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Article: Interview

Kermit Ruffins: Swingin' and Smilin'

Read "Kermit Ruffins: Swingin' and Smilin'" reviewed by Tod Smith

There's a rebirth occurring in New Orleans music, and trumpeter/vocalist Kermit Ruffins finds himself front and center. While the post-Katrina recovery has meant many things for the Crescent City, in a number of ways it's been musicians who have taken the lead in bringing the city back to its traditions. Prior to the storm, many musicians ...


Article: Interview

Ran Blake: Lurking in the Shadows

Read "Ran Blake: Lurking in the Shadows" reviewed by Tod Smith

If you close your eyes while listening to Ran Blake's Driftwoods (Tompkins Square, 2009), you may find yourself transported into the grainy, low-key black and white world of a 1940s or '50s classic noir film. Try to leave the theater and something quietly, without much fanfare draws you back into the story. This is the music ...


Article: Interview

Marcus Roberts: Has A Lot More To Do

Read "Marcus Roberts: Has A Lot More To Do" reviewed by Tod Smith

With a foundation in the church and a passion for America's music, Marcus Roberts is easily one of the most prolific pianists of his generation. Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida and influenced by the early exposure to his mother's gospel singing, he decided that he wanted to be a jazz pianist after listening to the music of ...


Article: Interview

Ken Field & The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble: The Musical Road Less Taken

Read "Ken Field & The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble: The Musical Road Less Taken" reviewed by Tod Smith

Saxophonist/composer Ken Field describes the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble as a “funk and street beat brass band playing New Orleans and other modern improvised celebratory styles." Playing original compositions and those of artists as diverse as Billy Idol and Ornette Coleman, the RSE was formed in 1990 to entertain a at a pagan women's ritual celebration. The ...


Article: Live Review

40th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Preview

Read "40th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Preview" reviewed by Tod Smith

Seven days, two weekends, forty years. No matter how you measure it, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented by Shell is a musical and cultural rite of spring for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. From its humble beginnings at Congo Square, to this the 40th anniversary, Jazz Fest always provides enough musical ...


Article: Download Review

The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler

Read "The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler" reviewed by Tod Smith

Frequently, even free music downloads can be overpriced. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule and the Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler from iTunes is one fine example of how free can be worth so much more than nothing.Upon entering the Monterey Fairgrounds on a festival day, there's an assortment of ...


Article: Extended Analysis

Christian Scott: Live at Newport

Read "Christian Scott: Live at Newport" reviewed by Tod Smith

Christian Scott Live at Newport Concord Music Group 2008 Creativity is most often found outside the boundaries of established tradition. It's while looking outside of those traditional boundaries that an artist frequently finds his or her own voice. In two previous releases, Rewind That (Concord, 2006) and Anthem (Concord, 2007), ...


Article: Live Review

The Gathering Tradition

Read "The Gathering Tradition" reviewed by Tod Smith

Tradition is powerful. Sometimes a return to the tradition is the only clear path to the future. For New Orleans, a city's whose recent troubled past has sometimes overshadowed a history rich in culture, its traditions can have healing, almost mystical powers. And so it was on this bright Sunday afternoon, that tradition brought together a ...


Article: Live Review

Shirley Horn: No Regrets

Read "Shirley Horn: No Regrets" reviewed by Tod Smith

It's 10pm on a Monday evening and I find myself anxiously dialing the front desk of a local hotel to talk to one of the true legends of jazz, Shirley Horn. I have to admit that I am more than just a bit nervous. First, it's Shirley Horn and second, it's ten o'clock. My friend, flutist ...


Article: Live Review

Jonathan Batiste: Times in New Orleans

Read "Jonathan Batiste: Times in New Orleans" reviewed by Tod Smith

Do a Google or Yahoo search on the name Jonathan Batiste and the first listing is for an Atlanta real estate agent. No offense to Atlanta's Mr. Batiste, but in the very near future his first place listing maybe in jeopardy. You see, the other Jonathan Batiste is an up and coming pianist hailing from New ...


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