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Jazz Viewpoints (222)

Four bars and seven beats ago, some hep cats brought forth on this stage a new music, conceived in Jazz and dedicated to the proposition that all songs must swing.

Now we are engaged in a great downloading war, testing whether that music, or any music so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We have come to dedicate a portion of that stage as a swinging place for those here who gave their lives so that a music might live. It is altogether fitting and hip that we should do this.

But …

Since the ‘70s, producer Nils Winther has documented European and American jazz artists in a no-frills manner and released a plethora of albums on his own grass roots SteepleChase imprimatur. With an active release schedule, it seems that more albums get released over the course of a year that any one reviewer can possibly make time for and so with this in mind, this is the first of a two-part piece that will discuss in brief some of the label’s most recent activity.

A mainstay of the label f …

Pat Metheny fans will again change gears with the Warner Brothers release of Pat Metheny: One Quiet Night in late May. Just one year after the release of the Pat Metheny Group’s Grammy Award winning Speaking of Now, Metheny is coming out with a collection of quieter, moody solo tunes played on baritone guitar.

The most striking note about this issue may be a more casual orientation towards the recording process. Metheny literally turned on a mic in his home studio and start …

29.01.2011

We Can't Lose Our NPR

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On Saturday nights I look forward to listening to NPR’s weekly program, Jazzset with Dee-Dee Bridgewater. She gives great interviews and goes beyond just announcing an artist’s name and song. She gives me the history behind them. I feel that this program preserves one of America’s most timeless music, jazz. And this is why I think Congress shouldn’t cut funding for programs such as NPR. NPR is really more than just a jazz station. It showcases other forms of music such as blues, country, classic …
Charlie Parker- "Repetition" (with strings): I chose that because he was going into the future. He was starting to become one of the innovators and he continued going forward. This is an example of Charlie Parker moving forward with other instruments beyond the quartet using strings and orchestras

Dizzy Gillespie - "Things to come": that has a perfect announcement of things to come and music revolution It was a confirmation that the musical pioneers were arriving.

Bud Powell- "Glass Encl …

Trying to get an interview with Maxine Todd, Program Director at Houston's new smooth jazz radio station almost proved to be a lesson in futility. To her credit, the lady has been busy launching 95.7 The Wave since November 2002. In fact, bringing the format to the city is a big deal, seeing as how Houston has been without a commercial jazz station since 1997. Numerous attempts have been made to program jazz in the city over the last 25 years, but to date four of them have failed t …
29.01.2011

Jazz Independence

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There are a lot of jazz fans who refuse to listen to the blues because it’s perceived as "too rowdy," and just as many blues aficionados who are sure that jazz is "too crazy." Talk about some misinformed ears!

There is a disc jockey on the public radio station in Detroit (Gene Elzy, WDET-FM) who plays what he terms "the jazzy side of blues and the bluesy side of jazz." The coexistence of the two has been inextricable forever. The intersection has always been a busy one, with frequent and glee …

29.01.2011

Matt's Metaphysics

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In 1998, Matthew Shipp played the piano in a performance with Other Dimensions in Music in Amherst, Massachusetts. This was the first avant-garde music concert I had ever attended and the first about which I would attempt to write and successfully did.

Matthew’s music was familiar to me by way of the radio. Any prior awareness of him resulted from his name being in the air, so to speak. This is the same kind of familiarity I had had with William Parker; I had carried his name with me for near …

29.01.2011

THE AULOCHROME

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In Belgium, the country of its original inventor, Adolphe Sax, the saxophone has recently been reinvented by François Louis. Known worldwide albeit only by saxophone players and flutists as the inventor and builder of a complete new range of legendary mouthpieces, reed ligatures and reeds, Louis has invented the instrument of the third millennium.

Mel Lewis’ 1984 "20 Years at the Village Vanguard" was the first album that featured a François Louis’ revolutionary hand-made mouthpiece of boxwo …

A couple of months ago, Wayne Shorter submitted a Desert Island Disc piece to Jazzreview.com. Beside the fact that it was a rare opportunity to read the jazz maestro’s thoughts, it lit a fire. Knowing I’m not in the minority and that there are actually millions of closet list makers among us, it seemed a fine time to lay bare this obsession. I’ve engaged in this exercise many times over the years. My lists don’t vary much. John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, Frank Zappa, Doc Watson, Stevie Wonder and M …
29.01.2011

Defining Thurston

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Back in March, at the conclusion of my interviewing DJ Spooky (Paul Miller), he asked me if I knew Thurston Moore. I said: No. Paul left it at that because someone came seeking answers for some sort of performance question. Thurston’s name did not come within my spectrum of interest until I received the promotional material from MASSMoCA regarding the summer’s activities. I saw that Thurston was commissioned by the Bang on A Can Ensemble to write a piece for the group. I bought a ticket right aw …
29.01.2011

Boogie Woogie 101

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Boogie woogie, a piano style that has been in an out of favor with audiences a few times over the past century, is an excruciatingly complex combination of a dancing bass line (it sure isn’t just walking) supplied by the left hand and dazzling runs from the right, and usually played on an upright piano. The ability to combine the two hands in a complimentary and cohesive fashion is what separates masters from pretenders and is why the list of the former remains relatively short.

History trace …

In November 2002, a Houston icon was unceremoniously escorted off the radiowaves. KIKK 95.7-FM had been a country & western musical treasure for more than a quarter of a century. As the station left the airwaves, it was replaced by an upstart of sorts, KHJZ 95.7-FM, otherwise known as "The Wave." The transition did not sit well with die-hard KIKK listeners, especially after they realized what the new format would be, "Smooth Jazz." A sonic boom reaching meteoric heigh …
‘ReMix Structures and Improvisations’ is Uri Caine’s visionary project as Director of the 47th Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea (International Festival of Contemporary Music) to be held at the Venice Biennale, Italy (12-21 September 2003.) A bold turning point in terms of programme, it allows Contemporary Music to be experienced in all its kaleidoscopic forms. Caine musically translates Venice’s pensive beauty into the vertical suspension of New York’s skyline, into a stage of dif …

February 4th 2005
It's a new day. The record business has finally taken its toll and lost its fight to stay alive and the smooth jazz world has taken a nose dive along with it. After several years of radio play and incessant touring, artists are now finally hanging up their hats. It's over. The news is grim. Well, for the artists at least. The writing is clearly written on the wall: Smooth jazz musicians are to put down their horns and retire as there are simply no more record deal …

29.01.2011

Female Trumpet Players

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Remember when you first started band? It was "understood" that the boys played the drums and brass instruments and the girls played the flute, clarinet or oboe. Those days are long gone. I want to tell you about two women who are establishing themselves as players to be reckoned with.

First, Ingrid Jenson. This Canadian born jazz trumpeter is one of the freshest and most underrated players on the jazz scene. Her sound has been described as "sweet and earthy". Don't let that fool you. Igrid Je …

"What am I going to dream about?" asks Rahsaan Roland Kirk in the opening seconds of his often misunderstood album, The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color (1975). This album is a glimpse into Rahsaan's "three-sided dramatization of music." But what is this "three-sided dramatization" that Rahsaan refers to in his liner notes?

If you examine the prominent themes on this album, three patterns emerge: Conversations; Dreams; and Songs. Jazz, unfortunately, is always critically measur …

29.01.2011

Becoming Aware with David

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Weeks ago, Thirsty Ear Records asked me if I would like to interview David S. Ware in connection with the release of a new recording which features a new ensemble including his quartet of long-standing. I responded, Yes.

David S. Ware personified for me one of the great players of the saxophone. I did not know the Ware’s complete discography. CORRIDORS & PARALLELS and FREEDOM SUITE (a tribute to his friend Sonny Rollins), I had written about a while back. CRYPTOLOGY and DAO of the mid 90’s pr …

British saxophonist Soweto Kinch has been honored with the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act 2003, at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The MOBO Awards whose aim is to celebrate and give support to Music Of Black Origins, is one of the highest prizes of its kind. Winners as for the BBC Jazz Awards are decided by public vote.

Soweto won despite harsh competition fellow nominees were Norah Jones, Roy Hargrove, Kirk Whalum and Jamie Cullum.

Amongst the winners, Hutcheson Gayle as Best Gospel New …

Italy, a country whose people aren't afraid of sharing strong musical opinions with the world, has finally opened one of it's most influential cultural stages to experimental Jazz and improvisation.

The controversial move was sparked by Uri Caine’s enticing artistic program, powerfully closing the gap between the ‘purism’ of past ‘Biennali,’ which mainly relied on classical-contemporary music, and this year’s focus on the experimental. Until now, Jazz had not been allowed to walk the central …