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2001 Vitoria-Gasteiz and San Sebastian Jazz Festivals

Tommy Flanagan

It seems as if some club bookers, perhaps taking a cue from concert (and festival) producers are presenting more tribute or theme shows. Birdland, by dividing its week into one, two or three-night engagements, gives itself leeway to do such special projects.

The end of September Bud Powell tribute, conceived by independent producer Milan Simich with the assistance of Birdland’s Andy Kaufman, included a gathering of trios led by a mix of young and veteran pianists. Saturday, Sept. 29, brought together a mixture of Don Friedman, Steve Kuhn and Mike LeDonne; Friday, Sept. 28, spotlighted Bill Charlap; and Thursday’s lead-off assignment went to grand master Tommy Flanagan accompanied bassist Peter Washington and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath whose very names bespeak excellence.

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