In the Artist's Own Words

Bobby Sanabria: West Side Story Reimagined

Read "Bobby Sanabria: West Side Story Reimagined" reviewed by Bobby Sanabria

West Side Story holds a special place in my heart. I first saw the movie as a young boy when my parents José and Juanita took me and my sister Joanne to the luxurious Loews Paradise on the Grand Concourse in my hometown Da' Bronx in celebration of the film's 10th anniversary. At that time there wasn't anything that acknowledged the contributions we had made, let alone the existence of NYC's Puerto Rican community, other than articles about gangs and crime ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

But Beautiful: My Life with Billie Holiday

Read "But Beautiful: My Life with Billie Holiday" reviewed by Lara Downes

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

Read "The Most Beautiful Thing" reviewed by Michael Bisio

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"

Read "Steve Khan: The Making of "Parting Shot"" reviewed by Steve Khan

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

Read "Wayne Wallace: The Thrill of the Grammys" reviewed by Wayne Wallace

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

Read "Bill Dixon: Excerpts from Vade Mecum" reviewed by AAJ Staff

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

Read "Bassist Jeff Berlin Pays Tribute to Charlie Banacos" reviewed by Jeff Berlin

[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

Read "Mark O'Leary: Plucking the Flower" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

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

Read "Venissa Santi: Reflections on the Cuban Roots of Bienvenida" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

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 ...

Steve Khan: Reflections on the Making of "Borrowed Time"

Read "Steve Khan: Reflections on the Making of "Borrowed Time"" reviewed by Steve Khan

[Editor's Note: With the critical acclaim for Steve Khan's first album as a leader in ten years, The Green Field (Tone Center, 2006), hopes were high that another decade wouldn't have to pass before the guitarist moved forward with another project. With the release of Borrowed Time (Tone Center, 2007), Khan leverages on the successes of The Green Field with an album that's more ambitious in scope. Alongside the returning core trio featuring bassist John Patitucci and ...

Don Alias: A Tribute

Read "Don Alias: A Tribute" reviewed by Mike Brannon

World-class conguero, salsero, drummer and percussionist extraordinaire, Charles Donald Alias was born on Christmas Day, 1939--though obviously the music world had yet to know the gift it had received.

With a half century and most of his life spent in music, Alias not only performed across a profound cross-section of modern music but was a catalyst in its forging. It's a deep honor that's tempered with great sadness to share this loss and to be responsible for Alias' last interview. ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Steve Khan: Reflections on the Making of "The Green Field"

Read "Steve Khan: Reflections on the Making of "The Green Field"" reviewed by Steve Khan

[Editors Note: In this, the first of a new series dedicated to giving artists an unedited forum to speak completely with their own voice, veteran guitarist Steve Khan reflects on the making of his new album, The Green Field (Tone Center, 2006)--his first as a leader in nine years. Khan emerged in the 1970s as part of the New York scene that included Randy and Michael Brecker, Don Grolnick and many others. He released three fine fusion ...


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