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Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Category: Jazz
July 18, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Timber! music fest back to rock the forest

After the success of Timber! Outdoor Music Festival last year, organizer Kevin Sur felt one emotion: a deep, abiding gratitude to everyone who had helped bring it off without a hitch.

It was a feeling that stuck with him as he chose soul revivalist Charles Bradley to top a 2014 lineup that includes J. Mascis, Damien Jurado and the Seattle Rock Orchestra. The festival runs July 24-26 and kicks off Thursday afternoon with a performance by the Shumba Marimba Ensemble.

“We felt like we had an overwhelming amount of support from the music community in making our first year a success, and that got me thinking about Charles Bradley,” Sur said.

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Comments | Topics: Charles Bradley, Timber Festival

July 13, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Light in the Attic provides cool sounds on a hot day

For those seeking a little outdoor fun, while staying out of the sun, Light in the Attic’s First Annual Summer Spectacular offered a great way to find some relief from the record-breaking heat.

Barry Overton's set gave LITA's event a jazzy touch . (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Overton Berry’s set gave LITA’s event a jazzy touch . (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

The Seattle-based record label, known for its reissue projects like the “Wheedle’s Groove” CD and film covering Seattle’s ’70s-era funk scene, and a lavish box set by iconoclastic singer-songwriter Lee Hazlewood, hosted a laid-back afternoon of live entertainment yesterday at their warehouse/record store on a quiet street in Ballard.

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Comments | More in Festivals, Jazz, Rock/Pop | Topics: Alex Maas, Black Angles, Light in the Attic

June 23, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Ladies rule at Vancouver jazz fest | Concert review

Aldana

Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana with bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Francisco Mela. (Photo by Chris Cameron)

With two large stages bookending the stately Vancouver Art Gallery and a student showcase by the Robson Square ice rink — plus a wall of food booths lining Howe Street — the Vancouver International Jazz Festival transformed downtown Vancouver into a fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday, attracting an all-ages, urban crowd in sunhats and shorts to a wealth of free shows.

There, and in ticketed events on Granville Island and at Ironworks, a late-night Gastown venue, the 12-day festival stayed true to its mission of presenting a challenging menu of international acts.

For whatever reason, for those first few days, the ladies ruled.

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Comments | More in Festivals, Jazz | Topics: Melissa Aldana, Vancouver International Jazz Festival

June 13, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Boogaloo at the Zoo with MSM & W | Concert preview

We love playing zoos,” joshes Hammond B-3 organ player John Medeski, whose trio, Medeski, Martin & Wood, swells to a quartet with guitarist John Scofield at the Woodland Park Zoo on Wednesday, June 18. “We don’t get to play for giraffes that often. They definitely have the best view.”

Actually, bands play closer to the emus and wallabies at ZooTunes. But never mind. If they can hop, they should be able to groove.

They’ll have four first-rate teachers, listening to Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood, who kick off the zoo’s always delightful outdoor-concert series in the North Meadow.

Medeski and his pals Billy Martin (drums) and Chris Wood (bass) developed an audience for their jazz/rock sound by doing hundreds of club dates in the 1990s, rock-band style. But when funky ex-Miles Davis guitarist John Scofield recruited them for his 1997 album, “A Go Go,” a new dimension opened up. Sco’s irresistible lines flow through the trio’s array of electronic effects like a sonic braid.

Scofield is an encyclopedia of masterful grooves, as last year’s extraordinary “Uberjam Deux” demonstrated in spades.

The new MSM & W project, due in September, is called “Juice,” inspired by the beats of boogaloo, a funky, fun Latin style that arose in the 1960s. Jazz heads know boogaloo from Lee Morgan’s jukebox hit, “The Sidewinder,” though Latin fans may be more partial to Pucho and His Latin Soul Brothers. New Orleanians may justifiably claim the style as just another street beat that evolved in the Crescent City.

Medeski calls it “Latin light,” in the sense that the music has a light, airy feeling and a strong back beat. It’s such a natural point of departure for Scofield and the trio, Medeski wonders why they didn’t think of it a long time ago.

“But all this African-based music in the Americas, from South America on up, has been inspiring for us,” he said. “It’s an endless bounty of music, especially when it comes to rhythm.”

One of the nice surprises on “Juice” is a cover of the Doors anthem, “Light My Fire,” an idea Medeski says may have come to Wood when they heard the song in an elevator.

“We talked about it and we realized we could do a totally cool version,” he said. “We reinvented it.”

“Juicy Lucy” is another high point, featuring the gauzy spider web of Scofield’s guitar encountering Medeski’s reverbed Hammond B-3.

“Helium” suggests a slightly demented Brazilian parade; a cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” gets a reggae vibe. Medeski says the latter started out as a recreational jam, but they liked it so much they decided to leave it on the album.

MM & W doesn’t tour as much as it used to, partly because the members are busy with other projects. Seattleites have been especially partial to Wood’s folksy group, the Wood Brothers. Medeski issued a much praised solo piano album last year.

“I don’t think any of us expected to be together 23 years,” says Medeski. “But it’s still as fun and surprising as it’s always been.”

Keep an eye out for the giraffes perking up their ears.

Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood

6 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at the Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., Seattle; $25 (548-2500 or www.zoo.org).

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Comments | More in Jazz, Rock/Pop | Topics: Billy Martin, Chris Wood, Concert Preview

May 23, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Bill Frisell and Beautiful Dreamers on deck for Bellevue fest | Concert preview

Mercurial guitarist Bill Frisell has been popping up all over the place lately, but not often with Beautiful Dreamers, which plays the Bellevue Jazz Festival Saturday, May 31.  If you’ve never heard this minimalist chamber trio — with Seattle’s Eyvind Kang, viola, and Rudy Royston, drums — do so. These three guys get more big, unusual — and playful — sounds out of three instruments than anyone since guitarist Jim Hall teamed up with clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre and trombonist Bob Brookmeyer in the late ’50s.

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Comments | More in Jazz | Topics: Bellevue Jazz Festival, Bill Frisell, Carlos Cascante

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