Friday, August 22, 2008

Jazz Tracks #1: Clearwater Jazz Holiday Postpones Lineup Announcement; New Orleans Jazz Fest Sampler CD; Louis Prima for 2010 Jazz Fest Poster?

The Clearwater Jazz Holiday lineup long had been scheduled to be announced on Aug. 19.

But now it's suddenly been postponed to Sept. 9, which is just a little more than a month before the Oct. 16 start of the four-day festival, almost always a highlight of the Tampa Bay area's fall arts season. What's up with the delay?

(10/24 follow-up: The lineup-announcement party was pushed back due to fears that Tropical Storm Fay would wreak havoc on the area; still, seems odd to make festival fans -- not to mention media -- wait so long to get the official word on this year's line-up).

Just found out, via Pollstar, that young bassist Kyle Eastwood, a solid, creative player whose dad happens to be a Hollywood legend, is on the bill for opening night.

His debut CD, 1998's From There to Here, had Eastwood playing in a mostly straightahead vein. His most recent release, 2006's Now, was generally less interesting, with an emphasis on smooth-jazz grooves; he covered a Police tune - not that there's anything wrong with that - with keyboardist Michael Stevens, and singer Ben Cullum, brother of Jamie Cullum, guested on a couple of tracks.

So here's the probable Jazz Holiday lineup, so far: Tony Bennett, Kyle Eastwood (10/16); David Sanborn, Stefon Harris (Friday, 10/17); Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Saturday, 10/18); Joey DeFrancesco (Sunday, 10/19); and Joe Sample.

Not sure if all the earlier rumors and tour dates posted on artists' sites still hold true, but below is what I reported here on July 23 (addendum: Sanborn's site now confirms that he's playing the Jazz Holiday):

As noted in an earlier post, smooth jazzers David Sanborn and Joe Sample are headed to this year's Clearwater Jazz Holiday. That's according to an ad in a recent issue of Down Beat magazine, and to a Sanborn listing on his web site referring to a "TBA" appearance in Clearwater on Friday, Oct. 17.

Fans of less-slick, more straight-ahead jazz fare will be excited by the news that gifted organist Joey DeFrancesco is headed to the fest, on Sunday, Oct. 19. Less thrilling is the Sat, Oct. 18 return of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, sporting a brand of music (self-consciously trendy neo-swing) that was pretty much artificially D.O.A. way back when it first gained popularity, partly in conjunction with the film Swingers. These listings are both online at Pollstar.

Word is out, too, that superb New York vibraphonist Stefon Harris, who just played USF with the Turtle Island String Quartet, is also playing the Jazz Holiday, on Friday, Oct. 17. This date is confirmed at his web site.

Biggest rumor so far about a potential Jazz Holiday headliner: Tony Bennett.

The 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival compilation CD is now available. Nice mix of artists, and a pretty good reflection of the sounds heard on stage at this year's Jazz Fest.

Three of my favorite sets from second weekend - Stevie Wonder, The Neville Brothers, The Bad Plus - aren't represented here, likely because they couldn't get the appropriate label permissions, etc.

I've not yet heard the comp CD, but I did pick up the Bonerama disc while I was at the fest. Cautionary note: These are great, energetic performances, but the mixes are quick-and-dirty productions, with lots to be desired in terms of sound quality.

Here's what's included:

Disc 1
1. Steel Pulse - Dem A Wolf (5:41)
2. Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk - Gasman Chronicles (5:34)
3. Mem Shannon - Funky Town (8:40)
4. Porter Batiste Stoltz - Get Funky (7:13)
5. Bonerama - Hard Times (4:09)
6. Galactic - Comin' Thru (3:42)
7. 101 Runners w/ Monk Boudreaux - House Of The Rising Sun (5:05)
8. Zion Trinity - Jah Live in My Mind (3:28)
9. Theryl "Houseman" Declouet - Lord Knows I Tried (4:00)
10. Leo Nocantelli's Rare Funk Groove - Hype And Hoopla (10:39)

Disc 2
1. Michael Franti And Spearhead - Soldier Girl (3:27)
2. Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes - Dance (5:34)
3. Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal (2:59)
4. The Subdudes - Fountain Of Youth (3:51)
5. Nicholas Payton - Charleston Hop (8:29)
6. Shamarr Allen - Can You Feel It (6:02)
7. Kim Carson & The Casualties - Hank's Song (3:10)
8. The Del McCoury Band - Nashville Cats (4:01)
9. John Mooney & Bluesiana - Ought To See My Baby (5:03)
10. The Radiator - I Sure Need Your Love (7:50)

Disc 3
1. John Butler Trio - Zebra (6:24)
2. Terrance Simien - All Her Lovin (6:56)
3. David Eagan - I'm A Dreamer (4:29)
4. Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys - SKA (3:36)
5. Tricia Boutte - Keep YOur Hands On The Plough (5:07)
6. Astral Project - Cobalt Blue (7:27)
7. The Bluerunners - Gravedigger (6:41)
8. Mahogany Brass Band - St. James Infirmary (7:21)
9. Beau Soleil & Michael Doucet - Conja (4:51)
10. James Andrews & The Crescent City Allstars - When The Saints Go Marching In (6:56)

To order this disc, or others from Jazz Fest, go to MunckMusic.

BTW, Bonerama, which mixes a trombone quartet with a funk-rock rhythm section, plays Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa next month. Call me a sucker for brass bands and Led Zep, but I love the band's cover of "The Ocean" on last year's Bringing It Home, recorded live at Tipitina's, the great Uptown club where Bonerama got its start a decade ago.

Speaking of Jazz Fest, legendary New Orleans-born singer and trumpeter Louis Prima will be on the cover of the festival's poster in 2010, according to a story in the Las Vegas Sun.

Prima was born in 1910. Thanks to the always reliable and informative Swag's Fest Journal for the alert.

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