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Jazz Artist Interviews (634)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

Although, the average jazz listener might not recognize her name, pianist, producer and bandleader, Lesette Wilson, is a highly respected artist in the music business. Names like Me’lissa Morgan, Tom Browne and Genobia Jeter have all relied on her songwriting and producing talents. Other artists including Chaka Khan, Billy Ocean, Noel Pointer, Bobbi Humphrey and Stanley Turrentine have depended on her as a keyboardist and musical director for their concert tours. Still unfamiliar? Well, mayb …
Bill Charlap has been quietly and conscientiously paying his dues for years, accompanying the likes of Phil Woods, Clark Terry, Carol Sloane, Tony Bennett and Gerry Mulligan. With an unpretentious, swinging style that combines intricate delicacies with personalized interpretation, Charlap has shown respect for the origins of the materials he plays--that of the composers themselves. That makes sense when you consider that Charlap’s father was a composer himself. Moose Charlap wrote the scores …
29.01.2011

Wayman Tisdale

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Reaching the heights of success in two worlds is a feat that few people can accomplish while keeping a level head and staying true to themselves. On his aptly titled Atlantic Records album Decisions, Wayman Tisdale has reached that level and affirmed his position in the big leagues of jazz with the talent and heart to back him up. Tisdale, a former Phoenix Suns forward and 12-year NBA veteran, has traded in his hi-tops and hoops jersey for a life in recording studios and smokey jazz clubs. L …
The fact that Frode Gjerstad’s photo doesn’t automatically come to mind for those familiar with the free jazz family tree doesn’t daunt the affable Norwegian. Even in his own small country where the melodic work of international star Jan Garbarek is the norm, the fire breathing alto saxophonist was ignored for years. "Jan was the role model," says Gjerstad without a trace of bitterness. "I was a bit of a loner, I guess." But perseverance does sometimes pay off, and in 1997 Norway’s Jazz Feder …
On her new CD, singer Kitty Margolis draws listeners into her world. "Left Coast Life" (Mad-Kat Records) is Margolis’ fourth recording and her most personal to date. Using a mix of original songs, pop standards and unconventional covers, the San Francisco-based vocalist illuminates and celebrates the attitudes and characters found out West. "Jaded poseur modern cool," she writes in "You Just Might Get It. "Style over substance is the cardinal rule." Each song - whether its Frank Loesser’ …
Plaintive, wistful, romantic, sentimental, sad, gentle, calm/peaceful, joyous, refined/mannered, poignant, sensual, laid-back/mellow, intimate, stylish, elegant, earnest, soothing these are words that have been used to fittingly describe Diana Krall’s music. Diana Krall popped on the scene in 1993 with her first CD "Steppin’ Out," (Justin Time), followed by a string of Grammy award nominations and platinum sales with her following albums. It was magic from the beginning. Krall could do no wr …
When Miles decided to come off a nearly seven year hiatus two decades ago to put together his "final" super band, a then unknown Bill Evans was chosen for the tenor/soprano chair as a foil to Davis' often-somber trumpet. As always, Miles was picky. It wasn't just anyone he'd allow to share his stage night after night. Though there are unreleased Columbia recordings throughout the mid 70's and into 1980, he went through quite a few lineups that were created for him to which he'd usually only list …
Mark Levine is a wonderful jazz pianist who’s played with greats like Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Blue Mitchell, Harold Land, Joe Henderson and Woody Shaw. Since then, he has several fine recordings as a leader, including his last two with his group, The Latin Tinge. He’s also a respected jazz educator and author of "The Jazz Piano Book" and "The Jazz Theory Book." Jazzreview: Let’s talk about your latest release, Serengeti. You have a fine group of sidemen; a gr …
Boney James is a tenured artist on the smooth jazz circuit who has just released his eighth recording "Ride" to a mix of retro-soul and current bass-tinged postproduction. Excited about the possibilities of reaching a wider audience, James has a collaborative effort focused on the R&B and Hip Hop crowd, with great vocals and instrumental colors. Although changing his jazzy sound to a more pop focus, Boney James still displays great performance and artistry with his vocal and instrumental efforts …
For many, Nancy Wilson will always be thought of as a jazz singer, breaking onto the scene after sitting in on a gig of Cannonball Adderley’s in the late fifties in Columbus, Ohio. John Levy, Nancy’s career-long manager, was also Adderley’s manager, thus leading the way to Nancy securing a recording contract with Capitol at age 22 and a fond association with Levy throughout her outstanding career. "John is one of the nicest people in the business and the greatest thing is that we are still toget …
Stacey Kent’s ability to get into the heart of a song-and into the hearts of her listeners is slowly becoming evident, not only among jazz enthusiasts, but also among the general listening public. Defying the sometimes stultifying need to categorize music, Kent instead places the emphasis of her music upon its ultimate objective: touching a place of inexpressible meaning within her listeners’ consciousness. Ironically, Stacey Kent found her initial success in England, even though she grew up …
On the eve of a West Coast tour with Slow Poke, the coming release of their album, "Redemption" (Intuition) and his forthcoming second solo release, "Drift", New York saxophonist Michael Blake talks about the roots of his life in music and the way the branches have sprouted along the way. Amongst his many activities, the Canadian-born Blake is leader of the groups Michael Blake's Free Association (which recorded Blake's debut solo CD, "Kingdom of Champa") and his latest venture,
29.01.2011

Tony Monaco

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Tony Monaco’s life is an amazingly inspired story a courageous tale about overcoming physically limitations in bringing his genuine, musical gift to jazz lovers everywhere. Tony, a Columbus, Ohio native, is at the vanguard of a new crop of Hammond B3 jazz organists, having received rave reviews and an enhanced profile for his Summit Record’s release "Burnin’ Grooves." But, his success did not happen overnight. In fact, there were many obstacles to his journey. Monaco grew up in a musica …
Chris Standring is a well known jazz guitarist who has performed live and done a great deal of session work with many super stars of smooth jazz. Today he performed in Avalon on Catalina Island at the 13th Annual Jazz Trax Festival. He played music from his current CD, Velvet, and his soon to be released CD, Hip Sway. The performance was first class as his band masterfully blended Hammond B3 and Saxophone voices with Chris's custom Benedetto guitar. My favorite song "Big Pant People" beautifully …
Jazzreview.com: What prompt you to contact jazzreview.com?Jesse King: I initially contacted Morrice (publisher of jazzreview.com) because he has a really great laid out site, with a lot of good contacts and I thought it would be great if we looked into doing something with each other to help promote each other's site.Jazzreview.com: It's a practice more people need to do particularly when they are speaking the same language, jazz and it's music.Jesse …
A prolific composer, Roberts has released twelve recordings as a leader of his own groups, and all have enjoyed critical acclaim and much success. He was the first to have his first three recordings reach number One on Billboard's traditional jazz chart.Roberts is a very dedicated artist still in his mid-thirties, he has attained a level of achievement most artist aspire in a lifetime.JAZZREVIEW.COM: Marcus, Would you share with me the project you are currently involve …
Frode Gjerstad hails from Norway and has created a body of work that is solidly free improvised music but which also shows influences from such different genres as rock, rap, and classical. Ultima, his most recent release on Cadence Jazz Records, features Gjerstad in the company of bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake. He has also recently completed a tour of the United States and Canada where he played with Parker and Drake. JAZZREVIEW.COM: How did you get started with …
It is a shame that Vancouver, BC singer Kate Hammett-Vaughan has been performing for 30 years, starting as a child in church choirs in her native Nova Scotia, and this is her first CD as leader of her own group. But the deprivation will be more easily borne now that she has released "How My Heart Sings", a collection of standards on the Canadian label Maximum Jazz which includes slightly lesser-known, and certainly not over-recorded, tunes by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Thelonious Monk.< …
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. < …
29.01.2011

Just Think of It

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JAZZREVIEW.COM: Denise Montana, Jeff Gordon, it is a pleasure to interview you! Your new eleven selection CD release JUST THINK OF IT is an exciting and wonderful creation! But first, before we get to that point, let's go back to the beginnings and share things with the readers and listeners leading up to this point! Let's start by asking, when and where were you born, and where did you grow up? DENISE MONTANA: Where was I born............ I was born on a stage with a micro …