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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

New York-based, St. Louis-bred pianist and composer has epiphany. That’s the short version of this story. Maybe it wasn’t truly an "aha" moment, but Linda Presgrave certainly woke up to her calling after a trip to Italy in 2003. She’d been steadily progressing as a pianist, gigging in St. Louis on piano and French horn, and then moving to NYC and focusing exclusively on piano. She spent some time studying with Joanne Brackeen, who pushed her to compose more, and then got the call to participate …
Jazz is the ideal model of genetic evolution. New individuals express similar traits to their ancestors. Why shouldn’t they? After all they are born of the same species, same DNA, same gene pool, but when the traits are blended within every new generation, something truly unique is expressed. There are similarities, likenesses in expression, a familiarity in the voice, a feature that is reminiscent of the previous generation and upon further investigation, it is …
29.01.2011

Free Your Mind

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In the sea of chaos and uncertainty that is modern life, one of the most crucial struggles we wage is the struggle to achieve, and hold onto, peace of mind. Free Your Mind is both sage advice and the title of Boston-based Saxophonist/vocalist/educator Walter Beasley's new CD. "All I wanted to do", explains Beasley, "was accurately reflect the times and how I felt about them". JazzReview: Your last CD, Ready For Love, was widely considered an artistic and c …
With many contemporary and smooth jazz artists using digital technology to record their music, it's nice sometimes to go back and record with all the musicians are in the studio. Such as the case with the group Pieces of a Dream's latest effort Soul Intent. Founding duo James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon believe that some of the best and most enduring ideas come when all parties are in the same room doing their thing. So, for the first time since 1981, the two return to their original approach …
29.01.2011

Frank Macchia

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It is impossible not to like Frank Macchia. The sax man could not grate anyone the wrong way even if he tried, which may explain why when he asked five other world renown saxophone players to join him on the recording of his latest album, Saxolollapalooza, none of them expressed any hesitation about coming on board for the project. Macchia has a proven track record as a talented bandleader and gifted saxophonist in his own right, but even he admits that there were challenges in corrall …
29.01.2011

Steve Herberman

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For jazz guitarist Steve Herberman, playing music isn’t about copying the masters, but learning from them and developing one’s own style of creative expression. Throughout his teaching career, he has encouraged students to familiarize themselves with the roots of jazz, to respect its masters, and to learn from its large repertoire based in American, Brazilian and World cultures. Jazz is a form of music that has evolved from the multitude of cultures out there, and to know them is to know its …
29.01.2011

Roger Kellaway

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"Let’s say life is a wheel, I just choose to have more spokes on the wheel. It’s something that interests me and makes my life interesting. I am hoping that when people come to hear me play, or they hear anything that I record, that it is a nice journey for them, no matter what it is that I do, whether it is the cello quartet, or it is Russell, Jay, Stefon, or Borislav. The Live At The Jazz Standard CD is kind of an interesting mixture, because now that I have a cello back in my lif …
29.01.2011

Miles Stiebel

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Jazz music for contemporary times is what violinist Miles Stiebel provides to audiences in his second solo album Excellent Distraction. Produced by Bob Dawson who has worked on numerous Grammy nominated projects, and mastered by Ted Jensen, a Grammy-winning engineer with Norah Jones, Excellent Distraction achieves what Stiebel envisioned, which he describes on his website, "When I write music, I want to create an inviting and hummable melody, and set it to a catchy and hopefully in …
29.01.2011

Spyro Gyra

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Funksters Spyro Gyra, whose music has traversed numerous genres and drawn from numerous eclectic musical influences during the course of their almost thirty year career, recorded an excellent Christmas jazz album, A Night Before Christmas, while the cherry trees were blossoming in New York. Joining Spyro Gyra’s regular cast, which consists of Jay Beckenstein (saxophones), Tom Schuman (pianist), Julio Fernandez (guitar), Scott Ambush (bass) and drummer Bonny B., are singer and Tony Award …
29.01.2011

Dave Stryker

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Album: The Scene Musicians: Dave Stryker: Guitar, Steve Slagle: alto and soprano sax, flute Jay Anderson: bass, Victor Lewis: drums, Special Guest: Joe Lovano Tracks: Skee, The Scene, Six Four Teo, Two Sense, Kindred Spirits, Hopewell’s Last, Brighter Days, Fingers In The wind, Strikology …
29.01.2011

Deborah Latz

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Deborah Latz’s new album Lifeline opens her up more personally in front of audiences than ever before. The depth of her vocals and the mood of the music reel audiences into her life in a way that her past experiences as a stage actress/singer and her training, which included Afro/Haitian classes with Madonna in attendance, never gave her the opportunity to unleash. Many artists strive to reach a personal best, and Lifeline is one of Deborah Latz’s own as she taps int …
29.01.2011

Vicki Burns

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Vicki Burns’ new release, Live at Anna’s Jazz Island, tells a lot about her both musically and personally. Instead of the traditional hard CD format, it is primarily a digital release that serves multiple purposes. First, it gets Burns’ music, a rich blend of jazz genres, out into the world. The digital format, however, serves to cut down on the packaging costs, a critical consideration for most musicians. It is also an important "green" move for the environmentally conscious si …
JazzReview: A new supergroup is born! With your combined careers, you’ve accomplished a phenomenal quantity and diversity of credits on seminal albums over the last four decades. It was an honour to be asked to do this interview for the release of your "Scene 29" CD, thanks guys. Readers will think I’m bound to say this but I really do love this album. I still get sent a lot of CD’s and only have time to play a few, and yours exceeded my hig …
29.01.2011

Harmonious Wail

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In the gypsy jazz field, no one does it any better than the Madison, Wisconsin based group Harmonious Wail. Group founder Sims Delaney-Potthoff says, I knew that wanted to play Django Reinhardt inspired music and pretty much talked to people and put the band together. We just got a bar gig and started by trying out tunes. We called it Uncle Cachuk for awhile, then we called it Junior Holstein. None of those really worked as the band kind of started getting liftoff and finding that we had just …
29.01.2011

Rob Mosher

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Rob Mosher is one of those musicians that make you ask yourself, "Where did he come from?" Born in Canada and trained on reed instruments such as the saxophone, and later on oboe and English horn, Mosher began writing music in 2003 after studying jazz performance at the University of Toronto. He recalls, "I've always had to figure things out for myself, so I guess I've learned to compose and play by just doing it. We're our own best teachers." He has recorded and performed with a numbe …
29.01.2011

Bob James

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Salivating fans, awaiting the newest arrival, can now take a breath as Fourplay releases their latest album, Energy, on their debut with Heads Up label. Captivating hearts for more than a decade, Fourplay brings together four of the hottest talents today-each member a musical genius, mega-star in his own right. Blending R&B, pop and jazz, Fourplay creates a distinct fingerprint of musical magic. A quick and lighthearted introduction to the members: …
29.01.2011

Lea DeLaria

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Lea DeLaria is one of the hippest jazz singers around. Her innate skills and deep love of standards shine through on The Live Smoke Sessions. Unlike her first two CDs, which offered innovative twists of Broadway tunes and rock songs, the latest effort has DeLaria taking on classic jazz numbers. In creating an album that recalls the great live jazz recordings of the 1950s, DeLaria has created her most personal record to date. She swings and scats hard with guest voca …
John Pizzarelli is full of surprises: surprising influences, surprising insights, and surprising selections on his Richard Rodgers tribute disc, With A Song In My Heart, released on Telarc Jazz on August 19. Also surprising, given the seven-string guitarist’s long-standing relationship with the jazz canon and his penchant for thematic albums, is that he hadn’t done a Rodgers album before now. "Actually, it was my management’s idea," he said, speaking from his home in New York, awaiting …
29.01.2011

Bill Bruford

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A few years after his departure from the group YES, I had the pleasure of seeing drummer Bill Bruford perform with the budding and always cutting-edge progressive-rock band King Crimson back in the mid-‘70s at New York City’s Schaeffer Music Festival in Central Park. As a young drummer, I was fascinated by his distinct percussion vernacular and approach to the kit. For example, when you expected a snare hit, Bruford would roll off the hi-hat and create an offbeat that not only main …
29.01.2011

Marilyn Scott

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There is a headlining, sway appeal when the name Marilyn Scott is brought into conversation. Marilyn is the temperate tone of the modern day cabaret. Her eloquence comes in multi-faceted forms on stage, and off. It is one reason this iconic beauty defines the jazz vocalization of the past 30 years. Marilyn Scott is, in fact, a double bill by herself! The Scott romantic technique is one in which the listener only needs to shut their eyes and allow the "feel" of her essence to penetrate their e …