Norm Breest

Norm Breest

The group Hiroshima is celebrating 25 years of performing with its first all instrumental release. It's called Obon, which is named after Buddhist festivals that remember people who have passed away. The festivals take place not only in Asia, but in Los Angeles as well, where Hiroshima was first formed. In this case, the group wanted to salute the musicians, the events and experiences that they had throughout their 25-year history. The CD reflects both celebrating the group's longevity …

Saxophonist Marion Meadows has considered himself somewhat of a rebel in the past few years. He says, "I have been rebelling against contemporary jazz music becoming so homogenized. That was one of my biggest fears, not just for me, but for the integrity and the life of this genre of music. I felt it was in jeopardy of consuming itself in the mundane, because the fans themselves would not even feel challenged musically if we continue to offer them the same sound over and over again. Eventually, …
29.01.2011

Norman Brown

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
Guitarist Norman Brown is very glad to have received a Grammy award in 2003 for the Best Pop Instrumental for his CD Just Chillin'. In 2004, George Harrison won the award posthumously for Marwa Blues, which Brown feels made his award in 2003 more important because of the voting. He says, "The Grammy’s were so fair. Everybody felt like I deserved to win. It was still competition, but it was all of us. It was myself, it was Kirk Whalum, it was Kenny G, and it was Boney James and John …
29.01.2011

William Woods

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
A radiation oncologist by day and a composer and pianist by night, William Woods feels that the combination complements each other. It is very evident in his second release Cobalt Blue. Woods says that working with patients in his practice helps with his music composing. "The relationships I form with some of my patients and the way they live their lives as they face their mortality often inspires my music," says Woods. "But it works in reverse, too. Creating my music affects me on a spir …
29.01.2011

Paul Brown

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
After years of producing some of smooth jazz' most prominent stars, Paul Brown is returning to his first love of performing as he debuts his solo CD Up Front. Brown says that performing as a musician is "the ultimate musical expression."

Brown started his musical career a lot like many performers, growing up in the business through their parents. Bill and Sue Allen worked in the Los Angeles recording industry as vocalists and arrangers and worked not only with many people in movies, b …

29.01.2011

Larry Carlton

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
With his experience performing with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and Chet Atkins, and with a solo career plus working in the smooth jazz super group Fourplay, guitarist Larry Carlton always goes back to where he got started, with the blues.

When he heard his first blues album by B.B. King back when he was 15, he knew that he would always be influenced by that experience. In his live performances, the highlight of the show is when he performs the blues …

29.01.2011

Keiko Matsui

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
There are times in our lives when we tend to face the doorway to our abyss with trepidation and apprehension, an unknown entity that never seems to evade us, filled with turmoil. However, some are able to defend fear by escaping to a place devoid of hate, complexity and turbulence land geographically located in our minds that enables us to face the abyss with assurance and hope.

How often is music the vehicle that takes us there? So to that, we ride with the talent of Keiko Matsui to the "Wal …

29.01.2011

Richard Smith

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
Richard Smith is a guitarist who not only has a successful solo career, but helps future guitarists as well. Smith, who backed up saxophonist Richard Elliot on his first six CD's and has just released his eighth solo project called Soulidified, is founder of the GuitarMasters Workshop. The program is a community outreach in South Central Los Angeles that helps at-risk youth by providing free guitars, lessons, mentoring and classes.

Smith, who is also a tenured professor at the Univers …

29.01.2011

Kirk Whalum

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
For over 30 years, sax man Kirk Whalum has been in the forefront of the modern era of jazz. During that time, he has earned seven Grammy nominations, recorded numerous number one albums and had a number one smooth jazz hit last year with his version of Luther Vandross' "Give Me The Reason" from his The Babyface Songbook release. Whalum continues to bridge urban music styles with his new release Roundtrip.

Roundtrip looks at all areas of Whalum's career, yesterday, today a …

29.01.2011

Hiroshima

Published in Jazz Artist Interviews
A group named after the city that was bombed by a nuclear warhead in World War II is helping to bridge the world by music. Hiroshima has been performing since 1974 to help bring alive a philosophy that was first mentioned by Duke Ellington when he recorded The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse back in 1971. At that time, Ellington felt that Asian people were coming into the music scene and that all people would be able to perform together.

When June Kuramoto first came to the U.S. at the age of s …