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Jaki Byard

A musician that has spanned the generations of Jazz is Jaki Byard. Jaki Byard was born John Arthur Byard, Jr. on June 15, 1922 in Worcester, Massachusetts. His father was a member of the marching hands at the turn of the 20th century and played the trombone. His mother played the piano for the African Methodist Episcopalian Zion Church (AME). His maternal grandmother played the piano for the silent picture shows (visual movies without sound before "talking movies" were invented). It was on that piano that Jaki began his musical odyssey. When he was 8 years old, he started taking piano lessons from a piano teacher named Grace Johnson

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Matthew Shipp: Poetic Connection

Read "Matthew Shipp: Poetic Connection" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

It is difficult to describe the impact of pianist and composer Matthew Shipp without descending into hyperbole. A core figure in the now-legendary David S. Ware Quartet, a bandleader with a staggering recording output, a groundbreaking curator for the influential Blues Series of Thirsty Ear Records, Matthew Shipp has also more recently broken new ...

Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Drummers have been key members of every band which has changed the course of jazz history, from Max Roach with Charlie Parker to Elvin Jones with John Coltrane and onwards. Yet drummers have been the leaders of a surprisingly small proportion of landmark bands themselves. Chick Webb in the 1920s was the first of the few. ...

ARTICLE: BOOK REVIEW

Make It New: Reshaping Jazz in the 21st Century

Read "Make It New: Reshaping Jazz in the 21st Century" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Make It New: Reshaping Jazz in the 21st Century Bill Beuttler 304 Pages ISBN: #978-1643150055 (13) Lever Press 2019 Journalist Bill Beuttler modeled this book after Joe Goldberg's Jazz Masters of the 50s (Macmillan Publishing Co, 1965). It devoted a chapter each to a dozen musicians, providing a ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Matthew Shipp: The Piano Equation

Read "The Piano Equation" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Let the celebration of pianist Matthew Shipp's 60th birthday year 2020 commence with The Piano Equation. Having released a dozen or so prior solo sessions, this also is a recording sans nostalgia. Shipp, like Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, or Thelonious Monk before him, does not pine for the past, but ceaselessly forges a path onward. And ...

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: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Vintage Dolphy

Read "Vintage Dolphy" reviewed by Duncan Heining

Vintage Dolphy appeared originally in 1986/7 on both vinyl and CD. Featuring recordings from three separate live performances from Eric Dolphy, two at Carnegie Hall, both with his own quartet and in two 'third stream' settings devised by Gunther Schuller, the album provided intriguing insights into Dolphy's improvisational skills and approach. Were this not enough, the ...

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: SOCAL JAZZ

Alan Pasqua: Keys That Unlock Many Doors

Read "Alan Pasqua: Keys That Unlock Many Doors" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Recently, and just a few days before Thanksgiving (2019), I was thankful for the opportunity to have two separate conversations with renown pianist Alan Pasqua. As generous with his time and candid commentary as he is talented as a musician and composer, both conversations crashed the one-hour mark. For you non mathematicians, that is over two ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

June Birthdays Featuring Reginald Workman, NEA Jazz Master

Read "June Birthdays Featuring Reginald Workman, NEA Jazz Master" reviewed by Marc Cohn

June jazz birthdays! Our featured honoree is bassist Reggie Workman, 82 years young, who got a fine birthday present: a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award. So, we have three tracks from his own recordings, which may surprise you. One features Andrew Hill and Julian Priester. Other birthday honors include Marcus Belgrave (Horace ...


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