Tag Archives: John Bartlit

Swing Local

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The Albuquerque/Santa Fe corridor boasts a vein of musical talent that is out of all proportion to the size of the population. Several of the folks featured in the two reviews below have gigged far and wide, exciting audiences on multiple continents, but what they all have in common is that they live here in northern New Mexico. We get to hear them quite frequently. So today we feature albums from fellow New Mexicans Arlen Asher and the trio Kadish Gagan Bartlit (aka KGB), and all you poor deprived coastal dwellers now have the opportunity to hear them, too. Continue reading

Local Don’t Mean Yokel (Part 2): Right about Now

IMG_0511cThe New Mexico Jazz Festival and the New Mexico Jazz Workshop’s summer jazz and blues series bring stellar talent to town. This year we’ve got the likes of NEA Jazz Masters Dave Holland, Charles Lloyd, and Dr. Lonnie Smith just for starters at the festival, and Brian Lynch and Matt Savage are among the stars lighting up the NMJW series.

The festival and summer series also offer top-drawer musicians in New Mexico an opportunity to perform in listening rooms and on stages where their music does not have to compete with bar chatter and the clink of silverware on china. This three-part series features ear-worthy local (or formerly local) acts stepping into the spotlight in the coming weeks. Second up is the Right about Now trio, with Lewis Winn (guitar),  Jon McMillan (bass), and John Bartlit (drums). Continue reading

Bert Dalton’s Brazil Project Presents a ‘Manfredo Fest’-ival

Brazil Project (left to right): John Bartlit, Patty Stephens, Rob “Milo” Jaramillo, Frank Leto, and Bert Dalton

Brazil Project (left to right): John Bartlit, Patty Stephens, Rob “Milo” Jaramillo, Frank Leto, and Bert Dalton

Pianist Bert Dalton’s Brazil Project is on a mission: to make the music of Brazilian composer/
pianist Manfredo Fest more widely known and appreciated. Dalton first crossed paths with the late Fest (1936–1999), one of the innovators of the bossa nova movement in the late 1950s, more than 30 years ago. He was immediately and permanently smitten with Fest’s energetic music. He’s played it ever since, wanting to expose a wider audience to its seamless blending of bop influences and Brazilian pulse.

For this special mission, Dalton is augmenting his Brazil Project personnel—Patty Stephens
(vocals), Rob “Milo” Jaramillo (bass), John Bartlit (drums), and Frank Leto (percussion)—with Ali Ryerson, one of the world’s top jazz flutists, and Phill Fest, son of Manfredo and a guitarist whose albums place high on the jazz charts. The septet will present three concerts titled “Dig This Samba!” this week—in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and El Paso—with the El Paso concert being recorded live for an upcoming album. Continue reading

Home Grown, Pt. 3

Just back from vacation in Portland, Oregon, where our godson, Noah Kite, graduated college. (Noah and Corey Distler cofounded the group zinnie for short. Check their music out, and
expect earworms.) For those of you in New Mexico, I can assure you that rain still exists, as do daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The Pacific Ocean put on a splendid son et lumière for us, too. Thanks to the Kites for a memorable visit.

Now, back to the listening couch. Here’s part three of a continuing series on New Mexico artists: a review of bassist Jon Gagan’s Transit 3: migration.

Transit 3 Cover SqTransit 3: migration, Jon Gagan (Spiral
Subwave Records International)
Bassist/keyboardist/composer Jon Gagan is no hostage to genre. Though an eminently
accomplished jazz bassist—he’s backed such luminaries as Mose Allison, Milt “Bags”
Jackson, Nat Adderley, and Eddie Harris—he started off playing garage rock, and he’s equally comfortable in funk and world music settings. He made his name as bassist, arranger, and musical director for Ottmar Liebert, the “nouveau flamenco” guitarist who’s sold gazillions of records.

Gagan’s own compositions reflect that broad experience and his desire to create instrumental music that ignores “the genre thing,” as he told me in an interview a few years ago. Gagan wants to appeal to “a different sort of person, who’s not necessarily just interested in, let’s say, instrumental prowess or jazz skill—but just likes the sound of music.”

The impeccably produced Transit 3: migration, like its predecessors, Transit and Transit 2,
accomplishes that objective, blending jazz, world beat, funk, and wordless pop to tell “the story of mankind’s escape from a depleted Earth.”

Continue reading