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Meet Dan McClenaghan

AAJ Staff By

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I currently live in: Oceanside, CA

I joined All About Jazz in: 2002

What made you decide to contribute to All About Jazz? I'd always sought out the reviews in the print magazines. Cruising the web, I found All About Jazz and liked it. I contacted Michael Ricci to see if he could use another reviewer. He said yes.

How do you contribute to All About Jazz? I write CD reviews, the occasional concert review, the occasional interview.

What is your musical background? One year of clarinet in the school band. One year of honor choir in high school.

What was the first record you bought that you would still listen to today? Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia Records, 1965). I was thirteen years old. It was the first album length record I bought. The first "record" I bought was the 45 rpm "Wild Weekend" by the Rockin' Rebels. Great tenor sax on that one. The first jazz album I bought was Chico Hamilton's The Dealer (Impulse! Records, 1967)

What type of jazz do you enjoy listening to the most? Mostly mainstream, from Charlie Parker forward. A lot of the "free jazz." A good percentage of ECM Records output. There's not much I don't like. Ok, I've never warmed up much to fusion, with a few exceptions.

Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy? I go on a blues kick every once in a while: Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter. I still like most of Bob Dylan's music. I listen to The Band, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra. I listened to The Beatles so much coming up (I wore several of their albums out) that I don't go there much anymore, though I still think it's great music.

What are you listening to right now? All of pianist Hal Galper's trio sets from Origin Records; a bunch of alto saxophonist Lee Konitz' records, very early stuff and his most recent; Anthony Branker's Uppity (Origin Records, 2013) and Together (Origin Records, 2013)

Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste? Hal Galper's Airegin (Origin Records, 2012); Live at Birdland (ECM Records, 2011), by Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/ Charlie Haden/Paul Motian; Muku (Libra Records, 2012), Satoko Fuji and Natsuki Tamura; Modern Music (Nonesuch Records, 2011), Brad Mehldau/Kevin Hays; Spark of Being (Greenleaf Music, 2011), Dave Douglas and Keystone.

What inspired you to write about jazz? Reading reviews of records I loved where I thought the reviewer got it dead wrong. I thought I could do a better job.

What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies? I love to bodysurf. I live near the ocean in Southern California, and I spend a lot of time riding the waves in the summer. My wife and I go to Hawaii (when we can afford it) to ride Point Panic and Makapu and Sandy Beach on Oahu. I'm getting old, though, and Sandy Beach may be a thing of the past. It's a little too intense for a sixty year old guy. Same with Oahu's North Shore—too big and dangerous. Also, I have five grandhildren who all live nearby. We like to spend time with them.

What role does jazz music play in your life? Huge. I listen every day.

How does writing about jazz contribute to the music itself? I hope I can give readers enough information about the music to help them decide where they want to spend their CD money.

What do you like most about All About Jazz? The inclusiveness. I've learned about so much music I'd never come across before.

What positives have come from your association with All About Jazz? I've been introduced to so much new and different music, and I've had the chance to meet so many of the artists that I admire.

Dan McClenaghan at All About Jazz.

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