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Jazz Articles

INTERVIEWS July 27, 2009

Meet Kurt Elling

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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 ...

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INTERVIEWS December 29, 2008

Meet Freddie Hubbard

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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 ...

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INTERVIEWS July 24, 2006

Meet Joe Diorio

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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 ...

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LIVE REVIEWS May 20, 2005

Zane Musa Quintet at Descanso Gardens

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 ...

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INTERVIEWS May 19, 2005

Meet John McNeil

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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. ...

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INTERVIEWS May 10, 2005

Meet Kate McGarry and Keith Ganz

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 ...

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INTERVIEWS April 12, 2005

Meet Phil Woods

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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." ...

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INTERVIEWS March 25, 2005

Meet Marvin Stamm

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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 ...

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INTERVIEWS February 8, 2005

Meet Ladd McIntosh

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 ...

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LIVE REVIEWS January 11, 2005

International Association for Jazz Education Conference, Long Beach, January 5-8, 2005

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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 ...

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INTERVIEWS November 4, 2004

Meet Oliver Lake

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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 ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS October 4, 2004

Dexter Gordon: The Complete Prestige Sessions

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Dexter Gordon The Complete Prestige Sessions Prestige 2004

In company with Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane Dexter Gordon was recognized as one of the tenor sax giants of his era. (I'd say Stan Getz made as many classic records as the others, but he was “just" a great player who didn't comparably influence other musicians.) The Complete Prestige Sessions focuses on Gordon's late '60s-early '70s music when he lived in Copenhagen but regularly returned to the U.S. to record. Also from earlier in his career there is one extended 1950 cut with ...

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LIVE REVIEWS September 29, 2004

Monterey Jazz Festival 2004

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Monterey turned a corner in 2004: No marquee names like The Crusaders or George Benson played, but there were more leading musicians (particularly from outside the U.S.) than usual. The selectors based their choices more on music (less on entertainment) this year.

Admission price was raised which can be seen as a positive if it brought in more first-rate musicians.

More energy-driven, modern-rhythm bands played.

Theme nights were presented on some stages. One venue featured three San Francisco singers, and another had three flute bands.

Saturday afternoons (old-time blues dominated) and Sunday afternoons (high school big bands) were broadened to ...

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INTERVIEWS June 3, 2004

Meet Bassist/Vocalist Kristin Korb

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Kristin Korb is not just a singing bassist. She is a premier singer with a personal approach and a deep sense of swing. She transports you to other worlds with her ballads. Contrary to her comments below her intonation is right there. Oh yeah, she plays a nasty bass, too.

New CD

We just finished the instrumental things. It's Kendall Kay on drums, Todd Johnson on six-string electric bass, and me on upright bass. I'll add my vocals later. It's real fun, straight-ahead, swinging. What's interesting to me is the sound of the six-string electric bass. It ...

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