Drummer/pianist Jack DeJohnette launches aggressive international schedule

Jack DeJohnette

Following the launch of his latest critically acclaimed album, Sound Travels (released January 17 on Golden Beams/eOne), as well as being named a 2012 NEA Jazz Master in January, drummer/pianist Jack DeJohnette will continue to celebrate his landmark 70th birthday year with high profile performances, festival appearances, among other activities. 

DeJohnette recently participated in the International Jazz Day inauguration at the United Nations in New York City on April 30 with Herbie Hancock (in his role as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador), UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, among other internationally recognized artists

“It was a great honor to be part of this extraordinary event. An amazing feeling to play in the UN General Assembly with my friends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Ron Carter honoring Miles Davis, and also playing with some of my other friends,” reflects DeJohnette in a news release. “As UNESCO ambassador, Herbie has created a historic event here and is expanding the awareness of  this great art form.”

On May 9, DeJohnette will begin a West Coast tour at The Shedd in Eugene, Ore., with a trio consisting of Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. Billed as DeJohnette’s 70th Birthday Tour, the tour serves as this trio’s debut and will also headline Jazz Alley in Seattle (May 10-13) and Catalina’s in Los Angeles (May 15-20). The same trio will return to the West Coast in September, with performances at Yoshi’s San Francisco (September 5-8), The Opera House in Napa Valley, Calif. (September 9), and The Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, Calif. (September 10).

DeJohnette has scheduled performances at several renowned festivals in North America this summer and fall, including appearances at two of the most prominent U.S. jazz festivals. On June 28, The Jack DeJohnette Group (featuring saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, guitarist Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, pianist George Colligan and bassist Jerome Harris) – his working ensemble – will headline the Ottawa International Jazz Festival. On August 4, DeJohnette will headline the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management, performing in three different settings: with his working ensemble, his All-Star group (featuring guitarist Lionel Loueke, pianist George Colligan, bassist Christian McBride, saxophonist Tim Ries, percussionist Luisito Quintero, and trumpeter Jason Palmer) as well as a duo performance with Jason Moran. In September, DeJohnette will serve as the 55th annual Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2012 showcase artist, and will perform three times throughout the weekend (September 21-23), with his working ensemble, his Special Trio (with Pat Metheny and Christian McBride), and in duo with Bill Frisell.

Other notable appearances for DeJohnette throughout the year include participation in Pat Metheny’s five-day Summer Music Workshop beginning on August 20 as well as two European tours (in July with The Keith Jarrett Trio and in late September with his own group).

DeJohnette’s 2012 festivities will culminate with two performances: the long-awaited reunion of “The Gateway Trio,” featuring John Abercrombie and Dave Holland, at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall (a hometown performance for DeJohnette) on November 2, and a Keith Jarrett Trio performance at NJPAC in Newark, NJ on December 1.

Hilton Portland and Executive Tower hosts Valentine’s Celebration with Kirk Whalum

According to a news release, Grammy Award winning jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum is the headliner of a “most romantic” dinner and concert at 7 p.m. February 14 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower in downtown Portland, Ore. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Hotel organizers have also included a one-night stay option with the purchase of dinner/concert tickets. Prices start at $35.

Whalum is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for his musical excellence including three Dove Award nominations, an NAACP Image Award nomination and has won two Stellar Awards-Gospel music’s highest honor. An eleven time Grammy nominee, Kirk won his first Grammy  award for Best Gospel Song (“It’s What I Do,” featuring Lalah Hathaway) alongside life-long friend and gifted writer, Jerry Peters. His most current releases (on Mack Avenue Records) are The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 3  (double CD & DVD) and Everything is Everything-the Music of Donny Hathaway.

For more info or tickets, go online to: https://ticketsoregon.com/event.php?event_id=1249

Festival headliner Charlie Hunter, others to perform for the “PDX Afrobeat Breakdown”

PDX Jazz and the 2012 U.S. Bank Portland Jazz Festival, presented by Alaska Airlines, announce Charlie Hunter and the “PDX Afrobeat Breakdown” at the Crystal Ballroom at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. The guitar phenom’s Solo Jam opens the night followed by performances from Portland artists Scott Pemberton with a surprise special guest, Ben Darwish’s COMMOTION, and Jujuba. The program will explore and “breakdown” the historical Afrobeat discipline as a pivotal root in the modern funk and jam band experience which combines the improvisational character of jazz with the raunchiness of funk and flavor mixture of African tradition (BBC).

“This marathon program is unprecedented in the festival’s history, whereby three local bands are sharing the stage with a headline artist,” said Don Lucoff, PDX Jazz managing director in a  recent news release. “What better showplace than the Crystal Ballroom to present Hunter and three of Portland’s most funky and groove oriented bands than the storied venue that served as one of the Grateful Dead’s favorite performance spaces outside of The Bay Area.”
Charlie Hunter has established himself as one of the premier modern fusion/jazz-rock artists. Hunter will often find a funk groove and turn it into an amplified, wah-wah pedal induced free jam that competes with saxophones, keyboards and even violins. Since the early 1990s, Hunter has released 17 acclaimed albums featuring his dizzying technical and virtuosic 8-string guitar playing. Hunter has collaborated with preeminent names such as Christian McBride, Michael Franti, Norah Jones, Kurt Elling, Mos Def and even took lessons from master guitarist Joe Satriani.