All posts by John Burdick

Music-lovers in a dangerous time

Music-lovers in a dangerous time

As of today, the most dangerous danger of these extraordinary times is itself born in intimacy and connection, and the thing we are called to sacrifice is the very thing we first turn to in times of crisis: each other, love, communion, hugs, the good free stuff. When I make my list of what groups of people I most feel for during the pandemic, rating a solid third or fourth (below those most susceptible to disease and financial devastation) are those in love.

Kurt Rosenwinkel plays the Falcon

Kurt Rosenwinkel plays the Falcon

Friday, Mar. 20: Like Pat Metheny before him, Kurt Rosenwinkel was plucked out of Berklee by the vibraphonist Gary Burton, who, along with Miles, is one of jazz’s most prescient vampires of young talent. A modern jazz guitarist cannot have a more propitious beginning than Burton’s endorsement and imprimatur, and Rosenwinkel, now about to enter the third decade of his prolific and serious career, has borne the tradition and the burden with diligence and dignity.

Joe Lovano to perform at Senate Garage in Kingston

Joe Lovano to perform at Senate Garage in Kingston

Saturday, Mar. 7: Lovano is about as first-tier, A-list and cream-of-the-crop as a jazz saxophonist is even allowed to be anymore. Yes, he has netted one Grammy (among 14 nominations), but that is never the gold star on a jazz curriculum vitae. The gold star, of course, is a) whom you’ve played with, and b) who has played with you. And by this standard, Lovano’s elite stature is stark.

Spyro Gyra plays Towne Crier in Beacon

Spyro Gyra plays Towne Crier in Beacon

Friday, Feb. 21: Driven by the effortlessly tuneful, graceful playing and composing of reed-player Jay Beckenstein and a light-touch, globally spiced approach to groove, Spyro Gyra unfortunately became a pivot point in the argument about jazz fusion: Were they true heirs of jazz gravity and genius like the first wave of great fusion bands (from Weather Report to early Pat Metheny Group), or were they the godfathers of lite jazz and ’70s TV themes, just a few stone-throws away from you-know-who, with the Kenny and the G?

Reed master Don Byron plays the Falcon

Reed master Don Byron plays the Falcon

Sunday, Feb. 23: Byron confers seriousness and the harmonic depth of jazz upon the genres that he studies and masters. The genres, in turn, render Byron’s catalogue one of the most listenable, joyous and unpredictable in all of serious and cerebral jazz.