Friday, August 19, 2011

New Season; Old and New Friends

Our new season is finally coming out from under wraps--and (if we say so ourselves) you will not hear any better touring jazz musicians 'round here in the coming months than our 2011-12 guests.  Have a look--and a listen, via the magic of streaming audio--at our season web page.  It all starts on September 15th with our old friend, saxophone giant and prince-of-a-man Donny McCaslin.

Speaking of unveilings: the results of this year's DownBeat Critics Poll were recently released, and upcoming visitors to HumCo were well represented there.  Pianist Jason Moran, who'll appear as part of this year's Center Arts season with bass legend Dave Holland's Overtone Quartet (which also features RJA 2010-11 leadoff hitter Chris Potter, we might add), topped the list, winning both Artist and Album of the Year--not to mention Pianist of the Year.  Holland himself won Bass honors.  Meanwhile Rudresh Mahanthappa, who's slated to appear next April with Rez Abbasi's Invocation Quintet, took home Alto Saxophonist laurels.

Past guests were not scarce, either:  Dave Douglas (RJA 2009-10) won Best Trumpeter for the umpteenth time; Anat Cohen (RJA 2007-08) took the Clarinet and Rising Star Soprano Sax categories; Craig Taborn (Michael Formanek Quartet, RJA 2010-11), Electric Keyboard, Rising Star Piano and Rising Star Organ; Ambrose Akinmusire (RJA 2010-11), Rising Star Trumpet and Rising Star Jazz Artist of the Year; Vijay Iyer Trio (RJA 2010-11), Rising Star Jazz Group; Luis Bonilla (Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy, RJA 2009-10), Rising Star Trombone; Ben Goldberg (Plays Monk, RJA 2006-07 and Go Home, RJA 2007-08), Rising Star Clarinet; and Nasheet Waits (Brass Ecstasy, RJA 2009-10), Rising Star Drums.  Not bad, eh?

Scan the full results--and (if you're a DownBeat subscriber) vote for your favorite artists in the 76th annual Readers Poll.

And if you like reading and/or hearing about jazz when you're not listening to jazz, here are a couple recent recommendations:

  • Donny McCaslin was the subject of a feature article by David Adler, "Big Love," in the July issue of Jazz Times.  (Our favorite line: "A gentle giant at 6-foot-3, McCaslin has the easy vibe of a native Northern Californian, an unflappability that once led pianist Frank Kimbrough to bestow a nickname: “the Donny Lama.”) 
  • And bassist Ben Allison (RJA 2007-08) whose latest album Action-Refraction was named (by NPR) one of the 25 Best Albums of the Year So Far, was featured back in June on NPR's All Things Considered. (He was also profiled by Gene Santoro in the summer issue of Chamber Music America's Chamber Music magazine, but sadly the piece is not available online.)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Claire Iris Schencke at Piante Gallery

If you've been following us for a while, you know we don't do endorsements: there's a ton of good art and music in Humboldt County, and we don't want to be seen to play favorites.  So think of this as a public service announcement.  You may have noticed friend of the RJA Claire Iris Schencke (full disclosure: Arcata Arts, the company headed by Iris's husband Gordon, has helped support our past two seasons) sitting in the front row at recent shows, furiously, thoughtfully slashing away at her iPad, with results like these:

Well, if you needed one more reason to check out Arts Alive tonight, August 6, then here it is:  Iris has a show, The Glacier Art Project and At Waters' Edge, opening at the Piante gallery, 620 2d Street, Eureka.  Get a preview at Iris's own website, or read this two-page spread by R. W. Evans in the North Coast Journal.