Barb Jungr and the Benefits of an Open Mind

Read "Barb Jungr and the Benefits of an Open Mind" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

Music fans can generally be divided into two camps: Those who see music as a world of ever-expanding possibilities and those who see music as a small island where the only good things are the familiar things. The irony, of course, is that jazz is a music created by people in the first category but supported by many people in the second. What the folks on their small islands end up missing out on is that indescribable thrill you get ...


Paula West and the Art of Making Art

Read "Paula West and the Art of Making Art" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

Jazz singing is like a horse race. To the casual eye, all the horses in the stall look the same. But they aren't. Some have more talent. Some are better trained. Some have better jockeys. Some are more exciting to watch. But no matter what we see or don't see, what the odds might be, or how much a horse has going for it, the same rule applies. It's all about who crosses the finish line first. If ...


The Continuing Evolution of Kurt Elling

Read "The Continuing Evolution of Kurt Elling" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

"I feel like at this point in my career I don't have to prove that I can do fifteen different things to greater or lesser degrees of expertise." Kurt Elling is discussing the genesis of his latest record, Flirting With Twilight. “I've made these roller coaster rides every time," says the Chicago-based jazz singer referring to his four Grammy-nominated CDs on the Blue Note label. “Even on This Time, It's Love there were still these elements of the ...


Starting Over with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Read "Starting Over with Dee Dee Bridgewater" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

In jazz, as in life, the most interesting path between two points is rarely a straight line. Consider the acclaimed jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater For much of the 1990s, Bridgewater engaged in what was arguably the decade's most dynamic, comprehensive and witty exploration of the idea of the human voice as an instrument. Along the way, she packed clubs and concert halls, released several commercially successful CDs, and became a fixture at the Grammy awards and in jazz polls. ...


Tierney Sutton: An Instrumentalist’s Singer

Read "Tierney Sutton: An Instrumentalist’s Singer" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

"Jazz demands something of you," says Tierney Sutton. The Los Angeles based singer is discussing the challenge of selling complicated, improvised music in a culture addicted to simple, pre-packaged formulas. “Being barraged in the media teaches people not to engage, not to seek great art, not to listen with their own ears, not to see with their own eyes," observes Sutton. “Jazz is this theme and variations work, and if the person who's listening is not interested in ...


The Jazz Education of Ian Shaw

Read "The Jazz Education of Ian Shaw" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

A few notable exceptions aside, great jazz musicians are not born; they are created. Most young musicians start by absorbing the work of important influences and then, through practice and live performance, decide what to keep, what to modify and what to discard. Ultimately, originality is less a byproduct of inspiration and more the end result of a process of self-editing. That has certainly been the case with the Welsh jazz vocalist Ian Shaw. Now in his late ...


Dena DeRose: No More Detours Ahead

Read "Dena DeRose: No More Detours Ahead" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

A pianist by instinct, a jazz musician by choice and a singer by accident, Dena DeRose has emerged as one of the most captivating and distinctive new voices in mainstream jazz. Anyone who has not heard her music should not be misled by her status as a singer/pianist specializing in the Great American Songbook. DeRose is neither a Shirley Horn clone nor a Diana Krall wannabe. Although she admires a wide range of singers, including Horn ("definitely on the top ...


Carol Sloane: Setting New Standards

Read "Carol Sloane: Setting New Standards" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

In her concert appearances, Carol Sloane often sings a lovely ballad called “An Older Man is Like an Elegant Wine." Listening to Ms. Sloane extol the virtues of age and experience in a voice as soft and warm as angora wool, it is hard not to conclude that the sentiments of the lyric have an even more specific application to the art of jazz. The truth is that no matter how hot a young musician might be at a given ...


Why René Marie Can't Keep from Singing

Read "Why René Marie Can't Keep from Singing" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

"I don't like being bored while I'm singing," laughs René Marie. The Virginia-based vocalist and MAXJAZZ recording artist is explaining why she sings jazz. “You don't know what somebody's going to say, musically, or what somebody's going to do. If you go to a rock concert or pop, they want to hear the song exactly like it is on the radio. But a jazz audience is looking to hear it done a different way and I like ...


Sexteto Bernardo Moreira: Entre Paredes

Read "Sexteto Bernardo Moreira: Entre Paredes" reviewed by Pedro Keul

Very few outside the Portuguese-speaking world are familiar with the music of Carlos Paredes. The guitar virtuoso, born in 1925, started learning to play the Portuguese guitar when he was four years old, with his father, Artur Paredes, who was a master of the instrument. But throughout the years he developed a unique style, very different from his father. In 1958, Paredes was arrested by the political police (PIDE) of the Portuguese fascist regime and accused of being ...

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.