‘Elmore’ Magazine Jim Hall article

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The May/June ’13 issue of Elmore Magazine includes a feature story of mine detailing the legendary Jim Hall’s concert in March of 2013 at Drake University in Des Moines and a guitar clinic he held at Java Joe’s, a local jazz-friendly coffeehouse (sponsored by the Civic Music Association), as well as Hall’s some of Hall’s better-known students, including Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Julian LageGary Larson (!) and Brian Camelio (founder and CEO of ArtistShare, with whom he has an extremely close relationship).

I’ll leave it for others to comment on the quality of the story, but I will say that my cousin, Erik Spooner, Elmore‘s graphics director, did an outstanding job on the visual layout. Some folks have asked me where they can find the story, meaning where on the Web. I’ve had to explain that this is a print medium, meaning Elmore is interested in selling copies, not giving away its content on the Web. So, as quaint as it may be seem in the Cyber Age, those wanting to read the article will have to do so the old-fashioned way — by purchasing a hard copy (which can be done online at Elmore‘s Web site).

‘Tenor Madness’ concert at Drake

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sjfWhen Bill Bergen, jazz trumpeter about town, asked me to write a review of an upcoming Feb. 9th concert presented by his educational foundation, Synergy Jazz, I happily agreed — especially when I learned that along with sax player Jack Wilkins, music professor at the University of South Florida, it would also feature tenor/soprano sax player Dave Sharp, backed up by three extremely talented local heavyweights: pianist Jason Danielson, bassist Dave Altemeier, and drummer John Kizilarmut.

I’d already heard Dave, a music professor at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, perform a couple of times — once with Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi and prior to that with Czech pianist Emil Viklicky, both of whom I’ve interviewed for the Web site ‘All About Jazz.’

It was a terrific show in a nice venue, Drake University’s Patty & Fred Turner Jazz Center, with a great audience, and my write-up will be posted soon on SJF’s Web site.

(l to r) Jason Danielson, Jack Wilkins, Dave Sharp, Dave Altemeier, John Kizilarmut

(l to r) Jason Danielson, Jack Wilkins, Dave Sharp, Dave Altemeier, John Kizilarmut

‘Elmore’ Magazine: Saving American Music

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Although researching and writing Pen & Sword is pretty much an all-consuming project these days, I wasn’t able to resist when an opportunity to keep my hand in as a jazz journalist presented itself in 2011. In the course of delivering a presentation on Warrior of God at the Czech Center New York, I was able to meet my second cousin Erik Spooner for the first time. Among other things, Erik is design director for “Elmore,” a bi-monthly music magazine founded by Suzanne Cadgene and Arnie Goodman that began publication in June ’05.

The only national music magazine that guarantees distribution at music and arts festival across the US and Canada, Elmore puts today’s musical talent in historical context, focusing on a variety of genres of American “roots” music. “Our mission is to preserve and protect those American roots that we perceive are worthwhile,” says Suzanne. “Most American music started with the blues. It’s got elements of blues and jazz in just about everything that we cover.”

 And jazz, of course, is where I fit in. When I mentioned the reviews I’ve done for “All About Jazz,” Erik suggested that Elmore‘s stable of reviewers could use another jazz buff. So, every couple months, along with my newest colleagues,  I’m sent a list of new CD’s to look over for consideration. For my first two choices, I selected recordings, not exactly new, by two pianists who had a huge impact on the development of my own roots as jazz aficionado.

My first review, in the September/October  2011 issue, was The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy. This extensive compilation samples from twenty-three recordings Evans made with those two labels between 1956 and 1977.

For the January/February 2012 issue , I reviewed the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Their Last Time Out, a previously unreleased live recording of the DBQ’s final concert in Pittsburgh in 1967.

In May 2012, Elmore’s Web site carried my review of recent DVD titled Morocco Fantasia by guitarist Al Di Meola, whom I’ve seen perform back in the days when he was playing with Chick Corea’s ‘Return to Forever’ fusion quartet. A spectacular musician, Di Meola has gone a long way since then, down a road that only some will find congenial.

Suzanne has mentioned the possibility of writing a feature story for the magazine some day, which I greatly appreciate. If presented, I’d welcome the opportunity.