Mon, 17 June 2013
For decades, the United States and Cuba have shared a complex relationship. While there have been many business, travel and diplomatic restrictions between the two countries, U.S. citizens have gravitated to Cuba's tropical culture - taking in the country's sights, sounds and cuisines.
From a musical standpoint, in addition to the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon and the enduring legacy of Los Van Van, there is a strong relationship between Afro-Cuban music and American jazz. Over the years, many of the world's finest jazz artists have hailed from Cuba - virtuosos such as Bebo & Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Israel López and Machito as well as the latest wave of great piano players, including Roberto Fonseca, Alfredo Rodriguez, and David Virelles.
Making his US debut this month is another player destined to join these great performers, Harold López-Nussa. López-Nussa has been in the spotlight since he guest starred on the Stefon Harris, David Sánchez and Christian Scott project Ninety Miles, which was recorded in Cuba. His US debut album, El País de las Maravillas was a quartet recording that featured Sánchez, López-Nussa’s young brother, drum prodigy Ruy Adrian López-Nussa, and bassist Felipe Cabrera
The brothers López-Nussa will be making their long-delayed US Debut for the rest of this month (June 18 / Jazz Standard / New York, NY; June 19 / An die Musik / Baltimore, MD; and June 21 / Regattabar / Cambridge, MA) and then will be an attraction at the Montreal Jazz Festival on July 1. Harold’s next CD, New Day, will be released in the fall.
I spoke with Harold López-Nussa as he headed to New York to play in Manhattan for the first time. We talked about his musical education, and hoped for greater cooperation between Cuba and the US. The Podcast may be downloaded here, and features musical selections including:
Harold López-Nussa Trio with David Sánchez “Caminos” and “Perla Marina” from El País de las Maravillas .
Stefon Harris, David Sánchez and Christian Scott – “And This Too Shall Pass“ from Ninety Miles.
Harold López-Nussa Trio with David Sánchez - “Volver” from El País de las Maravillas .
Direct download: Podcast_355_-_A_Conversation_with_Harold_Lopez-Nusso.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:09pm EDT
Mon, 17 June 2013
Was I alone in thinking that we had heard the last of the wonderful Bob Dorough on recordings? A seminal musical figure in the life of anyone who was a child in the 1960’s, he worked onstage with Lenny Bruce and Allen Ginsburg; wrote and recorded with Miles Davis (“Blue Xmas”); produced Spanky and Our Gang (“Sunday Will Never Be the Same”); and most importantly, was the pivotal figure behind Schoolhouse Rock! Not only did those animated vignettes teach my generation about grammar and math, but the hip-hop generation that followed returned to the tracks as material to sample – check De La Soul’s use of “Three is a Magic Number”.
And now, with Bob pushing 90 years young, we get a new CD, Bob Dorough Duets; which is exactly what its title implies – an album of all Bob Dorough compositions with Bob singing each song with a different artist. On this recording he is paired with the New York Voices, Nellie McKay, JD Walter, Heather Masse, Janis Siegel, Grace Kelly and others, on some of his most iconic songs such as “Devil May Care”, “I’m Hip” (which is my favorite), “Comin’ Home Baby”, and more. The recording also features Grace Kelly, Phil Woods and David Liebman on saxophones, Phil Markowitz on piano, and many other musicians from Bob’s ‘neighborhood.’
The CD is a fundraising project for COTA, the Celebration of The Arts Jazz Festival (cotajazz.org) in the Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania – a local event for Mr. Dorough and his friends. The festival also sponsors a jazz camp (campjazz.org) and youth big band. These events are fostering young talent and keeping jazz alive!
Category:general -- posted at: 3:57pm EDT
Sun, 16 June 2013
It may be hard to believe, but despite the fact that Bob James and David Sanborn have one of the best-selling jazz albums of the last thirty years in Double Vision, they have never toured together. That album spent more than a year on the Billboard charts, and won them each a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance.
When they hit the stag at The Town Hall in New York City they kicked off a world-wide tour together, leading a quartet that includes drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus. Along the way, they will appear at a number of top jazz festivals, including the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival later this month. Watch this space for more preview podcasts on that great weekend of music.
Those who are expecting their new CD, Quartette Humaine to be a sound-alike to the platinum Double Vision will be surprised at the sterling acoustic sound of this group. Both Sanborn and James are quick to point out that they are in different musical places at this stage of their stellar careers, and that the new CD is a more accurate picture of the kind of “honest music” they want to make now. The CD is in some ways a tribute to the sound of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, with shifting, highly melodic compositions and deft performances.
I caught up with both of them recently, and you can listen to our conversation in Podcast 351, which featuring musical selections from the duo, including:
Bob James and David Sanborn – “Sofia” from Quartette Humaine. One of the top ballads on the CD is this composition written by Sanborn for his wife.
Bob James and David Sanborn – “My Old Flame” from Quartette Humaine. One of the few covers on the new CD, Bob James said they chose it since it had always been one of his favorite tunes, and that he had always heard Sanborn’s horn playing the lead in his head. Now, we all can share it.
Bob James and David Sanborn – “Follow Me” from Quartette Humaine My favorite tune from the CD is this Brubeckian number written by James. Check out their lengthy conversation about this tune in the podcast, including Sanborn’s comments on how difficult the tune turned out to be to play.
Bob James and David Sanborn – “You Don’t Know Me” from Double Vision. Fans of this classic electric album need not despair – the duo plans on playing a number of songs from the record in concert, but in acoustic settings. Here’s hoping this is one of them.
Direct download: Podcast_351_-_A_Conversation_with_David_Sanborn_and_Bob_James.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00pm EDT