Monday, January 7, 2013


Charles Lloyd
The Dave Holland Big Band (Michigan Theater) 
Big band swim at its very best. Holland's big band proved on this night it could swing the English Channel without coming up for air.

The Charles Lloyd Quartet (Michigan Theater) Impossible to put on a shitty performance when Lloyd was flanked by the incredible pianist Jason Moran. The night was full of highlights.

Mike Jellick The Nutcracker Suite (Detroit Institute of the Arts) A colossal undertaking for Detroit's hottest jazz pianist and bandleader. He took this reworking of the classic on the dry-run this time last year. After many returns to the drawing board, Jellick finally worked out all the kinks. Before the night was in the can, the performance received three ovations.

Cassandra Wilson (Orchestra Hall) Wilson is still the baddest jazz vocalists in the game. This was a memorable outing although Wilson was forced to take an intermission, and doing so upset the groove the band swung hard to establish. At any rate, Wilson made the best of it.

Freddy Cole (The Dirty Dog Jazz Café) The epitome of an old-school balladeer and storyteller. Cole fancies love songs from the American songbook. And he rendered them as originally conceived. I could listen to Cole sing for breakfast, for lunch, and for dinner. 

Celebrating Women in Jazz (Max Fisher) This should be an annual concert. There were beautiful performances by pianist Ellen Rowe, bassist Marion Hayden, vocalists Joan Belgrave, Ursula Walker, and drummer Gayelynn McKinney.

Yusef Lateef Tribute (St. Matthew’s Church) One of jazz's most prolific saxophonist honored in his home town. The performance of his music and the recitations of his literary works made the 92-year-old jazz giant weep.

The Mack Avenue Super Band (The Detroit Jazz Festival) Mack Avenue Records is the hottest jazz record company around and some of the star jazz musicians Tia Fuller, Sean Jones, Rodney Whitaker, and Aaron Diehl made up the super band, which worked on paper and more so in reality.  

The Aaron Diehl Quintet (The Dirty Dog Jazz Café’) The Detroit Tigers were in the throes of a run for the World Series, so the turn out for Diehl's concert was small, but the pianist didn't allow that to stop him from putting on an excellent concert. 

Tony Lustig (Cadieux Café) Lustig has found his voice on the baritone saxophone, and he's been working steadily going on three years now in New York. Lustig's heart is still in Detroit. His annual holiday show at the Cadieux Cafe' has become a major concert. The cafe' was packed and Lustig's band which included drummer Jesse Kramer kept spirits high with his modern spin on some jazz classics. 
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