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Articles by Martin McFie

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Justin Varnes & Ulysses Owens Jr at The Jazz Corner

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Justin Varnes / Ulysses Owens Jr. The Jazz Corner Hilton Head Island, SC September 21-22, 2018 The special relationship between jazz drummers and bass players could never have been more obvious than on two consecutive weekends at The Jazz Corner in September 2018. Holding down the rhythm and bass line together, the players don't always receive the exposure they deserve. That omission was resoundingly rectified. On September 21 & 22, drummer Justin Varnes ...

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Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner

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Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi The Jazz Corner Hiltonhead Island, SC September 9, 2018 For half a year, this writer has been working with Mrs Lois Masteller, owner of the Jazz Corner on Hilton Head Island SC, and Noel Freidline searching out a way to present classical music fully integrated with jazz inflections. That's not an easy aspiration to fulfill: the history of crossover collaborations has been uncomfortable. Symphony orchestras have invited jazz ...

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Nice Jazz Festival 2018

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Nice Jazz Festival Nice, France July 16-21, 2018 The 2018 Nice festival started like a damp squib when a crashing, flashing thunderstorm hit the city an hour before the opening. The ensuing deluge made the stages and electrics unsafe. With no chance of rescheduling, most musicians left town for their next gig and the first night was cancelled. The ambassador of the Festival Gregory Porter delayed singing his tribute to Nat King Cole by ...

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Hot Sugar at Jazz Cafe Montparnasse

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Hot Sugar Jazz Cafe, Montparnase Paris July 11, 2018 Montparsnasse is an area of Paris' 14th arrondissement, once famous for thinkers and artists who lingered over a coffee and talked into the night on the terraces of the famous Dome and Cupole cafes. There was some hard-driving swing jazz at the Jazz Cafe de Montparnasse in competition with a World Cup football match between France and rivals Belgium which filled the streets ...

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Django Festival in Fontainbleu

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Django Reinhardt Festival Fontainbleu, France July 5-8, 2018 Every year in the grounds of the Chateau de Fontainbleu about 30 miles South of jny: Paris, devotees of jazz gather to hear the Django Festival this year featuring George Benson, renowned gypsy player Bireli Lagrene and a roster of professional bands. Parking lots were full and overflowing. However, Django pilgrims also travelled to nearby Samois-sur-Seine, to the home of Django Reinhardt the high priest of ...

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Tessa Souter at Pizza Express in London's Soho

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Tessa Souter Pizza Express Soho London June 23, 2018 In a once seedy part of London, also home to the UK film industry, lies the heart of the capital's jazz scene. Iconic Ronnie Scott's is off Soho Square in Frith Street while on a corner of nearby Dean Street in a cellar beneath a Pizza Express is their live jazz club. For over 40 years it has presented the best of jazz ...

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Live From The Jazz Corner in Hilton Head Island - Roundup

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Joe Gransden & Kenny Banks The Jazz Corner Hilton Head Island, SCFebruary 2, 2018 Joe Gransden returned to The Jazz Corner on Hilton Head-Jazz Island February second and third, accompanied by pianist/composer Kenny Banks. Gransden is well-known on the island for his sixteen-piece big band performances, but there was a special intimacy to this performance with just a piano accompaniment. Gransden played the flumpet, a softer, mellower sound somewhere between trumpet and flugelhorn. This particular ...

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Rossano Sportiello Trio at The Jazz Corner

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Rossano Sportiello Trio The Jazz Corner Hilton Head Island, SC December 22, 2017 Rossano Sportiello from Milan showed the elegance and deft touch of a concert pianist Friday, December 22nd at the Jazz Corner on Hilton Head Island. He plays softly, modulating the volume only when the piece demanded to define a statement. Sportiello is known for the powerful bouncing left hand stride piano style and played a rousing version of the ...

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Ranky Tanky: African Rhythms Preserved

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Liberia, the West African country named for freedom, was partly financed by wealthy Americans as a haven for people who escaped enslavement. Its capital Monrovia was named for US President Monroe. The Gola (also called Gula) tribe are indigenous to the northern borderlands of Liberia with Sierra Leone. The Gola people are farmers who weave swamp grass, grow rice, corn and okra as their staple food. The comparison to the American Carolina Gullah traditions of eating rice, corn ground into ...

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Ellington's Nutcracker at The Jazz Corner

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Justin Varnes The Jazz Corner Hilton Head Island, SC December 15, 2017Every Christmas is the Nutcracker Season for ballet aficionados. The legendary composing and arranging skills of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn also make it Nutcracker Season for jazz aficionados. In 1960, Ellington and Strayhorn wrote their version of the famous Tchaikovsky ballet. A big part of the Duke Ellington sound came from extending the instruments in his big band, wood blocks ...