Collective action is on the calendar for the next week beginning with the monthly concert by the NEO composers mob Third Law Collective, a fusion-y three-way courtesy of guitarist Oz Noy with bassist Jimmy Haslip and force-of-nature drummer Dennis Chambers and concluding next Tuesday with a New Ghosts-sponsored performance (and that’s precisely what it will be), by DIOR STAPLER, a group that bears an uncanny resemblance to Eurojazz agents provocateurs Die Hochstapler. New Wednesday’s Cleveland Museum of Art concert by Love In Exile (Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily) will get a full preview on Monday. Are you ready?
Kurt Elling and SuperBlue at Cleveland Museum of Art
In his 30-odd years on the scene, Grammy-winning singer Kurt Elling has topped the Down Beat Critics Poll 13 times and has received the Jazz Journalists Association Male Singer of the Year award eight times. He’s done this while singing texts written by Theodore Roethke and Walt Whitman, a Monkees hit, one of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes. Whitney Balliett might have had Elling’s musical choices in mind when he wrote his famous characterization of jazz as being “the sound of surprise.”
Yet none of Elling’s neck-snapping musical eccentricities was as shocking as SuperBlue, which will come to Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art Wednesday.
Monday, September 25, 2023, marks the centennial of Sam Rivers’ birth. Rivers was a composer, improvisor, theoretician, scenemaker mentor and instrumentalist of Promethean stature. It’s hard to think of anyone quite like him. So it’s appropriate that his centennial is commemorated by “The Sam Rivers Sessionography,” a new book by Rick Lopez that rivals Rivers in its panoptical audacity.
The Bay City Rollers might look forward all week to S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night, but for jazz fans in NEO, Sunday is the night to dance to the rhythm in your heart and soul. I previewed the BOP STOP hit by the Chris Speed Trio here, but there’s a lot more happening Sunday–and all weekend long.
Kathy Kosins, Thursday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., BOP STOP Cleveland
Because vocalist Kathy Kosins has been on the Detroit scene for a minute, you can assume a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of soul, R&B and jazz as table stakes. For her BOP STOP debut, she climbs into a classic Cadillac for an evening of cruising the satiny, midnight-blue boulevard traveled by ’50s vocalists such as Anita O’Day, Chris Connor, Julie London and June Christy. Riding shotgun on the program drawn from her recent release To The Ladies Of Cool are pros Joe Leaman on piano, bassist Jordan McBride and drummer, Scott Kretzer. And if you can’t make Thursday’s hit, they’ll do it again Friday night at Akron’s BLU Jazz+.
When saxophonist Chris Speed began his slow-motion move from New York to Los Angeles in the middle of the last decade, he arrived just as Kamasi Washington and the Brainfeeder crowd were making LA the hot new jazz scene.
But Speed, who will appear Sunday at BOP STOP leading a trio of bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Dave King, was no bandwagon jumper. “I don’t really know the scene,” he averred. “I’m just kind of focused on what I’m doing, and when I’m in LA I’m just more of a homebody.”