Sunday, November 21, 2010


*Tuesday in Washington DC: Dexter Wansel and The Sound of Philadelphia Band - Blues Alley 
DexterWansel.jpgA surprising and rare opportunity to check out the keyboardist who contributed heavily to the 1970's soul music phenomenon known as "the Sound of Philadelphia"; big hits from Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays and Patti Labelle include Wansel's handy work, which was an important element in the Gamble & Huff recipe for success.  and he had a few hits of his own including "Life on Mars", which was emblematic of Wansel's popular "sci-fi jazz funk" of the late 1970's. Another jazz/funk keyboardist takes residence at Blues Alley this week - Alex Bugnon,  Friday-Sunday.

*Thursday in New York: A Thanksgiving Celebration with Ken Peplowski and Bucky Pizzarelli - Jazz at Lincoln Center; a world class quintet featuring Peplowski & Pizzarelli augmented by a 3 course meal.

*Friday in Tokyo:  Bassist Stanley Clarke launches a Japanese tour with 3 nights at the Blue Note and he's joined by old friend Lenny White on drums and pianist Hiromi who is also a member of Clarke's regular band. Check out this video of their work on "No Mystery", which was recently nominated for a Grammy Award.

*Friday in L.A.: A birthday celebration for legendary trumpeter Jack Sheldon who played on a number of 1950's recordings that introduced a "west coast" sound to the jazz world; Sheldon's bio also lists a who's who of collaborators - on records with Sinatra, Gillespie, Clooney, Goodman, Bennett, Mancini etc and on numerous TV shows including Dragnet and The Merv Griffin Show, for which he is best known.  Jack Sheldon turns 69 on Nov 30th, the celebration takes place at Catalina Jazz Club.

*Saturday in London/NYC:  Brubeck is in full effect as brothers Chris, Darius and Dan take the stage at London's Ronnie Scott's - in a show that has been sold out for weeks. The man responsible for all of this, their father Dave also has a long-sold out engagement at the Blue Note in NYC on Saturday and Sunday.
Here's an excerpt of Dave's Kennedy Center Honors performance with his sons...

B0043SS250.jpg*Kevin Eubanks - "Zen Food" - Mack Avenue Records; the former Tonight Show bandleader celebrates his 53rd birthday (Nov. 15) with a new record label and an exceptional new release. Check out this interview that appeared on All About Jazz recently.

*Vince Mendoza and The Metropole Orchestra - Fast City: A Tribute to Joe Zawinul - BHM Productions;  Already out in Germany, the CD debuts in America this week. The amazing compositions of Zawinul (co-founder of Weather Report) with stirring orchestrations by Mendoza and stellar performances by Weather Report alum Pete Erskine, Victor Bailey, Alex Acuna, recorded live in Amsterdam, 2008. Below is a video excerpt, the song is "Nubian Sundance."

*Chet Baker in Italy 1961-1988The DVD chronicles Baker's 1961 performances in Sanremo and in Rome on two separate occassions, in 1976 and just a few months before his death in 1988.

cov_where_the_dark.jpg*A provocative article in the new issue of Jazz Times - "Rhapsody in Rainbow: Jazz and the Queer Aesthetic"; John Murph has written a thoughtful piece on how jazz musicians and the jazz community deals with the thorny issue of homosexuality.

*A new book, "Where the Light and Dark Folks Meet" (Scarecrow Press), written by trumpeter Randall Sandke, addresses another contentious subject among jazz fans - race, and along the way dispels many time honored myths and misconceptions.

*Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner, Jazz Cooks - not a new book (1992) but it's filled with recipes favored or created by 90+ jazz luminaries; Smooth Cooking, a part of chef Sharon O'Connor's Music Cooks series of cook books, has favorite dishes from George Benson, David Benoit, Dave Koz and Tom Scott among others and it comes with an 11 track CD featuring music from the contributing artists.

For more music to compliment the cooking, check out this playlist of jazz recordings with thanks giving in mind, prepared by Chicago-based journalist Neil Tesser

Finally, in the spirit of giving thanks, take a moment to remember all the wonderful music given to us by saxophonist James Moody, who announced last week that he has been suffering from pancreatic cancer for quite some time.  Moody's family and friends are encouraging fans to reach out to James with a written "thank you" for his many contributions; you can send him a note via his Facebook page. 

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