the intimate, rusticvenue April 15-17. Just an hour’s drivefrom Lincoln, this modest concert hallhas hosted dozens of great music art-ists in its 15-year history. I’ve made thetrip for concerts by saxophonist BobbyWatson (1997), cornetist Warren Vache(1994) and KC pianist Joe Cartwright(1992) and for a classical piano recitalby Ian Hobson (1993). The hall’s per-formance series frequently includes top-notch cabaret singers, and Sutton provedherself one of the best.

Casually dressed in slacks and acamisole with bright flowers and sequinsand accompanied by her longtime trioof pianist Christian Jacob, bassist KevinAxt and drummer Ray Brinker, Suttonsang with a relaxed assurance that im-mediately put the audience at ease.Beginning with a hauntingly slow ver-sion of “Blue Skies,” she showed herpenchant for unconventional interpre-tations. Her great sense of time wasobvious as she picked up the pace on“Cheek to Cheek.”

Introducing the next tune, Suttonexplained how a local fan, Merle, hadloaned the band his Cadillac for threedays with a CD player and his collec-tion of Miles Davis discs. With Miles inmind, she scatted the intro to “Bye ByeBlackbird,” which also featured aMiles-inspired piano solo. Sutton nextleaped into a full-speed, a cappella scatintro to “I Get a Kick Out of You,” aidedand abetted by Jacob and drummer

Concert ReviewSutton endears herself to Brownville audience

Brinker using brushes to great effect.Charlie Chaplin’s greatest hit, “Smile,”received a slow, heart-rending duo read-ing by Sutton and Jacob.

Again playing against type, Suttonand the band performed a haunting ar-rangement of “Fly Me to the Moon,”usually taken at a flying tempo. Intro-ducing the next tune as the best songabout lost love, Sutton backed up herclaim with a wonderful rendition of“Haunted Heart.” Not to end the firsthalf of the concert on a depressing note,the band tore through “Ding! Dong! TheWitch is Dead” at a scarifying speed,with Sutton scat-singing the entire verseto introduce tornadic solos by Jacob,Axt and Brinker.

The hot tempo continued in thesecond set with “Softly, As in a Morn-ing Sunrise,” featuring shifting temposfrom shuffle to bop and baroque vocals.Their arrangement of Bill Evans’ “Bluein Green” transformed the familiar tunewith a bass pedal pulse. It was among

the music that Sutton and Jacob re-corded for the critically acclaimed in-dependent film “Blue in Green.”

Sutton’s versatile vocalizing wasin full flower on a rapid-fire rendition of“East of the Sun (West of the Moon).”She and Jacob slowed things down witha vocal-piano duet of “I Could HaveTold You” before the band settled intoa bluesy, mid-tempo groove on “Route66.” Sutton and Axt performed duo on“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

Jacob took a solo ballad turn on“All the Way,” setting the stage for araucous, risky scatting rendition of“Caravan,” which again illustratedSutton’s knack for perfect intonation.Finally, the band combined Dizzy andBach on Gillespie’s “Con Alma,” withan a cappella fugue section.

Sutton clearly is capable of scat-singing virtuosity, but she also possessesthe essentials of intonation, subtle swingand the ability to persuasively tell a story.

By Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

File Photo

Tierney Sutton fronts a longtime quartet that also features pianist ChristianJacob, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker.

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Page 14 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

LINCOLN, Neb.—The frequentreturn of the Nebraska Jazz Orchestrato the Jazz in June stage has becomesomewhat of a mixed blessing. Whilethe NJO is comprised of many fine jazzmusicians, they often sound complacent,trotting out the same tunes with thesame arrangements year after year.

What brings out the best in theseaccomplished players is a dose of out-side inspiration, such as the motivatingkick in the proverbial pants provided byvirtuosic vibraphonist Joe Locke at theJune 7 performance. Locke’s astound-ing licks and stylistic versatility urgedthe NJO to new heights.

But it was not only Locke’s tech-nical proficiency and wonderful impro-visations that moved the NJO and thelisteners. It was his ability to front theorchestra with confidence and goodhumor, addressing band members andcrowd members as an intimate friend.

As Locke wandered backstage,warming up with his mallets in the airand chatting with people, the NJOwarmed up with a short set that includedStan Kenton’s “A Little Minor Booze,”an NJO staple. Locke entered the frayon an uptempo version of Gershwin’s“Summertime,” taking an extended solothat put set everyone on their heels.

Early in the show, Locke took overthe microphone, graciously emceeingthe concert, introducing the numbers,and praising the audience and the popu-lar Jazz in June series. Such events, hesaid, bring a sense of community to anation that has largely “cloistered” it-self with its technology—computers,CDs, DVDs, television—while losingits sense of humanity and social con-tact.

Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sun-flower” was set to a slow, bluesy Latin

groove and featured impressive solosby Locke, trombonist Pete Madsen andEd Love on flute. Locke went directlyto the familiar theme of “Body andSoul,” with strong support from therhythm section, including Tom Harvillon piano. Locke down-shifted thetempo, and ended the tune with a soar-ing cadenza on vibes. “On theWestside,” a favorite NJO blues tune

by saxophonist Dave Sharp, received amuch-need transfusion from Locke,who deconstructed the changes in ev-ery way imaginable. Also rising to theoccasion were Scott Vicroy, baritonesax; Sharp, alto sax; Pete Bouffard,guitar; and Ed Love, tenor sax.

The NJO opened the second setwith Jobim’s “Quiet Nights of QuietStars,” before inviting Locke back tothe stage for a Rob McConnell arrange-ment of “I Got Rhythm,” with shiftingtime signatures that stretched and con-tracted the song structure and allowedmuch freedom for improvisations byLocke and the rhythm section. Locketook the lead and first solo on the ballad“The Nearness of You,” which had thebrass section interpreting the bridge be-fore Locke’s return. A Don Menza ar-rangement of “Take the A Train” pairedLocke with trumpeter Bob Krueger.

A world-class player at age 46,Locke proved both a consummate mu-sician and an engaging and capablebandleader.

The evening’s ideal weather guar-anteed a crowd of several thousand forthe outdoor concert. The “critical mass”of the audience also assured an enthu-siastic response.

Concert Review

Locke kicks off Jazz in June with good vibesBy Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

File Photo

Joe Locke

The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra

File Photo

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LINCOLN, Neb.—By the time Iwitnessed the John Jorgenson Quintet atits June 14 performance, part of the Jazzin June series, I was thoroughly indoctri-nated into the mysteries and wonders of“gypsy jazz” and its curious renaissance.

The Hot Club of Lincoln performedat my wedding reception just one monthprevious, and The Hot Club of San Fran-cisco had been one of the featured bandsat the 2005 Topeka Jazz Festival over theMemorial Day weekend. Jorgenson’s ap-proach was somewhat unique, but like allproponents of this exotic blend, it drew onthe inspiration of Belgian gypsy guitaristDjango Reinhardt and his longtime part-ner, violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Like the fathers of gypsy jazz,Jorgenson and his colleagues made themusic swing with gusto, both in ensemblepassages and in solo statements. GuitaristJorgenson’s instrumental virtuosity tookcenter stage, but it is group effort thatmakes this rhythmic music work so well,and this band delivered.

Reinhardt’s “Belleville” got things off

to an energetic start, followed by KurtWeil’s ballad “September Song.”Jorgenson’s own paean to gypsy jazz, aptlyentitled “Franco-American Swing,” wasfollowed by the swing-era classic “Dinah,”precisely as arranged and recorded byReinhardt and Grappelli in 1934.

“Viper’s Dream” ventured into theshadowy world of the “reefer man,” of-ten a theme with 1930s swing bands likethose of Reinhardt, Thomas “Fats” Wallerand Cab Calloway. Reinhardt’s “AppelDirect” (“Direct Call”) was the highlightof the evening, with Jorgenson displayinghis amazing fretboard dexterity in all itsglory. Violinist Stephen Dudash exhibiteda lyrical, almost operatic quality on “Snow-flake Waltz.”

Jorgenson paid homage to an influ-ential guitar mentor with his ballad, “InMemory of Danny Gatton,” written on theday he heard of Gatton’s death. “UltraSpontane” combine gypsy and flamencoinfluences in a tune that, indeed, sounded“very spontaneous.” Jorgenson even sangto good effect on the standard “Unde-

LINCOLN, Neb.—A Jazz in Juneconcert is rarely an unsatisfactory perfor-mance and even more rarely a distastefulexperience that has listeners hurriedly fold-ing up their lawn chairs and scurrying forthe parking lot. The June 21 appearanceof Kathy Kosins was just such an unfor-tunate evening.

Everything about that night seemedto work against audience enjoyment, butespecially for the true jazz fan. The stiflingtemperature hovered somewhere in themid-90s, but it was the musical climate thatmade the concert unbearable for some.

Concert ReviewJohn Jorgenson joins gypsy jazz renaissance

cided.” A blazing fast rendition of“Avalon” ended the first set with fire.

From Jorgenson’s days with thethree-guitar band The Hellecasters came“Day of the Gypsies,” with a funky rockbackbeat. Next was the Reinhardt favor-ite “Blue Drag,” Jorgenson’s version ofwhich was featured in a recent film called“Head in the Clouds.” Another surprisewas Jorgenson’s technical expertise onclarinet, which he featured on “Dr. Jazz”and “After You’ve Gone.”

The audience joined in on “Man ofMystery,” clapping flamenco-style to thetune, a 1960s hit by The Shadows. On“Ghost Dance,” the guitar and violin weresynchronized in perfect unison. After aslow solo guitar introduction, the band en-tered at a furious tempo on the grand fi-nale, the swing-era classic, “China Boy.”

Jorgenson was the undeniable leaderand standout instrumentalist, but helpingto give the music its essential rhythmthroughout the evening were Argentineguitarist Gonzalo Pergalla, bassist CharlieChadwick and drummer Dick Hardwick.

Kosins, who was inexplicably wear-ing a black dress in the direct sun, lackeda sense of swing, struggled with poor into-nation, over-emoted on every tune—eventhe ballads—and told lame jokes. The bandwas over-amplified, and Kosins’ voicetended to shrillness, causing some listen-ers to run for the sidelines.

The Dionne Warwick hit “Walk onBy” was introduced with an incongruouscomment from Kosins about Warwick’sbust a few years ago for possession of anillegal substance. Apparently unable tocontrol her tendency to belt out every tune,

she murdered Russ Garcia’s ballad “GoSlow,” which is best remembered for JulieLondon’s sensitive and sensuous 1957 ren-dition.

“I Can’t Change You” is a medio-cre Kosins composition from her 1995recording, “All in a Dream’s Work,” acollection largely of her own tunes that isaudaciously subtitled “A Collection of NewStandards.” In fact, the only true standardon the CD is Miles Davis’ “Four.”

Like many others in the audience, Ituned out at this point, visited with somefriends and headed home early.

By Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Kathy Kosins concert makes for an unpleasant eveningBy Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Concert Review

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Page 16 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

LINCOLN, Neb.—AhmadAlaadeen and Group 21 at their June 28appearance for the final Jazz in June con-cert of the season sounded revitalized,working smoothly as a unit and playinginspired solos. Given two long sets ratherthan the brief one they performed at the2005 Topeka Jazz Festival, they had timeto warm up and engage the audience. Thechoice of tunes was an excellent balanceof familiar standards and original compo-sitions.

Gershwin was the man of the hour,as the concert began with “Summertime”and “My Man’s Gone Now,” both from“Porgy and Bess.” But much of the per-formance was drawn from the band’scurrent release, “New African Suite,” fea-turing Alaadeen’s Coltrane-like tenor andsoprano saxophone excursions, often ven-turing into modal riffs with a distinctiveAfrican flair.

In his introduction to the funky “Doin’the Deen,” Alladeenjoked that whileNew Orleans is thecradle of jazz,“when it came upthe river to KansasCity, we made aman of it.” His vo-cal rendering of theblues chestnut“Driving Wheel”was heartfelt andcontained just the

right amount of ballsy wit.“Grace,” Alaadeen’s loving tribute

to Butch Berman’s Nigerian wife, con-tained the essence of that appropriate Af-rican feel so prevalent on “New AfricanSuite.” It began with Donivan “Big’un”Bailey on drums and Ray Stewart (son oflegendary bop drummer Teddy Stewart)on percussion setting the mood and thestage for Alaadeen’s graceful tenor sax.Like its subject, “Grace” was gentle, soul-ful and good-natured.

Concert ReviewAlaadeen ends 2005 jazz series on high noteBy Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Pianist Christopher Clarke excelledon the soulful, mid-tempo “Wayne, Him-self,” and Alaadeen exhibited his sopranosax style on “Beneath Where RiversFlow,” also from the new release. Theband returned to more familiar ground witha lively rendition of the standard “SecretLove,” launched with an excellent basssolo by Tyrone Clark.

With Group 21, Alaadeen has as-sembled a compatible coterie of musicianswho are capable of creating some excit-ing music.

Donivan “Big’un” Bailey

Christopher Clarke

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Ray Stewart

Photo by R

ich Hoover

Ahmad Alaadeen

Alaadeen and Group 21perform at Jazz in June

Photos by R

ich Hoover

Tyrone Clark

Photo by R

ich Hoover

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Jazz on Disc

Tropique scores another artistic success

Norman Hedman’s Tropiquehas scored another artistic successwith the band’s latest release, anexotic blend of instrumental work-outs and vocal gems. Yet to receivethe popular acclaim it so richly de-serves, this aggregation continuesto grow musically with sheer per-sistence and a healthy dose of cre-ativity.

Lending their continued supportto the band’s consistent sound arepianist Misha Tsiganov, bassist RonMonroe, timbales wizard WillieMartinez, flutist Craig Rivers andalto saxophonist Sam Furnace, in hislast recording with the group beforehis untimely death last year. Rela-tively new to the band is vibraphon-ist Alexei Tsiganov, who also con-tributed the spirited opener,“Rundadar Dance.” Tropique’sformer vibes player, A.J. Mantas,appears only on the closer,Hedman’s “Island Spice.”

Hedman continues to writemost of the tunes, and his talent forconstructing memorable melodiesand irresistible rhythms has notflagged. Among the best here arethe lively “Cutting Loose,” “Be-

By Tom Ineck ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

True to its title, “New AfricaSuite” is rife with African rhythms.

cause I Can,” “It’s Just Not theSame,” with a great contribution byBrad Mason on flugelhorn, and theromantic ballad “Walk in the Moon-light.” Furnace contributes somemarvelous playing on Hedman’s“Feeling My Way.”

Vocal duties are shared by sev-eral notable guest artists. Soulfulsongstress Ada Dyer raises the funkfactor on “Closer,” and singerJames D-Train Williams caressesthe lyrics of “Angel of the Night,”written by Hedman and the late pia-nist James Williams and dedicatedto Butch Berman and his wife,Grace. The rhythmic title track vo-cal is handled with an appropriatesensuality by Dani Stevenson, andKendra Shank, a longtime BMFfriend, contributes a wordless vo-cal on the breezy “Wherever U R.”

With “Garden of ForbiddenFruit,” Norman Hedman’s Tropiquemaintains its strong ensemble sound.Hedman leads with authority, shap-ing the band’s direction with origi-nal compositions and adding his ownpercussive spice on congas.

NORMAN HEDMAN’STROPIQUEGarden of Forbidden FruitPower Light Records

That is evident from the percussionintro to the opener, “Grace,” anotherrecent composition dedicated toButch Berman and his Nigerianwife of the same name. In all,Ahmad Alaadeen has written sevenoriginal tunes that hold together welland justify the “suite” designation.

On both tenor and sopranosaxophones, Alaadeen’s sound mostclosely resembles the African-influ-enced excursions of John Coltrane,Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp andother progressive players of themid-1960s. A funk element is addedon “Beneath Where Rives Flow,”with some outstanding piano workby Harold O’Neal, bassist Seth Leeand drummer Donivan Bailey.

Like Coltrane, Alaadeen’s mu-sic contains a deep, warm currentof spirituality and universal broth-erhood, especially on the gorgeous“Salaam, Shalom, Peace.” The ini-tial tenor statement is beautifullyexpanded on by O’Neal at the pi-ano. “The Burning Sand” is a pro-pulsive, start-and-stop exercise fullyutilizing Alaadeen’s leaping sopranolines and piercing tone.

“Home Again” dances to theswaying, alternating rhythms ofAlaadeen’s full-bodied tenor, givingthe tune the feel of a blues waltz.Again, O’Neal contributes a won-derful solo by building on the inher-ent finger-popping pulse. The funkelement returns with “The JannahNow,” which features Alaadeen onsoprano, fronting a slightly differ-ent but equally capable lineup thatincludes pianist Christopher Clarke,bassist Tyrone Clark and drummer

Continued on page 18

ALAADEENNew Africa SuiteASR Records

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Page 18 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

In effect, “Resonance” is acollection of intimate, first-take ru-minations by a master guitarist.Whenever Portland, Ore., luthierMike Doolin created a new acous-tic instrument, he invited his friendJohn Stowell to come over and giveit a try, while the tape rolled. Theresulting 13 tracks, recorded overfive years on assorted six-string and12-string models, make for fine lis-tening in a gentle, relaxed mood.

Stowell’s disciplined, classicalapproach is balanced by an adven-turous spirit, especially in his choiceof harmony chords and transitionalmelodic runs. He remains true tothe spirit of such standards asJerome Kern’s “Nobody Else butMe” and “Yesterdays,” DukeEllington’s “Prelude to a Kiss,” andSammy Cahn’s “I Should Care,”while stretching their improvisa-tional potential.

John Coltrane’s “Equinox” getsa particularly lush and authoritativereading on 12-string guitar. Stowell,obviously liberated by this solo set-ting, turns Irving Berlin’s “HowDeep is the Ocean” every which

Continued from page 17 way but loose. On an eight-minutetreatment of Leonard Bernstein’s“Some Other Time,” Stowell makesthe 12-string instrument sparkle andshine with shimmering bell-liketones. The lesser-known tunes “Pic-ture in Black and White” by Anto-nio Carlos Jobim and “Peau Douce”by Steve Swallow are interestingprogram choices.

Stowell also contributes sev-eral original compositions to the mix,as if creating a new vocabulary withwhich to explore an instrument’srange and tone. “Ron’s Return/Eclipse,” shifts rhythmic gears mid-way through, and “BoleroAlgorhythm” has the mathematicalprecision of its namesake. Stowell’s“I Wish” is romantically linked inmedley with Cole Porter’s lovely“Everything I Love.” His brief tune“Maybe Later” ends the recordingon a wistful note.

Kudos go to Stowell and Doolinfor recognizing the inherent poten-tial of recording these diversepieces, and to Origin Records forreleasing them.

JOHN STOWELLResonanceOrigin Records

The brothers Tsiganov—pia-nist Misha and vibraphonistAlexei—have established a reputa-tion in the rhythmic realm of Latinjazz as members of NormanHedman’s Tropique, and they showno desire to break out of that moldon their debut, self-produced re-

cording, although here the influenceis largely Brazilian.

It is a well-balanced affair.The brothers share and share alike,each contributing five compositionsand both getting time for solo ex-pression. Like Tropique, however,the brothers have created a rec-ognizable sound that seems to fa-vor the ensemble over the indi-vidual.

Helping to define the quintet’sgroup sound are Alex “Sasha”Sipiagin on trumpet and flugelhorn,Boris Kozlov on bass, and AntonioSanchez on drums. Sipiagin is es-pecially effective, often stating themelody in unison with Alexei’svibes. His brassy horn cutsthrough everything else and setsthe tone on such tunes as Alexei’s“Rio De Corea,” Misha’s “SheLives in Brazil,” Alexei’s gentleballad “Just a Bossa,” and Alexei’s“My Brazil.”

“That Unpredictable Eugene,”was written by Misha and first re-corded with Tropique several yearsago. It maintains its Latin tingeeven without the congas and tim-bales so essential to Tropique’ssound. “Don Arcadon” is anotherof Misha’s lively Latin excursions,featuring an irresistible rhythmicpulse and a soaring trumpet solo.Likewise, his composition “PassingBy” is a f ine vehicle for theflugelhorn, but also offers the com-poser a chance to show his pianoskills.

Misha and Alexei are accom-plished jazz improvisers, whichmakes for some lively interplay asthey trade licks on their respectiveinstruments. Essentially, the pianoand the vibes are both percussivekeyboards, so they al low theTsiganov brothers to work closely,rhythmically and harmonically. Kin-dred spirits, indeed.

Michael Warren.Another unifying factor is the

varied percussion work contributedby Ray Stewart throughout this verysatisfying musical experience.

TSIGANOV BROTHERSTsiganov Brothers

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Many years ago the great Oak-land-based, horn-driven soul bandTower of Power wrote an anthemsong/satire on hipness called “Whatis Hip?” Well, I’d always rather beconsidered hip over being “square,”but when I think of “hip,” or as theyused to say “hep,” three jazz musi-cians I’ve met or worked with overthe years define this term. One isbassist Dennis Irwin, and another isvocalist Giacomo Gates.

However, if I’d had to pick the“beatest” of ‘em all, it would have tobe my old pal, and one hell of a trum-pet player, John McNeil. And guesswhat? If I had to pick one of the bestnew jazz releases out in a long timethat I can’t get off of my CD player,it would have to be John’s ode to in-somnia, “Sleep Won’t Come.”

Recorded and produced by Johnon Frank Tafuri’s wonderful recordcompany, OmniTone, this stellar workof art only strengthens an already richand deep catalog of jazz masterpieces.

I’ve always been a night person,and rarely have had long-term boutsof sleeplessness. My wife, Grace,however, does suffer from this di-lemma, so I can relate and sympa-

Many imitators to the throneoriginated by Django Reinhardt andStephane Grappelli’s first Quintet ofthe Hot Club of France proclaim tobe worthy of the “Hot Club” title.There’s probably a Hot Club of Peo-ria out there by now. Nevertheless, inmy opinion, next to Django… there isonly one true purveyor of this finedelicate art of gypsy jazz, and that fallsinto the most talented hands of“Pazzo,” aka Paul Mehling and hisHot Club of San Francisco.

I invited Paul and his band withthe coolest shoes in the world to beone of the headliners at the 2005 To-peka Jazz Festival in Kansas. Theytook the Midwestern crowd of jazzlovers, not accustomed to their spe-cific style of music, to the limit bothsets, deriving deserved standing O’seach time, a rare feat indeed in To-peka. When I told Paul betweenshows how righteously incredible thiscurrent crop of cats were to me, afan of nearly a decade, he said this2005 lineup, consisting of Evan Price,also an alumnus of the Turtle IslandString Quartet, on violin, bassist Ari

DiscoramaTrumpeter McNeil remains “hipper than hip”

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○By Butch Berman

JOHN McNEILSleep Won’t ComeOmniTone Records

thize with John’s obvious dealings withangst and torment. Yet, as most art-ists of his magnitude do, he transfershis pain into a textured web of gor-geous, lush collection of personal sto-ries/songs, mostly written by him.

Recording as a drummerless trio,his choice of bandmates fit this projectto a T. Holding down the bass respon-sibilities, Kent McLagan moves, shifts,sways and swings within this frame-work like a bullfighter. Strong, mas-terful, yet tender when called for tolull you into the dream world thatMcNeil lives in during the wee, weehours of the beautiful realm of mad-ness he draws his creativity from.

Rounding out this killer three-some is the Denver-based keyboardwizard, Jeff Jenkins. Jeff wrote twoof the wistful, ever-so-jazzy creationson this project, and joins forces withMcNeil to pen two others. He’s a styl-ist on the move, and a player to watchas his career continues to expand. Heprobably doesn’t get much sack timeeither. Still, this lovely disc capturesthe interplay between these guys everso cleverly. Not a caffeine-laden ex-perience at all, as John’s muted hornreminds you at times of Miles, but hisown brand of genius continues to im-press with each album he puts out.

It is possible that the twisted tune“Polka Party” might have had a potof coffee brewing… or something.Their rendition of the traditional “TheWater is Wide” may be my favoritetrack, but no foolin’, as they say inthe ‘hood…It’s all good. As a matterof fact, this collection of recordedmusic will stand the test of time asone of the great ones. Grab it!!!

Continued on page 20

THE HOT CLUB OF SANFRANCISCOPostcards from GypsylandLost Wax Music

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Page 20 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

Listening to music for the firsttime is kinda like trusting your origi-nal impressions you form when youfirst meet someone. Usually your in-stincts are on the mark, but occasion-ally it takes a second or sometimeseven a third encounter to truly ownyour feelings surrounding whateveror whomever you come across. Thissame rule also applies to listening tomusic.

I probably receive more than100 titles each year from mostly tal-ented hopefuls requesting my timeand consideration. I occasionally hitor miss the mark. The BMF mayhave been financially involved withsomeone who required our attentionfirst, so again some artists who de-served more recognition got put asidefor awhile, or left out altogether. Iapologize to artists who fell into thosecategories.

Let me list several excellentCDs that I hope are still available bysome very competent cats for yourlistening approval, and as additionsto your collections.

Anything by Carol Duboc, anew sultry, sassy young lady whosings and writes jazz for lovers—andlovers lost—with a penchant forLatin grooves. I think she has three

Munkres, and rhythm guitar maestros“Sammo” Miltich and Josh Workman,were indeed his best group ever.

I was in total agreement! Whenyou hear their newest WAX release“Postcards from Gypysland,” I’msure you’ll go along with my state-ment wholeheartedly.

Capturing the same masterful

Continued from page 19

releases out, all good, but “Duboc,”recorded in 2002, touched and movedme the most. Formally a K.C. gal,info on obtaining her stuff can befound by clicking onwww.carolduboc.com.

“Introducing Spencer Day”is a very soulful and jazzy CD by thisSan Francisco-based singer/songwriter/pianist. He truly coversthe waterfront, putting his uniquemark on a variety of styles andgenres while gently sweeping you up

and enveloping you on his musicaljourneys. The incredible selection ofcovers chosen for this album wowedme completely with their stark con-trast to each other, and all mixed inso cleverly among his own tunes (orshould I say song-poems?) that proveto be deep and compelling. How of-ten can we groove to “Blame It onMy Youth,” “The Green Leaves ofSummer,” and “Oh, Lady Be Good,”all on one sphere? Contact him atinfo@spencer day.com

Odds and Ends

A grab bag of CD releases are recommended

virtuosity, ultra warmth and subtlehumor of their live performances, thisCD conveys it all. Employing obscureoriginals from the Hot Club of Francesongbook, Paul and his merry meninfuse carefully chosen standardsalong with contemporary compositionswritten mainly for this sparkling ar-ray of pros.

All songs included are lovely andmemorable, with their ode to Victoria

Spivey’s, “Spivy,” “Zeppo” Price’swedding gift of song to “Pazzo,” en-titled “Alle Prese con une VerdeMilonga” and their Ravel-inspired“Pavane Pour une Infante Defunte”standing out as my personal faves.

I love every CD they’ve put out,and “Postcards from Gypsyland” isno exception. Definitely a must have!

By Butch Berman ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Recommended CDs (clockwise from upper left) include “Duboc” byCarol Duboc,“Jeannie’s Song” by Tim Green, “Introducing Spencer Day” and “QuickResponse” by Dom Minasi..

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“Jeannie’s Song” by TimGreen on OA2 22015 is the secondwonderful CD this Illinois-based pi-ano stylist has put out on this label’sever-growing catalog of hot bops andswinging sounds. Backed again byhis great rhythm section, consistingof my good friend Jim Cox (who’sgetting hitched soon…majorcongrats to you and yours) on bassand drummer Phil Gratteau. The ad-dition of guitarist Brian Wilkie to sixof these nine all-killer, no-filler se-lections works like a charm. I lovedthe first trio album a whole bunch,and it took me a moment or two toget used to the quartet format. Wilkie,ever so much a demon of the strings,truly adds another dimension to thisalready-tight unit. Tim, I anxiouslyawait your third artistic endeavor.

“Quick Response” by DomMinasi on CDM Records roundsout this group of jazz recordingsworth hearing and owning. Minasi’sa very astute New Yorker whoserecorded guitar work stretches backto his Blue Note era during the ‘70s,three critically acclaimed “indie” out-pourings, a stint with Dr. LonnieSmith in the ‘80s, another decade ofgigging and wood-shedding and nowthis extremely vibrant new CD witha very potent new band. OrganistKyle Kochler is the perfect foil forDom and alto saxophonist MarkWhitecage to create their magicwith. Kyle’s driving pedal work com-bining with drummer John Bollinger’scrafty propulsions create a jazzy can-vas for Dom and Mark to paint theirmusical murals on. Most tunes arepenned by Minasi and click immedi-ately. I was totally taken aback bythe insightful choice of the old rockballad by Leiber and Stoller, “I WhoHave Nothing” that showcases thisband’s startling versatility.

And there, my friends and fans,you have it. Enjoy, and be happy.

Inspired, by love, to write verseBy Butch Berman ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

A combination of yearning to find the “right” card to give Grace for oursecond (paper) wedding anniversary and the inspiration I received at my stepsonBahji’s graduation in June from the voice program at BryanLGH Medical Cen-ter—a program that helps mentally challenged kids prepare to enter a workworld they can fit into, flourish and grow—led to writing the following poem thatI would love to share with you, my faithful readers.

I was moved by all the enthusiasm and cheerful support…not to mentionthe pride and love shared by these wonderful young adults and their parents, whoprobably had their offspring pre-named and their futures planned for when Godleft them these gifts that weren’t exactly as they had hoped, but in the long runthey meant so much more.

Hence, “Sometimes All They Were Given Was a Smile” raced through myheart and brain and leaped off the keys of my computer as soon as I arrivedhome that night. I hope it touches you in the same way that I felt that magicalevening.

File Photo

Butch and Grace Berman

SOMETIMES ALL THEY WERE GIVEN

WAS A SMILE (FOR GRACE)

Sometimes all they were given was asmile

Yet a smile can mend a broken heartWarm a chilly dayEase you into the night

Sometimes all they were given was asmile

Yet a smile is all they gotWhile we sometimes frown the day

awayWasting all that precious time

Sometimes all they were given was asmile

That can melt an icy stare

Bringing laughter from your gutMaybe for the first time in a long time

Sometimes all they were given was asmile

While their eager parents mapped outa future

For a destination that was not to beBut maybe to even a better place ForIf a smile was all they could giveTheir hearts must be so full of loveThat there wasn’t enough room for

anything elseMaybe they’re the lucky ones OrWe all are for being in their worldTrying to keep it all together.

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Page 22 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

SEATTLE—Last Sunday (July10) at Seattle’s Triple Door, I wasamong those in attendance for a veryrare and special blues experience withthe Chicago Blues Reunion.

In the mid ‘60s, during the goldenera of Chicago blues, emerged a groupof talented white blues musicians whobecame a force in creating the firstAmerican blues bands and a new eraof blues music. The Chicago BluesReunion is a stellar collection of Chi-cago music treasures who defined thesound of their generation in the 1960s.

Although this group of musicianstook separate paths, forming such semi-nal white blues bands as the PaulButterfield Blues Band, The ElectricFlag, Mother Earth, Big Brother & theHolding Company and Canned Heat,with many working with guitarist MikeBloomfield, their paths have continuedto cross through the years.

Among performers at the TripleDoor from this special time and placewere the following Chicago greats:

Barry Goldberg was keyboardistfor Bob Dylan, Steve Miller, Mitch

Ryder and The Electric Flag.Harvey Mandel was the brilliant

guitarist who worked for the likes ofBuddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite,Canned Heat and the Rolling Stones.

Tracy Nelson, whose voice justkeeps getting better, was first signed toa Chicago label at age 18 and soonturned into a Filmore goddess with herband Mother Earth.

Corky Siegel, half of the 40-year-old Siegel-Schwall Band, this harpmaster’s range stretches beyond sim-ply the blues, as he demonstrates withhis new Chamber Blues project.

Sam Lay, considered everyone’sblues drummer, can be heard on thoseChess classics from such legends asHowlin’ Wolf and Little Walter andwhite legends Mike Bloomfield and PaulButterfield. Sam has also been withSiegel-Schwall since ’65.

Nick Gravenites is truly everybluesman’s working-class hero. Analumni of many Bloomfield andButterfield bands, Gravenites was alsoa founding member of The ElectricFlag. Penning such blues classics as“Born In Chicago” and the group’s tourtitle “Buried Alive in the Blues,” Nick

The BluesSeattle club is “Buried Alive in the Blues”

The Chicago Blues Reunion tour features (from left) Tracy Nelson, CorkySiegel, Nick Gravenites, Barry Goldberg and Harvey Mandel

Photos by P

hil Chesnut

By Phil Chesnut ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Nick Gravenites and Tracy Nelson

Harvey Mandel and Corky Siegel

Editor’s Note: The following articleand photos were forwarded to theBMF by Mark Dalton of Seattle.Dalton writes, “Butch, when HarveyMandel introduced Barry Goldbergby saying ‘I call him the BluesRabbi,’ I thought ‘I wish Butch washere!’ Great show! Both Goldbergand Mandel sounded great. CorkySiegel is apparently doing an acous-tic ‘chamber blues’ schtick thesedays, according to Gravenites, buthe was a decent harmonica playerand a good showman. Graveniteswas great. “Buried Alive in the Blues”never sounded better, and TracyNelson can still belt them out.”

also wrote hits for Janis Joplin.It was a great pleasure and honor

for me to interview this fantastic col-lection of blues musicians who havedone so much to influence the blues. Itwas also my chance to personally thankthem for being such a huge influenceon this old blues fan’s life, too. With only14 dates on this rare tour, I’m gratefulthat the Triple Door had the only two-night booking.

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Letters to the EditorFans and musicians offer opinions and praise

Jazz fan bemoans human condition

Dear Mr. Berman,

I was out of town late last week, but Idid get your phone message. I am reallysorry you have had to deal with all of thisbs. It sounds like a real nightmare. Jazz

TJF fan offers two cents

Dear Butch,

My compliments on a great show.This may have been the best lineup yet. Ifyou can stand one suggestion, here goes:I don’t go to as many sessions as I’d like tosimply because of the timing and the venue.What I mean is: If it’s going to be held overMemorial Day weekend, it should be heldoutdoors. And if it’s going to be held in-side TPAC, it needs to be another time ofyear, preferably winter. During Memorialweekend, I don’t enjoy sitting inside a cold,dark auditorium. This is a time for outdooractivities. On the other hand, during win-ter, an indoor concert is fine. Just my twocents, Butch. Thanks again.

Larry FreezeTopeka, Kan.

Talley expresses thanks for TJF

Butch and Mark (Radziejeski),

It was a pleasure to get the opportu-nity to play on the festival. I have heardnothing but good comments about themusic. I’m sure that one of your primaryobjectives was to present a great product,and you succeeded beyond the shadowof a doubt. In this day, age and region ofthe country, where a jazz festival might in-clude rap, hip-hop, reggae, adult instrumen-tal (whatever that is), country, bluegrass, atractor pull, mud wrestling and varioussporting events, I applaud you for stayingtrue to the art form!

Doug Talley,Kansas City, Mo.

Son of Cy Walter planning a website

Dear Butch,

My father was Cy Walter, a notedNYC pianist from the late ‘30s to the late‘50s. He passed away when I was quiteyoung (11). His circle of friends was ex-traordinary and ran the full range of en-tertainment society of the day.

I am working to archive and orga-nize on a website a large collection ofmemorabilia of my father’s career whichmy mother fortunately has retained (butof which I only learned a relatively shortwhile ago). I hope to launch it(www.cywalter.com) later this summer.Keep an eye out!

I’ve also done a desktop-publishedsongbook of my father’s sheet music ar-rangements and compositions, althoughI’ve run out of copies at present. (I haveto do another print run sometime soon).

Finally, I am having some rare radioperformances of my father’s and other pia-nists on an ABC program of the ‘50s called“Piano Playhouse” transferred from 16-inch transcription discs to CD and willshare those as well if you like.

Took a look at your website. Veryimpressively done, and it is clear that yourfoundation’s efforts are bearing fruit.Bravo!

Mark Walter

Susan Brecker asks for your help

Dear Family and Friends,

My husband, Michael Brecker, hasbeen diagnosed with MDS(myelodysplastic syndrome), and its criti-cal that he undergoes a stem cell transplant.The initial search for a donor (includingMichael’s siblings and children) has notyet resulted in a suitable match. Michael’sdoctors have told us that we need to imme-diately explore all possible options. Thisinvolves getting as many people of a simi-lar genetic background to be tested.

The screening involves a blood testonly. It can be done very quickly either at amarrow donation center or at a local lab.The cost is $40 to $75 and your insurancemay cover it.

Your blood typing information canbe posted on the international registry, ifyou choose, where it would also be avail-able to others in need of a transplant.

A bone marrow donation is no moreinvasive than giving blood. Stem cells aresimply harvested from your blood and thentransplanted to Michael.

A match for Michael would be mostlikely to come from those of Eastern Euro-pean Jewish descent. If you or anyone youknow are in this category please make aspecial effort to immediately get tested. Youwould be doing something not just forMichael, but for so many more who are in asimilar situation as my husband.

If everyone who receives this can mo-tivate a bunch of their friends to get tested,and those friends then forward this mes-sage to get their friends, we will rapidlyexpand the pool of potential donors.

Any local blood center/Red Crosscenter can assist in organizing a drive forMichael, although it would be desirable ifyou can get a large group, e.g. a synagogue,to sponsor it. If you have any questions,contact Michael’s management office at(212) 302-9200 or [email protected].

Thank you so much for your love andsupport.

Susan Brecker

needs people like you desperately, so pleasedon’t let all of this discourage you toomuch.

Part of it is just the human condition,which as I’m sure you well know rangesfrom the inspiring to mindless pettiness.

Sorry we couldn’t hook up, but whoknows, hopefully our paths will cross inthe future. I wish you the best of luck. Ihope something good comes out of all ofthe problems you are dealing with rightnow. That does sometimes happen, so let’shope this is one of those times.

David Einhorn (Dick Morgan Quartet)

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Page 24 Berman Music Foundation Jazz

Non Profit Org.U.S. Postage

PAIDPermit No. 1359

Lincoln, NE

How can you help the foundation?

The Berman Music Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt,501(c)(3) private foundation, and your tax deductible donationis needed to help offset the costs of this newsletter and its pro-grams.____$ 10 ____$ 25 ____$ 50____$100 ____$250 ____OtherName____________________________________Address__________________________________City_____________________________________State_______________Zip___________________Phone___________________________________Fax _____________________________________E-mail____________________________________

Make check payable to Berman Music Foundation at:Berman Music Foundation719 P St., Studio GLincoln, NE 68508

Thanks for supporting jazz!

Berman Music FoundationButch Berman Charitable Music Foundation719 P St. Studio GLincoln, NE 68508

Return Service Requested

Guitarist Harvey Mandel was featured in a recentChicago Blues Reunion tour, which visitedSeattle’s Triple Door for two nights in July. Formore photos and a story by Seattle writer-photographer Phil Chesnut, see page 22.

Photo by P

hil Chesnut