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CATCHING UP WITH

Gary Urwin: Inside the Mind of an Arranger

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The arranger of music scores is as important as a crankshaft in an engine. Yet many are destined to live in the shadows. Ralph Carmichael was subsumed by the luster of Stan Kenton. Arranger Paul Riser, who wrote the opening bars to “Dancing in the Street," is a virtual unknown. And then there is Gary Urwin. Urwin escaped the dilemma of obscurity by, as he says, “modestly giving my name to the orchestra." Fortunately, for him, the Gary ...

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Devon Allman: Chipotle Blues

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The son of Gregg Allman and Shelly Kay Jefts, our featured artist Mr. Devon Allman, was born in 1972 in Corpus Christi, Texas but grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri. Devon's musical journey and childhood was contrary to what many people assumed. There was no silver spoon and Devon did not learn how to play music by hanging out back stage at Allman Brothers concerts. In fact, Devon did not meet his father until he was in his teens. And ...

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Bobby Broom: Classic Compositions from Yesterday to Today

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What would your sensibilities say if an established jazz guitarist, supported by organ and drums, reinterpreted Seals and Crofts' “Summer Breeze," the Beatles' “Come Together," and Steely Dan's “Do It Again"? Perhaps you have heard this guitarist before with Sonny Rollins or Stanley Turrentine; maybe you heard the album where his guitar-acoustic bass-drums trio performed all Monk tunes. And now you see him leading the Organi-Sation, featuring organist Ben Paterson and drummer Kobie Watkins This ensemble's debut recording, ...

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Stefon Harris: The Tradition of Jazz

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Twenty-two years into his career, Albany, New York's Stefon Harris has fronted seven Blue Note LPs, served as co-lead on two others and recorded with a host of greats including Joshua Redman, Ry Cooder, Courtney Pine and Christian Scott. Because that's not enough for the 45-year-old, he's also a successful educator, public speaker, entrepreneur and an eloquent interview. He and I spoke last week about his upcoming Blackout album, Sonic Creed. All About Jazz: “Dat Dere," ...

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Mike Stern: Living through a Jazz Clinic

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A mop of straight hair that swings unbidden to the beat. A face weathered and creased as an old fence post. Hands ribbed by dorsal veins knotting and splitting atop the flexor tendons like highway off-ramps. Eyes lit with a hazel fire. And a slightly goofy smile you might see in a dog very glad to see you. This is Mike Stern, guitar god. Yeah, a god in a pantheon that might include John Scofield, ...

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Onaje Allan Gumbs: Dare To Dream

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Onaje Allan Gumbs is a New York based pianist, composer, lyricist, and bandleader. Gumbs' professional career began in 1971 when Leroy Kirkland introduced him to Kenny Burrell, by sharing a demo tape. The next day Gumbs received a phone call to play with Burrell at Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit. Onaje, (Gumbs) talks about the beginnings of his musical career, and the various artists, some who became friends, that he has collaborated with throughout those years. These artists have inspired ...

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Gordon Au: Untraditionally Mad About Trad

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Gordon Au draws upon a palette ranging from the traditional jazz of Louis Armstrong to the modern jazz of today. In New York, Gordon leads the Grand St. Stompers, a traditional jazz band called “a pillar of New York's hot jazz scene" by The New York Times, and appears with the Grammy-winning Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland, Dandy Wellington, and others. He is in demand around the country as a soloist (International Trumpet ...

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Michael Feinstein: Errands and Rhythm Galore

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"If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would you choose?" That's a game many of us played as we imagined chatting up apostles, prophets, and heroes from the past. With Michael Feinstein, it's not a game. He's done it. He, more than anyone else, is the jazz Boswell: observer and companion to the likes of George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Andre Previn, Ira Gershwin, Johnny Green, and many more who wrote or interpreted great ...

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Zach Brock: Jazz Violin's New Wave

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Best known for his work with Snarky Puppy, Zach Brock is among the most creative violinists of his generation. Zach Brock is bringing the violin back to center stage. Influenced by European masters of the seventies like Jean-Luc Ponty, Zbigniew Seifert, Didier Lockwood, Brock has widened his perspective from modern jazz to rock, finding a synthesis that connects classical precision with a strong melodic sense and remarkable improvisational skills. Brock has recorded and toured with the likes of Stanley Clarke ...

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Linda May Han Oh: Talent and Dedication

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Over the past decade, bassist Linda May Han Oh has been hailed as one of the most gifted bassists, bandleaders and composers of her generation. She is a virtuoso who can swing hard while keeping instrumental grace and precision, structuring her lines through a most free-flowing cascade of ideas. After completing her master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music in 2008, she recorded her debut album, Entry with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and drummer Obed Calvaire. In the following years ...