This interview was originally published in February 2000. Chicago music scene
On my new recording [Kurt Elling Live in Chicago, Blue Note] I'm really proud to feature a lot of the musicians who have treated me well and who have taught me and who have been on the team with me from the get-go. Not only because of the debt of gratitude that I owe them, but also just because they're really beautiful musicians and deserve to be heard, and I'm fortunate enough to have a slightly more visible platform than other cats. It's a point of ...read more
This article was originally published in May 2001.
New Colors (Hip Bop Records), new CD
I met David Weiss a couple of years ago. He's from North Texas State. He had a rehearsal band [New Jazz Composers Octet] in New York, and he had been writing out a lot of my compositions and arranging them. He said he'd like to get together and have me play some of my material with the group. At first it was only supposed to be a one-time thing, but we're going to be working together the next couple of years until I ...read more
Early interest in jazz
I got interested in jazz early. One of my first inspirations was hearing my uncle play. He was an accomplished mandolin, banjo, and guitarist, and he used to play all the time. My father played a little guitar, and he had a large collection of records: Django [Reinhardt], Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, boogie-woogie, all that stuff. I started listening to a lot of music. In Connecticut where we lived it used to be very cold in the winter so we would close a couple of rooms off. The phonograph was in one. I used to put ...read more
Everything about In The Company of Friends is first class. For one thing, there is a sense of balance: between comfortable material and challenging reinvention, between brilliantly conceived arrangements (never cluttered) and sparse backgrounds, between ensemble playing and soloing, between singer and accompanist. Each tune is a fresh scenario with its own message, especially in the rhythm department. I've been playing the CD over and over since I got it, and I'm still not tired of it.
Denise Donatelli moved to Los Angeles recently from Atlanta. This is her first CD, and it came out of a working relationship with ...read more
Zane Musa Quintet Descanso Gardens La Canada, California April 30, 2005
A one-time student of the late Gordon Brisker, Zane Musa is here with his own voice on alto. For this one-off outdoor concert he assembled a challenging band of beyond bebop players older than himself. Descanso Gardens is a lovely, peaceful setting for lyrical music, and the acoustics aren't bad. Both horns played without amplification, allowing them to sound more natural and direct than in a club.I heard Musa a few years ago playing devastating free music he definitely knew the ins ...read more
One-of-a-kind trumpeter John McNeil is not as well-known as he might be, but things are looking up for him lately after putting out a couple of varied, personal, and idea-filled CD's. The concept for the second of these, Sleep Won't Come, came out of his long-time battle with insomnia and the sense of frustration that hits him when he sees the sun come up. Of course I interviewed him at 3 A.M. after he'd played a gig at Cornelia Street Cafe with his quintet, Insomnia.Cornelia Street Café performanceIt was great, a full house for both sets. ...read more
Since moving to New York five years ago Kate McGarry's musical approach has expanded from jazz standards and ballads through a percussive, electronic sound to her current pop- and folk-informed approach. Guitarist Keith Ganz has been an integral part of her latest evolution since they started playing together. They were married in 2004, and are inseparable musically and personally. Both have sparkling new CD's.Mercy Streets (Palmetto Records) It just came out a couple of weeks ago. We had the CD release party at Joe's Pub in NYC with the same band as on the CD. It ...read more
There is no need to introduce Phil Woods to a jazz audience, but it should be mentioned that he is now as active as ever, turning out quality CD's and videos, playing concerts with his popping quintet, posting outrageous and hilarious notes on his website, and generally refusing to fade away.
A Life in E flat (new video)
The first album I did for Graham Carter out of Denver was the Mancini Album with Carl Saunders. He wanted to do more albums about composers. I've always wanted to do one of Quincy Jones music. He said, That's a terrific idea." ...read more
An outstanding crop of big band leaders/composers emerged during the 1960s, including Clare Fischer, Thad Jones, Gary McFarland, Ladd McIntosh, Oliver Nelson, and other notables. Jones eventually established his preeminence, in part because he was able to keep a band together and get his music heard. Beyond that, his compositions are brilliant and drenched in the blues.
One More features tunes from the beginning and middle of Jones' career, before he turned the band over to Mel Lewis and moved to Denmark. Michael Patterson arranged and adapted the music for a medium-sized band with the Jones originals in mind. There ...read more
IndexThe Stamm/Soph Project--Live at BirdlandCDs as a leaderBill MaysTours combining concerts and Jazz educationTeaching philosophyIAJE (International Association for Jazz Education)Trumpet playingLead trumpetRole of lead trumpet in big bandsInspirational musiciansSoloing with symphony orchestrasTrumpet designingWebsiteUpcoming events Soloist, bandleader, lead trumpeter, cultural activist, educator, website maintainer, and southern gentleman Marvin Stamm functions on the highest plane in all his capacities. Like most musicians who succeed these days he communicates with his audience ...read more
Composer/bandleader Ladd McIntosh emerged in the 1960's with a shattering big band sound. Freely integrating exotic rhythms, non-traditional colors, pop and classical music references, and expanded rhythm sections, his bands explode with energy and swing yet they sound natural. McIntosh has never landed a favorable recording contract, but he has enjoyed his share of musical successes over the years including a groundbreaking record (Impulse A-9145) in 1967 with his Ohio State big band. As a legendary educator he has challenged his students with personal music that has stimulated them to excel, and he has won several awards at college jazz ...read more
In case there is any doubt, this is an authentic Roger Kellaway recording, which is to say it is a musical event. I Was There was produced to coincide with the recent Bobby Darin film biography Beyond the Sea, a project in which Kellaway served as vocal coach for its star, Kevin Spacey. Rather than somehow trying to imitate him, Kellaway creatively re-examines tunes from Darin's repertoire. Bypassing most of the singer's hits, Kellaway chooses music from Darin's late 1960s book when he was evolving from teen-age pop star to supper club swinger, with Kellaway as his musical director.
Like ...read more
The annual IAJE Conference is presumably aimed at music teachers, but professional musicians, music students, industry reps, and fans way outnumber the professors. Fewer name musicians appeared this year, possibly due to economics. In their places college bands and contest-winning players were invited. Also there were more workshops (fewer music performances). Generally jazz education (rather than entertainment) and a relatively conservative musical philosophy were more prominent than before. Attendees could usually choose from four or five events at a single time. There was a huge exhibition hall peopled with prominent musicians, musical instrument companies, magazine publishers, you name it--even All ...read more
St. Louis musical rootsMy mother owned a restaurant with a juke box that had a lot of blues, rhythm and blues. That may have piqued my interest. When I was in high school I got interested in the drum and bugle corps. A lot of members of the corps were playing jazz. That really got me into wanting to play jazz. I met a lot of young musicians who were adept at their instruments at an early age. I gravitated toward them immediately. Later on in high school I started playing jazz, but I didn't get serious until ...read more
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