Fri, 29 August 2014
I received this email from the band Afro-Semitic Experience, and watned to share their words and music with you all:
The Afro-Semitic Experience is saddened by the events in Ferguson, Missouri. We mourn the killing of Michael Brown and we are troubled by the violence that has been inflicted upon the community. We are reminded once again that the Civil Rights movement is far from over and that this nation is in need of an ongoing dialogue on race, bigotry and unity in the community. As musicians there is only so much we can do. But do it we shall. We are healers.
And so we share this link to a piece dedicated to healing. Healing in Ferguson. Healing in the United States of America. Healing wherever there is strife of any kind. Plea for Peace.
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30 PM
Thu, 21 August 2014
Fifty years ago today, Anthony Williams recorded his debut album as a bandleader. However, he was no rookie.
Williams began playing professionally at the age of 13 with saxophonist Sam Rivers in Boston, Massachusetts, and Jackie McLean hired Williams when he was 16. At 17 Williams became the core of Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet.
Williams, now a veteran at the age of 18, led two sessions at Rudy Van Gelder's Studio for Blue Note on August 21 and 24. On the 21st, he brough old friend Rivers in to play sax, and bassists Richard Davis and Gary Peacock to play bass. Herbie Hancock (piano), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes) and Ron Carter (bass) would replace them on the 24th.
The results was music that was far removed from anything he had played before. I would hesitate to call it "free jazz", but clearly the influence of Peacock's boss Albert Ayler was in the room that day. "Tomorrow Afternoon", with the pulse of two basses and Williams' polyrhythms, was a peak at where jazz was headed, and headed soon.
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00 PM
Sat, 16 August 2014
It's summer in New England, so why not some summer themed music for these lazy, hot days? Today is August 16th, the feast day of Saint Roch, the patron saint of Dogs, so why not celebrate the "Dog Days"?
The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term "Dog Days" was used earlier by the Greeks in Aristotle's Physics.
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise, which is no longer true, owing to procession of the equinoxes. The Romans sacrificed a brown dog (Sorry Angus and Hamish, my two miniature dachshunds)) at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
Podcast 442 features the following uninterrupted music:
Marc Johnson - "Summer Running" from The Sound of Summer Runnning
Bob Curnow's LA Big Band - "Every Summer Night" from Music of Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays
Sarah Vaughan - "Summertime" from Sings George Gershwin.
Sonny Stitt - "Summer Special" from My Mother's Eyes
The Rippingtons featuring Russell Freeman - "Summer Lovers" from Topaz
Quincy Jones - "Summer in the City" from You've Got It Bad, Girl
Michael Franks - "You Were Meant for Me" from Dragonfly Summer
Bob Baldwin - "Summer Breeze" from Cool Breeze
Phil Woods, Antonio Hart and Vincent Herring - "The Summer Knows (Theme from 'Summer of '42')" from Alto Summit.
Steve Reid -"Warm Summer Rain" from Water Sign
Amy Cervini - "Once Upon a Summertime" from Digging Me, Digging You
Hiromi - "Summer Rain" from Another Mind
Wed, 13 August 2014
“Swinging, grooving, clean and tricky playing. This is the group that, once you’ve heard them, you’ll realize they always needed to exist. Unique, original, exciting. And simply killing in the best sense.”- Dave Douglas on The Westerlies.
The Westerlies are a New York based brass quartet comprised of four friends from Seattle, Washington. Avid explorers of cross-genre territory, Riley Mulherkar (trumpet), Zubin Hensler (trumpet), Andy Clausen (trombone) and Willem de Koch (trombone) are a collectively run ensemble dedicated to the cultivation of a new brass quartet repertoire that exists in the ever-narrowing gap between American folk music, jazz, classical, and indie rock.
After three years of getting prestigious gigs at the Shapeshifter Lab and Earshot Jazz Festival, the Westerlies were invited to perform the music of Wayne Horvitz at The Stone in May 2013. The project was later recorded during the The Westerlies annual residency on Lopez Island, WA and has been released to critical praise as their debut album Wish The Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz (Songlines Recordings).
I spoke with Andy Clausen as he returned to New York City prior to the band’s August tour of the West Coast. An avid explorer of cross-genre territory, drawing inspiration from folk music, jazz, classical, and indie rock, Clausen has performed with new music mavericks Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz, pop sensation Feist and the avant-jazz saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo. Hailing from Seattle, Clausen relocated to NYC in 2010 to begin his studies at the Juilliard School under the guidance of master trombonists Conrad Herwig and Steve Turre. Podcast 441 features our conversation along with four tracks from the new CD, and a bonus - a track from Neil Welch, who Andy identifies as a Seattle talent to watch.
Tue, 12 August 2014
The “Business of Jazz” grows increasingly thornier at almost every turn these days. One of the bright spots in the demise of major label signings and sold recording budgets is the ability of artists to take control of their projects and reach out to their fans for support, both artistic and financial.
PledgeMusic is one such “crowdfunding site”, a direct-to-fan music platform bringing artists and fans together to share in the experience of music as it happens. By making a contribution, fans can receive goodies that range from signed CDs and bonus download tracks to an Executive Producer credit.
Veteran pianist Kevin Hays has brought the recording of his latest project The New Day Trio to the fans via Pledge Music. Considered to be among the most inventive pianists and improvisers of his generation, Hays has released over a dozen albums as leader, and has been featured on over 60 recordings as a sideman. He has worked with some of the most prominent and influential musicians in Jazz including Sonny Rollins, John Scofield, Benny Golson, Roy Haynes, Chris Potter, Al Foster, Joe Henderson and Joshua Redman. His albums have made several best-of lists including The New Yorker Magazine, The New York Times, Musician Magazine and he is a winner of the French Charles Cros Coup de Coeur Award.
Kevin’s latest trio finds him moving to Fender Rhodes as well as his ubiquitous piano. He is joined by Rob Jost on bass and Greg Joseph on drums, along with guests like harmonica great Grégoire Maret and guitarist Tony Scherr. After developing the material he plans to record for this new CD both through touring and a 2 year residency at NYC's 55 Bar, the trio will unveil a new set of Hays originals and arrangements of songs by Johnny Cash, 'Sugarman' Rodriguez, Charlie Parker, and others. The group is in the homestretch of a PledgeMusic campaign to help fund this new recording and with over 80% of their goal met and just days remaining, they are scheduled to head into the studio later this week.
Podcast 440 is my conversation with Kevin as he readied himself for a few last gigs before digging in to record. We discussed crowdfunding and his New Day Trio, as well as his upcoming dates with Brad Mehldau in Brazil. Musical selections from the new session are of course unavailable, so the interludes for this podcast come from previous Hays CDs, including "The Run" from Go Round; the Hays tune “Elegia” from his collaboration with Mehldau Modern Music; and the title track from You’ve Got a Friend.
Mon, 4 August 2014
A lifelong champion of jazz, Bruce Lundvall had been president of the legendary jazz label Blue Note since 1984, and had previously been president of Columbia Records and Elektra Records, where he founded the jazz-oriented Elektra Musician imprint. During his career, he not only signed standout talent but also staged unlikely events, including the renowned three-day Havana Jam festival featuring Columbia's top pop and jazz artists as well as superb Cuban artists in Cuba's capital 35 years ago. He also celebrated the relaunching of the formerly dormant Blue Note Records in 1984 by staging a "miraculous" all-star jazz concert in New York's Town Hall.
Lundvall, who has become disabled because of Parkinson's disease, has moved into a full-time senior assisted living community, Brighton Gardens of Saddle River, not far from his home in New Jersey. Unable to go see the jazz artists he knows and loves, he has come up with a plan to bring them to him and his new community.
On August 24, 2014 a top-tier cast of stars that Lundvall has assembled will perform at the Sunrise Senior Living Jazz Festival at Brighton Gardens of Saddle River, New Jersey from 2:00 - 8:00PM. Saxophonist Joe Lovano will be leading his nonet (which includes vocalist Judi Silvano), Dianne Reeves will sing, and Chucho Valdés, one of jazz's greatest pianists, will be performing solo. One of the highlights of the afternoon will be pianist Bill Charlap's interpretations of Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein compositions and piano duets with his wife Rene Rosnes. Charlap will be joined by Javon Jackson, Nicholas Payton, Ravi Coltrane, and the great rhythm section of Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. Special festival guest will be local jazz guitar great Bucky Pizzarelli who will perform with his longtime duo mate, guitarist Ed Loeb.
All artists performing are playing pro bono, with proceeds from ticket sales going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. Tickets will be $150. In addition, a special donation of $200 will include VIP seating at the concert in the front row, meet and greet with musicians after the show, cocktails and an autographed copy of the biography, Bruce Lundvall: Playing by Ear.
A raffle for autographed photos of celebrities will also take place. Complimentary beer and wine will be served. At intermission, there will be a complimentary hour-long tapas party for concertgoers.
Tickets are on sale now at Ticketbud.com. For more information, please contact Victoria Priore Cain · 201-818-8680 Director of Sales, Brighton Gardens Sunrise Senior Living, NJ.
Category:general -- posted at: 1:49 PM
Fri, 1 August 2014
Today would have been Jerry Garcia’s 72nd birthday, and like so many other fans, I'll spend a few moments contemplating his music. Maybe a few "Scarlet Begonia/Fire on the Mountain" and "Dark Stars" are in the cards. Definitely a "Bird Song."
Named after composer Jerome Kern, Garcia was a student of American music, whether it was bluegrass, show tunes or the blues. Jerry had a love of jazz, and while the Dead themselves did not dip into the jazz canon all that often, Jerry’s side projects gave him a chance to show his jazz chops. Click here to listen to a recording of Milt Jackson’s “Bag’s Groove” from the 1998 release So What from Garcia and mandolin player David Grisman. Other members of the band were Joe Craven on percussion, Matt Eakle on flute and Jim Kerwin on bass.
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40 AM
Thu, 31 July 2014
“I'd put him on the Mount Rushmore of New Orleans drummers, along with Smokey Johnson, Johnny Vidacovich and Herlin Riley." -- George Ingmire, DJ, WWOZ New Orleans.
Idris Muhammad, one of the most versatile and funky drummers of the past fifty years, has died at the age of 74. His cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but friends noted that Muhammad had been receiving dialysis treatment in New Orleans — where he had returned from New York City to retire back in 2011.
Born Leo Morris in New Orleans, the young man was mesmerized by the chants and rhythms of the Mardi Gras Indians. By the time he was 16, he had played the drums for Fats Domino's 1956 hit, "Blueberry Hill," and later played with the Hawketts (led by Art Neville) on their iconic anthem, "Mardi Gras Mambo."
After he relocated to New York (and then Europe), he discovered the Islam faith and changed his name to Idris Muhammad. It was his mastery of those rhythms – slinky, funky, martial, liquid – that made him a master session musician. Over five decades, he logged hundreds of recordings and thousands of performances with the likes of soul artists like Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler, and Roberta Flack; jazz mainstays like Pharaoh Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, and Joe Lovano; and most recently, as a member of saxophonist Big Chief Donald Harrison's tribe.
But for me, it was his recordings with saxophonist Lou Donaldson, aided by ultra-funky guitarist Melvin Sparks, which were his finest moments. The genre of “jazz-funk” or “acid jazz” was an amalgamation of jazz, R&B and funk, and no one could handle the drum kit like Idris Muhammad. He anchored Donaldson’s band from 1965 to 1971, supplying the beat for classics like “Alligator Boogaloo”, and“Everything I Do Gon' Be Funky (From Now On)." He loaned his talents during the seventies to the likes of George Benson, Gene Ammons, Paul Desmond, Leon Spencer and Sonny Stitt. He remained in demand through the next twenty years, recording with Randy Weston and
He released 13 albums under his own name, most notably 1974’s Power of Soul which brought Randy Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, Joe Beck, Gary King and Ralph MacDonald together for sessions produced by Creed Taylor. Check it out and see why no one did it better than Idris.
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25 PM
Sun, 27 July 2014
The Newport Jazz Festival, the multi-day jazz festival held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The venerable festival was established in 1954 by socialite Elaine Lorillard, who, together with husband Louis Lorillard, financed the festival for many years. The couple hired jazz impresario George Wein to organize the event to help them bring jazz to the posh resort town.
The relationship between the tony town of Newport and the festival has often been rocky - the National Guard was called to calm spectators who created a major disturbance in 1960, resulting in cancellation of the 1961 event. The Festival returned in 1962, but was met with trepidation by the town leadership when Wein began bringing in rock, funk and jazz fusion acts for the Festival including Sly & the Family Stone and Led Zeppelin in 1969 and the Allman Brothers Band in 1971. The Festival was not welcomed back after those gigs led to massive trespassing and gate crashing.
The Festival moved to New York City in 1972, initially using a format involving multiple venues, including Yankee Stadium and Radio City Music Hall. It became a two-site festival in 1981 when it returned to Newport and also continued in New York. It’s been a New England summer institution since then, regularly packing them in to see music on three stages at Fort Adams State Park in Newport.
The Festival expands to three days of music this year, with a day of cutting-edge music on Friday August 1, highlighted by John Zorn’s Masada Marathon, featuring Dave Douglas, Marc Ribot, Cyro Baptista, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander, Ikue Mori, Greg Cohen, Joey Baron, Kenny Wollesen and more. The world premiere of Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Charlie Parker Project will take place that day, as will a set by Downbeat magazine’s newly appointed Queen of Jazz, Cecile McLorin Salvant. Friday night will be the annual indoor event at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino (the original site of the festival itself), starring Wynton Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Saturday will have a wide variety of talent, from favorites like Marsalis, the NewportNow060 Band and Dave Holland’s Prism to those whose talents are just reaching a wider audience, including Robert Glasper, Trombone Shorty and Gregory Porter. The SFJazz Collective performance should be a highlight, as should sets by Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band and the Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet
Wrapping things up on Sunday will be some of the biggest names in history (Ron Carter, Lee Konitz, the Mingus Big Band, Dr. John); new groups from Gary Burton, David Sanborn, Vijay Iyer, and Danilo Perez; plus Wein himself, playing in an all-star setting with Anat Cohen, Randy Brecker, Lew Tabakin, Howard Alden and Jay Leonhardt.
The inimitable Danny Melnick books this show with his mentor George Wein, and helps us preview the Festival in Podcast 437. Musical selections from Festival players include:
John Zorn - "Orchestral Variations" from Fragmentations, Prayers and Interjections.
Mostly Other People Do the Killing - "Two Bppt Jacks" from This is Our Moosic.
Gregory Porter - "Moanin'" from Great Voices of Harlem.
Lee Konitz with Ethan Iverson, Larry Grenadier and Jorge Rossy "Blueberry Ice Cream - Take 2" from Costumes Are Mandatory
Direct download: Podcast_439_-_Previewing_Newport_Jazz_Festival.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:00 PM
Wed, 23 July 2014
With his participation in the Bill Warfield Big Band’s Trumpet Story, the legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker continues a series of fine guest recordings with large ensembles. Since his Grammy winning Randy in Brasil CD in 2008, he has continually made recordings with ensembles as varied as the Danish Radio Big Band and The Danish National Chamber Orchestra (The Jazz Ballad Book); the Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra (Night in Calisia, also a Grammy winner); and Chuck Owen’s Big Band Jazz Surge (The Comet’s Tail – Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker).
Brecker’s playing has been a major influence on the work of fellow trumpeter/composer Bill Warfield. Brecker first collaborated with Warfield on a Sketches of Spain concert at Lehigh University, where Warfield is an Associate Professor of Music and directs the jazz studies program. Since then, whenever Warfield considered working on a large scale tribute to his favorite trumpet players, he always heard Brecker in his head.
The project, a four-part suite, morphed into Trumpet Story, a Big Band recording of four Warfield pieces, a Brecker tune (“Sponge”) and arrangements of songs that influenced Warfield over the years, including “Speak Like a Child” and “Pharoah’s Dance”. Brecker shines throughout, especially on Warfield’s funky “When Janie Takes the Stand.” As always, Brecker can play with the bombast needed for a a Big Band soloist, yet with the undeniable lyricism that has made his versions of Brazilian tunes so plaintive and seductive. For me, the highlights come on the soloing on “Sponge”, as Brecker lays it down, and Mark Phaneuf’s tenor sax and Sam Burtis’ trombone answer the challenge.
Category:general -- posted at: 3:43 PM