If you’re a jazz lover/musician/fan/enthusiast near Montclair, New Jersey (or a New Yorker who’s up to making the trip out) this week, be sure to check out Cabaret Blue at the Montclair Art Museum, where Christian McBride and Melissa Walker, founders of Jazz House Kids and both extraordinary musicians, will be honored for their contributions to today’s jazz scene by the New Jersey Spelman Alumnae Association.

The night — which starts at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 10th — combines some of my favorite things. Christian McBride, Melissa Walker, and Jazz House Kids are definitely a given, but the evening also features a performance by the all-female Spelman College jazz ensemble, and saxophonist extraordinaire Tia Fuller, who will be there to present the awards. But best of all, proceeds go toward college scholarships for New Jersey women pursuing an education at Spelman College — which, as a college kid myself, is music to my ears.

Tickets for Cabaret Blue are $75 for general admission and $115 for VIP — they can be purchased here. Hope that you’ll check it out!

You can visit the New Jersey Spelman Alumnae Association at their website here and on Twitter @njspelmanalumna.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Always Shine (feat. Bilal & Lupe Fiasco)/Robert Glasper Experiment/Black Radio


2012: What Haven’t I Done Yet?

by Rachel Cantrell on January 9, 2012

2011 treated me pretty well — I finished off my first semester at Columbia, explored the city’s jazz sphere (extensively!), ate too much NYC grub, and miraculously stumbled upon a way to spend my nights at the Village Vanguard. I even got a chance to enjoy a bit of the same party back here in Los Angeles — as I mentioned before, I spent New Year’s Eve at the Blue Whale with Alex Rodriguez (check out his blog, Lubricity), Becca Pulliam, and some other new friends at WBGO for the annual NPR/WBGO Toast of the Nation.

But of course, New York City’s a pretty big place — I’m far from close to seeing everything I’ve been wanting to see since I first found out I’d be taking off to the city. I’ve only been gone for winter break since the 21st of December and I’m already kicking myself for the things that I’m missing — the Brad Mehldau Trio (with Jeff Ballard and Larry Grenadier) at the Vanguard and the NYC Winter JazzFest, among other things. And while I was talking to Tim Lefebvre between sets at the Blue Whale on New Year’s Eve (playing bass for the Billy Childs Quartet during the Toast of the Nation broadcast), I was reminded that while I’ve (still) been getting over my euphoria in the Vanguard coatroom, I’ve overlooked a few key jazz venues — 55 Bar, for one (which Lefebvre mentioned), The Stone, Dizzy’s, and a handful of others. I’m also still yet to venture out into Brooklyn (outside of a few trips to Williamsburg), which is home to the Tea Lounge, the Knitting Factory, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) concert venue, and some others as well.

So while I’m packing up my suitcase to head back to my little dorm room in the city, here are some things that I’m looking forward to once I get back, featuring artists/venues that I haven’t yet visited (or haven’t visited enough). Here’s to a 2012 of new adventures.

1. Geri Allen, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington at the Village Vanguard. January 10-15th. (Purchase your tickets here.)

2. Aaron Parks Quintet (with Dayna Stephens, Pete Rende, Thomas Morgan, and Nate Smith) at The Jazz GalleryJanuary 21-22nd. (Check it out here.)

3. Le Boeuf Brothers at the Tea Lounge. January 26th. (Check it out here.)

4. Ryuichi Sakamoto with various artists, including John Zorn, Mayo Yamaguchi, Aya Nishina, and Taylor Deupree at The Stone. April 24-29th. (Check it out here.)

See you back in New York!

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Think of One/Pilc Moutin Hoenig/Threedom


New Year’s Eve, Toast of the Nation, and the Blue Whale

December 31, 2011

Tonight I’ll be ringing in the new year at the Blue Whale with Alex Rodriguez and some new friends at WBGO for the annual Toast of the Nation. Starting at 8pm E.S.T, you’ll be able to check out some pretty incredible jazz nationwide — starting in Boston with the Julian Lage trio at Berklee and [...]

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The View from the Village Vanguard Coatroom: Christian McBride & The Inside Straight

December 13, 2011

There’s a few revelations I’ve had working behind the coat check desk at the Village Vanguard during the Christian McBride & The Inside Straight series this past week. First off, for lack of better vocabulary, I’ve got the coolest job in the world. In exchange for the simple task of taking the coats and bags [...]

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In the Meantime, Some Fan Mail…

December 8, 2011

In between finals, essays, and working coat check at the Village Vanguard, I got this in my email the other night. I guess I’m doing something right. Stay tuned for some reflections on the Christian McBride & Inside Straight show from last week, and the Jenny Scheinman/Bill Frisell/Brian Blade show going on until Sunday. And [...]

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An Update on Everything: New York City, Jazz, and Life at Columbia

December 4, 2011

It’s been quite a while since I last posted, and it’s been quite the adventure since then. I’m now writing from my temporary (and perhaps, future) home in New York City at Columbia University — a city that constantly reminds me how drastically far away I am from my home in Los Angeles. But this, [...]

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Sweet Things from Alex Overington’s Electro-Acoustic Composition Class

August 6, 2011

After four very busy weeks at the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) music program, I’m now at home on my laptop trying to catch up with all of the music that was shared with me over the course of this past month. Though I was exposed to a wide variety of music [...]

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Tomorrow: John Daversa CD Release Party @ Catalina’s

July 19, 2011

Before I head to bed here at CSSSA @ CalArts, here’s something that you should check out tomorrow night (Wednesday, July 20th) if you have the chance- the John Daversa Big Band’s CD release party at Catalina’s Jazz Bar & Grill celebrating the band’s first studio album. The party starts at 8 pm and it’s [...]

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Twist: An American Musical Ticket Giveaway!

June 25, 2011

Last weekend I had the pleasure of checking out a preview show of Twist: An American Musical thanks to the folks spreading the word about this fantastic new production at the Pasadena Playhouse. The show begins on the 26th of this month (which is tomorrow!), and I’ll save my words about the production until after it [...]

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Los Angeles Jazz Collective MeMoWee Festival Day 1 with Daniel Rosenboom

May 31, 2011

Over the course of Memorial Day Weekend — which, if you’re keeping track, was the next three days of my five-day jazz extravaganza — I spent my nights at my favorite little jazz venue in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles for the LA Jazz Collective’s Memorial Day Weekend Festival. The first night opened with an exciting [...]

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