We’re now in a time when we can speak of jazz centennials. But the all-star band called Jazz 100, coming to Johnson County Community College on Sunday, March 19, isn’t about to let a jazz centennial celebration sound quaint or antiquated. They’re taking music associated with several giants born in 1917 — Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald and Mongo Santamaría — and showing how this music is vital on the 21st century’s terms.
The Jazz 100 band, whose appearance in Yardley Hall caps the college’s Winterlude series, was put together by pianist Danilo Pérez, an ever-ambitious and creative player whose resume includes deep experience with Gillespie and Wayne Shorter. Pérez called on some important friends to round out the all-star team: tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, one of the reigning giants of the horn; trumpeter Avishai Cohen, a poet on his instrument; trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, a player of way-ahead smarts and way-back earthiness; and jazz-soul-gospel singer Lizz Wright, still a standout in the crowded jazz vocal field.
And Pérez solved one thorny problem in making all-star really click as a team by employing his own long-running trio, with bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz, as the telepathic rhythm section. Percussionist Roman Diaz blends in seamlessly.
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The Jazz 100 experience isn’t about celebrating the past, but about building something new on the foundations that were built decades ago. And think of the beautiful new inventions they can support.
Dianne Reeves returns
Singer Dianne Reeves, who comes to the Gem Theater on Saturday, March 25, sometimes tells an embarrassing story about herself.
Her musical idol was singer Sarah Vaughan, and one evening decades ago, Reeves attended a show, made her way backstage and struck up a conversation with a solitary woman sitting on a sofa. Reeves said she was a singer, and the woman asked what singers she liked. Reeves enthused about Sarah Vaughan at some length.
You see where this is going. The woman on the sofa, whom Reeves didn’t recognize, was Vaughan herself.
The embarrassing story about Reeves is the exception, not the rule. She’s proved herself over and over again. She’s taken home five Grammys for best jazz vocal album, and her tours have brought her to Kansas City regularly over the years.
▪ Composer Brad Cox gives his new octet another outing at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the RecordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd.
▪ The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has organist Everette DeVan and singer Lori Tucker leading the Monday jam at 7 p.m. March 20; singer Eboni Fondren at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23; and bassist Bob Bowman’s Bowdog band at 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 24. Singer Sherry Scott — a deep-rooted Chicago artist whose experience includes a tenure in the band Earth, Wind and Fire, work with Mongo Santamaría and Freddie Hubbard and even Chicago avant-garde experience with Henry Threadgill, Joseph Jarman and Muhal Richard Abrams — performs at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25.
▪ The Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., has the Sons of Brasil at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 19, followed by tenor saxophonist Steve Lambert’s quintet at 10:30 p.m.; singer Molly Hammer at noon Monday, March 20, followed by guitarist Matt Hopper’s trio at 6 p.m. and drummer Todd Strait’s trio at 10:30 p.m.; Hopper’s Agora band at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, followed by Strait’s trio at 10:30 p.m.; organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, followed by saxophonist Ernest Melton’s quartet at 10:30 p.m.; Guitar Elation at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 23, followed by bassist Tyrone Clark with Strait and Hopper at 10:30 p.m.; guitarist Steve Gray at 2 p.m. Friday, March 24, followed by pianist Tim Whitmer’s quartet at 5:30 p.m., Strait’s quartet at 8:30 p.m. downstairs and organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m.; and Hammer again at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25, followed by OJT at 6 p.m., trumpeter Stan Kessler’s quartet at 9 p.m. downstairs and tenor saxophonist Steve Martin’s quartet upstairs at 10:30 p.m.
▪ Pianist Roger Wilder and his quartet play the next show in the midday jazz series at Johnson County Community College at noon Tuesday, March 21, in the Recital Hall in Carlsen Center.
▪ The Westport Coffeehouse Theater, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., has tenor saxophonist Brad Gregory’s sextet (with trumpeter Clint Ashlock, alto saxophonist David Chael, pianist Roger Wilder, bassist Bob Bowman and drummer Brian Steever) playing hard bop in the classic style at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 22.
▪ Pianist and composer Eddie Moore’s monthly Fresh to Def jazz-funk-hip-hop jam features a guest this go-round: trombonist Matthew Hartnett, whose debut album “Southern Comfort” earned a positive notice in Down Beat and who’s been onstage with the likes of Robert Glasper and Lauryn Hill. He and Moore also share some Houston roots. The music begins at 9 p.m. Friday, March 24, at The Tank Room, 1813 Grand Blvd. The last set is a jam, open to instrumentalists, poets and MCs.