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The Jazz Side of Afrobeat

Ayetoro is a Yoruba word that means a world of peace. Ayetoro is also the name of a band formed in Nigeria just over twenty ago in 1996 by Funsho Ogundipe. Funsho has quite an interesting and unusual biography for a musician. He has never played the piano before he was seventeen and he only discovered his deep love for music while he was at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria.

After he graduated he worked in a law firm for five years and then for the Prudent Merchant Bank (now Prudent Bank). Oddly enough one of his early encounters with a world famous musician ended in disaster. “I remember when I was in Law School, I used to hang out and go and watch Fela play at the Shrine on most Friday evening after school,

A Blues Chronicle: From Robert Johnson To Robert Cray

The Evolution of The Blues
The blues began in America. It was made popular by traditional artists like Blind Willie Jefferson, Son House, Blind Willie McTell and Robert Johnson. However, the most influential period of the blues was in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Electric instruments heavily dominated this blues scene. Check out this video: Sweet Home Chicago with (among many others) Cray and Clapton. Does it get any better?

The blues artists that dominated this period were Slim Harpo, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker. In addition, it was the blues artists of the ’60s that influenced the next wave of blues that included Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and Taj Mahal.

Jazz Guitarist George Turner

George Turner’s jazz guitar playing offers up mellifluous round tones, influenced by the masters of the archtop jazz guitar such as Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and Grant Green. In Turner’s hands, these influences, as well as his own deep musical sensibilities, are woven together to produce a rich personal sound.

Turner honed his skills as a jazz guitarist while he was a student at Virginia Tech, as a member of the Virginia Tech Jazz Orchestra under the direction of legendary jazz violinist Joe Kennedy. In the late 80’s Turner studied with nationally known jazz guitar master Paul Bollenback, who was teaching and performing in the Washington D.C. area at that time.
Turner then joined the University of Virginia Jazz Ensemble under the direction of trumpeter John D’earth and had the opportunity to play with legendary jazz drummer Bob Moses. These early experience gave Turner a strong foundation in jazz performance and helped develop his compositional style. In the mid 90’s Turner gigged, composed, and taught the guitar in the Washington D.C area. During those years, Turner played with many well known Washington D.C. jazz musicians including pianist and organist Greg Lamont, and pianist Lawrence Wheatley.

John Coltrane: Will there be another like him?

John Coltrane – One of the greatest

Some people ask if there will ever be another like him. The answer is no. The answer is no with Miles Davis. The answer is no with Herbie Hancock. and his music is still alive though John passed away in 1967.

People just don’t have the kind of passion about jazz that Coltrane had. He came from a different time and era where the music spoke volumes. People play around with jazz right now, but more of the jazz music that is out there is secular.
There aren’t any bands like the band that Coltrane had. No one is doing the 8-minute drum solo. No one is playing the trumpet with a madman-type of fury that made the jazz come alive. Only Coltrane had that in him. He could do this with great ease.

Where to go in LA to hear creative music

A nice piece in the LA Times outlining the “alternative” jazz venues.  Chris Barton has an overview of the handful of places where you can go to hear more adventurous music, most of the places I would think of, including Metropol, Open Gate, ResBox, MONA, even Vitello’s gets a nod as the new establishment of the “establishment” that still dares to feature more risky acts.

He even goes so far as to highlight a great series being put on by saxophonist (and LAJC member) Ken Kawamura down in Orange County.  Ken poignantly sums up the challenges of programming art music.

Jonathan Kreisberg Quartet at the LA Blue Whale

Los Angeles is a long way to travel for jazz musicians living someplace other than Los Angeles.  Logistically it’s pretty tricky to set up a series of gigs with the price of airfare and lodging, especially if you have a band traveling with you.

Couple that with the current lack of viable jazz venues in L.A. and the thought of trying to do anything out here is daunting, to say the least, and downright impossible for most.  Aside from the advent of a few more jazz festivals, the opportunities for a traveling jazz band in this town are pretty slim.

The Melbourne Jazz Cooperative

The Melbourne Jazz Cooperative has introduced quite a few later top stars at its Bennetts Lane venue.

Let’s highlight a few of the artists that, through the years, have contributes to MJC’s success:

Matt Kirsch

Guitarist/composer (and vocalist) Matt Kirsch has long been highly regarded by his musical peers, but his distinctive instrumental capabilities were finally displayed to a wider audience on his strong selling debut CD Translucent (on NewMarket). Since leaving Melbourne several years ago, he finally settled with his family in Port Douglas, Far North Queensland).

All That Jazz

Music has always been the thing at Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus. Long before Northern Liberties became a haven for the hipsterati — and, later, Old City’s weekend runover — this Philly institution was holding it down night after night, its patrons drawn to the legendary live jazz and the sweet potato fries.

But even institutions like Ortlieb’s have to evolve with the times. For its 20th birthday, the Jazzhaus got itself new ownership and closed down for a makeover. Most notably, they installed a new chef, Michael Suminski, who trained at the Four Seasons in Montecito, Calif., under redheaded wonder Mario Batali before coming to Philly and cooking in Manayunk, Skippack and at NoLibs’ own Azure.