Fri, 24 May 2013
Repost of Podcast 183:
What can I say about Bob Dylan that hasn't already been said a million times over. Perhaps I'll leave it be that as a singer, songwriter, musician and often as a human being, he is in many ways my all-time favorite.
Podcast 183 is a jazz celebration of The Man from Hibbing, Minnesota, including:
Cassandra Wilson - Lay Lady Lay" from Glamoured. This percussive version is a far cry from Dylan's country crooning on Nashville Skyline. As always, Ms. Wilson is a master at reinterpreting "modern standards" and this one, with help from Guitar player Brandon Ross, is no exception.
Keith Jarrett - "My Back Pages" from The Dylan Concert [bootleg] - This is a rare recording I found on the website BigOZine. It's a trio date with Jarrett on piano, Gus Nemeth on bass and Bob Ventrello on drums, live at Tagskægget, Aarhus, Denmark, Sept 15, 1969.
Michael Moore/Lindsey Horner/Michael Vatcher - "With God On Our Side" from Jewels and Binoculars: The Music of Bob Dylan. An import only CD that features Moore on clarinet, Horner on bass and Vatcher on percussion, with Bill Frisell guesting on guitar. Seriously weird and wonderful - and the album title comes from a lyric in Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" ("Oh Jewels and Binoculars hang from the head of the mule/But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel").
Stanley Turrentine - "Blowin in the Wind" from Common Touch. Sax man Turrentine and his then-wife organist Shirley Scott put out a winner in 1968, recording this Dylan tune joined by Jimmy Ponder on guitar, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Idris Muhammad on drums. Another Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note classic.
Nina Simone - "I Shall Be Released" from The Essential Nina Simone. My favorite Dylan song was recorded by the High Priestess of Soul and included on an anthology of songs she recorded for RCA Records between 1967 and 1972. Ms. Simone as an unparalleled interpreter of others material, as her versions here of songs by Dylan, Randy Newman and George Harrison shows.
Want to find more jazzy Dylan? Try this blog posting for starters.
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09 PM
Tue, 21 May 2013
The passing of Ray Manzarek, the co-founder and musical center of The Doors, leads me to ask the question I do when thinking of many of the great 1960’s rock figures.
What kind of jazz was he into?
I ask because it seems that almost all of these musical pioneers were deeply into the sounds of the Blues and the sounds of Jazz, particularly modal and free jazz. Check this quote from Doors drummer John Densmore:
Ray grew up in Chicago so he had the blues, Muddy Waters and all that. He also had classical training. That was pretty cool. That was invoked in the intro to "Light My Fire," which was very kind of Bach-like. Robby had a flamenco and folk music background. I was so enamored with watching Robby's fingers crawl across the flamenco guitar strings like a crab.
I'm a jazz guy and Ray was also into jazz, so when we met we talked about [John] Coltrane and Miles [Davis]. I think that influence gave me freedom. Like in "When the Music's Over," I just stopped playing the beat, and I would just comment on Jim's words percussively, out of rhythm, like we were having a conversation. I got that from listening to Elvin Jones and John Coltrane.
While the Doors might not have had that many overt jazz moments during their careers, Manzarek had at least one moment in 1973. That year he went into a Los Angeles studio to record The Golden Scarab, his first solo record. The result was a recording more like jazz-rock fusion than psychedelic rock. While Manzarek’s roots clearly had something to do with that, it was more likely due to the presence of Tony Williams.
Williams had been Miles Davis’ drummer and the architect of one of the seminal fusion bands, Lifetime, with John McLaughlin. He anchored a rhythm section that included bassist Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley, The Doors, Bob Dylan), jazz guitarist Larry Carlton and rocker Joe Walsh, and included jazz saxophonists John Klemmer and Ernie Watts. Click here to listen to “The Purpose of Existence Is?” a centerpiece of the album.
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30 AM
Thu, 16 May 2013
The Lost Jazz Shrines series is dedicated to bringing legendary NYC jazz clubs back into the consciousness of the world with a thorough remembrance and celebration. In celebration of the resonant history of Birdland, BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center will host two exceptional evenings that examine the musical and stylistic legacy of Charlie Parker through artists’ completely different lenses and cultural perspectives.
Artistic Director Willard Jenkins will host these final two events, on May 17th and 31st on the campus of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Friday May 17th will feature a free screening of the film Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker at 7PM, followed by a concert entitled "Charlie Parker: Timeless Innovation" at 8:30. Rudresh Mahanthappa will present recontextualizations of Charlie Parker’s work as well as new material based on extractions of Bird’s vocabulary as both composer and improviser. He will be joined on the bandstand by Matt Mitchell – Piano; François Moutin - Acoustic Bass; and Rudy Royston – Drums.
On May 31st, the musical program "The Cartographies of Flight" is provided by the Marty Ehrlich Ensemble. His all-star group includes James Zollar – trumpet; Marc Ribot – guitar; Michael Formanek – bass; and Nasheet Waits – drums. Joining the band on stage will be two poets and readers, Erica Hunt and Charles Bernstein. A panel discussion, “The Impact of Charlie Parker” with TK Blue and Marty Ehrlich, moderated by Willard Jenkins will precede the show.
It was a pleasure to reconnect with Jenkins, an independent arts consultant & producer, and writer under his Open Sky banner. He is one of a handful of people in the jazz community who effortlessly move from writer, producer, editor, educator, broadcaster and unabashed fan, all with the highest of standards. We talked about the Lost Jazz Shrines series, and the Bird presentations in particular. Click here to listen to Podcast 348, which is composed of our conversation and musical selections, including
Charlie Parker – “Au Privave” from The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve. Here is the Bird you know and love – stretching out on a classic be-bop composition from 1951.
Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie - “Cubano Be, Cubano Bop” from Bird n’ Diz at Carnegie Hall. Here is a memorable slice of the Latin-tinged jazz Parker (and especially Gillespie) embraced as they re-wrote the book on playing in the 1940’s.
Rudresh Mahanthappa – “Are There Clouds in India?” from Gamak. One of the highlights of the late 2012 CD releases was this quartet session from the always inventive Mahanthappa. He is joined by bassist François Moutin; percussionist Dan Weiss; and guitarist David Fiuczynski.
Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet – “ My Song” from Frog Leg Logic. Ehrlich, who divides his time teaching at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and writing and performing, has now released two CDs of music inspired by the late Julius Hemphill (1938-1995). The unusual configuration of this quartet – Ehrlich on sax and flute, James Zollar on trumpet, Hank Roberts on cello and Michael Sarin on drums - is the same that Hemphill used on his highly influential release Dogon A.D. from 1972.
Call (212) 220 - 1460 or visit Ticketing Services (12PM - 6PM, Tue. - Sat.). Order single tickets online at www.tribecapac.org. BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. A valid photo ID is required when attending an event. Performers Subject to change.
Direct download: Podcast_348_-_A_Conversation_with_Willard_Jenkins_about_Birdland.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:29 PM
Tue, 7 May 2013
"A Celebration of the Life and Music of Dave Brubeck" will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 4:00 P.M. at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. There are no tickets to this event; the event is free and all are welcome.
Artists scheduled to perform Chick Corea, Paquito D'Rivera, Branford Marsalis, Paul Winter, Eugene Wright, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini, Bill Charlap, John Salmon, Renee Rosnes, Andy Laverne, Ted Rosenthal, Rufus Reid, Hilary Kole, Michael Pedicin, Jr., Mark Morganelli, Deepak Ram, The Brubeck Institute Alumni Jazz Quintet and Dave’s sons, Darius, Chris, Matthew and Dan Brubeck. Speakers include The Very Reverend James Kowalski, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Iola Brubeck and George Wein. Sirius XM's Mark Ruffin will host the proceedings. It is also expected that some of the artists will share stories and thoughts during the program.
Jazz legend Dave Brubeck passed away on December 5, 2012 at age 91, the day before his 92nd birthday. A private funeral was held in Wilton, Connecticut in December, 2012. However, the family was intent on celebrating Dave’s life and music in a very public way after a brief interval. Working with producer (and Brubeck fan and friend) Danny Melnick, this event was scheduled. I spoke with Melnick as the event was being finalized, and he shared his thoughts about the late, great pianist; the make-up of the event; and the way the Brubeck legacy will continue. Click here to listen to Podcast 346, which features that conversation along with Brubeck music, including:
Dave Brubeck Quartet – “Spring in Central Park” from Jazz Impressions of New York. The Celebration is in New York City, so it seems appropriate to kick off the music with a selection celebrating the wonders of Central Park. This is the classic Brubeck Quartet circa 1964: Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums.
Dave Brubeck Quartet – “The Duke” from Jazz: Red, Hot and Cool. Melnick mentions that Brubeck played more of the music of Duke Ellington in his later years, and this composition from 1957 was an early tribute to the great jazz pioneer. The quartet for this recording includes Brubeck on piano, Desmond on sax, Bob Bates on bass and Joe Dodge on drums.
Roberta Gambarini and Dave Brubeck – “Alice in Wonderland” from Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to be a Cat. One of the last original recordings Dave made was his contribution to this anthology featuring the talented singer Roberta Gambarini, who will perform at the Celebration. Brubeck was one of the first jazz performers to find source material in the Disney catalogue, beginning with his 1957 album Dave Digs Disney, four years before Miles and Trane recorded “Someday My Prince Will Come”.
Dave Brubeck – “Thank You (Dziekuje)” from Two Generations of Brubeck. Dave children have become excellent musicians in their own right, and in 1973 he recorded their first collaboration, Two Generations of Brubeck. Sons Chris (bass, trombone), Darius (piano, keyboards), and Danny (drums) are featured on the album.
Dave Brubeck Quartet – “Blue Rondo a la Turk” from Time Out. The Brubeck catalogue of compositions is full of great tunes, including “In Your Own Sweet Way”, “Three to Get Ready”, and this seminal track from 1959. The composition starts in 9/8, with a typically Balkan 2+2+2+3 subdivision into short and long beats (the rhythm of the Turkish zeybek, the equivalent of the Greek zeibekiko) as opposed to the more Western 3+3+3 pattern, but the saxophone and piano solos are in 4/4. The title is a play on Mozart’s "Rondo alla Turca" from his Piano Sonata No. 11, and reflects the fact that the band heard the rhythm while traveling in Turkey.
Information on The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine can be found at www.stjohndivine.org or by calling 212-316-7540. Public inquiries regarding the Dave Brubeck celebration can be directed to email@example.com and will be answered when further details become available. Further information on the event can be found at www.absolutelylive.com and www.sueauclair.com
Direct download: Podcast_346_-__Dave_Brubeck_Tribute_with_Danny_Melnick.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Sat, 4 May 2013
Fred Hersch’s weekly residences at New York’s finest jazz clubs provide highlights of any jazz season. The veteran pianist enjoys performing with a wide variety of sidemen and group configurations, from his trio to solo and duo setting. This week (May 7-12), Hersch takes the stage at the Jazz Standard for a series of duo and trio performances with some very special friends, in the annual tradition known as the “Fred Hersch Duo Invitation Series.” What makes these performances particularly enticing is that Hersch has never played with four of the five co-headliners – Donny McCaslin, Greg Osby, Esperanza Spalding and Lionel Loueke. The series opens with clarinetist Anat Cohen, with whom Hersch has a special history.
Hersch previews these shows in Podcast 347, which includes his thoughts on each player and why he enjoys the duo setting. Click here to listen to our conversation, which features musical selections from:
Fred Hersch – “O Grande Amor” from Fred Hersch Plays Jobim. Hersch and Anat Cohen share a great affinity for Brazilian music, and both have recorded the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Here’s hoping for a tune like this one on opening night.
Donny McCaslin – Title Track from Casting for Gravity. Fred has always wanted to play with the talented tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, and he will get the chance at the Jazz Standard. McCaslin released one of the finest CDs of 2012 with a band of Jason Lindner (electric piano, acoustic piano, synthesizers); Tim Lefebvre (electric bass) and Mark Guiliana (drums).
Esperanza Spalding – “Cuerpo y Alma (Body and Soul)” from Esperanza. The appearance of this talented bassist/singer – who is “a self-avowed Fred fan” - will make for big crowds at the Jazz Standard for the weekend shows. Here Ms. Spalding shows her stuff on this standard, singing the lyrics in Spanish. Her backing band is Leo Genovese on keyboards; Jamey Haddad on percussion; and Otis Brown on drums.
Fred Hersch & Bill Frisell – “Blue Monk” from Songs We Know. Hersch feels that guitar and piano make for tricky duos, but considers it a challenge worth taking. He has recorded duos sessions like this one with Bill Frisell, and also a CD with Julian Lage to be released later this year. He will spend the last night of the run with Lionel Loueke, which should make for some interesting textures and voicings.
Julian Lage – “Familiar Posture” from Sounding Point. Fred’s next recorded duo partner will be the wunderkind guitar player Lage, who has risen from Gary Burton’s group to stardom in a short stretch of time. Hersch explains Lage’s strengths as a duo player in our conversation, and this solo track backs up his enthusiasm.
Thu, 2 May 2013
Veteran saxophonist Wayne Shorter, longtime creative music trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, and newcomer Ryan Truesdell were top winners of the 2013 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards announced yesterday online at their website.
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06 PM
Fri, 26 April 2013
"It has been my dream that one day every year, jazz would be celebrated, studied, and performed around the world for 24 hours straight. A collaboration among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers, poets, and thinkers who would embrace the beauty, spirit, and principles of jazz, all of them freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents..." UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Chairman, Herbie Hancock
A Global Concert from Istanbul will be streamed live at International Jazz Day, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and on International Jazz Day's YouTube channel beginning at 9pm/Istanbul, 7pm/London 2pm/NewYork and 4am (May 1) Sydney. If you miss it live, it will be aired again a few hours later.
A truly global cast of musical stars will appear, led by Herbie Hancock and his guests Wayne Shorter; Robert Glasper, Branford Marsalis, John McLaughlin, Anat Cohen; Terence Blanchard; Joss Stone; George Duke; Ramsey Lewis, Hugh Masakela; Ruben Blades; Marcus Miller; Zakir Hussain; Lee Ritenour and Esperanza Spalding. And that's just the ones I could name off the top of my head!
If you are among the hundreds of people who have organized or are participating in an event, and plan to upload a video from JazzDay to your channel at YouTube (the video must be from April 30 ONLY), please name your video with your event title and location including country, and use the following tags so we can find your videos easily and display after April 30 on JazzDay.com:
As someone who was lucky enough to attend the JazzDay concert in New York last year, let me state unequivocally that it is a must see and hear; the music, the fellowship, and the love are nto to be missed.
For more information about International Jazz Day, please visit www.jazzday.com
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00 PM
Tue, 23 April 2013
ECM is making an early run at “Label of the Year” for jazz releases. In the first four months of 2013, Manfred Eicher and company have given us outstanding new CDs like Chris Potter’s The Sirens; the Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet’s Wislawa; and Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran’s teaming on Hagar’s Song; plus two fabulous reissues as box sets from Lloyd and from Paul Motian.
Adding to this embarrassment of riches is the latest release from pianist Craig Taborn, a trio session entitled Chants. Taborn (who was one of two pianists on The Sirens) teams with Stanko’s rhythm section of Thomas Morgan and Gerald Cleaver for an album of innovative music. It’s a thoroughly modern take on that staple of the jazz scene, the piano trio. However, rather than concentrate on chamber structure or counterpoint, the group is more concerned with sound texture, color and mood.
The results are always interesting, and sometimes dazzling. Taborn, who is as comfortable with electric music as he is with acoustic, has found kindred spirits in Morgan and Cleaver, who play in and around Taborn, creating layers of sound with wonderful complexity. The trio is on the road now and well worth checking out when they come to your town.
I spoke with Craig and length about his process of writing and recording, and go his comments on being part of Chris Potter’s groups, and what lessons he learned from his time with James Carter during what he called the “last feeding frenzy” of jazz signings by major labels in the Nineties. Click here to listen to Podcast 345, featuring musical selections including:
Craig Taborn Trio - “Hot Blood” and “Silver Ghosts” from Chants. The trio of Taborn, Thomas Morgan (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums) creates shifting moods and textures on these Taborn originals.
Chris Potter – “Dawn (With Her Rosy Fingers)” from The Sirens. Click here to listen to Potter talk about the CD, and the ensemble of Potter (soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet); Taborn (piano); David Virelles (prepared piano, celeste, harmonium); Larry Granadier (double bass) and Eric Harland (drums).
James Carter – “Oleo” from Jurassic Classics, Almost 20 years ago, Taborn worked with James Carter (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones) on a series of major label releases. This Sonny Rollins-penned tune shows how the “Young Lions” made jazz standards their own. The quartet is Carter; Craig Taborn (piano); Jaribu Shahid (bass); and Tani Tabbal (drums).
Direct download: Podcast_345_-_A_Conversation_wtih_Craig_Taborn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Tue, 23 April 2013
As an English major at Clark University (Class of '77) I spent many a fond moment with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Virginia Vaughan discussing the Immortal Bard, William Shakespeare. Although Shakespeare's birthdate is inknown, it is traditionally celebrated on April 23, St. George's Day. He was born 449 years ago today.
And whither, you might ask, does this great writer intersect with Jazz? Look no further than the 1964 album by Cleo Laine, Shakespeare and All That Jazz, arranged and written for her by her husband, Sir John Dankworth. Dankworth adapted sonnets and portions of the plays to create an artistically satisfying work. Many of the tunes are written by Dankworth, but he also picks from the Ellington-Strayhorn canon for "My Love is as a Fever (Sonnet 147) a portion of the suite they composed entitled Such Sweet Thunder. Of particular interest are the tracks which feature Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, including this adaption from "Twelfth Night", "If Music Be the Food of Love".
For those interested in an updated take on this album, check out Christina Drapkin's version.
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM
Sat, 20 April 2013
The artistic muse strikes when it will. Personal tragedy or pain can be the catalyst for the creation of art just as often as joy, or the experience of beauty. The artist takes what comes, and if they are successful in their chosen medium, the resulting work gives the world a sense of what Susanne K. Langer called “felt life”.
For Bill Horvitz, the tragedy was the sudden death of his younger brother Philip from heart failure in 2005, at the age of 44. Horvitz, who as a composer and guitar player had stretched the boundaries of jazz, classical, folk and rock music for three decades, the process of making sense of his loss sent him to work.
In the years that followed Philip’s death, Horvitz wrote and arranged a long-form piece of music for a large ensemble, which has become The Long Walk, a tribute to his brother. The piece has grown in length, and the ensemble, which began at a dozen, has grown to seventeen, including brass, woodwinds and strings backing a core jazz band. The Bill Horvitz Expanded Band, as it is known, recently performed the work on the West Coast (where Horvitz and his wife reside), and the CD studio recording has just been released on Big Door Prize Records. An East Coast version of the Expanded Band will perform The Long Walk at Roulette in Brooklyn on June 30th at 6:00 pm, six years after the piece was last performed there.
While the catalyst for The Long Walk may have been tragedy, the CD is a life-affirming tribute to a man who spent his life in dance, theatre and movement. While there are notes of sadness in the title track and “As If”, they are outweighed by the joy in “Funk Side Story”, the wit of “Where Did the Monkey Go” and the exuberance of “Do You Want to Dance?” The ensemble directed by Omid Zoufonoun, and features strong ensemble playing as well as solos from artists including Horvitz on guitar, his brother Wayne on piano, and Corey Wright on tenor sax.
I spoke with Bill about the creative process that resulted in The Long Walk, and how he composed and arranged for a large ensemble. Click here to listen to our conversation on Podcast 344, along with musical selections, including:
Bill Horvitz Expanded Band – “Do You Want to Dance?” from The Long Walk. Philip Horvitz spent his creative life in the world of dance, and Bill knew that any tribute to Philip would have to include a dance number. This track fits the bill, showcasing solos by Darren Johnston (trumpet), Cory Wright (tenor sax) and Vijay Anderson (drums).
Bill Horvitz Expanded Band – “Child Star” from The Long Walk. Horvitz tells a delightful story about his brother’s love of putting on shows for the family at a very early age. Spurred by this memory, he composed this wistful piece, which features solos by Kyle Bruckman (oboe), Sarah Jo Zararka (violin), Ned Haran (trombone) and Shirley Hunt (cello).
Bill Horvitz Expanded Band – “Funk Side Story” from The Long Walk. For me, this is the most fun piece on the CD. A piece of jazz-funk that resonates with the feel of a “West Side Story” number, it features some driving solos from Steve Adams (alto sax and flute), Johnston, Haran, Aram Shelton (clarinet) and Bill Horvitz (guitar).
Tone Bent – Title track from Angels in the Kitchen. Not all of Horvitz’ work is on such a large scale. He enjoys playing guitar and banjo and singing with his wife Robin Eschner in this two person group. This track, is from a 2011 release, which is being re-released in a new edition lter this year. Bill relayed the story behind the track:
In Paris France there is a bakery that has been going strong since the early 1930's when it was started up by Pierre Poilane. Pierre baked individually hand-crafted traditional French sourdough loaves in wood-fired ovens.
In 1970 Pierre's son - Lionel - was handed ownership of the bakery. Lionel was very charismatic and a seeker who believed that bread was intimately linked with history, politics, arts and language. Salvador Dali was included in his circle of friends and it was Dali who requested that Lionel build among other projects - a bird cage out of bread, and an entire bedroom set. I don't know if this was to scale.
Eight years ago this story took a very sad turn when Lionel and his wife Irena died in a helicopter crash on a foggy night over the English Channel. Their two daughters, Apollonia and Athena, were 18 and 16 at the time and the oldest daughter; Apollonia decided that she would take over the family business. She had grown up in the bakery and knew what was required. She attended Harvard and graduated and today - she's indeed running the family bakery, continuing the traditions of her Father and grandfather. Today the pain Poilane remains one of the most desired and respected breads in the world and is still baked in wood-fired ovens. This song is for Apollonia and her sister Athena.
note: We had a CD release party and Robin had been in touch with Apollonia about the song. Apollonia offered to Fed Ex Poilane bread for the occasion, which she did: 10 very large loaves (2.5 lbs) and then it got strange as someone in customs didn't think it was ok or something and we got a call at 5 in the morning saying that customs was holding our package because the twist ties were not declared on the forms....so then we had to call Paris and explain that to them, which was not easy....anyway we got the bread and it was delicious .... so nice of her to do that!
Direct download: Podcast_344_-_A_Conversation_with_Bill_Horvitz.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30 AM