Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEWS

Jeff Beck in Cologne

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Jeff Beck Group E-Werk Cologne, Germany May 29, 2014 Sometimes a man's reputation proceeds him. Such was the case tonight, where an overflow crowd of 2,000 fans arrived early, and crammed into a steamy bunker of bricks to hear Jeff Beck's wonderous wails to the electric wind. With general admission ticket prices around an 80 buck exchange rate, it was good indication of respect. The price of admission proved to be merited, about twenty licks in. Luckily for hundreds of fans, sensational sounds were the primary pleasure, ...

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Marcus Miller and Mustapha Baqbou at Essaouira Festival 2014

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Marcus Miller and Mustapha Baqbou Place Moulay El Hassan Essaouira Festival Essaouira, Morocco June 14, 2014 On Saturday a rebirth was being prepared at Essaouira Festival. The most awaited artist of the festival, bassist/composer Marcus Miller was going to play with accomplished gnaoua vocalist and guembri player, Mustapha Baqbou. At the conference room, and on his birthday, Miller confessed that he felt not the least uncomfortable about this fusion. To this end, he explained that the slap sound that he once thought very peculiar to the bass and his own ingenious style, he actually ...

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Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 at SFJazz, San Francisco

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Seun Kuti and Egypt 80SFJazz San Francisco, California June 19, 2014 A popular aphorism maintains that “the apple never falls fall from the tree." That certainly holds true for Seun Kuti, the son of the legendary saxophonist, songwriter, social activist and political rebel Fela Kuti. The roots run deep. While apples are not indigenous to Nigeria, neither is the Afro Beat music which Fela Kuti developed and popularized, a legacy which his son continues. It isn't often that one can see a band where the lead singer has been crooning since age eight, but that ...

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35th Annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland

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Playhouse Square Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland Cleveland, Ohio June 26-28, 2014 For the first time in 35 years, Cuyahoga Community College's annual jazz festival received a major makeover via the shift from a two week event in April to a three day happening in June. Also key to this paradigm shift was a move of all concerts downtown to the newly rededicated Playhouse Square. With the second most significant theater district in the country next to New York City, Cleveland boasts four beautifully appointed theaters right in the heart of downtown and the twelve ticketed ...

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Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2014

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Saratoga Performing Arts Center Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival Saratoga Springs, NY June 28-29, 2014 Perfect weather accented this years Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, an event that had an eclectic mix of young musicians with interesting ideas and approaches, and veterans who deliver consistently. The weather is always a factor because it's primarily an outdoor festival for two days, on two stages, at the beautiful Saratoga Performing Arts Center. (There is some covered amphitheater seating). But the most important ingredient, naturally, is what the array of artists bring to the table. Those assembled this ...

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Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2014

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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Ambrose Akinmusire By Invitation Tigran By Invitation Tord Gustavsen Quartet / Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana, Mehliana June 26-July 6, 2014 There simply isn't a festival in the world like the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Where else in the world can you find a city where, with a population of well over 1.5 million people, six square blocks are closed down for the entire duration of the festival--in this year's case 11 full days running from June 26 to July 6, 2014? Where can you find ...

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Suoni Per Il Popolo 2014

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Suoni Per Il Popolo Various venues Montreal, Quebec June 4-22, 2014 Every June, the good folks who run Montreal's Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa hold an extravaganza of what some call “liberation music" and what they call Suoni Per Il Popolo, or “sounds for the people." Now in its fourteenth year, the Suoni has become a highlight on the Montreal musical calendar, featuring provocative music in a wide variety of genres, including jazz, among which were Die Like a Dog Trio, Bonecrusher, Sun Rooms, From Bacteria to Boys, and the Deciders. ...

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Hot Tuna, Lebanon Opera House

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Hot Tuna Lebanon Opera House Lebanon, New Hampshire June 17, 2014 Bassist Jack Casady almost stole the show during his seventh (8th?) appearance in New Hampshire with long-time friend and musical compadre guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. And that's not to disparage the latter, whose delicate precise picking (except for a few moments early on) mirrored Casady's own dexterity during the course of their ninety minutes on the New Hampshire stage. But Kaukonen's compliment to the man to his right this night--"He never ceases to amaze me"--(borderline mawkish reaction from the audience aside) may have ...

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Don Felder, Styx & Foreigner at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

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Don Felder, Styx and Foreigner Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Soundtrack of Summer Tour Wantagh, NY June 28, 2014 On a pleasant early summer Saturday evening, the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater was transformed into a time machine as Styx and Foreigner double-headlined (on this tour the two bands have been alternating the closing slot with Don Felder opening at each venue) the Soundtrack of Summer Tour. Opening act, Felder, the former Eagles lead guitarist (he wrote the famous riff and music for the classic “Hotel California") provided the crowd at ...

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Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2014

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Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2014 Cultural District Pittsburgh, PA June 20-22, 2014 With its modest beginnings back in 2011, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival had nothing but an uphill battle in terms of sustaining a free jazz festival. It took a billion dollar endowment to keep North America's largest free jazz festival in Detroit running in the black. Odds were not with Pittsburgh, but the powers that be and festival director Janis Burley Wilson seem to be on to something quite special that is starting to establish a track record. Along Penn ...

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Amos Lee at Celebrate Brooklyn

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Amos Lee Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park Brooklyn, NY June 20, 2014 After a high energy opening set by Brooklyn-based Lake Street Dive, Philadelphia native and singer/songwriter Amos Lee took to the stage with a five-piece band that included two multi-instrumentalists who took turns on guitars, horns and mandolins. The group kicked off with “Windows Rolled Down," a funk-driven tune that was well received by fans who completely filled the concert space. He followed that with the Gospel-tinged “Jesus," a long tour de force that showcased both the group's vocal harmonies and their ...

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TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2014, Days 7-9

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Days 1-2 | Days 4-6 | Days 7-9 Anat Fort / Susanna Torben Waldorff Wah Wah / Norma WInstone Partisans TD Ottawa Jazz Festival Ottawa, Canada June 20-July 1, 2014 For the last three days in Ottawa before heading to Montréal for five days of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the emphasis was entirely on the Improv Invitational series, at the National Arts Centre's intimate, club-like Fourth Stage. It was an eclectic mix of artists, ranging from an Israeli pianist, a Norwegian singer/songwriter and a Danish guitarist to two ...

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Live From Birmingham: Tom Harrison, Tad Newton, Wynton Marsalis & Monocled Man

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Tom Harrison The Bartons Arms June 6, 2014 Some of Tom Harrison's band sidemen are more familiar to seasoned UK jazz fans than the leader himself, but the London saxophonist's film music project will doubtless contribute to improving his own profile. It's the kind of conceptual set-up that is likely to appeal to promoters looking for a unique direction, and will be particularly appealing for festival programmers. The Birmingham Jazz team made one of their occasional forays to a different pub, moving from The Red Lion in the Jewellery Quarter to The Bartons ...

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TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2014, Days 4-6

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Days 1-2 | Days 4-6 | Days 7- 9 Tedeschi Trucks Band Bill Frisell Guitar in the Space Age! Julian Lage & Nels Cline / Bill Frisell Go West TD Ottawa Jazz Festival Ottawa, Canada June 20-July 1, 2014 While not necessarily an intentional decision, the next three days of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival were a guitar lover's dream: two performances by festival stalwart Bill Frisell; the return of Julian Lage (by this time, no longer an up-and-comer) in an eagerly anticipated duet with Nels Cline, the more avant-leaning ...



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