If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
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2012 was a year of stimulating music made all of the more relevant by artists who poured out their hearts and souls in diverse and compelling ways. Younger voices emerged like pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Henry Cole to deliver contemporary visions through fresh personal and cultural influences . Esteemed trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith brought his monumental four-disc project to life, inspired from events centered around America's tumultuous past within the Civil Rights Movement. Another creative exploit included the convergence of modern jazz and an influential Argentine literary work in saxophonist Miguel Zenon and pianist Laurent Coq's Rayuela(Sunnyside), dedicated to novelist Julio Cortázar's work of the same name. As always, there were simply not enough hours in the day to experience so many of the year's releases. Here are a few that made lasting impressions.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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