Articles by R.J. DeLuke

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Live Review

Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival 2021

Read "Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival 2021" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival Saratoga Performing Arts Center Saratoga Springs, NY June 26-27, 2021 The possibility of Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival returning this year was shaky in the spring months of 2021. COVID was showing signs of remission, but troubles still lingered. Both Danny Melnick, president of Absolutely Live Entertainment, which produces the festival at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol had their doubts, but worked hard behind ...

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Interview

Ulysses Owens: Big Band, Big Sound

Read "Ulysses Owens: Big Band, Big Sound" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


Some jazz drummers, as remarkable as they may be and as successful as their careers are, just aren't suited to drive a big band. It's not for every percussionist. But every big band needs a good one or the effort will fall short. A ship needs a rudder. Ulysses Owens Jr., who started beating out rhythms at home at the age of two, is one of those. His superlative skills have contributed mightily to groups led by Kurt ...

8

Interview

Fabia Mantwill: Realizing a Dream

Read "Fabia Mantwill: Realizing a Dream" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


As a child in Germany, it seemed clear Fabia Mantwill would do something in the field of music. She went to a musical kindergarten. That's how early on she was touched by the arts. At the age of 6, she was taking classical piano lessons. By age 10, it was on to saxophone. Now in Berlin, she is a young composer, saxophonist and singer of considerable talent. Her parents were not musicians, but music always intrigued and inspired ...

6

Interview

Rickie Lee Jones: Peg Leg’s Granddaughter Rises Above

Read "Rickie Lee Jones:  Peg Leg’s Granddaughter Rises Above" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour, the memoir of the eminent Rickie Lee Jones, is not a collection of stories about the famous singer who sprouted from the hippie era under the radar before blazing like a shooting star across the American sky with her self-titled debut album that contained the megahit “Chuck E's in Love." Of course, Jones is that person and that story of a meteoric rise, quickly surpassing friends like Tom Waits in ...

5

Interview

Samara Joy: Ascension Into Jazz

Read "Samara Joy: Ascension Into Jazz" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


When Samara Joy performs, she takes her place, stands confidently and sings. Immediately the strength and richness of her voice—which is natural—grabs the attention of the listener. There are no gyrations. It's refreshing that a young artist doesn't see the need for unnecessary vocal gymnastics. Too often, those can miss the mark. Her style has a certain clarity and directness of emotion. She's only 21 and graduated just this May from SUNY Purchase, a state college north of ...

9

Interview

John Pizzarelli: The Metheny Project

Read "John Pizzarelli: The Metheny Project" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


Guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli has been a road warrior in a long career spanning some five decades. He's known for following in the footsteps of his father, the great jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, as a champion of the Great American Songbook working with classic jazz musicians and singers. He eventually became one of those singers that keeps classic works alive: a crooner, at times, who can also play music from well beyond the swing era. He cuts it as ...

5

Interview

Joe Lovano: Finding New Adventures

Read "Joe Lovano: Finding New Adventures" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


The loss of gig and the accompanying income stream, caused by the insidious and evil coronavirus, has hurt musicians across all genres. It has separated them from friends and band mates, from projects and from going to special places—physically and artistically. Coping with it is the order of the day. It has created some dark moments and also shed light on the characteristic of resiliency that dwells in the human spirit. Creativity, the hallmark of jazz, has kept ...


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