Broadway singer and actor Billy Porter, who's best known for his Tony Award-winning performances as Lola in the Broadway hit Kinky Boots, released his new album, Back On Broadway, this week. Porter celebrated the release of Back On Broadway with an appearance on The Today Show, wherein he sang the Kander and Ebb classic "And The World Goes Round."
See his Today Show performance.
Though they veer onto the side of classic soul and Motown side of the street, there's enough jazz flowing in the blood of Amy Lynn and the Gun Show to slip them a little love here in our little world of jazz. The New York City-based septet has serious chops, as will be heard by the general public when they release their new set, Don't Trip On The Glitter, on April 29. Lynn, who reportedly digs the Lionel Richie station on Pandora and throws "one hell of a party," is supported by a group that's played with all manner of well-known names from the Radio City Orchestra to Bette Midler to Roberta Flack.
Learn more here.
Photo of Amy Lynn & Co. supplied by the artist
Former Funk Brother Thom Douvan's new set, Brother Brother, is set to release on April 29.
Drawing on a lifetime of playing soul jazz and funk -- including seven years as a member of The Funk Brothers -- Douvon pays tribute to the legendary group of session players who were responsible for the great sound of Motown during its biggest years. Joining Douvon on this record are drummers James Gadson, Michael Barsimanto, Tony Moore, Frank Wilson and the late Ralph Penland (who passed away shortly before the release of this recording), Hammond organists Duncan McMillan and Bobby Pierce and saxophonist Tony Malfatti.
Find out more at Douvon's website.
The Jazz Journalist Association has announced the winners of their 2014 JJA awards, tipping their hat to Herbie Hancock for the Lifetime Achievement Award and Wayne Shorter as Musician of the Year. Shorter's quartet won the Midsize Ensemble of the Year Award and his album, Without A Net, netted the Album of the Year honors. Also winning acclaim from the JJA is Cecile McLorin Salvant as Up and Coming Artist of the Year and Gregory Porter as Male Singer of the Year.
See the full list of winners here.
Photo of Cecile McLorin Salvant by Michael Verity
What we call the World's Best Jazz Festival Guide just got better with scads of updates for festivals through the month of June. Check it out.
Dianne Reeves will be making the rounds at this year's festivals. Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images
"This album is a highly personal portrait of my influences from straight-ahead to Brazilian and classical guitar but also the key factor of my parents who were consummate concert artists." So says Freddie Bryant about his new release Dreamscape: Solo-Duo-Trio (available now on GJKSounds). Alternating between nylon string classic guitar, archtop jazz guitar, 12-string acoustic and electric guitar, Bryant moves about a repertoire that includes originals as well as standards like Monk's "Ask Me Now" and Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat."
Joining him for the duo and trio cuts are acclaimed musicians and bandleaders in their own right: multi-reedist Chris Potter (performing on tenor and soprano saxophones as well as bass clarinet) and bassist Scott Colley, who appeared earlier this week in Portland on the bandstand with saxophonist Donny McCaslin (reviewed here). "I played with them back in the late '80s-early '90s," Bryant recalls, "and their playing was always exceptional. They can play anything, and they play it beautifully and interactively too."
Learn more about the record here.
Photo of Scott Colley, Freddie Bryant and Chris Potter by Fernando Azevedo/Courtesy of GJKSounds
As we noted last week, Theo Croker's highly-anticipated third album, AfroPhysicist, drops May 20th on Dee Dee Bridgewater's DDB Records (via Sony/OKeh). Read our review here.
Album art courtesy of OKeh
Pianist Danny Fox and his trio dropped their new album, Wide Eyed, on the world yesterday via Hot Cup Records. The second release from the group, which features bassist Chris van Voorst van Beest and drummer Max Goldman, is available on CD, via download and on limited edition vinyl. Drawing on influences as wide-ranging as Duke Ellington and The Meters, Fox's ensemble has been fittingly described as a "modern Ahmad Jamal Trio."
Check out a cool stop-action video of the band here and look for the band at these venues in the East and Midwest.
Wed. April 30 - Cliff Bell's, Detroit, MI | Thurs. May 1 - Merriman's Playhouse, South Bend, IN | Fri. May 2 - Constellation, Chicago, IL | Sat. May 3 - Jazz Estate, Milwaukee, WI | Sun. May 4 - House Concert, Music on a Mission, Lorain, OH | Mon. May 5 - Dick's Den, Columbus, OH | Wed. May 7 - Boxer's, Huntingdon, PA | Fri. May 9 - Subculture, NYC | Sun. May 18th - Bop Shop, Rochester, NY
Album cover image courtesy Hot Cup Records
New York-based bop saxophonist Donny McCaslin made his first appearance in Portland as a leader last night, bringing with him a passion for bebop and influence of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Read a review of his show at Jimmy Mak's here.
Photo by Michael Verity
The Atlanta Jazz Festival has finalized the lineup for their 37th annual shindig, taking place Memorial Day weekend at the city's Piedmont Park. Roy Hargrove takes the stage on Friday night to get the ball rolling with Christian Scott holding court on Saturday night. Sunday night's proceedings look most promising, with Bill Frisell's Guitar In The Space Age doing a 7PM set followed by the great Ahmad Jamal at 9PM. Those inclined to drop by can find tickets here.
Photo of Ahmad Jamal by Michael Verity