As temperatures rise around the Pacific Northwest, there are some extra cool modern jazz shows coming up soon. I'll preview of a few of them, and also play cool new releases from some of today's hottest musicians.
A graduate of Garfield High School's jazz program, directed by the wonderful drummer and bandleader Clarence Acox, Overall has been in New York City for the past decade or so. He's played with and produced some of the top musicians in the world, as well as working as the DJ and hypeman during commercial breaks on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Kassa Overall teams up with Seattle's Tim Kennedy and Evan Flory-Barnes on keys & bass, plus Theo Croker on trumpet. Overall produced Croker's recent album Escape Velocity, playing live drums as well as programming beats. The drummer's upcoming debut album is expected to have a similar modern vibe. "I am finding ways to blend jazz, rap and production together to make some totally fresh and new sounding soundscapes," he says.
Next week also brings Chicago's Lowdown Brass Band to town for a show at Nectar Lounge Thursday, August 2nd. The group blends equal parts modern brass funk and hip hop flash with rapper Billa Camp's gritty poetry featured on most songs. Their new album LowDown Breaks also includes more guest vocals and mostly original songs, and you'll hear a banging instrumental called "Ponder This" on the show Saturday.
Seattle's 45th Street Brass and a Joe Doria organ trio share the bill with Lowdown Brass at Nectar Thursday night, and The New Cool is giving away 2 pair of tickets to the show. Connect to our Facebook page for your chance to win big!
Looking ahead a couple of weeks, KNKX is proud to present bassist Victor Wooten's trio at Nectar Lounge on August 17th. He was recently in town with longtime friends Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, but this show will be a celebration of Wooten's first album as a leader in five years, Trypnotyx.
Trypnotyx is a powerful collection of grooves with former Parliament/Funkadelic drummer Dennis Chambers and saxophonist Bob Franceschini, who played with Chambers in guitarist Mike Stern's modern jazz group.
Funky, high-octane instrumentals dominate the album, with occasional guest vocals from Varijashree Venugopal and "voicetrumentalist" Michael Winslow, who came to fame in the Police Academy movies (!).
On the New Cool this week, you'll hear the James Brown-influenced "Funky D". Named for and featuring stellar drumming from Dennis Chambers, it also includes jaw dropping vocal effects from Winslow that have me rethinking my appreciation of unique vocal skills like his.
The release date for Trypnotyx is September 8th, now available to pre-order, and KNKX is equally excited to debut the album this week and to sponsor the Wooten trio show on the 17th.
More reasons to listen to this week's show come in the form of new releases from another master of bass guitar, Marcus Miller, the Japanese trio Alter Ego, and epic saxman Kamasi Washington.
Also coming to KNKX Saturday, the new allstar group R+R=Now (Reflect + Respond = Now): Robert Glasper (keys), Christian Scott (trumpet), Terrace Martin (vocoder/synthesizer), Taylor McFerrin (beatbox/synthesizer), Derrick Hodge (bass) and Justin Tyson (drums). That's quite a crew, and their album Collagically Speaking is simply six of the top musicians in modern jazz getting together to explore some vibes. R+R=Now = Very Cool, Indeed.
There's some political content on this record, too. Glasper explains that the project was inspired by Nina Simone’s quote regarding it being “an artist’s duty… to reflect the times.” He continues, “When you reflect what’s going on in your time and respond to that, you can’t not be relevant. So ‘R’ plus ‘R’ equals ‘NOW’.”
It's hot out there, jazz fans. Stay hydrated, near the waterfront if possible, and bring along The New Cool this Saturday afternoon.
The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5pm, hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.