By Brian Arsenault I started getting happy listening to Van Morrison’s Duets:Re-Working the Catalog” (RCA) about the time George Benson was singing as smooth as he always is on “Higher Than The World” and I was downright grinning through Van and Georgie Fame’s “Get On With The Show.” Pure 50s jukebox. Drifters, Coasters, gratuitous but… Read More CD Review: Van Morrison’s “Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue”
By Devon Wendell 2014 was a strange year for music. I recall thinking to myself halfway through The Playboy Jazz Festival in June; “Okay, so everyone is going funk now. Wynton Marsalis’ head would explode!” To many jazz purists, funk is considered to be sellout music. Critics and fans freaked out when Miles Davis, Freddie… Read More 2014 Remembered: A Year Of Funk
By James DeFrances What do you call a blues version of Tony Bennett…? Simple, call him Tony Galla. Friday night at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz etc. Galla kept the Holiday energy going as he shifted from swinging jazz tunes to soulful blues ballads and literally everything in between. Galla and his trio have been… Read More Live Music: Tony Galla at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.
By Don Heckman They were back again Friday and Saturday at the Greek Theatre. The incomparable Crosby, Stills & Nash. And once again they delivered a performance that will surely be recalled by the enthusiastic full house crowd as one of their most memorable experiences. One could have made the same claim for their prior… Read More Live Music: Crosby, Stills and Nash at the Greek Theatre
By Don Heckman Hollywood CA. The Hollywood Bowl‘s diverse set of Wednesday night programs – from jazz and pop to blues and soul – hit a peak this week with an entertaining tribute to the incomparable James Brown, timed, no doubt, to the recent release of the Brown biopic, Get On Up. Given the “Godfather… Read More Live Music: “Get On Up: A James Brown Celebration” at the Hollywood Bowl
By Devon “Doc” Wendell Lately I’ve been harkening back to a time in my hazy youth in which rock n’ roll seemed too square and being a jazz musician felt unattainable. I was a frustrated self-taught blues guitar player in his teens in search of something else. As much as I worshipped the blues, by… Read More A Twist of Doc: “Everything Is On The One”
Gregory Porter Liquid Spirit (Blue Note) By Devon Wendell Gregory Porter’s biggest accolades and largest fan base came out of Europe initially. But Porter has made a huge splash in America over the past year with his sophomore album Be Good as well as performances at the top jazz festivals in the country. Porter has… Read More CD Review: Gregory Porter’s “Liquid Spirit”
By Don Heckman Anyone who doubts the excitement, the imagination and the contemporary vitality of big band jazz should have been at Vitello’s last weekend. Over the course of Friday and Saturday nights, two stellar ensembles – the Bob Mintzer Big Band and the Bill Cunliffe Big Band – offered invigorating reminders of the still-potent… Read More Live Jazz: the Bob Mintzer and Bill Cunliffe Big Bands
Eddie’s Space By Devon Wendell Very few people in the history of Latin music and jazz have blended those two genres as successfully as pianist, composer, and band leader Eddie Palmieri has over the past 50 years. The New York born offspring of Puerto Rican parents, Palmieri has fearlessly broken down musical cultural barriers throughout… Read More Profile: Eddie Palmieri
Times Have Changed By Devon Wendell On Tuesday, May 29th, President Obama presented Bob Dylan with the Medal Of Freedom — designated as the nation’s highest civilian honor — at the White House. Obama’s comments at the ceremony about Dylan’s influence on his life and American culture were the typical “Voice of a generation” spiel… Read More Op-Ed: Bob Dylan’s Appeal From One Generation To Another.