This week on the Mid-Week Beat, we turn our attention to some of the great jazz performances we got coming up this week.
There’s nothing I like better on a rainy Seattle fall night than putting on some great Verve or Blue Note recordings (on vinyl of course), eating some good food and enjoying a nice glass of wine. It really doesn’t get any better does it? Good jazz can often envelope you in a nice rhythm and mood like no other music can.
While jazz recordings are wonderful to listen to in the comfort of your own home, live jazz is where it’s at. Jazz is rooted in improvisation and there are few more visceral experiences that witnessing a skilled player improvise around a solid rhythm section. Fellow wino, Jack Kerouac often wrote about the transformative qualities of witnessing a live band that was really swinging and anyone that’s witnessed a jazz great in action knows exactly what he was talking about.
Well, this week, we got some world-class jazz performances happening all around the country and I thought I’d share a few that jumped out at me. For all the hep-cats out there!
Thursday, September 26 I GENIASS PRESENTS: Snarky Puppy w/ Jonathan Scales Fourchestra – Asheville, North Carolina
With the release of their live, 2-disc album/DVD Tell Your Friends (Ropeadope Records), Snarky Puppy has gone from an underground secret to one of the most internationally respected names in instrumental music.
The three-time Dallas Observer Music Award winning group (“Best Jazz Act” 2008, 2009, 2010) has, over the last four years of touring, gained a reputation for putting on a live show unparalleled in energy, virtuosity, and musicianship. They seamlessly fuse a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience.
It is, in its physical makeup, a group of musicians from two different cultures and traditions- jazz and rock kids from white America, and gospel/R&B kids from black America. This convergence, which occurred while the band was in its adolescence at the University of North Texas, has naturally established a series of combinations and a system of balance that instantly draws listeners to the music- raw funk and sensitive dynamics, relentless pocket and lyrical melodicism, lush harmony and soulful simplicity, and most importantly, a delicate mixture of composition and improvisation.
Friday, September 27 I CLUB d’ELF with special guest DONKILO! AFROFUNK ORCHESTRA – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Mike Rivard’s improvisational groove collective returns to the warm embrace of the Lizard Lounge with their usual stellar cast of musicians.
The music of Club d’Elf flies through North African trance, glitchy turntablism, freeform improvisation, and rock psychedelia, but it’s playfully altered states of musical consciousness that truly guide the band. Witness founder Mike Rivard’s first night in Morocco, the country that had fired his musical imagination for more than a decade: In a strikingly vivid dream, he felt himself swimming upwards in the air as fantastic landscapes, mountains, and tiled buildings stretched out beneath him. The bands rotating group of players, drawn from a pool that includes keyboardist John Medeski, DJ Logic, David Bowie’s guitarists or any number of Moroccan musical icons, swims in the same dreamlike atmosphere, both live and on record.
A distinct and unique new fusion of funk, jazz, Afro-beat, and West African rhythms, combining traditional instruments like the Fula flute, 10-string kamalen’goni and djembe, with drums, guitar, bass, sax and more. Donkilo! Afrofunk Orchestra creates a sound that is fresh and daring, with live performances that transport audiences to previously unchartered musical territories.
Sunday, September 28 I An Evening with Overton Berry – Seattle, Washington
An icon of the Seattle jazz scene, Overton Berry is probably best known for two long player albums that he recorded in the 1970s: The Overton Berry Trio At Seattle’s Doubletree Inn (1970) and T.O.B.E. (1972), which were recently re-released by celebrated Seattle-based re-issue label Light In the Attic Records.
Both records take the listener to a time long forgotten, a place where music engaged, invited dialogue, and struck chords deep in one’s soul. These records have been sampled by DJs for years and Overton still can be found performing his trademark blend of standards, thoughtful interpretations, and original compositions weekly in-and-around Seattle. Berry is still doing his thing with the utmost respect and dedication to his craft.
Mr. Berry will be playing with bassist Jef Davies in Theater Schmeater’s intimate theater turned underground jazz club for this special night. Presented as a benefit to provide Theater Schmeater a new home, An Evening with Overton Berry promises is sure to create stimulate fond memories of the old and excitement for the future.