[JPL] JAZZ REVIEW Jazzy just isn't the same thing

Jim Wilke jwilke123 at comcast.net
Fri Sep 1 12:29:20 EDT 2006

I thought this review was an excellent explanation in a general 
circulation newspaper of the difference between jazz and "jazzy", which 
the general public doesn't seem to grasp or understand. One is tempted 
to clip and save for reference to help smooth jzzzz friends along, but 
on the other hand, they're probably happy where they are.  I guess it's 
really a personality-type thing.

Jim Wilke
Jazz After Hours, PRI

On Friday, September 1, 2006, at 09:02  AM, Jazz Promo Services wrote:

> Jazzy just isn't the same thing
> By Don Heckman
> Special to The Times
> September 1, 2006
> There's jazz, and there's jazzy. And, despite their verbal similarity, 
> they
> don't often have a lot to do with each other. The performances by Al
> Jarreau, George Benson and Raúl Midón at the Hollywood Bowl on 
> Wednesday
> night had the potential to intriguingly juxtapose both these disparate
> notions. Jarreau and Benson have demonstrated the ability to deliver 
> prime,
> hard-swinging improvisational music, as well as catchy, hook-oriented
> "jazzy" pop. And Midón, younger and less seasoned, has displayed a 
> similar
> musical eclecticism.
> OK, that sounds good as preview, but it didn't exactly work out that 
> way on
> stage. Midón, on first, performed with only his solo guitar as
> accompaniment. Singing originals written from a distinctly Stevie 
> Wonder
> perspective, he delivered an entertaining if somewhat 
> repetitive-sounding
> set of songs. Despite several efforts to cross into jazz, his efforts 
> in
> this arena seemed very much like a work in progress. Midón's most 
> effective
> passages, in fact, came in a scat-singing finale with Jarreau and 
> Benson, in
> which he more than held his own.
> Jarreau's performance promised the most for the jazz-heads in the 
> audience.
> He has been one of the most unusual vocal artists in the genre for 
> three
> decades, winning multiple jazz vocal Grammys. This time, however, he 
> seemed
> more concerned with emphasizing his humorous persona — stalking the 
> stage,
> interacting with the crowd, overemphasizing his vocal tendency to use 
> bursts
> of sound and eccentric pronunciation. His version of "Take Five" — 
> usually a
> showcase of his extraordinary improvisational skills — was largely a 
> drum
> solo.
> Benson's performances in recent years have emphasized the jazzy 
> aspects of
> his music, and this night was no exception. Most of the set became a 
> living
> jukebox program of hits. Every now and then, for very brief passages,
> Benson's remarkable guitar skills managed to surface through his 
> ensemble's
> monochromatic wall of sound. More often — even in the duet numbers with
> Jarreau from their new album, "Givin' It Up" — the real jazz abilities 
> of
> these two gifted performers were lost in the rush to jazzy commercial
> nirvana.

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