Sat, 21 May 2016
The working jazz musician has to wear many different musical hats, sometimes more than one at a time, If that were taken literally, Mac Gollehon would have difficulty walking through any doorway in New York without knocking a few fedoras off the top of his head.
His career has taken him from the Latin Jazz Big Bands and Orchestras of Ray Barretto, Héctor Lavoe, Hilton Ruiz, Larry Harlow, and Charlie Palmieri, to a nine year tenure with Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy band, to studio sessions with David Bowie (Let’s Dance), Duran Duran, Chic, and Mick Jagger. In all, Gollehon can be heard on over 100 gold and platinum and double platinum records. Bet you didn’t know that.
This extraordinary cross-section of experience allows him to release his 9th CD, Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics, an intriguing hybrid of Latin Jazz, Caribbean sounds, Hot Jazz and Electronic Dance Music (EDM). While tunes like “No More Drama” and “Exito Obscuridad” sound like club-shaking anthems, his jazz sensibilities show through on “'Il Aceite” and “Elegancia.” There is something for everyone here.
Podcast 535 is my conversation with Mac, as we discuss the recording process of the new CD, and he recalls with great humor and pathos his past meetings and recordings with legends like Lavoe, Lester Bowie, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis and David Bowie. That’s Mac’s trumpet solo in the introduction to the title track. Musical selections from Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics include “No More Drama” and “Amor Tragico”, as well as David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and an unreleased recording of Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy performing “Good Morning Heartache” from the Deutschen Jazz Festival in Frankfurt, Germany; October 22, 1999. That entire recording �can be found at Big O's ROIO page on the web,
Direct download: Podcast_535_-_A_Conversation_with_Mac_Gollehon.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:03pm EDT
Wed, 11 May 2016
Carla Bley turns 80 years old today. Her various creative incarnations - composer, band leader, side person, singer – have all been at the highest level, and she shows no sign of stopping now.
So let us now praise Carla Bley.
She entered the jazz consciousness as a composer. Encouraged by her first husband, pianist Paul Bley, she wrote strong compositions that were quickly recorded by the likes of Jimmy Guiffre, Don Ellis, George Russell, and most memorably, the Paul Bley Quintet on Barrage. Buoyed by that success, she became an integral part of the Jazz Composers Guild, a musical “think tank” that for ten years was a catalyst for the avant-garde, beginning in the mid-60’s. With trumpeter Michael Mantler, Ms. Bley helped create the Jazz Composers Guild Orchestra, which featured innovative soloists like Pharaoh Sanders, Don Cherry, Larry Coryell, and Cecil Taylor. On her own, she wrote, played organ and piano and conducted Gary Burton’s seminal A Genuine Tong Funeral, an album that predated Bitches Brew as jazz-rock fusion.
It was with the Jazz Composers Guild Orchestra that Carla’s most ambitious work was realized – the “chronotransduction” known as Escalator over the Hill, a collaboration with Paul Haines and Mantler. Something of a jazz opera, it took three years to record, finally appearing in 1971 as a 3-record box set with extensive lyrics and liner notes. It is hard today to realize the impact this work had on the music scene, bringing together seemingly disparate genres like European art music and cabaret; free jazz; Indian raga; and improvisatory rock. Artists from Jack Bruce and Linda Ronstadt, to John McLaughlin, Charlie Haden, Gato Barbieri, Roswell Rudd, Paul Motian and of course Ms. Bley and Mantler, brought a difficult and sometimes thrilling score to life. One of the few jazz recordings to catch the eye of Rolling Stone magazine, Jonathan Cott wrote in those pages that the album was “an international musical encounter of the first order.” The next year, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for music composition.
Whether she was working with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra; dabbling in rock (Jack Bruce, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Golden Palominos) ; or collaborating with long-time companion Steve Swallow the music she makes could never be pigeon-holed in type or genre, more so than perhaps any artist since Duke Ellington. The albums that she released under her name were constantly shifting sounds – Big Bands, Trios, Sextets and Duets. She re-interprets and reimagines her old work with grace, and continues to write and perform new work of the highest order, often in a keyboard style that is uniquely her own. She continues her satisfying relationship with ECM with the release today of Andando el Tiempo, a trio record with Swallow and one of her favorite saxophonists, Andy Sheppard. It shows an artist still growing, still exploring, still a joy to discover.
Let’s celebrate the creative work of Carla Bley with Podcast 537, featuring music selected from the body of work that bears her name as bandleader, including:
Carla Bley and Her Remarkable Big Band - "Greasy Gravy"
Carla Bley Trio - "Andando el tiempo: Camino al Volv"
Carla Bley - "Sing Me Softly of the Blues"
Carla Bley and Steve Swallow - "Walking Batteriewoman"
Carla Bley and the Lost Chords Quartet - "Three Banana"
Carla Bley - "The Girl Who Cried Champagne Parts 1-3"
Carla Bley Big Band - "Who Will Rescue You?"
Carla Bley Sextet - "Healing Power"
Carla Bley - "Nothing"
Mon, 2 May 2016
Talking with Brian Bromberg can be like drinking from a fire hose. Ask him a question that he fins interesting, and he is off on a lengthy, usually fascinating answer. For that reason, I broke our conversation into two podcasts. Part 2 of Podcast 532 focuses on his lengthy discography, and the slew of projects he has planned for the near future.
Bromberg has never stayed with one genre for long. Among my favorites from his catalogue are the highly electric tributes to Jaco Pastorious (Portrait of Jaco) and Jimi Hendrix (Plays Jimi Hendrix) , both of which manage to convey the great sense of wonder and mystery these two ground-breaking artists brought to their music, without trying to mimic or copy their classic licks.
A polar opposite is the highly intimate Hands, a collection of double-bass solos on classic tunes from the past and present. Somewhere in between sit his Metal albums, where he plays electric bass (both piccolo and regular).
As a budding bass player, I also took the time to ask Brian’s advice for young bass players, and generously gave some very good advice. Check it out.
Musical selections for the Podcast includes a piccolo bass version of "Teen Town" from Portrait of Jaco; “King of Pain” (Hands);and an exciting take on “Voodoo Chile” (Plays Jimi Hendrix).
Direct download: Podcast_532_Pt_2_-_A_Conversation_with_Brian_Bromberg.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:00am EDT