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Live

The true jazz experience happens onstage in front of an audience—our concert and festival reviewers take you there.

Live Review: Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival Opening Night

This year it made perfect sense for the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival to honor pianist, composer, and educator Geri Allen, who performed at the festival numerous times and passed unexpectedly nearly two years ago at the age of 60. Even more appropriate was that the evening’s homage, MC’d by Dee Dee Bridgewater, was produced … Read More “Live Review: Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival Opening Night”

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Live Review: Outsiders Fest in Philadelphia

Besides the funky ferocity of his bass playing, Jamaaladeen Tacuma is famous for his eclectic sartorial ensembles. As the curator of the Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival in Philadelphia over the last five years, Tacuma has presented combinations of musicians that are as colorful and unexpected as his flashy wardrobe tends to be. For … Read More “Live Review: Outsiders Fest in Philadelphia”

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Live Review: Jason and Alicia Hall Moran in Washington

One of the perks of being artistic director at a major American performing arts venue? Putting oneself on the program. But the grand Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration wasn’t some vanity project. The collaboration between pianist Jason Moran and his mezzo-soprano wife Alicia Hall Moran premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York … Read More “Live Review: Jason and Alicia Hall Moran in Washington”

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Live Review: Savannah Music Festival 2019

Call it the Jazz at Lincoln Center influence, but the Savannah Music Festival’s annual Jazz Week (March 29-April 5) had a bit more of an educational tinge this year. Not only was the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Big Band one of 12 finalists in the annual Swing Central playoffs, SMF’s nationwide high school big … Read More “Live Review: Savannah Music Festival 2019”

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Live Review: Big Ears Festival 2019

Knoxville, Tenn.’s determinedly eclectic Big Ears Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary with a packed long weekend of boundary-stretching music from March 21 to 24. Rather than spend too much time trumpeting its own first decade, the festival chose to shift the spotlight to two even more impressive landmarks: the 50th anniversaries of both ECM Records … Read More “Live Review: Big Ears Festival 2019”

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Live Review: Fresh Cut Orchestra Plays the Freedom Now Suite in North Carolina

Black Mountain College was a noble experiment in progressive education that existed from 1933 until 1957. Its legacy is preserved in downtown Asheville, N.C., by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, based in a new and roomy gallery space with clear sightlines to the street outside. Downstairs on a wall display you can … Read More “Live Review: Fresh Cut Orchestra Plays the Freedom Now Suite in North Carolina”

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Live Review: New York Winter Jazzfest 2019

The 15th annual Winter Jazzfest in New York opened on Friday, Jan. 4 at Le Poisson Rouge with “Thing Called Life: Prince Reimagined,” a concert by the festival’s artist-in-residence Meshell Ndegeocello. It was a risky move, for it recalled the bad old days when the Kool Jazz Festival toured the nation with such headliners as … Read More “Live Review: New York Winter Jazzfest 2019”

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Live Review: We Jazz Festival in Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki in December looks ominous when your plane touches down. At noon, the world is dim in the fog. Black sky descends to the ground. On the train into town from the airport, all the buildings are the same shade of gunmetal gray. The train station is a landmark designed by famous Finnish architect Eliel … Read More “Live Review: We Jazz Festival in Helsinki, Finland”

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Live Review: “Vanguard: The Music of Ran Blake” in Boston

There came an aha moment at the NEC Jazz Orchestra’s Dec. 6 concert in Jordan Hall that doubled as a reminder of why it was worth the time during this busy season of the year to brave the cold and venture into this venerated space. The moment arrived during the third number, Ran Blake’s “The … Read More “Live Review: “Vanguard: The Music of Ran Blake” in Boston”

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