We're celebrating the spirited life and music of bassist Charlie Haden (1937-2014) who passed away on July 11th. We've included links to four archived interviews as well as our coverage of Mr. Haden's music from years past. Charlie Haden: An Analog Guy in a Digital World (2004) Born August 6, 1937 in Shenandoah, Iowa, Charlie Haden came up in a musical family. After moving around the Midwest, he eventually settled in Los Angeles playing bass with Hampton Hawes, Elmo Hope, and Paul Bley. A fateful meeting in 1958 with Ornette Coleman netted Haden one of his ...read more
Her name is EJ Park. She's a young woman from Gwangju, South Korea. She disembarks from a plane in a city and country she's never been to before. She's a singer and pianist with a passion for jazz, and she's enrolled in the jazz master's degree program at the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, PA, USA. She wants to be a successful vocalist. She doesn't know anyone, and no one here in the States ever heard of her. What next? She gets moving. Bold, and with a taste for adventure, Park throws herself into her work ...read more
Growing up in the 1960s had one propitious cultural benefit; exposure at an early age to Brazil's amazing popular music of the day, the bossa nova. As my record collection grew, so did a desire to see first hand the country responsible for producing so much singular music. In 1970s, I spent three months in the country, seeing it from its southernmost realms to the heart of the Amazon in the far north. More trips to Brazil followed over the decades and the record collection mushroomed. By the late 1980s, I was writing stories about Brazilian musicians and ...read more
One of the most powerful vocalists today is Carleen Anderson, the 2013 Jazz FM UK Vocalist of the Year." Amy Winehouse once said, For live performances, you absolutely have to see Carleen Anderson at least three times in your life!" Amy confessed while sitting in on one of Ms. Anderson's soundchecks; Carleen sang Don't Look Back In Anger," it brought her to tears (Amy Winehouse: One Shining Night, 2006). Born in jny: Houston, Texas on May 10, 1957, Carleen Anderson is grounded and rooted in true gospel music inherited from the Pentecostal church where the pastor, David Anderson, ...read more
I first met Herb Geller in 2002 at a concert in Amsterdam at the original Bimhuis jazz club. The band was gathering their equipment from the stage and we started chatting about being raised in jny: Los Angeles. When I was a teenager, the tall and lanky genial gent was playing at the local clubs that my mother used to sneak me into. At 14, I was a much too young but sophisticated lady in my eye makeup and high heels, doing my best to look over 21. The only club I got turned away from was The ...read more
Yusef Lateef defined music far from Western concepts while presenting cross-cultural fusions. His life was committed as a premier jazz saxophonist, flutist, and many woodwinds entering crossing musical boundaries. This journey ended on Monday, December 23, 2013 at his home in Shutesbury, Amherst, Massachusetts. Dr. Lateef was 93 years old. Dr. Lateef's distinctive sound came from a tenor saxophone, mystified with a big tone with blues indications. His style separated similar saxophonists during the 1940s. Playing in the bands of Lucky Millinder, and Dizzy Gillespie in 1949, he served a conventional jazz apprenticeship; however, Dr. Lateef's major impact ...read more
Pianist Howard Riley turned 70 in February and belatedly celebrates the event with the release of a new CD, Live with Repertoire (NoBusiness Records). It's a really strong live, solo set of standards and a few original tunes recorded last year in Leicester and one that emphasises one particular aspect of his playing. Riley remains one of the most gifted interpreters of the jazz repertoire in Britain or beyond. The last few years have not been easy for Riley. It was on a gig at the Royal Festival Hall in a trio with Barre Phillips and drummer Steve ...read more
Akosua Gyebi, known as Kosi, has a voluptuous, mesmeric voice and has just released her first solo album One More Cup Of Coffee on her own label which received positive reviews. Kosi is a songstress who tells stories through her music. In her songs, you find tales of the seedier side of New York, the darker side where long shadows, broken relationships and hard life stories come to life. Kosi sings with emotion and candor and has an extensive vocal range. Kosi began singing in her church choir at a small church in southeast Queens. She was a ...read more
Hands down the best name for a jazz album is Birth of the Cool. It doesn't make it to The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time nor is it among the Village Voice's Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die, yet the Miles Davis album, Birth of The Cool, was a pivot point in American jazz. The album became an orchestrated departure from bebop, with the word orchestrated meaning both the use of orchestration and a deliberate action. The collection's origins are a bit disjointed. It is a compilation album by the Miles Davis' ...read more
The roots of American jazz twist, turn, and spiral all the way back to the turn of the century... not this century, but the last century. In the 20th century's first decade down in jny: New Orleans, the story is told that one could frequently hear a cornet (which is similar to a trumpet) squawking loudly from the park bandstands and through dance hall windows. With no formal training, Charles Buddy" Bolden created a unique improvising style with his horn. Essentially, he paved the way for jazz by arranging rural blues, spirituals and ragtime music for brass instruments. ...read more
The harp may be the least common instrument in jazz/improvised music--even the humble kazoo gets more of a run out. Dating back over 5,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia, the harp in its various guises is common to nearly all cultures across the continents. Throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America the harp is an important element of folk music. The harp is common in Celtic music too, though in Europe it's perhaps more usually associated with the sedate airs of mediaeval court music or through-composed baroque classical music. This unique instrument has certainly done the rounds but nobody, it's safe to ...read more
Soon after hearing about Paul Motian's passing (November 22, 2011) I felt the urge to delve (again) into his music. Later on, inspired by a moving writing by Ellery Eskelin (published on his website and reproduced below, by his kind permission), I thought it would have been interesting to collect brief memories from musicians which worked with him during his long career, as well as from those who were deeply influenced by him. So I started my research, contacting as many musicians as possible: many replied with enthusiasm, you will read their recollections here. ...read more
American pannist (steel pan soloist) and composer Andy Narell is an iconoclast who fearlessly challenges the narrow definitions of acceptable pan music. He is global, and his usefulness as an ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago's national instrument is tainted by suspicion long held by panmen (steel pan players) and the steel pan fraternity in general here. It may be an attitude of his own making. Long held beliefs are hard to dispel with logic. Pan pioneer Rudolf Fish Eye" Ollivierre welcomed itinerant writer Patrick Leigh Fermor back in 1950 to Hell Yard, as described in his travel book The Traveller's ...read more
[Note: This article was first published in Music & Literature, a North American magazine dedicated to promoting artists worthy of wider attention] Iva Bittová is a rare talent. She has developed a personal idiom and vocabulary that is almost entirely her own. Her sound, her very personal language, forged from the union of violin and voice, cannot be categorized yet is immediately recognizable. Bittová is, quite simply, inimitable. Though she is not the first artist to create a hybrid language that draws from different roots, nobody has forged quite the same path as Bittová. Her ...read more
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