Jazz in June 2017 Wraps with Rad Trads

Jazz in June 2017 Wraps with Rad Trads

The Rad Trads – 6.27.17

Terence Blanchard and the E Collective – 6.20.17

By Johnny G
June 21, 2017

Terence Blanchard and The E Collective surprised, intrigued, delighted and entertained a very attentive Jazz in June crowd Tuesday night. Blanchard is a multi-Grammy award winning musician, composer and bandleader who currently resides in New Orleans with his wife and children.

The E Collective consists of keyboardist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Charles Altura, bassist David Ginyard and drummer Oscar Seaton. Seaton and Blanchard had previously worked on a soundtrack together that had them creating what they’ve termed “groove” music.

This music has a distinct R & B influence, with Blanchard deploying electronic effects on his trumpet that immediately tells the listener, “this is something different”.

The opening song, “See Me As I Am” began with Almazan playing a romantic piano solo over gentle sampled sounds, culminating in a ballad that barely maintained a tempo, as the rhythm section toyed with the slow groove. This song lasted at least fifteen minutes and allowed the three soloists (Blanchard, Almazan and Altura) to really stretch out, but in a very laid back way. This led to a piano segue into the next song, “Chaos”, which featured Alzaman’s piano with added distortion effects that really intensified his sound. When Blanchard doesn’t play his trumpet, he’s playing additional keyboards that work very well in the ensemble sound.

The first three numbers all connected seamlessly together and we didn’t hear Blanchard speak until about 45 minutes into the set where he thanked the crowd, introduced the musicians and gave a recap of the songs played. The last piece before intermission, “Soldiers,” was dedicated to the social workers that do so much for the less fortunate in our country.

Video by Steffan Decker

After intermission, Blanchard and the band kicked it into high gear with the tune “Can Anyone Hear Me?,” which featured more intense solos and more electronic distortion to great effect from several of the soloists. “American Gangster” brought vocalist Tondrae Kemp to the stage to sing his composition, which featured superb lyrics very critical of the American way of life. Next up was the Blanchard composition, “Dear Jimi”, which featured the guitar playing of Altura, who sounded nothing like Jimi Hendrix, but was brilliant nonetheless. The band ended on a song that had Blanchard retreating off the back of the stage, seemingly playing to the audience assembled there as the song came to its conclusion.

This may have been one of the more “out” and creative examples of jazz to hit Jazz in June in recent memory and one may tend to worry that the crowd may be averse to music that defies expectations. Not so last night, as the crowd was into the performance throughout the evening and more than up to the challenge that Blanchard and his band brought to Lincoln.

Johnny G. is a longtime KZUM programmer and host of “Impressions,” airing Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m., on KZUM.

Bill Wimmer’s Project Omaha featuring Victor Lewis – 6.13.17

Photos by Harley Laratta
June 14, 2017

Week two of Jazz in June on the UNL City Campus featured Bill Wimmer’s Project Omaha featuring Victor Lewis. Find out more at

Video by Steffan Decker

Harley Laratta is one of KZUM’s summer interns. Interested in interning at KZUM? Find more information and apply here.

LaFrae Sci and Sonic Black – 6.6.17

By Johnny G
June 7, 2017

The 2017 season of Jazz in June debuted without a hitch on a beautiful evening at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. Several concertgoers were overheard saying that summer “begins today” with the start of the series. Musical guests LaFrae Sci and Sonic Black kept the music hot, even as the sun retreated behind the trees.

For the first time in the program’s 26 years, the event was broadcast live by Lincoln’s community radio station, KZUM (listen to the recording at the end of this story).

Video by Steffan Decker

Sci and her quartet hail from New York City, featuring Greg Lewis on the Hammond B3 organ, Lakecia Benjamin on alto sax and vocalist Tamar-kali, all led by Sci on drums. The band is an educational collective that creates interactive presentations focusing on Black American musical contributions to the world. During the day, the band gave presentations at UNL’s Glenn Korff School of Music and the F Street Recreation Center.

Some of the educational pieces made their way into the program in the evening, as Sci frequently set up a piece of music with either a brief history lesson or anecdotal story about the musicians or the music.

Any evening of jazz that begins with Charles Mingus’ “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” is sure to be high energy, and the band did not disappoint. Adding their own sonic signature to many jazz and blues standards, the band played for nearly two hours. Examples of different rhythmic patterns and methods were briefly introduced by Sci, such as the New Orleans shuffle beat that underpinned their take on Thelonious Monk’s “Green Chimneys”.

Small children running around, Jazz in June regulars in their annual viewing positions on the green of UNL’s campus, the smell of food truck offerings and smiles on everyone’s faces tell us that the first concert of Jazz in June’s 26th season was a rousing success.

Photos by Deb Andersen

For information on the series line up and more, visit

KZUM is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Jazz in June concert series. Stay tuned to KZUM for VIP ticket giveaways, show recaps and more. Listen Local 89.3 FM Listen Live Follow us on Instagram, andTwitter.

Listen to the live KZUM broadcast of the event, as heard on “Impressions”:

Live Remote Broadcast of Jazz in June w/ LaFrae Sci and Sonic Black made possible by Red Rebel Media.

Johnny G. is a longtime KZUM programmer and host of “Impressions,” airing Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m., on KZUM.


June 30th, 2017

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