Archive for October, 2012

Like most jazz artists, keyboardist Mark Adams is a creature of the night – an artist who hits his creative stride in the late hours, when other soulful cats just like him emerge from the shadows and fill the night air with a groove that is sometimes lyrical, sometimes edgy and always compelling.

This summer, Adams and veteran keyboardists Brian Jackson and Lonnie Liston Smith continue their sweep of the jazz landscape on the “Soulful Night of Keys” tour – a trip that started in the U.S. in the fall of 2011 and heads for Europe in July 2012. The tour showcases a combined legacy of ten decades of talent from three of the most enduring names in contemporary jazz. A live CD and DVD, both recorded in New York City, are scheduled for release in June in conjunction with the tour.

“There’s a camaraderie about this tour that’s reminiscent of the heyday of jazz – back when it was commonplace for guys like Charlie Parker and Sonny Stitt to play together, and Bud Powell was best friends with Thelonius Monk,” says Adams. “They were never in competition with each other. That cooperative, creative spirit of jazz is what we’ve recaptured on this tour. We just get up there and play together, without trying to see which of us can be faster or slicker than the other. We just play what we feel and we do our best to be true to the music.”

Adams, the youngest representative on a tour that spans three generations of piano jazz, has been playing it like he feels it for more than a decade. Since the 1990s, the Baltimore native has established a career as not only a composer and performer, but also a music professor at City University of New York (CUNY) and the author of numerous books on music theory. He made his recording debut with the 2001 release of Asceticism, and followed up with Feel the Groove (2007) and Something’s Going On (2009). Embellishments (The Q&A Project) was a collaborative effort with fellow pianist and CUNY professor Jonathan Quash released in April 2011. Along the way, Adams has performed with a diverse roster of high-profile artists: Roy Ayers, Ron Carter, Ronnie Laws, Hugh Masekela, Erika Badu and Wayne Henderson.

The idea for the “Soulful Night of Keys” tour originally took shape in the spring of 2011, when Adams and Jackson – both on the Roberts Music Group label – played together at a party for label executive Barry Roberts, says Adams. Backed by Adams’ band, the collaborative performance featuring the two keyboardists was a huge hit, and he the idea of taking the show on the road was the next logical step.

Adams picked a well-seasoned partner for the venture, as Jackson’s reputation as a jazz innovator spans more than four decades. Widely regarded as one of the primary architects of new-soul movement, he produced nearly 100 tracks with partner and co-writer Gil Scott Heron throughout the 1970s that are some of the most sampled works in hip-hop history. The fact that artists like Kanye West, Common and Pete Rock have frequently sampled Jackson’s sound as a basis for their own speaks volumes about how far ahead of its time Jackson’s musical vision has been and continues to be. Aside from the ten top-selling albums in his own discography, Jackson has also collaborated on stage and in studio with Kool and the Gang, Phyllis Hyman, George Benson and Roy Ayers. His producer credits include work with Gwen Guthrie and Will Downing.

Together, Adams and Jackson enlisted the services of a versatile and enduring jazz innovator to round out the trio. Lonnie Liston Smith’s pedigree dates back to the early 1960s, when he launched his career by backing such luminary vocalists as Betty Carter and Joe Williams, and quickly segued to gigs with Art Blakey, Max Roach and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. His later collaborations included work with Pharaoh Sanders – with whom he began to experiment with electric keyboards and the vast palette of cosmic sounds they could create – and Argentinean saxophonist Gato Barbieri. Smith joined Miles Davis’ ensemble in 1972, and recorded two albums with the group – On the Corner and Big Fun – before launching a solo recording career in the mid-1970s as leader of a band dubbed The Cosmic Echoes. One of his earliest solo outings, Expansions (1975), helped fuel the jazz fusion movement by combining solid jazz playing with elements from other genres. An ambitious combination of recording and touring over the next two decades – as well as collaborative work with Mary J. Blige, J-Zee and other emerging rap and pop artists in the ‘90s – have established him as a continuing force to be reckoned with well into the 21st century.

“Lonnie came to mind for this tour, and Brian agreed that he’d be a great addition to the team,” says Adams. “I admit that I was hesitant to ask him, because I didn’t think he’d be interested. But I just gathered up the courage and called him anyway. At first he said, ‘Three keyboards? How is that going to work?’ But eventually he said, ‘Okay, let’s give it a try.’ Our first show sold out, and from that point on, both Lonnie and Brian were sold. Since then, this thing has taken on a life of its own. It has snowballed into something that has taken us across the country and will take us to England, France, Italy, Germany and Holland this summer.”

The three keyboard players are joined on the tour by a solid and versatile backup crew: guitarist/vocalist/musical director Bill White (Chaka Khan, Taylor Dane); bassist Trevor Allen (Freddie Jackson); and drummer Lee Pierson (Spyro Gyra). Saxophonist Carl Bartlett Jr. has also made intermittent appearances on the tour as well.

The “Soulful Night of Keys” tour distills some of the best piano jazz of the past half century, crafted by three generations of top-shelf artists. Adams would like the shows to take audiences to a place that’s devoid of the challenges and stresses of the world we all know too well. “I want people to leave these shows having experienced a total release,” he says. “I want them to just let their minds go and not worry about whatever problems they may be facing, not worry about what they have to do tomorrow or the next day. I want them to just be in the moment and be entertained.”

Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St, San Francisco, California 94115

440 Clinton Street Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 967-9900

Euge Groove 
and Jackie Bristow
Fri, November 2, 2012
Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm
The Plaza Theatre, 425 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803

Considered one of the most influential jazz musicians of his generation, Boney James brings his signature soulful grooves to the Granada Theatre this fall for an evening of contemporary jazz brilliance. James is a three-time Grammy Award nominee and a Soul Train Award winner for Best Jazz Album.

He has also been honored with an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Jazz Album. He has four RIAA Certified Gold Records (500,000 copies sold), his legion of fans have scooped up over 3 million copies of his twelve recordings, nine of his recordings reached #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and two have reached the Top 10 on the R&B Albums Chart.

His most recent recording, Contact, spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. James is also renowned for his compelling live performances. According to the Boston Globe: “Let’s make something perfectly clear: James is not a smooth jazz player. . . his music is muscular and gritty, whereas most smooth jazz has all the texture and complexity of a cue ball…. James swaggered across the stage like a blacktop hero draining treys on an overmatched opponent. He even weaved his way through the audience, never missing a beat and all but daring the crowd not to have a good time.”

Saturday, November 17, 2012 – 8:00 pm

Granada Theater, 1214 State St, Santa Barbara, California 93101

Army Entertainment presents, American jazz, blues and funk saxophonist Ronnie Laws and Swiss-born jazz pianist and composer Alex Bugnon, Friday, November 9 at 7:30 P.M. in the intimate setting of the Historic Fort Sam Houston Theater at Joint Base San Antonio (Fort Sam Houston).

Laws, one of the original members of Earth, Wind and Fire, and Bugnon will be joined by special guest musician Jeffery Smith.

Doors open and cocktail hour begins at 7 P.M.

Tickets available in advance for $35 and $45 at the door.

Open to DoD ID Cardholders and their guests**.

Fort Sam Houston Theater, Stanley Rd, San Antonio, Texas, 78234

November 7 – 11, 2012, Sun & Sand will draw scores of renowned actors, musicians, producers, directors and other entertainment-industry trendsetters to the sugar-white shores of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Five Days of Creative Genius

This five-day mega-event will connect film and music enthusiasts across the nation with respected, rising and aspiring players in all facets of the filmmaking, music and entertainment world. All set in an emerging destination for filmmaking: Mississippi.

Films & Filmmaking

Sun & Sand will screen both new and previous releases of major motion pictures as well as independent films. In addition, the festival will unveil the latest concepts, equipment and technologies in the field, such as the digital effects that bring movies like Avatar to life.

Music Performances

To further fuel the creative energy, catch major music headliners November 9 and 10 at the Jones Park beachfront stage in Gulfport, Mississippi. Highlight for smooth jazz fans will be  Spyro Gyra on Saturday, November 10, 2012 – 10:00 am.

Come experience the first film and music festival surrounded by the sandy beaches and exciting nightlife of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Make plans today to be part of Sun & Sand—plan your trip or be a sponsor!

Jones Park, 2250 Jones Park Dr, Gulfport, Mississippi 39501

As part of his work toward a new album (Bridging the Gap) for the indie label FNMUSICWEB, Farnell Newton is putting together a series of nights of new music for a public audience. This new music will blend various musical styles connecting the music traditions of the past with the music of today. He will be recording each night’s session and making the live shows available for music lovers to enjoy online so that they may take the journey with him as he and his fellow musicians bridge the gaps between music, community, and social issues through their collaborations.

Featured artists in the Bridging the Gap series will include some of the Pacific NW’s young jazz stars: Greg Goebel on piano, Eric Gruber on bass, and Chris Brown on drums.

You can find more information about this event and many more at www.fnmusicweb.com.

Ivories Jazz Lounge and Restaurant, 1435 NW Flanders, Portland, Oregon 97209

Dave Koz & Kenny Loggins in 94.7 The Wave’s Christmas Concert

Sunday, December 16, 2012 – 7:30 pm

Nokia Theatre, 777 Chick Hearn Ct, Los Angeles, California 90015

Q’s Favorites Presents A VERY SPOOKY HALLOWEEN Featuring JESSY J
Wednesday, October 31st, 7:00pm
Reserved Seating $30
Costume Contest
Spooky Food & Drink Specials

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 – 7:00 pm

Spaghettini, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy, Seal Beach, California 90740

Having had two sold out weekends in the last two years, Oli Silk is going for a hat trick. His energetic shows have proved to be crowd pleasers, and if you come looking for a lively evening out you won’t be disappointed. Oli will be playing hits from his 3 CDs, and should have something new for you too.

With Oli will be Marc Parnell (drums), Joe Becket (percussion), Matt Park (guitar), Orefo Orakwue (bass), Holly Petrie (vocals) , Kirsten Joy (vocals) & special guest Paul Hardcastle Jr. (Saxophone).

Pizza Express Jazz Club, 10 Dean Street, London, United Kingdom