Posts Tagged ‘Bob Kiss’

discover jazz fest 2011

April 13, 2011

Annnnnd…we’re off! Another Burlington Discover Jazz Festival (the city’s 28th) was launched today with the annual press conference at the Amy Tarrant Flynn Gallery downtown.

I’ve wanted to hear Myra Melford perform live for years and years. Looks like I’ll finally get¬† my chance on the evening of June 9th! She’ll be at the Flynn Space with her sextet, Be Bread. Herbie Hancock, Pancho Sanchez, Bela Fleck, Sheila Jordan, Roy Hargrove, Terence Blanchard…they’ll be there too. And those are just some of the highlights.

The schedule went live today on the newly revamped website, and while it’s not quite complete yet (the schedule), it’s looking pretty solid.

I’m glad the press conference is in April each year. It gives me plenty of lead time to rest up before the week+ of sleepless nights during the festival when I don’t want to miss anything.

burlington discover jazz festival

April 7, 2010

Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss

As surely as one foot follows another into Burlington’s Amy Tarrant Flynn Gallery on a sunny spring afternoon, as reliably as Ella + Louis = pure magic every single time, the city’s annual Discover Jazz Festival press conference confirms that summer is on the way for sure.

We all came together in the Gallery today to get the lowdown on this year’s lineup, and as always there were a few surprises. Great to hear the Easy Star All-Stars are going to be included in the waterfront world music tent this year, their Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Dub Band was a real highlight from last year. The young keyboard wizard Gerald Clayton (a festival favorite of past years) will be joining the fun again this time around on June 8th, and much to the delight of today’s audience, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss announced that the dedication of Big Joe Burrell‘s permanent memorial sculpture on Church Street would happen on the opening evening of the Fest – June 4th, 4:30pm. It’s been five years in coming, since Burrell’s death early in 2005. Really good news that he’d be getting the deserved recognition.

An initial glance reveals the lineup to be fairly light in representation by women artists, with singers Luciana Souza and Sharon Jones being the sum total of female performers occupying any kind of featured or headlining role. There are a lot of challenges in scheduling the many moving parts of a festival like this, and there were undoubtedly many preliminary versions before the final schedule came together, which may have included a broader diversity of musicians. It must say a lot about the quality of last year’s festival that I’m still thinking back to it now and recalling the blistering opening night salvo with Anat Cohen jamming hard on the Jitterbug Waltz, and Jen Hartswick closing things down a little over a week later with every bit equal class, energy, and skill. So when I really think about that it comes down to musicianship, not especially the fact that those artists were women. On that level this year’s bill looks as strong.

In particular I’m looking forward to clarinetist Don Byron’s appearance with Allen Toussaint on June 5th. Two nights later the Flynn Space will host Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and his Quintet in what will undoubtedly be an adventurous outing. On June 10th, local tenor sax man Michael Zsoldos will be joined by Miro Sprague (piano), Martin Wind (bass) and veteran drummer Matt Wilson. THAT’S going to be something else. The next night it’s legendary guitarist Jim Hall and another outstanding ensemble (Greg Osby, sax; Scott Colley, bass; Joey Baron, drums) and then on the night of June 12th ‘saxophone Colossus’ himself Sonny Rollins rolls in for a living history lesson on the Main Stage.

How about that.

And there’s more, just wait until all of the smaller venues start to fill out their schedules. Any wonder why Vermont is heaven for music lovers?

jazz lives here

June 5, 2009
Mayor Bob Kiss and the proclamation

Mayor Bob Kiss and the proclamation

Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss wrapped up his introduction with three little words: “Jazz lives here!”

In fact it will live, radiate, and virtually define the personality of the city for the next ten days.

Tonight’s opening reception (per tradition, held at Halvorson’s on the upper end of Church street) overflowed from the porch to the patio, and from the patio backflowing into the hallway to the dining room. On the covered stage in the corner of the patio, the Anthony Santor Trio (Anthony with Gabe Jarrett and Shane Hardiman) serenaded the surge of folks who had come for the event. In his introduction, the Mayor proclaimed June as “Jazz Appreciation Week” in Burlington. Get set, we’re on the way now!

After the festival reception I stopped in at the Davis Center nearby to check out the new UVM Jazz Collective, formed by trumpeter Ray Vega with other jazz faculty. It wasn’t officially a Festival event, but the association is inevitable. Especially since so many of the players are also Festival regulars. I hope Vega becomes one of them or better yet, starts playing around town more often even when it’s not Festival season, now that he’s been here a year and life is settling in for him and his family.

The show was hot! And the format was really refreshing, as the lineup changed with every tune. Quartet, Nonet, Quintet, the personnel and textures were as versatile and subtly shifting as the colorful lighting that flanked the stage.

the Collective

the Collective

One of the many highlights came in the first set in Monk’s Evidence, as Tom Cleary walked in the giant’s footsteps and spun out some very, very nice, complex lines. Any Monk fan would have been thrilled by that one.

Late night here so I’ll sign off for now and save some energy to get to the Festival tomorrow and share some more thoughts. Tomorrow is the first in the “Meet the Artist” series with artist-in-residence, jazz critic Bob Blumenthal. That’s at 5:30, and then the double billing Festival opener with Esperanza Spalding and Anat Cohen starts at 8 on the Main Stage.

Sleep, what?

No time!

See you tomorrow. Oh. It is tomorrow.

news from discover jazz fest

April 15, 2009
4/15/09-Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss showing off the new Smithsonian National Jazz Month poster

Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss showing off the new Smithsonian poster for National Jazz Month

If the downbeat to summertime in Vermont is the annual Discover Jazz Festival (and, it is) then the official downbeat for spring is the annual press conference where the full Discover Jazz schedule is revealed.

That happened today in Burlington.

Geeda¬†Searfoorce, the Festival’s Associate Director, had it just right in her introduction when she said “you can feel the music in the air”. The gallery (home of the annual conference) buzzed with many of the area’s top music media folks from radio and TV, members of the Festival advisory board and reps from the many Fest sponsors. A few steps inside the door and everyone was tearing into the press kit, leafing through page after page of artist listings for this year’s event. If not music itself (come to think of it why wasn’t there background music?) there was a lot of talk about music in the air today.

The headliners have been public for a while now (Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis, and Pink Martini, in case you’ve missed the first big splash) but the rest – and often the most interesting part of the lineup – was kept under wraps until today.

Highlights? You bet. Lots of them: starting with the opening night, this is definitely one of the ‘don’t miss’ shows of the Festival: Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals, charm by the bucketful) and Anat Cohen (clarinet, sax + innovation like you wouldn’t believe). Mark that one down. In fact, just get your ticket now so you’re not sad when (when) it sells out.

Also very much looking forward to the Luis Perdomo Trio (6/8), the Grace Kelly Quintet (6/9), Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph (6/10), the Waterfront Funk Tent (6/11)-featuring one of my N’awlins favorites, Russell Batiste ….and that’s just the first week.

Check out the schedule. You’ll have your own favorites, and, best of all will be those great moments you won’t find until you get there: artists performing in local venues, all the way up and down Church street, and everywhere around town.

Make a plan, get tickets for the shows, and give yourself the time to explore and be surprised.

Guess that’s why they call it Discover Jazz.


P.S. – Just in case you think the schedule alone would be enough to get a bunch of light-deprived media folks inside on such a beautiful day (though, with this crowd it actually would be) – one of the Festival’s sponsors is Lake Champlain Chocolates. The ice cream and chocolate truffles didn’t hurt…I’m just sayin’… Thanks, Lake Champlain!

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