New York City has the New School, a tangible history of groundbreaking jazz, high-profile jazz clubs and a dense population of potential fans. But Buffalo has a serious jazz scene too, one that rivals any city of its size in the country. We may not be New York, but we have more than our fair share of world-class jazz musicians in town.
In Buffalo, jazz – the best of it – still sounds like its alive in the present tense, and is still assimilating new influences, employing new technologies, and furthering the music’s long-standing tendency to birth new hybrids.
Gruvology is one of the longest-serving area jazz groups with a set roster of musicians. (Many jazz gigs tend to involve a leader calling various musicians for one-off performances.) Keyboardist Walter Kemp III, guitarist Bernard Kunz, bassist Cameron Kayne and drummer Dave Phillips have earned plaudits from fans and industry awards alike, based on their unerring ability to bring a serious improvisational acumen to bear on groove-based compositions.
The band recently tracked a new album at Mark Studios in Clarence, and will celebrate the release of that album – dubbed “Freeway” – with a show at 8 p.m. Friday in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Ave.). Admission will be $10, $8 for Hallwalls members.
Narrowing the odds
The Hard Rock Rising contest, in which bands from around the country compete for the opportunity to perform as part of a star-studded bill in Rome, Italy, this summer, is starting to heat up.
Locally, Preliminary Round III takes place at 8 tonight in the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls (333 Prospect St.). Prog-rock outfit BlueShift, guitarist/vocalist Clark Rabbit, singer/songwriter Emily Veronica and metal quartet Sic Sin will perform.
The winner will move on to Round IV, scheduled for the Hard Rock Cafe on April 13.
Ontario sibling act Menew will play Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.) on Saturday, along with guests Time Giant. The Canadian band may not yet be a household name on this side of the border, but that could well change soon.
Menew’s blend of alternative and art-rock tendencies is compelling and addictive, which is to suggest that you might not have another opportunity to catch the band in such intimate surroundings. Tickets are $10 at the door or $7 in advance (www.ticketfly.com).
If you were sitting on your hands, wondering whether or not to bite the bullet and grab some tickets for the Misfits gig at the Iron Works, you’re running out of time. That show takes place at 8 p.m. next Thursday and the $25 advance tickets are almost gone. Admission at the door will cost you $30.