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Tonight starts the First Ever, ‘Swing with the Big Bands’ Radio Show at The Improv Cafe that features Live Big Band Music, Sunday is the first ‘Singing With Swing’ radio show that plays Live Vocal Jazz. Now Playing is ‘Blues for Mr Hill’ by Roy Hargrove & Mulgrew Miller from In Harmony (Live)(Resonance Records)!

Friday Night Dance Party with Live Big Band Music

Looking for some fun on Friday nights? Tune into our ‘Swing with the Big Bands’ radio show where you’ll hear legendary live performances from the top big band artists throughout history! Make sure to dance, bop and swing to the beat as you indulge in these incredible performances.

Singing with Swing are Sunday Night's

Sundays are meant for relaxation, and that’s why we have created the ‘Singing with Swing’ radio show. This program features some of the most fantastic vocal jazz artists of our time, providing you with the perfect ambiance for a cozy night in. Tune in and unwind with some of the best vocal jazz music around.

We are thrilled to inform you that exciting new additions are being made to The Improv Cafe! In the near future, we will be presenting a captivating array of shows that will keep you glued to your seats. Amongst these highly anticipated treats are the Big Band Live Radio Show and the Vocal Jazz Radio Show. Our goal is to provide you with a unique and engaging listening experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Every week, we will be featuring a new Live Album to keep our audience engaged and entertained. Not only that, but we will also be hosting Live Concerts featuring legendary Jazz and Big Band Artists that will leave you mesmerized and longing for more. So come and enjoy the perfect blend of musical genius and engaging storytelling, only at The Improv Cafe!

Welcome to the All Live Jazz Radio Station, where we take pride in providing our listeners with only the best live jazz music.

Each and every song played on our station is guaranteed to be a live version, ensuring that you will always experience the true essence and energy of the jazz music genre. We understand the importance of authenticity and strive to bring you the most genuine performances by your favorite jazz musicians.

The commitment to providing the highest quality live jazz music makes us the ultimate destination for true jazz lovers. Tune in to our station and let us take you on a journey filled with soulful melodies and captivating rhythms that will leave you wanting more. Thank you for choosing The Improv Cafe’, the worlds first and only ‘All Live Jazz Radio Station’ as your go-to source for all things live jazz!

Listen on Online Radio Box! The Improv Cafe'The Improv Cafe'

    NPR NEWS NOW

    FOUR (4) Times Daily

    The Improv Cafe Radio Station is not just any ordinary radio station but the premier hub for jazz enthusiasts all over the world.

    For those who have a deep appreciation for live jazz performances, big band beats and vocal jazz music, this is the perfect station for you. We take pride in our carefully curated playlist that features a collection of the most legendary jazz artists of all time.

    Our team of DJ’s is also excited to announce the launch of our new shows that will provide jazz fans up-to-date information on the latest trends, interviews with top performers and industry professionals. Furthermore, we are thrilled to announce our debut of the Big Band Live Show, which will showcase the best modern day jazz music. Not only that, we will also have shows hailing the top jazz clubs and record labels all over the world. Respected labels and jazz clubs such as Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Impulse, and Verve, among others will be featured.

    So, stay tuned to the Improv Cafe Radio Station for all your jazz needs and be a part of our community of jazz enthusiasts who share the same passion as you do.

    Listen on Online Radio Box! The Improv Cafe'The Improv Cafe'
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    Now Playing is ‘Alone Together’ by the Oscar Peterson Trio from the J.A.T.P In Tokyo Album, Live At The Nichigeki Theatre 1953. The Improv Cafe Radio Station only plays live Jazz Music and New Weekly Shows Starting Soon!

    We are thrilled to inform you that exciting new additions are being made to The Improv Cafe! In the near future, we will be presenting a captivating array of shows that will keep you glued to your seats. Amongst these highly anticipated treats are the Big Band Live Radio Show and the Vocal Jazz Radio Show. Our goal is to provide you with a unique and engaging listening experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Every week, we will be featuring a new Live Album to keep our audience engaged and entertained. Not only that, but we will also be hosting Live Concerts featuring legendary Jazz and Big Band Artists that will leave you mesmerized and longing for more. So come and enjoy the perfect blend of musical genius and engaging storytelling, only at The Improv Cafe!

    Welcome to the All Live Jazz Radio Station, where we take pride in providing our listeners with only the best live jazz music.

    Each and every song played on our station is guaranteed to be a live version, ensuring that you will always experience the true essence and energy of the jazz music genre. We understand the importance of authenticity and strive to bring you the most genuine performances by your favorite jazz musicians.

    The commitment to providing the highest quality live jazz music makes us the ultimate destination for true jazz lovers. Tune in to our station and let us take you on a journey filled with soulful melodies and captivating rhythms that will leave you wanting more. Thank you for choosing The Improv Cafe’, the worlds first and only ‘All Live Jazz Radio Station’ as your go-to source for all things live jazz!

    Listen on Online Radio Box! The Improv Cafe'The Improv Cafe'

      NPR NEWS NOW

      FOUR (4) Times Daily

      The Improv Cafe Radio Station is not just any ordinary radio station but the premier hub for jazz enthusiasts all over the world.

      For those who have a deep appreciation for live jazz performances, big band beats and vocal jazz music, this is the perfect station for you. We take pride in our carefully curated playlist that features a collection of the most legendary jazz artists of all time.

      Our team of DJ’s is also excited to announce the launch of our new shows that will provide jazz fans up-to-date information on the latest trends, interviews with top performers and industry professionals. Furthermore, we are thrilled to announce our debut of the Big Band Live Show, which will showcase the best modern day jazz music. Not only that, we will also have shows hailing the top jazz clubs and record labels all over the world. Respected labels and jazz clubs such as Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Impulse, and Verve, among others will be featured.

      So, stay tuned to the Improv Cafe Radio Station for all your jazz needs and be a part of our community of jazz enthusiasts who share the same passion as you do.

      Listen on Online Radio Box! The Improv Cafe'The Improv Cafe'
      545623.jpeg

      Now Playing is ‘Lullaby Of Birdland’ by Ella Fitzgerald With The Roy Eldridge Sextet Live In Stockholm 1957. The Improv Cafe Radio Station only plays live Jazz, Live Big Band and Live Vocal Jazz by Legendary Jazz Artists!

      Welcome to the All Live Jazz Radio Station, where we take pride in providing our listeners with only the best live jazz music.

      Each and every song played on our station is guaranteed to be a live version, ensuring that you will always experience the true essence and energy of the jazz music genre. We understand the importance of authenticity and strive to bring you the most genuine performances by your favorite jazz musicians.

      The commitment to providing the highest quality live jazz music makes us the ultimate destination for true jazz lovers. Tune in to our station and let us take you on a journey filled with soulful melodies and captivating rhythms that will leave you wanting more. Thank you for choosing The Improv Cafe’, the worlds first and only ‘All Live Jazz Radio Station’ as your go-to source for all things live jazz!

      Listen on Online Radio Box! The Improv Cafe'The Improv Cafe'

        NPR NEWS NOW

        FOUR (4) Times Daily

        The Improv Cafe Radio Station is not just any ordinary radio station but the premier hub for jazz enthusiasts all over the world.

        For those who have a deep appreciation for live jazz performances, big band beats and vocal jazz music, this is the perfect station for you. We take pride in our carefully curated playlist that features a collection of the most legendary jazz artists of all time.

        Our team of DJ’s is also excited to announce the launch of our new shows that will provide jazz fans up-to-date information on the latest trends, interviews with top performers and industry professionals. Furthermore, we are thrilled to announce our debut of the Big Band Live Show, which will showcase the best modern day jazz music. Not only that, we will also have shows hailing the top jazz clubs and record labels all over the world. Respected labels and jazz clubs such as Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Impulse, and Verve, among others will be featured.

        So, stay tuned to the Improv Cafe Radio Station for all your jazz needs and be a part of our community of jazz enthusiasts who share the same passion as you do.

        Listen on Online Radio Box! The Improv Cafe'The Improv Cafe'
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        Shadbolt Centre for the Arts’ fall season brings jazz, come…

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        Summer might be creeping to a close (not the passage of time!) but fall’s the perfect time to get serious about shows. Burnaby’s Shadbolt Centre for the Arts has unveiled its full fall lineup, with everything from heart-wrenching theatre to jazzy Christmas concerts. 

        Kicking off the fall season is the Marc Atkinson Trio, bringing JUNO-nominated musician Marc Atkinson to the stage for an evening of West Coast-inspired guitar and violin melodies. The trio’s joined by Cameron Wilson, local violinist and fiddler who’s played with everyone from Bryan Adams to Nickelback. 

        Country-slash-blues-slash-folk musician Little Miss Higgins comes to the Shadbolt on September 29 as a real touring troubadour. She’s been releasing music since 2002, though in 2020 vowed to no longer record new tracks and exclusively tour her Canadiana catalogue.

        Comedy lovers will delight in November, as there are two delicious plays up for grabs. Arts Club are going on tour with The Birds and the Bees: it’s CanCon about love, lust, and animal husbandry that plays on November 2 and 3. Later, The Spinsters promises a darkly comedic look at Cinderella’s step-sisters complete with Priscilla: Queen of the Desert-style costumes from November 16 to 18.

        And for something more serious, Bunk #7 dramatizes the true story of a riot at Edmonton Indian Residential School in 1960 to 1961, demonstrating the resilience and revolution that was forced by Canada’s brutal colonization.   

        To round out the season, get festive with the B3 Kings’s jazzy holiday concert. Led by Denzal Sinclaire on vocals and drums, the band has three separate Christmas albums (honestly iconic) so you know you’re in glad yuletide hands.  

        In between all the live music and theatre, there are also continuing favourites. Local jazz stalwart Cory Weeds hosts regular improvised jams, open to all ages and abilities; meanwhile, films including Haida Modern and Nosferatu get immersive screenings.

        Check out all of Shadbolt’s upcoming shows or buy tickets here. 

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        Beer garden set for today with Dan Fox Jazz, ‘utility box a…

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        Jason Russell beer gardenUPDATED Sept. 8: The Jason Russell House, 7 Jason St., is acting as host for outdoor beer gardens and live music on Saturdays through Sept. 30. The next performer, on Saturday, Sept. 9, is planned to be Berklee professor, studio owner and jazz performer Dan Fox; the  month’s schedule is listed lower down.

        Also, according to this month’s newsletter of the Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture, attendees will be able to meet some of the “utility box artists,” whose colorful original designs decorate the boxes throughout town, at the event. Details about them — one of the eight artists is actually a four-member family — and photographs of their work may be seen here>>

        Organized by Menotomy Grill and co-sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society, the weekly event is free to attend, open to the public and takes place unless weather interferes; it is likely to still be hot, and there is some chance for storms, possibly even with thunder, today, Saturday, Sept. 9. 

        Rain or shine, guided indoor tours of the structure — a site of deadly armed conflict at the beginning of the American Revolution — usually take place inside the historic structure from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

        Arlingtonians can check the nonprofit’s Facebook presence for periodic updates about band scheduling and any possible cancellations due to weather or other factors. 

        Beer and food service generally is scheduled to start each Saturday at 2 p.m., music generally between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Beer may be bought by those 21 and older from American Beverage Inc; 16-ounce beers are $8 each, while seltzer, lemonade and bottled water are $2 each. Menotomy Grill is selling food; prices for burgers, bean burgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies, etc., range from $5 to $10.  

        Arlington Historical Society Director Sara Lundberg recently announced the live music performances for the month of September as follows:

        Upcoming performances:

        These family-friendly events, in a shaded setting, are intended to promote the Arlington Historical Society, the Jason Russell House and overall awareness of the centuries-old history of Arlington, she says.

        The society has stated the following: “In spite of our boarded-up windows (they are being repaired), the Jason Russell House in Arlington is open for guided tours until Oct. 29. The house saw the fiercest fighting on the first day of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775, and has many surviving bullet holes. The house and corresponding exhibit are open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit arlingtonhistorical.org; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call 781-648-4300.


        YourArlington’s events list >> 

        This announcement was published Thursday, June 8, 2023, updated June 21, to add details about the beer gardens, and updated July 20, to provide context on the house, and tours there. It was then updated July 26, July 29, Aug. 1, Aug. 7, Aug.13, Aug. 18, and Aug. 21 and then again on Aug. 30 with information about live music for the month of September based on information from Arlington Historical Society Director Sara Lundberg. It was updated Sept. 5, 2023, and Sept. 6, 2023, with the announcement of the planned Sept. 9 musical act and the statement that the “utility-box artists” will be at that event. It was updated Sept. 8, 2023, to note that weather might interfere with Sept. 9, 2023, event plans.

        This reporting demonstrates your donations at work to support democracy here. YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.Your contributions are tax-deductible. 

         

         

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        Audiences set to be wowed by world-class pianists at New Ro…

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        The New Ross Piano Festival will play host to some world-class pianists from September 20 to 24 at St Mary’s Church.

        One of the highlights of this year’s festival promises to be the Irish premiere of a newly-commissioned music inspired by the
        Dunbrody Famine Ship.

        When it comes to the classical aspect of the piano repertoire, this year there is a lot of Rachmaninov, on the 150th anniversary of his birth. Sergei Rachmaninov was born on April 1 1873 into a family of the Russian aristocracy which had a strong musical tradition.

        Interestingly, his paternal grandfather had taken lessons from the Irish composer John Field. He showed precocious musical talent from the age of four, and over his lifetime composed much well-known music.

        Lucy Parham is bringing the actor Tim McInnerny to perform Elegie, a musical journey through Rachmaninov’s life and compositions. Readers may know Tim from his appearances in Blackadder and Game of thrones amongst numerous other TV and film roles. One of Britain’s finest pianists, Lucy Parham applies her sensitivity and imagination not only to concertos and recitals, but also to portraits in words and music of such composers as Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and now Rachmaninov.

        Cellist Alexander Chaushian will join with Yevgeny Sudbin, who has been hailed as one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century,  to perform Rachmaninov’s Sonata for cello and piano.

        In the opening main concert on Friday evening there will be two lovely Rachmaninov works. Cellist Alexander Chaushian will play the Vocalise with Finghin Collins, the Festival Artistic Director. Yumeka Nakagawa, the young winner of the Clara Haskil piano competition, will be joined by Alexander and the violinist Mirijam Contzen to play the Trio Elegiaque, a piece
        that is said to be influenced by his admiration of Tchaikovsky.

        Another festival highlight is Kit Downes, who is a BBC Jazz Award winning, Mercury Music Award nominated solo recording artist for ECM Records. Kit performs solo pipe organ and solo piano concerts – as well as playing in collaborations with saxophonist Tom Challenger, cellist Lucy Railton, composer Shiva Feshareki, saxophonist Ben van Gelder and with the
        band ‘ENEMY’ (with Petter Eldh and James Maddren).

        Earlier that day Belfast man, Scott Flanagan will give a lunchtime gig in the church. He will be joined by familiar faces, Dave Redmond on bass and Kevin Brady on drums. Scott will also be playing solo in the Dunbrody at 11 and 3, for two free sessions.
        Ellen Jansson is no stranger to New Ross and is one of Ireland’s foremost pianists. Ellen will be speaking and
        playing to second level music students and also giving a free public recital on Friday, September 22, at noon.

        Canadian Meagan Milatz is coming over to play the Canadian composition about the Dunbrody. She will also play a solo recital on Saturday at noon as well as taking part in each evening concert.
        Mirijam Contzen on the violin will join Alexander Chaushian for the usual chamber music element of the Piano Festival.

        20 young piano students from the South-East will also perform a concert as part of this year’s festival.

        www.newrosspianofestival.com

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        The Soul Rebels bringing groovy hip hop, New Orleans jazz t…

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        It’s been mentioned in this publication before that New Orleans has an extensive music history and is well known as the birthplace of jazz. The city’s presence in the sonic arts is rivaled by few places and it’s always branching out into different areas of the art form. A band that’s a prime example of this are The Soul Rebels, who make music that incorporate various styles into a jazz foundation within the structure of a brass ensemble. They’ve performed with a variety of legendary musicians and they can also put on a stellar show when they’re performing by themselves and fans of the genre can see it for themselves Sunday night as the band takes the stage at the Greenwich Odeum, located on 59 Main Street in East Greenwich, at 7 p.m.

        I had a talk with the band’s snare drummer Lumar LeBlanc ahead of the show about The Soul Rebels’ eclectic approach to music, an incredible resume of collaborations, performing on television and radio shows and plans for the rest of the year.

        Rob Duguay: The Soul Rebels stand out from other New Orleans brass bands due to their inclusion of soul, jazz, funk, hip hop, rock and pop elements into their sound. How would you describe this approach that fuses all these different styles together?

        Lumar LeBlanc: I think it’s a testament to the eclectic and artistic style of music of each member. Each member has their own particular flavor, if you want to call it that, which they really like and we always blend them all together. That was the initial vibe of the group and it’s continued on to this day, some of us have more of a reggae and R&B vibe so we incorporate music that tailors to that. Others like myself gravitate more toward classic hip hop and there’s some rock music that I love as well. There’s also some classical and we even have some hints of country western whether the rest of the band realizes it or not, but jazz is always at the top.

        We’re all jazz lovers, so that’s where the initial vibe comes from. As you know, jazz musicians are some of the most talented musicians on the planet so it’s no surprise that we incorporate all these different elements.

        RD: This stylistic inclusion has included collaborations with the likes of Katy Perry, Metallica, Green Day and various hip hop artists including Talib Kweli, Rakim, Black Thought from The Roots and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan among others. How have you guys gone about establishing this wide network of folks to make music with?

        LL: First off all, we had to study all these different art forms to be artistically ready when the call comes. Early on, one of the first big stars who took an interest in us was Robert Plant and he’s a very versatile person. He happened to come to one of our gigs in the Tremé section of New Orleans and when he saw us, he was blown away because we were playing such a bushel of music. He then hopped on stage and he started singing with a limousine outside waiting for him. I don’t know how in the world he found us, this was before Hurricane Katrina so we were still in our infancy but he’s an example of how people gravitate to our music.

        As time went on, we were able to put in a business structure that could get us to the people we wanted to get to. That’s basically how we did it, but we had to have the sound. With a lot of artists like Lars Ulrich from Metallica or Nas, we wanted to utilize them to see where we fit in. We were able to have a plan in place to make these connections, nurture a relationship in a business sense and have serious offers. Once the call came, we were ready but we had to practice a lot for Metallica but the music is so awesome, they’re awesome and we went into the studio to practice with them as well.

        We were vibin’ together and it was a whole musical experience. That’s just one example.

        RD: Very cool, it’s awesome that you guys got to do that. You guys have also had various media appearances by performing on CBS, HBO, TBS, ESPN, NPR and even the Discovery Channel. Are there any major differences between preparing for a performance on television or radio versus performing in front of a live audience in a venue? What were playing in these settings like for you and the rest of the band?

        LL: When we go through the choreographed interview process on a show like “Good Morning America” on national TV, it’s very scripted. You have to play to the second, so we have to pick songs that can start and stop on a dime while being able to adhere to the commercial structure, when to take commercial breaks and things like that. Those particular sets, even though they’re so widely viewed while giving us the appeal that we may be seeking as far as popularity and the strength of a media platform, they don’t tend to have the same energy that a live show has. Every live show is like painting on a canvas while ending it with a climatic piece, so when we play live we’re really taking the audience on a journey, which is guided by our energy. The energy is much higher, more executed and it can go into so many different places that we don’t know what the audience is going to do.

        We’ve had people do so many wild things at our shows, it’s incredible. Fortunately no one has ever gotten hurt and it’s always been fun and enjoyable, but a live show is on a whole other emotional, energetic and physical level and it goes to such different heights. During these interviews and even radio shows, we have to adhere to a stop and a start. With NPR, it’s really more like a live performance so we were able to capture a good sense of what our live performance is, but it’s not the actual stage setup where we’re able to harness the energy and have a transference between the audience and ourselves. That’s a spiritual thing for me.

        RD: I can definitely see why. The Soul Rebels just performed in Rhode Island a few weeks ago as part of the Newport Jazz Festival, so how will this upcoming show at the Greenwich Odeum be different in terms of you guys performing by yourselves without any special guests?

        LL: That’s another difference that occurs. The special guests are awesome because they really show their talent, they adapt and present while bringing both art forms together to give a coherent piece that’s magical. When you perform by yourself, you can dictate whatever you want and it’s obviously different when we perform by ourselves because we can pick any song. Then we can project those songs in any way we feel possible. With jazz being our foundation, it’s always different even though it may be the same repertoire that we play night in and night out.

        It’s going to have a different interpretation because of the jazz spontaneity that we bring to it. We’re going to hit it hard coming out like we usually do, then we’re going to go off into such tense, melodic soloing and then we’re going to go into the vocals and the raps. It’s really something that would do well on Broadway because our shows are so eclectic, we do such a wide array of artistic expression with the jazz, funk and everything else. It’s really awesome.

        RD: I’ll have to agree, especially after seeing that performance in Newport with Rakim and Talib Kweli. After the show, what are The Soul Rebels’ plans for the rest of 2023?

        LL: First and foremost, we have a lot of commitments for the rest of the year as far as gigs and concerts go. That’s going to be the priority and they usually slow down around the holidays so we’ll spend a lot of time with friends and family. With making a new record, we’re always trying to create and go into the studio to have practice sessions and vibe with different ideas. One of us will have an idea, record it onto a phone and then send it to the rest of the band, so that kind of journey continues on and on. We’re also going to be doing music for movies, they require a laser beam focus for a short period of time so we can get back to the other things we do musically, so that’s kind of the agenda for the rest of the year.



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        Ezra Collective Wins 2023 Mercury Prize – Billboard

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        Ezra Collective’s Where I’m Meant to Be won the Mercury Prize on Thursday (Sept. 7), making the London jazz quintet the first jazz act to win that prestigious award. The Mercury Prize celebrates the best of British and Irish music across a range of contemporary music genres. This year’s ceremony was held at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London.

        Accepting the award, drummer Femi Koleoso said, “This is not just a result for Ezra Collective, or for UK jazz, but this is a special moment for every single organization across the country, ploughing efforts and time into young people playing music.”

        Where I’m Meant to Be, Ezra Collective’s second studio album, was written and recorded in lockdown. But rather than reflect the isolation of the COVID-19 era, the album has been described by BBC as “a joyous celebration of community, positivity and friendship.”

        The album was produced by the band and Riccardo Damian, and features a diverse roster of musicians, including Sampa the Great, Kojey Radical, Emeli Sandé and Nao, as well as filmmaker Steve McQueen.

        Where I’m Meant to Be reached No. 24 on the Official U.K. Albums chart, a strong showing for a jazz album. On this side of the pond, it debuted and peaked at No. 15 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.

        The album was nominated for best jazz record at the 2022 Libera Awards. But it draws on several other genres, including grime, salsa and reggae.

        Speaking to BBC News after being announced as winners, Koleoso explained: “We’re the shuffle generation of music, we listen to some Beethoven, and then 50 Cent comes on straight after, and then Little Simz comes on just after that. And that kind of influences the way we approach music. So, there are no rules. We love jazz, but at the same time we love salsa too, so why not try and get that in there?”

        The other albums in contention for the top prize were Arctic Monkeys’ The Car, Fred again.’s Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022), J Hus’ Beautiful and Brutal Yard, Jessie Ware’s That! Feels Good!, Jockstrap’s I Love You Jennifer B, Lankum’s False Lankum, Loyle Carner’s hugo, Olivia Dean’s Messy, RAYE’s My 21st Century Blues, Shygirl’s Nymph and Young Fathers’ Heavy Heavy.

        Broadcaster Lauren Laverne hosted the ceremony, which featured live performances from nine of the shortlisted artists, including Jessie Ware and RAYE.

        Last year’s Mercury Prize winner was London rapper Little Simz for her fourth album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.

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        The Trials of a Lifelong Jazz Fan • Salt Lake Magazine

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        When I was a kid, my dad would lie on the living room floor while we watched Utah Jazz games, his head propped up by a giant basketball-shaped pillow. The pillow was yellow and gold (not sure why green got the shaft) with the old Jazz logo embroidered on one section. 

        “Laying on the floor is good for your back,” he’d say. 

        “Okay,” we’d respond, my brother, laying sideways in the recliner while my body oozed slug-like into the contours of the couch. 

        Over the years, that pillow grew filthy and misshapen. My dad began pulling up the hood on his sweatshirt to protect his bald head from whatever grew in the pillow’s fibers. Meanwhile, everyone from Karl Malone and John Stockton to Bobby Hansen, David Benoit, and Antoine Carr graced us, and the pillow, with their televised presence. 

        When I was in third grade, an upstart Jazz squad took the Los Angeles Lakers to the brink. I’m talking about the Lakers. The 1980s, short shorts, Pat Riley’s hair, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the monastic A.C. Green. While losing to L.A. stung, we assumed the Jazz would eventually have their moment. But Utah didn’t reach the NBA Finals until I graduated from high school. 

        I spent my childhood waiting for that Jazz team to win a championship. As my dad’s face weathered and the weight of his head morphed the basketball pillow into a giant discus, a sinister thought emerged: What if the Jazz never win a championship? What if my dad dies without seeing Utah hoist the trophy? What if I never see it?     

        Michael Jordan crushed Jazz fans’ hopes in the 1998 playoffs with what has simply become known as “The Shot,” a buzzer beater that sealed Utah’s fate. Photo Getty Images/ Courtesy Utah Jazz

        It certainly didn’t happen under Michael Jordan’s watch. The man was so bloodthirsty he beat the Jazz in the NBA Finals twice, just for good measure. The Jazz only needed to get a little bit better, but they couldn’t. They tried trading for Ronnie Seikaly who refused to leave Miami for Salt Lake. They tried acquiring Derek Harper who told the New York media, “You go live in Utah.” So the door closed on Malone and Stockton with their 1998 loss to Chicago.  

        The idea of replacing Utah’s two Hall of Famers felt impossible. I began thinking about how lifelong baseball fans in Boston and Chicago died without ever winning the World Series. The Red Sox went 86 years between titles. The Cubs went 108. Utah’s championship drought might outlive us.   

         After Malone and Stockton, the Jazz rebuilt around Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. I spent most of those years living in faraway cities, but I’d watch Jazz games with my dad over Christmas. He’d still lay on the floor, though it took him longer to get up when he wanted popcorn. I’d still slouch in the recliner, watching Jerry Sloan stalk the referees. 

        When I moved back to Salt Lake in 2010, my parents were in their 60s. A year later, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and my dad with Parkinson’s disease. The Jazz compounded our misery, missing the playoffs four straight years between 2013 and 2016.  

        “These are the bad Jazz,” I explained to a friend who accompanied me to a game against the Houston Rockets. At one point that night, Utah trailed by 50.

        When the Jazz finally reached the playoffs again, my mom wasn’t alive to see it. My dad and I still watched games together, as much to comfort one another as anything. Parkinson’s ended my Dad’s floor-laying days, so the pillow got stuffed into a closet. Yet we remained hopeful that Utah’s playoff return might spark a championship run before it was too late.

        Utah fell to Golden State in 2017, and Gordon Hayward left for Boston. The thought of rebuilding again felt hopeless. My dad was running out of time. Then Donovan Mitchell appeared, seemingly out of thin air. Poised and absurdly talented, Mitchell provided the one thing fans need: hope. With Rudy Gobert defending and Quin Snyder coaching, Mitchell’s Jazz just needed shooting and a little luck. Hang in there, Dad.

        Donovan Mitchell (right) reignited hope for Jazz fans from 2017 to 2022. Photo Getty Images/ Courtesy Utah Jazz

        The Jazz got better as my dad got worse. They traded for Jordan Clarkson, but no matter how often we discussed it, my dad couldn’t remember Clarkson’s name. His long-term memory remained, but Parkinson’s halted the learning of most new information. My dad still watched the Jazz on TV but had trouble following an entire game. It was easier for him to review the box score afterward. 

        In 2021, we had to move my dad into a care facility that could better meet his needs. We sold the house—the place where I grew up, the home he’d worked his entire life to pay off, the house where my mom died. A lot of things got lost in the shuffle, the lopsided old Jazz pillow being one.

        Not long after my dad’s move, the Jazz entered the 2021 playoffs with the NBA’s best record. This was their chance. Mitchell and Mike Conley got hurt, however, and Utah flamed out. After a disappointing 2022 campaign in which the players stopped playing for one another, Snyder resigned and management traded Mitchell and Gobert. Time to start over. Again.    

        But building a winner in Utah is much more difficult than in, say, Los Angeles. The Lakers can squander draft picks and make ill-advised trades because free agents like Shaquille O’Neal or LeBron James will still come to L.A. The Jazz have no margin for error. Even when Utah drafts and develops good players, those players can opt to leave.  

        My dad passed away last spring, never seeing his favorite team win it all. Perhaps the same fate awaits all who, by choice or inheritance, root for the Utah Jazz. If the Jazz do win a championship someday, I imagine I’ll laugh and scream and cry a few tears of joy. But then I’ll probably get real quiet and think of my dad with his head resting on a basketball pillow somewhere.  


        See more stories like this and all of our culture and community coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah. 

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        Top Chicago jazz concerts for fall 2023

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        Hope you’ve rested up from Chicago Jazz Fest, because that was just the beginning.

        From the Englewood Jazz Fest, just around the corner, to Kurt Rosenwinkel at the Jazz Showcase, it’s an especially back-to-back fall for jazz in the city. So back-to-back, in fact, that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve already had to straighten out a couple double bookings. (Mea maxima culpa.) But, as the following listings prove in abundance, it’s a good problem to have.

        Do as I say, not as I do, and slot these in your calendar nice and early so they aren’t missed:

        Englewood Jazz Festival: Organized by saxophonist and composer Ernest Dawkins, this festival always sets its sights high, and this year is no exception. Dawkins and his Live the Spirit Residency Big Band reprise “Memory in the Center” (2014), an operatic homage to Nelson Mandela timed to the 10th anniversary of his death. Later, omnipresent young pianist Alexis Lombre premieres a large-scale work of her own, her first “Synesthesia” suite. Also on the bill: saxophonist Isaiah Collier and the Chosen Few, vibraphonist Joel Ross, trumpeters Marques Carroll and Sean Jones (sharing a bill), and guitarist Jeff Parker, playing with the New Horizons Ensemble Delmark Allstars. Englewood Jazz Festival is Sept. 14-16, Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd St.; free, more information at englewoodjazzfest.org

        Chicago jazz musician Ernest Dawkins leads a drumming circle and live band at Hamilton Park in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood in June 2019.

        “Still Listening” to Jahari Stampley: This mega-talented Chicago native began playing the piano at 14; within two years, he was winning competitions on the instrument. Now 23 and a frequent sight on bandstands around the city, Stampley releases a sunny debut album, “Still Listening,” on the same night as this show at Evanston SPACE. “Jahari Stampley presented by WDCB” is 7 p.m. Sept. 17, SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston; tickets $20-$40 at ticketweb.com

        Hyde Park Jazz Festival: The last of September’s three-festival run is a real killer: With 13 venues and loads of overlapping acts, it’s nigh impossible to catch all of the worthwhile gigs at this neighborhood-wide bash. But, as with so many music festivals, at some point, you have to embrace the FOMO and plot a path forward. All I know is I’m keen to catch Quince Ensemble and Ensemble Dal Niente playing Courtney Bryan’s heart-stopping “Requiem” live, sampled in a streamed performance by the Chicago Symphony two seasons ago (Hyde Park Union Church, 1 p.m. Sept. 23); poet Nikki Giovanni and saxophonist Javon Jackson, appearing for a live rendition of last year’s “The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni” (Hyde Park Union Church, 3:45 p.m. Sept. 23); Louis Hayes’ quintet (Wagner Stage on the Midway, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 23); Dee Alexander’s all-women project Ancestors Reign (Logan Center Performance Hall, 9:30 p.m. Sept. 23); and Kenny Barron’s solo piano set (Rockefeller Chapel, 11 p.m. Sept. 23). But choose your own adventure — the options are endless. The Hyde Park Jazz Festival is Sept. 23-24 at multiple venues; free with $10 suggested donation; for full lineup and schedule, check hydeparkjazzfestival.org

        A bassist to the front: Christian Dillingham straddles the jazz and classical realms about equally: You can spot him as a section bassist in most Chicago orchestras and he is just as ubiquitous as a sideman, playing with, to name a few, saxophonists Greg Ward and Chico Freeman, trumpeters Marques Carroll and Sean Jones, singer Dee Alexander and drummer Mike Reed. He just released his first record, “Cascades,” marking the occasion with an album release party at Green Mill later this month. If you can’t make that one, he’ll be playing with the same group for a one-night-only engagement at Jazz Showcase in October. Christian Dillingham Quartet is 8 p.m. Sept 22 and 23 at Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; $20 cover; greenmilljazz.com; 8 p.m. Oct. 9 at Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.; tickets $15-$30 at jazzshowcase.com

        Christian Dillingham's quartet has upcoming shows at the Green Mill and Jazz Showcase.

        Vonski at 100: The great Von Freeman would have been 100 on Oct. 3 — something we know for certain, by the way, thanks to former Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich, who uncovered Freeman’s birth certificate in 2011. To celebrate, a quintet of former collaborators (guitarist Mike Allemana, trumpeter Brad Goode, bassist Matt Ferguson, drummer Mike Raynor and his sax-playing son Chico Freeman) ring in Freeman’s centenary in style at one of the tenor saxophonist’s old stomping grounds. “Von Freeman’s 100th Birthday Bash” is 8 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7 at Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; $20 cover; more information at greenmilljazz.com

        Alone behind the piano: The ever-searching Craig Taborn — equally at home in acoustic and electronic settings, in improvised and through-composed music — commands a solo set like no other. Lucky us, it’s his second here in a year: Taborn, who performed on Constellation’s very first season, last appeared in April to celebrate the audacious venue’s 10th anniversary. Craig Taborn is 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.; tickets $20 at constellation-chicago.com

        SCP Jazz’s big year: It’s hard to believe the Symphony Center Presents jazz series turns just 30 this year. It commemorates the milestone with a full-to-bursting season, starting with Grammy-laureled vocal phenom Samara Joy, in her SCP jazz debut, and Symphony Center regulars Brad Mehldau and his trio (with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard). At Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.; Samara Joy is 8 p.m. Oct. 27, tickets $49-$299; Brad Mehldau Trio is 8 p.m. Nov. 17, tickets $39-$199 at cso.org

        The Arkestra touches down: The only thing that could keep the Sun Ra Arkestra from returning regularly to its birthplace, in Chicago, was COVID-19. Happily, the cosmic jazz unit is back again for a two-night engagement at Constellation. They’re led, intrepidly, by saxophonist Marshall Allen — who, in Earth years, is turning 100 next May. Sun Ra Arkestra is 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3 at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.; tickets $40 at constellation-chicago.com

        Theon Cross performs Nov. 3 at the Logan Center Performance Hall at University of Chicago.

        Tuba like you’ve never heard it before: I first learned about Theon Cross through his work with the hard-driving (and now tragically disbanded) Sons of Kemet. He brought a mad scientist’s daring and a decathlete’s inexhaustibility to that quartet — and on an unconventional instrument, to say the least. It made a disciple out of me. We’ll see what Cross pulls out of his bell for this UChicago Presents appearance. Theon Cross is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Logan Center Performance Hall, 915 E. 60th St.; tickets $10-$40 at chicagopresents.uchicago.edu

        Kurt Rosenwinkel: In recent years, this guitar magician has tossed a couple of curveballs: a solo album (on baritone guitar, no less), a set of Chopin adaptations and even a piano record. So it’s anyone’s guess what Rosenwinkel has planned for these shows, a three-night run at the Jazz Showcase with his quartet. Kurt Rosenwinkel is Nov. 17-19 at Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.; ticket pricing forthcoming, more information at jazzshowcase.com

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