Robert Powers, a blues legend, shows why at Terra Blues

TERRA BLUES, NYC — Playing the blues has to come from the soul. There is no room for artifice or ego or flamboyance. It’s story-telling, sorrow, humor, hard-times and good times. It can be imitated, but fakers just don’t resonate. Robert Powers is the real thing, and it’s clear his many Grammy nominations have been well-earned….

In Berlin, they LISTEN to the music, & it’s really good

A-TRANE BAR, BERLIN — In most cities, you’d be hard-pressed to name a jazz club where they actually LISTEN to the musicians instead of talking over them and clapping only reflexively when they notice the music has stopped. Not at The A-Trane (yes, they spell it that way) Jazz Club in Berlin. On two separate…

Some of the best jazz in the world is in Johannesburg

THE ORBIT, JOHANNESBURG — Having just left New York City’s rich jazz scene, I was snootily prepared for some good but not great jazz at The Orbit in downtown Johannesburg. Wrong! Just watch the opening of the video at the top of this post, and you’ll see what I mean. Two jazz bands delivered modern jazz…

Felix Slim: New Orleans sound, but new to NYC from Spain

ROCKWOOD HALL, NYC: How can you not like a guy who opens by proudly saying this is his first solo gig in New York City, and thanking all four people at the Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage One for coming to his 7:30 PM show! Then Felix Slim wowed the “crowd” (which swelled to a dozen or so after an hour)…