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Tag: Chicago jazz

Soul Message Band Returns to Cleveland With Timeless Organ Trio Grooves

Soul Message Band Bop Stop 2020-02-01

Even if I hadn’t moved to Cleveland in 2019 I am probably a bit too young to have visited the many¬† jazz venues that once thrived in the city’s so-called second downtown on Euclid Avenue. On any Saturday night 60 years ago, the district would have been alive with working-class revelers going out to a club for a few beers, and an unpretentious good time. The soundtrack for this custom often involved a small combo (quaint word, that!) of Hammond B-3 organ, guitar and drums that offered bluesy music with a big beat. Capable of shaking the room at a volume level that could rival a big band’s, the B-3 can also issue bedroom confidences in a whisper that could hush a crowded room. No wonder an archipelago of organ trio bars sprang up from Newark and Philadelphia on the eastern seaboard to the industrial Midwest.

Soul Message Band Bop Stop 2020-02-01Those places are gone now, but the organ trio hangs on as a vital formation in creative music in the Black American tradition, and one of the best is about to roll into town to rock the Bop Stop tomorrow night.

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Roll Call: December 4, 2020

I get a lot of music for my consideration, more than 450 new releases so far this year. Almost all of them are notable for something, and I’d like to give them their due. So every week, I’ll offer hot takes on the releases of the preceding seven days. it’s a great writing exercise, and a lot of fun, too.

Prickly Pear Cactus_jacketTo celebrate her 60th birthday year in 2019, pianist Satoko Fujii released an album a month. With a work ethic like that, no mere global pandemic could keep her down. “Prickly Pear Cactus” (Libra Records) is presumably her final release of 2020, though with Fujii, you never know. It’s really more of a collective effort by the Kobe, Japan-based pianist, her husband Natsuke Tamura on trumpet and New York laptop

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Roll Call: August 14, 2020

 

Yeah, it’s been a minute.

Procrastination is the work-spouse of every writer and I’m inordinately friendly with mine, but that’s not what happened here. Frankly, the events of late May were so momentous that writing about music seemed not just a luxury, but almost an insult. It was a time that called for witness and for listening–and not to music, even music of urgency and substance. The silence that was tugging at my coat was the silence of the confessional or the sickroom, a place in which one could try to process the fever that this society was trying to sweat out.

I haven’t completely done that, but lately, I’ve felt another tug on my coat. It was music, reminding me that consolation, inspiration and explanation are all still out there waiting. And joy, the kind that happens when you share a world with brilliant creators.

I’ve missed some exceptional releases, and will hopefully loop back to give them the consideration they deserve, maybe in feature reviews that will post midweek, but at the moment, the best way to jump back in is to resume this Friday roundup of the week’s releases.

Countdown. 

 

Debut recordings these days often take the form of calling cards designed to show off everything the leader can do. When that leader is as versatile, fluent and well trained as trombonist Javier Nero is, focus can take a back seat to exuberance. Still Freedom offers an appealingly generous tasting menu that leaps out of the gate with “Double Vision,” a Blakey-an burner with Messengers alumnus Brian Lynch on top. Before its 66 minutes is up, “Freedom”

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