Jammin’ Colors
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
3M ago
Executive Producer, Stefany Calembert Earlier this year one of the most vibrant musical social justice projects was Black Lives – From Generation to Generation, an exceptional, cross genre 2-CD set that included artists from an array of musical pursuits and from across the globe – from such masters as saxophonist-composer Oliver Lake to one of his musical grandsons, altoist Immanuel Wilkins, as well as voices from the striking mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran to South Africa’s Tutu Puoane. The project is executive produced by Stefany Calembert, whose spouse – bassist Reggie Washington – also co ..read more
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65th Monterey Jazz Festival Marks Grand Return
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
3M ago
Following the pandemic of 2020, when most if not all jazz festivals were forced into a brave new “virtual” world (if not outright cancellation), in 2021 many such events returned as either shadows of their traditional design, in abbreviated fashion, or in different configurations as we crept back to normalcy. Such was the case with the 2021 edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival. Whereas the traditional Monterey County Fairgrounds setting offered not only the big venue Arena – home to the Jimmy Lyons Stage – but also the outdoor Garden Stage, Courtyard Stage, and adjacent Coffee House Gallery ..read more
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Ethan Iverson jazz renaissance man
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
11M ago
I was one who admittedly questioned the late 90s/early 21st century seeming media blizzard on behalf of The Bad Plus, the innovative trio for which Ethan Iverson served so splendidly as its original pianist. Subsequent personal sightings of TBP proved that yes, these guys were onto something interesting, all media acclaim aside. Since then I’ve found Iverson to be an eminently reasonable man unencumbered by what might accompany the level of runaway ego or undue hubris that sometimes seems to attach itself to musicians less evolved amidst that initial level of TBP hype. Notably his efforts hav ..read more
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DC Jazz Festival Permanently Moves its Annual DC JazzFest to Labor Day Weekend
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
1y ago
“I’ve always loved the cultural diversity represented through DC JazzFest and the way music helps connect us,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization of Washington, DC. “The festival is a staple of the city that visitors and locals will look forward to as we celebrate a fun and vibrant Labor Day weekend in DC.” A cultural staple and artistic jewel of the nation’s capital, the 18thAnnual DC JazzFest will feature a robust lineup of incredible artists – from homegrown talent to international superstars and emerging artis ..read more
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Javon Jackson’s rootsy exploration
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
1y ago
Tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, was the final tenor saxophonist in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, his tenure running from 1987 until Blakey’s 1990 ascendence. In addition to Blakey, Javon, who grew up largely in the Denver, CO area, prepped with such NEA Jazz Masters as Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Currently director of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford’s Hart School of Music, The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson Records) is Javon’s 21st. This new release marks a pr ..read more
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The Passing of an Ironman
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
1y ago
Like many I first discovered Greg Tate’s prose in the weekly Village Voice – in a music writer’s room that also included such significant voices as Stanley Crouch and Robert Christgau.  Greg’s sense of the music was refreshingly inventive while maintaining a colloquial sensibility that made a lot more sense to me than some of the musicological fakery I was experiencing in various jazz prints – thoroughly lacking in the I know music… and you don’t music criticism that was clearly moldy fig-alated. Fortunately when we began a series of dialogues with African American music writers in t ..read more
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Monterey Jazz Festival Soldiers On
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
1y ago
This year’s 64th annual Monterey Jazz Festival was a welcome respite for it’s thirsty audience, two years since the big event had last played the Monterey County Fairgrounds to full capacity.  Like many in the global community of jazz festivals, after resorting to a strictly virtual, pandemic-decreed online presentation in September 2020, MJF was back on hallowed ground in the pastoral Monterey Peninsula, with several decided differences. The pandemic’s continued presence demanded some unprecedented changes in both it’s physical configuration and it’s performance schedule.  In ordina ..read more
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Pittsburgh: We Knew What We Had
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
1y ago
As one who was born in Pittsburgh, but moved to Cleveland at age 11 well before my teenaged jazz sensibilities developed, I’ve viewed Pittsburgh with great pride since my jazz awakening.  After all Pittsburgh is the place of origin of an extravagant number of jazz masters, a list that includes Mary Lou Williams, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Art Blakey, Ahmad Jamal, Billy Strayhorn, George Benson, Stanley Turrentine… and that’s just for starters. Several seasons back I was invited to moderate a panel discussion for a celebratory weekend sponsored by members and celebrants of the city’s former Bla ..read more
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William Parker: Migration of Silence
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
1y ago
Bassist-composer William Parker, is along with his partner and co-producer, dancer-choreographer Patricia Nicholson Parker are the prime movers and presenters of the auspicious annual Vision Festival in NYC.  But first and foremost William Parker is a prodigious bassist and multi-instrumentalist who has carved out a powerful and influential presence in his quest for original music. The latest recorded evidence of William Parker’s expansive musical viewpoints is represented on the sprawling canvas of his 10-disc box set Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Aum Fidelit ..read more
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Anatomy of a Record Store
Open Sky Jazz
by The Independent Ear
1y ago
BIRDEL’S RECORDS: ANATOMY OF A DYING BREED Back in 2010/2011 I had the privilege of conducting extensive oral history interviews in Central Brooklyn for the Weeksville Heritage Center.  For those not familiar, Weeksville was the original African American settlement, founded by free African Americans in what is now the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.  Now commemorated by the shiny, new Weeksville Heritage Center cultural center and museum, at 158 Buffalo Avenue in Brooklyn,  some of the original Weeksville structures remain on the grounds surrounding the Center. Our ..read more
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