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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

We were fortunate enough to have been present when Tito Puente performed at the "PAINT IT JAZZ 2000" FESTIVAL in the beautiful Caribbean country of Barbados. It was January 15, day four of the festival. The venue has shifted to Farley Hill Park for an afternoon "Concert on the Hill". The grand stage was erected in front of the ruins of an ancient great house, flanked by lawns and trees. Thousands of music lovers from tiny tots to grandmothers brought blankets, chairs and picnic baskets to sit on …
Conventional wisdom says that if you want to play jazz, New York City is where you have to be. Yet after a decade of NYC life, pianist, composer, producer and all around jazz renaissance man Darrell Grant made a strong move west ending up in Portland, Oregon. A teaching stint at Portland State University got him there, but the city's character is what's kept him. "It's idiosyncratic," says the 37-year old. "Somehow, the people in Portland have maintained a strong sense of individuality. …
Holland's Lils Mackintosh won this year's prestigious National Edison Jazz Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival 2000 for her latest CD "Black Girl," a tribute album to Huddie Ledbetter, better known as "Leadbelly." The Edison Jazz Awards can be compared to the American Grammy awards and Lils did an outstanding job with her modern interpretation of the songs of this legendary Louisiana blues singer. Album producer and tenor sax player, Hans Dulfer said in the liner notes, "Making this al …
Carol Sloane is not only a nifty lady, but also a fabulous singer who can be counted among the great jazz vocalists of her time. Her albums are all first-rate and there isn't a bad one in the bunch. I like that! How many artists produce album after album, with only a few of them counting as highly rated? Carol has 15 marvelous albums to her credit and has appeared on numerous other albums that are equally as wonderful. I recommend at least one of her albums as a "must-have" for your jazz collect …
Ken Watters is one of the finest young trumpet players to come along in a very long while, and in addition to performing, he is a composer of such intricate and entertaining songs such as "Sommerset Road," "Judy Rebecca," "Port-au-Prince," among others. His is a unique trumpet voice that utilizes the best of contemporary jazz motifs, shadings, and tone colors. He has a pure joy of expression in his horn which he openly shares with jazz listeners! Ken Watters is one of the best of the bes …
According to the All Music Guide, Brian Auger was raised in London, where he took up the keyboards as a child and began to hear jazz by way of the American Armed Forces Network and an older brother's record collection. By his teens, he was playing piano in clubs, and by 1962 he had formed the Brian Auger Trio with bass player Rick Laird and drummer Phil Knorra. In 1964, he won first place in the categories of "New Star" and "Jazz Piano" in a reader's poll in the Melody Maker music paper, but the …
Mark Whitfield is a New-York-based jazz musician and composer who has played guitar for 27 of his 30-something years. Though young, he's already considered a jazz veteran and has recorded eight albums. Drawing on a style that came from the Wes Montgomery/George Benson school of jazz guitar, Whitfield was discovered by Benson and launched his solo career on the Warner label ten years ago. He then recorded "True Blue" and others for Verve before his recent switch to Transparent Music. "Ra …
Like a novel, an album title usually characterizes a unifying theme or offers a flavor of the music. Sometimes they are obvious and straightforward. Sometimes they can reveal a pervasive mood (Miles Davis' Kind of Blue) or offer an affectionate requiem (Duke Ellington's And His Mother Called Him Bill). Occasionally, they can reveal the subterranean inspirations of a musician. Virginia Mayhew's first release was the widely praised Nini Green, released by Chiaroscuro in 1997. The title ref …
There's a cool wind in Nanaimo in Northern Vancouver that seems to blow a steady stream of talented women into the world of jazz. Ingrid Jensen is one of these extraordinary women. The gifted, critically acclaimed, hard bop trumpeter gained international recognition in 1995 with the release of her first CD on Enja entitled "Vernal Fields." This was the same year Ingrid won Canada's Juno Award for the Best Mainstream Album, Best Newcomer Award at the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland and won the Carm …
Sometimes a new face just seems to come out of the blue. A talent that wasn't there one moment and just then was the next. For Debbie Deane...it was the usual 10+ year 'overnight' success that just appeared to be instantaneous. Judging from those she chose to accompany her on her maiden voyage, she did it right though. When she's not performing with her regular trio in Brooklyn or solo in NY or on the west coast, she writes (adding to the fifty odd originals she performs) and teaches mu …
If you don't know drummer Danny Gottleib or you know him from only the earliest incarnations of the Pat Metheny Group, there's a lot you don't know about this talented, multi-faceted musician. Not complacent to rest on past laurels of any kind, Gottleib currently juggles percussion duties with more groups and ensembles than many work with in a lifetime, seeing it all optimistically, as a welcomed challenge. A rare attitude that pervades his work and beyond and which is carried to all who he come …
Steve Swallow may not be a household word, at least in most households, but if you've listened to contemporary jazz over the last thirty years, you've likely heard him on one side of the studio glass or the other. Swallow's not just a great and very unique electric jazz bassist but also a trusted producer of sessions which have included the likes jazz guitar icons Metheny, Scofield, Frisell and Goodrick. Beyond this, he is also an often covered composer in his own right (even pianist Bill Evans …
JazzReview.com: Can you discuss your original influences and what drew you to the drums? Peter Erskine: I've wanted to play the drums as far back as I can recall. The first music that I can remember listening to included recordings my father had of Art Blakey, Henry Mancini, Tito Puente, Esquivel (!), Julie London, Les Baxter, Martin Denny (!) and the Stan Kenton Orchestra. I began taking drum lessons at the age of five, and my teacher introduced me to the drumming of Phill …
Think of all the performers you know who've performed or recorded with Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, Mike Stern, John Scofield and John McGlaughlin. Ok, what about adding Andy Summers, Enrique Iglasias and Stan Getz plus one who runs his own label for which he does his own solo piano and group recordings as well as records other like minded artists? To most musicians and many jazz fans he needs no introduction, it could be only one person: pianist Mitch Forman. Mike Brannon was fortun …
Kazu Matsui is synonymous with American cinema music, particularly the films that feature Ry Cooder and James Horner as composers. Bursting on the scene in the early eighties with his eerie, suspense-laden accompaniment of the epic TV movie SHOGUN, he has been an ever-growing staple of action films. While he is a resident of Huntington Beach, CA, Kazu is the main proponent of his instrument, the Japanese shakuhachi flute, in the Western world. While carrying on the tradition of his mystical inst …
If you had to choose one living musician who has pioneered the current state and techniques of his instrument, championed jazz education and performed with most of the current crop of established, contemporary jazz artists (Chick, Metheny, Jarrett, Herbie) plus has 'discovered' and been instrumental in bringing up new leaders in his own bands (Metheny, Makoto Ozone, Tommy Smith, etc), that would be Gary Burton. First heard on record at 17 on the now legendary Columbia recording with country sess …
John Scofield has been the "ever-changing weather front" of the jazz genre; moving like a forceful wind (and seamlessly) in and out of the intricate facets of jazz and funk, Scofield continues to redefine modern jazz and funk every step of the way while never losing the integrity of the moment. Dubbed everything from the "father of jazz-funk" to the "godfather of groove", Scofield's catalog reads like a magic carpet ride, containing everything from straight-ahead swing to all out jam ba …
Dena DeRose is a remarkable talent! She sings, she composes, and she plays a fine jazz piano! Her two CD collections, I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW, and ANOTHER WORLD are showcases for her amazing jazz gifts! Dena DeRose is a unique performer who gives the audience a memorable performance every time! She is a new voice in the jazz vocals world, and one that will capture the attention of a large audience!JazzReview.com: Who is Dena DeRose? Dena DeRose: Dena DeRose is a drea …
29.01.2011

David Leonhart

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There are times when going to see a concert can offer some totally surprising faire. The David Leonhardt Quintet caught me quite unaware. Flat out, David Leonhardt is a really, terrific jazz pianist and with his quintet, David performed a delightful array of swinging standards, torchy love songs and romantic ballads. Songs from his most recent Gershwin tribute CD were included in his performance. Joining David onstage were Nancy Reed - vocals, Larry McKenna - sax, Andy McKee - double bass, and T …
29.01.2011

Sam Rivers

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At seventy-seven, saxophone legend and sixties free jazz explorer Sam Rivers still has the energy and force of Niagara Falls. Yet until the past two years he'd somehow escaped the usual celebratory nod the jazz community bestows on its elder statesmen. 1998 changed all that. With one two-day recording project that yielded a pair of superb discs - 1999's INSPIRATION and last year's CULMINATION - Rivers managed a wave of critical accolades that tsunamied into twin Grammy nominations. I ch …