Tag Archives: joshua redman

“Now in Stores” XII

30 Apr

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

1. Here We Go Again by Willie Nelson/Norah Jones/Wynton Marsalis (Blue Note Records, March 29,2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Once in a while the stars align and something magical happens…as on the night Jazz at Lincoln Center presented a salute to the late, great bluesman, Ray Charles. Two musical iconoclasts, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, along with the stunning songstress Norah Jones, collectively brought their unique musical perspective to the legendary artist’s hits such as “Hallelujah I Love Her So”, “Hit the Road Jack,” and “Unchain My Heart.” Country music legend Willie Nelson and Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz artist and Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis share more in common than their multiple GRAMMY® awards. They also share great respect and admiration for the late musical pioneer Ray Charles. Nelson and Marsalis joined musical forces for a two-night Jazz at Lincoln Center concert event at New York City’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Their set list explored the legacy of Charles, cleverly sequencing the songs to tell the story of a love affair from beginning to end and beyond. This fine idea was made finer by the inclusion of fellow multiple GRAMMY® winner Norah Jones, whose style suggests a middle ground between Nelson and Marsalis. The sold out performance was captured and the resulting footage expertly mixed and mastered for the brand new album.

2. James Farm by Joshua Redman (Nonesuch, April 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

2011 release, a collaborative effort between Joshua Redman and fellow Jazz travelers Aaron Parks, Matt Penman and Eric Harland. Since they’ve already guest-starred on each other’s recordings, James Farm is a natural progression for these Jazz musicians. James Farm made its debut at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival and has since performed dates in North America and Europe, garnering praise for its live set and fueling anticipation for this studio debut, which features tunes by each of the four musicians.

3. Sign of Life, Music for 858 Quartet by Bill Frisell (Savoy Jazz, April 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

It’s hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell. –NY Times. Bill Frisell’s remarkable artistry shines through on this brand new album with his world renowned 858 string quartet. Featuring Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola), and Hank Roberts (cello), Sign Of Life was born out of Bill’s composing retreat in Vermont during the fall of 2010. The entire album was recorded, mixed, and mastered in only 3 months – the shortest gestation period ever for a Frisell recording.

4. ‘Round Midnight by Karrin Allyson (Concord Records, May 3, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

`Round Midnight, an 11 track collection was recorded at Sear Sound in New York City and features tracks from a wide variety of sources, including Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mandel, Thelonious Monk, Stephen Sondheim, even Charlie Chaplin. But regardless of who wrote the songs and when, Allyson ties them all together with the same melancholy thread with which they were originally spun. The three time GRAMMY nominated vocalist describes her new album best in her liner notes: “Imagine yourself, in the city, walking late at night,” she writes. “It’s `Round Midnight. The wind is cold, but you hear some warm sounds and you follow your ear down into a small, dark club. There’s a woman at the piano singing these intimate ballads – one after the other. Maybe you’ve just recently suffered a heartache, or maybe the lyrics, melodies and harmonies evoke feelings you have somewhere deep down inside.”

5. Live at Birdland by Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian (ECM Records, May 17, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

A quartet of master musicians and a program of jazz classics. Live At Birdland presents the finest moments from two inspired nights at New York’s legendary club, as Konitz, Mehldau, Haden and Motian play “Loverman”, “Lullaby Of Birdland”, “Solar”, “I Fall In Love Too Easily”, “You Stepped Out Of A Dream” and “Oleo” with freedom, tenderness, and a love of melody that only jazz’s greatest improvisers can propose. On this live recording from New York’s legendary club, an ensemble of history-making players dives into the music without a set list. Four exceptional jazz musicians -Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian – approach the standards from new perspectives and unusual angles. They play them with freedom, tenderness and a melodic and rhythmic understanding found only amongst jazz’s greatest improvisers.

“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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"Now in Stores" XII

30 Apr

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

1. Here We Go Again by Willie Nelson/Norah Jones/Wynton Marsalis (Blue Note Records, March 29,2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Once in a while the stars align and something magical happens…as on the night Jazz at Lincoln Center presented a salute to the late, great bluesman, Ray Charles. Two musical iconoclasts, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, along with the stunning songstress Norah Jones, collectively brought their unique musical perspective to the legendary artist’s hits such as “Hallelujah I Love Her So”, “Hit the Road Jack,” and “Unchain My Heart.” Country music legend Willie Nelson and Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz artist and Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis share more in common than their multiple GRAMMY® awards. They also share great respect and admiration for the late musical pioneer Ray Charles. Nelson and Marsalis joined musical forces for a two-night Jazz at Lincoln Center concert event at New York City’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Their set list explored the legacy of Charles, cleverly sequencing the songs to tell the story of a love affair from beginning to end and beyond. This fine idea was made finer by the inclusion of fellow multiple GRAMMY® winner Norah Jones, whose style suggests a middle ground between Nelson and Marsalis. The sold out performance was captured and the resulting footage expertly mixed and mastered for the brand new album.

2. James Farm by Joshua Redman (Nonesuch, April 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

2011 release, a collaborative effort between Joshua Redman and fellow Jazz travelers Aaron Parks, Matt Penman and Eric Harland. Since they’ve already guest-starred on each other’s recordings, James Farm is a natural progression for these Jazz musicians. James Farm made its debut at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival and has since performed dates in North America and Europe, garnering praise for its live set and fueling anticipation for this studio debut, which features tunes by each of the four musicians.

3. Sign of Life, Music for 858 Quartet by Bill Frisell (Savoy Jazz, April 26, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

It’s hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell. –NY Times. Bill Frisell’s remarkable artistry shines through on this brand new album with his world renowned 858 string quartet. Featuring Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola), and Hank Roberts (cello), Sign Of Life was born out of Bill’s composing retreat in Vermont during the fall of 2010. The entire album was recorded, mixed, and mastered in only 3 months – the shortest gestation period ever for a Frisell recording.

4. ‘Round Midnight by Karrin Allyson (Concord Records, May 3, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

`Round Midnight, an 11 track collection was recorded at Sear Sound in New York City and features tracks from a wide variety of sources, including Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mandel, Thelonious Monk, Stephen Sondheim, even Charlie Chaplin. But regardless of who wrote the songs and when, Allyson ties them all together with the same melancholy thread with which they were originally spun. The three time GRAMMY nominated vocalist describes her new album best in her liner notes: “Imagine yourself, in the city, walking late at night,” she writes. “It’s `Round Midnight. The wind is cold, but you hear some warm sounds and you follow your ear down into a small, dark club. There’s a woman at the piano singing these intimate ballads – one after the other. Maybe you’ve just recently suffered a heartache, or maybe the lyrics, melodies and harmonies evoke feelings you have somewhere deep down inside.”

5. Live at Birdland by Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian (ECM Records, May 17, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

A quartet of master musicians and a program of jazz classics. Live At Birdland presents the finest moments from two inspired nights at New York’s legendary club, as Konitz, Mehldau, Haden and Motian play “Loverman”, “Lullaby Of Birdland”, “Solar”, “I Fall In Love Too Easily”, “You Stepped Out Of A Dream” and “Oleo” with freedom, tenderness, and a love of melody that only jazz’s greatest improvisers can propose. On this live recording from New York’s legendary club, an ensemble of history-making players dives into the music without a set list. Four exceptional jazz musicians -Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian – approach the standards from new perspectives and unusual angles. They play them with freedom, tenderness and a melodic and rhythmic understanding found only amongst jazz’s greatest improvisers.

“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)

A Fly on the Studio Wall

7 Dec

One of the great things about being in my job is having the opportunity to interview world-class musicians, or introduce them on stage at concerts. Of course the chance to hear them play live right in front of me, or learn interesting things about them during an interview is amazing, but for me the most entertaining part is the discussions that happen before the tape is rolling or before the show begins.

This is the time where, even if it is only a sentence or two, I feel you can really get the coolest story of the event.

I have yet to run into sax man Joshua Redman in a bad mood backstage. He remembers names, asks about other people at the radio station by name and tells me to say hello to them for him.

While walking on stage to introduce Wynton Marsalis, one of his band members told me to wait a second because he wanted to know where the best place to eat after the show was.

The late Michael Brecker made it clear to me multiple times in one interview, after complimenting his recordings, that if I really wanted to enjoy his music, “you need to hear that **** live.”

And the great Clark Terry, after a wonderful interview and performance, was kind enough to join some of the staff and listeners for a sandwich. God bless him, as he fell asleep while I was in the middle of a sentence. In his defense, most people start falling asleep when I talk too much.

Thinking about this made me start wondering about all of the great conversations and interactions that took place “off-mic” in recording sessions that we never got to hear.

For example, to be a fly on the wall, Christmas Eve, 1954. Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk are in a recording session that reportedly almost came to blows because Miles didn’t want Monk playing during his solos. Give their recording of The Man I Love a listen, and you can almost hear the animosity. I would have loved to hear that conversation take place.

Or perhaps some studio sessions with slightly less violent interactions. How about Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington (or any recording session with either of those two guys)? I can only imagine the conversations that took place when the tape wasn’t rolling.

Certainly there are many sessions that would have been great to be a fly on the wall for, and no doubt that with all of the ones that are racing through my mind right now, I am probably forgetting some that would have been the best.

I invite you to share who you would have liked to overhear in the studio when the microphones were off.

Concert Review: Joshua Redman at Jazz Alley 4/9/09

11 Apr

redmanI often make mention that I find tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman the coolest man holding a saxophone these days. Each time our paths cross, I am not only reminded why, but his “coolness” factor only seems to grow exponentially.

Redman was in the same setting as the last time I saw him…just him, bass, and drums. Gregory Hutchinson joined him this time on drums, while Matt Penman played bass.

The band crept on stage behind me while I introduced them, and then Joshua Redman pretended to count off the first tune while I was still talking. I looked over at him, as he smiled wryly as if to suggest humor, but also  quite possibly a reminder that perhaps the audience was there to listen to him play, not to hear me talk. Mixing that thought with my my lack of comfort with standing in front of large crowds, I shortened my introduction and let the audience hear what they payed for.

There is not much debate going into a Joshua Redman concert that it is going to be good. But what surprised me, to a degree, was how artistic not only his playing was, but his new compositions as well.

Redman’s new album is titled Compass, which is worthy of a wonderful review on its own, and many of the songs performed that night were off the new release.

This is not to say that Joshua was not previously artistic, because he was, both live and on recordings. However his performance this time around just seemed to have an additional level of artistry and emotion that I had not previously heard from Redman. Three tunes in particular (Identity Thief, Ghost, and Insomnomaniac) were highlights of this artistry. The trio was in perfect sync, and drummer Hutchinson put it best as he addressed the crowd at the end of a drum solo by saying: “This isn’t exactly what you thought you would hear when you showed up tonight, is it?”

It was, and it wasn’t, but it was all good. It is always wonderful to see one of your favorite artists playing well, but even more exciting to see that they haven’t come close to hitting their ceiling.

Between shows I stuck my head in the dressing room, unsure if I would be bothering the Harvard graduate by saying hello, or if he would even remember me from the other times we had met outside of tonight. He did, asked how I was doing, what I was up to these days, and told me to say hello to my Program Director, who he mentioned by name. That, combined with his performance, completely added to his cool factor. Frankly I hate the word “cool”, but it most certainly should be used to describe someone who defines it.

Building a “Trendy” Dream Big Band Part 1 of 2

1 Feb

I recently made a post talking about trendiness in jazz, and in previous posts I constructed my own personal dream big band, consisting of my favorites of all time, living or deceased.

I’ve decided to mix the two. I’ve created a big band that consists of living musicians that I consider to be some of the trendiest or hippest or most visible musicians today. Just like my original dream big band posts, this is purely my opinion, and no doubt every person out there might construct something different (which is why I always ask for you to post yours).

That being said, enjoy (or hate) this grouping of musicians that I think are doing what it takes to keep jazz entertaining, edgy, fun, exciting, trendy, hip, etc., etc., etc. In part 1, the trumpets and saxes!

The Trumpets

Lead Trumpet: Arturo Sandoval

Arturo is still the big name these days in screaming trumpet players. It is rare to attend a show of his and not be a part of a excited, roaring audience.

Watch Arturo Sandoval play Groovin’ High:

Second Trumpet: Wynton Marsalis

I don’t know if it helped or hurt his “trendiness rating” by recording with Willie Nelson recently, but appearances on shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report still make him the most visible jazz musician alive.

Wynton’s trendiness shown in an IPod ad:

Third Trumpet: Roy Hargrove

Roy represented all trumpeters in 2008 with an album that was likely the best jazz album of the year. Always with a hip band and getting better all the time.

Hargrove’s solo on Impressions with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker:

Fourth Trumpet: Terence Blanchard

This guy oozes cool. Someone who absorbed every minute he spent with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and made his trendiness known by writing and recording scores for multiple Spike Lee films.

Terence in Tokyo 2005:

Fifth Trumpet: Nicholas Payton

He has a tendency to become your favorite trumpet player after you see him perform live. He is extremely versatile and his recordings show a wide range of talents.

Watch Nicholas Payton play Bags Groove:

The Saxes:

1st Alto: Kenny Garrett

Whatever it was that he picked up from working with Miles Davis, I’m happy he did. He is extremely inventive and entertaining, and has managed to soak up some of that edginess from Miles in the 80’s.

Kenny playing Wayne’s Thing:

2nd Alto: Maceo Parker

So what if he advertises himself at 98% funk and 2% jazz? Every band needs some funkiness (Just ask James Brown when Maceo was his music director). His shows are as entertaining as it gets.

Watch Maceo Parker perform Pass the Peas:

1st Tenor: Branford Marsalis

Although he might have been considered a little bit dry during his short run as Jay Leno’s band leader on the Tonight Show, it was network exposure of a great jazz musician, earning him trendy points. He also continues to produce some of the most artistic albums in modern jazz.

Branford shows off his trendiness playing Roxanne with Sting:

2nd Tenor: Joshua Redman

The coolest man holding a sax these days, and maybe the smartest. The Ivy League grad has put out some of the coolest recordings in the last decade.

Joshua Redman and Stevie Wonder pay tribute to Duke Ellington:

Baritone Sax: Ronnie Cuber

A ton of power and energy. No wimps in this all star band!

Ronnie plays Filthy McNasty:

The rest of the band next time!!!

Building a "Trendy" Dream Big Band Part 1 of 2

1 Feb

I recently made a post talking about trendiness in jazz, and in previous posts I constructed my own personal dream big band, consisting of my favorites of all time, living or deceased.

I’ve decided to mix the two. I’ve created a big band that consists of living musicians that I consider to be some of the trendiest or hippest or most visible musicians today. Just like my original dream big band posts, this is purely my opinion, and no doubt every person out there might construct something different (which is why I always ask for you to post yours).

That being said, enjoy (or hate) this grouping of musicians that I think are doing what it takes to keep jazz entertaining, edgy, fun, exciting, trendy, hip, etc., etc., etc. In part 1, the trumpets and saxes!

The Trumpets

Lead Trumpet: Arturo Sandoval

Arturo is still the big name these days in screaming trumpet players. It is rare to attend a show of his and not be a part of a excited, roaring audience.

Watch Arturo Sandoval play Groovin’ High:

Second Trumpet: Wynton Marsalis

I don’t know if it helped or hurt his “trendiness rating” by recording with Willie Nelson recently, but appearances on shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report still make him the most visible jazz musician alive.

Wynton’s trendiness shown in an IPod ad:

Third Trumpet: Roy Hargrove

Roy represented all trumpeters in 2008 with an album that was likely the best jazz album of the year. Always with a hip band and getting better all the time.

Hargrove’s solo on Impressions with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker:

Fourth Trumpet: Terence Blanchard

This guy oozes cool. Someone who absorbed every minute he spent with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and made his trendiness known by writing and recording scores for multiple Spike Lee films.

Terence in Tokyo 2005:

Fifth Trumpet: Nicholas Payton

He has a tendency to become your favorite trumpet player after you see him perform live. He is extremely versatile and his recordings show a wide range of talents.

Watch Nicholas Payton play Bags Groove:

The Saxes:

1st Alto: Kenny Garrett

Whatever it was that he picked up from working with Miles Davis, I’m happy he did. He is extremely inventive and entertaining, and has managed to soak up some of that edginess from Miles in the 80’s.

Kenny playing Wayne’s Thing:

2nd Alto: Maceo Parker

So what if he advertises himself at 98% funk and 2% jazz? Every band needs some funkiness (Just ask James Brown when Maceo was his music director). His shows are as entertaining as it gets.

Watch Maceo Parker perform Pass the Peas:

1st Tenor: Branford Marsalis

Although he might have been considered a little bit dry during his short run as Jay Leno’s band leader on the Tonight Show, it was network exposure of a great jazz musician, earning him trendy points. He also continues to produce some of the most artistic albums in modern jazz.

Branford shows off his trendiness playing Roxanne with Sting:

2nd Tenor: Joshua Redman

The coolest man holding a sax these days, and maybe the smartest. The Ivy League grad has put out some of the coolest recordings in the last decade.

Joshua Redman and Stevie Wonder pay tribute to Duke Ellington:

Baritone Sax: Ronnie Cuber

A ton of power and energy. No wimps in this all star band!

Ronnie plays Filthy McNasty:

The rest of the band next time!!!

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