Jazzmatazz

In 1993 the late, legendary rapper Guru, released the first of his four-part series of Jazzmatazz albums. The visionary album was one of the first to combine a live jazz band, featuring trumpet player Donald Byrd, Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers, with a hip-hop artist. In honor of that album, this column will explore the great collaborations between jazz musicians and non-jazz musicians. Along with jazz musicians collaborating with artists directly, we will also be taking a look at how hip hop and electronic producers have sampled jazz musicians, to create something new.

JAZZMATAZZ

Jazz, Zen, and Hip-Hop: The 2019 Montreal Jazz Festival

Read "Jazz, Zen, and Hip-Hop: The 2019 Montreal Jazz Festival" reviewed by Matt Hooke

Exploring the grounds of the Montreal Jazz Festival is like going to all you can eat Las Vegas buffet. “Look over there at table four; there's Dixieland. Wait at table six, there's Latin jazz, supposedly the main table as a new head chef, let's go there." You can stuff yourself by going to more than ten concerts during a single 13-hour day at the festival. The best part is that all of the outdoor concerts, over ...

JAZZMATAZZ

Remembering Dr. John

Read "Remembering Dr. John" reviewed by Matt Hooke

Dr. John, Ph'd in jny: New Orleans piano with a minor in voodoo, died at the age 77 on June 6. Dr. John honored his roots, learned from masters like Professor Longhair, and added his own special herbs to create a gumbo that can never be recreated, even if someone manages to find a recipe. Dr. John was born Mac Rebennack, a name that makes one wonder why he thought he would need an alias in the first place. Rebennack's ...

JAZZMATAZZ

Joni Mitchell's Amelia: A Flight through Love

Read "Joni Mitchell's Amelia: A Flight through Love" reviewed by Matt Hooke

On its surface, it looks plain. In the annals of popular song, there are many love songs dedicated to a particular girl, Van Morrisons' “Gloria," Rod Stewarts' “Maggie May," Eric Claptons' “Layla," but Joni Mitchell's ode to Amelia Earhart is different. The lost aviator is not the target of Michell's affections, but her therapist. Mitchell sees herself reflected in the myth of Earhart. Unlike the songs mentioned above, “Amelia" doesn't beg for someone's love, hope for something new, ...

JAZZMATAZZ

Sun Ra Nuclear War: A Smooth Soundtrack to the Apocalypse

Read "Sun Ra Nuclear War: A Smooth Soundtrack to the Apocalypse" reviewed by Matt Hooke

With threats of our impending doom through nuclear hellfire seemingly increasing by the day. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my favorite Sun Ra songs, “Nuclear War." A song so smooth and hilarious it almost makes you welcome the apocalypse. “Nuclear War" was released twice, initially on the 1982 album of the same name, and then a second time a year later on A Fireside Chat with Lucifer since on both ...

JAZZMATAZZ

Remembering Walter Becker

Read "Remembering Walter Becker" reviewed by Matt Hooke

Steely Dan combined rock and jazz in a way no other artist has ever done. Their music is not simply “jazzers slumming it" to make profitable rock recordings, but a precise blend of the two genres that shows the musicians love for both. On Sunday one of the two architects of Steely Dan, Walter Becker, died at the age of 67. Becker co-wrote all of the bands material with lead singer Donald Fagen, including radio classics like “Aja," ...


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