Etienne Charles – San Jose Jazz Summer Fest – 8 Aug

Fred Witt | July 20th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_07_20_KCSM_ECarlesEtienne Charles, a trumpet jazz talent early in his career, is from the Caribbean/S. American island of Trinidad.  He has 4 of his own albums out and has been on releases since 2002.  Etienne came from lots of music in his family, and now has gone on to international touring & performing.

A big feature of Etienne’s appearance in this SJJ Summer Fest is the young trumpeter and bandleader’s performance of the world premiere of his San Jose Suite, borne of influences from San Jose, CA; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Charles’ native St. Joseph, Trinidad.

The San Jose Suite explores stories, rituals, native chants, rhythms, and other cultural elements that shaped the three San Jose cities. This musical exploration will take place through a mix of composition and improvisation, with each movement of the 60‐75 minute piece introducing cultural and historical icons, traditions, and milestone events in the history of the cities.  He will play this piece heard for the first time on the California Stage on Saturday, when KCSM is doing their live broadcast.

Etienne’s work  at large is typically smooth.  A lot of it is melodic and well orchestrated in a new age fashion.  There is a definite Caribbean element in his groups.  Try samples here of “Rose,” “You Don’t Love Me“,” and “Sugar Bum Bum.”  Sometimes the work can be avant guard; try his appearance here on Eric Felten’s Beyond Category.  If you listen to Etienne’s narratives on producing a work he is quite the sophisticated musician.  He has been through a fair amount of our university system, and along with all the arranging, touring & performing, at his early age holds an assistant music professorship at Michigan State University.

To experience the “Etienne Charles,” get yourself to the SJ Jazz Summer Fest the afternoon of August 8.   Go to the Umpqua Bank Stage Saturday for a 6 pm performance.   (This venu is in the San Jose Stage Company on S. 1st St)  The SJ Jazz Summer Fest is playing all weekend at multiple downtown SJ venues.

Kim Nalley with Kenny Washington – San Jose Jazz Summer Fest – 8 Aug

Fred Witt | July 20th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_07_19_KCSM_NalleyOur own SF Bay Area jazz singers Kim Nalley and Kenny Washington are coming to San Jose to sing for us this summer.  They will be at the SJ Jazz Summer Fest at 4 pm on Saturday August 8.  Click here for the Summer Fest site for lots of good info on this performance, and on the Fest.  (Under the “Lineup” tab click “alphabetical”, then scroll down to “k” for Kim.)  The site also has a glowing summary of their many accomplishments.

Kim Nalley has a great voice; clear, warm, and full of tone. She’s a classic in mid-career and will sing to your heart & spirit. Her voice comes out firm and strong when the song calls for it. Kim got childhood piano lessons from her great grandmother. Just past 18, it started being Grateful Deadhead trips, and a move to New York City for performing. After a switch to jazz, life became performing & touring for us.

15_07_21_KCSM_KWashingtonKenny Washington is a veteran New Orleans-born singer who has long called Oakland home. He is often compared to such greats as Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Donny Hathaway. Music authorities have been quoted as saying “He’s known as a treasure; he’s an amazing vocalist.”

The gospel-bred Washington possesses a multi-octave range and is known for his liquid tone and jaw-dropping rapid-fire scat singing. The San Francisco Chronicle called him “the Superman of the Bay Area jazz scene.” Try clicking here for a few of his sample tracks. On this same site you can view some of his CD releases.

But what makes up today’s Kim Nalley ? Here is a look into the earlier blog reviews of Kim.

A fair amount of her career travels aren’t easy to see. She was raised in New England with early college music & singing schooling, and local band performing. At first the bands were local rock.  Then she hit a jazz band, and her “eyes opened wide,” as they say; the game was on.

The next era was the Bay Area: a move to SF in 1991. In these early 90’s the area jazz fashion did a curious circuit, passing over her while chasing “acid jazz,” and then circling back to her style of swing jazz saying “Oh, listen to that !” To get the flavor try looking up some late ’90s releases such as tracks on the albums “Alta Plaza Live: Tuesday Farewell” (MTT) and  “Million Dollar Secret” (Rounder) (page down there for sound tracks).

Starting in 2001 Kim took up world tours based from Switzerland for two years, with more releases of early 2000’s material.  See “It’s Bo Grumpus Christmas” (Bogrump)  and tracks on “Need My Sugar” (CE Jazz).

Two thousand and three saw Kim arrive back in San Francisco, to re-open and own the SF club “Jazz at Pearl’s.” See release samples of her work then and now: “Teach Me Tonight” on Jazz Dialogues (Finas) (page down for track 7), “She Put a Spell On Me” (CE Jazz), and “Ballads for Billie” (CE Jazz again) and “Trouble of the World” on Blues People.

Hit the Umpqua Bank Stage Saturday afternoon Aug 8 at 4 pm,  to hear jazz/R&B singer Kim Nalley with Kenny Washington.   (This venue is in the San Jose Stage Company on S. 1st St)  This is part of the SJ Jazz Summer Fest which is playing all weekend at multiple downtown SJ venues.

KCSM at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 7-9 August

Ron Lee | July 19th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

11535790_10152825539752657_2104729044132531579_nIt’s summer and the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is coming to downtown San Jose. KCSM is proud to be a participant like last year. If you haven’t been before the Summer Fest takes up most of downtown San Jose with 12 stages and over a 100 performances starting Fri evening through Sunday evening. In addition Fri and Sat nights there are additional events like the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest club crawl on Fri and Sat nights. San Jazz Summer Fest showcases top performers of R&B, Zydeco, Latin Jazz, New Orleans, Blues and more. In between the stages are food vendors, beer, wine and other good eats.

The line up is stellar and you can see it at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest Lineup. Friday night starts off with 12 performances On Sat things start at 11am and runs till 10pm. Then you can join the club crawl around downtown San Jose. Saturday is special because KCSM will be broadcasting live from the California Theatre. Join us for a full day of performances and interviews live on KCSM radio. We finish off Sunday with another full day of performances on all 12 stages.

KCSM will be broadcasting live from the California Theatre on 1st St. We open at 1pm with the John Pizzarelli Quartet. Etienne Charles from New Orleans follows at 3pm with the world premiere of his San Jose Suite. This is a work that was commissioned for San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. Bombay Jazz follows with their fusion of Indian classical music and American Jazz. We close the day out with Ernesto Oviedo with the John Santos Sextet. Ernesto is a Cuban singer of romantic ballads.

Come join us! Get tickets at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest Ticket Sales. See you there!

 

Cuban Jazz On The Ground 6 of 6 – Veterans & Newcomers

Fred Witt | June 29th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_05_21_KCSM_Cuba_6right – Tony Rodriguez, piano player.

Along with all else in the Cuban jazz scene there is a great swath of veteran and newcomer performers appearing at their own calendars & schedules.  There is talent of all varieties to be seen here. We are bringing in the work of 5 – 10 names as samples for you.

Some of the work here is jam sessions and street concerts.  In a *great* son jazz jam session, pianist Lazaro Valdez appears with his medium-sized afro-Cuban band & singer in a patio session, with lots of partying :-).  Elsewhere sax player Jesus Fuentes appears about 3 minutes into this next video at a mixed-jazz street concert.  Tony Rodriguez is on his piano in a euro-Cuban jam at the Jazz Cafe.

Stage and club performances include piano player Rember Duharte bringing some great euro-Cuban music, fierce piano & guitar work with a stage group playing La Revancha.  Trumpeter Yazek Manzano and group back a tap dance group on stage, and then are in a club show with their singer, with an avant-guard piece.

Tours and recordings include pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa’s trio on tour in a good piece of modern euro-Cuban jazz.  Elmer Ferrer, the Cuban-Canadian guitarist and his mixed-jazz band play on a recording “El mar no descansa.”  In the next piece he plays an afro-latin “Semilla de cana brava” on tour with the Sierra Maestra Band.  Keyboardist Tony Perez plays with the afro-Cuban Klimax Band at a festival, and then plays a light brisk dance piece with a large group.

This Cuban series relates to the KCSM Spring 2015 jazz tour to Cuba, and to the second tour coming this October.  For tour information consult the KCSM site:  key “KCSM Jazz 91″ in search.  At the home page, look down the right side about 1/3 of the way for a menu rectangle “Travel to Cuba with KCSM.”  Clicking this will lead to the tour company site.   (If the KCSM menu item is not up you could consult the EarthboundExpeditions page directly.)

For earlier posts in this Cuban series click here for 1 of 6, 2 of 6, 3 of 6, 4 of 6, or 5 of 6.

Cuban Jazz On The Ground 5 of 6 – Santiago de Cuba & Tradition

Fred Witt | June 23rd, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_05_20_KCSM_Cuba_5Santiago de Cuba, the former capital is on the far end of Cuba from Havana and is a major metropolitan center.  On the ground the city is about a 10-12 hour trip from Havana.  This distance aside there is plenty of tradition and entertainment talent in the area.

In the 2nd Cuba blog post on May 29 we noted the afro-Cuban and euro-Cuban branches of jazz.  A style called Cuban Son is pointed to as representing a large part of the afro-Cuban music.  In history, Son was credited with bringing the African drumming into the otherwise exclusive European scoring with horns and strings.  This style introduction brought rich opportunities to the music.

Son subsequently migrated to Salsa, and then broadened.  In current times Cuban Son has become quite diverse, bringing many modern variations of the classic early-1900’s Son music.  There is a great deal of music following the Son style in Cuba, including in this Santiago area.

A first-class singing talent from this area is the seven-girl group, Moreno Son.  A lot of their work is arrangements of traditional Cuban cultural & folk songs, frequently in the vein of material from “The Buena Vista Social Club.”  They frequently work with afro-Cuban accompanyment.  Try these four pieces.  Candela is a famous dance song.  It’s impossible not to be floated away on the groups’ spirit.  Three romantic folk songs from the Santiago area are Chan Chan, Para ti Nengon, and Esperare.

A renown family full-band & singing group is La Familia Valera Miranda, also from the Santiago de Cuba area.  They are famous for continuing early, traditional Cuban music.  Try their “Puro Son en Concierto” piece recorded at the club Casa de la Trova in Santiago.  Here they sing & play with grace giving voice to a
proud tradition in the latin music.

If either these groups are booked in your area seriously consider catching their show.

This Cuban series relates to the KCSM Spring 2015 jazz tour to Cuba, and to the second tour coming this October. For tour information consult the KCSM site:  key “KCSM Jazz 91″ in search.  At the home page, look down the right side about 1/3 of the way for a menu rectangle “Travel to Cuba with KCSM.”  Clicking this will lead to the tour company site.   (If the KCSM menu item is not up you could consult the EarthboundExpeditions page directly.)

For earlier posts in this Cuban series click here for 1 of 6, 2 of 6, 3 of 6, or 4 of 6.

Cuban Jazz On The Ground 4 of 6 – Havana – Cafe Jazz Miramar

Fred Witt | June 15th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_05_19A_KCSM_Cuba_4Cafe Jazz Miramar is in the eastern “Miramar” suburb district of Havana.  The club is a newer establishment: a renovated small concert hall (supposed to have a good sound system), and it puts on most of its jazz shows Friday and Saturday evenings. The cafe is credited with better surroundings, although maybe a noiser crowd.

Cafe Miramar is known for newer groups and music improv sessions.  There is a mix of music with an accent on the afro-Cuban.  Try music here by the singer & pianist Bellita Exposito and her group Jazz Tumbata in mixed euro- and afro-Cuban jazz.  Bellito is also a widely practiced educator in Cuba.  Here also are:  “Rio Cali” played by an un-named band; a brief piece by Manual Herrera; the remarkable horn group Habana Sax playing  an un-named piece; an un-named piece by pianist Roberto Carcasses with his trio; and him with a sizeable group playing the fast-moving “Blues Guaguanco.”

The cafe food & drink minimum is about $2 American.

This Cuban series relates to the KCSM Spring 2015 jazz tour to Cuba, and to the second tour coming this October.  Dick Conte, KCSM host on the coming October Cuba jazz tour commented: he had always enjoyed the Cuban people, music and culture.  He was there in 1959, just after the revolution and felt that going back on this tour would be almost like coming full circle.

For tour information consult the KCSM site: key “KCSM Jazz 91″ in search.  At the home page, look down the right side about 1/3 of the way for a rectangle “Travel to Cuba with KCSM” and this will lead to the tour company site.

Cuban Jazz On The Ground 3 of 6 – Havana – Jazz Cafe

Fred Witt | June 7th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_05_18_KCSM_Cuba_3The Jazz Cafe in Havana is another of the two leading downtown jazz cafes.  It is state-owned, as is the Fox and Crow, and has similar offerings for the customers.

The Jazz Cafe can also have a mix of euro- and afro-Cuban jazz.  See here mixed work at the club by the excellent pianist Roberto Fonseco and his quartet : an un-named piece, “Para que no Hables,” and another un-named piece with “Ramses.”  See also here afro-Cuban work by: El Chewy with his group; an un-named modern group; sax player Cesar Lopez in his group; another un-named group; and the award-winning drummer/singer Oscar Valdez with his band, Diakara; followed by another un-named group.

As with the Fox & Crow, there’s a great variety so check billings to see who will be on for times that you visit, and they have a $10 food & drink minimum at the door.

This Cuban series relates to the KCSM Spring 2015 jazz tour to Cuba, and to the second tour coming this October.  For tour information consult the KCSM site: KCSM Jazz 91 >> part way down on the right side of the home page will be a button, “Travel To Cuba With KCSM;” “click here,” taking you to tour information.  This button will stay up on the site until the October tour is filled.

If you haven’t see the parts 1 or 2 of this series you can click here for first or second, which will take you down the blog column to those posts.

Harry Allen & Scott Hamilton – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – 07 June

Fred Witt | June 6th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_06_06_KCSM_AllenHarry Allen and Scott Hamilton are a pair of today’s leading swing jazz saxophone players. They are highly rated and their styles are smooth and skillful. Their work favors the Great American Songbook. Fast or slow, they play a great performance to the music.

Harry Allen is a mid-career musician originally from Washington DC. He has some 30 CD’s released. Harry is not widely preformed currently, and tours occasionally. Last Fall & this Spring he played in Boston, & San Francisco. In June he is scheduled into Rochester. Harry now works from New York City.

Scott Hamilton, a little older than Harry, is from Rhode Island. He has a lengthy (!) recording list and years of international 15_06_06_KCSM_Hamiltontouring. Scott tours occasionally now and is scheduled into Vancouver, BC in later this month. He moved to Europe in the late 1990’s and now works from Italy.

Try tracks here, and here for music by Harry; here and here for pieces by Scott, and here for a performance by the two of them.

On Sunday, June 7th at 8 AM join Alisa Clancy on I’m Talkin’ Jazz here at KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station for the story with Harry Allen and Scott Hamilton.

Cuban Jazz On The Ground 2 of 6 – Havana – Fox & Crow Cafe

Fred Witt | May 29th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

night club in Vedado La zorra y el cuervo © Cuba Absolutely, 2014The African Beat in Cuba:

Cuban jazz has two large branches; one with african drums & traditional Carribbean rhythms, and another with european/American trap drums (or no drums) and more continental scoring.  There is a lot more than this to afro-Cuban jazz.  However we’ll use this simple guide of afro-Cuban or euro-Cuban material in mentioning pieces here.

One magic of visiting Cuba is the appearance of great in-country performers who don’t have the reach to tour internationally, or distribute their work out of country that we can obtain.  We get to see these people by visiting there.  This review series on Cuban jazz will look for the in-country artists, while bringing out both local and international Cuban talent.

The Fox & Crow (“La Zorra y El  Quervo”) is almost *the* most popular Havana jazz club.  It can have a mix of material, leaning toward the afro-Cuban side.  The performances can be pretty wide-open and free-wheeling.  Take a look at these: a William Vivanco jam session in the club by the singer/guitarist/bandleader, a song by the vocal group Sixth Sense (“Sexto Sentido”), and a piece by an unnamed group.  Also see a William’s band song,  and another song William recorded in an unnamed location.

While the live jazz music sets start “really late” in the evening, the Fox & Crow appears to have performers booked almost every evening.  There is quite a mix of local & international talent going through the downtown clubs so consult club calendars or performance billings to see who will be on for you.

The Fox & Crow is one of the two downtown state-owned jazz clubs.  They serve music, food, and drinks, and focus on the music.  Consult your travel guides on what to expect in offerings and facilities.  The club places a food & drink minimum charge at the door of about $10 American.

If you haven’t see  the part 1 of 6 of this series you can click here, which will take you down the blog column to that post.

This Cuban series relates to the KCSM Spring 2015 jazz tour to Cuba, and to the second tour coming this October.  For October tour information consult the KCSM site: in your browser search:  KCSM Jazz 91 >> half way down on the home page right side will be a button, “Travel To Cuba…”, “click here,” taking you to tour information.  This button will stay up until the October tour is filled.

Kyle Eastwood – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – 31 May

Fred Witt | May 25th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_05_10_KCSM_KEastwoodKyle is a mid-career electric jazz bass player from southern California. Kyle’s playing is in some 15 – 20 CD’s and movies. His released music shows quite a variety with plenty in the modern or “straight-ahead” versions.  Try some tracks here for something to suit your taste.  (If the name Eastwood is familiar in the back of your mind, Kyle is the son of our Clint Eastwood.)

Kyle is currently on his summer European tour, and will be in northern Califirnia in September for the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Join Alisa Clancy on Sunday, May 31th, at the 8 am I’m Talkin’ Jazz show for Kyle Eastwood’s life and times as a bass player.