How is your summer going? Can you believe it’s already August? With the days of summer 2014 dwindling down, you’ve got to make the most of these days ahead, especially if you plan on enjoying some live music before Labor Day is upon us.
As I’ve said earlier, New Orleans music and its musicians continue to keep the hot summer fun rolling in Minnesota, so expect more of the same party atmosphere tonight (August 6) with Music in the Zoo at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. This all ages show starts at 7:30 p.m. He’s enjoying a lot of commercial and critical acclaim at the moment, so go check him out for yourself.
Here’s a peek at Trombone Shorty’s gig at the same venue last year:
But no worries if you can’t make it out to the zoo tonight. You get another chance to hear some good music on Sunday, August 17, when Dave Koz and Friends perform as part of the Summer Horns Tour, which includes specials guests Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, and Gerald Albright.
They will perform hits from their new album, Summer Horns (Concord Jazz), that debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s current Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart. “Got To Get You Into My Life,” and “Hot Fun In The Summer Time,” are among the album’s 12 tracks.
On Tuesday, August 5, Concord released Albright’s new album, Slam Dunk, also featuring 12 tracks. The Grammy-nominated saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist/composer/bandleader recorded classics by Phil Collins and James Brown with special guest vocalist Peabo Bryson. Albright channels Brown on “It’s a Man’s, Man’s World,” a highpoint of the album.
During his four decades in the business, Albright’s signature solos have been heard on Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots,” and Quincy Jones’ “Setembro.”
Recently I listened to the late great Teena Marie’s song “Portuguese Love,” from her Motown album, It Must Be Magic, and learned that Albright is among the band personnel, as is Rushen and Rick James.
Speaking of hit-maker, and innovator Rick James, today marks the anniversary of his passing (August 6, 2004). Last month, Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James (Atria Books) by David Ritz was released. Look out for a review of the book in an upcoming James on Jazz column as it’s on my must-read summer reading list.
Also, we’ll find out some details about Albright’s latest recording from him in a special upcoming interview. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, you may want to consider packing a bag and heading out of town for the upcoming Chicago Jazz Festival happening August 28-31. Or maybe, you’re in the mood for a road trip to Detroit for the Detroit Jazz Festival on Aug 29-Sept 1. So many choices, so little time.
No matter which festival you pick to attend, you can’t go wrong considering the artists who will be performing at two of this summer’s biggest and brightest free festivals. The Chicago Jazz Festival will highlight the Sun Ra Centennial with everything from concerts and film screenings, to panel discussions.
As for the Detroit Jazz Festival, Joshua Redman will be the artist-in-residence. He’s also scheduled to play with the Bad Plus. Other festival highlights will include Cyrus Chestnut Plays Dave Brubeck, the Sean Jones Quartet, and Nicholas Payton “Sketches of Miles and Gil,” (conducted by Bob Belden).
Today also marks the birthdays of several extraordinary musicians, including Victor Goines, Ravi Coltrane, Regina Carter, and late greats Abbey Lincoln, Dorothy Ashby, and Charlie Haden.
Yesterday, pianist Kenny Drew Jr. (once called a heroic modern rhapsodist) passed away. He was the son of prolific pianist Kenny Drew Sr. “Passionata,” is a song he finished composing for his father, who had started writing it, but never completed. It’s a beautiful song with string arrangements by Bob Belden.
If you’re looking for good food to top off your summer of good music, I would definitely recommend checking out the lovely new intimate kitchen and bar, Lyn65 in Richfield, which officially opens today.
I was at Lyn65 last night and enjoyed the best buttermilk fried chicken, grits with cheese, and cole slaw made with jalapeños that I have ever tasted in my life! Congrats to Ben Rients, the chef and owner of Lyn65, who once cooked at restaurant Alma.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Robin James welcomes reader responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.