New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton has never conformed to anyone or anything. Reading his Facebook posts and Twitter “tweets”, you sort of get an idea about how un-traditional he is. He speaks his mind and, should someone attempt to challenge…
George Duke is a multi Grammy Award winning legend. So, when I called him to get a few quick quotes for my France Joli interview (he produced her album 'Witch Of Love') I quickly realized I needed to milk this…
Law school creates more than a few challenges. There are hours upon hours of studying, grueling hours interning at law firms, and financial bills that need to find a way to get paid. For many law students the adversity is…
Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave. His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up…
Many jazz aficionados remember Butch Morris’ cornet playing from his work with saxophone legend David Murray, appearing on such seminal recordings as Flowers for Albert, Let the Music Take You and The London Concert. However, it is his work as a conductor that was being celebrated during Black History month. Every Tuesday evening in February at 7:00pm the Knitting Factory in NYC presented BLACK FEBRUARY: 20 Years of Conduction - BUTCH MORRIS Conducts Band Big. On February 8, Band Big featured an
Celebrating the release of a fantastic new CD simply entitled the Jim Seeley/Arturo O’Farrill Quintet, this dynamic group took the stage at Cornelia Street Café Friday, January 7. Released on the Zoho label, the CD is highly recommended. The co-leader and trumpet player, Jim Seeley, wrote all of the compositions.
The thing about these tunes that makes them special was revealed the day after I first listened to the CD. I certainly enjoyed the music the first time through but what struck me was
A force of nature, Jack DeJohnette is one of the elite drummers of the modern jazz era. An opportunity to see and hear him should not be missed. That point was brought home with an exclamation point on Thursday night at Birdland. Pouring his heart and soul into the performance, DeJohnette displayed incredible ferocity and intensity. Better yet, he and his band mates wrote new tunes, which brought out the best of this new super group. Danilo Perez was featured on piano, John Patitucci on bass and
When three heavyweights of this magnitude join forces, sparks are bound to fly. The anticipation and excitement of seeing a trio of this caliber is what jazz lovers live for. And when the musicians deliver a set as spiritually and musically satisfying as this group did, our obsession with this art form is affirmed and justified. Each of these musicians represents the top tier of professionals on their instrument. They make the impossible seem simple and their rapport is simply delightful.
A night of amazing music opened with Russell Malone and Benny Green taking center stage, a group typically headlining most shows. They are both incredible musicians and the rapport the have developed over the years is uncanny. They opened with a beautiful rendition of the Rodgers and Hart classic My Romance. This was followed by a Wes Montgomery classic entitled Jingles. Russell Malone started letting sparks fly with his improvisational prowess. Benny Green added an artistic solo that made me he
It was thanksgiving night at B.B. KINGS in Times Square. The winter wind was blistering cold outside, but Pinetop Perkins had the club steamin’ with the blues. I had the pleasure of meeting the 91-year old Mississippi bluesman before the show. He now lives in Texas and his blues is as strong and contagious as ever. The show opened with guitarist George Kilby Jr. leading the band, which consisted of an amazing array of musicians. Two saxophonists, a tenor and a baritone, complemented bass, drums
Billy Cobham’s Culture Mix blends the sounds of musicians from around the world to create a creative, breathing music that at times has a modern industrial feel but also makes you want to move your feet. Recording for a new live release, the group played Tuesday through Sunday at the Iridium and featured special guests Airto Moreira and Randy Brecker. The recording should be spectacular considering the intensity of the late set I witnessed on Saturday night.
Me’shell Ndegeocello celebrated her birthday by presenting those in attendance with a wonderful gift. She led an amazing cast of musicians through an exotic, flawless performance. Her Brazilian percussionist set the tone at the beginning of the first tune, giving the group a world music feel. Toward the end of the set he did a remarkable solo on a hand drum. Her group also included DJ Jahee Sundance, who added another interesting element to the overall soundscape. Well-placed waves of sound and
A night of glistening guitar-led ensembles started with the Larry Coryell Trio, featuring Mark Egan on bass and Paul Wertico on drums. They performed several tunes off their new CD, Tricycles. The title track really moved with Mark Egan setting a solid bass groove. Another selection from the new CD, Good Citizen Swallow, was also noteworthy. After highlighting tunes from the new CD, Larry Coryell broke out his octaves arsenal on the Wes Montgomery classic Bumpin’ On Sunset. Coryell commented tha
The evening started with an Archie Shepp composition that he wrote for his oldest daughter. After his daughter changed her name, he changed the name of the song. Beautiful and enthralling, the melody set the atmosphere and Shepp’s solo took the Iridium audience on a musical journey up toward the heavens. While the other musicians took solos, Shepp added texture and inspiration on the piano. This exchange reached its peak during Andrew Cyrille’s amazing drum solo. Shepp interspersed funky stateme