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Don Byron

For well over a decade, Don Byron has been a singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, exploring widely divergent traditions while continually striving for what he calls "a sound above genre." As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he redefines every genre of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip-hop, funk, rhythm & blues, klezmer, or any jazz style from swing and bop to cutting-edge downtown improvisation. He has been consistently voted best clarinetist by critics and readers alike in leading international music journals since being named "Jazz Artist of the Year" by Down Beat in 1992

ARTICLE: RADIO

John Zorn and The Downtown Scene (1983 - 1995)

Read "John Zorn and The Downtown Scene (1983 - 1995)" reviewed by Russell Perry

Never far from the pulse of jazz innovation, New York in the 1980s incubated what has become known as the “downtown scene." Radically multi-stylistic, the resulting music was unabashedly eclectic, celebrating influences from bebop to punk rock to cartoon music and eventually klezmer and Balkan music “From the shrill, colorful legacy of noise music and new ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Trumpets? Yes (And More)

Read "Trumpets? Yes (And More)" reviewed by Marc Cohn

Lots of trumpeters this week (mostly 21st century music): Marcus Printup, Ron Horton, Roy Hargrove, Farnell Newton, along with Buck Clayton (and Buddy Tate) plus Emmett Berry (and Don Byas). Big band (a bit off center) from Marty Ehrlich and Django Bates and the Charlie Parker centennial (Koko, including the 'famous' breakdown) and our chronological Sonny ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Jazz in the Time of Pandemic

Read "Jazz in the Time of Pandemic" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The first week of April 2020: images crystalized the daily news reports; a dystopian Times Square; Piazza Navona in Rome, emptied of tourists, Barcelona's Basílica de la Sagrada Família standing like an abstract ruin, makeshift morgues in hospital parking lots. The jazz world is small but still a microcosm of society with interdependencies that run deep. ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Avant-Retro or Retro-Avant? Part II

Read "Avant-Retro or Retro-Avant? Part II" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Anthony Braxton playing standards? Don Byron and Phillip Johnston playing the music of Raymond Scott? Nothing to be suprised about... as musicians have a more open mind than critics like to recognize. So here's the second part of this week's show focusing on retro-sounding jazz performed by forward-leaning musicians -a bit like the jazz equivalent of ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

It Takes Two to Jazz: Part I

Read "It Takes Two to Jazz: Part I" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

This week we focus on the art of the duo. A challenging format as one does neither have the complete freedom of a solo nor the support of a larger band. Yet, in the hands of the right artists, it can produce magical music. Happy listening! Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

The Very Singular Mr. Ran Blake

Read "The Very Singular Mr. Ran Blake" reviewed by Duncan Heining

There have been few American composers and musicians, with the ability to encapsulate their country's music in all its racial and ethnic complexity. We might perhaps point to Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ives and perhaps, in their own distaff ways, Harry Partch and Steve Reich. In jazz, their number is fewer still--Duke Ellington and George ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Do the Jazz Shuffle

Read "Do the Jazz Shuffle" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

This week we have have decided to do the jazz shuffle, and by shuffle we don't mean the jazz rhythm, but the feature that allows to play anything on a hard-drive in a randomized order. A perfect approach to revel through unexpected pairings, daring juxtapositions and accidental non sequiturs. After all if one ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

On Miles' (not so) Silent Way

Read "On Miles' (not so) Silent Way" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

On 30 July 1969 Miles Davis released In a Silent Way. After influencing generations of musicians, its tracks continue to sound as modern 50 years later as when they were first recorded. This week we celebrate the musical trail blazed by that seminal album by focusing on musicians that have embraced Miles' electric ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Newk, Clarinet Madness & More

Read "Newk, Clarinet Madness & More" reviewed by Marc Cohn

June 2019 was one of those months with 5 Saturdays, so we got to play around with the music more. As usual, a mix of newer music from the likes of Theo Hill, Kate Reid and Anat Cohen--the latter two duos with Fred Hersch on piano. Then we have two, yes two, “compare and contrast": one ...


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