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Articles | Popular | Future

RADIO

Make It Big!

Read "Make It Big!" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

The boys might not be the most ambitious podcasters on the planet, but sometimes even they think big. This fortnight's excursion is all about large and extra-large ensembles, from a band trying something new in the mid-fifties to a tribute group wrestling with the music of one of jazz's greatest composers to three -count 'em--brand new albums with fifteen or more musicians digging in. After that extra-long discussion of plus-size organizations, just a little time remains to discuss Pat's favorite ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Charles Pillow Large Ensemble: Electric Miles

Read "Electric Miles" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The electric music Miles Davis recorded from 1969 and into the 1970s was a game-changing event in jazz, a steamy, mysterious, ever-evolving soup of improvisation, rock, funk and electronics that launched numerous careers and inspired subsequent generations of musicians across genres. Its influence shows in the numbers of players who have since studied, dissected and interpreted this material in their own ways. Alto saxophonist Charles Pillow has adapted Davis' work for a full-scale big band but with mixed results.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Charles Pillow Large Ensemble: Electric Miles

Read "Electric Miles" reviewed by Jack Bowers

So how does trumpeter Miles Davis' post-1969 “electric period" translate to a big-band format? About as well as could be expected, thanks to leader Charles Pillow's bright arrangements for his New York-based Large Ensemble. Davis' seminal Columbia albums from 1969-1972--In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Live at Fillmore East, Live-Evil, On the Corner--are considered by many to have ushered in the jazz / rock / fusion era, which could be a good thing or otherwise, depending on one's point of ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Charles Pillow Large Ensemble: Electric Miles

Read "Electric Miles" reviewed by Mark Corroto

You thought not, but you can put the genie back in the bottle. What we're talking about is the specter unleashed by Miles Davis with Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970). Davis' expanded lineup for BB with ten-plus musicians, including the electric pianos of Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, and Larry Young, Bennie Maupin playing bass clarinet, a young guitarist John McLaughlin, two bassists, percussion, and more percussion, and oh yeah, Wayne Shorter's saxophone was ever present. Charles Pillow did that with his ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Triocity: I Believe In You

Read "I Believe In You" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Here's a formula we've all seen before: take three musicians and let them loose on a program of standards and Great American Songbook chestnuts. It sounds all too simple and pedestrian, right? Guess again. When you're talking about the combined creative forces of multi-reedist Charles Pillow, bassist Jeff Campbell, and drummer Rich Thompson, the potential of said endeavor changes drastically. The whole is most certainly greater than the sum of its parts when those musicians come together as Triocity, and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Charles Pillow: Van Gogh Letters

Read "Van Gogh Letters" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Those who like Debussy's Nocturnes will love what this trio does on the crossover Van Gogh Letters. Three master musicians venture into saxophonist Charles Pillow's softly articulated, impressionistic/minimalist tone poems. Inspired by Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, Pillow translates the great artist's phrases and sentences into painterly sounds evocative of a quieter, less-pressured epoch. The trio embarks on a journey through the varied places and moods that the gentle, saintly, and troubled Van Gogh saw and painted with intense beauty ...

INTERVIEWS

Charles Pillow: Sound Crafter

Read "Charles Pillow: Sound Crafter" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Charles Pillow is a musician's musician who works with diverse ensembles from jazz to pops to classical, small group to large ensemble, straight-ahead to avant-garde. He grew up in Baton Rouge, La., and studied music at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, before eventually settling in the New York City area as a working professional.He has worked with groups, vocalists, and leaders as varied as Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, Jay Z, Broadway pit orchestras, Mariah Carey and ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Charles Pillow: Part 3 - The Planets

Read "Charles Pillow: Part 3 - The Planets" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Charles Pillow The PlanetsArtistShare2007 This review follows Charles Pillow: Part 1--Crossing the Divide between Jazz and Classical Repertoire, an introduction to the work of the reed player and composer, and Charles Pillow: Part 2--Pictures At An Exhibition (ArtistShare, 2005), a review of another Pillow disc. Gustav Mahler said that a symphony should form a universe. If not ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Charles Pillow: Part 2 - Pictures at an Exhibition

Read "Charles Pillow: Part 2 - Pictures at an Exhibition" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Charles PillowPictures At An ExhibitionArtistShare2005 This review follows Charles Pillow: Part 1--Crossing the Divide between Jazz and Classical Repertoire, introducing the reed player and composer's work, and is followed by Charles Pillow: Part 3--The Planets a review of a second Pillow disc, The Planets (Artist Share, 2007). Pictures at an Exhibition, made in 2003 but not released until two years later, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Charles Pillow: Part 1 - Crossing the Divide between Jazz and Classical Repertoire

Read "Charles Pillow: Part 1 - Crossing the Divide between Jazz and Classical Repertoire" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 While jazz began as a form of entertainment, it has evolved into a more serious musical genre. Its multiple roots in gospel, blues, popular, folk, Caribbean, African, and other world musics give it a complexity and richness tailor-made for extended musical explorations and through-composing. In addition, jazz musicians have made use of the music of Debussy, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Bartok and other classical composers as they search for new ways to ...