Jazz Quick Hits: Cliff Hines, Nick Finzer, Michigan State Professors of Jazz (CD reviews)

cliff hinesCliff Hines, “Wanderlust” — The New Orleans guitarist works with his own band and a cavalcade of notable Crescent City talent to create a suite of atmospheric acoustic-electric music drawing from multiple genres.  Loose- limbed Brazilian jazz bumps up against electronica and Sasha Masakowski’s wordless vocals on the opening “Brothers” and then it’s off to improvised new music on “Dresden Intro,” with pianist Andrew McGowan and guest cellist Helen Gillet backed by static-filled shortwave radio transmissions, leading into “Dresden,” a fusion piece with Hines’ six-string surrounded by ricocheting feedback.”Tehran” is flavored with Middle Eastern percussion, oud-like guitar sounds and electric piano, and the title track, with Bill Summers (Headhunters, Los Hombres Calientes) on percussion and Kent Jordan on flute, shifts from Brazilian guitar figures to rhythms moving from the Caribbean to Africa. Astral Project bassist James Singleton takes a beefy, growling extended solo on the New Orleans-tinted “Aetherea,” which also features trombonist Michael Watson, and Rex Gregory on bass clarinet. The switch-the-dial texture shifting continues with the lush strings, aching vocals and bossa nova rhythms of “Lonely Moon”; the dark, intense “Clouds,” with Gregory’s urgent soprano sax work; and “Arjuna Intro,” a raga built around Dave Easley‘s sitar-like slide guitar and Dave McLean‘s tabla playing, with Hines on ebow guitar and loops. It’s an intriguing pan-global affair, quite ambitious and often engaging. 

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Nick Finzer, “Exposition” (Outside In Music) — The dynamic young trombonist, joined on the front line by tenor saxophonist Lucas Pino, leads a sextet of fellow fast-rising NYC players on a set of 10 bracing original compositions. Finzer, in his playing as well as his writing, referencesnick finzer the likes of bone masters J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, and Steve Turre. The trombone/tenor blend makes for a pleasing, slightly retro tonality and Finzer, on his recording debut as a leader, proves to be a marvelously agile and intuitive improviser. “The Ramp” allows Pino to show off his considerable chops, and opens wide for drummer Jimmy MacBride‘s build-up and eruptions over the 5/4 groove, while the laidback “Eventide” feels like a lazy summer stroll (as Finzer suggests in the liner notes) and the ballad “With Gratitude” has the leader making artful use of a bucket mute. “Introspection,” another gem, is a quiet, meditative piece inspired by a progression borrowed from Ellington’s “New Orleans Suite.”

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 Michigan State University Professors of Jazz, “Better Than Alright” (Michigan State University College of Music) — MSU jazz studies director and well-traveled bassist Rodney Whitaker is joined by fellow jazz faculty members — top-flight players, all — for tunes largely taken from three original suites, with the individual compositions
MSUdistributed across two CDs (rather than being presented sequentially). Whitaker’s “Jazz Up-South” was inspired by the South-to-North migration of African Americans in the U.S., and titles tell the story of the other two suites — saxophonist Diego Riveras “The Spanish Tinge,” and trumpeter Etienne Charles‘ “Jazz in the Caribbean.” Highlights of the set include lively Rivera-penned  opener “Nueva York,” Charles’ ballad “Turquoise” and the airy “3 Note Blues,” Whitaker’s sprawling, hard-swinging “Big Four” and “Robert’s Lament,” the latter fronted with a thoughtful unaccompanied bass solo, and a zippy take on the standard “Broadway,” arranged by Whitaker. Academic setting, yes; however, the sharply arranged compositions, played by a hard-bop sextet in the mold of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, are anything but dry.

Tampa Bay area Concert Calendar – Jazz, Blues, Jamband, New Orleans, Americana, Rock, More

Selected concerts — jazz, blues, jamband, New Orleans music, Americana, worldbeat, pop/rock and more — on the music calendar of the Tampa Bay area and environs:

  • May 1 – Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers + Rev. Billy C. Wirtz, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • May 3 – UB40, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg, 8 p.m.
  • glsalley-pic-without-logoMay 8 – Ghetto Love Sugar, Infinite Groove Orchestra, Rocksteady@8, Yeoman’s Road, Davis Islands, Tampa, 9 p.m.
  • May 8 – Kings of Leon + The Walkmen, USF Sun Dome, Tampa
  • May 15 – War + Derek Jive & the Funky Five + Soul Purpose, State Theatre, St. Petersburg, 7 p.m.
  • May 16 – WMNF Tropical Heatwave: Chuck Prophet, Trombone Shorty, Bonerama, Michael Burks, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Sara Borges, James Intveld, BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet, Kinobe and Soul Beat Africa, Magadog, the Vodkanauts, Will Quinlan and the Diviners, and more, Cuban Club, Ybor City, Tampa, 5 p.m.
  • May 28 – Side Door Jazz: TRIO VIBE with singer Edgar Wilcox,  Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m.
  • May 28 – Stanton Moore, the Crowbar, Ybor City
  • May 29 – Damon Fowler Group + Shawn Kellerman, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • May 30 – Legendary JCs + TBA, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • May 31 – WMNF Jazz Jam: Sam Rivers, Infinite Groove Orchestra, PBS, World Afro-Cuban Ensemble, Impromptu, and Trio Vibe, Skipper’s Smokehouse, 4 p.m.; $12 advance, $15 day of show
  • June 12 – Eric Lindell, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • July 18 – The Avett Brothers, Cuban Club, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • June 19 – Cope + Diocious, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • July 11 – 4th Annual WMNF Americana Fest: Blue Mountain, Ted Lukas and the Misled, Will Quinland & the Diviners, Have Gun Will Travel, Thomas Wynn & the Believers, Nervous Turkey, Black Finger, Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England, Matt Butcher, Nine Volts, and Roppongi’s Ace, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 4 p.m.
  • August 12 – Dave Matthews Band + Robert Earl Keen, Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa
  • October 9 – U2, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

Also handy for concertgoers: Creative Loafing’s recent piece on the area’s Top 20 concert venues.

ARCHIVE LIST

2009 shows

  • April 17-Sunday, April 19 – Stringbreak Music Fest: The Waybacks, Hoots & Hellmouth (photo, left), Randy McAllister Band, Thomas Wynn & the Believers, The Greencards, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Todd Charles, Have Gun Will Travel + more, Sertoma Ranch, Brooksville
  • April 17 – The Waybacks + Wildlife Refugees, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 16 – Side Door Jazz: Denise Moore & Then Some, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m.
  • April 10 – Dickey Betts & the Great Southern Band + Fastgun + Angels with Dirty Faces, State Theatre, St. Petersburg
  • April 10 – Saffire the Uppity Blues Women + Julie Black, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 7 – Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • April 5 – Old School Tampa Reunion Concert: Beanstalk + Joe Popp, My Little Trotsky, and Maggie Council, Skipper’s Smokehouse
  • April 5 – Ribbon of Highway: Jimmy LaFave, Joel Rafael, Kevin Welch, Ray Bonneville, Ronny Elliott, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johny Irion, Tampa Theatre
  • April 4 – Bill Wharton The Sauce Boss, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 4 – Freddie McGregor + Junior Reid + Jahfari, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg, 8 p.m.
  • April 3 – Ben Folds + Jukebox the Ghost, The Ritz, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • April 3 – Allman-Tyler Band (with Gregg’s son Michael), Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 2 – Side Door Jazz: Stan Hunter (photo, left) Quartet with trumpeter Bob Swisher, bassist Michael Ross, and drummer Ron Gregg, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg
  • March 28 – North Mississippi All Stars + Hill Country Revue, State Theatre, St. Petersburg
  • March 27 – Charlie Louvin + Will Smith and the Diviners, New World Brewery, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • March 27 – Toubab Krewe, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • March 26-Sunday, March 29 – Suwannee Springfest: Donna the Buffalo & others, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak (see my post on this)
  • March 20-22 – Tampa Bay Blues Fest: Fabulous Thunderbirds, Delbert McClinton, Irma Thomas, Bernard Allison + more, Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg
  • March 20 – “Swing Into Spring: A Tribute to Benny Goodman” : Ken Peplowski (photo, left) with Kenny Drew Jr. Trio (including bassist Joe Porter and drummer John Jenkins), The Palladium, St. Petersburg
  • March 20 – Spiritual Rez + The Hip Abduction, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • March 20 – The Original Wailers, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg
  • March 19 – George Benson: Tribute to Nat Cole, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater
  • March 10 – Helios Jazz Orchestra with singers Rita Wilson, Joanna Rose, and Michael Cerone, First Unity Church, St. Petersburg, 7 p.m.
  • March 15 – Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, 8:30 p.m.
  • March 15 – Terry Adams Crazy Trio + Vodkanauts, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • Friday-Saturday, March 6-7 – TRIO VIBE (Philip’s band), Della’s Delectables/Della’s After Dark, Brandon
  • Friday, March 6 – COPE with Middle Rhythm Session, Skipper’s Smokehouse, 8 p.m.
  • March 5 – The Organic Trio, Side Door Jazz @ Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m. (Al Downing TBJA)
  • March 5 – Richard Drexler (performing and discussing his music), St. Petersburg College HS 109
  • March 5 – George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg
  • March 3 – Helios Jazz Orchestra, with saxophonist Butch Thomas, and singers Rita Wilson and Paul Wilborn, Palladium Theater
  • March 1 through Saturday, March 7 – Sarasota Jazz Festival: Dick Hyman, James Moody (photo, above), John Allred, Bill Allred, others, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Holley Hall and other venues, Sarasota
  • Feb. 28 – The Subdudes + The Ditchflowers, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • Feb. 28 – Mardi Gras Mambo: Neville Brothers + Dr. John and the Lower 911, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota
  • Feb. 28 – Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Ace’s Lounge, Bradenton, 8:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 23 – Bill Moring, bassist (photo, above), with USF Jazz Faculty Ensemble, USF-Tampa Monday Night Jazz Series, USF Music Recital Hall 
  • Feb. 23 – Bill Moring master class (open to the public), FAH 107, USF Music Building
  • Feb. 5-6 – Perpetual Groove, The Crowbar, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • Feb. 5 – B.B. King + Buddy Guy, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater
  • Feb. 5 – Kenny Drew, Jr. (above) Trio with bassist Richard Drexler and drummer John Jenkins, Side Door Jazz Series @ Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg (Al Downing TBJA)
  • Feb. 4 – Pato Banton, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • Jan. 31 – SPC Jazz Festival: Sue Terry Quartet (w/ Richard Drexler, Mark Neuenschwander and Tracy Alexander), SPC Music Center
  • Jan. 30 – SPC Jazz Festival: Alfredo Rivera & Manigua + O Som Do Jazz featuring Andrea Moraes Manson
  • Jan. 29 – Dark Star Orchestra, Jannus Landing
  • Jan. 29 – St. Petersburg College Jazz Festival: Helios Jazz Orchestra featuring saxophonist Sue Terry (photo, above) and singers Joanna Rose & Rita Wilson, SPC Music Center
  • Jan. 27 – Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota
  • Jan. 27 – Keller Williams, Jannus Landing
  • Jan. 26 – Jon Metzger, vibraphonist, with USF Jazz Faculty Ensemble, USF-Tampa Monday Night Jazz Series
  • Jan. 24 – USF-Tampa Magic Marimba Festival/Conference, FAH 101 & 102
  • Jan. 23 – Big Sam’s Funky Nation +  The Trio, The Crowbar
  • Jan. 23 – Side Door Jazz: Mindy Simmons Trio – A Tribute to Peggy Lee, Palladium Theater
  • Jan. 23 – USF-Tampa Magic Marimba Festival/Conference, FAH 101 & FAH 102
  • Jan. 18 – Donna the Buffalo, Skipper’s Smokehouse
  • Jan. 16 – Richard Drexler and Kenny Drew, Jr. (“Keyboard Explosion”) with bassist John Lamb and drummer Don Capone, Mahaffey Theater  Bayview Room
  • Jan. 11 – Ira Sullivan (photo, above) Quartet with  Michael Royal, Richard Drexler and Danny Gottlieb, Springs Theatre, (Tampa Jazz Club)
  • Jan. 9 – Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe,  State Theatre
  • Jan. 9 – Pinetop Perkins + Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues, Skipper’s Smokehouse (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)
  • Friday, Jan. 9 & Saturday, Jan. 10 – TRIO VIBE (Philip’s band), Della’s Delectables, Brandon
  • Jan. 8 – Guisando Caliente Latin Jazz Quintet (with saxophonist Jeff Rupert and pianist Kenny Drew, Jr.), Side Door Jazz, Palladium Theater (Al Downing TBJA)
  • Jan. 3 – Bonerama, Aces Lounge, Bradenton (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)
  • Jan. 2-3 – J.J. Grey & Mofro + Inca Maya, Skipper’s Smokehouse (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)
  • Jan. 2 – Galactic + the Lee Boys, Jannus Landing (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)

2008 shows