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In the Artist's Own Words

April 24, 2011

Steve Khan: The Making of "Parting Shot"

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By STEVE KHAN

The term, “parting shot" can certainly be interpreted in any number of ways. Perhaps for most of us, it would be best defined like this: “a threat, insult, condemnation, sarcastic retort, or, gesture delivered while departing." I choose to view it as the latter, thinking of a light punch to the shoulder as the final gesture! This interpretation led me to invent my own Spanish title: “Golpe de partida." I think that someone else would have chosen, “La última palabra"--the last word--as the title in Spanish. But, for me, that just did not have the right “ring" to it.

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March 15, 2011

Wayne Wallace: The Thrill of the Grammys

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By WAYNE WALLACE

I have had the honor of performing on four Grammy-nominated recordings. Mister E, by Pete Escovedo, S.F. Bay, by the Machete Ensemble, Then Some, by Steve Berrios, and Far East Suite, by Anthony Brown and the Asian American Orchestra. This was my second time being a part of a Grammy presentation, but my first as the leader of a nominated project, let alone as a presenter for the Pre-Telecast Awards ceremony. I arrived at LAX on Saturday afternoon, checked in at the Biltmore hotel and immediately prepared to attend the nominees' reception. Beautiful starlit warm evening, first ...

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January 29, 2010

Bill Dixon: Excerpts from Vade Mecum

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By AAJ STAFF

Introduction by AAJ Contributor Clifford Allen.

It is rare in the climate of this music to be presented with a view of an artist that is truly multifaceted, even though the collected works of most artists operate at a number of levels and, on occasion, in a number of media. Bill Dixon is probably best known as a trumpeter and composer; he is also a visual artist, professor (Bennington College, 1968-1996), and has created an expansive body of written material, only a small amount of which have been published. These writings include journals, letters, lectures, and short pieces that, in ...

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December 24, 2009

Bassist Jeff Berlin Pays Tribute to Charlie Banacos

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By JEFF BERLIN

[Editor's note: Bassist Jeff Berlin first emerged in the early 1970s with artists including Gil Evans, Ray Barretto, Pee Wee Ellis and Don Pullen. But it was his fusion work with British drummer Bill Bruford on albums including Feels Good to Me (Winterfold, 1977) and One of a Kind (Winterfold, 1979) that he gained greater international exposure and a reputation as one of jazz's finest (and undervalued) electric bassists. Since that time, Berlin has released a small but significant discography including Lumpy Jazz (M.A.J., 2004) and Aneurhythms (M.A.J., 2007), and founded of The Players School of Music in Clearwater, Florida. ...

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April 29, 2009

Mark O'Leary: Plucking the Flower

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By EYAL HAREUVENI

Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary emerged on the global improvised music scene in the last few years, pushing his bold vision and broad scope of musicality through constantly-changing collaborations. O'Leary can cross easily between genres, from progressive, synth-laden rock and seventies fusion to free jazz and abstract soundscapes. The guitarist's encyclopedic interests and remarkable prolificacy are amongst the many subjects he covers in this latest installment of In The Artist's Own Words. Chapter Index Beginning and Formative Influences Becoming a Musician Selected Projects Matthew Shipp, Mat Maneri and Randy Peterson Shamanic Voices Zemlya On the ...

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April 24, 2009

Venissa Santi: Reflections on the Cuban Roots of Bienvenida

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By VICTOR L. SCHERMER

Singer Venissa Santi's debut, Bienvenida (Sunnyside, 2009) offers a satisfying hybrid of straight-ahead jazz with rhythms from her family's homeland, Cuba. The music is highly listenable and, in many ways, speaks for itself--even to an English-speaking audience. However, the ethnic flavorings may stimulate for some a desire to grasp the meaning of the Spanish lyrics and define the rhythmic variations that occur in the Cuban-based music. To fill the information gap for All About Jazz readers, Santi agreed to offer some thoughts on the matter:

Of the CD, Santi says: “This record is woven between elements ...

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June 6, 2007

Steve Khan: Reflections on the Making of "Borrowed Time"

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By STEVE KHAN

[Editor's Note: With the critical acclaim for Steve Khan's first album as a leader in ten years, The Green Field (Tone Center, 2006), hopes were high that another decade wouldn't have to pass before the guitarist moved forward with another project. With the release of Borrowed Time (Tone Center, 2007), Khan leverages on the successes of The Green Field with an album that's more ambitious in scope. Alongside the returning core trio featuring bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jack DeJohnette, a host of guests--including five percussionists, flugelhorn, bass clarinet, keyboards and vocals--expand the sonic groundwork of The ...

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May 22, 2006

Don Alias: A Tribute

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By MIKE BRANNON

World-class conguero, salsero, drummer and percussionist extraordinaire, Charles Donald Alias was born on Christmas Day, 1939--though obviously the music world had yet to know the gift it had received.

With a half century and most of his life spent in music, Alias not only performed across a profound cross-section of modern music but was a catalyst in its forging. It's a deep honor that's tempered with great sadness to share this loss and to be responsible for Alias' last interview.

There are few things anyone could say that could match or mirror what only those who knew him best could ...

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February 21, 2006

Steve Khan: Reflections on the Making of "The Green Field"

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By STEVE KHAN

[Editors Note: In this, the first of a new series dedicated to giving artists an unedited forum to speak completely with their own voice, veteran guitarist Steve Khan reflects on the making of his new album, The Green Field (Tone Center, 2006)--his first as a leader in nine years. Khan emerged in the 1970s as part of the New York scene that included Randy and Michael Brecker, Don Grolnick and many others. He released three fine fusion albums for Columbia, featuring his trademark Fender Telecaster tone--Tightrope (1977), The Blue Man (1978) and Arrows (1980)--in addition to participating ...

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