Featured Stories


Billy Harper: A Life of Persistence and Improvisation

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On stage, Billy Harper puts his lips to the tenor saxophone, stands relatively erect and sings through his horn; a strong, angular, muscular sound. There little physical gesticulation, belying the effort it takes to express feelings and emotions through the instrument. But Harper's creative statements demand attention. Over the last few years, a lot of that energy is expressed on stage with the Cookers, a star-studded septet that has been burning up the scene, gaining fans and critical acclaim. Harper is blowing his best among comrades Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, George Cables, Cecil McBee, Donald Harrison and David ...


Cecil McBee: Masterful, And Always Equipped

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Cecil McBee is one of the finest bass players on the scene, a status he's held among musicians for many years, even if the public is slower to pick up on the achievements of this 79-year-old musician extraordinaire. A natural, he was quick to connect with musicians in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. But helping him along the road to becoming a top-flight musician was a series of encounters where people would come asking for him. They were people he didn't know, but who would boost him to the next step, the next chapter. In each ...


Take Five With Mike Pope

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Meet Mike Pope: Mike Pope is a virtuoso acoustic and electric bassist who has toured extensively with Chick Corea, David Sanborn, Al Di Meola and Bill Bruford, and more recently, Joe Locke and Eldar Djangirov. Raised in Ohio by two parents who were both classical musicians and educated at the University of North Texas, Pope came under the influence of legendary saxophonist Michael Brecker and eventually played with him in New York City, as well as with Blood Sweat and Tears, The Gil Evans Orchestra, Manhattan Transfer, and many other jazz stars. Pope has recorded three albums, with artists ...


Barcelona Voll-Damm Internacional Jazz Festival 2014

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Barcelona Voll-Damm Internacional Jazz Festival Barcelona October 31-November 6, 2014 The 46th Barcelona Voll-Damm Internacional Jazz Festival proved once again that jazz is a crucial contemporary art form--one that encourages us to think; one that engages with many, many cultures around the world; one that can create surprise; one that can still be cool and stylish; one that can make us get up and dance and to hell with being cool and stylish. In the expert hands of Artistic Director Joan Anton Cararach and newly-appointed Festival Patron Chucho Valdés the 2014 Festival, running from mid-October ...


Sheila Jordan: Now's The Time

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Sheila Jordan, one of the last great jazz vocalists from the bebop era turns eighty six on 18 November. Happy Birthday Sheila! There's much to celebrate. The Pennsylvanian-born singer's remarkable life story has just been published--the first complete biography to cover Jordan's life and career in detail. Written by Ellen Johnson over seven years, Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) relates Jordan's life from her upbringing in real poverty and her first steps as a teenage bebopper in the late 1940s to her induction as an NEA Jazz Master in 2012. At various ...


Is it OK for artists to pay writers for reviews?

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When did it become acceptable or common practice for artists to pay for an album review? Recently, All About Jazz writers have been asked by artists--and with increasing regularity--if they would write an album review for pay. We have also encountered writers actively soliciting musicians to pay for reviews... and we think that's wrong. All About Jazz has a strict conflict of interest policy: those paid in any capacity surrounding a release--liner notes, press sheets, biographies or photos--are automatically precluded from reviewing that recording at AAJ. The same policy also precludes artists from paying contributors to ...

November 2014

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Dear Mr. P.C.: I got offered a low paying gig through an agent who's been screwing musicians royally for years. What should I do? --T.W., Atlanta Dear T.W.: Think about it: His 15% cut of a low-paying gig is just a fraction of the 15% other agents make booking high-end ones. Yet he books it anyway, taking a passionate stand for the underclass. He's so committed to the little guy that he'll even offer a band for less than the going rate, knowing that cheaper musicians need the work far ...

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