Bill Smith

Bill Smith

29.01.2011

Fred Hersch

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
It would seem that Fred Hersch pianist, composer, bandleader, two-time Grammy nominee, Guggenheim fellow has little to prove anymore. He’s been called a "pristine pianist with a poet’s soul" (Boston Globe’s Joan Anderman) who strikes a "beguiling balance between technique, insight and imagination" (critical Ed Hazell). He’s continually received the highest praise in a highly praised field.

Of course, one of the challenges for a successful creative musician is to stay hungry, to continue to s …

29.01.2011

Steve Turre

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
Steve Turre should be the poster child for Old School of Jazz.

"I’ve always sought out the elders," says the 53-year old trombonist, "and always knew you learn how to play by playing with people you admire." Starting with an early Bay Area apprenticeship with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and studies in the groups of Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw and McCoy Tyner, Turre has been true to his word reaching stylistic maturity by learning from some of the best teachers jazz has to offer.

But …

The "Supergroup" is a marketing cliché in the pop music world that was invented to sell product. From Asia to the Three Tenors, there's been a long lineage of critical cringers designed to cash in on the name branding of its parts. In jazz and creative music, however, collaboration is the spirited norm and groups of improvisational superstars often find each other in democratic union; though the quality of the musicianship is often astounding, any preconceptions of a big pay off are laughable. < …
Conventional wisdom says that if you want to play jazz, New York City is where you have to be. Yet after a decade of NYC life, pianist, composer, producer and all around jazz renaissance man Darrell Grant made a strong move west ending up in Portland, Oregon. A teaching stint at Portland State University got him there, but the city's character is what's kept him.

"It's idiosyncratic," says the 37-year old. "Somehow, the people in Portland have maintained a strong sense of individuality. …
29.01.2011

Sam Rivers

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
At seventy-seven, saxophone legend and sixties free jazz explorer Sam Rivers still has the energy and force of Niagara Falls. Yet until the past two years he'd somehow escaped the usual celebratory nod the jazz community bestows on its elder statesmen. 1998 changed all that. With one two-day recording project that yielded a pair of superb discs - 1999's INSPIRATION and last year's CULMINATION - Rivers managed a wave of critical accolades that tsunamied into twin Grammy nominations.

I ch …
Since 1991, British trombonist, Dennis "Badbone" Rollins, has made a jazz noise in saxophonist Courtney Pine's challenging band. And, he's done the super bad soul thing with funk fusionaires like Brand New Heavies, US3 and Jamiroquai. Now he's exploring his own groove, gathering together a band of jazz-funk pranksters called Badbone & Co. They've just released an eponymously titled debut disc that's doing surprising things on the British charts: hitting No. 3 on the JazzWise poll and No 4 on Air …
At the close of his trio’s recent Merkin Hall concert in New York, pianist Tord Gustavsen introduced the group’s last offering of the night as "another wordless hymn." It’s as honest a description of this Norwegian export’s musical métier as one can find.

In typical exploratory fashion, the trio began the 75-minute set not with a familiar piece from their acclaimed debut Changing Places or something from the just released The Ground, but with a new piece entitled "At Home." Though the band’s

29.01.2011

Sacred Song

Published in Concert Reviews
Duke Ellington’s "discovery" of Abdullah Ibrahim (then Adolf Johannes "Dollar" Brand) in the early sixties was less a case of Western jazz imperialism and more a case of Ellington discovering an authentic tributary of the jazz continuum flowing from its African source.

The South African pianist had already established himself as a musical innovator on his native continent and in Europe (he was living in Switzerland when Ellington came upon him). His 1959 group with Hugh Masekela, the Cape Tow

29.01.2011

Lifting Every Voice

Published in Concert Reviews
Any talk of comeback in music is generally more a case of the fickle attention span of the audience than any lack of attention to art by the artist. But when the saxophonist, composer and bandleader Charles Lloyd returned to regular playing in the early nineties, it was indeed a cause for musical celebration. After clamoring to the largest popular audience of any jazz artist of the '60s, cloistering himself in a near-monastic semi-retirement in the '70s and forging one of the brightest 'comeback
29.01.2011

A Blue Note Welcome

Published in Concert Reviews
"Please welcome," said saxophonist James Carter with his jazz poster-boy looks, immaculate gray suit and rapper’s diamond ring, "in his debut on this stage ."

Could that be true of the former enfant terrible of the Seventies loft scene, co-founder one of jazz’s most universally acclaimed and innovative ensembles, the World Saxophone Quartet, and the man Gary Giddins and the Village Voice named "Jazz Man of the 80’s"? His first gig at the Blue Note - and as a sideman for one of his disciples?

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