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Jazz Artist Interviews (634)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Enrico Pieranunzi

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Classical jazz pianist Enrico Pieranunzi has played on 61 albums. His recording history includes solo albums, as well as collaborations with other recording artists like André Ceccarelli, Paul Motian, and Chet Baker. His reaction to this historic achievement is sheer astonishment. "It’s simply wonderful," he elates, "sort of a dream for me. When I was a child or in my teens, I was very much focused on listening to the music and on practicing it. I couldn't imagine what is happening now, …
29.01.2011

Jay Leach

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The church and music have always gone hand-in-hand. It is the place where artists like modern rock’s Bono of U2 and R&B/jazz savant Lizz Wright began by singing in the choir, pop music’s Whitney Houston and hip hop’s Kanye West first touched audiences, and country music’s Dolly Parton and bluegrass’ Alison Krauss were first embraced. The church and music have a great deal in common. They both encourage communal gatherings and participation, and they also both transcend any delineations th …
The first impression you may have of Marcus Horatio Mitchell is that he is a handsome, young man with dreamy, brown eyes, a happy-go-lucky disposition, and a sunny smile that could melt the Arctic glaciers, but this handsome 24-year old has more than just good looks to his credit. He has the music chops and astute business sense of an artist who can give smooth jazz, and the burgeoning urban jazz market, the lift to bring it notoriety in the way that Smokey Robinson gave to Quiet Storm. < …
In February, Spyro Gyra was nominated for their ninth Grammy award in the best pop instrumental album category for Wrapped in a Dream. However, even though four of the five nominees were smooth jazz artists, the award was given out to rocker Peter Frampton's instrumental album Fingertips. Jay Beckenstein, leader and sax man of the group, says, The Grammys have always had a hard time figuring out the categories of jazz, quite frankly. There's plenty of Grammy attention paid to m …
As the U.S. Congress talks about immigration reform, we remember that the United States is a country of immigrants. The group Hiroshima helps to show how diversity is the backbone of the country. When Japanese Americans, Dan and June Kuramoto, formed the group in East Los Angeles, they wanted to bring in other cultures to the mix, including Asian, Latin and African American, and others. By doing that, the group has helped to establish a style all their own. Their newest CD Little Tokyo …
29.01.2011

Joyce Cooling

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Keeping up in a conversation with Joyce Cooling is almost as difficult as it would be to match her fabulous guitar work. As I spoke to the smooth jazz artist, several times in typical Cooling fashion, she stopped, changed directions, and left me in the dust as she enthusiastically spoke about some event, person in her life or a place that she has visited. It is with that same enthusiasm that she continues to energize her music career as it finds new roads to travel. We spoke at length about the …
29.01.2011

Michel Camilo

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Michel Camilo is a blessed person--blessed with the gift of musicianship, blessed with the genius of creativity, and blessed with a vision that keeps expanding to new heights. You might say that this pianist/composer/bandleader/educator has reached a pinnacle of success due to hard work and study but beyond all this wonderment, it is that special something within him that rises to greatness. Michel is a kind man, an educated and intelligent man--a man with an eagerness to share hi …
Musicians who immigrate to the United States come with not only their instruments, but also a firm hold on their distinct heritage. Some of these émigré immix swatches of their native music with jazz and weave a multi-textured body of work. Pianist Gilad Barkan, who’s lived in this country since he was fifteen and presently resides in Boston, MA, was born in England and raised in Israel. His Live Sessions (New Step Music), a two-disc release, gives him the opportunity to point his co …
29.01.2011

Matt DusK

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Let me be perhaps the first to introduce you to Matt Dusk. Matt Dusk is Canadian. Matt Dusk is adorable. Matt Dusk is, to sum it up, a gracious, thoughtful, fun, mature singer with a reality about the music business that seems to be innate. And he is all this at the remarkably young age of 28. I assumed that Matt was a product of a musical family because his intrinsic ability to make decades old songs sound like I was hearing them for the first time. But I wa …
29.01.2011

Jack Prybylski

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Jack Prybylski (pronounced purr-bill-ski) began playing the saxophone in elementary school and just never stopped. All through school and college, making music played a significant role in his life. Encouraged by his parents and teachers, he became a dedicated student and pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music education and music performance at the State University of New York in Buffalo where he graduated. He spent the ‘90s as a saxophonist in the jazz jamband ThemJazzbeards and played …
29.01.2011

Bob Mintzer

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Maintaining a big band based in New York for nearly 25 years, arranger/saxophonist Bob Mintzer is also a member of the Yellowjackets, teaches music, writes books on music and gives back to his community through music. Mintzer has played and written for Buddy Rich, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Art Blakey, Sam Jones and Jaco Pastorius, as well as Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and the New York Philharmonic. Among his session work, Mintzer has performed with James Taylor, Queen, Steve Winwood and …
29.01.2011

Maria Muldaur

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"I think that blues artists, men and women alike, are some of the most important cultural elders, and I do not think that they should be relegated to 78’s on some dusty shelf in the Smithsonian. It is music that still resonates and is very relevant today, even though the music emerged one hundred years ago. That is why I have been doing this because at the moment, it is my life’s passion," says Maria Muldaur. Muldair is most often associated with her hit seventies song "Midnight At The …
29.01.2011

Jackie Ryan

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Jackie Ryan is an international jazz star. She frequently plays both coasts and overseas, where her gig at Ronnie Scott’s in London garnered the critical praise: "One of the finest singers to perform at Ronnie's since Shirley Horn." --The London Evening Standard. Ryan has shared the stage and recording studio with many greats including Clark Terry, Red Holloway and Buddy DeFranco. Her recordings and performances generate a genuine heat, which rises above the "flavor of the month" excit …
29.01.2011

Hiromi

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"Other people can put a name on what I do", says keyboardist Hiromi Uehara. "It's just the union of what I've been listening to and what I've been learning. It has some elements of classical music, it has some rock, it has some jazz, but I don't want to give it a name." On her electrifying new release, Time Control, Hiromi explores the concept of time. The CD features long-time Hiromi bandmates drummer Martin Valihora and bassist Tony Grey, along with special guest guitarist David …
This is a true story of two people who came together due to the love of Dixieland music. Walter Sereth is a person who enjoys Dixieland music. He says, I lived next door to Alan Crowne and his brothers when I was 12 and some years later, got into play Dixieland. I never, except in the Army, played professionally. Mary Ann Stevens played violin and had an interest in fiddle music when she was going to college in Oklahoma. She says, I learned some fiddle tunes in college and then I came …
29.01.2011

Jackiem Joyner

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Saxman Jackiem Joyner has moved from being a sideman to center stage. He says, "As a musician, you always start off as a sideman. I've been on the road with Ronnie Laws and he influenced me. I think his jazz chops are really great. I picked up a few licks here and there from him, and I also liked the way he performed. He had a really great performance. The first smooth jazz artist I went on the road with was actually Marcus Johnson. That's where I kind of got the idea of how this smooth jazz con …
29.01.2011

Richard Hart

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Fusion guitarist Richard Hart is a well known studio and touring musician in jazz circles having worked with "Chuck Datillo, Larry Nance, Tony Molina, Ansley Dunbar, Ron Eschete, Tom Scott, Heath Brothers, Kirk Whalum, Russell Malone, McCoy Tyner, and Mel Torne," he roll calls. His musical experiences inspired him to create his own songs and release an album of original material called Fearless Shores on Innervision Records. "I wanted to incorporate all the great influences of t …
29.01.2011

Urban Jazz Coalition

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A little bit of R&B and funk is good for the soul, but when it's peppered with smooth jazz textures, then you've got some of the best feel-good sounds around.The seven member group of the Urban Jazz Coalition (UJC) is a group that displays the musical hybrid and they are really "bringing it" on with their latest CD Down to Get Up. On this 12 track CD, I can basically handpick a few tracks that are indeed chart-topping candidates. Now that's what I'm talking about! …
If the name Ellen Honert doesn’t ring any musical bells for you, I’m here to change that! Bay area Singer/Songwriter/Pianist Honert has just released her debut CD, Breath of the Soul on the Mill Station Records label. The twelve tracks include a cover of the Beatles’ classic, "Got to Get You Into My Life," as well as Ellen originals. All tracks were produced and brilliantly arranged by …
29.01.2011

Tim Cunningham

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Tim Cunningham’s current album Manchester Road, on TAWC Records, makes peace with grieving wounds and nurtures those relationships with family, friends, and God. His smooth jazz compositions and liquid saxophone lines were inspired by his feelings toward his family. Songs like "Sadie," an ode to his young daughter Sadie, and "Wintress," a tribute to his niece Wintress, are prime selections that show how music can speak with emotional depth. He reflects, "’Wintress’ was my niece …