– SONNY- By Devon Wendell Today, Monday September 7th, Sonny Rollins shall turn 85 years young. So I couldn’t help but write about what Sonny means to me. Very few artists have had the impact on my life that Sonny has had, and he’s still doing it. I don’t think a day goes by… Read More Happy 85th Birthday: Sonny Rollins
By Devon Wendell By the mid 1960s, Roland Kirk had already established himself as one of the most unique forces in jazz. Being blind and able to play up to 3 horns simultaneously (and even a nose flute) was enough to get people’s attention. But aside from the visual stage performance, Kirk’s music was texturally… Read More Doc Wendell’s Prescription For Bop and Beyond with Roland Kirk’s “Rip, Rig, And Panic” (Emarcy)
By Don Heckman Northridge, CA. I couldn’t help but wonder, Saturday night at the Valley Performing Arts Center, whether the Branford Marsalis Quartet was anticipating the hard driving energies of Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl game. Playing at a peak level of intensity, much of what they offered could have served as the sound track for… Read More Live Jazz: The Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Valley Performing Arts Center
By Brick Wahl Beverly Hills, CA. Saw Jon Mayer Tuesday in Beverly Hills at a club called H.O.M.E. A trio gig, with rock solid down the middle Chris Conner on bass, always good, and Roy McCurdy on drums. They don’t make drummers like Roy anymore. All that power. Not Elvin Jones power, but metrical power,… Read More Live Jazz: The Jon Mayer Trio at H.O.M.E.
The 2012 Playboy Jazz Festival, which takes place at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend, features the rare presence of three world class female jazz drummers. Writer/musician Devon Wendell describes his reaction when he first saw the Festival line up. By Devon Wendell Growing up, I always thought of the drums as being this potent… Read More The Playboy Jazz Festival: The First Ladies of the Skins
By Devon Wendell Listening to this new four-CD box set of The Jimi Hendrix Experience live at The Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco between 10/10/68-10/12/68, it’s very apparent that Hendrix was growing faster than his audience. By October of ’68, Hendrix had just released his third LP, Electric Ladyland, and his live shows had become… Read More CD Review: “Winterland — The Jimi Hendrix Experience”
By Tony Gieske You wouldn’t figure that an event honoring the late Billy Higgins would have drawn a full house to Catalina’s on a Sunday night. We here in musician-creamy Los Angeles understand that Higgins — always smiling! — was the go-to guy if you wanted to record with a cat who was there mainly… Read More Live Jazz: KPFK 90.7’s First Annual Hero Award Tribute to Billy Higgins at Catalina Bar & Grill
By Don Heckman Earlier this year, Dave Liebman received a lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts. And it was about time. At 64, Liebman can look back on a remarkable sequence of achievements, on his own and in association with the likes of Elvin Jones, Miles Davis, Chick Corea and more.… Read More Live Jazz: The Dave Liebman Quartet at Vitello’s