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In the Artist's Own Words

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

But Beautiful: My Life with Billie Holiday

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Every Saturday morning, when I was a little girl, my sisters and I went to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for what we called “Saturday Classes": piano lessons, theory, music history--serious classical music training for serious little musicians. Saturday afternoons, when we got home, we had a ritual. We'd get out our “dress-up" from the vintage steamer trunk that housed a collection of my mother's 1960's party dresses and my grandmother's furs, go through my parents' record collection--the Beatles, ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

The Most Beautiful Thing

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For me music is full of magic, mystery, spirituality, joy, passion and fire, blue to red, yet my journey to conceptualize finds me chasing the most objective truths I can discover, truths stripped of every aesthetic element possible. In High School during an intro to theory class my teacher announced: music is sound in time. We tapped metal chairs with pencils, scratched blackboards until they screamed, and poked and prodded classmates hoping for squeals of surprise, trying to discover music ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Steve Khan: The Making of "Parting Shot"

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The term, “parting shot" can certainly be interpreted in any number of ways. Perhaps for most of us, it would be best defined like this: “a threat, insult, condemnation, sarcastic retort, or, gesture delivered while departing." I choose to view it as the latter, thinking of a light punch to the shoulder as the final gesture! This interpretation led me to invent my own Spanish title: “Golpe de partida." I think that someone else would have chosen, “La última palabra"--the ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Wayne Wallace: The Thrill of the Grammys

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I have had the honor of performing on four Grammy-nominated recordings. Mister E, by Pete Escovedo, S.F. Bay, by the Machete Ensemble, Then Some, by Steve Berrios, and Far East Suite, by Anthony Brown and the Asian American Orchestra. This was my second time being a part of a Grammy presentation, but my first as the leader of a nominated project, let alone as a presenter for the Pre-Telecast Awards ceremony. I arrived at LAX on Saturday ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Bill Dixon: Excerpts from Vade Mecum

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Introduction by AAJ Contributor Clifford Allen.

It is rare in the climate of this music to be presented with a view of an artist that is truly multifaceted, even though the collected works of most artists operate at a number of levels and, on occasion, in a number of media. Bill Dixon is probably best known as a trumpeter and composer; he is also a visual artist, professor (Bennington College, 1968-1996), and has created an expansive body of written material, ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Bassist Jeff Berlin Pays Tribute to Charlie Banacos

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[Editor's note: Bassist Jeff Berlin first emerged in the early 1970s with artists including Gil Evans, Ray Barretto, Pee Wee Ellis and Don Pullen. But it was his fusion work with British drummer Bill Bruford on albums including Feels Good to Me (Winterfold, 1977) and One of a Kind (Winterfold, 1979) that he gained greater international exposure and a reputation as one of jazz's finest (and undervalued) electric bassists. Since that time, Berlin has released a small but significant discography ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Mark O'Leary: Plucking the Flower

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Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary emerged on the global improvised music scene in the last few years, pushing his bold vision and broad scope of musicality through constantly-changing collaborations. O'Leary can cross easily between genres, from progressive, synth-laden rock and seventies fusion to free jazz and abstract soundscapes. The guitarist's encyclopedic interests and remarkable prolificacy are amongst the many subjects he covers in this latest installment of In The Artist's Own Words. Chapter Index Beginning ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Venissa Santi: Reflections on the Cuban Roots of Bienvenida

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Singer Venissa Santi's debut, Bienvenida (Sunnyside, 2009) offers a satisfying hybrid of straight-ahead jazz with rhythms from her family's homeland, Cuba. The music is highly listenable and, in many ways, speaks for itself--even to an English-speaking audience. However, the ethnic flavorings may stimulate for some a desire to grasp the meaning of the Spanish lyrics and define the rhythmic variations that occur in the Cuban-based music. To fill the information gap for All About Jazz readers, Santi agreed to offer ...


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