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Sunday at the Monterey Jazz Festival: Jon Batiste & Stay Human, Marcus Miller, Charles Lloyd, and More

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 23, 2014 05:03pm | Post a Comment

The 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival came to a close on Sunday at 11pm, but the music and fun lives on in our memories and newly-expanded music collections! Besides getting to experience our jazz superheroes play live, the greatest thing about the Monterey Jazz Fest is discovering new favorites. Sunday at the Mini-Amoeba tent, we had a wonderful mix of legends and soon-to-be legends signing for fans.

Jon Batiste & Stay Human brought their inspiring high-energy and humor to the Amoeba tent directly jon batiste & stay human monterey jazz festfrom playing the Jimmy Lyons Stage (and San Francisco's Great American Music Hall just two days prior). Peerless artistry combined with old fashioned showmanship is at the heart of Jon Batiste's musical vision, which he calls Social Music. Social Music is also the title of his full-length debut with his musical collective, Stay Human. Both the title of the album and the name of the band are telling. Virtuosic pianist Batiste transcends music genres with his modern take on American music, reviving the roots of jazz, blues and so much more yet playing it in a way that is fresh, accessible and engaging. Check out Jon Batiste & Stay Human at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on Saturday, October 4th in San Francisco.

Two-time GRAMMY-winner Marcus Miller joined us after playing the Jimmy Lyons Stage to sign his latest album, Renaissance. Miller is a multi-instrumentalist, but is primarily a world-renowned electric bassist who has worked with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Kathleen Battle to Billy Idol. Always gracious with his fans, Miller even signed one fan's bass with visible joy.

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Saturday at the Monterey Jazz Fest: Herbie Hancock, Booker T., Charles Lloyd and So Much More

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 21, 2014 12:13pm | Post a Comment

herbie hancock monterey jazz festivalIt was a big Saturday at the Mini-Amoeba tent with all-star signings from 1pm straight through to 10pm. We knew we were going to have a great day when we opened to the sounds of Red Baraat emanating from the Garden Stage just steps from the Amoeba tent and then kicked off our signings with the one, the only Herbie Hancock!

The legendary Herbie Hancock joined us to sign copies of Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project (winner of two 2011 GRAMMY Awards for Best Pop Collaboration and Best Improvised Jazz Solo) and Herbie Hancock: The Warner Bros. Years. During his illustrious career spanning five decades, he’s won 14 Grammy’s, and influenced acoustic and electronic jazz like no one else in the biz. Mr. Hancock was charming and gracious with the scores of fans who turned out to meet the great man.

Quick on the heels of the Hancock signing and their ripping set on the Garden Stage, all eight members of Brooklyn's eclectic Red Baraat sat at the Amoeba tent for a signing of their latest album, Shruggy Ji. Impossible to define by genre, Red Baraat creates a merging of hard driving North Indian bhangra rhythms with elements of jazz, go-go, brass funk, and hip-hop. You need to hear them to believe them.

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David S. Ware's Surrendered: killer jazz quartet's languishing gem

Posted by J. Mark Beaver, August 26, 2008 02:40pm | Post a Comment
David S. Ware Surrendered
I have to say that I do understand how an album as solid as Surrendered could get lost in the shuffle. David S. Ware has been recording under his own name since 1988, and in groups led by legendary names like Cecil Taylor, Andrew Cyrille and Barry Harris since the early 70's. In these last 20 years of releases under his own name, Ware has released about an album per year. So, where to start? And what are the chances that an album or two might slip through the cracks and end up in Amoeba's Clearance section?

Ware is considered by many to be a technical (and perhaps theological) descendant of John Coltrane. His tenor is big and brash, in a mold not unlike Pharaoh Sanders, Arthur Blythe or Archie Shepp. His facility is masterful, never neglecting the changes and yet pushing and pulling at the melodic core of the composition. He plays the whole range: he dives off the pier and swims far enough from shore to nurture tension, but he never lets go of his lifeline-- the strong melody within a strong composition. In fact, that's what pulls me to Ware over and over again. His albums are always so full of real composition. Songs are what he and his teams bring to the table, in this case, the killer quartet made up of pianist Matthew Shipp, percussionist Guillermo Brown, and a man I consider to be essential listening any and every time one has the chance, bassist William Parker.

Surrendered starts strongly with a tone poem of sorts called "Peace Celestial." Matthew Shipp holds the core of the piece with piano meditations conjuring Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett at his more internal. "Sweet Georgia Bright" follows, and is the album's most traditional "bop" composition, and it's the lesser for it. This quartet's strength is in the idiom of the post-Coltrane continuum. Tracks like the aforementioned opener, "Theme of Ages," the loping title track with its slow, even build reminiscent of Charles Lloyd's "Night-Blooming Jasmine," and even, to a great extent, "Glorified Calypso," tour that greater territory of improvisational and textural possibilities that the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago liked to refer to as, "Great Black Music," rather than bind it within the limits and collected baggage of the term "jazz."

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