KCSM Fall Pledge Memorial – Little Jimmy Scott – Jazz In The Afternoon – 11 Sep

Fred Witt | August 23rd, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_20_KCSM_JScottAmerican jazz singer Jimmy Scott passed away in June at the age of 88. Given a youthfully high voice (Kallmann syndrom) and his own musical instincts Jimmy’s singing was called “all heart” and he captured the following of many of America’s big singing names; Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, and Dinah Washington to be included. If you closed your eyes to some of his 90’s work, you’d believe you were listening to a star crooner from the 50’s.

His high pitch made his work a unique corner rather than national attraction. While he was remarkably popular with some audiences the public missed quite a few of his performing years in the midst of on and off relations with the labels and other artists working problems.  Try some of his tracks here to pick your favorites.

Join Chuy Varela & Melanie Berzon Thursday afternoon 11 Sept on KCSM’s memorial to hear interviews and tracks from Jimmy’s life work.

KCSM Fall Pledge – “Meshuganah” Mambo – Jazz In The Afternoon – 12 Sep

Fred Witt | August 21st, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_21_KCSM_MeshuganahMeshuganah Mambo, or “crazy Mambo.”

Here is the mix of Jewish and Latin in American music. Once you start listening, neither genre “owns” the music, but both are big players. Sometimes you lose yourself and don’t know which theme to follow in the piece.

If you’ve planted your foot of musical listening into either (or both) of these areas, there could be a lot of listening fun for you. Examples of pieces that are up are Xavier Cugat’s “Miami Beach Rhumba,” The Barry Sisters’ “Channah from Havana,” Tito Puente’s “Grossinger’s Cha Cha,” and Mickey Katz’s “My Yiddishe Mambo.”  Try a little of the original 50’s music here.

Chuy & Mel will present “Meshuganah” Mambo, or ‘The Catskills meet the Palladium’ Friday afternoon on KCSM to cover the Jewish/Latin music connection in our jazz.

Nicole Henry & the Top Shelf Band – Jazz Summer Fest Performance Review – 9 August

Fred Witt | August 18th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_16_KCSM_NHenryThe best, or arguably one of the top performances at the Jazz Summer Fest was Nicole & the Top Shelf Big Band playing to a 200-person house at the California Theater. If you had heard this in 1960 you would have believed you were listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s younger sister ! Nicole’s voice is great, and she was great every song, all the way through. She also has power. If the mic had gone out it was obvious she could have carried the theater on her own. One telling point on the whole performance is that the audience held Nicole and the band through two encore numbers. Nicole is some 10 years into her career and works from Florida.

The Top Shelf Band was started in 2009 by Robert Marr and works out of Sunnyvale in the South Bay. They are a volunteer group, and play to keep the “big band” magic sound alive. The band was great.

They not only were good musicians, but they did their job right. Folks who got there early saw the band go through 20 minutes of mic level-setting, section by section. The proof was in the delivery. The horns never rolled over the strings. The drums never ran over the horns, and no one played out on top of the singer or drove the audience out of the hall ! (The unfortunate news here is too many groups don’t attend to this part of their performance.)  Nichole & the band didn’t allow any such thing for our show at the Jazz Summer Fest, and are our heroes for it.

Russell Malone – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – 10 August

Fred Witt | August 9th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

One of America’s top 100 jazz guitarists, originally from the state of Georgia, Russell Malone is a veteran who started his swing and bebop style that in the 80’s. Russell’s guitar work brings solid, lively full melodies for your favorite music.

In his career he has belonged to a number of national bands, such as the Harry Connick Jr Big Band. Performances that do a particularly great job of showing Russell’s work are sessions with some of his famous singer partners such as Diana Krall, and Dianne Reeves.

Hear Russell’s own story of a music career Sunday morning, 8 am 0n KCSM’s I’m Talkin’ Jazz with Alisa Clancy

Charnett Moffett – KCSM Listening Lounge – Sun Aug 10 530pm

Ron Lee | August 9th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Charnett-Upright-Becca-3640clrJadj1Charnett Moffett is a sought-after bass player with a highly-distinguished career in jazz. He first appeared on a recording at age seven with the Moffett Family Band, left Juilliard at the age of 16 to join the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, and has since worked with music icons like Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Arturo Sandoval, David Sanborn, among many others.Recently, Moffett has been on tour with sultry vocalist Melody Gardot. Moffett recorded nine albums, three under Blue Note Records, before his path led him to Motéma. Whether as a leader or in a supportive role, Moffett’s well-seasoned performances have been heard around the world.

Charnett will be doing a solo set at the KCSM listening lounge. Get your tickets now!

Christian Tamburr Quintet – San Jose Jazz Summer Fest – 10 August

Fred Witt | August 6th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_07_KCSM_CTamburrChristian Tamburr, coming from the Indian River area of Florida is just moving along in his career. He brings command of the vibraphone in his jazz execution and has a long list of big-name jazz artists that he has toured and performed with internationally. Christian is now leading his own Quintet.

Try some of the sample tunes and then compare the quintet’s work (with their noted trumpeter Dominick Faranacci) with some of your favorite vibraphone and piano groups.

You’ll have two chances at the SJ Jazz Summer Fest to hear Christian’s Quintet live. They’re on Sunday at 1:30 pm in the KCSM Music Lounge (Lounge tickets free but first-come, first-serve !) in the California Theater and later at 4 pm on the Blackbird Tavern stage.

Kris Bowers – San Jose Summer Jazz Fest – 8 & 9 August

Fred Witt | August 6th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_06_KCSM_KBowersYoung, New York-based Kris Bowers and his quartet bring powerfully innovative new versions of your favorite music, while coming in smooth and easy for you. Born in LA, he started out under his parents classic soul and hip hop records, and them moved on. Kris started making a real performing name after his jazz degrees from Julliard.

The quartet’s music has a lot going on to keep you in the music, without crashing intrusions on your day. Click here for a sample of what Kris and the quartet can do for you with their music !

Take your double chance at the SJ Jazz Summer Fest to hear Kris’ Quaretet. They’re on Friday 10 pm at the “Jazz Beyond” Stage, and Saturday 1:30 pm in the KCSM Music Lounge (Lounge tickets free but first-come, first-serve !) in the California Theater.

Geoff Gallante Trio – KCSM Listening Lounge – Sat Aug 9 530pm

Ron Lee | August 6th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

geoffgallante2webGeoff found his older brother’s trumpet at age four, and by the age of six he had already garnered guest soloist engagements with the likes of the Louisville Orchestra and Duke Ellington Orchestra and Philadelphia Brass Quintet. He has since performed on prominent stages alongside numerous distinguished artists such as Maynard Ferguson, Cyrus Chestnut, Chris Botti, Christian McBride, and Etienne Charles, among others. So far he’s performed in 34 states nationwide–including five different ensembles of the U.S. Military, and even a feature at the White House. Tonight he’s joined by Ed Mendenhall on keys and Kanoa Mendenhall on bass.

Akira Tana Otonowa Project – KCSM Listening Lounge Sat Aug 9 330pm

Ron Lee | August 3rd, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

Japanese for “sound circle,” Otonowa’s extensive jazz chops allow the ensemble to take Japanese tunes in fascinating new directions. The group first formed to perform a benefit concert for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Northern Japan in 2011. Starting with traditional Japanese folk melodies, some which date back as far as the 1700s, the group worked to re-imagine songs of their heritage from a jazz perspective.

After this initial concert, the ensemble re-grouped in the studio to record an album. In its review, Jazz Inside noted the group is “truly doing something very special here and it is a fine example of how music can break down cultural barriers and expose the commonality within us all.” They later took the project to Northern Japan to aid in relief efforts, and just conducted a successful crowd funding campaign to make possible their second journey there in July 2014.

Akira Tana is a native of San Jose and after a 20 yr career in NY has returned to San Jose. Come here the group in the KCSM Listening Lounge.

Akira Tana, drums, japanese percussion
Art Hirahara, piano
Masaru Koga, alto, soprano saxes, flute, shakuhachi, percussion
Noriyuki Ken Okada, bass

KCSM Listening Lounge at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 9-10 Aug

Ron Lee | July 31st, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

kcsmllThis morning Alisa Clancy and Brandon Roos from San Jose Jazz Summer Fest announced the KCSM listening lounge. This is an extra free event if you are attending San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.  KCSM and San Jose Jazz has created an intimate seating area for 80 guests. Tickets are available for each set at KCSM Listening Lounge. The KCSM blog will be featuring cameos on each of the artists.

KCSM Listening Lounge Lineup

Sat Aug 9 hosted by KCSM’s Ron Pelletier

130pm    Kris Bowers

330pm   Akira Tana’s Otonowa Project

530pm   Jeff Galante Trio


Sun Aug 10 hosted by KCSM’s Richard Hall

130pm   Chritian Tamburr and Dominick Farinacci

330pm  Tango Jazz Quartet

530pm  Charnett Moffett