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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Jane Stuart

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"My mother took me to a Broadway show when I was about seven years old. I remember very vividly the moment I looked at the performance that I could do that! I can and will do it. That was the start." From the Moser Starlights stage at age five, to her off Broadway performance of "Curley McDimple," the stage has been home to Jane Stuart. Jane cherished the theatre, but there was still a vacancy inside, a need that burned daily with desire. Jane knew what the fire was stoked by; it was the heat …
29.01.2011

Morrie Louden

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"To me, the most amazing thing as a writer is to get a concept in your mind, have it come out through your fingers, find it on the piano, write it down, play it, have someone else hear the melody, and get that same thought and same feeling that I had originally. That is the ultimate reward as a writer," says the personable, upright bassist and composer, Morrie Louden. Louden, who is the proud owner of an almost three hundred-year old Pietro Rogeri upright acoustic bass, describes how songs of …
29.01.2011

Wayne Escoffery

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Although his composition skills and his ability to master the tenor and soprano saxophones move him to the head of the class, Wayne Escoffery still relishes those opportunities to perform as a sideman with the ensembles of other leading musicians. It would be easy for a man with his stature in jazz music to become caught up with his own significant accomplishments, yet one never gets the impression from talking with Escofferey that he dwells on what has been, but instead, spends more time thinki …
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 …
29.01.2011

Kurt Elling

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Recently, I had an opportunity to speak on the phone with jazz vocalist Kurt Elling while he was in the midst of a tour. When one reads an interview with Elling, it would be easy to misconstrue his candor as bordering on pompous, because the reader does not have the advantage of listening to the inflection of his voice, as he weighs his words carefully while answering a question. Elling is a man who cares deeply about his craft and despite a Grammy Award nomination and being acknowledged as one …
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 …
29.01.2011

Rosie Carlino

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"It comes back to that same thing; if I want to move you as a listener then it (the song) has to move me as a singer. Sometimes it is about the lyric and sometimes it is the melody or the arrangement," says jazz vocalist Rosie Carlino. Carlino confesses to be a romantic and being passionate about love songs, "It can be painful or happy love songs. I am an old-fashioned girl and I love the old-fashioned sentiment. I like the old songs like "I Won’t Dance" (when it says) "Music leads …
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

Jim Brock

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Percussionist Jim Brock needs no introduction to those in the music industry. He has during his career played live with and recorded on the projects of such esteemed artists as Brandford Marsalis, Victor Wooten, Delbert McClinton, Arturo Sanoval, Hootie and the Blowfish, Kathy Mattea and John Melencamp. He has, however, remained one of those artists who is untarnished from the lure of developing an insensitive ego and he has not become jaded by a music industry, …
29.01.2011

Times 4

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"San Francisco has always been a melting pot for great music. A lot of the reason is it is also a melting pot for culture. We have people of all origins, colors and flavors. You have to be pretty open-minded to live here, and it definitely reflects in the music," says Greg Sankovich the keyboardist for the San Franciscan jazz/funk quartet Times 4. "Compared to other places, there is definitely a lot more groove happening here. Whether it is Mariachi music, soul or jam down music, the va …
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

David Gogo

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He still hasn’t reached his fortieth birthday, but blues guitarist, singer/songwriter David Gogo has twice been named Maple Blues Guitarist of the Year in his native Canada. This spring his current album Acoustic: Official Bootleg Series- Volume 2 was nominated for a Juno Award, the nation’s equivalent of a Grammy. In 2004, the blues man was named as the recipient of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s, Great Canadian Blues Award for his lifetime contribution to blues music i …
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

Jay Soto

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Jay Soto is rapidly becoming one of the hottest smooth jazz guitarists in America. His sophomore album, Stay Awhile, fulfills all the promise of his debut CD Long Time Coming. The talented guitar maestro, who in 2004 was one of six finalists in a national guitar competition, is riding the recent success of his single "Slammin’," which during the first week of May, took the top spot on the smoothjazz.com most added list, and held the number two spot for most added on the prestigi …
29.01.2011

John Abercrombie

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John Abercrombie has created one of the more elegant jazz guitar albums that you will hear. He refers to his new CD, The Third Quartet, as chamber jazz that incorporates the violin, guitar and drums. For the most part, The Third Quartet represents a departure in musical style from some of Abercrombie’s more recent projects such as Cat ‘N’ Mouse (2002), Class Trip (2004) and Open Land (1999) which made liberal use of improvisation and less structur …
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

Will Donato

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More than any other song on Will Call, the title of the song, "Whatcha See is Whatcha Get," defines the personality of jazz saxophonist Will Donato. There is a lot about this CD that gives the listener insight to this gifted, smooth jazz musician, take for instance the back cover of the CD where the beautiful woman whom he is leaning into is his wife Diana. His conversation is peppered with glowing references to his wife and daughter. You get an opportunity in this business to …