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The unique Blue Note at Sea Jazz Cruise haunts the Caribbean

From 4 -11 February 2017, this maiden voyage of the ‘Blue Note at Sea’ out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was the third back-to-back jazz cruise for some 6000 like-minded passengers organized by Entertainment Cruise Productions (ECP), a slick and well-experienced company having run over 60 full ship programs all over the world for decades. Named after the sponsoring jazz record label, the Blue Note cruise was hosted by the Blue Note Records President, Don Was, and program-managed by the very personable bassist, Marcus Miller, with interviews conducted by the fusion saxophonist extraordinaire, David Sanborn.

On stage: Dave Sanborn, Wycliff Gordon, Marcus Miller

On stage: Dave Sanborn, Wycliff Gordon, Marcus Miller

Don Was interviewing Gregory Porter

Don Was interviewing Gregory Porter

 

Marcus Miller interviewing Diane Reeves

Marcus Miller interviewing Diane Reeves

Obviously, the artists featured on this cruise were all Blue Note labelled who could easily promote the brand. They were not only dons in their own jazz genre over the ages (aka decades) in American jazz circles, but were buddies, having mixed and matched their talents with various band configurations that promoted their own individual creativity over time, domestically as well as internationally. The offerings for 7 nights constituted one long well delivered type of ‘jam session’ starting from 5pm each day and lasting until well after 1am, as performers moved from one stage to another, remarkably (by the organizers) with very little overlap in schedules. Most bands borrowed each other’s artists, almost incestuously. And most performers could stay on the ship during the whole cruise with the exception of one or two. The only ‘oh-shucks’ moment came when four artists had to leave the ship early in order to travel to the Los Angeles-based Grammy Awards ceremony where their nominations translated into awards. These were, not surprisingly, multi-Grammy award recipients: Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes, pianist Robert Glasper (USA), singer Gregory Porter(USA), and singer Lalah Hathaway.

Lalah Hathaway

Lalah Hathaway

Chucho Valdez on stage

Chucho Valdez on stage

A major import to this USA-based cruise was the exciting London-based Ronnie Scotts’ House Band which featured the thrilling singer, Natalie Williams, who unashamedly took late-nighters through energetic jam sessions in the appropriately named ‘Revelations’ Lounge. They also kicked off the music at day 1 disembarkation at the pool side,

Natalie Williams at poolside

Natalie Williams at poolside

What swelled for the following days and evenings were not the seawaves, but the swing, the cool sounds of jazz all over the ship. Another ‘house’ band which entertained, but incurred unfortunate time conflicts, was the Celebrity X Summit House Band led by South African-born, New Zealand- resident, Andrea Lisa who sang as well as played guitar. They offered youthful bursts of improvisations, a bit of rock and pop, and danceable songs that pleased the seasoned crowd.

Rubbing shoulders with the artists before and after their gigs, and taking selfies with these celebrities was permitted, but not interviews, at least formal ones. This is America’s music industry – one must work through the musicians’ agents. Nevertheless, Marcus Miller was easy to find wandering the ship

Program Manager Marcus Miller

Program Manager Marcus Miller

 

and availing his friendly self to passing chats with passengers, as were other artists when their time and energies permitted. Most, however, remained a bit hidden from the masses, and for due reason, many preparing for their daily gigs.

Energy is key on an event-filled cruise like this. Sleeping ‘late’ might mean missing a morning shore excursion in San Juan, or opportunity to just walk around on the sands of Haiti’s Labadee island (exclusive only to cruise ships) and enjoy the sea breezes. One might forsake those hefty lunches or dinners in order to slip away for a power nap (on the beach or cabin bed) that recharges for the evening rackets.

Most cruises offer choices of activities, but for the music lover, the jazz never stopped.

The Horns talk to us

The Horns talk to us

Marcus Miller, Dave Sanborn, and Don Was held interviews with featured musicians which took the listener to realms of the artist’s creativity not well known or previously broadcast.

The youngest on board, 23-year old saxophonist, Grace Kelly, held her own amongst these legends with grand poise.

Besides individual interviews, instrumental groups had their say, my favourite being the drummer group made up of the indomitable Greg Hutchinson, Miller’s drummer, Greg Bailey, The Bad Plus’s energetic drummer, Dave King, and the awesome Billy Kilson.

The drummers talk to us

The drummers talk to us

Sanborn’s conversational style steered the chats well, inserting his own multi-layered experiences playing with the various musicians. Bountiful stories emerged, adding dimensions of wit and depths of learning about what jazz and improvisation in the music industry is all about.

Day 1 set the pace with a blue-skyed Saturday, Feb 4, as the 2100 passenger Celebrity Summit left the Fort Lauderdale port to slowly steam eastward first to the Bahamas, then on to Puerto Rico. I didn’t have time to gape out of my ocean view cabin as there were other things to do, like listen to live jazz! As I got into the elevator, I tripped over Gregory Porter’s little boy wallowing on the elevator flour and heard Porter’s sonorous voice announce to fellow passengers how ‘this naughty boy’ is giving him a hard time!

Gregory Porter by poolside

Gregory Porter by poolside

Porter excused himself as he and child exited the elevator and wished us all good times! Later, I reminded Gregory how we met at Johannesburg’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival a few years back, something he well remembered. What I recall back then, as I sat at his rehearsal led by conductor and trumpeter Marcus Wyatt, was the band waiting some 45 min for Porter to arrive! Apparently his manager was not informed of the exact time of this important rehearsal for that evening’s performance!! Oh well….. Noone would have known!

During disembarkation at 4pm sharp, the poolside was bustling as the Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars kicked off the 7 day festival. Boy, did that set the pace! I took some videos of that fun bash, took free celebratory drinks on hand, then popped down to the Rendezvous lounge for Joshua Redman and his group – it was his drummer Greg Hutchinson that blew me away.

Joshua Redman

Joshua Redman

He later played with the Peter Martin’s trio. At that point, after this energetic set, I didn’t care where I was going…..I was just going with that jazz flow!! The Greek-born, Ecuador-resident Captain Alex told us where we were going in his comical and zesty way. He was clearly into the vibe as well. Robert Glasper’s trio came on next at the main Celebrity Theater stage at 9pm.

Robert Glasper on stage

Robert Glasper on stage

Thanks to Glasper’s usual comic wit and not too subtle digs at his own fame and fortune, we enjoyed his self-toasting and, at times, roasting. This evening kick-off was just the beginning of evening sessions happening throughout the week which witnessed artists whimsically indulging in comical presentation about their often erratic mis-notes and fancy feelings about their own artistry, all in the name of entertainment. And it was.

 

Wycliff Gordon with Marcus Miller on stage

Wycliff Gordon with Marcus Miller on stage

Drummer Dave King with The Bad Plus on stage

Drummer Dave King with The Bad Plus on stage

Around 10.30pm, I wonder up to the 11th floor’s Revelations Lounge which becomes the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club at sea, a small intimate venue for good listening and interactions. The Cuban trio of Harold Lopez-Nussa were performing, his brother on drums and a younger up and coming double bassist blowing me away. Boy, was this place humming with its blue ceiling lighting and purple hues that matched my jersey. Yeah, it was air conditioned and ‘chilly’, maybe around 20 degrees C, in spite of the warm(er) air outside. The cocktail booklet greeted my table with $10 drinks. Lopez’s melodic piano and his percussionist sitting on his box drum pounding away with a soft salsa was a welcomed change from Glasper’s philosophic and intense solo piano. By 11pm I was already on overload – but bassist Marcus Miller and Grammy-award singer, Lalah Hathaway, were just starting on the large theatre stage!

Lalah Hathaway on stage

Lalah Hathaway on stage with saxophonist Alex Han

What would the rest of the week be like, I pondered nervously, wondering if my age and beauty could keep up with it all!! It was a very sound sleep that followed after midnight. I was reaching the beginnings of my musical nirvana….

See more photos at: www.bluenoteatsea.com/gallery-2017

Sunset clouds

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Episode #2 The Sweet Divinity of Life: Musically Smiling with Al Jarreau….

“Down South in Africa,” sings Al Jarreau. He explains: “where the little bougainvillea winds around the big jacaranda tree as they become one with us, sun, and nature.” This masterful singer emphasized, “And this is YOUR story, class”, as he waved his lyrics page at us journalists (who were given copies) during his press conference at the CTIJF a few weeks ago.

“I should have named my album ‘Jacaranda Bougainvillea’ rather than ‘All I Got’ after my visit to South Africa in 2001, when I saw this transformation taking place …. It excited my band and I to write this piece.” To Jarreau, it’s a “lavender dream, the envy of orchids, when it’s dressed in a pink and fuchsia twine”. He launched this song at the 2002 North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland which also had a ‘South African’ stage. See the lyrics at the end of this article.

Al Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits:  NetworxPR

Al Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits: NetworxPR

Listening to this beautiful song on YouTube, one becomes mesmerized with the sweet divinity Jarreau attaches to the smallest of beings. As we chatted in his hotel, I discovered a deeply spiritual and compassionate Al Jarreau that could defy his otherwise contorting body and face when masterfully delivering his stage performance.

CM: At your press conference, you handed out the lyrics of your ‘Jacaranda Bougainvillea’ song. Talk about that.
AJ: You know, I was hoping some journalist would ask me some questions about this song which I and my band wrote after our South African performances in 2001. For instance, there’s this verse: ‘Oh Mandela, that garden that you made is a vision of the prayer you must have been prayin’ every day.’ What did you mean there, Al? And I would have replied, “Way down South in Africa. Look at the jacaranda tree huggin’ the Bougainvillea.” That song is thick with message. It was a very important song about what you can export from your past experiences – the political transition out of separate-ness and towards one-ness. That’s more important than the friggin’ gold, or the DeBeers Mine. I should have shouted it out when I was at the conference table.

CM: You performed the song at the Festival, but I think it went beyond people’s heads at that huge stage with several thousand howling people!
AJ: Yes, the sound on the stage was not good for my repertoire this year. The stage needed more of a listening crowd. I think the song is too subtle, too. It needs more exposure.

Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits:  NetworxPR

Jarreau performing at CTIJF on 29 March 2015. Credits: NetworxPR

Jarreau is a Seer: His reflections about 2015 CapeTown, noted on his website blog, say, “Here there’s something more relaxed and comfortable but far beyond that is the friendly and joyous spirit of the people. And if you look closely you can see an infectious kind of joy and hopefulness of the mind and heart….” Even though he considered himself ‘late to the party’ of the 16th CTIJF this year, his first appearance, he is convinced: “these [Capetownians] were brown skin people just like me who have found something special…some joy and gratitude for life and breath at the moment and big expectations about the future.”

Well, while many Capetownians might dispute this rosy announcement by an enthusiastic outsider, Jarreau’s own evolving life story seems to also reflect a joyous continuum. But it hasn’t always been easy for him….

CM: You had mentioned how you have gotten off your addictions to attend to your health.
AJ: I had to get out of the Whiskey and Bourbon drinking. Now, when I’m close to a bar, there’s a horrible smell…from those alcohols! I drank and smoked a lot, but had to let them go for my general health. And boy, am I unhappy!! (Hah Hah!) So ask me if I’m doing better? NO!! (Hahahaha) I only quit five years ago and boy, am I bored!! Hahahah!

CM: Has your creativity been compromised at all?
AJ: The creativity continues with different stuff to consider. We’re part of this surviving thing. It’s called being-ness, it’s called life, and presence …. what we see and what we comment about out there in the universe and on our planet. My vision has cleared a bit more in that way and I’m moving towards this immortality, and feeling more strongly about immortality, and about who we are, and there’s no such thing as death, which is a misnomer. We just move on and we’re part of this continuing thing which gets better.

CM; Perhaps you’re talking about the ‘past life’, or re-incarnation…?
AJ:  Yes, yes. I don’t know much about that or studied the Hindu and Asian religions, but all those little influences coming into my life from time to time make sense to me. It becomes clearer to me that there is a ‘first cause’, a first something out of which everything came. And today our scientists and cosmologists are beginning to point at it. We talk about it as God. It doesn’t exclude God when cosmologists say ‘it began with a big bang’.

CM: Which leads me to a point: Is jazz as spiritual as it should be? Or is it going into another sexy, material, money issues, gain-what-you-can world?
AJ: That is the danger of all human activity, and jazz is part of it. Song and music writing used to have more soul in it, at a point where it was really connected to survival-ness. Like, early jazz musicians were very close to the soil, to the earth, to growing crops. Raking and picking crops for ‘survival-ness’. As we move away from that sort of society, where the work is done more by machines, we lose that connection to survival-ness. Music is successful because it is the spoiled brat of the arts. Dancers don’t do as well as musicians, never have and never will. Also, painters….and sculptures in the arts. Billions and billions of dollars are made on music and on what musicians have created. And why? Because music is real close to the heart beat. ‘Do don, do don, do don….’[mimicking a heartbeat]. You felt the beat before you even got here, in the wound, real close. And hearing the blood go ‘whisss whisss whisss’. We listened to those sounds before we got here. That’s got to be why music is so close to us and captures us immediately.
_+_+_+_+_++_+__+

Well, I’m going to ‘do don’ and ‘whisss’ myself away to listen to and review Jarreau’s latest album celebrating his old friend, George Duke, and craft my next Episode #3 for this blog. Happy lavender dreams to all! Here are the moving lyrics of ‘our story’:

“Jacaranda Bougainvillea”

Oh what a dream, Oh what a story.
Don’t have to weep, Come and enjoy a smile.
Opening scene is just like a doorway.
Here’s a story, in rhythm and rhyme.

There is a tree on the street and in the forest.
Lavender dream whispered a poet.
Bright potpourri. The envy of orchids,
When it’s dressed in a pink and fuchsia twine.
Jacaranda tree and the Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, that garden that you made,
Is a vision of the prayer, you must’ve been prayin’ everyday.
Sweet Azaleas, every color every kind.
And the first and the last are all divine.

There is a dream of the trees and of the flowers.
There is a season of peace at the borderline…
Where we’re redeemed and history will crown us.
Jacaranda tree and Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, would you say that it’s alright?
When the children play they always say, they say that we were like
Cinderella, in your garden there’s a shrine,
To the first and the last they’re all divine.

One and all, big and small, a common birth.
Each and every child for all his worth.
Take the one who’s always last and make him first.
Take these seeds. Seed the earth.

[OUTRO:]
Comin’ along,
Oh what a long way we have come.
Comin’ along,
Makin’ a home for everyone.
Comin’ along, way down South in Africa
Look at (Study) the Jacaranda tree huggin’ the Bougainvillea

[REPEAT OUTRO X4]

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It’s all happening today, tune in and listen

The season has started to turn here in the Mother City, Cape Town, there is a definite chill in the early morning air, but who gives a damn about that when there’s hot jazz to be heard on Africa’s best and only 24/7 all genre Jazz, Blues, Latin and World Jazz radio station online. Go to www.alljazzradio.co.za and choose the link you’d like to “tune in” to and download the link to your smartphone, computer or tablet and take us with you on your day’s journey. Its a good way to enjoy great music wherever you may be. Listen in today, here what’s coming up from 10am C,A.,T.;

10:00 to 11:00- THE JAZZ RENDEZVOUS RADIO PINOTAGE & COFFEE STOKVEL CLUB

(A mixed genres show of the latest International and SAFRO album releases from the global village)

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

11:00 – 11:15 LONDON JAZZ NEWS BLOG CHAT

(Latest jazz news from Europe with the influential weekly London Jazz News Blog editor Sebastian Scotney)

Weekly talk segment covering the European jazz scene from London, UK

11:15 – 14:00 JAZZ RENDEZVOUS

(A mixed genres show of the latest International and SAFRO album releases from the global village)

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

14:00 – 16:00 MZANTZI (South) AFRICAN JAZZ

(100% South African Jazz recordings made up of any number of SAFRO musicians in the band from all corners of the global village)

Compiled & produced by AJR Staff in Cape Town, SA

16:00 – 18:00 THE CAPITAL JAZZ CLUB

(Eclectic mix of Acid. Funk, Progressive, Fusion Jazz)

Compiled, Produced and presented by Jack Ojiambo in Nairobi, Kenya

Don’t forget our special daily re-broadcast programming which starts from 6pm C.A.T. so you won’t miss a moment of the music.

Connect with us on Skype or call our studio on Viber,

Enjoy the best Jazz, Blues, Latin and World jazz from the African Jazz Capital all day everyday.

 

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….. and the big winners are – The 2015 Grammy Awards

JAZZ AND RELATED CATEGORIES

BEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM
 Cheek To Cheek 
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
 Label: Streamline/Columbia/RPM/Interscope

BEST CONTEMPORARY INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM
 Bass & Mandolin
 Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer 
Label: Nonesuch

BEST NEW AGE ALBUM 
Winds Of Samsara
 Ricky Kej & Wouter Kellerman
Label: Listen 2 Africa

BEST IMPROVISED JAZZ SOLO
 Fingerprints 
Chick Corea, soloist
 Track from: Trilogy (Chick Corea Trio)
 Label: Concord Jazz

BEST JAZZ VOCAL ALBUM
 Beautiful Life 
Dianne Reeves
Label: Concord Records

BEST JAZZ INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM 
Trilogy
 Chick Corea Trio
 Label: Concord Jazz

BEST LARGE JAZZ ENSEMBLE ALBUM 
Life In The Bubble
 Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band
 Label: Telarc International

BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM
 The Offense Of The Drum
 Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 
Label: Motema

BEST BLUES ALBUM 
Step Back
 Johnny Winter
 Label: Megaforce Records

BEST WORLD MUSIC ALBUM
Eve
 Angelique Kidjo 
Label: 429 Records

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John Scofield Returns To The Scene Of The Jam | Jazz24

John Scofield

John Scofield Returns To The Scene Of The Jam | Jazz24

If you sample the first few notes of guitarist John Scofield‘s new album, Uberjam Deux, you might mistake it for something out of West Africa. But a spin through the tracks takes you to another hemisphere with a sound right out of Jamaica, then to American shores with a soulful homage to Al Green.

The musical paths may be well-trodden, but the sound of Scofield’s guitar is unique. He’s a player with serious jazz cred, having played with everyone from Miles Davis to Charles Mingus to Herbie Hancock. The first Überjam record was released in 2002, and for Überjam Deux he’s brought back some of the original players, including rhythm guitarist Avi Bortnick and B3 Organ player John Medeski. Scofield speaks here with NPR’s Linda Wertheimer; click the audio link to hear more of their conversation.

via John Scofield Returns To The Scene Of The Jam | Jazz24.

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Earth, Wind & Fire Announce New Album Release

Earth, Wind & Fire are returning with a new album, Now, Then, & Forever, out September 10th. This marks the legendary group’s first new LP in eight years and first original album for Legacy Recordings. The band includes founding member Maurice White, as well as Ralph Johnson, Philip Bailey, Verdine White. The album has contributions from producer Larry Dunn and Bailey’s son Philip Bailey Jr. The first single, “My Promise” sounds classic, what a summer jam! Fans who pre-order the record will have their personal names printed in the CD’s final packaging. Stream EWF’s new single and check out the tracklist below.

Now, Then & Forever Tracklist

01. Sign On

02. Love Is Law

03. My Promise

04. Guiding Lights

05. Got To Be Love

06. Belo Horizonte

07. Dance Floor

08. Splashes

09. Night Of My Life

10. The Rush

via Earth, Wind & Fire Announce New Album Release + “My Promise” Okayplayer.

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City of Chicago :: Blues Festival Headliners Travel Up The Mississippi To Chicago

Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the headliners for the 30th Annual Chicago Blues Festival: Shemekia Copeland, Bobby Rush, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Johnson, Otis Clay, The Bar-Kays, Eddie Floyd, Sir Mack Rice and a multigenerational Chicago blues showcase finale featuring James Cotton, Lil’ Ed and Billy Branch, among others, closing the festival on Sunday. Admission is free.

Thursday, June 6: Opening Night in Millennium Park

Announced in February, the festival will open for the first time at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on June 6. Shemekia Copeland will headline the evening with special guest, blues guitar prodigy and Buddy Guy collaborator Quinn Sullivan. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with openers Fernando Jones’ Blues Kids of America followed by Jamiah on Fire & the Red Machine.

Moving to Grant Park for the weekend, the festival is “Rollin’ Up the River” to celebrate the blues with a musical journey up the Mississippi River. During the great migration from the south in the 1940s and 1950s, the “delta blues” landed in Chicago establishing the genre’s electric guitar sound known as the “Chicago blues” style. The voyage will start in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mississippi on Friday; then continue on to Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday; ending in Chicago on Sunday, where the blues electrified the world.

Read more at City of Chicago :: Blues Festival Headliners Travel Up The Mississippi To Chicago.

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Jazz Articles: What to See at the Montreal Jazz Festival – By Jim Harrington — Jazz Articles

It’s hard to go wrong at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

The 10-day festival, set for June 28-July 7 in downtown Montreal, is once again absolutely bursting with great options. The 2013 offerings include such jazz giants as Wayne Shorter and Charles Lloyd, top pop acts like Feist and Belle & Sebastian and celebrated performers hailing from many other genres.

Charles Lloyd | Dorothy Darr

Charles Lloyd | Dorothy Darr

Yet, you can’t see everything, right? (Although, some will surely try.) So, we’ve come up with this guide to some of the best options for those bound for Montreal this year.

Here are 10 can’t-miss shows, organized by date:

Read more at Jazz Articles: What to See at the Montreal Jazz Festival – By Jim Harrington — Jazz Articles.

 

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Anat Cohen and Her Jazz Clarinet – NYTimes.com

Anat Cohen and Her Jazz Clarinet

Anat Cohen and Her Jazz Clarinet

In search of some live Brazilian music a few months ago, I found my way to Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, in the Time Warner Center, where the Brazilian percussionist Duduka Da Fonseca was leading a quintet. I can’t say I knew much about Mr. Da Fonseca before I heard his band that night, and among the things I didn’t know was that his quintet’s regular reed player was a 38-year-old Israeli woman named Anat Cohen, who has lived in New York since 1999.

On the first few tunes of the set — mostly the kind of fast-paced, Brazilian-tinged jazz I’ve always loved — Ms. Cohen played the reed instrument most closely associated with postwar jazz: the tenor saxophone. It was immediately apparent that she was a terrific musician, fluid, full-throated, with a knack for creating beautifully crafted, even eloquent solos. Around the fifth song, however, the quintet began playing “Chorinho pra Ele,” a simple, infectious samba by Hermeto Pascoal, the great Brazilian multi-instrumentalist. And that’s when Ms. Cohen did something you rarely see a jazz reed player do these days. She took out her clarinet.

As good as her saxophone playing was, Ms. Cohen on the clarinet was a revelation. Using the clarinet’s upper register, she could evoke infectious joy. In the lower register, her playing could conjure a deep, soulful melancholy. On up-tempo numbers, her improvisations weren’t just bebop fast; they had a clarity and deep intelligence that is really quite rare. She made it look effortless, even as she was playing the most technically difficult of all the reed instruments. She only played a handful of songs on the clarinet that night, but every time she did, she took my breath away.

Read more at Anat Cohen and Her Jazz Clarinet – NYTimes.com.

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International Jazz Day 2013 | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

International Jazz Day 2013

International Jazz Day 2013

Spurred by the success of the first celebration, UNESCO, in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (TMIJ) will be organizing the second International Jazz Day on April 30th, 2013. This day is destined to raise awareness in the international community regarding jazz’s virtues as an educational tool, as a vehicle for peace, unity, dialogue, and for enhanced cooperation between peoples.

The year 2013 marks the beginning of the International Decade for People of African Descent, consecrated to the theme, “Recognition, justice and development for people of African heritage.” This constitutes yet another highlight of the event that the United Nations will surely support. Africa, whence jazz draws its origins, will thus be doubly honoured this year.

Istanbul is the official host city for 2013. Turkey has an age-old tradition of jazz. Munir Ertegun, Turkish Republic’s first ambassador to Washington in the 1930s, opened his embassy’s parlors to African American jazz musicians, who gathered there to play freely in a socio-historical context which was deeply divided by racial segregation at the time. Inspired by this legacy, the ambassador’s sons, Ahmet and Nesuhi, went on to establish the United States’ first jazz and gospel label in 1947 – Atlantic Records – which was seminal in spreading the beauty of jazz music around the world.

Read more at International Jazz Day 2013 | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

 

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Jazz Articles: Free All-Star Brubeck Tribute Concert Set for NYC – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles

A multi-artist tribute concert, “A Celebration of the Life and Music of Dave Brubeck,” will take place May 11 at 4:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. The unticketed event is free.

Artists scheduled to perform include Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, Branford Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini, Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, Rufus Reid, Bobby Militello, Hilary Kole and Darius, Chris, Matthew and Dan Brubeck. Other performers and speakers will be announced as soon as information becomes available.

Jon Faddis at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival - Ben Johnson

Jon Faddis at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival – Ben Johnson

Information on the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine can be found at St. John Divine or by calling 212-316-7540. Public inquiries regarding the Dave Brubeck celebration can be directed to contactus@absolutelylive.net and will be answered when further details become available.

via Jazz Articles: Free All-Star Brubeck Tribute Concert Set for NYC – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles.

 

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Jazz Great Hugh Masekela, Fresh Because He’s Fascinated: NPR

Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela

“I was a good boy,” South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela assures NPR’s Michel Martin. But still, he says, “as a kid, I was whipped on a slow day at least three times.”

Still Grazing

Still Grazing

Eventually, Masekela told his chaplain, “If I can get a trumpet, Father, I won’t bother anybody.”

His wish came true.

Within a few years, Louis Armstrong, who’d heard of a talented kid in South Africa, sent the boy his own trumpet. Photographer Alf Kumalo captured Masekela’s joy at receiving that gift in an iconic photograph. But Masekela says he has always hated that image: “I lost a girlfriend through that picture,” he says. “You know, we were very cool at that time, so that was a very uncool picture.” She told him she couldn’t be seen with him.

“Barefootin’ with your pants rolled up — I mean, how country can you get?” he says.

Read more at Jazz Great Hugh Masekela, Fresh Because He’s Fascinated : NPR.

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Jazz Articles: CMA Announces Grants to Jazz Presenters – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles

Chamber Music America (CMA) has announced the recipients of its 2013 Presenting Jazz program, a series of grants supporting concert presenters that engage U.S.-based jazz ensembles.

According to a press release, “A total of $116,875 will be distributed to 11 non-profit presenting organizations to assist with concert-associated costs. In addition, each grantee will receive $5,000 to support general operating expenses related to their jazz programming.” CMA describes itself as “the national network for ensemble musicians.”

Mary Halvorson

Mary Halvorson

The 2013 Presenting Jazz Grantees are: The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, presenting the Claudia Quintet; Carnegie Hall, presenting the Vijay Iyer Trio; The Flushing Council for the Arts and Culture, presenting Jason Kao Hwang and Edge+4; the Jazz Bakery, presenting the Dafnis Prieto Sextet; Outpost Productions, presenting the Mary Halvorson Quintet; Outsound Presents, presenting Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack; Roulette Intermedium, presenting the Joel Harrison Group; the Rubin Museum of Art, presenting the Samuel Torres Group; San Jose Jazz, featuring the Vijay Iyer Trio; Stanford Live, presenting William Parker’s Special Edition; and the Walker Art Center, presenting the Craig Taborn Trio.

For a more information, visit ChamberMusic.org.

via Jazz Articles: CMA Announces Grants to Jazz Presenters – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles.

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Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett Set to Record Jazz Album in June | Music News | Rolling Stone

Tony Bennett. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Amy Winehouse Foundation

Tony Bennett. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Amy Winehouse Foundation

The hip injury that led to Lady Gaga’s canceled world tour last month will not prevent her from recording a jazz album with Tony Bennett as scheduled, Bennett told Rolling Stone in an interview Thursday in New York.

“We’re working on it from now until June, and then we’ll record in June. She’s phenomenal,” he said during a dinner at the Amy Winehouse Gala and Inspiration Awards, which recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement honor. “I get along great with her. She’s looking forward to it and so am I.”

Inspired by their lone collaboration, “The Lady Is a Tramp” for Bennett’s Duets II album, the pair plan to expand on their relationship when they enter a studio in Astoria, Queens. “Once you have an idea, then you go for it,” Bennett said. While they have not settled on a producer, Dae Bennett and Phil Ramone worked on the 2011 song.

via Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett Set to Record Jazz Album in June | Music News | Rolling Stone.

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Jazz Articles: Kennedy Center Announces 2013-2014 Jazz Season – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles

Arturo Sandoval

Arturo Sandoval

The Kennedy Center has announced its 2013–2014 jazz season. The jazz program at the prestigious Washington, D.C., venue, now under the leadership of Artistic Advisor Jason Moran, will include more than 70 performances. Featured artists will include Geri Allen, Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ann Hampton Callaway, Ramsey Lewis, Kevin Mahagony, Oscar Peñas, John Pizzarelli, Dorado Schmitt, Esperanza Spalding and Cecil Taylor.

Among the themed shows announced by the Kennedy Center is a 75th anniversary celebration of Blue Note Records, a weeklong series of performances that includes Norah Jones, Moran and Cassandra Wilson. Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will be the focus of a concert titled “50 Years: The Life, Passion, and Music of Arturo Sandoval,” with Chick Corea, Bill Cosby, Doc Severinsen, Andy Garcia and more. Soprano Kathleen Battle will perform “Something to Sing About,” a program of songs by Gershwin, Ellington and Joplin with pianist Cyrus Chestnut.

via Jazz Articles: Kennedy Center Announces 2013-2014 Jazz Season – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles.

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Jazz Articles: Playboy Jazz Festival Announces Lineup for 35th Annual Event – By Jeff Tamarkin

The 35th anniversary edition of the Playboy Jazz Festival will take place on Father’s Day weekend, June 15-16, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. In addition to announcing the scheduled performers, the festival revealed yesterday that comedian/actor George Lopez will be the master of ceremonies, replacing Bill Cosby, who had hosted the event for over three decades.

Angelique Kidjo | Michael Weintrob

Angelique Kidjo | Michael Weintrob

This year’s lineup reflects the festival’s typically R&B- and world-friendly bent. Among the performers on the 15th will be George Duke with special guest Jeffrey Osborne; Naturally 7 with special guest Herbie Hancock; Angelique Kidjo with special guest Hugh Masekela; “Olé Coltrane” featuring Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band with special guest James Carter; Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band with special guest Lee Ritenour; Gregory Porter; Robert Glasper Experiment; Grace Kelly Quintet with special guest Phil Woods; Pedrito Martinez Group featuring Ariacne Trujillo; and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble.

via Jazz Articles: Playboy Jazz Festival Announces Lineup for 35th Annual Event – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles.

 

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Jazz Reviews: Live review: Miguel Zenón Quartet and NEC Jazz Orch. in Boston – By Bill Beuttler — Jazz Articles

Miguel Zenon, Birdland, NYC, 10-25-11 | Jeff Tamarkin

Miguel Zenon, Birdland, NYC, 10-25-11 | Jeff Tamarkin

Miguel Zenón brought his multimedia project on Puerto Rican identity to New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall on February 22 for a rare performance by his longtime quartet and a jazz orchestra (others will follow at SFJAZZ Center on June 1 and at Carnegie Hall on December 7) of music destined for a recording session in Germany early next year. Zenón himself conducted the interviews with the several New York-based, second-generation Puerto Ricans featured on the video portion of the program, and he composed and arranged all the music.

“Our conversations,” writes Zenón in accompanying program notes, “can basically be summarized into one single question: What makes a Puerto Rican a Puerto Rican?” The answers he gets—as implied by the project’s title, Identities are Changeable: Tales from the Diaspora—are various, malleable and interrelated. To reflect that, the music Zenón wrote is shot through with interlocking time signatures. “As a means to represent this unique concept of identity (multiple and changeable) in the music itself,” his notes continue, “all of the compositions explore the idea of multiple rhythmic structures coexisting with each other (e.g., 5 against 7, 3 against 2, 5 against 3). In addition, each piece is meant to be a narrative of the different questions and concerns addressed during the interviews.”

via Jazz Reviews: Live review: Miguel Zenón Quartet and NEC Jazz Orch. in Boston – By Bill Beuttler — Jazz Articles.

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Blues Guitarist Magic Slim Dead at 75 – Rolling Stone South Africa

Magic Slim

Magic Slim

Blues guitarist Magic Slim died yesterday in a Philadelphia hospital, The Associated Press reports. He was 75, and had been dealing with worsening health problems, his manager said.

Slim, born Morris Holt in Mississippi, helped define the sound of post-war electric blues in Chicago as a younger peer of icons like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Slim’s first instrument was piano, but after he lost the little finger on his right hand in a cotton-gin accident, he switched to guitar, and also played bass with his mentor, the guitarist Magic Sam. Slim moved to Chicago in 1955, but found it so difficult to land gigs on a competitive South Side blues scene that he soon returned home.

via Blues Guitarist Magic Slim Dead at 75 – Rolling Stone South Africa.

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Jazz Articles: Dave Douglas to Release New Album, ‘Time Travel,’ on April 9 – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles

Trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas will follow last year’s Be Still with an all-instrumental collection, Time Travel, due April 9 from Douglas’ Greenleaf Music. The recording features saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Rudy Royston. The album was engineered by Joe Ferla.

Dave Douglas & Keystone at Undead Jazzfest 2010 Greg Aiello

Dave Douglas & Keystone at Undead Jazzfest 2010
Greg Aiello

Douglas will also launch a tour with the intention of performing in all 50 states, to coincide with his 50th birthday. Initital dates are below

Tour Dates

February 15: Austin, TX – University of Texas Austin – Bass Concert Hall *

February 22: Elmhurst, IL – Elmhurst College – Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel

March 3: Manzoni, Italy – Teatro Manzoni

March 6: Rome, Italy – Auditorium Parco della Musica ^

March 28 – 31: New York, NY – Jazz Standard (50th Birthday Week)

April 4: Laramie, WY – University of Wyoming

April 5: Boulder, CO – University of Colorado at Boulder

April 11 – 12: Denver, CO – Dazzle Jazz Club

April 25: Reno, NV – Reno Jazz Festival

May 4: Cheltenham, UK – Cheltenham Jazz Festival

May 17: Chicago, IL – Jazz Showcase †

May 30: Brooklyn, NY – Shapeshifter Lab

May 31: New Haven, CT – Firehouse 12

June 3: Burlington, VT – Flynn Center

All dates are with Dave Douglas Quintet unless otherwise noted.

* = Dave Douglas/Joe Lovano & Sound Prints Band feat. Lawrence Fields, Linda Oh & Joey Baron

^ = with Rome Auditorium Jazz Orchestra

† = with Columbia College Jazz Ensemble

via Jazz Articles: Dave Douglas to Release New Album, ‘Time Travel,’ on April 9 – By Jeff Tamarkin — Jazz Articles.

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Jazz Articles: Grammy Awards Announced in Jazz Categories | JazzTimes

Big winners include Chick Corea & Gary Burton, Esperanza Spalding, Pat Metheny; Robert Glasper Experiment wins Best R&B Album

Winners of the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced on Sunday in Los Angeles. Below is our compilation of the jazz-oriented categories, nominees and victors, announced during the Awards’ pre-telecast program. Musical performances during the pre-telecast included World Music Album nominee Hugh Masekela and band. Yesterday, Charlie Haden received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony.

Read more at Jazz Articles: Grammy Awards Announced in Jazz Categories – By JazzTimes — Jazz Articles.

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