Jazz Articles

Daily articles including interviews, profiles, live reviews, film reviews and more... all carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. You can find more articles by searching our website, see what's trending on our popular articles page or read articles ahead of their published dates on our future articles page.

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Album Review

Mark Masters: Masters & Baron Meet Blanton & Webster

Read "Masters & Baron Meet Blanton & Webster" reviewed by Jack Bowers


It is an absolute pleasure to hear several of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn's classic charts for Ellington's celebrated 1940-42 Blanton-Webster orchestra (named for a pair of its stars, bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster) adeptly rescored for a twenty-first century ensemble by the superlative arranger Mark Masters. And to ice the cake, the Masters ensemble welcomes to its ranks Art Baron, the last trombonist hired by Ellington, who anchored the plunger chair from 1973 until Ellington's death ...

1

Album Review

Mark Masters: Our Metier

Read "Our Metier" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


There are a lot of fine composers writing for large jazz ensembles today, so many that some names can get lost in the shuffle. Mark Masters is a case in point. You don'r hear about him often, possibly because many of his recordings feature his ensembles playing the music of other composers like trombonist Grachan Moncur III, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. However the music on Our Metier all comes from Masters' own pen and it ...

3

Album Review

Mark Masters Ensemble: Our Metier

Read "Our Metier" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Mark Masters, an extraordinarily talented and perhaps undersung arranger of large ensembles jazz, has spent a good deal of artistic energy on crafting recordings that explore other people's compositions. His Capri Records output includes The Clifford Brown Project (2003), celebrating the sounds of the too-soon-gone trumpet legend; Porgy and Bess (2005), from the George Gershwin songbook; One Day With Lee (2004), a celebration of alto saxophonist Lee Konitz; Farewell Walter Dewey Redman (2008), a nod to another great sax man; ...

5

Album Review

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Blue Skylight

Read "Blue Skylight" reviewed by Jack Bowers


California-based composer / arranger Mark Masters, who has already recorded salutes to Clifford Brown, Jimmy Knepper, Dewey Redman, Steely Dan, the Gershwin brothers and even the Duke Ellington saxophone section, directs his attention and considerable talents this time around to the music of a pair of legendary jazz trend-setters who were in many respects polar opposites: bassist Charles Mingus and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. To amplify his purpose, Masters made two pivotal decisions, each of which serves to ...

9

Album Review

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Blue Skylight

Read "Blue Skylight" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Mark Masters has made his name in the banderleader/arranger arena fronting The Mark Master Ensemble, in various forms, with personal tributes to past masters: saxophonist Dewey Redman, Duke Ellington, trumpeter Clifford Brown, and present master, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, who played as the featured artist on One Day With Lee (Capri Records (2000). These are all top notch recordings, affording Masters the opportunity to craft his own beguiling interpretations of the artistries of recognized giants of jazz. With ...

3

Album Review

The Mark Masters Ensemble: Everything You Did: The Music of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen

Read "Everything You Did: The Music of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Another tribute album from leader / arranger Mark Masters whose splendid ensemble has previously paid homage to trumpeter Clifford Brown, saxophonist Lee Konitz, trombonist Jimmy Knepper and the Gershwin brothers (Porgy & Bess Redefined). This time around it's the music of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, better known by their collective name, Steely Dan. The album, says Masters, is “a quartet recording with an ensemble," and said foursome is comprised of trumpeter Tim Hagans, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, bassist Hamilton ...

4

Album Review

Mark Masters: Everything You Did

Read "Everything You Did" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Rock band Steely Dan released Pretzel Logic (ABC) in 1974. The album was big, one its most successful. But with younger audiences unfamiliar with jazz, the disc surely must have caused some confusion, along the lines of: “What in the world is this 'East St. Louis Toodle-oo?' And what are they talking about with 'Parker's Band?'" The former tune, a three-minute instrumental, closed out side one and it was, of course, from the pen of composer/bandleader Duke Ellington. The latter, ...


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