For some reason, Harvard continues to be the place to stay for good jazz this week. Next Wednesday alto saxophonists Phil Woods and Lee Konitz join forces with the Harvard Jazz Band for an 8:30 p.m. Sanders Theatre concert. Woods is a pretty established name, who has been making it big with the jazz orchestra scene. Konitz has been around for a while but has never quite received the press that he seems to deserve. Konitz arrived with Miles Davis way back in 1949. Somebody once asked Miles Davis why he had hired a white man to play in his band, the white man being Konitz. Miles's answer: "I don't care if he's orange, man, just so he can play."
The program has some real gems including Monk's "Well You Needn't" and "Straight, No Chaser," and Weill's "Lover Man," a personal favorite. Also localite (what an ugly word) Baird Hersey's "From the Tower" will be performed. (By the way if you are really into alto sax, get a listen to what Jackie McLean is into today. The Source and The Meeting are two albums that feature some of the best alto ever played--no apologies to the master).
Tickets for the jazz band concert are in the $2 vicinity (new journalism for $2) for students. Tickets will be available at the door.
Friday night the Quincy House Music Society is sponsoring an informal jazz coffeehouse. The Amphion. Berklee piano student Peter Drescher is the featured act. Amphion's got its own coterie of student performers including Joe Reed, Hugh Burrow and Peter Fraenkel, who welcome you to sit in with them if you play a rhythm instrument. The Freebop Quintet is also on the bill. This week the session will meet in the Adams House JCR at 8. Thereafter Amphion will be held in the Quincy JCR.
The best jazz group in the country, bar several other best jazz groups in the country, Weather Report, will be playing at the Berklee Performance Center this Friday, at 7 and 10 pm. Tickets are $7.50 and $6.50. Actually, I'm not kidding about Weather Report. The Wayne Shorter-inspired group plays some of the most revolutionary, albeit plugged-in, jazz today, and it famous for giving a great live performance. Some jazz musicians I know in Philadelphia caught this concert last week and each acclaimed it as the finest night of jazz in years.
Saturday the Berklee Big Band ensemble takes over with an 8:30 concert.
Paul's Mall is booking Al Dimeola, formerly of Chick Corea's "Return to Forever" through the weekend with shows at 8:30 and 11. Good back-up man, of dubious front-line talent. Be thinking about Chick Corea coming to the Orpheum for a 7 pm. concert May 15, Tickets are $7.50 and $6.50.
Gary Burton occupies the Jazz Workshop through May 1. Rahssaan Roland Kirk won't make his appearance there until May 10. At Sandy's through this Sunday is jazz and blues singer Joe Williams. Joe must be getting pretty ole, I figure. Die-hards won;t mind.
I guess Dizzy Gillespie has really found a home in Boston. He'll be appearing at the Rise Club May 3, 4, and 5, which is a real break because the Rise Club gives you the best shows for nice prices. It's close by too, smack in the middle of Central Square at 485 Mass. Ave.
Really locally the 1369 Jazz Club features the Cambridge-port Jazz Ensemble this weekend. A great place to go.
If I may take a little jazz listen--just a warning that you shouldn't bother to check out the Met while it is in Boston, because the John Hynes Auditorium has a habit of making anything, including II Trovatore, look like your high school graduation. And you would never pay $8 and yp to see that Commencement.