1. Keenan McKenzie's neo-millennial '30s/40s swing band music: Last night I listened to swing jazz from 70 & 80 years ago--but most of it was penned recently (& recorded) by reed player Keenan McKenzie! He could've told us he'd dug the tunes out of old 78s, but he not only wrote instrumental tunes spurred by musicians he adores (e.g., Artie Shaw) but wrote original ballads that could've come from B moves of that past. After all, how many of us would've imagined "My Well-Read Baby"? It could've been in black & white on Turner Classic Movies, but it was in full color last night. Most of it is on his new CD, Forged In Rhythm. His band will appear again at C Grace Saturday 1/27 9p.
2. The Eric Hirsh Quartet is a true band: I've heard this group play as often as any around here. Before the gig started Eric asked the sound man if the band sounded "balanced". They are. Eric's a fine composer & pianist; Aaron Hill's alto playing blows me away; drummer Stephen Coffman manages the complex rhythms of Eric's rhythms; while bassist Pete Kimosh holds the bottom line in sync with all. This should serve them well as they record their first CD this weekend.
3. Irregardless plans a stronger jazz focus: Starting with bringing in singer Giacomo Gates Saturday April 7 to front the Gregg Gelb Quartet, Irregardless Café will devote Saturday nights to local & extravore jazz, introducing a cover charge to enable them to do that. Good on them.
This Week: The crowds at Sharp Nine Friday & Saturday nights may have been evidence that jazz does warm us. This week we'll also be warmed by the weather...
Sunday: Guitarist Brad Maiani lays Monk (& Maiani) at Chapel Hill's West End Wine Bar 7p.
Monday: Danny Grewen & Robert Griffin tickle our jazz fancies at Imbibe 7p.
Tuesday: The occasional group Jazzbeau plays standards at 2nd Wind 7:30p, while ECU faculty/students take over Sharp Nine 7p.
Wednesday: Gary Brunotte plays in the Brasa lounge 6:30p, while the Yeaux Katz jolly up the already jolly 2nd Wind 7p.
Thursday: For those few total jazz addicts, you could start with pianist/vocalist Lydia Dudley at Vinos Finos at 6:30, migrate to pianist Michael Pelz-Sherman at the Empress Room at 7:30, & speed to Imbibe for its Ernest Turner jazz jam 8-10. No ice this week!
Friday: I'd by tempted by the extravore Jason Marsalis Quartet at the Arts Center, but I need to hear Stephen Anderson at Sharp Nine 8p. Marsalis is worth it for those who want to hear fine vibes playing, anchored by Durhamite Will Goble on bass.
Saturday: Don't know details yet, but the Duke MLK concert is always worth it, in Baldwin Auditorium 8p. Meanwhile, the Al Strong Quartet is at C Grace 9p.