News Column

Detroit Free Press Mark Stryker column

August 6, 2014

By Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

Aug. 06--With the calendar now flipped to August, the anticipation of jazz lovers begins building toward the orgy of music that is the Detroit Jazz Festival on Labor Day weekend. Meanwhile, however, the local scene continues to offer rewards.

Celebrate the Halladay: Composer Doug Halladay, a longtime stalwart on the scene, is celebrating the release of his latest recording, "Celebrando!," a sparkling set of his originals featuring some of the region's finest players and recorded live at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. With the gifted pianist Gary Schunk acting as musical director, Halladay has reassembled an octet to once again play at Kerrytown. Halladay's music is rich in formal details, marrying sophisticated melodic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas without losing a common-man touch or an open-ended sense of possibility.

Though Halladay no longer plays trumpet, the personality of the music leaves no doubt that it's his vision guiding the ensemble. In addition to Schunk on piano the band includes saxophonist Andrew Bishop, trumpeter Anthony Stanco, trombonist Vincent Chandler, guitarist Ron English, bassist Kurt Krahnke, drummer Bill Higgins and percussionist Pepe Espinosa. Vocalist Angie Smith will also appear.

All ticket buyers receive a free copy of the CD with admission.

7 p.m. Sunday, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor. Reservations, 734-769-2999. $15-$30, $5 students.

Trio time: Pianist Tad Weed, bassist Kurt Krahnke and drummer Sean Dobbins have been working together for years now, both on their own and as a trio-for-hire for leading names coming through town, including Sheila Jordan and James Moody. All of that shared bandstand experience has led to the kind of deep groove, conversational intimacy, natural spontaneity and common language that you simply can't replicate with a pick-up band. The threesome is on speaking terms with a wide swath of the modern mainstream, but also knows that the endgame is always to bring a personal voice to the music.

The group settles into a residency this week at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, 97 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms. Seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday with a 10:30 p.m. encore set Friday-Saturday. Reservations: 313-882-5299. No cover Wednesday-Thursday, $15 Friday-Saturday. No cover for 10:30 encore set. (The trio's performance on Thursday will be interspersed with the semifinals of the Detroit Jazz Festival's Barry Harris Piano Competition.)

Contact Mark Stryker: 313-222-6459.


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Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)

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