Jazz artists swing into S. Florida
Everyone north of Hillsborough County wants to winter in South Florida, jazz musicians included. And, as ever, residents of Palm Beach, Broward and MiamiDade reap the benefits. Here are a handful of upcoming jazz concerts that should entice area audiences with music as refreshing as the evening air.
When Paul McCartney suggests that you record an album of his songs, the apt response is “On it, mate!” Jazz guitarist and crooner John Pizzarelli received just such a request from Macca a couple of years ago. The results can be found on his 2015 release “Midnight McCartney,” a romantic stroll through Sir Paul’s postBeatles output reimagined for a late-night jazz hang.
The son of jazz-guitar great Bucky Pizzarelli, John, 55, grew up idolizing the Beatles. In 1998, he recorded “John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles,” a jazzy dip into the Fab Four songbook. Then, in 2012, McCartney recruited Pizzarelli to play on his Grammy-winning standards album “Kisses on the Bottom.” He later sent the guitarist a note suggesting he record “a few of my songs that are lesser known.” So, in addition to jazz renditions of hits such as “Silly Love Songs” and “My Love,” Pizzarelli interprets obscurities such as “Heart of the Country” and “Junk.” His sophisticated guitar craft and intimate vocals are well-suited to the Royal Room at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, where Pizzarelli is performing with his quartet at 8 nightly through Saturday. Tickets cost $100-$120. Call 561-659-8100 or go to TheRoyalRoom.com.
Jason Marsalis, who will turn 39 on Friday, also hails from jazz royalty. His father, New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis, raised a family of jazz stars, namely, Jason and older siblings Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Although Marsalis made his name as a masterful drummer with pianist Marcus Roberts and with his own Los Hombres Calientes, he’s also an accomplished vibraphonist who has recorded since 2009 on the instrument. On his latest album, “Heirs to the Crescent City,” Marsalis plays mostly drums and a smattering of vibes on a set of tunes he composed for Sascha Just’s New Orleans documentary “Heirs.” With deceptive ease, he puts a modern spin on the traditional jazz, parade music and R&B for which his hometown is revered. And while he can tattoo a Mardi Gras rhythm on a drum kit that will have you shouting, “Eh la bas!” his chiming vibes brim with crystalline beauty. Marsalis’ Vibes Quartet will perform 8 p.m. Saturday at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach. Tickets cost $25-$40. Call 561-450-6357 or go to ArtsGarage.org.
Drummer Jack DeJohnette has played on groundbreaking sessions with John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett. A native Chicagoan, he also participated in the development of that city’s forward-thinking Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. For his latest show, the 2015 Downbeat Readers’ Poll winner teams up with former child prodigy Savion Glover, a tap dancer of formidable skill who held his own alongside Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1989 movie “Tap.” Among the most melodic drummers in jazz, DeJohnette fashions solos on his kit that are songs unto themselves, mesmerizing audiences with color and dynamics. Glover’s lanky athleticism routinely drops jaws, and he and DeJohnette spur each other on to feats of rhythmic bravado. The pair, who will perform 8 p.m. Saturday at the South MiamiDade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay, will be joined by Miami tapmeister Marshall Davis Jr. and friends. Tickets cost $20-$40; $5 for students. Earlier in the day, at 2 p.m., Glover and DeJohnette will participate in a free lecture and demonstration. Call 786-573-5300 or go to SMDCAC.org.
Reigning Hammond B- 3 champ Joey DeFrancesco routinely wrecks the house with lightning runs and sonic thunder. Yet another former prodigy, the son of Philly jazz organist Papa John DeFrancesco toured and recorded with Miles Davis just out of high school. DeFrancesco also sings and plays piano and trumpet beautifully, which he showcases on “Trip Mode,” his most recent recording. Of course, his wizardry on the Hammond remains central, as he sets his cabinet speaker aswirl on a set comprising mostly original material. With Dan Wilson on guitar and Jason Brown on drums, the Joey DeFrancesco Trio will perform 8 p.m. March12 at the Miniaci Performing Arts Center in Davie. Tickets cost $40; $10 for students. Call 954-462-0222 or go to SouthFloridaJazz.org.
Fresh off her Grammy win for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Cecile McLorin Salvant will return to her native Miami next month. With her second U.S. release, the introspective “For One To Love,” the 26-year-old singer continues to live up to the accolades she’s received since winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010. Salvant is a riveting performer, displaying remarkable synergy with pianist Aaron Diehl’s trio and earning favorable comparisons to Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan. Find her April 2 at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay. Tickets cost $30-$50.
Cecile McLorin Salvant is scheduled to perform April 2 at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center.
John Pizzarelli will appear Friday and Saturday at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach.