August 29, 2013
The closing act of Lisa Mezzacappa's monthlong and reliably excellent JazzPOP series, Burn List features boundary pushing Seattle trumpeter Cuong Vu with saxophonist Greg Sinibaldi, keyboardist Aaron Otheim and drummer Chris Icasiano. Vu has performed with jazz adventurers including Pat Metheny, Stomu Takeishi and Bill Frisell, and this ensemble should feature no shortage of adventure in its own right. The Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, L.A. Thu., 7:30 p.m. Free. http://hammer.ucla.edu/ .
July 18, 2013
Percussionist-composer Gregg Bendian cut his teeth with John Zorn, Bill Frisell and William Parker on the outer limits of the New York jazz scene, and here he celebrates his 50th birthday with a show that attempts to encapsulate a career that included an album-length noisy feast inspired by illustrator Jack Kirby, an acclaimed reinterpretation of late-period John Coltrane called "Interstellar Space Revisited" and much more. This all-star show's roster includes a wealth of Los Angeles-area artists who have performed with Bendian, including drummer Alex Cline, trumpeter John Fumo, keyboardist David Witham and violist-arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.
July 10, 2013 |
Is there an artist as well-suited to record an album inspired by Big Sur as Bill Frisell? Having spent much of his long career working a fertile seam in the jazz world that shares ground with Americana and folk, Frisell and his often twang-dusted tone seems tailor-made for sweeping vistas and pastoral wonders. Stemming from a 2012 commission by the Monterey Jazz Festival, “Big Sur” is the result of Frisell holing himself up in a cabin at the 860-acre Glen Deven Ranch and writing music for wherever this natural muse took him. Recorded with a blend of the guitarist's most recent projects in the string-laden 858 Quartet and drummer for his Beautiful Dreamers trio Rudy Royston, the resulting 19-track suite approaches a lush, near-orchestral sweep on the strength of violist Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts and Jenny Scheinman on violin.
April 27, 2013 |
It's a testament to the strange alchemy that comes out of Medeski Martin and Wood's performances that an indefinable, improvisation-driven keyboard trio can draw a large, thoroughly rapt crowd to UCLA's stately Royce Hall on a Friday night. Now in their second decade since coming together in 1992, the trio has trafficked in a unique, groove-oriented mix drawing from elements of hip-hop, African music, funk and avant-leaning noise into a sound they would happily admit is far from a purist's definition of jazz.
October 23, 2012 |
"You've gotta see them live. " That's a common response when talking to someone about a new musical discovery. And yet, live albums are viewed with a bit of disdain in the pop and rock realm, where they're often little more than a perfunctory, last-gasp release to fulfill the record company requirement. In the world of improvised music, however, live albums are where the rubber meets the road, where the music can venture from a sketch to a widescreen portrait. In the last few months there are have been a remarkable bounty of live albums in jazz, and each expresses artistry that existed for only one night, but now it's in your hand.
May 31, 2012 |
There's a unique pleasure that comes with being a fan of jazz or what could be more generally referred to as improvised music. Sometimes musical pairings among heavyweights that sound akin to far-fetched debates behind comic book store counters ("What would happen if Spider-Man fought Superman?") eventually become a reality. And attention must be paid. This was the feeling in approaching the Mint on Wednesday evening, the final night of Matt Chamberlain's monthlong residency . The show already felt like an event in teaming the ace session drummer with guitarist Bill Frisell, and once word spread that L.A.'s own musical gadfly - and top-notch improvisor in his own right - Jon Brion would be sitting in as well, there was no wonder a line at the door stretched down Pico Boulevard.