San Antonio's Sebastian Campesi might not be well-known to local jazz scensters, but those who caught the 76-year-old violin virtuoso at this year's South by Southwest will definitely be in attendance -- as well as a local rhythm section comprised of pianist Rich Harney, bassist Edwin Livingston, and drummer J.J. Johnson. See "Roadkill" for more on Campesi.
Traditionally the Clarksville festival's night for new bands and composers, this year's New Ensemble Night features the Jazzaholics, a group of graduate students/players/composers from the UT School of Music, who Harold McMillan describes as "avant-fusiony, but also firmly rooted in the be-bop tradition -- not from one of the local jazz cartels." Also on the bill are tenorman Brad Andrew, known by some locals for his playing with Jesse Taylor, and the Neo Trio.
Thanks to the fact that local piano wizard Frederick Sanders went to school with trumpeter Roy Hargrove in Dallas, it's Sanders band that hosts what McMillan modestly predicts will be "one of the best nights in Austin music in a long time." Sanders is currently hard at work recording his debut with nationally renowned guitarist Mark Whitfield and saxman Marchel Ivery, so not only will those two be on hand, so will Hargrove, who will guest with Sanders' band as well as supply his international supergroup Crisol. Look, too, for any local players smart enough not to miss what could indeed be the superjam of the year.
The jazz equivalent of the Austin Music Awards, the Jazz Players & Critics' Poll Awards Show also features its yearly spotlight on local jazz vocalists. This year look for: Suzi Stern-Luna, Tim Curry, Beth Ullman, Pam Hart, Hope Morgan, and Phillip Marshall. Following the show, local salsa kings Son Yuma host a late-night jam featuring Roy Hargrove and members of Crisol. (A percussion workshop with various members of Crisol is scheduled earlier in the day, 2pm, at the Victory Grill. Call for information)
Thanks to an encounter between Harold McMillan and Roy Hargrove and his manager in New Orleans a couple of years ago, in which the DiverseArts founder mentioned his "little jazz festival," Hargrove and Crisol kick off their international tour here in Austin, preceded by much woodshedding during the aforementioned two nights at Cedar Street. This show is a must-see. Tickets are available through Aus-Tix at 499-TIXS or at Book People (Sixth & Lamar) and at the door.
New ground for the festival. For all the kids that characterize jazz as old people's music, here's the meeting place of hip-hop culture and tradition. Featuring deejays and live musicians, the Acid Jazz Showcase will be anchored by Houston's DJ Sun at the mixing table -- along with supporting local talent -- while Concerto Grosso, sporting the talents of local trumpet sensation Ephraim Owens, holds down the live, jazz end of things.
New Orleans legend and jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis may be the big name, but there's plenty of local talent to make these two days in Pease Park a lot more rewarding than smoking dope with hippies in the drum circle at Eeyores. For a complete schedule, and more words from Harold McMillan, see next week's Chronicle.
-- Raoul Hernandez
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