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Jazz Artist Interviews (634)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Brad Shepik

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Brad Shepik’s latest trio record Places You Go features the guitarist/composer continuing his upward trajectory. Having worked with artists like Dave Douglas and Paul Motian through the years, his sensibilities and abilities have become both refined and open. His playing and writing get deeper with each recording and this one may be a bigger leap forward than any in his recent past. He’s joined again by Tom Rainey on the drums who is consistently creative without losing …
29.01.2011

Sonny Rollins

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Catch as catch can. Many times interviews with musicians are done as they’re rushing to a rehearsal, while they’re desperately trying to finish a meal begun an hour ago, in the middle of practicing, putting the kids to bed or doing laundry. But on that occasion when an artist is found in a treasured moment of peace in their natural environment, it makes for a relaxed interview. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins, who describes himself as a "private, retiring person," gave that kind of interview. His envi …
Tierney Sutton is a happy person. She has just released ON THE OTHER SIDE on Telarc, which may be the best work she and the band she sings with, have yet done. Tierney Sutton is a very happy vocalist because she and the band she sings with, having completed the foundation, have erected a musical temple that is as unique as it is beautiful. It is through this temple that they step up from the ranks of elite players to the higher level of musicianship where their music is immediately rec …
Legendary Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis' pensive look on his album and CD jackets were always interpreted by the media as dark, mysterious and any other adjectives like the aforementioned that you can think about. But talking to his nephew Vincent Wilburn, Jr. recently, he paints a different picture. "Uncle Miles was very humorous and was not the "prince of darkness" that people perceived him to be. Matter of fact, he hated it when they called him that. He wasn't recluse or dark either. He had a …
29.01.2011

Tony DeSare

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Tony DeSare hits the top ten jazz charts with his 2007 sophomore Telarc release Last First Kiss, delighting listeners even more so than with his first Telarc debut release in 2006, Want You. DeSare isn’t just a vocal pianist, he is an exciting new songwriter of the first order, and his new CD is testimony to that fact. Filled with luscious compositions of his own and reinvented standards, DeSare lures his listeners from the first kiss to heartfelt flights in a wa …
29.01.2011

Simpatico

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Brian Lynch is a very unique artist with a very unique sound. When he does something like record an album with the legendary Eddie Palmieri, well, that is done in a very unique way as well. The first thing that stands out about Brian Lynch is not only how his latest album Simpatico was recorded, but how fans of this artist, or just those who may not know much about him but want to learn, can get a very special look into the creative process that goe …
If you were one to look up the definition of the phrase "musician's musician", chances are you will see Andy Narell's picture next to it. In fact, a few years ago, this writer had an interview with R&B singer Phil Perry who admitted that he was an Andy Narell fan and raved about the fact that he had some of Narell's music in his collection. Truly, Mr. Perry is not alone on being sold on Narell's music. Indeed, Andy Narell is bubbling over with talent and a passion for pan-jazz musi …
Joe Sample has had a very busy week--recording with Queen Latifah, a visit to the Sierra Nevada mountains, publicity work for his new duet album with Randy Crawford, and oh yeah, awaiting the birth of his first grandchild. That was just this week. Makes you tired just reading about it, let alone trying to live it, but that does not seem to phase Sample in the least. In fact, he seems to enjoy it. For those who may not know, Joe Sample is one of the finest, if not the finest jazz mus …
Falkner Evans Trio: Climbing the Gates New York jazz pianist Falkner Evans once again joins forces with bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Matt Wilson on the second Falkner Evans Trio album, Climbing the Gates, a fresh approach to mainstream jazz with some diverse play upon the tradition. The CD is full of music that features what Evans calls "complex structures with discernible melodies laid over the top, and lots of improvisation." JazzR …
Has it been awhile since you’ve heard anything new, anything fresh, in vocal jazz today? I think I can recommend the cure for what ails you, friend. Take a listen to the jazz vocal stylings of Karen Blixt, who has just released her debut album titled, Spin This on her very own HiFi Records label (co-founded with friend and Executive Producer, Lisa Thomas). Every song is her own, including the standards she gives us on this recording. "My Favorite Things" and "Nig …
January 2007 - It is uncomforting to hear that there are ensemble directors today who question the validity of using improvisation as a criterion for adjudicating young jazz students in competition. This démodé mindset hampers the progression and expression of players and the music - and what for? If players aren’t emboldened to unleash their inner creative spirit, then why do this thing called jazz? (Or whatever you’d like to call it.) New York-based trumpeter and composer Brian Grode …
29.01.2011

Gigi MacKenzie

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Gigi MacKenzie’s vocals soar like a choir of archangels on her debut album Skylark, captivating the listener with a siren’s enchantment and nurturing warm sensations. She sings, as well as plays the guitar and drums on her solo album, produced by herself and her keyboardist Bobby Zee. Her selections of smooth jazz melodies and upbeat propulsions nourish her emotional need to reveal aspects of her moods that beckon for self-expression. Her choice to sing the blues satisfies her hunger …
Wayne Wallace is an extremely busy musician. With the release of his two CDs a few weeks ago, The Reckless Search for Beauty and Dedication, the Latin and straight ahead jazz trombonist still finds the time to wear the hats of composer, arranger and educator. And as if that were not enough, he has added CEO to his title as the person behind the burgeoning Patois recording label. Wayne Wallace is truly a musical connoisseur who has sampled varied musical gen …
29.01.2011

Walter Beasley's Love

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Sax man and vocalist Walter Beasley has two great loves that he has a passion for. One of those is his role as an educator. Teaching at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he says, "I like the give and take and I like being able to share what I learned over the last 30 years in the classroom. I have educational DVDs online that I do, too. If you stay in one bag too long, I think for me anyway, I become rusty and because life is so quick and because I think we're all charged with being…
29.01.2011

Julia Dollison

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Meet vocalist and composer Julia Dollison. She’s performed with Maria Schneider’s acclaimed orchestra, and her recent debut CD is creating its own buzz. On Observatory, she showcases original compositions, reinvents standards, and even covers Rufus Wainwright’s beautiful ballad "Poses." The material is wide ranging, but not without a theme. "These are observations about an inner journey," Dollison explained. It’s a trip worth taking with the classically trained soprano, who won b …
29.01.2011

Andy Narell

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Their name Sakesho (pronounced sah kay show) is the French Creole saying for "its gonna be hot." And on January 22 and 23rd this Caribbean-influenced jazz band would be creating more than a sizzle when they perform at the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles, California. This would be the band’s first performance in Los Angeles and they promise to give audience more than a treat within their two-hour nightly performances. Sakesho is pan virtuoso Andy Narrell, pianist Mario Canonge, …
29.01.2011

Miles Donahue

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One of the really fun parts of doing interviews for Jazz Review, besides the huge salary and private jet, is the chance to speak to some of the most amazing musicians working in the field of jazz and this is a real case in point. Miles Donahue has been called "one of the best kept secrets in jazz" by the Boston Globe and "a player whose strong personality asserts itself without hesitation" by Jazziz. Let me join in the fray here, this is simply one of the best saxophone players today, bar non …
Keyboardist Brian Culbertson is making this Christmas the best ever. He has always celebrated the holidays with his family in central Illinois in a big way. He says, "I love getting together with the whole family and I really love making fires in the fireplace, just chilling out in the living room and listening to pretty Christmas music, and obviously the food. Everything about it is just wonderful. A great time of year." To celebrate this holiday, Culbertson has released A Soulful Christm …
29.01.2011

Givin It Up with Mr J

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Al Jarreau owns one of the more recognizable voices in all of popular music. He swings, he swoons, he can reach the highest of levels and then dive to deepest depths, and this is all in the same song. Jarreau scats and becomes his own one man band capable of backing up the best jazz has to offer and as a soloist, he is outstanding in his field, bar none. This is pretty good for someone whose early training was not really in the direction of music. Jarreau holds a BS in psy …
29.01.2011

Daniel Barnes

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Daniel Barnes is one of Toronto’s top drummers, by some estimates he is in the top fifteen. Barnes can be heard on numerous recordings; his discography numbers thirty-eight albums, including the 1996 Juno award winning Africville Suite by pianist Joe Sealy. Barnes works regularly at live and studio gigs, he also works on composing and arranging music. Barnes is a hard guy to track down. I recently managed to meet up with him at a café in the west end of Toronto. I wanted to ask Barnes …