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Brazz plays the Greenhouse Restaurant patio

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Marshall Smith‘s all-brass quintet Brazz plays a beautiful repertoire of sunny Sunday afternoon favorites on the Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar600 N Locust St., patio beginning at 2 pm.

GreenhousePatio

Visit https://www.facebook.com/GreenHouseDenton/videos/1537741772993268/ to view Brazz playing on the patio!

Sweetwater Jazz Nights

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Back in the day … well, 2012, I started Denton Jazz Chronicles, a blog with a mission – telling North Texas and the world about Live Jazz (and other notable music information) here in Denton, Texas.

One of the first stories centered on the Sweetwater Jazz Quartet, house band at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm St.

Now that Sweetwater is being revived by the Meredith’s, Stephanie and Ron Reinke and Joey Hawkins (think Jupiter House, Royals Bagels), I dug up one of the first youtube videos of the original and soon to be reintroduced Sweetwater Jazz Quartet with Jim Riggs (sax), Neil Slater (keyboard), Ron Fink (drums), and Jeffry Eckels (double bass) … Oh, look out, now!

Posted February 3, 2010

Color me happily surprised

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Sometime back in August, a familiar banner unfurles on my Facebook homepage … Sweetwater Grill & Tavern is coming back! I had to check it out.

My guy, Steve and I drove down to the familiar corner of Hickory and Walnut to find Agua Dulce closed … and the layout for a new rattlesnake on the Walnut Street side wall. Yay! Facebook, for all it’s “fake” news shared accurate information.

“The partnership bringing back the restaurant consists of Jimmy and Karen Meredith, the original founders and owners; Stephanie Reinke, Karen’s daughter; and her husband, Ron Reinke; and Joey Hawkins, a local restaurant owner,” according to the Denton Record-Chronicle article by Staff Writer Je

Eric Vellekamp of the Dallas Restaurant Group is the new General Manager. He’ll run the restaurant and is working on new menu items and cocktails.

Live jazz will once again be a staple at the restaurant on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with the original Sweetwater Jazz Quartet (Jim Riggs, Neil Slater, Ron Fink, and Lou Carfa) playing monthly.

“We want to give them a home back here, and they’re ready,” Karen Meredith said. “We have such a wealth of jazz musicians in this town, so they’re excited and we are, too. That was kind of me and Jimmy’s social life, coming to listen to jazz.”

The full newspaper article can be read at –

Jimmy and Karen Meredith stand outside their soon-to-open restaurant, Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, located at 115 S. Elm St., in Denton. Photo by Jake King

https://www.dentonrc.com/business/sweetwater-grill-and-tavern-set-to-reopen-this-fall/article_7fa48f38-f4f6-5a78-8e89-d5d8e59db941.html

I so very happy, dear Readers, to bring you such wonderful tidings.

 

 

Saying goodbye to the Queen

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Heavy hearts around the globe are memorializing and listening to the recordings of one of the most powerful, talented musicians we’ve seen in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul died on the 16th of this month after struggling with cancer.

For her official biography, visit http://www.arethafranklin.net/biography/.

Wow … she sculpted our culture during her decades-long career … from Gospel to Rhythm and Blues, Soul to Jazz, Opera to cameo roles in iconic films like the Blues Brothers (Think.)

Many outstanding performances come to mind as I have read and listened to the news, visited with friends on Facebook, and in my company relate their Aretha tales. I find encapsulating her amazing life and songbook is near impossible.

Tributes, biographies and anthologies can barely touch her truly strong, musical talent and 76-year life. I can share some of my favorite performances with you, dear Readers. I know you have collected your own.

“One of the most popular cover songs of all time, Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” has been sung by many talented artists, but none can belt it quite like Franklin herself. The singer gave one of her most memorable performances of the tune three years ago at the 2015 Kennedy Center honors, bringing audience members like Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Viola Davis to their feet before she’d even finished singing — and showed some trademark sass by throwing her fur coat onto the stage floor.”  Variety, Christi Carras

Aretha’s legacy will remain in our lives for a very long time, and for future generations … but like many of the iconic voices of our age, such as Tom Petty, David Bowie, Joe Cocker, and Glenn Frey, she left way too soon.

I’m back writing again

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

After a dizzying five years writing this blog, dear Readers, I took a break and JazzCoolregrouped.  Once again, with you live, I am glad to announce my topics have expanded; and am looking forward to bring you new features, such as City of Denton, and County of Denton insights and happenings, Jazz History, Local and Regional events, Out of Bounds music genre news, Copy Editing notes (you may want to check this out), Live Music Venues, and, of course, Texas Woman’s University and University of North Texas music news.

From the heart of Downtown Denton – the Historic Denton County Courthouse Square, to the open-air, off-the-wall beer hauses (Harvest House, Oak St. Draft House, etc.) … from the Murchison Performing Arts Center at University of North Texas College of Musichttp://thempac.music.unt.edu/, to the brand-new Denton Convention Center adjacent to Embassy Suites – Rayzor Ranch Town Centerhttps://www.discoverdenton.com/denton-convention-center/, Denton Jazz Chronicles will keep you up to speed and in the know!

While the pages and posts for DJC get needed updates and style changes, you can still access older posts and pages. The final look and new content may take some time to fine tune.

Feel free to contact me about any musician or band news, new Live Music Venues or other events via kathyedwards57@verizon.net.

LINKS YOU SHOULD VISIT:riggsslaterseaton-jazz-experience-73

Coming out of my music funk

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

TedGioia

Ted Gioia (Photo by Dave Shafer)

Mr. Ted Gioia, http://tedgioia.com/TedGioiaBio.html, just released his Top 100 recordings for 2017.

This may not be a big deal for some of you, Dear Readers, but his compilation, to me, is not only impressive, but boldly inspiring.

His journey through more than 1,000 albums during this past year, culling his top picks and testifying against the lack of accessible information about the lush, wide range of quality music in all its vibrant genres and forms is priceless.

I enjoy sharing my favorite music with others. But in the last few years, a different
motivation has spurred me. I believe that the system of music discovery is broken in the current day. There is more music recorded than ever before, but it is almost impossible for listeners to find the best new recordings.  

The most creative work in music is increasingly found on self-produced projects and releases from small indie labels— to an extent hardly conceivable only a decade ago.  Very little of this music ever shows up on the radio, where formats seem to get narrower and narrower with each passing year.  

Music fans once heard good new music at indie record stores, but most of them have closed. Or they could read reviews in the newspaper, but both the newspapers and the music reviews are shrinking or disappearing.

And the big record labels are the worst culprits of all, picking acts for their looks or their potential appeal to fourteen-year-olds, or some other egregious reason, and in general jumping on the most trivial passing fads.

On the other hand, the Internet presents an almost infinite amount of music and music commentary—yet where do fans even begin to separate the good from the bad and ugly?  

My personal solution to this dilemma has been to listen to lots and lots of music, and try to identify recordings of quality and  distinction.

This year, Gioia relinquished his numerical ranking, instead, alphabetizing the best recordings, “because each of these albums deserves recognition and the sequential ranking tended to focus too much attention on just a few recordings.

The full list appears soon enough. My take on Gioia’s epic undertaking is one of shear admiration. His work as a musician and writer has set him above most critics and music writers. With passion and attention to fairness and detail, he once again has offered a beauteous musical mix: Pointillistic Anti-Jazz (huh?) to Contemporary Music for Youth Chorus, Illegal Ethiopian Dance Music to Anonymous 16th Century Polyphony for Nuns … Yes, Jazz of all stripes is in there – tip of my hat to the Bernstein piano pieces, Miles Davis’ works, and a new album by Ahmad Jamal. I am also glad to find one of my personal favorites, Americana artist Rhiannon Giddens, on the list.

For the complete blog post and and the 100 Honorable Mention roster, visit http://tedgioia.com/bestalbumsof2017.html

Here’s my list of the 100 best albums of 2017 (in alphabetical order this year). They are drawn from all styles and all genres. Happy listening!

  • John Luther Adams
    Canticles of the Holy Wind
    Contemporary Choral Music
  • Teddy Afro
    Ethiopia
    Illegal Ethiopian Dance Music
  • Arca
    Arca
    Fragile, Ultra-Slow Latin Electropop
  • Daymé Arocena
    Cubafonía
    Contemporary Afro-Cuban Music
  • Sam Baker    Sam_Baker_LOD
    Land of Doubt  
    Raw, Self-Produced Singer-Songwriter from the Texas Prairie
  • Scott H. Biram
    The Bad Testament
    Funkish Punkish Country Music
  • Björk
    Utopia
    Groove-Free Techno with Flutes & Birdsong
  • Theo Bleckmann
    Elegy
    Elegaic Jazz
  • Stefano Bollani
    Mediterraneo: Jazz at the Berlin Philharmonic
    Jazz with Classical/Cinematic Ingredients
  • Brooklyn Youth Chorus
    Black Mountain Songs  
    Contemporary Music for Youth Chorus
  • Betty Buckley
    Story Songs
    Cabaret/Broadway
  • Sarah Cahill
    Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley
    Piano Music Composed (or Inspired) by Terry Riley
  • Celestial Sirens/Musica Secreta
    Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter
    Anonymous 16th Century Polyphony for Nuns
  • Bill Charlap
    Uptown Downtown
    Jazz Piano Trio
  • Billy Childs
    Rebirth
    Jazz
  • Clann An Drumma     orderofthestag
    Order of the Stag
    Tribal Drumming with Scottish Bagpipes
  • Gary Clark, Jr.
    Live in North America 2016  
    Electric Blues
  • Anat Cohen Tentet
    Happy Song
    Semi-Big-Band Jazz
  • Jessi Colter
    The Psalms  
    Gospel/Country/Folk
  • The Como Mamas
    Move Upstairs
    Gospel
  • Andrew Cooperstock
    Leonard Bernstein: Complete Solo Works for Piano
    Modern Classical Music
  • Danish String Quartet
    Last Leaf   
    Nordic Folk Music/Chamber Music
  • DeJohnette/Grenadier/Medeski/Scofield
    Hudson
    Old Rock in New Jazzy Guises
  • Del Sol Quartet & Gyan Riley
    Terry Riley: Dark Queen Mantra
    Music for String Quartet and Electric Guitar
  • Ani DiFranco
    Binary
    Singer-Songwriter
  • Emerson String Quartet
    Chaconnes and Fantasias: Music of Britten and Purcell   
    Chamber Music
  • Emika
    Melanfonie
    Czech Orchestral Art Pop
  • Brian Eno
    Reflection  
    Ambient Music
  • Heloísa Fernandes
    Faces
    Brazilian Music/Jazz
  • Fink    finks1
    Fink’s Sunday Night Blues Club, Vol. 1  
    British Blues for Moderns
  • Champian Fulton
    Speechless
    Jazz Piano
  • Galley Beggar
    Heathen Hymns  
    British Folk-Rock With a Touch of Metal
  • Molly Gebrian & Danny Holt
    Trios for Two
    New Music for Viola, Piano and Percussion
  • Rhiannon Giddens
    Factory Girl
    Americana
  • Stanley Grill
    At the Center of Things   
    Contemporary Chamber Music Inspired by Early Music
  • Erik Griswold
    Ecstatic Descent   
    New Music for Prepared Piano
  • Jo Harman
    People We Become   
    Moody British Singer-Songwriter Comes to Nashville
  • Stephen Hartke     stephenhartkedesc
    The Ascent of the Equestrian in a Balloon
    Contemporary Classical Music
  • Fred Hersch
    Open Book   
    Solo Jazz Piano
  • Jennifer Higdon
    All Things Majestic   
    Ecology-Inspired Contemporary Classical Music
  • Ifriqiyya Électrique
    Rûwâhîne  
    Sufi Trance Music from Tunisia with a Post-Punk Twist
  • The Infamous Stringdusters
    Laws of Gravity
    Bluegrass
  • Vijay Iyer
    Far From Over
    Jazz
  • Ahmad Jamal
    Marseille
    Jazz
  • Jasper String Quartet
    Unbound
    Contemporary Chamber Music
  • Jlin
    Black Origami  
    Percussion-Driven Multicultural Dance Music
  • John Joubert    johnjoubertjaneeyre
    Jane Eyre  
    Contemporary Opera
  • Mari Kimura
    Voyage Apollonian
    Music for Violin & Interactive Computer
  • The Kraken Quartet
    Separate / Migrate
    Dance & Trance Music for Percussion and Electronics
  • Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge
    Mount Royal
    Folk/Americana
    Nguyên Lê & Ngô Hồng Quang
    Há Nôi Duo   
    Vietnamese Music/Jazz
  • Charles Lloyd
    Passin’ Thru
    Jazz
  • The Magnetic Fields    magnetic-fields-50-song-memoir
    50 Song Memoir   
    Pop-Rock Art Songs
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition
    Agrima
    Jazz/South Asian Music
  • Laura Marling
    Semper Femina   
    Singer-Songwriter
  • Hayes McMullan
    Everyday Seem Like Murder Here
    Previously Unreleased Country Blues Recorded in 1960s
  • Björn Meyer
    Provenance
    Ritualistic Music for Solo Bass Guitar (Six-String Electric and Acoustic)
  • Father John Misty
    Pure Comedy
    Faux Ecclesiastical Singer-Songwriter
  • Stanton Moore    SMToussaint
    With You In Mind: The Songs of Allen Toussaint
    New Orleans Funk
  • Randy Newman
    Dark Matter   
    Mordant Singer-Songwriter
  • North Mississippi Allstars    NMA-P4P_Cover.indd
    Prayer for Peace
    Roots & Blues
  • Víkingur Ólafsson
    Philip Glass: Piano Works    
    Minimalist Piano Music
  • Ed Palermo Big Band
    The Great Un-American Songbook, Vol 1& 2
    Irreverent Rock Repertory Big Band Music
  • Aaron Parks
    Find the Way  
    Jazz
  • Maurizio Pollini
    Chopin: Late Works
    Classical Piano Music
  • Billy Porter (with Guests)
    The Soul of Richard Rodgers
    Flamboyant Updatings of Broadway Tunes
  • Chris Potter
    The Dreamer is the Dream  
    Jazz
  • Awa Poulo
    Poulo Warali   
    Peulh Music from Mali
  • Quercus
    Nightfall
    Folk/Jazz
  • Jason Ricci & The Bad Kind
    Approved by Snakes
    Dirty Harmonica Blues
  • Pepe Romero/Vicente Coves    Romero
    Federico Moreno Torroba: Guitar Concertos 2
    20th Classical Music for Guitar
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
    async
    Soundtrack Without a Film
  • Cécile McLorin Salvant
    Dreams and Daggers
    Jazz Vocals
  • András Schiff
    Encores After Beethoven
    Classical Piano Music
  • Adam Schoenberg
    American Symphony/Finding Rothko/Picture Studies   
    Neo-Romanticist Contemporary Orchestral Music
  • Raymond Scott
    Three Willow Park: Electronic Music from Inner Space 1961-1971
    Previously Unreleased Electronic and AI Music from 1960s
  • SFJAZZ Collective     MileSFJZ
    Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions
    Jazz
  • Peter Silberman
    Impermanence
    Singer-Songwriter
  • Songhoy Blues
    Résistance
    West African Desert Rock as Political Protest
  • Tyshawn Sorey
    Verisimilitude
    Pointillistic Anti-Jazz
  • Wesley Stace
    Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding
    Singer-Songwriter
  • Colin Stetson
    All This I Do For Glory
    Experimental Saxophone Trance Music
  • Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister
    Planetarium   
    Introverted Pop for Star-Gazing
  • Quinn Sullivan
    Midnight Highway  
    Bluesy Rock-Pop
  • Systema Solar    systesorum
    Rumbo A Tierra
    Cumbia/EDM/Hip-Hop
    Tale of Us
    Endless
    Tech-Noir Chillout Music from Deutsche Grammophon
  • The Tangent
    The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery
    Neo Prog Rock
  • Otis Taylor
    Fantasizing About Being Black  
    Trance Blues
  • Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
    Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau  
    Jazz/Folk Hybrid
  • Thundercat
    Drunk
    R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Tinariwen
    Elwan
    African Desert Blues
  • Tohpati Ethnomission
    Mata Hati
    Indonesian Jazz-Rock
  • Ralph Towner
    My Foolish Heart
    Jazz Guitar
  • Tribalistas
    Tribalistas
    Contemporary Brazilian Popular Music
  • The Unthanks    unthanksmd
    Diversions, Vol. 4: The Songs and Poems of Molly Drake
    Brooding Songs by Nick Drake’s Mother Molly Drake (1915-1993)
  • Kamasi Washington
    Harmony of Difference
    Jazz with a Tinge of Soul/R&B
  • Dale Watson and Ray Benson  daleandray
    Dale & Ray
    Roadhouse Country
  • Willie Watson
    Folksinger, Vol. 2.   
    Folk Music
  • The xx
    I See You   
    Dream Pop
  • Miguel Zenón
    Típico  
    Jazz

How “Skiffle” changed the world

A new book by Punker-turned-Folkie musician, Billy Bragg: He writes a ” thorough, compelling survey of a transitional genre that burned briefly but brightly in the UK in the latter ’50s.”

Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World

Billy Bragg. Faber & Faber, $29.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-571-32774-4

In his first book, musician, left-wing activist, and sonic archivist Bragg has crafted a remarkable history of skiffle, a particularly British music genre. Initiated by amateur players obsessed with the blues, jazz, and folk, skiffle lured teenagers obsessed with all things American and eager to dance away post-WWII conformity and deprivation.

Lonnie Donegan recorded Leadbelly’s “Rock Island Line” in 1954, ushering in the skiffle element in British post-WW II music.

Bragg has dedicated his volume not to Donnie Lonegan – the king of skiffle, but to “every kid who ever picked up a guitar after hearing Donnie Lonegan.”

With a DIY ethos and three-chord tunes, skiffle inspired a generation of British lads to pick up guitars, including among them Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart and a young extraterrestrial who would later take the name “David Bowie.”

Roughly a cross between folk and R&B, skiffle quickly succumbed to the other two genres and faded from the charts, even as its former disciples led the British Invasion. Bragg impresses throughout with engaging prose and painstaking research.

He further enlivens the text with personal insights and witty asides that give the material a unique cast few professional writers would dare. The introduction of dozens of new figures in the last third of the book diffuses the narrative but that’s a minor demerit to an accomplished work. Ending with a flourish, Bragg convincingly argues for the emotional connection between skiffle and punk rock, something Bragg would know about better than most.

Ray Phiri, S. African Jazz artist, dies at 70

Music news: Ripping and reading

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Back in newspaper’s day, when TV/radio news reporters simply read the print stories for their programs, it was called, “Rip and Read.”

So, as editor of my blog, I call it as I do it …

By JON PARELES
New York Times

Ray Phiri, the South African guitarist who reached an international audience backing Paul Simon on the albums “Graceland” and “The Rhythm of the Saints” and who founded Stimela, a widely acclaimed, long-running band that confronted apartheid, died on Wednesday at a clinic in Nelspruit, South Africa. He was 70.

Ray Phiri performing with Stimela in Johannesburg in 2007. Credit Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

A family friend and spokesman, Paul Nkanyane, announced the death and said that the cause was lung cancer.

The African National Congress, now South Africa’s ruling party, said in a statement: “Phiri was a voice for the voiceless and a legend of our time. An immensely gifted composer, vocalist and guitarist, he breathed consciousness and agitated thoughts of freedom through his music.”

Mr. Phiri’s guitar playing held echoes of African traditions, full of percussive subtleties and springy rhythms, which he merged with a fluent understanding of soul and funk and delivered with a warm, rounded tone. He sang in English and in South African languages with an earnest sense of urgency, while his lyrics recognized adversity and called for love, determination, honesty and unity.

Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri was born on March 23, 1947, in what was then called the Eastern Transvaal of South Africa. He grew up near Nelspruit, an agricultural area in what is now the province of Mpumalanga.

His stepfather, who was from Malawi, played guitar but gave it up after losing three fingers in an accident. Mr. Phiri took that guitar and largely taught himself to play.

He moved to Johannesburg in 1967 to work as a musician.

Stimela grew out of a soul band Mr. Phiri founded in the 1970s, the Cannibals, which had a string of hit singles in South Africa. He and members of the Cannibals formed Stimela (the name means “steam train”) in the early ’80s. Mr. Phiri led the group, wrote songs, played guitar and often sang lead vocals.

Stimela merged the flexibility of jazz and the sleekness of R&B with the buoyant rhythms of South African styles like mbaqanga; its songs also recognized the tensions of living under apartheid. Its three-decade career as a top South African band began with its debut album, “Fire, Passion, Ecstasy,” released in 1984.

In the ’80s and early ’90s, Stimela’s music came up at times against the limits of what could be publicly expressed under apartheid. Some of its songs were banned from broadcast on the state-controlled radio station, SABC, notably “Whispers in the Deep,” which urged, “Speak your mind / Don’t be afraid.”

Despite the radio ban, the 1986 album containing that song, “Look, Listen and Decide,” became a best seller.

Where Did We Go Wrong,” a 1984 duet with a white singer, Katie Pennington, was also refused radio play.

From left, Joseph Shabalala, Miriam Makeba, Paul Simon and Ray Phiri during a concert in Zimbabwe in 1987. Credit Associated Press

Mr. Simon recorded “Graceland” in 1985 and 1986, working on most of its songs with African musicians in Johannesburg and New York City. Mr. Phiri and two other members of Stimela backed Mr. Simon on the album track “Crazy Love, Vol. II,” and Mr. Phiri was part of a South African rhythm section that Mr. Simon brought to New York for further recording.

Elsewhere on the album he played guitar on the title track and on “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” and was credited as both guitarist and co-arranger on “You Can Call Me Al,” “Under African Skies” and “Crazy Love, Vol. II.”

Mr. Simon paid tribute to Mr. Phiri on his website: “He was a beautiful, masterful guitarist and an inventive musician. He will be remembered as a patriot who used his music to fight apartheid and brought that message to the world.”

After the release of “Graceland,” in 1986, Mr. Phiri joined Mr. Simon’s touring band to perform songs from the album worldwide. “Graceland,” which introduced much of the outside world to the sound of South African music, has sold more than five million copies in the United States alone and won the Grammy Award for album of the year in 1988.

“It was an opportunity to sensitize the world about the apartheid regime,” Mr. Phiri said about “Graceland” in a 2013 interview with The Financial Gazette, a Zimbabwean publication. “We managed to bring the world’s attention to the apartheid monster.”

Mr. Phiri also appeared on Mr. Simon’s 1990 album, “The Rhythm of the Saints,” and toured with him into 1992. He rejoined Mr. Simon for a 25th-anniversary tour with the Graceland band, documented on the album and DVD “The Concert in Hyde Park,” released this year.

But Mr. Phiri’s career in South Africa was far more extensive. He had gold and platinum albums there with Stimela, which has continued to tour and record. Stimela’s 2010 album, “A Lifetime,” was named best adult contemporary album at the 2011 South African Music Awards, the country’s equivalent of the Grammys.

Mr. Phiri also had solo side projects, and produced and wrote songs for other acts. He was a longtime member of South Africa’s National Arts Council. He received a lifetime achievement award at the South African Music Awards in 2012. There was no immediate information about survivors.

In 2011, Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, awarded Mr. Phiri the Order of Ikhamanga, a national honor, citing “the successful use of arts as an instrument of social transformation.” In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Zuma called Mr. Phiri “a musical giant.”

“For me, music is the closest thing to religion,” Mr. Phiri said in “Under African Skies,” a 2011 documentary about the making of “Graceland.” “And if it’s utilized in the right way, it can inform and bring people closer, and they can find solutions to their problems.”

Jimi’s new guitar

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Tonight:  Jimi Tunnell (Steps Ahead)with legendary percussionist Jose Rossy (Weather Report & Patti LaBelle), Mario Cruz (saxes, EWI), Jeff Plant (basses) and Dennis Durick (drums) at Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial, Denton. 8 pm. Tickets – $10.

Jimi Tunnell, is a fantastic performer, a recording producer, but first and foremost – an amazing guitarist. A very integral part of his music is his custom-made “Strat” – a singular instrument that has helped craft his signature sound for almost 30 years.

FMI: http://www.buffalosound.com/bio.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmcjULWbal0

A few years ago, Jimi realized his irreplaceable model was becoming fragile, and at risk from the airline travels he put it through. A new, traveling model was needed.

Not an ordinary instrument, Jimi needed to work with a guitar-smith who could construct an instrument to coax the nuanced phrasing and precision modulation required for his phenomenal fusion Jazz.

I wanted the resonant body – porous, densea headless model with the bridge I wanted – a tremolo arm that had precision for incredibly subtle phrasing,Jimi said. “I got in touch with Allan Holdsworth*, and Tim Millerhttp://www.timmillermusic.com/, who had guitars made by Rick Canton.”

He found Rick was “was really into that.”

* Allan Holdsworth, a spellbinding guitarist who influenced generations of jazz and rock musicians with his innovative sound, has died unexpectedly at age 70 – April 15, 2017. FMI: http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/04/17/524332013/allan-holdsworth-revered-fusion-guitarist-dies-at-70

Rick Cantonhttp://cantoncustominstruments.com/, based in the high desert of New Mexico, has been designing and building guitars professionally for the better part of a decade. He creates guitars with a focus on ergonomic design, an artist’s sensibility and a musician’s ear.

JimiTunnellmodel

The Jimi Tunnell model (in progress) by Rick Canton.

Jimi sent me his design specifications and we have been working on his model over the past two years or so,” Canton said.

Canton chambered the alder wood body for the more resonant quality Jimi required, and having tried a bridge that wasn’t to their liking, finally found the exact element.

The bridge Jimi wanted “had not been designed yet,” but Geofferey McCabe, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/csl-sophia-tremolos-globalstop-tuners-geoffrey-mccabe, finally offered a bridge design with a locking tremolo – one that could augment string settings with a wheel.

It’s not just the guitar, Jimi added, it’s the guitar and the amplifier.

“I’m using the new guitar a lot more,especially for traveling, but if I’m in town (Denton), my other model is on stage with me as a back-up.”

Jimi said he is tweaking stuff with his new guitar all the time.

“I consider this the Beta model,” Jimi said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iVm1GWMp_4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vTckR-OBak

The Jimi Tunnell Model

Jimi needed to find a replacement for the guitar he had been using for 25 years. He approached Rick with the design he wanted and worked with Rick to ensure the new guitar would replicate the tonal characteristics and playability of his previous guitar while expanding on its dynamic and ergonomic qualities. http://cantoncustominstruments.com/

2017 Arts & Jazz Fest rain dance

Two festival goers brave the muddy mess that was Quakertown Park. Though the weather was rough last weekend, it didn’t stop Dentonites and visitors from breaking attendance records. From the 2015 North Texas Daily story, http://ntdaily.com/with-mud-and-rain-jazzy-weekend-plays-on/.

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Well Dear Readers, the time has come to raise the tents and have some fun … the 2017 Denton Arts & Jazz Fest is this weekend: Fri, April 28, 3pm – 11pm;
Sat, April 29, 10am – 11pm; and Sun, April 30, 11am – 9pm.

Unfortunately for the past couple of years, my scooter, that I rely on for long distances, is not made for off-track, muddy conditions, and I found the difficult truth is I had to use the sidewalk around the park perimeter to not only get to the Jazz Stage, but I had to remain on the concrete for the performances. Anyone else using canes, walkers, those with babies and their strollers, etc., be forewarned. (High-heels are so not for this event!)

Please understand, I do enjoy Quakertown Park321 East McKinney (Corner of McKinney and Bell), and the Jazz Fest, but Texas weather does not always cooperate.

I have pulled up the DAJF Denton Accuweather forecastSevere thunderstorms predicted for Friday afternoon, strong thunderstorms Saturday and cool, partly cloudy conditions Sunday. (http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/denton-tx/76201/april-weather/331112)

So, I’m calling for full-on Woodstock conditions. The main Jazz Stage central area gets really muddy and soft. Trails do not accommodate scooters and strollers …

This year, the three-day, FREE event, with more than 3,000 musicians, artists and performers attract over 225,000 annually to enjoy the culturally diverse music and art, offers many reasons to brave the wet, Spring conditions:

Festival goers peruse the art on sale in the Denton Civic Center during the Denton Arts & Jazz Fest. Discover Denton. Original. Independent.

  • Friday night

Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane & Matt Garrison(Friday, 9:00 pm – Jazz Stage)

In a career that spans five decades and includes collaborations with some of the most iconic figures in modern jazz, NEA and Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette has established an unchallenged reputation as one of the greatest drummers in the history of the genre.

He is one of the most consistently inventive jazz percussionists in history, having emerged in the 1960’s playing with John Coltrane, Charles Lloyd, Thelonius Monk, Keith Jarrett and many others. Considered one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th Century, DeJohnette incorporates elements of jazz, free jazz, world music and R & B, making him one of the most highly regarded and in-demand drummers. FMI: Visit http://jackdejohnette.com/

  • Saturday night

Aaron Neville(Saturday, 9:00 pm – Jazz Stage)

Although Aaron Neville is often compared to singer Sam Cooke in terms of sheer vocal refinement, he has a voice and style uniquely his own. He is well known as part of the New Orleans sound of The Neville Brothers. Musically, of course, you know Aaron as a lover, not a fighter. The strange trajectory of his recording career began in 1960 when he recorded a single with producer/writer Allen Toussaint. FMI: Visit http://aaronneville.com/.

  • Sunday night

Brave Combo(Sunday, 7:00 pm – Jazz Stage)

Trying to describe Brave Combo‘s music requires a pretty extensive vocabulary- at least when it comes to musical styles. For the past three decades the Denton-based quintet has perfected a world mix music that includes salsa, meringue, rock, cumbia, conjunto, polka, zydeco, classical, cha-cha, the blues and more. They are America’s premier dance band and a rollicking, rocking, rhythmic global journey­ offering what one critic recently wrote: “Even if you come for the party, you’ll leave with something of a musical education.”

The band is comprised of founder Carl Finch who was recently inducted into the Polka Hall of Fame, Finch sings vocals and plays guitar, keyboard and accordion. He is joined by Danny O’Brien on trumpet, Alan Emert of drums, Little Jack Melody on bass guitar and Robert Hokamp on guitar. FMI: Visit https://bravecombo.com/.

*The Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. produces the event with the generous support of sponsors such as the City of Denton, the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department, the Dallas/Fort Worth American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147 and many individual corporate and individual sponsors. It is because of these generous sponsors that the event remains free to the public.

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