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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Master Yusef Lateef surrounds Grace Cathedral audience with world-spanning jazz - San Jose Mercury News

Eastern SoundsImage via WikipediaMaster Yusef Lateef surrounds Grace Cathedral audience with world-spanning jazz - San Jose Mercury News
Ninety years old this month, Yusef Lateef was greeted with reverent applause Friday at Grace Cathedral, where close to a full house awaited this master of jazz and world-spanning sounds. As the applause echoed through the cathedral, Lateef began to play, while strolling around the nave, encircling the audience with music, which floated up and through the void.
Pretty soon, the place was exceptionally quiet, except for the very quiet music: Lateef playing a small flute, something like a penny whistle, and Adam Rudolph, his percussionist, playing another flute and making soft whooshes with a length of plastic tubing, which he whirled while walking. They were populating the big sacred space with natural sounds: breath and wind, moans and night sounds, as if desert crickets were speaking through the flutes.
Going back to Duke Ellington's famous sacred concert with his orchestra at Grace in 1965, the cathedral atop Nob Hill has hosted much spiritualized jazz. Since the 1980s, SFJAZZ -- which presented Lateef as part of the ongoing San Francisco Jazz Festival -- has brought many preeminent instrumentalists to Grace for solo or duo concerts. Headliners have ranged from Anthony Braxton to Pharoah Sanders and Joshua Redman.
So it was only a matter of time before Lateef appeared at the cathedral. Along with John Coltrane, Don Cherry (who played at Grace some two decades ago) and a few others, he is a progenitor of jazz as a sacred language, expanding
to embrace the folk and sacred musical traditions of the world. Even before the release of his popular "Eastern Sounds" LP in 1961, Lateef was laying claim to this territory, and, Friday at Grace, he filled the Episcopalian cathedral with Eastern sounds and more.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jazz Articles: Jazz Saxophonist Marion Brown Dies — By Lee Mergner — Jazz Articles

Marion BrownCover of Marion BrownJazz Articles: Jazz Saxophonist Marion Brown Dies — By Lee Mergner — Jazz Articles
Known for his association with Archie Shepp, Amiri Baraka, Ornette Coleman and other bright lights of the 60s avant garde jazz community, Marion Brown died on Monday, October 18, in Hollywood, Florida. He was 79. Brown had been ill for many years and had not performed publicly in a long time. Brown recorded over a dozen albums as a leader for Impulse!, ESP, Black Lion and ECM, but is perhaps best known for his appearance as a sideman on two seminal records of the ‘60s: John Coltrane’s Ascension and Archie Shepp’s Fire Music.
Brown was born in the Atlanta area. He left high school in the 10th grade and enlisted in the Army, where he quickly became a member of the Army band and was stationed for 18 months at Hokkaido, an obscure island of Japan. After he returned home to Atlanta, Brown enrolled at Clark College to major in music education. He went on to study at Howard University in Washington, DC and it was there that he became immersed in the new music played by artists such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, Amiri Baraka, Archie Shepp and others. Within a few years, several of these artists would become mentors or associates of Brown. Disenchanted with his academics at Howard, Brown moved to New York in order to play this new music professionally.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google logo is dedicated to jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, the father of bebop | TOP BUZZ NEWS

Google logo is dedicated to jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, the father of bebop | TOP BUZZ NEWS

Who is Dizzy Gillespie? Well Dizzy Gillespie is the old style trumpetist, the father of bebop. Dizzy Gillespie, trumpetist of the jazz music is celebrated by Google in the honor of his work. Google is celebrating one of the greatest jazz musicians in the world, Dizzy Gillespie the trompetist on the anniversary of the birth. John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was born in fact in South Carolina October 21, 1917 and was a trumpet player, pianist, composer, singer, percussionist and bandleader. A musician at 360 ° together with Charlie Parker can be considered the father of bebop and modern jazz. “People do not care whether you play a chord of the thirteenth fractured, as long as can dance,” read Gillespie. In the late forties Dizzy Gillespie became interested also in the Caribbean music and South American rhythms mixing Afro-Cuban jazz. Yusef Lateef has in the past repeatedly expressed negative about the term jazz. The narrow definition of the word includes in his view not enough room to be creative and hybrid experiments indicate. However, the music of the American multi-instrumentalist deeply rooted in jazz, blues and even ethnic folk music. Someone in the past with Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Cannonball Adderley has cooperated, it can hardly deny that he played no part in the development of jazz music.A life dedicated to music, dies at the age of 75 years for pancreatic cancer. To his memory was a star in the Walk of Fame in Hollywood at 7057 Hollywood Boulevard. Dizzy Gillespie will live in our souls with his musc.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mike Ragogna: From D.C.'s Kennedy Center to East Of Angel Town: Conversations with Branford Marsalis and Peter Cincotti

Mike Ragogna: From D.C.'s Kennedy Center to East Of Angel Town: Conversations with Branford Marsalis and Peter Cincotti

Legendary jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis has been accumulating a series of honors with the upcoming NEA's Jazz Masters Award being one of the most prestigious yet. He and his brood of familial, musical superstars recently played D.C.'s Kennedy Center, and that recording has been released as the album Music Redeems that unites The Marsalis Family with guests such as honorary offspring, Harry Connick, Jr.
The project's profits will fund The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a New Orleans-based organization dedicated to keeping the arts lively for young people. Speaking for the family is genre-versatile saxophonist Branford Marsalis who brings us up to date on the center, his father, the performance, and other topics including Miles Davis.
Also included in this post is an interview with Peter Cincotti who experienced one of the most surprising and best career 180s of the last few years. Originally produced and presented as a light "easy listening" artist and contemporary of singers such as Michael Bublé, Peter empowered himself through his very strong East Of Angel Town, one of the best pop singer-songwriter albums of 2009 in the States (it was released in 2007 overseas). Peter Cincotti is on the same playing field as Billy Joel, his keyboard chops giving The Piano Man a hard run for his money. The album's most solidly written and best performed tracks include "Lay Your Body Down (Goodbye Philadelphia)," "Cinderella Beautiful," "December Boys," "Another Falling Star," "Broken Children," and the title track whose dead-on description of the L.A. club scene is like "Zanzibar" on steroids. Peter discusses that project while taking us on a tour of his career and things East of Angel Town and beyond

Friday, October 15, 2010

Music review: Trumpeter Tom Harrell's potent brew SF Gate.Com

Tom HarrellImage via WikipediaMusic review: Trumpeter Tom Harrell's potent brew

Conflict and resolution. Tension and release. Contrast. Jazz students learn these concepts as the basic building blocks of musical expression. Few artists embody these concepts both inwardly and outwardly more starkly than trumpeter Tom Harrell, who brought his quintet to Yoshi's San Francisco on Wednesday night. It was refreshing to see a great many aspiring young musicians in the audience being schooled by one of the living masters of modern jazz.
Juxtaposition is not confined to the music at a Tom Harrell show. Harrell suffers from schizophrenia, and the sheer effort and courage required for him to take the stage and maintain his composure over the course of a performance are at once inspiring and unsettling.
On Wednesday, as always, Harrell emerged from behind the curtains slowly, deliberately, dressed in black, and made his way to his position onstage in silence. He opened a manila folder containing his charts and spent a few minutes organizing his music just so, then finally stood up straight, eyes closed, head down, still, though trembling slightly.
It is at this moment of every Tom Harrell show I've seen that I wonder if he'll be able to summon the inner strength to go ahead with the performance. Then, with a subtle tap of one foot, he cues the band, puts his trumpet to his lips, and as the first few notes flow out of his horn a miracle occurs.
While playing, and only while playing, Harrell is in complete control of his world and his surroundings. All symptoms of his illness disappear, replaced by one of the most recognizable, sophisticated and mature voices active in the post-bop tradition.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bill Cosby Discusses The Late Trumpeter Lester Bowie

I had the great fortune of managing Lester Bowie for a short period of time during the early 1980s. He was an extremely bright and funny man. He gave me advice which i still use today. May he rest in peace.
John H. Armwood

Music Review - The Jaki Byard Project Hits Brooklyn Lyceum -

Music Review - The Jaki Byard Project Hits Brooklyn Lyceum -
Jaki Byard was a jazz pianist of rumbling mastery, quick humor and sprawling erudition, never as prominent as he should have been, though he was hardly unheralded in his time. Since his death in 1999, his legacy has been burnished by some posthumous live recordings and, no less effectively, by the continuing testimony of his students, several generations of whom he mentored in music schools across the Northeast.
Yard Byard, which also calls itself the Jaki Byard Project, consists almost entirely of musicians who studied with him at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Formed recently by the flutist Jamie Baum with the drummer George Schuller, it features Adam Kolker on clarinets and tenor saxophone, Jerome Harris on guitar and Ugonna Okegwo on bass.
On Wednesday night the group played its third gig, at the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope. (Its fourth is scheduled for later this month in Manhattan.) The music was all Byard’s, played lovingly and a bit loosely, though perhaps not as loosely as it should have been.
Most of the songs in the first set were fine examples of standard form gone just slightly haywire. (About half of them overlapped with the track listing on “The Last From Lennie’s,” a terrific live album from 1965, originally released on Prestige.)
“Strolling Along” had Ms. Baum on alto flute and Mr. Kolker on clarinet, playing its soulful melody in unison; it was during their solos that they flirted with irresolution. “Dolphy” — named after one of Byard’s kindred spirits, the multireedist Eric Dolphy — was more patently unsettled in its tonality, a 12-bar blues with commitment issues. And in the bridge to “Aluminum Baby,” arranged as a rumba of sorts, there was a brief rhythmic hiccup to accompany a restless harmonic turn.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Marsalis, Chucho and Omara together in a CD | Cuba News Headlines. Cuban Daily News

WASHINGTON - JUNE 15:  Jazz musician Wynton Ma...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeMarsalis, Chucho and Omara together in a CD | Cuba News Headlines. Cuban Daily News
Cuban singer Omara Portuondo and pianist Chucho Valdes invited US jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to record on the single, Esta tarde vi llover, for Omara's upcoming album. The famous jazz musician together with the Lincoln Center Orchestra played in Havana a series of concerts.
During a press conference on Monday in Havana, Valdes said that Esta tarde vi llover is a ballad with a rich harmony perfectly suitable for Marsalis. "I really don't have words to describe what happened yesterday in the studio... it was an example of the language of music brought to its highest expression in lyricism and feeling", said Valdes.
The Cuban virtuoso pianist described Marsalis' work on the single as magical. "Marsalis played the chorus on the test recording, and it was impossible to go back and rerecord it. We really had a magical afternoon and all three of us felt really good about it".
Marsalis told the press that it was "an honor" to be in Cuba, and talked about how much Cuban music has influenced his career, mentioning influences such as Tata Güines and Chucho Valdés.
Wynton Marsalis has been the artistic director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra since its foundation 23 years ago. The prestigious orchestra's objective is to advance jazz music. During their time in Cuba, the orchestra played and exchange with Cuban musicians and students between its concerts.
By Yelanys Hernández Fusté

Bobby Watson & The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Concert Jazz Orchestra - The Gates BBQ Suite - Lafiya Music - Audiophile Audition

Bobby WatsonCover of Bobby WatsonBobby Watson & The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Concert Jazz Orchestra - The Gates BBQ Suite - Lafiya Music - Audiophile Audition
Bobby Watson has both good taste in food and in the jazz he has brought to the public for many years, ranging from his time as musical director during his period with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers all the way up to his recent reformation of Horizon with Terell Stafford, Edward Simon, Essiet Essiet, and Victor Lewis. I had the privilege to see Horizon over Labor Day weekend in Detroit, and it was a treat.
Speaking of a treat, you can’t do much better than chomping on barbeque ribs while listening to your favorite hard bop or soul jazz tracks. When Bobby returned to his hometown, Kansas City, in 2000, to direct the Jazz Studies program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he was also returning to the food of his youth. His grandparents ran a barbeque restaurant in Merriam, Kansas. Further to Watson, Kansas City is “the Napa Valley of barbeque, and Gates Barbeque stands alone as king of the valley.”
It wasn’t much of a stretch for Bobby to get the inspiration for his seven- part extended big band work that celebrates his love both for this lip- smacking food and his upbringing in the area. After being away from Kansas City for 25 years in New York City, writing this suite must have been a labor of love.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Associated Press: Rollins at 80 still wows loyal jazz fans in Japan

Outdoor portrait of Sonny Rollins, american ja...Image via WikipediaThe Associated Press: Rollins at 80 still wows loyal jazz fans in Japan

TOKYO — Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins — one of the last surviving legends of the golden era of jazz — has just turned 80. His hair is a burst of white, and he staggers a bit when he walks on stage.
But when he plays, he still sounds like a 20-year-old, and his Japanese fans can't get enough.
Rollins is back this week on an 80th birthday tour in this nation long known for its love of jazz.
It's also a place where Rollins feels at home. Since 1963, when he first visited Japan, Rollins has studied Buddhism, yoga and meditation, and frequents the temples and bamboo forests of the ancient capital of Kyoto.
"Maybe I was Japanese in my past life," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home in Germantown, New York, ahead of his trip.
Rollins, who turned 80 on Sept. 7, has visited Japan more than 20 times, almost always playing to sellout crowds.
Each time, he brings the unmistakable power of his legacy, which includes collaborations with some of the biggest names in jazz — Max Roach, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.
The crowd at JCB Hall in Tokyo on Monday clapped adoringly at his solos and gave him a long standing ovation after his 1 1/2-hour performance. He has three other concerts in Japan through Saturday.
"He was gorgeous," said schoolteacher Shoko Tateishi, who has heard Rollins three times, as well as Chet Baker and Ron Carter. "You didn't sense his age a bit."
Throughout his trademark piano-less performance, with Bob Cranshaw on bass, Russell Malone on guitar, Kobie Watkins on drums and Sammy Figueroa on percussion, Rollins' sound was full and energetic — befitting his reputation as the "saxophone colossus."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Wynton Marsalis in Cuba to "Bring People Together" - ABC News

Wynton Marsalis at the Lincoln Center for the ...Image via WikipediaWynton Marsalis in Cuba to "Bring People Together" - ABC News
U.S. jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra will play concerts in Cuba this week with what he said on Monday was a simple goal -- to bring people together through music.
His is the latest in a growing series of cultural exchanges between the United States and Cuba as the two countries grope for common ground after five decades of hostility.
The New York-based jazz orchestra, making its first trip to the communist-led island, is set to play concerts Tuesday through Saturday and give classes to young Cuban musicians.
Marsalis, 48, said he was honored to be in Cuba, with its own rich musical history rivaling that of his native New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.
He told of how, when he was 12, his father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, brought him an album featuring Cuban jazz great Chucho Valdez and said, "Man, this is what cats are playing in Cuba."
"Then he put the record on and every time something would happen, he would go 'wooooooooooo.' He was always 'woooooooooo,'" Marsalis said.
He eschewed any overtly political overtones to the Cuba visit, saying the message of jazz was universal.
"Our tagline is 'uplift through swing.' We raise people's spirit all over the world through the art of swing," he said.
"In our music, swing means come together and stay together, even when we don't want to."
Marsalis said he had played and recorded music over the weekend with Cuban musicians including the pianist Valdez and Buena Vista Social Club singer Omara Portuondo, both of whom accompanied him at Monday's press conference.

Corea trio powerful, playful

Chick Corea - jazz pianistImage via WikipediaCorea trio powerful, playful
hen a jazz concert doesn't get off the ground, some times too much rehearsing is to blame. The music becomes more about executing than searching, more about musicians reciting than listening to each other and throwing off creative sparks together.
But when Chick Corea and his trio played in Dominion-Chalmers United Church on Sunday, the first thing the 69-year-old pianist told the crowd was, "We're going to rehearse on you a little bit." A set of powerful, playful music resulted, from three of jazz's most recognizable players.
Corea was punchy and romantic, florid and fantastic, unleashing hand-over-hand feats at the keyboard. Bassist Christian McBride impressed with his big-as-a-house beat and the virtuosity of his solos. Drummer Brian Blade personified in-the-moment creativity and commitment, and when he swatted his cymbals it felt like the musical equivalent of "Amen!"
They were all like mighty orators, and their concert's best moments happened when they spoke with one spontaneous voice.
Serenity, a Joe Henderson piece, seemed like a subdued start to things. But the music grew more vivid with every tune, perhaps with the musicians becoming increasingly comfortable with the acoustics and with the audience.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis on Classical Music, the NEA Awards and Durham - WNYC Culture

Branford MarsalisImage via WikipediaSaxophonist Branford Marsalis on Classical Music, the NEA Awards and Durham - WNYC Culture
Renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis will reunite with trumpeter Terence Blanchard for a special performance at the Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.
“It’s going to be modern jazz at a very high level,” says jazz critic Nate Chinen, who writes for The New York Times. “Both these bands are very assertive rhythmically and advanced harmonically. Plus, there's a lot of driving force and energy.”
Marsalis and Blanchard don’t perform often in New York, adds Chinen, and when they do it’s usually in a club. Seeing them in a concert like this is a treat.
The pair grew up together in New Orleans and got their start in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the early 1980s. Marsalis started his own ensemble soon after that and has since won three Grammy awards. In recent years, he has moved into the classical music arena, playing as a soloist with the Philharmonia Brasileira and the New York Philharmonic this past summer.
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