Jazz Perspective

The advent of autumn means the return of our vibrant student community. It also means more major concerts and the annual Edgefest celebration of progressive improvisational music. Plenty of excitement awaits in October and November, so let's dive right into the thick of it!

University Musical Society's Winning Pair

UMS will sponsor a pair of great shows in November. Gilberto Gil will play Hill Auditorium Friday, November 16 at 8pm. A legendary founding figure of Brazil's Tropicália movement, he is a fluid guitarist with a beautiful voice and an unabashedly loving stage presence. The program will present the music of northeastern Brazilian folk songwriter Luiz Gonzaga. Gil's septet features guitars, strings, accordion and percussion.

British bassist and composer Dave Holland will bring his acclaimed big band to play the Michigan Theater the following night, Saturday, November 17 at 8pm. He is a real gentleman whose music is sensitive and powerful. The typically talent-rich band includes trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, trombonist Robin Eubanks and vibraphonist Steve Nelson.

Aboard the Ark

The Ark will also sponsor November shows that should appeal to readers of this column.

Detroit's Bettye LaVette is a no-nonsense soul singer of terrific emotional power. She will hit the Ark Wednesday, November 7 at 8pm.

Louisiana native Sonny Landreth will bring his amazing guitar technique and soulful skills to the stage Sunday, November 11 at 7:30pm. Eric Clapton proclaims him "probably the most underestimated musician on the planet." Uh-huh.

Boogie-woogie, blues and jazz pianist Mark Braun, better known as Mr. B, will bring a cornucopia of keyboard delights to a Thanksgiving boogie celebration Saturday, November 24 at 8pm.

Finger-picking guitarist Leo Kottke will play the Ark Thursday, November 29 at 8pm. Expect jaw-dropping technique and eyebrow-raising storytelling. Always fun!

At the Kerrytown Concert House

The run-up to Edgefest has several great acts set to play the friendly confines of the Kerrytown Concert House, where artists perform in our collective living room.

Saxophonist and trumpeter Joe McPhee's Trio X plays KCH Wednesday, October 3 at 8pm. His musical language is powerful and mysterious.

Vocalist Sheila Jordan has an amazing history in jazz. Honored as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master of 2012, Ms. Jordan performs with pianist Tad Weed, bassist Kurt Krahnke and wonder -drummer Sean Dobbins Saturday, October 6 with shows at 7 & 9pm.

The Paul Keller Quartet featuring Sarah D'angelo has a CD release concert for "At Sundown," scheduled for Friday, October 19 at 8pm. Bassist Keller is joined by pianist Duncan McMillan and tenor sax wunderkind Ben Jansson (perhaps he is a qualified "journeyman" at this point!). Their featured guest Sarah D'Angelo plays clarinet and sings.

Guitarist Mark Elf is slated for a solo concert Saturday, October 27 at 8pm. His remarkable pedigree includes work with Lou Donaldson, Charles Earland and Dizzy Gillespie.

Sophistication and swing will be the order of the day when the Freddy Cole Quartet plays two shows Sunday, November 11 at 4:30 and 7:30pm. The surviving brother of Nat King Cole also plays piano and sings, and has established a deep catalogue of his own recordings. His working band includes Ann Arbor native son guitarist Randy Napoleon. Warm, thoughtful and "muy romantico!"

Edgefest Excitement

This year's Edgefest takes place at the Kerrytown Concert House Wednesday through Saturday, October 31 through November 3.

Opening night has Jason Kao Hwang's Edge Quartet at 9:30pm. Composer Hwang plays violin and viola and his band includes Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and flugelhorn and bassist Ken Filiano.

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo Pak Coalition will play Thursday, November 1 at 9:30pm. The adventurous alto saxophonist is the subject of critical acclaim and popular wonder. The Coalition includes guitarist Rez Abbasi and percussionist Dan Weiss.

Aforementioned cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum will lead his own sextet Friday, November 2 at 8pm. Bynum's primary working band has Jim Hobbs on alto sax, guitarist Mary Halvorson and Bill Lowe on bass trombone and tuba.

Progressive patriarch and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith will present "Ten Freedom Summers – Part I" Friday night at 9:30pm. His quartet includes pianist David Virelles, a native of Santiago De Cuba, bassist John Lindberg and drummer Pheeroan akLaff.

The final day of the Edgefest will include Wadada Leo Smith's "Ten Freedom Summers – Part II" on Saturday, November 3 at 4pm. Native American multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mary Redhouse will wrap up the Edgefest with a duet performance with bassist John Lindberg Saturday night at 7pm.

Fundraiser final thoughts

A final word of thanks in advance for your ongoing support of WEMU 89.1 FM. We will be swinging into our Fall On-Air Fundraiser — the biggest one yet! We appreciate your necessary help in maintaining this audio jewel of jazz and blues. You are WEMU! Yeah, you!

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