Meet Charles Gambetta: I've been playing bass for nearly 50 years, composing and arranging for over 40 years and conducting for 40 years as well. It has been an incredible journey with many surprises, unexpected turns and several major turning points that have shaped my growth as an artist and person. The first of these came in 1965 when my music teacher told me I should play bass. The second came in 1972 when I started playing jazz at North Texas State. The third followed in 1976 when I received a fellowship grant at the Bennington Summers program where ...read more
From the brooding opening title track to the closing Chet Baker homage, I Fall in Love Too Easily," Dark Nights unapologetically embraces the heart of jazz. Every aspect of the album--from the cover photo, to Cohen's precise trumpet inflections, to the trio's dedication to immediacy and collective improvisation (and even the album's forays into electronic affects)--is saturated with the emblematic textures, rhythms, and imagery of jazz. This is achieved with professionalism, creativity, and skill, without a wit of irony or cliché, while avoiding both navel-gazing insularity and crowd-pleasing revivalism. Instead, the album's ten tracks wander the shadowed corridors ...read more
Meet Dave Fabris: The music of guitarist David Fabris has been steeped deeply in an eclectic pool of influences... His new CD, Lettuce Prey (Great Winds/Musea), is music that has the guts and glory of rock, the surprise and intrigue of jazz and the intricacy and depth of contemporary classical music. His diverse influences are also evident in the variety of performances and ensembles to his credit: He has recorded four albums (Hatology, Soulnote, NoBusiness) and toured internationally with his mentor, third stream pianist Ran Blake, to great acclaim. Blake joins The Knife" as a featured guest ...read more
Bassist Ray Brown sure knew how to pick his pianists. While each player who manned the 88s in Brown's trio displayed a different personality, all had Swiss watch timing and shared an affinity for the blues and effulgent swing. It didn't take more than a few seconds to hear that when Gene Harris was on the bench, delivering church-y proclamations and earth-shaking tremolos, and it was equally noticeable when Benny Green put his hands to good use, displaying the Oscar Peterson-esque athleticism that remains his calling card. And while there isn't very much recorded evidence to cover pianist Larry Fuller's ...read more
Meet Ana Velinova: Jazz vocalist and songwriter Ana Velinova has inspired audiences around the world with her wide range arstistic talents. With repertoire extending from Mozart and Stravinsky to Ellington, Dorsey and Jobim, Ana has shared the stage with many accomplished jazz artists including Bob Moses, Neil Swainson, Don Thompson, Brad Turner, Willard Dyson and Miles Black to name a few. A native of Sofia, Bulgaria, Ana has lived and performed in major US and Canadian cities. A highlight of Ana's Spring 2014 Season is the second release of her album The Thief and the ...read more
Two of the most enduring voices avant-garde jazz belong to trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and reedman Henry Threadgill. Smith's The Great Lakes Suite, six of his distinctive compositions on a two CD set, teams the two icons inside the equilateral quartet that includes drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist John Lindberg. It sounds like a dream team, and it is. DeJohnette has played on Smith's Golden Quartet, Lindberg has joined the trumpeter in a variety of contexts, groups large and small. Threadgill is new to the fold. All the groups members--with the exception of Smith--were born and grew up ...read more
Looking at the cover of the album NyeSongar.no, there's no doubt that the Norwegian saxophonist and goat horn-player Karl Seglem is still exploring the Nordic aesthetic that he perfected on his album NORSKjazz.no (Ozella, 2009). The resemblance between the titles is striking and it is underlined by a Nordic iconography. NORSKjazz.no had an image of tall Norwegian trees and NyeSongar.no is graced by a photograph of an endless landscape covered by snow. In the foreground there is a stone and it has a pile of goat horns beside it. It is almost tempting to think that Seglem ...read more
Like a kind of musical contortionist, Stefano Bollani keeps repositioning himself with eye-popping ease. The diversity and eclecticism of Bollani's projects are reflected in the sweeping breadth of his vocabulary; his output as leader on ECM alone, since his debut Piano Solo (ECM, 2006), is indicative of his adventurous spirit. That solo outing was followed by Orvieto (ECM, 2011), a joyous duologue with Chick Corea, whereas the exhilarating O Que Sera (ECM, 2013) coupled the Italian with Brazilian bandolim player Hamilton de Holanda. With Bollani virtuosity is a given, but the pianist's first ECM effort fronting a group is a ...read more
The development of an individual voice on the contrabass is important to Eric Revis, one of the strongest players on the scene. His power and musicianship has endeared him to some of the finer musicians, and bands, in jazz. But Revis isn't content to let things lie there. Not that he has to be out front flexing his considerable bass muscles. That's not the point. Through bands that he forms, his compositions, his collaborations, he wants to grow as an artist. One who is always contributing to whatever proceedings he is involved in. One who makes his own ...read more
Listening to Jimmy Smith's early recordings is like listening to Chuck Berry play Johnny B. Goode." Today, every rock guitarist from junior high school on knows the riff and can play it by heart. But Chuck Berry did it first, and arguably best. There were no great rock guitar licks before Chuck Berry. He created the template. It's the same with Jimmy Smith. Today, there are dozens of jazz organists who can play bop, blues and beyond. They're all funky, they all have chops. But without Jimmy Smith, there would be no jazz organ. So listening ...read more
Music is a language that speaks in several tongues. This statement is taken quite literally on Norwegian songstress Gjertrud Lunde's album Hjemklang where she sings in her own native language, as well as English, Norwegian, French and Portuguese. Each language is a new instrument for Lunde, a range of vocal possibilities, shades and accents, but the thing that binds it all together is a depth of feeling and delicacy. Hjemklang can loosely be translated as the sound of home" and this is exactly what the album conjures: a safe haven of sound. As Lunde sings on Going ...read more
The formation of the Chicago Underground collective in the late '90s provided cornetist Rob Mazurek with an unrestrictive setting to explore the endless possibilities of creative improvised music with his Windy City peers. A lengthy sojourn in Brazil followed, resulting in a similar project--the São Paulo Underground. Mazurek's international activities subsequently established him as a prolific composer and industrious bandleader.It was the release of Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, 2008), Mazurek's fortuitous collaboration with vanguard trumpeter Bill Dixon, that confirmed his credentials as a visionary avant-gardist. The equally enthralling Matter Anti-Matter (caught on tape in ...read more
Meet Dan Papirany: I was born in Israel and moved to New Zealand when I was 21. I studied Drums for two years and then changed to a piano major. I graduated with a bachelor in jazz performance in 1999 and continued studying to become a high school teacher. In 2011 I moved to QLD, Australia. I've released seven albums to date; they are all available at CD Baby. Instrument(s): I play jazz piano and drums. Teachers and/or influences? My teacher at University (in Wellington) was Leigh Jackson--jazz piano. I love the music ...read more
Drummer Abbey Rader's four decades long career has been one of intrepid innovation and creative ingenuity. His unique approach to his instrument brims with unconventional virtuosity and a deep spiritual sense. His The Message on his own Abray label, is a three part, entirely improvised suite recorded live in Miami in January of 2014. Sort of a musical allegory about the various phases of life the harmonically multi-textured performance has an undercurrent of wise serenity even during its wildest most energetic moments. For instance on Arrival," as the two saxophones soar over Rader's dark rumble, altoist Noah Brandmark's ...read more
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