Thursday, June 05, 2008

2008 BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival at MetroTech; JVC Jazz Festival New York

Dang, more music, more music, and again it's FREE...OK the BAM fest is free. But the JVC fest has a tribute to Alice Coltrane....

2008 BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival at MetroTech, June 5 - August 7. Um was there a 2007 festival and I missed it? OK, I'm just being a little testy. Note: each of these shows is on a Thursday at 12noon. Really this looks like a solid line-up that includes the fabulous singer/songwriter Alice Smith(!), July 24th, whose shows I keep missing, and Leela James, July 10th, whom I've heard about, but her recorded material hasn't wowed me--however, I've heard her live show is something to behold. The (Legendary) Skatalites are also slated to appear, Thursday, June 19th @ noon. Phoebe Snow, on July 17th, Meshell Ndegeocello on July, 31st, and Richie Havens ends the series with a guest appearance by teenage blues guitarist Marcus Carl Franklin.



Alice Smith performing "Dream" from Lovers, Dreamers, and Me.




TVWireTV Interview with Marcus Carl Miller on his role in the Todd Haynes experimental Bob Dylan bio-pic I'm Not There (2007).







Sure the 2008 JVC Jazz Festival/New York June 15 - June 28, has the big corporate identifier at the head of its title, and it has outlets in Cali, Miami, Chicago, The Netherlands, Paris, and Warsaw, but it's not BP or Mobil, etc. JVC actually has some connection to music. Oh dear, I'm still a bit testy. OK, let's move on. So what I'm really excited about, obviously is the Tribute to Alice Coltrane on Tuesday June 17th, with Ravi Coltrane (alto saxophone), Geri Allen (piano), Charlie Haden (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drum), and Brandee Younger (harp). I missed Haden playing with Alice Coltrane in 2006, he was out sick, but Reggie Workman more than ably subbed for him (it sounds weird to even write that Workman "subbed" for anyone, but that was the deal). The show is at the Concert Hall for the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and the tickets are not cheap: $45 - $55. There's also the Charlie Haden Quartet West (NYC Premier); Thursday, June 19th, Lizz Wright; Medeski, Martin, & Wood (but I think they're playing for free at the Lincoln Center Festival) and Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog (which includes 2 Foot Yard bassist Shahzad Ismaily); Bill Frisell Trio--another NY debut; Jill Scott at Carnegie Hall, Friday June 20th (I might just have to get that Live in Paris DVD instead, sorry Ms. Scott, but go on with your bad self!).

Now some highlights that tempt me as much as the Alice Coltrane Tribute: "The Solo Piano" with Cecil Taylor and George Cables, Friday June 20th. Though I might just be having a thing for Cecil Taylor after watching him signify on the must see documentary, All the Notes, even shows his scores--and they are a revelation, no joke. Sunday, June 22th, 50 Years of Bossa Nova with João Gilberto, oh man! Monday June 23rd, Herbie Hancock's River of Possibilities Tour--but I must admit my favorite cuts off of his tribute album to Joni Mitchell were when it was just him doing the instrumental thing. The vocals just invited too much comparison to Mitchell, and few people could go somewhere surprising and new beyond what Mitchell already did (except, surprisingly, Tina Turner). Wednesday, June 25, Ledisi--always good to see an artist who's honed their craft and remained dedicated, getting her/his due. Saturday, June 28th, Mos Def Big Band, with special guest Gil Scott-Heron. I'm curious about Mos Def going the way of the big band. As breath of life, pointed out recently, his solo artist career hasn't really taken off (they suggested more duets with ubiquitous but oft-unheralded vocalist Vinia Mojica, if you check Def and Mojica out on "Climb" from 1999's Black on Both Sides (Rawkus) you'll see why. Do a YouTube search to find all the cuts you may love, but never knew Mojica was sangin' on). I recall Def playing the leader of a big band in 2005's Lackawanna Blues, but hadn't realized he'd taken it further than that. Turns out he's been playing gigs since mid-2007, with an Apollo tribute to James Brown (tracks are floating around the internet) and then a January Dr. Martin Luther King Day Detroit Tribute to producer J Dilla (who passed away in 2005 from complications from Lupus). Of course it would be beautiful to see Scott-Heron performing again. A few other potentially captivating moments: Wednesday, June 18th "Make It Funky" with Maceo Parker (Maceo! Maceo!) Thursday June 26, Soulive with special guest Joshua Redman; Friday, June 27th "The Soul of Jazz" with Al Green and Dianne Reeves (Carnegie Hall) and DeeDee Bridgewater Red Earth: A Malian Journey (The Concert Hall at The New York Society for Ethical Culture). This last one comes from Bridgewater's travels to Mali a few years ago and resulted in an album and now this show. To hear more about it check out this Jazzset with DeeDee Bridgewater, which she regularly hosts on NPR, but Georges Collinet, host of Afropop Worldwide on Public Radio International sit in for her on this date, so she can do her artist-thang. For more background on Bridgewater's Journey, check out this NPR story "Dee Dee Bridgewater Discovers Her 'Red Earth.'"

Endnote:
NPR interview with Lizz Wright about her latest album The Orchard.
• NPR featured track (May 23, 2008) "For Malena" from Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dogs release Party Intellectuals.
NPR's Jazz Profiles: Herbie Hancock- whew! we almost lost Hancock to a career in electrical engineering, of course he used it later on...
Fast Focus - Herbie Hancock "River: The Joni Letters"
• JVC Jazz Festival article "Mos Def: Big Band Beats"
Review of the Mos Def Big Band J Dilla Tribute show
• Ledisi's "In the Morning/Alright" video from her recent Lost and Found. (Verve records disabled embedding). I like the straight up "In the Morning" (also disabled embedding) a bit better.


Medeski, Martin & Wood "Big Time" with Medeski rockin' the Hammond Organ:




(a little taste of) Dianne Reeves at Belleayre Music Festival 2007



Jill Scott's "Hate On Me" video - liberation for real (with a little shot out from Tavis Smiley and Cornel West)...


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