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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Interviews

April 16, 2014

Chuck Israels: Tribute to Bill Evans

Chuck Israels: Tribute to Bill Evans

By ROBIN ARENDS

Isn't it nice to meet someone who takes time for a good chat in these hectic times? Especially if this person has a lot to tell, carries the living memory of an important part of jazz history, and is called Chuck Israels? Bassist/arranger/composer Chuck Israels is in expansive form for this interview conducted in a room of a former monastery in Oegstgeest, a small town in the Netherlands near the North Sea. He is happy to be reunited again with his long-time friend and pianist Hod O'Brien. During the interview, in the small hall beneath the room, Margot, ...

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April 14, 2014

Brian Blade: Fellowship - More Than Just a Word

Brian Blade: Fellowship - More Than Just a Word

By JOHN KELMAN

In the 21st century, few drummers have managed Brian Blade's kind of crossover success. Beyond playing in saxophonist Wayne Shorter's quartet for nearly 15 years, beyond being a first-call drummer for producer/singer/songwriter Daniel Lanois--whether it's for his own projects like Black Dub or working with everyone from Bob Dylan to EmmyLou Harris--and beyond also being on-call with some of the most important names in modern music (not just jazz, but music) like Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, John Scofield and Kenny Werner, Blade has forged a dual-career as both the co-founder of his more jazz-centric The Fellowship Band, and as an ...

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April 10, 2014

Justin Faulkner: Serving the Music

Justin Faulkner: Serving the Music

By PAUL NASER

The rare balance of passionate ambition and mature dedication that are the hallmark of young professionals puts them in a category all their own. More often than not they began honing their skills at an early age and it seems as if life conspired to help them succeed. Justin Faulkner, the young drummer for the legendary Branford Marsalis's band, has a story that fits this description to a T. At 23 years of age, it's remarkable how many achievements he has under his belt. Yet one of the first things one notices upon talking to him is how ...

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April 7, 2014

Billy Hart: Welcoming New, Loving Old, Sounds

Billy Hart: Welcoming New, Loving Old, Sounds

By R.J. DELUKE

The ubiquitous drummer Billy Hart brings a special energy to the many projects of which he is a part. A band leader, composer and educator, he's been on hundreds of albums. He has taken the stage with countless bands, adding his rhythmic pulse to formations led by a litany of the biggest names in the business. And at each concert, when Hart is being introduced by whomever the leader--Christian McBride, Eliane Elias, Joe Lovano, the Cookers--they always do so beaming with pleasure. It never fails. It's always done with a sense of genuine warmth. They know Hart has ...

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April 3, 2014

Maria Schneider: Going Her Own Way

Maria Schneider: Going Her Own Way

By VICTOR L. SCHERMER

Maria Schneider is widely considered one of the finest contemporary band leaders, composers, and arrangers. For two decades, The Maria Schneider Orchestra has generated excitement and sometimes surprise, at club dates, concerts, and festivals and with GRAMMY-winning records on the ArtistShare label, where Schneider pioneered in the process of commissioning recordings by giving subscribers an inside look at the creative process. Recently, her venture into classical music with the recording, Winter Morning Walks (ArtistShare, 2013), featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw and the Australian and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, won three Grammy Awards, including “best contemporary classical composition." Scbneider learned ...

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March 31, 2014

Ambrose Akinmusire: Painting Saviors

Ambrose Akinmusire: Painting Saviors

By DANMICHAEL REYES

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (pronounced ah-kin-MOO-sir-ee) is as imaginative as the sonic soundscapes he creates and as informative as the titles that he bestows on his songs. Ambrose Akinmusire's allure stems from the complexity of his albums; a complexity that requires the listener to fully participate and engage with the artist and ask questions as to who the characters are, what events are taking place, and the emotions that the composer is trying to convey. This type of intricacy is the one that jazz was once associated with, not the one that has left audiences complaining that the music is too ...

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March 29, 2014

Nicky Schrire: On Songs, Spaces And Places

Nicky Schrire: On Songs, Spaces And Places

By DAN BILAWSKY

What defines power? That's a tough question to answer in general, and an even harder one to figure out when it comes to the world of music. For in music, a whisper may carry greater weight than a roar, an honest gesture can outdo a demonstration of brute strength and technique, and a direct message to the heart can mean more than a shot of adrenaline aimed at the same place. It's the sonorous David-topples-Goliath scenario, where vocalists with strong artistic inclinations and pure intentions--like Nicky Schrire--come out on top. Schrire, who was born in jny: London ...

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March 19, 2014

Ed Palermo: Not Only In It For The Money

Ed Palermo: Not Only In It For The Money

By DUNCAN HEINING

It's been twenty years since saxophonist-composer-arranger Ed Palermo and his Big Band began playing the music of Frank Zappa. Twenty years, not a lot of bread but a whole lot of love from fans and musicians alike. Oh No! Not Jazz!! on Cuneiform Records marks the band's fourth Zappa album and the third for that remarkable independent label but it also adds something new to the mix. It's a double CD set with the second CD devoted to Palermo's own stuff and proof, were it needed, of the diversity of his talent. Palermo's career began in jny: Chicago ...

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March 17, 2014

Gerard D'Angelo: Who's Kidding Who?

Gerard D'Angelo: Who's Kidding Who?

By DANMICHAEL REYES

The old adage about those who can do and those who can't teach doesn't fit nicely into any music tradition. If this fallacy were to hold true, then it would be best for music history books to write off Joseph Haydn for taking on pupils--Beethoven being one of the more famous ones. That old idiom penned by George Bernard Shaw doesn't hold up for traditional Western music, it doesn't hold up for other musical traditions where practitioners are required to go through an apprenticeship with a master, and it certainly will not hold up against the jazz tradition. Without great ...

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March 13, 2014

Hans Ulrik: Still Searching

Hans Ulrik: Still Searching

By ROBIN ARENDS

It is not easy to classify Danish saxophonist Hans Ulrik. He dedicates himself as easily to movie soundtracks and jingles as to an album of Latin or Christmas music. At the same time it is not difficult to recognize Ulrik's dreamy, Nordic voice. Like other European jazz musicians Ulrik started his career in the United States. While studying in Berklee in the mid 1980's he built up a network of jazz musicians and later on, back in Denmark, made good use of it by recording several albums with people like John Scofield, Gary Peacock and Peter Erskine. Ulrik has led ...

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March 3, 2014

Franklin Kiermyer: Joy And Consequence

Franklin Kiermyer: Joy And Consequence

By IAN PATTERSON

The tradition. It's common jazz terminology. What does it mean, though, to be “in the tradition"? The term usually confers on the musician a stamp of authenticity and infers working knowledge of the dominant idiom, as typified by the jazz cannon. It also perhaps implies a certain orthodoxy. It's strange to think, however, that a music that has always celebrated the innovative and reified its trailblazers, places so much emphasis upon allegiance to the tradition. For drummer Franklin Kiermyer “the tradition"-- his tradition--encompasses not so much a style of music as the intent behind making it and the ...

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February 24, 2014

Jane Ira Bloom: Ballad Vistas

Jane Ira Bloom: Ballad Vistas

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Jane Ira Bloom's career has been defined by experiment, whether exploring the outer reaches of space with NASA, the inner world of Jackson Pollock, or the technological cutting edge of telematics and surround sound. Her recent release Sixteen Sunsets combined the subtle artistry of ballad performance with the latest in surround sound techniques, resulting in a critically acclaimed, sumptuous collection. All About Jazz: Your latest album Sixteen Sunsets has received a lot of attention. How did you decide to do an album of ballads? Jane Ira Bloom: It had been percolating for awhile. On just about ...

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