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.
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.”
Remember last week’s Countdown? That’s right. There wasn’t one. A combination of the psychological fallout from disposing of half of my flooded record collection and late-August programming doldrums swamped me. But what a difference a week makes! And Countdown gets you ready with a roundup of some of the most snackable music events on this week’s banquet menu. Think of it as your every-Thursday planning guide to a weekend of music and good times.