Incredible, Indeed! – Up Close and Personal, Singer/Songwriter/Musician/Producer, CHAZ

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Music And Art Are One! Tri-C Jazzfest: Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts

Hello Jazzy Ones!

Ok I confess, when I saw the title “Arts & Crafts”, I thought hm.. does he Make drums?  And is he going to display how some of them sound?  I was intrigued.  Usually if I am unfamiliar with an artist, I will do my research on them.  This time, for some reason I did not, don’t remember why. But I am glad that I did not.

I hope that you, as the reader, understand the way I blog.  I do not do so as a Jazz Aficionado, though I am versed a bit.  I wanted to share the experience of the Jazzfest as a mere listener and appreciator of quality music.  I think that perspective is the underdog in music review.  Hopefully, relaying these experiences to you in an appreciative as opposed to editorial form will help you to understand more of Jazz and the real feel of it as a listener.

That being said?  I’m having trouble with words for this night, and I am very well versed in the English language, am a Spoken Word artist, and a Songwriter.  I’m at a descriptive loss.  I have enjoyed every concert that I have been to.  I promise you that.  To see real artistry, and hear live music has been like an indulgence of a different cheesecake every night.  Rich, and satisfying lol.

Tonight however, was the first time that I cried from the beauty of what I heard.  And I am still quite emotional from it. I don’t have a lot of pictures for this blog.  It appears that my hands were trembling a lot.  Seriously.  You could not be in the room and not be impacted by the beauty of SOUND.

Matt Wilson is not a drummer.  And he was not accompanied by some skilled musicians.  They are exactly what the name says.  Arts, and Crafts.  I heard the drums and various percussions tonight that I have never heard interpreted that way before in ANY genre.  At one point, he was playing a reed flute, and swirling it around the top of the high hat, while making some form of sound on the top of the high hat.

Not to mention playing the drums with his hands as the pianist, Gary Versace played the Steinway with his left hand….and the Hammond with his right!.  Unreal!

The display of artistry was Spectacular.  Opening up with “Little Boy With The Sad Eyes” Gary Versace played that organ from a place deep in his soul.  Every solo was skilled, and unique, with a display of mastery of their instruments that was next level.  Martin Winn was so nimble on the Bass that at one point it sounded like there were two bassists.

Finally I just gave up on trying to maintain my cool when Terrell Stafford on Trumpet delivered a haunting yet mindblowing performance on “Happy Days Are Here Again”.  They performed some of the material from his new CD “Attitude of Gratitude”, and I shelled out my last fistful of dollars to take it home with me [ask the volunteer, she will tell you!]

As hilarious as gifted, Matt kept us laughing about replenishing the community as part of the stimulus package [you had to be there], and was so passionate about the music that he made more noise than all of us haha!

Without a doubt, this was the most innovative, and creative display of artistry in musicianship that I have ever seen, heard, or experienced.  Thank Heavens that Tri-C has stayed dedicated to providing quality music in their Jazzfests each year.  This was Six Flags, Woodstock, a Family Picnic, Fireworks, and a Sunset over the Ocean at High Tide all at once.

I have said it all week.  I will say it again.  Attend a concert this year. You will NOT be disappointed!

In Rhythm and Blue [and tonight..awe]


Official Blogger

Tri-C Jazzfest 2012

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A Sweet Treat! Tri-C Jazzfest: “Thunder From The Heartlands ft. Ernie Krivda”

Greetings Jazzy Ones!

I called this one Sweet Treat, because I had never heard Ernie Krivda before.  And, I had always wondered what The Hermit Club was, since it is so exclusive looking lol.  Turns out, it is.

The Hermit Club is a very exclusive club that was established in 1904.  It is the nation’s oldest private club.  THE NATION’S.  So much rich history in Cleveland!  I spoke to some men that knew about it, and found that it was at one point a very exclusive men’s only club [may still be?] and was for the very affluent. More notably, it is known however to house in it’s beautifully carved English Tudor annals, a platform devoted to nonprofessional performing arts, and is headed by those who truly appreciate the arts as opposed to us common industry folk.  How rare!  To have a place that gives room for the art just because of the love for it.  There is a great history behind it.  I encourage you to check it out. 

As supporters of the arts, they often have Jazz events.  The interior is as the exterior: rich, elegant, and stately.  To me, the absolute perfect place to have Ernie Krivda play. When I saw him, he was, as they used to say, “dressed to the nines”.  Complete with a fedora, Ernie fit the atmosphere.  It was formal and friendly, as was he.  More conversational than most of the other participants to date, he at once kept us laughing, and shared some of the rich history behind the musicians that were with him on the stage:

Bobby Floyd – Piano;  Jeff Grubbs – Double Bass, Brad Goode – Trumpet, Renell Gonsalves – Drums, and Brad Goode – Guitar. [had to sit in the very back.  Place was standing room only!]

I like the name of the set “Thunder From The Heartlands” Each of these musicians are from the Midwestern state area [Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan], and each state is very heavily vetted in the Jazz community.  The atmosphere was elegant.  The music, was super lush.  He has been compared to Cannonball Adderly in his approach.  I have never heard the tenor sax played as beautifully as I had that night.

Now, that is no disparagement to others.  I am not a huge horn jazz enthusiast by liking; more of a guitar and piano kinda girl.  But this night, we got all of the above.  I sat in total rapture as did most.  Even the media barely moved, so intoxicating was the sound.  I was transported back to the rich sound of music that used to flow from the television in my youth.  Not just Jazz, but that lush feel to it, like the scene in Cinderfella with Count Basie, or numerous backdrops of great classic movies.  Yes.  That is the word for these gentlemen.  This night, Jazz was Classic.  I even felt underdressed.

Even more heartwarming was the demographic and cultural meld within those walls.  We were of every color and creed, as I met Anglo, African-American, Indian, Italian, Mexican, and Sicilian to  name a few. There were those who needed elevators because their mature state would not allow them to take the stairs.  And there was the moment that made me emotional: watching a grandmother come in with her granddaughter who could not have been more than 6-10 years of age.  Both were dressed very nicely, and the youngster sat and listened just as rapturously as her Nana.  Wow.. how often do you see that?

Tri-C has night after night provided us with quality material.  This night, it was beautifully represented in an expression that could be appreciated by Jazz enthusiasts, appreciators, media, volunteers, staff, guests, members, and the very young.

Again, I encourage you to not miss another night of this festival which runs thru Sunday night, April 29,2012.  Go to and treat your soul.  You will NOT be disappointed.

In Rhythm and Blue


Official Blogger

Tri-C Jazzfest 2012

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9 DAYS TIL JAZZFEST!! – An Evening With Diana Krall

Greetings Jazzians!

Wow, just 9 more days to go until the Tri-C Jazzfest! Are you ready?  Do you have your tickets yet? Some of the concerts still have a few seats left, while others, like Esperanza Spalding, are completely SOLD OUT.  Yay!

April 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm – Playhouse Square

If you have never heard Diana Krall, you have missed a treat in your life.  Her voice is melodically delicious, and she plays the piano beautifully!  Diana Krall is one of the best-selling artists of her time, topping every other female jazz artist in the last two decades.

With more than 15 million albums sold, she is the only jazz singer to have had eight albums debut at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums.  A winner of three Grammys and eight Juno Awards, the Canada native has earned nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums.  Her stellar quartet includes Robert Hurst (bass), Anthony Wilson (guitar) and Karriem Riggins (drums).

In her concert, “An Evening with Diana Krall”, you will experience the richness of her vocals and lyrics as well as the skilled musicians within her quartet.  She is a quality artist, whose sound it true to life: what you hear, is what you heard.

Tri-C Jazzfest, now in it’s 33rd year, is the Largest Jazz festival presented by an educational institution, and most definitely the largest in the Midwest.  They are presenting 10 days of Jazz: Education, History, special presentations and tributes, and some of the finest representations in the Jazz genre in concert.  The venues are spread over the downtown Cleveland to East Cleveland areas, are all RTA accessible, and very affordable [free to $85 dependent upon the event].

In this age of technolgy, live musicianship was becoming nearly extinct.  Fortunately, while it has been infused in by some more progressive artists, Jazz has remained for the most part the pure, disciplined yet unstructured, freestyle form of musical expression as when it began. April 19-29, Cleveland will be filled with the sounds of live instrumentation and incredible vocals.  Be sure to stop by the Tri-C website [] and purchase your tickets to Diana Krall, as well as the other fine artists shows.  You will NOT be disappointed.

See You There!


Official Blogger

Tri-C Jazzfest 2012

Categories: Jazz, Music, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

27 Days to Tri-C Jazzfest: Esperanza Spalding

I am currently listening to “Cinnamon Tree” from the new project Black Radio Society from Esperanza Spalding.  Esperanza is the first Jazz artist to win a Grammy for Best New Artist.  Thumbs up for Jazz!

Jazz is such a true representation when you say the word “music”.  The musician can convey every emotion thru their instrument that is written in lyric form for other genres. That is not to say that there are no Jazz offerings with lyrics, in fact this particular song tells of her affection and admiration for a certain someone whose essence is like the spice cinnamon. But even if there was not a single word said, from the intro of the upright you can tell this is a story of love and passion.  Jazz in it’s purest form has composition that is a true expression of the heart of the artist, and when lyrics are found to it they usually have an incredible marriage.

If you love Jazz, The Tri-C Jazzfest this year is presenting Esperanza, as well as a host of other artists.  While I will be blogging about the festival day by day in attendance,  I will share with you as much about each artist or event night as I can over the next 26 days leading up to the festival so that you can fully appreciate the richness of what we have here in Cleveland April 19-29,2012 at various arenas around the city. It is arguably the largest Jazz festival in the Midwest, filled with 10 days and nights of education and excellent offerings of music from the local to national and international status.  Last year we were treated to Ndugu Chancler, Sean Jones, Smokey Robinson, Tia Fuller, Robert Glasper and more.  This year is just as incredible.

TICKETS ARE GOING FAST!  Don’t miss out.  This year, treat yourself to a concert or 2. Or 4.  They are also featuring discount group rates, so get a gathering together and I will see you there!

Esperanza Spaldings’ new project available now on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Be sure to hear her live at the Tri-C Jazzfest Thursday April 19, Tri-C Metro Auditorium. Go to for ticket purchase information.


One Love


Official Blogger

2012 Tri-C Jazzfest

Categories: Jazz, Music, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Neolicious Review – Unplugged: Cleveland Jazz Orchestra

MOCA, or the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art is within itself something to blog about.  The art that is displayed there is always fresh, and innovative.  A different approach to a standard staple.

Perfect atmosphere for the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra: Unplugged.

Under the direction of world renowned Trumpeter and Artistic Director Sean Jones, this brilliant quintet [Sean Jones, Trumpet, Musical Director; Clifford Barnes, Keys; Tony Watson Jr., Saxophone; Joey Green, Bass, Robert “Hubb” Hubbard, Drums] took us thru 2 beautifully executed sets of music.

Starting with “Maputo” by David Sanborn [who will be here for the 2012 Tri-C Jazzfest!], the CJO set the tone for what Jazz is best known for; Unconventional Discipline.  Jazz is a peculiar bird, one which if not appreciated for it’s passion can be misunderstood or brushed off as merely “instrumental music”. But a Skilled musician can invite  you into their heart and soul where the seat of the music is born from, and you experience all of the passions, highs, and lows with each measure. There is a discipline to it, as Jazz challenges the musician and the listener with absurd time signatures, chord progressions, and tempo changes – at times all of those components in one offering.  It sounds free, crazy, uninhibited, kaleidoscopic, and breathtakingly beautiful all at the same time. It was so good that I called my producer friend in California and put him on speakerphone so that he could be blown away as well as they performed “Mo Better Blues” by Branford Marsalis.

We were extra especially treated to some original offerings.  “Chillin at da Grille” by Sean Jones, and “77 South” by Robert “Hubb” Hubbard.  Both of these men have proven to be not just accomplished musicians in the Jazz genre, but also gifted composers of  lasting music.  “Chillin…”, as Sean explained, was a result of a request from 2 patrons at a performance he was at; an older gentleman requesting a standard, and a younger man requesting D’Angelo.  Sean’s offering seamlessly crosses the lines of Traditional Jazz and Neo-Soul by blending the best of both worlds: the disciplines of Straightahead and the off- chorded structures of the Neo Soul. Not an easy feat since Neo Soul is the hybrid of Jazz and R&B and can easily overpower it’s predecessor.  It was received with a thunderous standing ovation.  “77 South” was amazing.  I would love to have it in the car booming while riding down that freeway.  The composition was focused, and mindlessly free hearted, the exact way we are when we are driving long distances – which is the motivating force behind it as he explained having to travel that highway often to see his wife.

There were so many high points! Each musician is skilled in their arena.  Everyone of them.  Robert “Hubb” Hubbard is already known in the community for his group “Hubbs Groove”, usually sitting in the seat of Musical Director as well.  It was great to hear him shed at the drums. At one point, bassist Joey Green sounded like a band of bassists, and Clifford Barnes played such an amazing solo on the keys that we could not contain it anymore and began yelling and cheering.  Tony Watson did an incredible interpretation of  ”Cherish The Day” by Sade, and was regarded as one of the better saxophonists Sean has come to play with. Culminating the evening was a bright, lively version of  “The Chicken” by Jaco Pastorius  that brought us to our feet dancing, then at the end clapping and cheering as they left the stage until they returned for an encore…and we were treated to a decadent musical indulgence – “Tutu” by Miles Davis.  It was perfectly clear why Sean Jones was the front horn man in the tribute to Miles Davis on the tour with Herbie Hancock and Marcus Miller.  It was everything it was meant to be.  Haunting. Reflective. Beautiful.

For me, this was the perfect introduction into the 2012 Jazz Season.  I encourage you earnestly to find your way to a Cleveland Jazz Orchestra concert THIS YEAR.  Do not hesitate!  I first heard them when they did the tribute to Afro Cuban Moods last year.  We have INCREDIBLE musicians here in Ohio.  Let’s come out not just to support – but to experience a lost art in the mainstream of music.

Real, Pure, Live Musicianship.

Til then!


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