Jazz Articles


Jackie Ryan and the Larry McKenna Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Café

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Jackie Ryan and the Larry McKenna Quartet Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA April 23, 2016 Jackie Ryan is acquiring a reputation as a “must hear" vocalist. When this reviewer heard DJ Bob Perkins ("BP with the GM") praise her singing on WRTI, he decided to attend her show at Chris' Jazz Café to see what she could do in person, the true test of a singer's ability. Then, to increase the anticipation, the band ...


Miles Ahead: A Powerhouse Film, But is it the Truth?

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Don Cheadle Miles Ahead Sony Pictures Classics 2015 Miles Davis happens to have been actor Don Cheadle's long-time hero, and he mulled over the idea of a film about him for several years. In contemplating his directorial and screenwriting debut based on Davis' life, Cheadle could have chosen among several formats: a chronological account; the story of his music with documentary footage; or perhaps a “newsflash" version of key events from the trumpeter's tumultuous life ...


Drummer Stan Levey Improvised His Life with a Steady Beat

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Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight Frank R. Hayde 224 Pages ISBN: # 13-978-1595800862 Santa Monica Press 2016 The word “Heavyweight" in the title of this fast-paced biography of the late great jazz drummer Stan Levey is not just a metaphor for his reputation as a musician. Levey, in addition to having been a revered drummer who helped jump-start the bebop movement, was also a fair to middlin' prize fighter! Growing up in Prohibition ...


Jazz Cosmos: Music and Modern Physics

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To the memory of Leonard Bernstein, the greatest musical educator of all time, a great conductor and composer who loved jazz and whose televised lectures brought a whole generation of listeners into insightful contact with the music. Maybe you remember how astrophysicist Carl Sagan's vision of “billions and billions of stars" captured the awesome feeling of seeing the firmament of the heavens, marveling at its beauty and contemplating the incredible universe. Well, strange as it may seem, many ...


The Pat Martino Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Café

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The Pat Martino Quintet Chris' Jazz Cafe Philadelphia, PA March 26, 2016 Legendary guitarist Pat Martino has traversed several musical landscapes in a career spanning more than five decades. He went from being a mind-blowing newcomer in the Harlem and soul blues jazz scene in the sixties to a major contributor to hard bop and fusion music in the seventies. Then, in 1980, brain surgery for an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) left him with profound ...


Vocalist Sinne Eeg at Chris’ Jazz Cafe

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Sinne Eeg Trio Chris' Jazz Cafe Philadelphia, PA March 23, 2016 Sincerity, authenticity, and fidelity to tradition are qualities seriously lacking in what's left of jazz in America today. Computers, unbridled capitalistic exploitation, and a massive field of competing talent have led too many musicians to seek audiences through entertainment, egotism, mindless displays of virtuosity, and clever uses of ideas rather than straightforward self-expression of emotions and meaningful musical statements. Sadly, this is more ...


Philadelphia Orchestra: Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand"

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Philadelphia Orchestra Mahler Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Verizon Hall Philadelphia, PA March 13, 2016 Gustav Mahler wasn't shy. The massive number of singers and musicians required for this Symphony (over four hundred for this performance) and its approximately hour and a half duration led a friend of mine lightly to dub it “The Screamer!" Its outlandish magnitude suggests a grand entertainment which obscures the ...


Dave Liebman Expansions at Chris’ Jazz Café

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Dave Liebman Expansions Chris' Jazz Cafe Philadelphia, PA March 11, 2016 The pleasure of hearing Dave Liebman with his personally honed groups is that despite or because of personnel changes, they never stop transforming and expanding in scope and depth. In this incarnation of Liebman's now legendary groups, in addition to perennial sidekick bassist Tony Marino, his crew consists of younger musicians who are nevertheless quite capable of engaging on an equal level with Liebman, ...

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