Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: The 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz can seem like an afterthought at the American Jazz Museum’s 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival.

After spending more than nine hours at the annual event on Saturday, I came away with only three jazz performances to document at my Kansas City jazz blog Plastic Sax.  Much of the remainder of my time was dedicated to listening to R&B and blues cover bands.  My notes on a few of the performances are listed in the order of my appreciation.

Children playing R&B classics with enthusiasm?  Sold!  Rather than pointing out Jamii’s obvious limitations, I’ll note that I smile at the thought of the cherubs knocking out the Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark.”  (Here’s representative footage of a previous performance.)

John Paul and the Hellhounds
The longstanding blues quartet doesn’t do anything that hasn’t done countless times before; they just do it better.

Charlotte Fletcher & Soigné
I’d try to book this band for my wedding reception if I was getting married.  The group’s covers of hits by Labelle, the Crusaders and a Taste of Honey were celebratory.

Langston and Prototype
I appreciated hearing a faithful rendition of Tyrese’s “Shame”, one of my favorite songs of 2015, and samples of Jazmine Sullivan’s undervalued catalog.

Prior to Saturday, I thought of Dwele as the vocalist who delivered the hooks on Kanye West classics like ”Flashing Lights”.  I’ll now remember him as loquacious guy who performed only three or four songs during the 30 minutes I spent watching his set. 

Popa Chubby
A lot of people adore burly boogie.  I’m not one of them.

I reviewed Seether’s concert at the Midland theater last week.

I’ve never written about music to curry favor with stars, but it’s nice nonetheless that Chance the Rapper has embraced my extended preview of his concert at the Midland theater.

Here’s the latest batch of the weekly music previews I write for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

Billy Joe Royal has died.

I feel like a rich man when I listen to Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable.  The airy production sounds like a billion dollars.  RIYL: Michael Jackson, money, Celine Dion.

I need to find a way to get to a performance by the Malian band Songhoy Blues.

Youth Lagoon’s Savage Hills Ballroom sends me back to the era in which I reverently listened to albums by the likes of Mercury Rev and Sparklehorse.  RIYL: drugs, St. Vincent, weeping.  Here’s ”Highway Patrol Stun Gun”.

Does liking Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott’s Songs From the Arc of Life and Lang Lang’s Live In Paris make me a middlebrow ninny?

Rolando Villazón’s Treasures of Bel Canto failed to rouse me.

St. Germain reduces Malian music to smooth jazz.  And I like it.

Sullivan Fortner’s Aria is about three notches too polite for me.  RIYL: Branford Marsalis, bespoke suits, Jon Batiste.

(Original images of Jamii, above, and festival grounds, below, by There Stands the Glass.)

1 comment:

Northlander said...

To much Jazz outside stage, needed more up beat music.
Need to have a parking area with bus service to event.
Seemed like to much music for such a small attendance.