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Making The John Coltrane Jazz Festival in High Point

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John Coltrane was born in Hamlet North Carolina on September 23, 1926. When Coltrane was a young child his family moved to the town of High Point, North Carolina where he spent the first seventeen years of his life at 118 Underhill Street. Coltrane showed academic potential at Leonard Street School. Among his classmates he was known as a shy boy who was neat as well as a sharp dresser. Coltrane's situation changed drastically in the winter of ...

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George Wein: A Life and Legend in Jazz

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Last summer, in June of 2017, I had the privilege and opportunity to interview George Wein, founder and producer of the seminal Newport Jazz Festival. At 91, he was just in the process of supporting and transitioning the new artistic director Christian McBride into this demanding and critical role for the future of the Newport Jazz Festival, to ensure the continuation of the legacy. The impact of this festival has been historically felt by the jazz community for its breadth ...

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Sidney Hauser: Justice and Jubilation

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The hiring of young saxophonist Sidney Hauser, to fill the second alto saxophone chair with the prestigious Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra may seem like a musical sidenote to the history of this 17 piece ensemble that was formed in 1995. But considering the marginalization of women instrumentalists in jazz over the course of the genre's history, Hauser's appointment is impactful, and represents only the second full time appointment in the history of SRJO. While the hiring of a ...

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Michael Leonhart: Surfing on an Orchestral Wave

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If one were to find an answer to the age-old “nature or nurture" debate, s/he would have to look no further than The Painted Lady Suite [Sunnyside Records]. Listening to the stunning debut album by the Michael Leonhart Orchestra makes it clear that major achievements are only possible when nature and nurture are well integrated and perfectly balanced. Take Michael Leonhart, an artist blessed by nature with a superior talent that was nurtured by a musical family. His ...

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Nicky Schrire: Permission to Be Yourself

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To follow the recordings of Cape Town-based vocalist and composer Nicky Schrire is to watch an artist evolve right in front of your eyes. With her 2012 debut Freedom Flight, Schrire demonstrated a supple soprano vocal technique and a knack for intelligent arrangements of unusual repertoire choices. Following it up the next year with Space and Time, she showed an uncanny ability to pare songs and performances down to their very essence, cutting away to reveal emotional truths ...

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Monika Herzig: A Portrait of a Hero

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German-born and US-based pianist, author and composer Monika Herzig released her most accomplished work to date the sublime Sheroes in March of 2018. This cohesive album is a celebration of women in music and particularly jazz, on it Herzig's group of women instrumentalists stimulatingly interpret several originals and two covers. Herzig has a doctorate in music education and is a Senior Lecturer at Indiana University in Bloomington. She also has authored two books and has several recordings both as a ...

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Thandi Ntuli: On Exile

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South African pianist, composer, and vocalist Thandi Ntuli entered 2018 not with a bang, but with a thermonuclear blast. At the close of 2017, she had been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist Award in Jazz, anointing her as the latest figure in an incredible lineage of South African Jazz artists to receive the honor. For any artist, that award alone would serve as a marker for a banner year. However, Ntuli also ...

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Ron Korb: Pan-Global Flutist

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In a 20-year career, Grammy nominated flutist Ron Korb has experienced the lows and highs of a touring musician. He's been stuck in the Panamanian jungle when the bus transporting he and his band to their show broke down, leaving them teetering on the top of a hillside for hours in the blazing sun while repairs were done. Yet, he's also had many experiences to treasure, such as when he performed a concert for 3000 people at the historic Heian ...

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Yakhal' Inkomo: A South African Masterpiece at Fifty

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On July 23, 1968, a now-legendary recording session took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, one that would ultimately prove a defining moment in the country's Jazz history and development. Led by tenor saxophonist Winston Mankunku Ngozi, a quartet that included pianist Lionel Pillay, bassist Agrippa Magwaza, and drummer Early Mabuza would record the album Yakhal' Inkomo. Comprising two originals of Mankunku's--the title track “Yakhal' Inkomo" and “Dedication (For Daddy Trane and Brother Shorter)"--as well as John Coltrane's “Bessie's Blues" and ...

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Django Bates: Generous Abundance

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If you love jazz because of its capacity to surprise, amaze, astound, even flabbergast, and leave you without words, then Django Bates is the musician for you. A bird's-eye view [no pun nor reference to Bates' love for the music Charlie Parker intended] of the striking body of work the British pianist has developed over four decades reveals what must be a very generous disposition. His projects and music can range from the subtle, delicate and reassuring to the bombastic, ...