Archive for the jazz room

JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz – Thursday, 11/17: Joe Henderson Tribute – Featuring Dave Finucane

Posted in Charlotte Community Rado, JazzLives! with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2016 by curtjazz

joe-henderson_jazzlives225On this week’s edition of JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz, on Charlotte Community Radio (CLTCRadio), we will honor the music of a tenor saxophone giant, who only truly received the appreciation that he deserved during the final decade of his career; Joe Henderson.
Our broadcast tribute will air one day before a live tribute to the Mr. Henderson’s music will begin, in The Jazz Arts Initiative’s JAZZ ROOM, on Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19. Durham, NC based saxophonist/educator Dave Finucane will be the headliner.

joe-henderson-1
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. Mr. Fitzgerald never met Joe Henderson. Mr. Henderson first came to prominence in the jazz world in 1963, with the release of his debut album, Page One, on Blue Note Records. The album featured two compositions that would become jazz standards: “Recorda Me” and “Blue Bossa”, which was written by Henderson’s frequent early musical partner, trumpeter Kenny Dorham. The next three years would see Henderson release four more albums on Blue Note that became jazz classics: Our Thing, In ‘n Out, Inner Urge and Mode for Joe.

joe-henderson-2
A 1967 move to Milestone records was not as fruitful. After moderate success with his first LP, The Kicker, Joe received little notice as a leader, for the better part of the next twenty years. Ironically, it was the revival of the Blue Note label in the mid 80’s that spurred renewed interest in Joe Henderson; as he recorded a live trio set at the Village Vanguard, boldly titled The State of the Tenor, which took the resurgent straight-ahead jazz world by storm. Verve records took notice. They signed Henderson in 1992 and promoted him heavily in a series of “songbook” projects, which highlighted the music of Billy Strayhorn, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Miles Davis among others. The albums, which were critically and commercially successful, re-established Joe Henderson as one of the premiere saxophonists in jazz, a place he occupied until his death in 2001.

dave-finucane

Dave Finucane

Dave Finucane is co-founder and director of the Durham Jazz Workshop. He graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and since he has been teaching in New York and the NC Triangle region. Dave is currently on faculty at Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill, teaching jazz improvisation and jazz saxophone. He performs extensively in the NC triangle and has recorded an excellent album, titled Valerie’s Song. He has also been a sideman on at least a dozen recordings.

Be sure to join me on JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz, as we honor the musical legacy of Joe Henderson and play tracks from Dave Finucane’s album Valerie’s Song; Thursday, November 17; from 6 pm – 9 pm (EDT); on CLTCRadio.

And don’t miss Dave Finucane as he pays tribute to Joe Henderson, in the Jazz Arts Initiative’s THE JAZZ ROOM. Friday, November 18, at 6 pm & 8:15 pm and Saturday, November 19, at 7 pm and 9:15 pm. For ticket information, visit www.thejazzarts.org

JAZZ LIVES!!! with CurtJazz, airs LIVE every Thursday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm via CharlotteCommunityRadio.org, CLTCRadio.org OR use the Mixlr app where you can listen and chat with our hosts and guests alike.

Fred Wesley and Two Saxophonists to Watch

Posted in Jazz in Charlotte, Under The Radar, Unsung Saxophone Masters, Unsung Women of Jazz, Video Vault, Who's New in Jazz with tags , , , , on June 9, 2013 by curtjazz

susanne altIt’s funny sometimes how a search for one thing can lead to another. During the May edition of THE JAZZ ROOM here in Charlotte, I was introduced to the talents of tenor saxophonist Phillip Whack, who was playing with Mark Rapp during the Miles Davis tribute. Mr. Whack turned in an impressive performance that night that arguably stole the show.

I spoke to Phillip after the show and found out a little about his background. He is a Carolinas native, that unfortunately he does not have any available recordings at this time and that he has spent a bit of time touring with Fred Wesley, the legendary trombonist of the J.B.’s; James Brown’s backup band.

Phillip Whack

Phillip Whack

I was inspired then to go to YouTube in search of some footage of Whack and Wesley. I found a good bit of it but I also made another discovery; on the bandstand during several of the performances was a young woman next to Whack, playing alto sax. The fact that she is fairly easy on the eyes is immediately apparent. The next thing you notice is that she is a very good saxophonist and her presence on the stand is by no means a novelty. Her name is Susanne Alt.

This led me to widen my search for more information concerning Ms. Alt. She was born in Germany and is now based in Amsterdam. She has released five albums as a leader, which range in styles from post bop to house to J.B.’s style funk. She has her own YouTube Channel, Venustunes where you can view and hear copious evidence of her musical talents. I can recommend a trio of her albums – Nocturne, her straightahead 2004 recording debut; On Track a funk steeped 2009 release that features Mr. Wesley and Live at Bimhuis from 2011, which covers all facets of her musical personality.

So here you have two gifted saxophonists that you’ve probably heard not a lot about, Phillip Whack and Susanne Alt. The two-part video clip included here features a dynamite performance of “Chameleon” from a Fred Wesley and the New J.B.’s club date at JazzClub Minden in Minden, Germany, that was featured on Venustunes. This was the set opener so everybody gets a turn. Alt starts at about 5:25 of Part 1 and takes it to the end. Whack opens Part 2 and shows that he will not be outdone.

It’s great funk from some master musicians and a chance to make a few new discoveries. Enjoy!

A Room of Our Own in Charlotte

Posted in Jazz in Charlotte, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , , , , , , on May 19, 2013 by curtjazz

The Jazz Room - Spring 13In the dozen or so years that I’ve called Charlotte home, the city’s relationship with the music I love has been at best, tenuous. Big name artists will come to town occasionally for a night, on their way to somewhere else. There have been several clubs that have used the word “jazz” in their name but how much actual jazz was performed in them was often limited. I think that those involved liked the idea of being a “jazz club” and the aura of coolness that went with the moniker but most of the time what you got when you walked through the doors was rehashed instrumental funk and loud, second-rate R&B groups.

Meanwhile most of us lovers of traditional jazz were left to either wait for the headliners to pass through or support these local so-called jazz clubs, hoping to be thrown an occaisonal bone for our patience. All the while wishing to have a room of our own, where we could hear the jazz of Miles, Diz, Monk and Newk.

Thanks to Lonnie Davis and the great people of the Jazz Arts Initiative (JAI) of Charlotte, our patience has been rewarded.

Last month the JAI premiered “THE JAZZ ROOM”, which for now is occurring on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the Stage Door Theater; a black box space in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte’s Uptown business district. Through the magic of stagecraft, the space is transformed into an elegant jazz club, complete with candlelit tables in the front of the room and general admission seating toward the rear. The concerts begin at 6 pm, allowing those who are getting off from work in the area to come in after a hard day, have a drink and hear some great jazz played by some of the finest musicians that this region has to offer. Tickets for each event are currently a very reasonable $10.

The Jazz Room - Spring 13

The series got off to a great start in April with pianist Chad Lawson paying an outstanding tribute to the music of Bill Evans before a sold out and very enthusiastic audience. The series continues on May 21 with trumpeter Mark Rapp leading a quintet, playing the music of Miles Davis. This performance is already nearly sold out. The next two dates have also been announced with trombonist Tyrone Jefferson in a tribute to Slide Hampton on June 18 and saxophonist Tim Gordon honoring Dexter Gordon (no relation) on July 16th.

Jazz Room 3

Would we like for THE JAZZ ROOM to be open more than once a month? Of course; but let’s face it, you’ve got to crawl before you walk or run. Any kind of jazz series, contemporary or traditional, is a tough sell in this economy so building an audience incrementally is a wise business model. Right now it seems as if Ms. Davis and the JAI may be onto something which will work in the long run and we Charlotteans who love jazz are very, very grateful. Kudos to Lonnie, Ocie, Glyn and all of those in the leadership of the JAI.

By the way the onstage MC at THE JAZZ ROOM is a grizzled veteran jazz radio DJ/magazine columnist/blogger named Curtis Davenport. Please try to forgive his corny jokes; he writes his own material.

For more information on the JAI and THE JAZZ ROOM, visit the JAI Website. To purchase tickets for any of the upcoming JAZZ ROOM events, go to Carolina Tix.