Tue, 25 May 2010
The musical lineup is confirmed and tickets on sale for the 14th annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards gala to be held from 3:30 to 6:30 pm on Monday, June 14, 2010 at City Winery, 155 Varick St. at Vandam in New York City. Bobby Sanabria's Big Band, alto saxophonist Tia Fuller's Quartet, pianist Marc Cary's Focus Trio, Serbian guitarist Rale Micic's trio and solo pianist Ayako Shirasaki will perform at the JJA event, which features announcement of Awards winners, "A Team" and "Jazz Hero" honorees followed by a buffet reception.
The general public may purchase tickets to either the Awards ceremony and the reception ($150, doors open at 3:30 p.m.) or only the reception ($75, doors open at 5 p.m.). Tickets for the Awards, all nominations for JJA 2010 Jazz Awards, information about the JJA and its initiatives and updates about the Awards are available at www.JJAJazzAwards.org.
The JJA Jazz Awards is the only broad-based international celebration of jazz excellence. It was begun in 1997 as a collaboration between the Jazz Journalists Association and Michael Dorf (then executive director of the Knitting Factory, now director of City Winery) and has been produced annually since 1999 independently by the JJA, a 501 (c) (3) professional organization dedicated to growing the jazz audience by using all available forms of media.
The nominees for musician of the year are Dave Douglas, Vijay Iyer, Joe Lovano (click here to listen to "Song for Judi" a track from Folk Art, which was nominated for Best Album), Sonny Rollins and Henry Threadgill. To see all nominees for the 2010 JJA Jazz Awards and to purchase tickets for the gala, go to www.JJAJazzAwards.org.
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01am EDT
Mon, 24 May 2010
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.
Sun, 23 May 2010
Brand New Moods is a blog worth visiting and revisiting, for its discriminating selections of music postings. One of the best of this recently overhauled blog's postings was a three part presentation of different versions of George Gershwin, DuBose Heywood and Ira Gershwin's opera, "Porgy and Bess". No fewer than ten versions appear on the website for your listening pleasure, ranging from the Houston Grand Opera cast recording to a duet session between Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass. The most famous versions are there as well - Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald's 1957 version, and Miles Davis and Gil Evans' version from the next year.
"Porgy and Bess" was first produced in 1935 and was intended to be an "American Folk Opera". Since then, a number of songs from the show have become classics. "Summertime" is probably the best known, and "I Loves You PorgY" is also a standard.
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25am EDT
Mon, 17 May 2010
Hank Jones, pianist and jazz legend, died May 16, 2010 in New York City, after a brief illness. He was 91 years old, and would have been 92 on July 31st.
Jones' longtime manager and Justin Time Records representative Jean-Pierre Leduc reflects "Today we celebrate his spirit, his gift, his joy, his wisdom and his friendship. Hank lived and breathed music, and was never far from a keyboard, even at the end. His incredible burst of productivity these last few years - concerts, recordings, fundraisers, clinics - was unprecedented and truly remarkable."
Born in 1918 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Hank Jones grew up in Pontiac, Michigan, the eldest of the acclaimed Jones Family, which included trumpeter, composer and bandleader Thad Jones and drummer Elvin Jones.
Jones started playing in local bands in Michigan, Ohio and Buffalo before moving to New York City in 1943. His first job was with Hot Lips Page at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street where in 1945 he joined Billy Eckstine's big band. The following year he joined Coleman Hawkins and from 1947 to 1951 he toured the world with the Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) accompanying Ella Fitzgerald. In 1952 he joined Artie Shaw and then worked with Johnny Hodges followed by Tyree Glenn. In 1956 he joined Benny Goodman and the CBS studios as staff pianist in 1959, a position which would last for 17 years. Additionally, Jones accompanied Marilyn Monroe as she sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962.
Although the thought of retirement had crossed his mind, at 87, Jones stayed busy playing concerts worldwide, recording and performing at jazz master classes at various schools, such as Harvard University and New York University.
Jones' recent awards include a Congressional Achievement Award, NEA Jazz Master (1989), induction in Down Beat Magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame (2009), Jazz Journalists Associations Pianist of the Year (2009) and a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award (2009).
Jones released his most recent album, Pleased To Meet You, as a co-leader on Justin Time Records in October with label mate pianist Oliver Jones. Click here to listen to their duet on "Makin' Whoopee". Before his death, Jones recorded as a guest artist on a duets album with vocalist Hilary Kole, August 10 release on Justin Time. His final recording is an album of duets with bassist Charlie Haden, due out late this year on Universal France.
Category:general -- posted at: 8:28am EDT
Sun, 2 May 2010
At the age of thirty, Antonio Ciacca is one buys man. For most people, raising a large family in Manhattan and writing, recording and playing jazz music would be more than enough. But that’s just his night job. On top of that, Ciacca serves as Director of Programming for Jazz at Lincoln Center, working hand in hand with close friend Wynton Marsalis. He’s got his hands full.
Born in Germany, raised in Italy, Ciacca plays with a distinctive “old school” sound, reflecting his tenure as a student of Barry Harris in Detroit. In the course of our conversation this past week, he repeatedly returned to the theme of needing to swing when playing jazz, leaning to the hard bop stylings of fifty years ago rather than more recent electric jazz.
The pianist of choice for artists from Benny Golson to Steve Lacey, he has released two quintet CDs, the latest of which, Lagos Blues, has his old friend and mentor Steve Grossman (whose recording resume includes Bitches Brew era Miles Davis) rounding out the group on saxophone.
Click here to listen to Podcast 182 which features my conversation with Antonio Ciocca, plus musical selections from his most recent albums, including:
Antonio Ciacca Quintet with Steve Grossman – Title track from Lagos Blues. Ciacca describes being in a small town in Portugal last year when he stumbled upon a building bearing a plaque that identified it as the location as the first Western Slave Market. Struck by the incongruity of the beautiful scenery and the gruesome purpose of the building, he composed this up-tempo number. Joining Ciacca on piano and Grossman on tenor sax are Kengo Nakamura on bass; Ulysses Owens on drums; and Stacy Dillard on tenor sax;
Antonio Ciacca Quintet – “I Remember Clifford” from Rush Life. Ciacca’s next project will be a big band album, which will include this Benny Golson composition, written in memory of the late trumpeter Clifford Brown. The band is Ciacca on piano, Kengo Nakamura on bass; Rodney Green on drums; Joe Magnarielli on trumpet; and Stacy Dillard on sax;
Antonio Ciacca Quintet – “Prince of Newark” from Rush Life. A number dedicated to one of Ciacca’s great influences, legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter. In the interview, he mentions several Shorter tunes, including “Witch Hunt” to which he alludes in the song.
Antonio Ciacca Quintet with Steve Grossman – “Nico’s Song” from Lagos Blues. A re-write of “All the Things You Are” and named for his son, the song came about due to an “assignment” from friend and mentor Lee Konitz to write a song with a certain chord progression.