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Tony Williams

Born in Chicago and growing up in Boston, Williams began studies with master drummer Alan Dawson at an early age and began playing professionally at the age of 13 with saxophonist Sam Rivers. Jackie McLean hired Williams at 16. At 17 Williams found considerable fame with Miles Davis, joining a group that was later dubbed Davis's "Second Great Quintet." His first album as a leader, 1964's Life Time (not to be confused with the name of his band "Lifetime," which he formed several years later) was recorded during his tenure with Davis. Williams was a vital element of the group, called by Davis in his autobiography "the center of the group's sound". [citation needed] His inventive playing helped redefine the role of jazz rhythm section through the use of polyrhythms and metric modulation (transitioning between mathematically related tempos and/or time signatures). But perhaps his overarching achievement was in demonstrating, through his playing, that the drummer need not be relegated to timekeeping and accompaniment in a jazz ensemble; that the drummer may be free to contribute to the performance as an equal partner in the improvisation. In 1969, he formed a trio, "The Tony Williams Lifetime," with John McLaughlin on guitar and Larry Young on organ

Take Five with Markus Rutz

Read "Take Five with Markus Rutz" reviewed by Markus Rutz

Meet Markus Rutz Markus Rutz plays trumpet with bluesy, soulful style and a tone that has been called gorgeous. He composes music from his home base in jny: Chicago, Illinois where he also performs modern jazz. As described by Downbeat's J.D. Considine, with his “big, dark tone and a fluid ease to his phrasing," trumpet player, ...

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: RADIO

Remembering Wallace and Manu

Read "Remembering Wallace and Manu" reviewed by Bob Osborne

On this show we pay tribute to the recently departed Wallace Roney and Manu Dibango. There's a couple of tracks from Manu and selection of highlights from Wallace picking up on work associated with his mentor Miles Davis. I also feature the recent album from guitarist Tomas Janzon in a great quartet, and there's ...

Trout Mask Replica

Read "Trout Mask Replica" reviewed by Eric Gudas

“No Instruction Sheet": Trout Mask Replica's Unfathomable Origin Story If you were a teenager who liked freaky stuff, on a June day in 1969 you could bicycle down to your local record store and buy a brand-new, shrink- wrapped album with a man covering his entire face with an actual fish head on the cover. A ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Vince Mendoza: Streams of Influence Flowing into a River of Sound

Read "Vince Mendoza: Streams of Influence Flowing into a River of Sound" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Vince Mendoza is a jazz composer, arranger, and conductor of consummate originality, skill, and adaptability, so much so that he has for several decades received frequent invitations and commissions from the whole gamut of ensembles and performers like the WDR Big Band, the Metropole Orkest in the Netherlands, the Los Angeles and Berlin Philharmonic, and the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Charles Pillow Ensemble: Chamber Jazz

Read "Chamber Jazz" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Chamber Jazz, alto saxophonist Charles Pillow's eighth recording as leader of his ensemble, is a generally sedate but remarkably engaging series of tone poems that combine contemporary jazz with elements of classical music to produce a hybrid that underlines what is most harmonious and charming in each genre. Chamber Jazz is what it says, and chamber ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Blue Note Review 2: Spirit & Time and More

Read "Blue Note Review 2: Spirit & Time and More" reviewed by Marc Cohn

Lots of cool features this week. First, Side 2 of the new-music LP from 2nd limited-edition Blue Note Review box with drummers Tony Allen and Chris Dave reimagining Tony Williams compositions. Then, a deep dive into the Savoy vaults from 1947 with recreations of 78s by Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro and Dexter Gordon. Celebrating Sonny Rollins ...

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

Jazzmeia, Newk, Bird, Dave & More

Read "Jazzmeia, Newk, Bird, Dave & More" reviewed by Marc Cohn

Showtime, don't ya know? Jazzmeia Horn was scheduled to perform in Baton Rouge recently, but the gig got 'coronaed.' So, we do a mini-concert here, and hope she can reschedule when this plague dissipates. Shoot, they even cancelled the St. Patrick's Day parade here; so you know this is serious business. We also continue centennial celebrations ...


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