Archive | August, 2011

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music opens in New Orleans

27 Aug

Back in January 2010, I took a cab ride from my New Orleans hotel early that morning to the Musicians’ Village in the Upper 9th Ward. The Musicians’ Village is a community conceived by Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., to provide adequate housing for artists and musicians of the city who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Once the cab driver stopped telling me that it would be much “safer” for him to take me on a tour to see all of Brad Pitt’s houses rather than drop me off in the middle of what he called a “rough” neighborhood, he let me out and I was able to see this wonderful community.

Photo by Kevin Kniestedt

Of course it ended up being too early in the morning for me to catch any musicians out and about in the Village (as it should be…what decent working New Orleans musician is up and about at 9:30 in the morning?).

I was, however, able to briefly talk to two men who were surveying a lot at the end of the block. This was the site that would end up hosting the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.

Photo by Kevin Kniestedt

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music opened on Thursday, hosting local residents, fellow musicians, supporters, friends and family for its grand opening, including Governor Jindal of Louisiana and Mayor Landrieu of New Orleans, and actress, Renee Zellweger.


There was also a performance from Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., who played a major role in developing the Center as well as the Musicians’ Village (in partnership with Habitat for Humanity).

The Center is not only a performance hall, but will allow opportunity for local students and musicians to take advantage of recording space, classes, computers, and community rooms.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal put it best in his address to the crowd at the dedication:

“The dedication of the Ellis Marsalis Center is about more than money and bricks and mortar. It is another sign of the rebirth of a great city – a city that will be a beacon of entertainment and inspiration for our children and generations to come. Through wars, hurricanes, and floods, one thing has remained unchanged – our people are strong and like none other.”

An Interview with Grace Kelly

23 Aug

This morning I had the opportunity to speak with 19-year-old jazz saxophonist Grace Kelly by phone. Grace has won numerous awards and released several albums already, as well as being a very talented vocalist, pianist and composer.

Grace will be coming to Seattle for the first time, performing at Tula’s for two nights as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival in November.

In this audio blog, Grace discusses how she went from being a clarinet player at 10 years old to having her first album recorded at age 12, being mentored and collaborating with the likes of Lee Konitz, Harry Connick Jr., Cedar Walton, and Wynton Marsalis, and being treated like a rock star in Montreal.

She also discusses her work and relationship with Phil Woods and being given his legendary hat, giving advice to young fans, and some surprises she has learned along the way.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW

“I still get butterflies when meeting the people who inspire me, and I think that is the way it is going to be for the rest of my life.”

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (781-790)

21 Aug

Here is another 10 to add to the list.

Remember that there is no ranking system here, and if you don’t see your favorite jazz album yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

Hopefully these lists will inspire you to seek some of these albums out that perhaps you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Either way, let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 771 through 780.

1. The Survivor’s Suite – Keith Jarrett (ECM, 1976) CLICK HERE TO BUY

2. A New Perspective – Donald Byrd (EMI Music Distribution, 1963) CLICK HERE TO BUY

3. Liberation Music Orchestra – Charlie Haden (Impulse!, 1969) CLICK HERE TO BUY

4. Change of the Century – Ornette Coleman (Atlantic, 1959) CLICK HERE TO BUY

5. Two Blocks From the Edge – Michael Brecker (Impulse!, 1997) CLICK HERE TO BUY

6. Sonny Rollins Plus 4 – Sonny Rollins (Original Jazz Classics, 1964) CLICK HERE TO BUY

7. The Second John Handy Album – John Handy (Koch Jazz, 1967) CLICK HERE TO BUY

8. The Kicker – Joe Henderson (Milestone/OJC, 1967) CLICK HERE TO BUY

9. Morning Fun – Zoot Sims/Bob Brookmeyer (Black Lyon, 1956) CLICK HERE TO BUY

10. Blossom Dearie – Blossom Dearie (Verve, 1956-1959) CLICK HERE TO BUY

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (771-780)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (761-770)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (751-760)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 750

An interview with Anton Schwartz

18 Aug

Photo by Wade Lagrone

I had the opportunity this week to speak by phone with tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz.

Anton recently moved to the Seattle area. I had the chance to ask him about what brought him to the Puget Sound, and how he has networked himself into the local jazz scene so far.

We also talked about the differences between a jazz scene like Seattle versus the scene in New York, his recent project with vocalist Ed Reed, being in a high school band with Larry Goldings and Peter Bernstein, and leaving the world of artificial intelligence.

Click here to listen to this audio blog.

“(Artificial intelligence) just seemed like the funnest thing to do at the time…but it just wasn’t really the life I wanted to lead. When I decided to quit that, I didn’t actually know that I was going to do music instead. That just kind of became apparent over the course of time.”

www.antonjazz.com

A Love Letter to New Orleans – An interview with Irvin Mayfield

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton coming to a theater near you

12 Aug

Music superstars Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis got together last April for a concert at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. The concert featured songs hand-picked by Eric Clapton, then arranged by Marsalis, and included highlights such as a guest appearance by Taj Mahal.

While the concert will be released on September 13th on a CD/DVD combo pack (Warner Brothers, CLICK HERE TO BUY), there is an even better opportunity to hear this show for those of us who weren’t able to make the cross country trip to see the show live.

On September 7th, the concert will be shown at over 550 movie theaters at 7:30 PM local time. This is a one-night only opportunity, and while there is no substitute for being at a live concert, top quality movie theater video and audio is certain to be a second best (especially when you compare it to my car stereo system).

In the Puget Sound area, the show is playing at the following theaters:

Anacortes Cinemas – Anacortes                                                   

Auburn 17 Theaters – Auburn                                               

Century Theatres Federal Way 16 – Federal Way

Columbia Mall 8 – Kennewick                                

Alderwood 7 Theaters – Lynnwood

Bella Bottega 11 Cinema – Redmond                     

AMC Southcenter 16 with IMAX – Seattle                 

AMC Oak Tree 6 – Seattle                                           

Thornton Place with IMAX – Seattle

All-Star lineup to be featured at the 2011 Earshot Jazz Festival

10 Aug

The Earshot Jazz Festival gets kicked off in Seattle on October 14th and runs through November 6th. While the full schedule does not get released until September, the early bookings feature a wonderful variety of top tier musicians. Included are:

  • Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette – “Very simply, this is jazz at its finest” (Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times). “The trio of Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette is about as good as jazz gets” (Mike Zwerin, International Herald-Tribune). November 1, S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall. Tickets for this concert go on sale in mid August through Benaroya Hall at http://www.BenaroyaHall.org and (206) 215-4747
  • Brad Mehldau, solo –The highly regarded jazz genius performs with astounding technique and “almost spiritual resonance” (Time Magazine). October 21, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall.
  • The Bad Plus– The seminal bad boys of jazz return to ruffle the sedate Town Hall, on a bill with Europe’s iconoclastic Das Kapital. October 29, Town Hall Seattle
  • Roosevelt & Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Bands– An opening concert with the bands that took 2nd and 3rd spots at this year’s Essentially Ellington competition. October 14, Town Hall Seattle
  • We Four: Celebrating John Coltrane – New York heavyweights Javon Jackson, sax, Mulgrew Miller, piano, Peter Washington, bass, and Jimmy Cobb, drums, pay tribute to Coltrane’s jazz legacy. (Jimmy Cobb, 82, performed with Coltrane on Miles Davis’s epochal album, Kind of Blue). October 22, Venue TBA
  • Evan Flory-Barnes’s Acknowledgement of a Celebration– The Seattle bassist and composer reprises his jazz/rock/classical/hip-hop masterwork. October 22, Kirkland Performance Center
  • A series of concerts and educational programs with fresh young artists, jazz masters, and returning Cornish alumni and faculty, featuring Myra Melford, Allison Miller, Julian Waterfall Pollack, Jim Knapp, Jay Clayton, Jerry Granelli, and the Mongolian jazz ensemble Arga Belig. October 24 through 29, Poncho Concert Hall, Cornish College of the Arts
  • Grace Kelly group– The emerging but hard hitting saxophonist premieres in Seattle in Tula’s, “one of America’s top 100 jazz clubs.” November 2 & 3, Tula’s
  • Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra– “An Evening with Ol’ Blue Eyes: The Music of Frank Sinatra.” November 5, Nordstrom Recital Hall & November 6, Kirkland Performance Center
  • and many, many, more

Tickets for the Earshot Jazz Festival will be on sale in early September through Earshot Jazz. Complete concert information will be available as it develops at http://www.earshot.org and 206-547-6763.

"Now in Stores" XIV

6 Aug

Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. Bouncer by Cedar Walton (Half Note Records, July 19, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

NEA Jazz Master Cedar Walton has enjoyed an up-tempo career, which never seems to slow down. As a composer, Cedar is one of the finest in jazz whose works have been widely recorded with many now being recognized as jazz standards. For his latest HighNote recording, Walton returns to his favored quintet format with poll-winning trombonist Steve Turre adding his luxurious, velvet tone to Vincent Herring’s saxophone sound.

2. Dawn of Goodbye by Dominick Farinacci (Entertainment One Music, July 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Following the acclaim that greeted his first album for eOne Lovers, Tales & Dances the young trumpet genius Dominick Farinacci returns with a new set of tunes that reveals new dimensions and nuances in his emerging, individual blend of instrumental fire and ice. Doms first album was a lush, orchestirated affair but on Twilight Blue, he is fronting a smaller, more swinging and agile ensemble that navigates standards and originals with equal finesse.
The buzz on Farinacci has been building in core jazz circles for two years. His club appearances in Los Angeles and New York have been well-attended by tastemakers such as Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, and Wynton Marsalis, who has served as a mentor to Dominick since Doms days at Juilliard. And award-winning jazz blogger/journalist Doug Ramsey has been an influential champion at his website, Rifftides.
Now, the jazz world prepares for a new taste of the Farinacci magic: melodic, colorful, and always in the groove. This album may be called Twilight Blue, but its kaleidoscopic vibe shines through all the time.

3. The Unissued Seattle Broadcast by John Coltrane (Rare Live Recordings, June 14, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Import-only live archive release from the Jazz legend. On September 30, 1965, John Coltrane took his new group to The Penthouse, in Seattle, to make a professional recording during that engagement which would later be issued on Impulse as Live In Seattle. That same day, the group was broadcast over the radio and the music was taped by an amateur fan. All preserved music from this broadcast, which doesn’t duplicate a single note of the aforementioned album, is presented on this release. Among its highlights are a long version of an untitled original tune, and Trane’s final version of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’, which only appears in his discography on two other occasions.

4. The Gathering by Diane Schuur (Vanguard Records, June 7, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Two-time Grammy® Award winner and one of contemporary jazz’s leading vocalists, Diane Schuur, has signed with Vanguard Records. She will be releasing her label debut, The Gathering, on June 7th. With a distinguished career that spans nearly three decades, Schuur’s new album is unique in both material and style, and features special guests Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Mark Knopfler, Larry Carlton and Kirk Whalum. The Gathering is a collection of 10 classic country songs, mostly written during the golden era of the 1960s, and is the first time Schuur has featured this genre of music. On selections like Willie Nelson’s “Healing Hands of Time,” Roger Miller’s “When Two Worlds Collide,” Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again” and Tammy Wynette’s “Til I Can Make It on My Own,” Schuur’s great vocal versatility shines through.

5. Family Fugue by Bucky & John Pizzarelli (Abors Records, July 12, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Pure Pizzarelli magic at its finest! A special Benny Goodman salute by Bucky and John Pizzarelli, recorded live at Tanglewood with Martin Pizzarelli on bass, Larry Fuller on piano, and Tony Tedesco on drums.

 

 

“Now in Stores” XIII

“Now in Stores” XII

“Now in Stores” XI

“Now in Stores” X

“Now In Stores” IX

“Now In Stores” VIII

“Now In Stores” VII

Now in Stores (Late May, June, and July)

“Now in Stores” – 5/16/2010 to 5/22/2010

“Now in Stores” – 5/2/2010 to 5/8/2010

Now in Stores” – 4/25/2010 to 5/1/2010

“Now in Stores” – 4/18/2010 t0 4/24/2010

“Now In Stores” – 5 Noteworthy Jazz Albums Released this Week (4/11/2010-4/17/10)

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