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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Wayne Shorter

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Though it’s all story-telling to the six-time Grammy winner who turns seventy on August 25, among the many other dimensions experienced in the music of Wayne Shorter are essentially its mystery, expansion of spirit, angular beauty, abstract truth, ponderous thoughtfulness and an uncannily synchronistic nature. Since joining the modern music world's elite core of improvisers and composers in 1959 via Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and as a leader in the Blue Note stable, Shorter's consistently …
29.01.2011

Kenny Burrell

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Kenny Burrell has been an inescapable force in the world of jazz and popular music for the last half-century, having released close to a hundred albums under his own name and played on countless sessions with everyone from Ray Brown to James Brown. Mr. Burrell has also distinguished himself in the realm of academia. For the past twenty-five years he has been affiliated with UCLA, teaching the guitar and a course of his own devising called Ellingtonia, the first university course on Duke Elli …
When you think about long lived, constantly adapting and evolving jazz bands, how often does The Yellowjackets come to mind? I must confess that I had largely forgotten The Yellowjackets when the Jazz Fusion movement ebbed. Well, that was my mistake because Russell Ferrante (piano and electronic keyboards), Jimmy Haslip (electric bass), Bob Mintzer (tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinets, flute, electric wind instrument) and Marcus Baylor (drums, percussion) have roared back with an impressive …
29.01.2011

Hiroshima

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A group named after the city that was bombed by a nuclear warhead in World War II is helping to bridge the world by music. Hiroshima has been performing since 1974 to help bring alive a philosophy that was first mentioned by Duke Ellington when he recorded The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse back in 1971. At that time, Ellington felt that Asian people were coming into the music scene and that all people would be able to perform together. When June Kuramoto first came to the U.S. at the age of s …
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Dave Ellis to discuss his new album State of Mind and his philosophy on creating jazz music. The product of two academic sociologists, it is no surprise that Ellis is keenly aware of the diverse and significant forces that shape his music. Parents, teachers, musicians, and now the great producer Orrin Keepnews have helped him discover and rediscover the joy in producing music. Though Ellis’ current album, State of Mind, reflects a …
29.01.2011

Acoustic Alchemy

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After the duo of Acoustic Alchemy released AArt, a studio album that received high accolades, including a third Grammy nomination, guitarists Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale decided to get back into the studio and get back to basics. Their newest release, Radio Contact helps to get back the synergy that Carmichael and Gilderdale are known for on stage. That synergy is the same that prevailed when Carmichael was paired with late co-founder Nick Webb. Carmichael says, "I still f …
29.01.2011

Janis Siegel

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One of the best known, and best loved voices in American popular music, through her thirty year tenure in the Manhattan Transfer, Janis Siegel's roots stretch back to the girl group era, and her resume includes a solo recording career that produced seven albums since 1982. Her latest, Friday Night Special, provides ten songs with a classic organ-tenor group, anchored by organist Joey DeFrancesco and tenor saxophonist Houston Person. The lineup also includes drummer Buddy Williams and …
29.01.2011

Bobby Previte

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Counterclockwise, Bobby Previte and his working unit Bump's latest release on Palmetto Jazz, is said to be a "follow-up" to his 2001 Just Add Water. But in addition to a key personnel change, the new disc has a very different feel. Recorded more or less live at an unlikely studio on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, its energy is raw and less produced than Just Add Water. Previte rocks out on his kit, sometimes shouting out key changes and other instructions, like a …
29.01.2011

McCoy Tyner

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Sitting down for an interview with a musical icon can be a daunting task. But when that icon is McCoy Tyner, all nervousness melts once he answers the phone and introduces himself. Mr. Tyner’s graciousness and accommodation is even more impressive considering that when this writer phoned him, he had just completed inquiring about some lost luggage from a tour of Italy. I had the chance to talk to Mr. Tyner about his upcoming Telarc release Land of Giants, which sees his working trio ( …
29.01.2011

Rachel Z

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On her new album, Moon at the Window (Tone Center), pianist Rachel Z (aka Nicolazzo) plays homage to the music of Joni Mitchell, including such songs as "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Free Man In Paris." Rounding out the trio is drummer Bobbie Rae and bassist Patricia Des Lauriers (replaced on tour by Nikki Parrott). Rachel raps on how exposure to Joni Mitchell in kindergarten led to her new album, how a jazz pianist ends up playing with Peter Gabriel and wonders if not playing team sports hu …
29.01.2011

Freddy Cole

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Freddy Cole has been called the Prince of Song. He has an exhilarating voice with a richness that truly opens the mystery of love. In The Name of Love, Cole’s exciting new album of contemporary music on the Telarc label, is filled with just such mystery. Cole gets romantic with the unique interpretations of eleven celebrated love songs, including Boz Scaggs' Harbor Lights, Smokey Robinson's "Just to See Her and Van Morrison's Have I Told You Lately. Supported by …
29.01.2011

Sakoto Fujii

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JazzReview: What Japanese musicians influenced your style of playing early on in your career? Satoko Fujii: My idol early on was Fumio Itabashi, a Japanese jazz pianist who was in Ray Anderson's band and Elvin Jones's band. I went to jazz clubs in Tokyo to listen to his playing very often. Finally I asked him for lessons. He is my first jazz teacher. My husband, Natsuki, now plays in his band. There are some Japanese musicians I liked, but Itabashi was very special for me. …
29.01.2011

Cookie Coleman

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At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to become a musician? I was in 7th grade and I asked the person in charge of the community Christmas pageant at the Town Hall if I could sing a solo. I wasn’t content to sing in the chorus. He asked me to sing something right then and there and then he had me sing a solo of O Holy Night in the pageant. I was so scared I shook halfway across the room but I was definitely bitten by the performance bug. What was the first …
Each year at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Mary Lou Williams Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to one of the most extraordinary female jazz performers in the world. This year the prestigious honor will be awarded to the elegant jazz pianist, composer and vocalist Barbara Carroll. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Carroll about the award she will be receiving. JazzReview: Let's begin with you being called "The First Lady Jazz Pianist." That is certai …
What elements of your classical training do you find helps you out, when you're playing the guitar? Matt: As you said I started out with classical training and in fact that was the only kind of guitar training I could get where I was living, when I was starting out playing guitar, when I was about 10 or 11 years old. At the time I didn't really have any particular preference in music; I just liked music in general, and I liked the guitar, so I started out with classical. In general, i …
I’ve always believed that appreciating jazz is like appreciating wine. You have to acquire a taste for it and it only develops over time. And good jazz like good wine is wasted on the young. A generation that is led to believe that Jennifer Lopez can sing, Adam Sandler can act and Fear Factor is quality television, can’t be expected to appreciate an Oscar Peterson or Ahmad Jamal. Then again, every now and then someone comes along to blow away your preconceived notions. Another Mind …
Chick Corea easily rates as one of the greatest and most prolific artists in jazz history, whether the measuring stick is applied to the number and quality of his recordings or to the number of styles with which he has experimented and mastered during his long career. In his fifth decade at the pinnacle of jazz, Chick Corea’s recent CDs and performances show that age has done nothing to slow him down or dull his creative abilities and impulses. Chick’s forthcoming album on Chick’s own Stretch Re …
29.01.2011

David Haney

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Avant pianist David Haney creates a style of music that is appealing, a style that draws listeners into another world. Improvising on acoustic instruments, Haney bases his music on dialogue, rhythmic rather than harmonic development. When asked why he prefers acoustic to electric or digital instruments, David responds, "I use as much of the piano as possible the soundboard, the strings, as well as the keys. This just can’t be done on an electronic piano. Something’s missing in electric and d …
29.01.2011

Joe Zawinul

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On Sunday, March 23rd 2003, the audience of the ‘Botanique’ in Brussels was surprised by a drastic change in the line up of Joe Zawinul’s Syndicate, but as soon as the music started, it became clear that bassist Linley Marthe from Mauritius and drummer Marc Gilmore would by far exceed the wildest expectations of those who are familiar with the bass of Etienne Mbappe and the drums of Paco Sery. After almost sixty years of uninterrupted piano playing and composing, Joe Zawinul (born in Vienna, …
29.01.2011

David Liebman

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Only ten days after Joachim Kühn had performed solo in the Castle Vilain XIIII, situated just outside the idyllic village of Leut (Limburg-Belgium), the intimate concert hall of the castle with its Louis XV furnishing from ages ago, provided the scenery for Dutch contemporary jazz ensemble Nimbus with special guest David Liebman. Nimbus is a full acoustic ensemble, except for the electric guitar (played by Florian Zenker), which with its arsenal of sound effects and pedals, adds extra space …