James on Jazz

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Hometown talent José James returns to the Cedar

José James and Kris Bowers return to the Cedar Cultural Center on Monday, April 21. Consider this an invitation to enjoy more new music from two young and gifted musicians with new albums.

 

But this is not just a fantastic reintroduction of two talented artists. It’s a fantastic way to explore music from two men who are potentially on their way to becoming huge influential musicians in the future.  

 

 

In January 2013, James played an album-release show with Bowers on keys, but this time around, the Minneapolis-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist will play a pre-album release show to support his upcoming June 10 release, While You Were Sleeping on Blue Note Records, with Bowers opening the gig. His new album is Heroes + Misfits on Concord Records. Continue Reading →

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Lewis, Pizzarelli and McFerrin take over Orchestra Hall

When you’re in the business of moving people–and I mean by way of live musical artistry, it’s never an easy task. If the goal is to have an unforgettable experience with an audience that occurs in the now and that takes people places that they’ve never been before, then Orchestra Hall has arranged something extra special for music lovers this weekend. Pianist Ramsey Lewis along with guitarist John Pizzarelli take the stage on Friday, April 18 at 8 pm to perform a special Nat King Cole tribute, and vocalist Bobby McFerrin performs with his band that includes his daughter, vocalist Madison McFerrin, on Saturday, April 19 at 8 pm. Both Grammy Award-winning artists, Lewis and McFerrin enjoy ever-evolving careers and music making that continues to attract diverse audiences around the globe. They have also, in their own distinct ways, altered the musical landscape with their unmatched virtuosity and masterful creativity for decades. Continue Reading →

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Get ready for a carnival of musical delights.

 

 

Heading into this weekend and the next, an assortment of upcoming jazz related shows are set to take place at the Dakota. Get ready for a carnival of musical delights. Actually, it was trumpeter Russell Gunn who was to help kick things off at the Dakota last night, along with his quartet and vocalist Dionne Farris, but the gig was postponed. Farris and Gunn have a new live album, Dionne Get Your Gunn, which Farris released on her independent label, Free and Clear Records.  

One of my all-time Gunn favorites featuring him on electric trumpet and flugelhorn is his Live in Atlanta: Ethnomusicology, Vol. Continue Reading →

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Memorable musical moments from 2013

 

 
People have a huge thirst for connection. How well a song or an experience stays with you can be as easy as answering the question, does this art have resonance, or not? If I were to put together a musically inspired compilation of this year’s wide sampling of recorded music that I’ve heard and the live music that I’ve experienced this year, it would include an amazing group of talented artists who continue to challenge themselves as they give us something creative and personal. As I surf the memories of my mind from this year I can’t help but start at the beginning. To kick off 2013 in spectacular fashion was Minneapolis native and Blue Note Records artist Jose James who performed music
from his album No Beginning No End. Continue Reading →

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Marcus Roberts Trio performing at the Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday, November 6, for two sets only, the Marcus Roberts Trio returns to the Dakota stage to bring its well-known one-of-a-kind virtuosity to local audiences. And for a group that was founded in 1995, they’ve come a long way in 18 years. If you’ve been lucky enough to witness this trio in action over the last few years, consider yourself well aware of what these sets might be like this time around. If you’re planning to see Roberts for the first time, prepare to thoroughly enjoy yourself. This concert will no doubt be one of the best presented by the Dakota this year. Continue Reading →

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New music, new events and a dedication for 2013

 

Welcome to 2013. “When you’re moving in the positive, your destination is the brightest star,” Stevie Wonder sings, and so there it is, the goal for 2013. Looking ahead, here are some news items to help usher in your 2013 in a terrific and positive way. Plus, my top albums of 2012.  

It’s Miller Time — sort of

“Miller Time” premiered Sunday, January 6, on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Continue Reading →

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New music includes an early look at 2013 releases

 

Early next year, the legendary jazz label Blue Note Records is set to release two new albums from two legendary artists, Aaron Neville and Wayne Shorter. Now the label is busy promoting both artists and albums via touring and television. Shorter has even written a new piece composed for Esperanza Spalding, who recently won a 2012 Soul Train Music Award. Adding to the highly anticipated upcoming 2013 release schedule thus far, the Concord-Telarc division has released an impressive list of some new 2013 releases of their own. But wait: Helping to round out this year’s crop of new releases is one from ArtistShare featuring the Clayton brothers with friends. Continue Reading →

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Marcus Miller: Music a reflection of revolution, a link to the past

 

We are pleased to present part-two of our interview with world-class bassist Marcus Miller. He performed with his band at the Dakota on Sept 11-12. His new album is Renaissance on Concord Records.  

MSR: As it’s been referenced in the press material, you feel a change is coming, a changing of the guard, a revolution of sorts — can you explain what that means in your opinion? MM: I think people just talk about music by itself, but music never really exists by itself: Music is just a reflection of what’s going on in the world. Continue Reading →

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Best albums of 2011 make for optimism about 2012

 

 

As the year 2011 ends and 2012 begins, one word comes to mind: optimistic. Optimistic is how I feel. Kind of like the song “Optimistic,” sung by the Sounds of Blackness and written by Jimmy Jam for his mother. It’s one of my favorite songs. And I’ve told Jimmy so. Continue Reading →

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