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…
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…
A tall glass of cool water, when the sun is shining bright, is always a welcome treat, much like the new "Sensual Journey" CD from the tall glass of cool named Will Downing. The vocalist, who has been wowing us…
Alto saxophonist/composer Lee Konitz (born 1927) has been and continues to be one of THE Grand Daddies of Modern Jazz. When Ornette Coleman was still playing R&B sax in Texas, Konitz was pushing the outer limits with Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh, recording what was likely the FIRST completely free group improvisation (1949, if memory serves) while many alto saxophonists of the 40s/50s were bent on sounding like Charlie Parker, Konitz had his own cool, unique sound. And while many jazzers of h
Salute To An American Icon time!!! This one, though, is still with us: Les Paul, the Godfather of the Electric Guitar. Without going too much into a big history lesson: Les Paul, aside from being one of the best electric guitarists EVER, regardless of genre, was one of the first if not THE first people to combine a love of music with that of technology. He invented (though not patented) multi-track recording and reverb, as well as designing the solid-body electric guitar. Every Monday night in N
The annual Vision Festival is one of NYC’s premier events for avant-garde/cutting edge jazz and improvised music. Held in a variety of rented venues, it provides a showcase for a dizzying array of improvising musicians, drawing upon performers from local, national and international orbits, often juxtaposing or featuring collaborations between the younger upstarts, established performers and the Grand Old Men (or Women) of creative music. While other festivals have bigger names and established ja
(It may seem odd to many jazz fans that the performance celebrating the release of an album by a somewhat avant-garde fellow would be held at New York City’s most legendary rock & roll club, but there you have it. But not really all that odd, when one considers a good-sized chunk of the current audience at many free jazz performances (in many cities, not just NY) are alternative/punk/avant-rock youths. Anyway, onward )
The subject: jazz violinist /composer Billy Bang. The event: the recent r
First off: electronics are not The Devil’s Toenails there’s precious little difference between a flute made from a hunk of wood and a digital sampler. Both are designed to help us humans make sounds that we otherwise could not. But then: some of us have from heard from seers, egotistical performers and critics, hypeheads and trendy jackasses that the nebulous genre known as "Electronica" music/sound/noises produced via electronic media was going to supplant rock and/or jazz and/or whatever as TH
In (early) observance of Martin Luther King Day, New York City was treated to a concert by two of the most joyfully fieriest jazz players the 60s and 70s produced, respectively: Andrew Cyrille and Oliver Lake. This took place in the performance space of Manhattan’s Museum For African Art, a small but impressive museum and store. Both fellows have played together off and on for years, most notably in the group Trio3 with bassist Reggie Workman, but tonight was devoted to the concept of the duo. T
Pianist/composer Andrew Hill has been on the fringes of the jazz scene for decades a flurry of activity, discs on Blue Note, Soul Note and Palmetto, then back to low profile-land. But if it’s quality not quantity you value, Hill fills the bill and then some. In recent years he’s taken to performing with a quintet or sextet, but for this go-‘round he has a big band, billed as The Andrew Hill Sextet +11.
On this Saturday night, devoted fans filled New York’s small, elegant Birdland to catch th
The NYC jazz club/restaurant Iridium used to be located in the upper west side, near Lincoln Center now, it’s located near the heart of the bustling Times Square area. (For the benefit of those not familiar, the streets are lousy with people virtually ‘round the clock.) It’s at the bottom of a stairway, and has two levels of tables it sort-of reminded me of the old TV Show Playboy After Dark, where Hef would serve as host to a variety of talents. The menu consists of - well, there’s no way aroun
NYC-based trombonist Josh Roseman is of the newer generations of jazz players who’ll play in a funky groove-oriented band one night, a cutting edge avant garde group the next and a hard bop unit the night after that. In times past, most jazz musicians would find the stylistic "niche" in which they thrive the most and then stay there unto death. Without lacking anything in the commitment department, Roseman and many of his 20/30-something contemporaries joyously and unashamedly embrace many style
Composer/pianist Satoko Fujii makes it to NYC about once a year or so, so this show was indeed An Event. Though she lives in Japan (and she studied music at Berklee, incidentally), she's maintained a semi-regular American trio with Mark Dresser (bass) and Jim Black (bass), with who she's recorded several CDs on the Tzadik, Enja and Ewe labels. It was this trio that blew the roof off the mothersucka NYC jazz/etc. club Tonic on one otherwise calm 'n' cozy September night.