Meet Greg Nathan: Greg Nathan began his professional bass-playing career in 1972 at the age of seventeen, performing popular jazz music with pianist Chuck Ruff and vocalist Donna Courtell. He completed his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree at the University of Oregon in 1977. Greg earned a Master of Arts in Music degree at California State University, Sacramento in 1982. He is in his thirtieth season with the Eugene Symphony. His teacher is Larry Epstein, Assistant Principal of the San Francisco Symphony. Greg is an accomplished composer of songs and serious music. He sings, plays, ...read more
Ahmad Jamal's live performances have been well represented in his discography over the past sixty years. Yet despite touring the globe, all Jamal's live recordings--with the exception of the DVD concert from Lebanon, Live at Baalbeck (Birdology, 2003)--document North American and European gigs. France has always accorded the Pittsburgh pianist a royal welcome, naming him an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2007;the regard is mutual, as Live at the Olympia is Jamal's fourth live recording in the French capital since 1992. Recorded in June 2012, this double CD set captures the entire concert, with iconic multi-instrumentalist ...read more
We recently caught up with saxophonist, composer/arranger and educator/clinician, Ron Aprea and spoke with him about recent activities and his current recording project--his personal John Lennon/Beatles tribute. All About Jazz: The last half of 2013 and the time so far in 2014 have been quite positive for you. Let me ask you first about Remembering Blakey. It received excellent reviews and media attention. Ron Aprea: We got off to a great start with that project. The reviews were all good and it was also up for Grammy nominations in three categories--Best Jazz Album, Best ...read more
And now, a crossroads: At what price do I pass? It's the dilemma all collectors face eventually. At first, you buy the commons. A used CD at $4 is a no-brainer. A new CD at $10 or $12, easy to justify. But what do you do when the easies are gone and the price makes you think twice? I've reached that point. My mission is to collect all the Blue Note CDs in the classic 1500 series. For stubborn, stupid reasons, I've decided to do this chronologically. So I started with 1501 and worked my way ...read more
Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Hargrove New Morning Paris, France July 23, August 1, 2014 Among the nightly summer concerts staged at New Morning in Paris was a double dose of electronic funk and neo-soul sounds by multi-keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Each played to capacity audiences on humid nights that challenged the air-conditioning system of the spacious no-frills hall. Smith, 73, standing in front of the stage at an elevated electronic two-keyboard rack, was armed with a rhythm section of three young musicians plus a female vocalist. For this European ...read more
Miles Davis: The Complete On the Corner Sessions Sony-Legacy Music, October 2007 There is no architecture and no build-up. Just a vivid, uninterrupted succession of colors, rhythms and moods." --Arnold Schoenberg, describing his Five Pieces for Orchestra in a letter to Richard Strauss, 1909, quoted in The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) The music Miles Davis forged in the first half of the 1970s, his so-called electric period," is not jazz. In a determined effort to keep his sound fresh, he took the audacious step of leaving behind all ...read more
The fifth album by Gato Libre, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's acoustic quartet, is the first since the sudden death of bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu in 2011. Having thought long and hard about whether to continue, Tamura recruited trombonist Yasuko Kaneko as a replacement. While the European folk music inspiration of previous outings like Shiro (Libra Records, 2009) and Forever (Libra Records, 2012) remains intact, the change has engendered more the feel of a chamber outfit, albeit one at times crossed with a brass band. There can be few other units which combine such an unlikely array of instruments in pursuit of such ...read more
Violinist Diane Monroe and vibraphonist Tony Miceli have been working together in various contexts for about three decades, but that doesn't mean they had instant comfort with the idea of working as a duo. When they first visited the idea in 2009, both Monroe and Miceli were a bit apprehensive. Regardless, they decided to move past their fears and move forward with the partnership. They spent time honing their sound together, finally presenting that sound to the public via live webcasts from Miceli's basement in 2010. Now, with the engrossing Alone Together, they move from the basement to the marketplace. ...read more
Bassist Rodney Whitaker is often cited for his affiliations rather than his own work. That's a shame, as it takes attention away from some wonderful music that he's put out under his own name, but it's easy to understand why that's the case. He anchored trumpeter Roy Hargrove's band for a while, ballasted and buoyed Wynton Marsalis's Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra during his stint with that acclaimed organization, and connected with drummer Carl Allen for a pair of exciting dates on the Mack Avenue imprint. He also directs that label's Superband" and contributes to the future of the music ...read more
Saxophonist Charles Davis' paean to his late wife, For the Love of Lori, is more of a musical celebration of her spirit than a requiem. Sure, there are moments of intense sorrow and nostalgic melancholy but they are enveloped in positive, swinging creativity. On What'll I Do?" for instance, Davis' wistful soliloquy is filled with reserved anguish and enveloped with elegant lyricism. Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli's muted, soothing tone marks his intricate improvisation while trombonist Steve Davis' soft, resonant lines add a somber edge to the piece. Equally poetic yet up-tempo and jubilant are Steve Davis' delightfully ...read more
One by one, the trio of classic big-band collaborations by Miles Davis and Gil Evans is being rediscovered and reinvented by contemporary jazz ensembles: Miles Ahead, Porgy & Bess and last but not least, the tasteful and picturesque Sketches of Spain, reappraised here by trumpeter Orbert Davis (no relation to Miles) and the splendid Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Besides composing, adapting and orchestrating the music, Orbert Davis sits in for his celebrated namesake on solo trumpet. What makes these new Sketches especially intriguing is the fact that Davis has seen fit to retain the original album's opening and ...read more
Jerrold Dubyk helpfully defines the title of his third album, Invitations, as an often formal request to be present or participate." Pedantic jazz fans (and there are many) might wish to point out that the definition refers to the singular, while the title is plural. The less pedantic might simply wish to shake their heads, reflect that there are far more important things to worry about and get on with enjoying the music--for there is much music to enjoy.Dubyk is a tenor saxophonist with a bright, clear, tone and a melodic style: mainstream jazz with a graceful and ...read more
In 2006, oft-unsung drummer Michael Carvin broke a decade-long silence as a leader on record, releasing one of the strongest dates of his career through Marsalis Music's Honor Series. Fast-forward eight years and you have Flash Forward, another quartet-based album that stands as a testament to Carvin's skills as drummer, bandleader, and musical catalyst. Flash Forward is a fresh musical start for Carvin. It's his first release for the Motema Music imprint and the first album to feature a feisty quartet dubbed The Michael Carvin Experience. And while that appellation puts Carvin on a pedestal, rightly marking ...read more
Jazz Life: A Journey for Jazz Across America in 1960 William Claxton and Joachim E. Berendt 552 ISBN: 3836544687 Taschen 2013 A single photograph can say and convene more than a thousand words. Although music itself can't be photographed, only a handful of photographers ever got closer to pulling it off than photographers such as Herman Leonard, William P. Gottlieb or William Claxton, to name but a few, whose photographs have captured music's inexplicable quality. Musicians and music photographers have always engaged in a special kind of dance mainly because they need ...read more
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