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Articles by Victor L. Schermer

LIVE REVIEWS

Branford Marsalis and Jean-Willy Kunz at the Kimmel Center

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Branford Marsalis, Saxophone, and Jean-Willy Kunz, Organ: From Classical to Jazz Kimmel Center for Performing Arts Philadelphia, PA February 16, 2018 This concert of mostly classical works for saxophone and large scale pipe organ turned out to be somewhat of a surprise to the audience of jazz fans, who packed in to hear their hero, Branford Marsalis. The concert emcee, Michael Barone (a radio producer who also hosts a program called ...

INTERVIEWS

Dan Monaghan: The Man Behind The Swing

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Dan Monaghan is a working drummer who makes an indispensable contribution to the music by being the one who provides the swing and support that allows the other musicians to achieve their diverse objectives. He performs so often in the Philadelphia area that if you go to a jazz show, there's a fair chance he'll be the drummer. He's a sensitive musician, responsive to everything the players are striving for. He leads from behind. As Mahatma Ghandi said, “I am ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Django: A Film As Much About History and Culture as About A Musical Icon

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Django Director: Étienne Comar Milky Way 2017 Django Reinhardt (1910-1953) practically invented jazz guitar. A product of gypsy culture and music, living and working in Paris in the 1930s-40s, he and his group, the Hot Club Quintet, which notably included violinist Stephane Grappelli, brought their own brand of swing to the clubs of Montmartre. American musicians like Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, and Duke Ellington were captivated by Reinhardt's playing and, along with his recordings and ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mary Ellen Desmond with the Victor North Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Café

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Mary Ellen Desmond with the Victor North Quintet Chris' Jazz Cafe Philadelphia, PA February 3, 2018 It was the Saturday night before the Superbowl kickoff, and the crowds were out and about in Philadelphia with a “Go Eagles" attitude. A full house crowded into Chris' Jazz Café to hear their vocalist pride, Mary Ellen Desmond with the solid backing of tenor saxophonist Victor North's Quintet including the venerable John Swana on trumpet and valve trombone, ...

INTERVIEWS

Abby Lee: Born to Sing

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The early development of jazz singers tells us a lot about them. Often, they struggle until they are finally recognized. Jimmy Scott was unknown for many years. Billie Holiday took whatever jobs she could get until she made her first recordings. Ella Fitzgerald's childhood was uprooted and traumatic, and music helped her find her way to a better life. They all were bit by the singing bug early in life, but it took time until they achieved real success. Their ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bobby Zankel,The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, and Guest Saxophonist David Murray at the Painted Bride

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Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound Special Guest: David Murray Painted Bride Art Center Philadelphia, PA January 20, 2018 The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, under the leadership of saxophonist Bobby Zankel, continue to deliver outstanding concerts featuring special guest musicians who are virtuosos on the cutting edge of jazz in the New Millennium. The featured artist on this occasion was the incomparable saxophonist David Murray. Most of the usual ...

BOOK REVIEWS

The Universe and John Coltrane: The Physics of Cosmic Vibrations

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The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe Stephon Alexander 272 Pages ISBN: # 13: 978-0465093571; # 10: 0465093574 Basic Books 2016 On the face of it, the premise that jazz and physics are related disciplines seems strange and remote. Because of its spontaneous nature, rhythmic pulse, and emphasis on emotion, jazz is a personal, subjective artistic means of expression which is accessible to almost ...

INTERVIEWS

Pat Martino: In the Moment

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Legendary guitarist Pat Martino is devoted to living in the Here and Now! -coincidentally the title of his autobiography (DaCapo, 2011). Taking each moment as it is and adding full measures of love and spirituality, Martino is now well into his sixth decade as one of the most revered and sought after jazz musicians on the planet. The cover photo of his new CD Formidable (HighNote, 2017) shows Martino posing next to the statue of a lion, a symbol of ...

INTERVIEWS

Fred Hersch: Life, Music, and the Creative Process

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Since his arrival on the jazz scene in the 1970s, pianist Fred Hersch has developed from a sought after sideman to a multi-Grammy nominated jazz icon, creative force, and significant composer of songs, jazz standards, and original complete works, the latter including Leaves of Grass (Palmetto, 2005), based upon the poetry of Walt Whitman. As one indication of the high regard in which he is held, Hersch is one of very few musicians invited to do extended solo engagements at ...