Thursday, December 30, 2004

Artie Shaw, Big Band Leader, Dies at 94

Artie ShawArtie Shaw, the jazz clarinetist and big-band leader who successfully challenged Benny Goodman's reign as the King of Swing with his recordings of "Begin the Beguine," "Lady Be Good" and "Star Dust" in the late 1930's, died today, his orchestra's manager, Will Curtis, said. He was 94 and lived in Newbury Park, Calif.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Best: The Deepest Jazz Grooves

The Deepest Jazz Grooves
By Ben Ratliff [NYTimes]
Joe Lovano's graceful ballads, Elvin Jones's last session with his brother and Soweto Kinch's debut album were among the highlights of the year

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Jeff Hedberg - 'The Summer Knows'

Chicago-based trumpeter/flügelhornist/vocalist Jeff Hedberg stands out as a singing musician and makes his voice count on this understated presentation of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, film scores, and jazz legends Horace Silver and Thelonious Monk. Often compared to Chet Baker, Hedberg's phrasing as a singer has certainly been influenced by his trumpet playing, which is quite apparent on "Let's Get Lost" and "My Funny Valentine," two songs often covered by Baker on several issues of Chet Baker Sings. Hedberg's swinging uptempo offering on "Comes Love" and swaying samba on "Dindi" contrast the quiet romantic moods he sets on "The Summer Knows" and "Cry Me a River." This not only shows his versatility, but is a true testament to the fact that Hedberg is not out to rest his embouchure on these soft ballads, but to show that he can function with finesse on three separate levels — as a leader, instrumentalist, and singer — within one cohesive sextet. His spare approach on "'Round Midnight," has his style technically updated. However, the lonely ambience of his muted horn suggests that Hedberg can play an emotionally appealing set that can stand on its own integrity. Guest artist Judy Roberts offers memorable piano accompaniment that gives this song lift. "My Funny Valentine" is another emotionally appealing ballad that indicates that Jeff Hedberg is capable of expressing his passionate vocal skills on various levels while allowing the listener to interpret and enjoy his brilliant technical skills. He sustains notes on this song without wavering, later double and triple tonguing for more effect. While only a few of today's top brass instrumentalists offer their vocal stylings on their trumpet recordings (Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Louis Armstrong all sang and played trumpet), Jeff Hedberg's fans will be delighted to hear his cohesive blend of past and present vocal and brass influences on his debut for Blujazz, The Summer Knows.
Paula Edelstein []

Determined saxophonist makes music with one hand

Kyung Sun Orr always thought it would be "kind of cool" to start his own jazz band.

The 16-year-old saxophonist recently belted out tunes with a couple of buddies, even though he lost his left arm in an accident two years ago.

Orr plays a one-handed saxophone - one of only two in the nation - when he performs.

Jazz: Woody Allen

Allen has never made any secret of the fact that his passion for the clarinet is really an unrequited love. Even after all these years of jamming at Michael’s Pub and elsewhere in Manhattan, the sound he generates is closer to the yelps of an asthmatic fox terrier having its tail pummelled with a mallet.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Joe Pass | Virtuoso in New York

This latest set offers more of what's already available in abundance: Pass by his lonesome in the studio circa summer of '75, trusty hollow-body slung over shoulder, his mind primed to the task of doing what he did best. The disc's title dispenses with vagaries and skips right to the transparent. Pass was a virtuoso, a label I feel more than comfortable ascribing despite my somewhat checkered past with its usage. Over a three-quarter of an hour stretch he spins improvistory fantasias on a septet of chamois-polished standards, the solitary original blues thrown into the mix in two takes. True it's nothing too removed from the usual press of the Pass mold, but like his arguable pianistic counterpart Art Tatum, Pass could make the same old tunes shine under the close scrutiny of brilliant new hues and colors.
Derek Taylor []

Saxophone Summit 'Gathering of Spirits'

Brecker, Liebman and Lovano are joined by a world-class rhythm section—pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart—for a set of six tracks that recall the dynamic instrumental discourse long prized in blowing sessions popularized by Jazz at the Philharmonic. Yet stylistically, this music takes it cues from John Coltrane's final epoch, further stretching the boundaries of solo and group improvisation.

Saxophone “battles” have traditionally inspired musicians to play their best. But more than just a cutting contest, this gathering is a multi-faceted musical equation greater than the sum of its parts. Brecker explains that “because we have such well formed musical personalities, when we play together, we create a beautiful matrix, a really fascinating juxtaposition of sounds, colors and rhythmic approaches."

Monday, December 20, 2004

Turning the digital tables

But look a little closer at this London club and you will notice that, instead of turntables and endless sleeves of vinyl, the music playing out of the speakers is sourced from an iPod.

Connick Tops in Jazz with 'Only You'

Wynton Marsalis is arguably the most recognized name in jazz, for his achievements as a performer and ambassador for the genre. His roles as artistic director for Jazz at Lincoln Center and fundraiser for its new Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York have won him deserved praise.

But the charts tell a different story of who's who in jazz. Fellow New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. far outranks Marsalis, claiming the No. 1 spot on the year-end Top Jazz Artists recap. Connick's release "Only You" (Columbia/Sony Music) is No. 1 on the Top Jazz Album tally.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Is jazz dead? A critic takes comfort in history

But unlike his previous collections, "Weather Bird" clears the decks, and it's not always pretty. The subtitle tells the story. Reading between the lines of where Giddins locates jazz in its second century, it becomes clear why he no longer wants to cover the music, regularly, in real time. It's because here, in 2004, there's not much there there. Jazz has become a music of the past, and as opposed to fighting that trend, as he bravely attempted to do for 20 years or so, Giddins is now joining it. Only he's doing it his way, which is to write about history. With no gods looming to take jazz into the future, what else is there for a writer of Giddins' insight and ambition to do?
Review by David Rubien, San Francisco Chronicle

Saturday, December 18, 2004

'Living With Jazz': It Does Mean a Thing

Dan Morgenstern has been writing about jazz for more than four decades but has long hesitated to collect his best pieces. At last, ''Living With Jazz'' gathers 136 of his liner notes, critical essays and other writings, and the book is a cause for celebration since it deserves to be on the short shelf of essential books on the music.
[NY Times Book review]

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Count Basie: 100th Birthday Bash & The Count Basie Story

This past August marked the 100th anniversary of Count Basie's birth and in recognition of that august event, reissued are some of the big band master's finest sides from the late '50s and early '60s.
Joel Roberts

Monday, December 13, 2004

U.S. Jazz Artists to Do India Benefit

A group of popular American jazz artists will perform in India next month as part of a U.S. State Department-supported campaign to combat HIV and AIDS, an embassy official said.

George Duke, Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh and Ravi Coltrane will hold concerts in Bombay and New Delhi starting Jan. 13, said David Kennedy, U.S. embassy spokesman in New Delhi, on Monday.

Secretary of State Colin Powell is expected to make a formal announcement Wednesday. The tour is jointly sponsored by Black Entertainment Television.

India, with 1.06 billion people, has the world's second largest HIV-infected population, totaling 5.1 million.
[Associated Press]

Smooth Jazz Vibes: Top 10 CDs of 2004

Top 10 CDs of 2004 by Brian Soergel, December 13, 2004 []
These may not have been the best CDs of the year, but they're the ones I played the most.

1. Pete Belasco, Deeper (Comedia): Sublime falsetto vocals and some of the best sax going. Romantic, mellow, sexy.
2. Chris Botti, When I Fall in Love (Columbia): Botti makes the album he was destined to - romantic, standard ballads. Superb trumpet playing.
3. Peter White, Confidential (Columbia): No one makes sweet acoustic pop sound as smooth as the veteran guitarist.
4. Ronny Jordan, After 8 (N-Coded): Guitarist Jordan mixes his acid-jazz and experimental instinct with smooth pop grooves.
5. Ottmar Liebert, La Semana (SSRI): His first album in a few years, and it's more welcome flamenco pop-jazz. No one better at setting a mood.
6. Norman Brown, West Coast Coolin' (Warner Bros.): No one channels George Benson as well as Brown, who sings and plays as good as the master.
7. Paul Brown, Upfront (GRP): Years of producing No. 1 smooth jazz songs obviously rubbed off for the gutarist and vocalist.
8. Boney James, Pure (Warner Bros.): Boney writes some great music, and knows how to select soulful vocalists to inject some R&B magic.
9. Steve Oliver, 3D (Koch): The guitarist/scatter/singer consistently produces top-notch material that's as memorable as it is listenable.
10. Bob Baldwin, Brazil Chill (A440): This CD is by far the pianist's best. Top-notch playing and a samba swing make this the CD to play to escape by.

There was lots of quality smooth jazz in 2004. Here are some more titles worthy of your collection:

Swing Out Sister, Where Our Love Grows (Shanachie)
Brian Bromberg, Choices (A440)
Renee Olstead, Renee Olstead (143)
Bebel Gilberto, Bebel Gilberto (Six Degrees)
Keiko Matsui, Wildflower (Narada)
Braxton Brothers, Rollin' (Peak)
Euge Groove, Livin' Large (Narada)
Anita Baker, My Everything (Blue Note)
Maximum Grooves, Coast to Coast (Telarc)
Mindi Abair, Come As You Are (GRP)
Jamie Cullum, twentysomething (Verve)
Theo Bishop, Newport Nights (Native Language)
Michael Lington, Stay With Me (Rendezvous)
Torcuato Mariano, Diary (215)
Gerald Albright, Kickin' It Up (GRP)
David Benoit/Russ Freeman, Benoit/Freeman Project 2 (Peak)
Eric Darius, Night on the Town (Higher Octave)
Ed Johnson and Novo Tempo, Movimento (Cumulus)
James Vargas, James Vargas (Trippin 'N Rhythm)
Wayman Tisdale, Hang Time (Rendezvous)
Soul Ballet, DreamBeatDream (215)
Fattburger, Work To Do (Shanachie)
Queen Latifah, The Dana Owens Album (Vector)
Gary Goin, Going Places (Compendia)
Rafe Gomez, The Groove Boutique: Volume One (Tommy Boy)
Vernon Neilly & G-Fire With Mark Whitfield, G-Fire II (Boosweet)
Pavlo, Fantasia (Justin Time)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Grammy Nominations

Here are the nominations for the 47th annual Grammy Awards for Best Pop Instrumental Album (for albums containing 51% or more playing time of instrumental tracks) are: Boney James' Pure (Warner Bros.); Dave Koz's Saxophonic (Capitol Records); Various Artists' Forever, for Always, for Luther, Bud Harner & Rex Rideout, producers (GRP/VMG); Henry Mancini's Pink Guitar, James Jensen, producer (Solid Air Records); Mason Williams' EP 2003: Music for the Epicurean Harkener, (Skookum Records).

Nominees for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, for albums containing 51% or more playing time of instrumental tracks, are: Fourplay's Journey (Bluebird); Bill Frisell's Unspeakable (Nonesuch Records); Jan Garebarek's In Praise of Dreams (ECM); Don Grusin's The Hang (Sovereign Artists); and Roy Hargrove's Strength: The RH Factor (Verve).

Grammy nominations for Best Pop Instrumental Performance (for solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals; tracks and singles only) are: "Chasing Shadows," Herb Alpert, Russ Freeman, James Genus, Gene Lake and Jason Miles from Maximum Grooves: Coast to Coast, Various artists (Telarc); "Take You Out," George Benson, from Irreplaceable (GRP/VMG); "11th Commandment," Ben Harper from There Will Be a Light (Virgin); "Song F," Bruce Hornsby from Halcyon Days (Columbia); and "Rat Pack Boogie," Brian Setzer from Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy (Surfdog).


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

NPR : Jazz Singer Dianne Reeves

The Tavis Smiley Show, December 6, 2004 · Every great singer has to have a Christmas album. Jazz singer Dianne Reeves talks about her new holiday offering Christmas Time is Here.
[NPR Audio interview]

Monday, December 06, 2004

Botti Update

Don't even think about touching trumpeter Chris Botti these days unless you're wearing asbestos mittens, because he's so very red-hot, which is truly excellent news for Smooth Jazz. Botti's When I Fall in Love is currently the third best-selling traditional jazz album this year and the week's numbers are impressive: No. 1 traditional jazz sales; No. 1 overall jazz sales; a 311 % sales increase over last week; and No. 2 contemporary jazz sales.
Botti's upcoming TV appearances include the Nobel Prize Ceremonies worldwide broadcast from Oslo, Norway on Dec. 11; Tony Danza on Dec. 17; QVC special on Dec. 21; Today Show (Christmas week airing of Christmas song recorded earlier); and The View in January '05 (TBD); plus he's slated to play the national anthem at the L.A. Lakers/Miami Heat game on Christmas Day. Tour dates include Dec. 17-18 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago; Dec. 31- Jan. 1 at Scullers in Boston; Jan. 18-19 at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA; and Jan. 20-23 at Jazz Alley in Seattle. Stay tuned for late-breaking news.

Survey: Net file-sharing doesn't hurt most musicians

"What we hear from a wide spectrum of artists is that, despite the real challenges of protecting work online, the Internet has opened new ways for them to exercise their imaginations and sell their creations," said report author Mary Madden, a research specialist at the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The nonprofit group based its report on a survey of 809 self-identified artists in December 2003. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Ken Navarro's Latest Is Offered Exclusively Through His Website

Ken Navarro's Latest Is Offered Exclusively Through His Website
Love Coloured Soul, the new album by Ken Navarro, is now available though his website, and will be in stores on Jan. 25.

Right now, smooth jazz guitarist Ken Navarro is offering his new album – but only online. You can go to to purchase Love Coloured Soul, but will have to wait until Jan. 25 if you want to buy the album in stores.

The album is being released on the Positive Music label, the same label Navarro founded more than a decade ago. He says Love Coloured Soul has a similar sound to one he released in 1997 called Smooth Sailing, with its warm and peaceful vibe.

Among the album’s 10 songs are covers of John Klemmer’s “Glass Dolphins” and the late Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic.” Original titles include “You Are Everything,” “You Did It Again” and “Summer Of Love.”

As a bonus, you can also can purchase two available DVDs which include full-length audio interviews, photo galleries, video movies and graphics, in addition to the CD itself. These packages are only available through Navarro’s website. .

Love Coloured Soul Track Listing

1. You Are Everything (Ken Navarro-Jay Lang) 4:52
2. You Did It Again (Ken Navarro) 4:46
3. Glass Dolphins (John Klemmer) 3:31
4. Stoned Soul Picnic (Laura Nyro) 4:46
5. Love Coloured Soul (Ken Navarro) 4:17
6. Breathe (Ken Navarro) 4:10
7. Parallel Lives (Ken Navarro) 5:13
8. Gentle Soul (Ken Navarro) 4:33
9. Let It Go (Ken Navarro) 5:35
10. Summer Of Love (Ken Navarro) 4:45

Brian Soergel []

Jeff Lorber Receives Kidney Transplant

The pioneering jazz-fusion keyboardist is recovering at home in Pacific Palisades, CA after undergoing kidney transplant surgery at UCLA Medical Center. Lorber's wife, Mink (nee Mingquan Tungwarapotwitan), who proved a suitable organ transplant match, donated one of her kidneys for the procedure. He told R&R, "I'm doin' good; already back doin' my radio show for Sirius, which runs Saturday and Sunday 6-9 PT; and working in the studio! Mink and I just got back from a -- slow! -- walk on the Santa Monica promenade." Lorber suffers from a common but little-known and usually fatal genetic condition, Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), for which there is no cure, but which can be treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation. For more information on PKD, check out The smooth jazz family wishes Jeff and Mink a speedy recovery. We need His Royal Badness!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Joe Sample Featured Guest On World Cafe

Renowned pianist Joe Sample will be a special guest on NPR's popular nationwide radio show World Cafe with David Dye, on Thursday, Dec. 2. WXPN/Philadelphia produces World Cafe, which airs on over 165 stations nationally. Usually reserved for singers and songwriters, the upcoming broadcast will feature a live interview and performance by Sample.

A veteran keyboardist/composer, Sample is known for his simultaneous careers as a member of the seminal jazz funk combo the Crusaders and as a pioneering contemporary jazz solo artist. His recent Verve release, Soul Shadows, is his first-ever all solo piano recording, featuring such traditional jazz classics and ragtime favorites as Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer," Ellington's "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good," Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Jitterbug Waltz" and Jelly Roll Morton's "Shreveport Stomp."
Check for show time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Trumpet Virtuoso's First Traditional Jazz Album Hits #1

With his new album, When I Fall In Love, virtuoso jazz trumpeter Chris Botti has tapped into the record-buying public's growing desire for classic romantic jazz sounds. Bulleting up the Billboard Top 200 best-selling albums chart, When I Fall In Love, Botti's first full-length traditional jazz album, has made its way into the ranks of the Top 40 best-selling albums, of any genre, in the country.

Released on September 28, 2004, When I Fall In Love is currently the #1 Top Jazz Album and the #1 Traditional Jazz Album in America. The album peaked at #3 on Billboard's prestigious Heatseekers best-selling new albums chart. When I Fall In Love is the third best-selling traditional jazz album of the year.
[] Columbia Records

Monday, November 29, 2004

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

The Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has lent his superb compositional and performing talents to the creation of the original score for the new PBS Ken Burns documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise And Fall Of Jack Johnson, a detailed portrait of the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World. Marsalis and Burns last worked together on Burns’s 2000 PBS documentary Jazz, a 10-part series that explored the history of the music, on which Marsalis was Senior Creative Consultant.

The music on Unforgivable Blackness comprises 16 new Marsalis compositions and seven interpretations of material composed by WC Handy, Jelly Roll Morton (3 tracks were drawn from Marsalis’s 1999 release Standard Time, Volume 6: Mr. Jelly Lord, a tribute to the music of Morton), and others. Conjuring up the early 1900s jazz that was current to Jack Johnson’s life (1878-1946), the score provides the perfect backdrop to Burns’s film, capturing all the dramatic tension inherent in Johnson’s story, from the joy of ultimate triumph to the sadness of inescapable oppression.

Ken Burns’ Florentine Films has produced Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson for a PBS airdate of January 17th & 18th, 2005. Noted historian and biographer Geoffrey Ward will release The Autobiography of Jack Johnson in October 2004. PBS Home Video and Paramount DVD will release a DVD in January 2005.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Race is on to save jazz's rich heritage

Historians, music buffs and urban cheerleaders simply in love with the city's legacy are rallying and racing to preserve nearly 600 New Orleans homes and buildings that in some way are connected to the birth of one of the true American art forms, perhaps the definitive score for this country's social and political history.
Miami Herald

Saturday, November 27, 2004

'Django': Guitar Hero

Like Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt is so famous his first name is usually enough to identify him. His virtuosity was astounding: despite a maimed fretting hand he redefined jazz guitar, blazing longer, more complex lyrical solos than anyone had coaxed from six strings.
(Sunday Book Review)

Friday, November 26, 2004

Sax master Boney James delivers smooth jazz mix

So it may be easy to dismiss James on the radio as Kenny G-meets-R&B, but it is pretty hard to deny his talent and showmanship when he goes to the trouble of putting the bell of his sax right in your lap.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Jazz singer Monheit thrilled to be `Taking a Chance'

``I used to watch all the great old movies with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers and the ones that MGM put out were my favorites,'' she recalled.``I learned so much from watching them because I was hearing the standards in their original setting, with the story line around them.''

Monheit's own approach to singing is as inspired by drama and romance as that of any jazz vocalist on the scene, and the material she chose for the new album takes full advantage of that, especially on the smaller-group numbers.
Bob Young []

3 Music Companies Will Use Online File-Sharing Service

The Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group, three of the four major music companies, have licensed their music catalogs to Wurld Media, the company said Wednesday.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Kenny G "At Last....the Duets"

Smooth jazz icon saxophonist Kenny G delivers his first all guest-star album with At Last...The Duets Album. Featuring a coterie of big name artists from the pop music world including Barbra Streisand, Burt Bacharach, LeAnn Rimes and others, At Last essentially maximizes the vocal crossover aesthetic prominent on many of G's prior albums. Largely, the formula works coming off as a breezy, laid-back concert with G adding soft asides to his guest's vocal performances. To these ends, Brian McKnight reinvigorates "Careless Whisper with a quiet storm intensity, Chaka Khan actually betters Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" suffusing it with an infectious gospel/soul vibe, and Earth, Wind & Fire pull a "no brainer" on Outkast's "The Way You Move". Add to this a fairly organic production style that mixes in lush orchestral arrangements, funky organs and real percussion as well as artists who seem to really enjoy themselves and you've got one of Kenny G's most pleasing efforts...At Last.
Matt Collar []

At CD101.9, there's a Chill in the air

"Chill" started in Europe in the late '90s, says WQCD senior vice president Barry Mayo, and it incorporates elements of pop, jazz, electronica and world music. It has some overlap with the "lounge" music that has become hip in recent years, though Lawrence says WQCD will continue to focus on contemporary recordings.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Jazz guitarist leaves mark in many places

Turn on a radio station and you might think that you hear his music. Sit in a caf� where lattes and soft guitar music are served and you might think you hear his music. And on any number of CDs, there will be a riff that reminds you of him.

Him is Peter White, the ubiquitous guitarist who will perform a special Christmas show with trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Mindi Abair Nov. 27, at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village, part of an 18-city tour
[Michael Martinez - Reno Gazette Journal]

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Bebel Gilberto: An Upbeat Bossa, With Nova Intentions

She is not a purist. Ms. Gilberto's music often looks back to the meticulous small bands of old bossa nova recordings. But she also draws on the Brazilian pop that followed the bossa nova, using upbeat rhythms from across Brazil, and she has drawn on Bahian songwriters like Caetano Veloso and Carlinhos Brown.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ray Charles' ``Genius Loves Company'' Ships 3 Million Copies

The considerable sales of "Genius Loves Company" were facilitated in part by a unique distribution and marketing relationship between Concord Records and Starbucks Hear Music(TM) label. Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq:SBUX) has been singularly responsible for nearly 30 percent of the total domestic sales of the album. On December 1, Starbucks retail locations in North America will offer the exclusive "Box of Genius" 2-CD holiday gift set, featuring "Genius Loves Company," Charles' great hits CD, "Visionary Soul," and a limited edition Ray Charles Starbucks Card.

'Israeli' jazz star praises Yasir Arafat

"Let me make it clear, I am not an Israeli. I was born in Israel, for the first 22 years of my life I thought of myself as an Israeli. But when I realised what Israel was all about, I stopped regarding myself as an Israeli. I demand not to be seen as one. I am a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian," he says.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Robin Kenyatta, Jazz Saxophonist, Dies at 62

In a career that began in the 1960's, Mr. Kenyatta collaborated with notable figures like the saxophonists Archie Shepp and Sonny Stitt, the trumpeter Bill Dixon, the trombonist Roswell Rudd and the pianists Valerie Capers and Andrew Hill. Best known as an alto saxophonist, he also played tenor saxophone and flute.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Veteran jazz musician Pete Jolly dead at 72

Veteran jazz keyboardist Pete Jolly, who performed on some of television's most popular theme songs and was a regular on the Southern California jazz scene for 40 years, has died at age 72.

Jolly died Saturday at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena of complications of bone marrow cancer and irregular heartbeat, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The musician, whose composition "Little Bird" was nominated for a Grammy in 1963, formed the Pete Jolly Trio in 1964 with drummer Nick Martinis and bassist Chuck Berghofer. The group continued to play South California clubs until Jolly was hospitalized in August.

Jolly, who played piano, organ and accordion, can be heard on such television theme songs as "Get Smart," "The Love Boat," "I Spy," Mannix," "Dallas" and "MASH," as well as hundreds of movie soundtracks, including "The Man With the Golden Arm" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

His recordings included 1963's "The Sensational Pete Jolly Gases Everybody," "Strike Up the Band" in 1980 and "Yeah" in 1995. His last album, "Collaboration, was recorded with Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren and released" in 2001.

Born Peter Ceragioli Jr. in New Haven, Conn., Jolly began playing the accordion at age 3. At age 7, he appeared on the coast-to-coast radio broadcast "Hobby Lobby," where the announcer mispronounced his name as Pete Jolly.

Jolly, whose father was also a musician, began playing in bands in junior high school. Over the years he worked with such jazz fixtures as Buddy DeFranco, Red Norvo, Art Pepper and others.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Jane Monheit: A Torch Singer in Improv Terrain

You have only to absorb the vocal throb of Jane Monheit singing "Haunted Heart" to recognize the raw talent that has elicited hyperbolic support from some critics and record companies. At her most impressive, gliding up and down the song's melodic groundswell, this putative jazz singer wails with the unguarded passion of someone in the throes of a hopeless romantic obsession.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

NEA names seven Jazz Masters

The National Endowment for the Arts came to town yesterday to name big band leader Artie Shaw, vocalist Shirley Horn, guitarist Kenny Burrell, clarinetist/composer Paquito D'Rivera, keyboardist Jimmy Smith, trombonist/arranger Slide Hampton and promoter George Wein as its 2005 Jazz Masters.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ronny Jordan - After 8

Signed to the N-Coded label after leaving Blue Note, guitarist and composer Ronny Jordan is apparently reconsidering his past directions. Where Jordan fiercely applied and defended his gritty fusion of smooth jazz, funk, and hip-hop throughout the '90s, it appears that After 8 backs off from the ferocity of his earlier music. Gone are the duets with Mos Def and the presence of DJ Spinna, and in their place is elegantly played, stylishly wrought, sheen-filled smooth jazz. The drum loops are still present, but their jagged edges are glossed over and rounded. While it's true that Jordan was going for a late-night groove sound, one that employed more traditional jazz elements like horns ("7th Heaven"), he waters these things down so much that they are of little to no effect in the overall picture. On "Search to Find," Jordan goes acoustic with a female vocalist warbling the title as a chorus. It feels more like a new age cum blanched soul experiment than anything else. Only on "Steppin' Out," with its popping bassline, slippery loop, and edgy guitar, does Jordan comes close to being the monster stylist he created over a decade ago. His version of the standard "I Remember You" sounds like dentist-office jazz. The album's closer, "Bahia Magic," driven by a burning samba rhythm by composer Dario Boente, generates some heat, with its alternately programmed and played drums and a beautiful wordless choral layer, but this track is almost all Boente, with Jordan filling the edges with a solo and some chord progressions. Listeners can't blame N-Coded for this set, because in the liners Jordan claims the entire idea was his. That's too bad. Perhaps now that this is out of his system, Jordan will return to his particular brand of restless beat musicology; After 8 just doesn't cut it.
Review by Thom Jurek [AMG]

Geri Allen: A Life in Song... and Jazz

Pianist and composer Geri Allen knew she wanted to be a jazz musician after spending most of her childhood listening to her father's jazz records.

It worked out, and now she plays some of the best spots in New York, Los Angeles and across Europe. But none of it came easily or quickly.

She got her first big step up in the music world when she was accepted to an arts magnet school in her hometown of Detroit. Then came a degree in jazz studies from Howard University; a masters in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh; and finally invitations to perform in the United States and overseas.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Christmas Tours

Columbia Records artist Peter White is warming up his sleigh to embark on an 18-city U.S. holiday tour, which kicks off in San Diego on Nov. 26 at the Spreckles Theater. A Peter White Christmas stars White, hot off the success of his No. 1 single "Talkin' Bout Love," who will be joined by trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Mindi Abair.
The Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour, which includes Koz, Norman Brown, Brian Culbertson and Brenda Russell (Rendezvous bassist Wayman Tisdale will join the group at selected appearances), kicks off Nov. 26 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and culminates in several SoCal appearances, including Hollywood's Kodak Theater on Dec. 11.

Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company -- Platinum!

It's hard to believe, but during his five-decade-long career, music legend Ray Charles had five gold records, including the classics "Georgia" and "I Can't Stop Loving You," but he never sold more than a million copies of any single recording. Until now, that is. Charles' final recording, the duets project Genius Loves Company (Concord) has been certified platinum by the RIAA. According to current national sales figures, Genius Loves Company has sold 752,528 units to date. A unique sales agreement between Concord and Starbucks is responsible for nearly 30% of total sales of the CD and marks the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between the two companies to produce and distribute new recordings.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Luther Vandross Tribute

Patti LaBelle, Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson and a host of smooth jazz artists will pay tribute to Luther Vandross Wednesday (Oct. 27) in New York at a concert to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association. Set for the Madison Square Garden Theatre, a Concert for Love is tied to the tribute album "Forever, for Always, for Luther," released in July via GRP.

Presented by WWCD (CD 101.9) and Seagrams Ginger Ale, the show will also feature performances by Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Layla Hathaway, Mindi Abair, Paul Jackson Jr., Richard Elliot, Will Downing and Maysa. Tickets priced at $99.50 and $59.50 are on sale via Ticketmaster.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y. [Billboard]

Kenny G doubles up on new album

When saxophone player Kenny G started planning a new CD, he decided to get a little help from an old friend: his label chief, Clive Davis.

"He said to me, 'You can't just keep giving people what they expect of you,' " G (for Gorelick) says. "He said, 'You have to come up with different things.' "

So Gorelick recorded a collection of duets. At Last ... The Duets Album, due Nov. 23, was at first conceived as an all-instrumental album. "But then Clive said, 'We should try to just come up with the best songs and the best artists.' "

At Last does include a few instrumental numbers, among them the title track, with Arturo Sandoval on trumpet, and Alfie, with composer Burt Bacharach on piano. But Gorelick is also joined by such celebrated singers as Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Daryl Hall and LeAnn Rimes.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Cell phones, jazz just don't mix

Consider the callous man in the audience at a recent jazz concert. He wouldn't let the music, or the fact that everyone around him was trying to enjoy it, interrupt his all-important phone conversations. During a lovely ballad, hundreds of fellow audience members could hear him clearly: “Naah, man, I'm at a concert. … Jazz.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Jazz's Dr. Yes Is Still Fascinated by the Rhythm

The music business, naturally. Meet the beaming, bopping, exquisitely dapper Mr. Lundvall, he of the snowy hair, heavy gold bracelet, three gold rings and gold mine of anecdotes. He has spent four decades having almost too much fun, uttering the dream-of-a-lifetime words, "You got a deal, man," countless times.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Jazz Review: Soaking Up the Spaces at a New Jazz Center

Some basic impressions of Jazz at Lincoln Center's new space, which opened last night: It is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan, fairly expensive-feeling experience; it is flexible and alive.

Monday, October 18, 2004

NPR, PBS Present Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala

In a companion broadcast with PBS, NPR presents "One Family of Jazz" live -- the opening-night gala concerts at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, a new state-of-the art home for jazz in the Time Warner building on New York's Columbus Circle. The music will be streamed live at at 8 p.m., ET.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Joe Sample 'Soul Shadows'

A founding member of the influential jazz funk combo The Crusaders (originally the Jazz Crusaders) and a pioneer of contemporary jazz piano, Joe Sample reaches back to the primary sources of Jazz and Soul music to create his personal interpretations of classics by such esteemed composers as Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, the Gershwins, Al Jolson, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and others. While exploring these rich expressions of Americana, Sample acknowledges his own key role in carrying on these powerful legacies by including distinct reworkings of two of his own classics, "Soul Shadows" (which originally appeared on The Crusaders' Midnight Triangle in 1976) and "Spellbound."
[Jean-Luc RAYMOND, westcoastmusic]

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Home That Jazz Can Call Its Own

For many months, Wynton Marsalis has written in a spiral-bound red notebook. The notes, in a small, neat pencil script, deal with how to create the new $128 million performing arts complex for Jazz at Lincoln Center, of which he is the artistic director.
[NY Times]

It's more than just overpriced coffee!

Starbucks Corp. Wednesday said customers will be able to make custom music CDs at 45 of its U.S. coffee shops by later this month, the first step in a plan to expand the service nationwide.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Eliane Elias: An Ipanema Pianist-Singer With Force

The Brazilian pianist and singer Eliane Elias commands the keyboard with a forceful two-handed muscularity that belies her image as a blond older sister of the mythical Girl From Ipanema. The more percussive her pianism becomes, the more she opens up a song and reimagines it in what might be called a romantic carnival groove


Monday, October 11, 2004

Joe Sample 'Soul Shadows'

If anyone out in CD land ever wondered what a Joe Sample solo piano album would sound like, here it is — and it's a good bet that this is not what a Sample fan would expect. Rather than conform to the cerebral solo piano mainstream as exhaustively set forth in the "Maybeck" series, Sample's inspiration goes way, way back — back to the teens and 1920s, to the formative, nearly-forgotten example of James Reese Europe, to the heydays of ragtime and stride. On this CD, the key for Sample is to make sure no one misses the missing bass and drums, to keep the pulse of jazz present as much as possible, with lots of thumping stride as a default mode. He does not disguise his heavyweight, full-fisted approach to the keyboard, and there are some occasionally clumsy moments when the line of thought strays. The repertoire is old, perhaps even ancient, at times a bit naive; When was the last time you heard "How You Gonna Keep `Em Down on the Farm?" on any new recording, let alone a jazz record? Gershwin gets his due ( a brittle "I Got Rhythm" and a sometimes whimsical ballad treatment of "Embraceable You"), so does Fats Waller ("Ain't Misbehavin," a staccato "Jitterbug Waltz"), Scott Joplin (a somewhat hesitant "The Entertainer"), and Jelly Roll Morton (a jaunty "Shreveport Stomp"). There are also a pair of Sample originals in a contemplative manner ("Soul Shadows" and "Spellbound"). Although smooth jazz outlets probably won't touch this sampling of Sample, antiquarians will be intrigued.
Review by Richard S. Ginell

New Releases for Oct 12, 2004

A/V - San Francisco Jazz Festival (SFJazz)
Angelo Debarre - Memories (Harmonia Mundi)
Bill Carrothers - Armistice 1918 (Sketch Music) - 2+ CDs
Brazilian Girls - It's Huge (Verve)
Chris Botti - When I Fall In Love (Columbia)
Claus Ogerman - A Man and His Music (Verve)
Denis Colin - Something in Common (Sunnyside)
Don Stiernberg - About Time (Burnside DIstribution)
Don Stiernberg - Unseasonably Cool (Burnside)
Dr. Lonnie Smith - Too Damn Hot (Palmetto)
Eddie Henderson - Time & Spaces (Sirocco)
Fats Domino - Sold Out (Fuel 2000)
George Winston - Montana: A Love Story (RCA)
Greg Burk Quartet - Carpe Momentum (North American Street Date) (Soul Note)
Hennik Levy - A Letter from a City Man (Zip Records)
Horace Arnold - Tales of the Exonorated Flea (Rock & Groove)
Janet Klein - Living In Sin (Couer de Jeanette)
Jim Snidero - Close Up (Milestone)
Joe Sample - Soul Shadows (GRP)
Ludovic Beier Quart - Montmarte (Harmonia Mundi)
Mahavishnu Project - Phase 2 (Big Daddy)
Mike Holober - Thought Trains (Big Daddy)
Nightbyrd - Moonlight Serenade (Dreamwhisper)
North Mississippi AllStars - Live from the Hill Country (ATO)
Omar Sosa - Mulatos (OTA)
Peter Brotzmann - Meicina (Atavistic)
Pieces of a Dream - Imagine (Wounded Bird)
Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers - The Hideout (Milestone)
Steve Turre - Spirits Up Above (High Note)
Vaness Williams - Silver & Gold (Lava)
Wallace Roney - Prototype (High Note)
Will Martin - Morning (Saquaro Beach)
Will Vinson - It's For You (Sirocco)
Wilson Simonal - Rewind (EMI)
Yohimbe Brothers (Vernon Reid/DJ Logic) - The Tao of Yo (Thirsty Ear)
Zany Dislexic Band - Meifumado (The Orchard)


Sunday, October 10, 2004

Coltrane Writes Herself Back Into Jazz Scene

Coltrane, widow and former bandmate of saxophone icon John Coltrane and mother of rising-star saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, broke her jazz silence with a compelling new disc, "Translinear Light," released Oct. 5 on Verve.

The album features Alice delivering an 11-track package of originals, 'Trane gems like "Leo" and "Crescent" and spirituals from the Christian and Hindu traditions. In addition to her lyrical prowess on piano, Coltrane marvels on Wurlitzer organ with her singular bent-note, double-reed-like improvisations. []

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The lost language of jazz in online age

The older among us remember that wonderful dinosaur, the long-playing record, which came with a trove of information to help a listener better understand the music. In the days before MTV, record labels made the album an immersing experience with striking graphic design, moody photographs, and informative liner notes written by prominent critics such as Stanley Crouch, Amiri Baraka, Dan Morgenstern, and Ralph J. Gleason.

In the age of the CD, the large graphics and photos have shrunk considerably, but we have gained better sound quality and exhaustive boxed sets that still include essays and detailed performance notes as well as alternative takes of favorite tracks that were cut from the original LPs.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Vernon Alley, 1915-2004

Vernon Alley, the most distinguished jazz musician in San Francisco history, died Sunday after a long illness. He was 89.

He played with Duke Ellington and toured with Erroll Garner. Nat King Cole became one of his closest friends. He knew and played with practically every great jazz musician of his time -- Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker. As an accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald, he battled the segregation policies of the Las Vegas casinos.

Iran stops concerts in crackdown

A number of jazz and classical music concerts in Iran have been cancelled by the authorities because of their "corrupting" influence, diplomats say. [BBC]

Monday, October 04, 2004

New Releases for Oct 5, 2004

Alice Coltrane - Translinear Light (Verve)
Archie Edwards - Blues N Bones (Allegro)
Art of Three (Cobham/Cartert/Barron) - Live in Japan (Sound Hills)
Brenda Russell - Between the Sun and the Moon (Narada)
Carmen Cuesta - Peace of Mind (Skip)
Chip Shelton - Double Live in Berlin (Summit)
Continuum - Act One (Blue Geodesics)
Cortelia Clark - Blues in the Streets (Collector's Choice)
D'3: Pardo, Pose, Roper - Directo (Satchmo)
Dany Doriz & Sweet System - Jazz Fever (Black&BLue (Hepcat))
David Friedman - Earfood (Skip)
Don Lanphere - Don Lanphere/Larry Coryell (Allegro)
Esquivel - Merry Christmas from the Space-Age Bachelor Pad (Bar None)
G-Fire/Neilly/Vernon - G--Fire II (Boosweet)
Gabriela Anders - Last Tango in Rio (Narada)
Greg Skaff - Ellington Boulevard (ZOHO)
Harry Allen - Christmas in Swingtime (Koch)
Jay Clayton - Jazz Alley Tapes (Allegro)
Jay Thomas - Rapture (Jazz Focus)
Jazz e Bossa 2 - Jazz e Bossa 2 (Albatroz)
Jessica Molaskey - Make Believe (P.S. Classics)
Jessica Williams - Intuition (Jazz Focus)
Jessica Williams Trio - In the {Pocket (Allegro)
Jim Robitaille - To Music (Whaling City Sound)
Joe Griesgraber - Whisper in the Thunder (Allegro)
Joe Termperley - Nightingale (Allegro)
John Hart - Trio Indivisable (Hep)
Johnny Varro - Pure Imagination (Arbors)
Judi Silvano - Let Yourself Go (Zoho)
Kenny Wayne Shepard - The Place You're In (Reprise)
Kids Pain Relief Project - Come What May (Allegro Blues)
Marijn Van Iterson Quartet - The Whole Bunch (Munich)
Michel Portal - Concerts (Dreyfus)
Montier, Nicolas - Interdit D'Ecouter (Black & Blue)
Nicolas Montier - Interdit d'Ecouter (Black & Blue (Hepcat))
Noel Akchote - Sonny II (Winter&Winter)
Peter Herborn - Traces of Trane (Allegro)
Phil Woods - This is How I Feel About Quincy (Jazzed Media)
Philip Chapman - Heavenly Realms (New World)
Psychic Warrior - Psychic Warrior (Navarre)
Ralph Carmichael - Big Band Christmas (Platinum)
Roy Ayers - Mahogany Vibe (Rapster)
Sai Ghose Trio - E-motion (Summit)
Salena Jones - In Hollywood: Making Love (Jay)
Sean Costello - Sean Costello (Artemis)
Shawnn Monteiro - One Special Night (Whaling City Sound)
Tony Lakatos - I Get Along With You Very (Skip)
Tony Monaco - Fiery Blues (Summit)
Traces of Trane - Herborn Peter (Winter&Winter)

Alice Coltrane; Don Byron; Geri Allen.

Critic's Choice - New CDs
Alice Coltrane 'Translinear Light'
Don Byron 'Ivey-Divey'
Geri Allen 'The Life of a Song'
Ben Ratliff []

Bearden created the visual equivalent of jazz

Paintings throughout Bearden's career don't merely depict musicians and bands. They explore ways in which color and form might visually express something parallel to the audible fluidity, improvisation, structure, stir, and atmosphere experienced when one listens to, or plays, music.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Jazz pianist Jamal still going strong at 74

His energy was matched by the drive of his music, which moved in a practically nonstop run for about 90 minutes. He offered some standards -- notably "But Not for Me," one of his hits, as an encore -- but most of the tunes were the originals he continues to write.

And, of course, he played what is basically his theme song. At one point he finished a song and said quickly into the mike, "Here's 'Poinciana,'" as if to say, "Well, you know, I really do have to play this."

Friday, October 01, 2004

Tribute concert held for late Ray Charles

An eclectic lineup of musicians honored Ray Charles in a tribute concert, praising the late singer's rich life and his ability to transcend race and musical genres.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Chris Botti's On Fire

Not literally, of course, but the trumpeter's new Columbia CD When I Fall in Love soared to No. 1 most-downloaded on iTunes Jazz on the day it was released; currently When I Fall in Love is's No. 12 best-selling release in any genre. Botti will play "Someone to Watch Over Me" with full orchestra at the Noble Prize Ceremonies in Oslo, Norway, which will be telecast worldwide Dec. 10 and hosted by Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey. Watch for a front-page story about Botti in the Los Angeles Times' Calendar section this Saturday, Oct. 2.

Lalah Hathaway is Poised to 'Outrun The Sky'

Much of the inspiration for the love songs on the album is autobiographical, and because some of her friends were also facing challenges in their own personal relationships, Lalah had ample opportunity to mine information, which formed the foundation of the album and which served to add another dimension to her songwriting skills.

The album also includes Lalah's interpretation of the CD's sole cover, Luther Vandross' "Forever, For Always, For Love." Originally produced by Rex Rideout for the all-star GRP concept project 'Forever, For Always, For Luther,' a salute to the ailing music giant who has been sidelined by a stoke.

The Manhattan Transfer: Vibrate

A collection of performances showcasing understated yet impressive technique, the Transfer's trademark vocal harmonies and much emotion and enjoyment, Vibrate displays restraint, maturity, and not a little charm. While it may lack the zing to appeal to the contemporary, youth-driven market, those looking for assured and heartfelt singing backed up by an imaginative approach and decades of experience will find that the Manhattan Transfer are still very much the real deal.

Monk on Monk: A Father-Son Jazz Legacy

T.S. Monk, jazz drummer and son of legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, talks to NPR's Tony Cox about his latest projects -- including the new CD he recorded with his jazz septet, Higher Ground. He's also been at work on a new two-disc CD and DVD package of some of his father's previously unreleased live recordings, Monk 'Round the World. [NPR}

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Legendary New York Radio Personality Scott Muni Dies

Clear Channel's WAXQ/New York confirmed the passing last night of one of radio's pioneering personalities following complications from a stroke Muni had suffered last year. Affectionately known as "Scottso" and "The Professor," Muni was one of the original WMCA/New York "Good Guys" and went on to have a long New York radio career that included stints at WABC, WOR-FM and, most notably, at groundbreaking rocker WNEW, where he spent 31 years of his career as both PD and on-air personality. Since 1998 Muni had hosted noon-1pm daily at Classic Rock WAXQ. He was 74.

Cornel West: Debates as Jazz

The Tavis Smiley Show, September 29, 2004 · While some pundits are using boxing analogies to the first presidential debate, commentator Cornel West sees it more in terms of jazz.

[NPR audio interview]

Jazz Pianist Eddie Palmieri Offers Hot 'Ritmo Caliente'

Latin jazz pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri chats with NPR's Tony Cox about his long career, his most recent album, Ritmo Caliente, and why he wanted to play the piano.

[NPR audio interview]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Chaquico is on track with smooth jazz CD

Chaquico, once second gun in the Jefferson Starship guitar stable, is an emotive, inventive and effortlessly melodic lead guitarist.

"Midnight Moon"
Craig Chaquico (Higher Octave Records)

This album will land with a thunk in the "Smooth Jazz" rack -- the title is a kind of inside joke among jazz musicians, for whom things don't start cookin' until after midnight -- and it showcases his keen sense of tone as well.

Chaquico is an instrument aficionado and uses dozens of different guitars here.

As smooth jazz goes, the record is a shining example. It gallops along on cheerfully complex polyrhythms and odd time signatures, while Chaquico's signature fingering floats and stings overhead, creating what melody there is. Fans of this sound will embrace this record.

Others, however, used to tunes with structure and dynamics and emotion, will classify this disc as the sort of thing you listen to while on hold. There's so little sense of dynamics here that the tunes could easily be looped and repeat endlessly. Even home runs have to return to earth.
[Burl Burlingame]

CDs to dominate for years over Net downloads

The compact disc has at least another five years as the most popular music format before online downloads chip away at its dominance, a new study said Tuesday. [CNNmoney]

Monday, September 27, 2004

New Releases for Sept 28, 2004

Craig Chaquico, Midnight Noon (Higher Octave/Narada)
Greg Adams, Firefly (215 Records)
Manhattan Transfer, Vibrate (Telarc)
Hiroshima Spirit Of The Season (Heads Up)
Yellowjackets, Peace Round (Heads Up)
Chris Botti, When I Fall In Love (Sony)
George Collichio, George Collichio (Kezia)
Queen Latifa, The Dana Owens Album (Vector)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Rap, Jazz Mingling More Than Ever

This summer, Hidden Beach Recordings released the third installment in its popular Unwrapped series -- instrumental versions of rap/hip-hop hits by contemporary jazz artists. Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove and his RH Factor teamed with Common, Q-Tip, D'Angelo and others for the critically acclaimed "Hard Groove." Its sequel, "Strength EP," comes out Sept. 28. [Reuters]

Friday, September 24, 2004

Scofield Stays Out in Front With His Trio

For 25 years the guitarist John Scofield has cooked enough comfortable permutations of jazz-funk, jazz-rock and the long, spacious grooves of jam-band music to reheat for the rest of his career. So his decision to scale back to a working trio with the bassist Steve Swallow and the drummer Bill Stewart seemed honest and challenging as well as a return to some older ground. (He made several trio albums with Mr. Swallow in the early 1980's.) [NY Times]

Alice Coltrane: 'Translinear Light'

If jazz legend John Coltrane has disciples -- musical or otherwise -- chief among them would be his widow, Alice Coltrane.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kenny Barron Quintet 'Images'

The focal point of the album, the eighteen-minute title track which closes the album, indicates just how broad his scope is. An extended composition that traverses a number of movements, this may be Barron’s magnum opus; a remarkable piece that has one convinced that they are listening to a player/writer of a much younger vintage, it demonstrates just how influential Barron has been to more than one generation of artist. Sophisticated and elegant, thoughtful and moving, it is the perfect blend of structure and abandon.
[John Kelman

Jazz band is just so good

Because of my smooth soothing sound, several years ago when I was an on-air talent at an urban-jazz radio station, our general manager switched me from the mid-day slot to the "quiet storm" slot.

The "quiet-storm" slot was from 6 to 10 p.m. My job was to use my mellow voice and play the very best "smooth jazz."

At the time -- being a person who was more urban than jazz -- I didn't know jazz could be smooth, then I heard Fourplay play.

Jazz Family Patriarch Marsalis Dies in New Orleans

Ellis Marsalis Sr., patriarch of the family of jazz greats that includes his grandsons Wynton and Branford, died over the weekend at the age of 96, a New Orleans funeral home said on Wednesday.

Marsalis, who took an active role in the civil rights movement, died at an area hospital on Sunday, the funeral home said.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Maysa 'Smooth Sailing'

A return to form for the Incognito lead singer, with her fourth album being one of her strongest. The lead off track the bouncy mid tempo dancer 'Hypnotic Love' will be massive on the radio and in the clubs. The title track is in a similar vein and along with the punchy 'Scat World' featuring Ledisi, and the mid tempo ballad 'All Day Long' and 'Soul Child' produced by Bluey standout on this quality album.

Fattburger - 'Work To Do'

Work to Do captures Fattburger at its peak, serving up timeless body rocking sumptuous grooves, high-energy pressure cooked funky numbers and simmering laid back melodies with percolating rhythmic grooves. Featuring ten tracks, the CD opens with a soulful rendition of the Isley Brother's hit "Work To Do" which will make you want to get out on the dance floor and do the hustle. Fattburger works overtime on this track creating a memorable version with their inventive soloing and spirited percussion breaks. Other highlights include guitarist Evan Marks' down-right gritty and bluesy number "B.D.D.D.," bassist Mark Hunter's Stevie Wonder-like "I'm Just Sayin'" and Carl Evans Jr.'s breezy Bossa-Nova tinged ballad "Rene," featuring Hollis Gentry III on the soprano. Another standout is Fattburger's refreshing take on the Coleman, Wakefield and Wright love song, "100 Ways," popularized by Quincy Jones and James Ingram. Evan Marks' fluid, lyrical and heart-felt guitar sets the mood just right.

Monday, September 20, 2004

New Releases for Sept 21, 2004

Various, Marvin, Teddy & Luther: A Smooth Urban Jazz (Shanachie)
Norman Brown, West Coast Coolin' (Warner Brothers)
Fattburger, Work To Do (Shanachie)
Maysa, Smooth Sailing (Encoded)

Suprisingly Good

The artists I knew would be great -- Jack DeJohnnette, Don Byron, Charlie Hunter, Terence Blanchard and Jackie Greene, among others -- were phenomenal.

But artists I wasn't quite sure what to expect from, and others I knew virtually nothing about ended up being some of my favorites. Like the gorgeous vocals of Luciana Souza and her incredible pianist Ed Simon, and the wild and woolly Boban Markovic & the Serbian Orkestar.
[Monterey Herald]

Friday, September 17, 2004

Pop and Jazz Listings

A selective listing by critics of The Times: New or noteworthy pop and jazz concerts in the New York metropolitan region this weekend. * denotes a highly recommended concert.

Bob Baldwin Joins Tama Broadcasting

Keyboardist Bob Baldwin has entered into a relationship with Tama Broadcasting as Smooth Jazz MD/Consultant/air personality. Among his responsibilities, Baldwin will host the weekday afternoon drive program on Tama's Smooth Jazz outlets, WJSJ & WSJF/Jacksonville, as well as WSSJ/Savannah, GA. He will also consult the stations in the selection of music and assist with coordination of live concert events throughout northeast Florida and southeast Georgia, as well as other promotional projects. []

Diana Krall's Benefit Concert

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Verve artist Diana Krall and her sister Michelle Wigmore to honor their mother, Adella Krall, who passed away from incurable blood cancer earlier this year. The group reached out to KKSF/San Francisco, which promoted on the air a benefit concert held Sept. 11. KKSF also did ticket giveaways and featured it on the station's website and in its e-mail newsletter. KKSF PD Michael Erikson told R&R that the room where the concert was held at the Four Seasons Hotel was full and "the setting was spectacular." Erikson continues, "Diana did a very intimate performance with only her on piano and her bass player. She did not perform any songs from her latest album, but rather did a whole set of standards. The audience loved it." []

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Piano legend McPartland: Cool jazz still hot

Marian McPartland, host of NPR's 'Piano Jazz,' will discuss the show and perform at this year's Monterey Jazz Festival.Marian McPartland, the legendary jazz pianist and host of National Public Radio's "Piano Jazz," returns this year to the Monterey Jazz Festival. She'll perform, and she'll also join panel discussions with musicians such as Clark Terry and Bill Charlap and jazz enthusiast Clint Eastwood. [CNN}

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Mindi Abair - Come as You Are

With her sophomore release on GRP, Come as You Are, Abair has again collaborated with producer/co-writer Matthew Hager and is poised to top herself with a line-up of scintillating new tunes and Hager’s sophisticated pop production. Abair continues to distinguish herself with superior songwriting, together with Hager and her other writing partners. Come as You Are is a collection of compelling pop songs with potent and gratifying hooks.

Don Grusin In Musical Residency

In support of his new CD project, The Hang (Sovereign Artists), Don Grusin will play in residency at L.A.'s Jazz Bakery, appearing Monday nights for the next six weeks. Noted musicians will play with renowned keyboardist, composer, arranger, producer and creative catalyst Grusin, including drummer/percussionist Walfredo Reyes, Jr.; bassist Rene Camacho; guitarist Wayne Johnson; violinist Charlie Bishart; and vocalist Natalie Rene. Featured guest artists during the six-week residency include Dori Caymmi, Phil Perry, Marilyn Scott, Katisse Buckingham, Brian Bromberg, Eric Marienthal, Luis Conte and Lee Ritenour.

Jazz Giants Spyro Gyra to Hit Bulgarian Stage

US jazz veterans Spyro Gyra arrived in Bulgaria for a live performance Thursday.Bulgarian music fans are looking forward to a live gig by Spyro Gyra, one of the most prolific and successful bands of the jazz scene.

The Americans will perform at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia on Thursday.

The band was founded in the early 70s, and have recently celebrated their 20th album release.

Spyro Gyra combine jazz with elements of pop music, R&B and funk. Their music has been influential in the development of smooth jazz.
[Sofia News Agency]

JazzHopefuls, Trying for the Sound of Success

Even the most ambitious jazz instrumentalists seem to find limits for their audience. Singers can have a much broader appeal. Norah Jones, whose two albums have sold more than 12 million copies combined since 2002, proved that a singer with at least a basis in jazz can give audiences something they didn't necessarily know they wanted.
[NY Times]

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Koz Takes Friends On Holiday Trek

As has become a tradition, saxophonist Dave Koz will gather several of his friends to hit the road on his eighth annual Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour. Kicking off in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday, the tour will also feature guitarist Norman Brown, keyboardist Brian Culbertson and vocalist Brenda Russell.

New Releases - AMG

Mindi Abair Come as You Are GRP
Eric Alexander Dead Center High Note
Lynne Arriale Trio Come Together Motema Music
Ed Calle Ed Calle Plays Sanatana Universal Latino
Frankie Carle & His Orchestra Piano Style Of/Play for Me Collectables
Peter Cincotti On the Moon Concord
Collective Hallucination Peripheral Moment Orchard
Stanley Cowell Questions and Answers Absord Japan
Paquito D'Rivera 40 Years of Cuban Jam Session Universal Latino
Duke Ellington Duke: The Columbia Years 1927-1962 Sony
Bill Evans California Here I Come Verve
Don Friedman My Favorite Things 441
Dizzy Gillespie Salt Peanuts Just a Memory
Great Trio Someday My Prince Will Come Sony
Johnny Griffin Bush Dance Galaxy
Don Grusin Hang Sovereign Artists
Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock Box Sony
Roy Haynes Quiet Fire Galaxy
Joe Henderson Joe Henderson Quintet at the Lighthouse Milestone
Giovanni Hidalgo Villa Hidalgo Universal Latino
Earl Hines Have You Ever Felt That Way? 1929-1933 Frog
Freddie Hubbard High Blues Pressure Collectables
Ahmad Jamal Chamber Music of the New GRP
Bob James Sign of the Times [Japan Bonus Track] JVC Japan
Bob James Three [Japan Bonus Track] JVC Japan
Dick Jurgens Ance Date/At the Aragon Ballroom Collectables
Ramsey Lewis Another Voyage GRP
Ove Lind/Bengt Hallberg/Arne Domnerus Improviserat! Phontastic
Ulf Linde : 1946-52 Phontastic
Chuck Mangione Best of Chuck Mangione [Sony] Sony
Herbie Mann Common Ground Collectables
Branford Marsalis Eternal Marsalis Music
Billy May Big Band In Concert: Mayhem! Hindsight
Brad Mehldau Live in Tokyo Nonesuch
Glenn Miller Masterpieces Dutton Vocalion
Thelonious Monk Columbia Years: '62-'68 Sony
Ray Noble & Al Bowlly HMV Sessions, Vol. 9 Dutton Vocalion
Ray Noble & Al Bowlly Rarities and U.S. Recordings, Vol. 10 Dutton Vocalion
Jimmy Norman Little Pieces Wildflower
Othello & The Hipknotics Classic Japanese Import
Houston Person To Etta With Love High Note
Oscar Peterson Portrait of Frank Sinatra Verve
Flip Phillips & Woody Herman Smooth as Silk Hindsight
Seis del Solar Alternate Roots Universal Latino
Jimmy Smith Boss Verve
Clark Terry/Jeff Lindberg & The Chicago Orchestra Porgy and Bess A440 Music Group
Various Artists Breaking Out of New Orleans 1922-1929 JSP
Various Artists Colors of Latin : Música Romántica Concord Various Artists Moods: Sounds of Autumn Concord
Various Artists Little Dictionary of Classical Fremeaux & Associes
Various Artists Playboy Smooth Playboy
Von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra Hamburg 74 Atavistic
Jeff "Tain" Watts Quintet Detained at the Blue Note Half Note
George Wein Wein, Women and Song Collectables
Bob Wilber Original Wilber Phontastic
Alicia Wiley Alicia Wiley Utr Music Group
Matt Wilson's Arts and Crafts Wake Up! (To What's Happening) Palmetto

Steve Oliver - 3D

Several up-tempo numbers are contained on this project including the outstanding Wings of Spring. This song will make you smile as Oliver’s vocalese gives lift to an energized guitar melody. The upbeat percussion soars as the piano (Schuman) dances its way through this number. Chips & Salsa, the piquant-flavored, first radio single off the disc, smacks with staccatoed guitar stylings, strong piano lines and spiced-up percussion. Infused with a zesty hook, it’ll keep you craving more! Oh Yeah, continues the vibe with world music gusto and then In the Shade of Cool, Oliver casts the hue of electric guitar and reminds me of the Larry Carlton sound.
D. J. Fazio

Monday, September 13, 2004

Brad Mehldau 'Live in Tokyo'

As Mr. Mehldau's trio has tightened, his solo piano performances have broadened, slowed down, become more dramatic. On the solo concert issued as "Live in Tokyo," his 11th album and first on Nonesuch, he plays tunes familiar to anyone who has seen his trio a few times in the last decade: Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream," Nick Drake's "River Man," Radiohead's "Paranoid Android." But everything here, including an imperious "Someone to Watch Over Me," has much greater weight.

At his best Mr. Mehldau plays with time: not through contrivances of meter, but through a bilevel rhythmic feeling, in which the basic pulse of a song remains stately and the ornament on top freely accelerates and slows down. He is also an odd combination of trance inducer and straightforward song player. In "Monk's Dream" he works up to hammered chords and clashing harmonies at gathering volume, getting close to Cecil Taylor's language. But he never wants to get too far from the governing tune, and he tends to lodge his boldest experiments sometimes a little too neatly inside the well-outlined middle section of each song. He is a deep improviser, but easy to follow.
[NY Times]

Branford Marsalis 'Eternal'

Beautifully recorded, its performances full of concentration, "Eternal" (Marsalis Music) is a record of ballads by a saxophonist who has historically been much more impressive at fast, hard, dense music, a kind of boxing-ring jazz.

These days jazz musicians reflexively put together well-balanced CD's: there is a tacit consensus that jazz audiences are not perverse enough to want only one prolonged mood for an hour. But by programming seven ballads in a row, most of them fairly long, and switching between soprano and tenor saxophone, Mr. Marsalis gambles something and wins. It is his best record since "The Dark Keys" of 1996.

Slow tempos energize the group inwardly: this quartet's pianist, Joey Calderazzo, finds traction in montuno vamps; the drummer, Jeff Watts, plays the subtlest brush rhythms on "Dinner for One Please, James," recorded by Nat King Cole in the 1950's, and "Gloomy Sunday," made famous by Billie Holiday; and on Mr. Marsalis's "Eternal,'' he plays quiet essays on the cymbals that fall in and out of regularly stated time.

Mr. Marsalis, for his part, forgoes his cutting humor and musical slang; he lays back in a style informed by John Coltrane, but perhaps even more by Ben Webster: notes are plump, and long breaths become a greater part of the music.
[NY Times]

New Releases for Sept 14, 2004

Mindi Abair, Come As You Are (9/14)
Ramsey Lewis, Another Voyage (GRP, 9/14)
Brad Mehldau, Live In Toyko (Nonesuch, 9/14)
Tim Bowman, This Is What I Hear (Liquid 8, 9/14)
Don Grusin, The Hang (Sovereign Artists, 9/14)
Chuck Mangione, The Best Of Chuck Mangione (Legacy, 9/14)
Grant Geissman, There And Back Again (9/14)
Playboy Jazz (Koz, Benson, Boney, Braun, more), In A Smooth Groove (Playboy Jazz, 9/14)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Jazz Guitarist Frisell Samples Vinyl for New Set

Now he has tossed up a new curve ball. "Unspeakable," released Aug. 24, is a thoroughly entertaining album of dance-friendly, sample-steeped songs. Produced by Hal Willner, who mans the turntables and triggers the samples, the CD is Frisell's 19th for Nonesuch Records.

After a series of quieter releases, Frisell gets funky yet atmospheric here and even revisits the rock snarl of earlier albums, especially on the soul-infused "White Fang." He enlists 858 Strings -- the trio of Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola) and Hank Roberts (cello) -- as guest performers. [Reuters]

Friday, September 10, 2004

Stacey Kent: A Shift in the Balance Between a Singer and Musicians

The more gently Ms. Kent's voice is caressed, the better she sounds, and on a good night, the standards she chooses slide from her lips like wonderful personal stories confided with the joy of a singer who believes in happy endings. Some of my most memorable nightclub evenings have been spent in the company of Ms. Kent and her husband, the tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, as her sly, flirtatious singing and his subdued, murmuring horn share intimate pillow talk that recalls the glory days of bossa nova. [NY Times]

Smooth jazz hits the right note

They weren't too familiar with the musician, but they knew his song. When David Benoit's rendition of Linus and Lucy leapt from the keyboard, about 200 kids danced in their seats. Some even stood up. The Charlie Brown anthem bridged culture, ethnicity and a generation gap. [Sun-Sentinel]

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Some CDs worth listening to:

Click on the title bar for a great article by Brian Soergel at about some very worthwhile CDs as he says; "by artists not named Boney, Mindi and Kenny".

Mindi Abair Invites You to 'Come As You Are' With New GRP Release

The album gets off to a quick start with the uptempo title track, showcasing Abair's already distinctive saxophone tone and overall sound. The next track, "Shine," is a deeply-grooving number that makes you tap your feet and nod your head without even knowing it. Another funky tune is the down-and-dirty, "Sticks and Stones."

"Come As You Are" is the much-anticipated follow-up to Mindi's hugely popular GRP Records debut, "It Just Happens That Way." The album launched the groundbreaking #1 hit single "Lucy's" and has sold over 100,000 copies so far.

New chapter begins in online piracy wars

On the agenda: a bipartisan bill proposed earlier this summer that aims to hold liable the companies that provide either the file-sharing service or device used for illegal downloads of music or movies, effectively shifting the blame from individuals.

"People are really stirred up about this," said Art Brodsky, a spokesman for Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group that strongly opposes the legislation, dubbed the Induce Act.
[CNN- Money]

Fever pitch for mobile entertainment market

Seeded by the success of Apple's iPod and online store iTunes, joggers, cyclists and drivers the world-over now consume entire CD collections and downloaded tunes on pocket-held devices. [CNN]

Write a check, poof it's gone!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Free Firewood!

A surprising amount of damage in this area, well below the eye of hurricane Frances. Here's a 13 year old 35 foot black olive tree at rest. I never liked it, but I didn't want to have to blow $400 just on removing it this way. We're just extremely grateful for such minor losses.

Chris Botti Chill Show Debuts

Chris BottiChris Botti Chill Show Debuts
Let's Chill With Chris Botti has its first airing on Saturday, Sept. 4. You can listen to it on San Diego radio stations KiFM, which will stream it live.

Let's Chill With Chris Botti, the new syndicated radio show hosted by Chris Botti, will air in six markets beginning this Saturday, Sept. 4. The two-hour show begins in six cities in the United States: Dallas; Atlanta; San Diego; Las Vegas; Dayton, Ohio; and Reno.

KOAI, Dallas - 8-10 p.m.
WJZZ, Atlanta - 10 p.m.-midnight
KIFM, San Diego - 10 p.m.-midnight
KOAS, Las Vegas - 8-10 p.m.
WDSJ, Dayton - 8-10 p.m.
WJZS, Reno - 10-midnight

You can also listen via the Internet on KiFM ( in San Diego, which will stream live audio. The show will air in San Diego every Saturday evening, beginning September 4, from 10 p.m. to midnight Pacific time.
[Information by Brian Soergel]

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Latin Grammys, Best Latin Jazz Album

Chucho Valdes, New Conceptions is full of exciting possibilities for the quartet Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés has been developing ever since he took a break from his highly successful big band, Irakere. Beginning with Bele Bele en La Habana (1998), the quartet forged a unique sound encompassing the full spectrum of jazz from swing to bop to free forms, with arrangements mostly based on traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms. The group deepened its approach with the Grammy-nominated Briyumba Palo Congo (1999), and was then captured Live at the Village Vanguard, which took the Latin Jazz Grammy for 2000.

New Releases - 9-7-2004

Anita Baker, My Everything (Blue Note)
Daryl Stuermer, Retrofit (Urban Island)
Robert Monteleone, Just Having Fun (MIL)
Medeski Martin & Wood, End Of The World Party (Blue Note)
Kim Pensyl, Solo Sketches
Jane Monheit, Taking A Chance On Love

All that jazz too much

I hope the crowd at the Molson Amphitheatre last night knew about Morrison's new jazz stylings before they bought their tickets -- because the 59-year-old Irish singer didn't give them much else.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Jazz Fest on high note with legends tribute

Of all the challenges presented by the Chicago Jazz Festival during its 26-year run in Grant Park, the greatest may be blowing out all the candles that will be lit at this year's event in honor of the centennial years of three legends: Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins and Fats Waller, all of whom will be saluted by veteran players with a special understanding of their gifts. The tributes will be the icing on what looks to be the best fest in years.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Ray Charles' final album released posthumously

Much like Charles' career, "Genius Loves Company" spans soul, rock 'n' roll, R&B, country, jazz and blues -- and includes such guest stars as Norah Jones, Diana Krall and Johnny Mathis as well as King.

"Some of the songs I have been playing for years. Some were all-time favorites of mine that I'd never recorded. Others were songs by artists that I really liked," Charles said before his death.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Dave Burrell 'Expansion'

Recorded at the tail end of 2003, Expansion features pianist/composer Dave Burrell's new Full-Blown Trio, which includes drummer Andrew Cyrille and the nearly ubiquitous William Parker on bass. These seven selections — all but one composed by the pianist — range in mood, tone, and focus. The title track opens the disc; it's a knot-like composition that swings on a round of post-blues concerns and vanguard explorations of harmony. Parker's bass playing is the force of transition from one motif to another throughout. The delightful version of Irving Berlin's "They Say It's Wonderful," is the literal centerpiece of the record. A solo piece, it holds to the original's melody while stretching its rhythmic dynamic to the breaking point without changing the actual time signature. Burrell's fills between the lyric lines are humorous, warm, and dazzling. Parker opens "In the Balance," by playing the kora, offering both mode and melody, while Cyrille shimmers on the cymbals behind him and Burrell extrapolates the harmonics in the upper register of the piano. It's the most beautiful — and non-"jazz" track — on the set. Expansion closes with the nearly straight-ahead swing of "Coup d'Etat," with Burrell pacing the rhythm section in angular (though not dissonant), Lennie Tristano-esque intervals. Expansion is a lovely record of short to mid-length pieces by a trio versed in understatement and nuance. (AMG)
Click on the title link to listen an audio review of the CD by Kevin Whitehead

Anita Baker Is Back

You could be excused late last month if for a moment - however brief - you thought a time machine had whisked you back to the soulful 1980s. After all, an Anita Baker song jumped to No. 12 on Radio & Records’ smooth jazz charts and a George Benson instrumental shot up to number one.
Of course it really is 2004, and those two musical icons are indeed sizzling, Benson with “Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise” and Baker with “You’re My Everything.” But although Benson never really left the music scene, Baker certainly had. The single is from her new CD called My Everything. It’s her first album in 10 years.
Click the article title bar to read the entire story from

Monday, August 30, 2004

Laura Branigan

Laura Branigan 1957-2004

Gloria, you're always on the run now
Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow
I think you've got to slow down before you start to blow it
I think you're headed for a breakdown, so be careful not to show it

Jane Monheit 'Taking A Chance On Love'

Once or twice in a generation a jazz singer such as Jane Monheit comes along with all the beauty, talent and sex appeal to make her mark quickly on discriminating audiences around the world.

For the past four years Monheit has had a busy touring schedule that has taken her to Europe, Asia, South America and all over the United States and Canada. Her debut album for the Sony Classical label, "Taking a Chance on Love," is to be released Sept. 7 and will include songs by "Fats" Waller, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter and Vernon Duke.

She catches the insinuating rhythm of Porter's "In the Still of the Night" perfectly and endows the mock reprimanding tone of his "Why Can't You Behave" with great charm. She makes Duke's "Taking a Chance on Love" sound like fun in an arrangement that includes a solo riff for piano and bass.

Monheit has that rare ability to draw her audience into her own sensuous world full of strange undercurrents and whispered confidences. She is a beguiling artist whose future would seem to be unlimited as the Ella Fitzgerald of a new age.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The new faces of jazz

For all you out there who think of jazz as a dying art form with cobwebbed musicians churning out standards of yesteryear, you really should check out The Bad Plus.

Over the past couple of years the American 30-something trio has more or less stood the jazz community on its head with its no-holds barred approach to improvisational music.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Simple downloads, complex change

Millions of songs are now available -- for free or for sale, legally and illegally -- over the Internet. The emergence of this audio landscape has delighted music fans but undermined the business model of the music industry. Major record labels are squeezing less profit out of fewer bands and attempting to ward off losses by a frenzy of mergers.

Detroit's free event is always on the edge

The festival remains one of Detroit's signature cultural events. It attracts more than a half-million people. It's featured in state and local tourism literature. It unites audiences of all ages and ethnicities, from the city and suburbs, in a metropolis where neighborliness isn't always a given.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Electric, ebullient Keb' Mo' is total pro of music stage

"I struggled from the age of 12 to 43," the 52-year-old blues musician told me in a recent interview. "I worked and didn't get nothing for many years ... Now, I'm doing well. Fortunately for me, it paid off. "That's not always the case for everyone. It (music) always pays off in the heart, but sometimes it doesn't pay off financially."

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

He's a record executive, radio star, and smooth-jazz man.

But something was missing, at least from the public Koz persona. And so, in April, Koz, who had just turned 41, told the world, in an interview with the Advocate magazine, that he is gay.

Three Keys to Success: Marcus Johnson

A native of Silver Springs, MD, Marcus earned a law degree and an MBA from Georgetown University. He counts McCoy Tyner, Errol Garner and Oscar Peterson as his early musical influences. He got his career in gear as a piano student at DC's Montgomery Blair High School, and also at his church. Marcus’ management and production company, Marimelj Entertainment Group (which includes the award-winning Three Keys music label) has R&B diva Alyson Williams on the roster along with jazz great Bobby Lyle--lessons from selling his first CD out of the trunk of a beat-up Toyota 4Runner, to forming Three Keys Music in 1998.

IHT: Jazz best, in many flavors

Some recent record releases reflect the continued weakening of American influence on the content, the playing and the packaging of the music.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Jarreau Goes 'Positive'

NPR's Tavis Smiley talks with five-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau. His new CD is titled Accentuate the Positive.

This week's releases

Ronnie Laws, Mr Nice Guy (Capital, 8/23)
Bobby Lyle, The Genie (Capital, 8/23)
Noel Pointer, Direct Hit (EMI, 8/23)
Jeff Kashiwa, Piece Of Mind (Native Language, 8/24)
Steve Oliver, 3-D (Koch, 8/24)
Geri Allen, Life Of A Song (Telarc, 8/24)
Shades Of Soul featuring Jeff Lorber & Chris Botti (Narada, 8/24)
Chick Corea Elektric Band, To The Stars (Stretch,8/24)
Streetwize, The Slow Jamz Album (Shanachie, 8/24)
Michael Brecker/Joe Lovano/Dave Lieman, Saxophone Summit - Gathering Of Spirits (8/24)
Phillip Martin, 4 Point 0 (Carzino, 8/24)
Charlie Watts, Watts At Scott's (2CD)(Gigante Media, 8/24)
Ann Hampton Callaway, Slow (Shanachie, 8/24)
Brother 2 Brother, Forever (E-Nate Music, 8/24)
Various (Slim Man, Lisa Lauren, Turning Point, more) Holiday At The Beach: A Coastal Christmas (E Nate Music Group, 8/24)

Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat opens

Red Sea Jazz FestivalThe 18th Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat began on Monday and is to continue until Thursday, hosting national and international groups.

Among the big guns from abroad are veteran saxophonist-flutist Charles Lloyd, guitarist John Scofield, bass player Charlie Haden and female drummer Cindy Blackman's quartet.

"Traditionally, the Eilat jazz festival has been a middle-of-the-road event," said perennial artistic director Danny Gottfried, "but [this year] I wanted to see how the Israeli public reacts to a slightly more progressive program. It's the most open, and least traditional, of any Red Sea festival so far."

The Bad Plus trio will be playing on the last two days of the festival, as well as giving a master class on the third day.

The non-mainstream end of the festival program also features French trumpeter Erik Truffaz, who mixes modern dance rhythms with drum 'n' bass, hip hop as well as rock 'n' roll, and American trumpeter Russell Gunn, who weaves Cuban, Brazilian and African sentiments with rap and progressive jazz, liberally laced with urban noise.

The festival also provides some of our homegrown artists a chance to play in front of big audiences, as well as rub shoulders with their better-known counterparts. Trombonist Avi Lebovich's wind instrument-based Orkestra ensemble should get Eilat audiences grooving, while guitarist Yottam Silberstein's trio and saxophonist Tevet Sela's mix of straight-ahead jazz fused with Jewish and other ethnic motifs will no doubt appeal to Gottfried's middle-of-the-road crowd.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Bill Frisell - 'Unspeakable'

With a core group including long-time musical partners, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen, Frisell continues to explore rhythmic grooves. But with the addition of a three-piece string section, three-piece horn section, percussion and Hal Willner's turntables and samples, the textures available are richer than ever before. Frisell builds rich layers of guitars, and continues to mine the “everyone solos and nobody solos” ground that has been the trademark of his work for many years. But collaborating with Willner has created a whole new level of sonics.