I found a “new” CD called Essential Irakere. Irakere is the Cuban band that had Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval and Oscar Valdes as founding members in the 1970s. Not too shabby. Essential Irakere is wonderful Afro-Cuban jazz but be warned that the material has been released at various times on various labels in various countries since being recorded circa 1989. Check your collection before buying or downloading.
The album was recorded at a famous London club and named Live at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz House in at least one incarnation. It was Felicidad another time. Now it is Essential Irakere.
Truth be told, there is a lot of other Irakere music that listeners would probably judge “essential.” Nonetheless, the band sounds great, the recording quality is good and the price is cheap: $4.99 when I downloaded it.
Paquito and Arturo were long gone to the States when these tracks were recorded but Chucho wrote and arranged most of this music, Oscar does percussion and vocals and the entire band plays brilliantly. Irakere could play proud and loud rock-influenced Afro-Cuban jazz. On Essential Irakere Chucho Valdes – who last played Madison 12 years ago and is overdue for a return – has the band playing straight ahead jazz with Latin rhythms but no rock overtones. For serious Afro-Cuban jazz fans most Irakere music is essential. Irakere is long gone but Chucho’s son Chuchito, who replaced his father as the band’s leader and pianist, will headline Jazz at Five in late summer. Continue reading
Gerald Clayton’s new CD, Life Forum, came out Tuesday.
Gerald Clayton brings acclaimed new music to UW Union Theater Saturday night. Clayton is touring in support of his just-released album, Life Forum. The no-reserved-seats concert is in the Town Center at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.
My first quick reaction – the CD was released on Tuesday — is that Clayton’s composing is maturing. The melody structures seem stronger. Life Forum is Clayton’s first release for Concord Jazz and follows 2011’s highly acclaimed Bond: the Paris Sessions. His trio is supplemented on the CD with trumpet, alto and tenor. Most songs are mid-tempo and sans swing.
Bebo Valdes was one of the 20th century’s most influential Cuban music masters. He was 94 when he died recently in his adopted home of Sweden and was largely unknown in this country. He fled his Cuban home 53 years ago, never to return. But when I spent eight days among Havana musicians last year I found Bebo’s name was known everywhere and his musical influence obviously remains strong.
Wayne Corey stands across from Chucho Valdes’ Havana home, a home
Bebo Valdes never saw in a city he permanently fled in 1960 after the Castro revolucion.
Other Madison fans and musicians may share my sense of loss for a jazz legend we never saw. Madison has historic ties to, and interest in, Cuba. Musical stylings adapted many decades ago by Bebo Valdes are still present in the sounds of Madison’s Latin jazz groups. Bebo’s son, the equally-legendary-but-more-famous Chucho Valdez, played a stunning concert to a sold-out crowd at UW’s Union Theater a decade ago. Chucho tours the world but still lives in Havana. I had my picture taken across from his house, a home, sadly, his father never saw. Continue reading
Madison Jazz Society (MJS) will hold a SUPER JAZZ BOOK & MORE SALE on Friday, February 1 (2:00-6:00 PM) and Saturday, February 2 (10:00 AM-2:00 PM) as a fundraiser for the Society’s School Grants Fund. The Fund annually awards grants to schools throughout the Greater Madison area and across Wisconsin to enhance their jazz education programs. Among the $9,000 in grants awarded this past November were ones to support last month’s Madison All-City High School Jazz Festival and next month’s Sun Prairie High School Jazz Festival. The Fund also supports things like purchase of jazz charts and instruments, clinician fees, artist-in-residence programs, and the like.
This sale will feature more than 500 jazz books that were recently donated to MJS, as well as a variety of CDs and records. The books are in pristine condition and MJS assures shoppers that they will find something good to add to your library.
The sale will be held at the Drums ‘N Moore store, 6033 Monona Drive, second floor, in Monona. Look for signs in front of the building that will direct you to the sale. The building is next to Studio Z hair design.
Just in time for the holidays Gerri DiMaggio has released a Christmas-themed CD. You can listen to samples and buy it at CD Baby. Here’s Gerri:
This THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1st 6:30 to 9:00 at “The Cove” in The Edgewater Hotel we will be celebrating the Holiday’s with the release of the new CD, “It’s Coming On Christmas”.
Join me, Paul Hastil on piano, and Nick Moran on bass and have a cocktail around the fire with your friends!
We wish you great joy and peace in this holiday season!
by Joan Wildman
The NY Times has a very positive review in this morning’s paper about Floriculture, a group led by former Madison pianist, Carl Maguire, relating to their Tuesday evening’s performance in Brooklyn. The group is celebrating their new CD, SIDED SILVER SOLID. The music on the CD has a decidedly avant guard flavor, but with Carl’s intelligently composed structures readily apparent throughout. It is very good! Let’s hope that Carl and his group can do a Madison performance soon!