The Jazz Life

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

The Jazz Life is a monthly column that aims to be a different take on how we write and read about jazz–stories of individual experiences, funny, sad, maddening and profound. A community talking to itself about what’s really important, or at least interesting to its members.

THE JAZZ LIFE

How to Play a Tin Whistle Like Michael Brecker

Read "How to Play a Tin Whistle Like Michael Brecker" reviewed by Peter Rubie

I was talking to a musician friend of mine the other day, asking her how her move from Brooklyn to Forrest Hills was going. She said, “I love it! I love the neighborhood and best of all, musically, I'm not running any more jam sessions at the moment, just doing gigs—and practicing! It's great." And practicing is a high for me as well. I miss it when I don't do it. Given that we are all wrestling with ...

THE JAZZ LIFE

My First Visit to China

Read "My First Visit to China" reviewed by Gene Perla

It all started with Dome. That's drummer Adam Nussbaum. Decades had gone by without the opportunity to musically connect with him, but then Dave Liebman and I decided to put together a quartet called New Light. In 2014, along with saxophonist Adam Niewood, we hit three NYC area jazz clubs followed by a concert at Clarke University in 2015. In 2016 we played NYC and toured Europe, and in 2017 we headlined at the Santiago Jazz Festival and appeared at ...

THE JAZZ LIFE

Scenes From a Life in Jazz, Part 2: Life on the Road

Read "Scenes From a Life in Jazz, Part 2: Life on the Road" reviewed by Duncan Lamont

Part 1 | Part 2 Duncan Lamont was one of the UK's musical treasures. He passed away unexpectedly, a couple of days before his upcoming 88th birthday on July 4th, 2019, having done a gig at the 606 Club in London the night before. I'd known and admired who he was for years and we had several close mutual musical acquaintances. I finally got to play with him at The Pizza Express in Soho, London in 2018. Sammy ...

THE JAZZ LIFE

Scenes From The Life Of A Young Jazz Musician

Read "Scenes From The Life Of A Young Jazz Musician" reviewed by Jack Wilkins

Foreword Jack Wilkins is an iconic jazz guitarists of the 1970s who is still playing his ass off today, after a career leading and accompanying a host of groups with musicians such as Stan Getz, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy McGriff, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Phil Woods, and the Brecker Brothers to mention just a handful. One thing about Jack that many people don't know was that as young musician he also played vibes ...

THE JAZZ LIFE

To Dream the Impossible Dream: the quest for a music education

Read "To Dream the Impossible Dream: the quest for a music education" reviewed by Peter Rubie

I've been thinking a lot about how jazz is taught recently. I realize now, my search for a real musical education was not a simple thing, but a series of life changing moments. My son, on the other hand, is planning to study music in college after he finishes high school. Though it would fill his grandparents with dread were they still around to see it, to Ben and his peers it is a natural choice, focused on finding the ...

THE JAZZ LIFE

A Professional Jazz Musician? Really? What's That?

Read "A Professional Jazz Musician? Really? What's That?" reviewed by Peter Rubie

I've been around as a musician long enough to understand when a promoter or booker ghosts me. “Yeah, sure, send me an email," they say in that sincere way that sounds like someone saying, “Of course I love you" just to shut you up. It comes with the territory, and a musician has to be Zen about the whole thing. Getting work as a professional freelance artist has always been like trying to join an exclusive club you can usually ...

THE JAZZ LIFE

Jazz and the Rules of the Knife Fight

Read "Jazz and the Rules of the Knife Fight" reviewed by Peter Rubie

There's a great scene near the beginning of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, when Butch (Paul Newman) returns to the Hole in the Wall Gang and is challenged for leadership of the gang. As Butch and Harvey face off, Butch says to his enormous opponent, “Let's get the rules straight first." Harvey straightens in surprise for a moment and says, “Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!" The script then says, “Butch delivers the most aesthetically exquisite kick in ...


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