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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Rocco Ventrella

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Bari, Italy’s renown saxophonist Rocco Ventrella says that he wants to move to Los Angeles, California after having fallen in love with its ambience while recording his latest album Give Me The Groove in Hollywood. The smooth jazz maker, and aficionado, found America to be very welcoming towards his music, and in return, American jazz has stimulated his creative urges. His debut disc Tribute To Grover Washington, Jr. is a testament to his love of American jazz. …
29.01.2011

Rob Fried

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To say that jazz bassist/composer Rob Fried thinks outside the box, and that his music is complex, would be enormous understatements. To say that his songs on the current album Wind Song leave you feeling relaxed and immersed in their many moods would be a truer statement. Unlike so many sophisticated writers whose music is wonderful but sometimes leave the listener mentally and emotionally exhausted, Fried seems to have a knack for creating music, that despite pushing the envelope, pr …
Donning a blue wig and performing a whacky improvisation of a very senior citizen awaiting her boyfriend’s arrival, the absolutely comedic woman on the youtube video is obviously blessed with talent. Miss MacKenzie’s performance was repeated, in part, last Valentine’s Day as she delighted the patrons of New York City’s Cornelius Street Café. This time, she had an accomplice in a jazz artist by the name of Dave Devoe. Miss MacKenzie’s is the alter ego of the very talented and equally beautif …
It’s a warm, summer, Friday afternoon, the first Friday after the Fourth of July holiday, and I am a bit nervous as I enter into the condo complex in Dobb’s Ferry where I am about to conduct an interview with the jazz pianist Steve Kuhn. It’s my first interview and I am wondering how the hell I ever I came to this place. Doing an interview with a prominent musician was something I didn’t take lightly. Being a fan, I sometimes feel somewhat in awe of those who can so easily produce the …
29.01.2011

Nils

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Smooth jazz guitarist Nils is one of those nice guys in the music industry that is enjoying one of those ‘lived happily ever after’ lives after experiencing near disaster earlier in his music career. His first attempt at releasing a CD occurred in 1998 with the Blue Planet CD, but the label that had signed him declared bankruptcy, without doing any promotion or marketing of him or his album. "I got stuck with a $3,000 band bill because the label support just fell flat. The CDs …
29.01.2011

Sara Gazarek

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Richard Dreyfuss received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Glenn Holland, a musician/composer turned high school music teacher, in the wonderful film Mr. Holland’s Opus. Holland is forced into retirement when the school board cuts funding for his department. Near the end of the movie, there is a warm scene that always prompts tears from yours truly, as his colleagues and former students present him with a surprise gift. They have gathered in the school’s auditorium to pay tribute …
29.01.2011

Dave Frank

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Avant-garde jazz pianist Dave Franks’ humor can sometimes be as surreal as the paintings of Salvador Dali, whose paintings served as the inspiration behind the song "Salvador Dali in a State of Grace." Frank will joke about where Dali might be now or about playing a private concert for Picasso. He talks about his own music using descriptive metaphors. "Salvador Dali was one of the proponents of the surreal avant-garde painting movement, taking traditional images and reinvent …
From Burghausen Jazz Festival in Germany to a New Year’s Bash in Morocco for King Hassan, and back in the United States at many of the finest settings, composer, pianist, all-around nice guy, Lafayette Harris, Jr., has enjoyed it all, including a coaching position for youngsters in Japan. Harris was also the music director and conductor for "Cab Calloway’s Legacy of Swing Tour" in a ten-week tour of the United States. With all that experience and stardom, Harris has earned a station in …
29.01.2011

Jerry Granelli

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Drummer Jerry Granelli was an active member of the psychedelic music that was being fostered in the San Francisco Bay area during the ‘60s. He considers himself a "pre-hippie," coming into fashion before the members of The Grateful Dead and The Mamas and The Papas. And though it seems like a world away from his current album The Sonic Temple with his present band V16, the mentality of a hippie of not knowing where you are going, but taking pleasure in do …
29.01.2011

Jane Stuart

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"My mother took me to a Broadway show when I was about seven years old. I remember very vividly the moment I looked at the performance that I could do that! I can and will do it. That was the start." From the Moser Starlights stage at age five, to her off Broadway performance of "Curley McDimple," the stage has been home to Jane Stuart. Jane cherished the theatre, but there was still a vacancy inside, a need that burned daily with desire. Jane knew what the fire was stoked by; it was the heat …
29.01.2011

Morrie Louden

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"To me, the most amazing thing as a writer is to get a concept in your mind, have it come out through your fingers, find it on the piano, write it down, play it, have someone else hear the melody, and get that same thought and same feeling that I had originally. That is the ultimate reward as a writer," says the personable, upright bassist and composer, Morrie Louden. Louden, who is the proud owner of an almost three hundred-year old Pietro Rogeri upright acoustic bass, describes how songs of …
29.01.2011

Wayne Escoffery

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Although his composition skills and his ability to master the tenor and soprano saxophones move him to the head of the class, Wayne Escoffery still relishes those opportunities to perform as a sideman with the ensembles of other leading musicians. It would be easy for a man with his stature in jazz music to become caught up with his own significant accomplishments, yet one never gets the impression from talking with Escofferey that he dwells on what has been, but instead, spends more time thinki …
29.01.2011

Enrico Pieranunzi

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Classical jazz pianist Enrico Pieranunzi has played on 61 albums. His recording history includes solo albums, as well as collaborations with other recording artists like André Ceccarelli, Paul Motian, and Chet Baker. His reaction to this historic achievement is sheer astonishment. "It’s simply wonderful," he elates, "sort of a dream for me. When I was a child or in my teens, I was very much focused on listening to the music and on practicing it. I couldn't imagine what is happening now, …
29.01.2011

Jay Leach

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The church and music have always gone hand-in-hand. It is the place where artists like modern rock’s Bono of U2 and R&B/jazz savant Lizz Wright began by singing in the choir, pop music’s Whitney Houston and hip hop’s Kanye West first touched audiences, and country music’s Dolly Parton and bluegrass’ Alison Krauss were first embraced. The church and music have a great deal in common. They both encourage communal gatherings and participation, and they also both transcend any delineations th …
29.01.2011

Kurt Elling

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Recently, I had an opportunity to speak on the phone with jazz vocalist Kurt Elling while he was in the midst of a tour. When one reads an interview with Elling, it would be easy to misconstrue his candor as bordering on pompous, because the reader does not have the advantage of listening to the inflection of his voice, as he weighs his words carefully while answering a question. Elling is a man who cares deeply about his craft and despite a Grammy Award nomination and being acknowledged as one …
The first impression you may have of Marcus Horatio Mitchell is that he is a handsome, young man with dreamy, brown eyes, a happy-go-lucky disposition, and a sunny smile that could melt the Arctic glaciers, but this handsome 24-year old has more than just good looks to his credit. He has the music chops and astute business sense of an artist who can give smooth jazz, and the burgeoning urban jazz market, the lift to bring it notoriety in the way that Smokey Robinson gave to Quiet Storm. < …
In February, Spyro Gyra was nominated for their ninth Grammy award in the best pop instrumental album category for Wrapped in a Dream. However, even though four of the five nominees were smooth jazz artists, the award was given out to rocker Peter Frampton's instrumental album Fingertips. Jay Beckenstein, leader and sax man of the group, says, The Grammys have always had a hard time figuring out the categories of jazz, quite frankly. There's plenty of Grammy attention paid to m …
29.01.2011

Rosie Carlino

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"It comes back to that same thing; if I want to move you as a listener then it (the song) has to move me as a singer. Sometimes it is about the lyric and sometimes it is the melody or the arrangement," says jazz vocalist Rosie Carlino. Carlino confesses to be a romantic and being passionate about love songs, "It can be painful or happy love songs. I am an old-fashioned girl and I love the old-fashioned sentiment. I like the old songs like "I Won’t Dance" (when it says) "Music leads …
As the U.S. Congress talks about immigration reform, we remember that the United States is a country of immigrants. The group Hiroshima helps to show how diversity is the backbone of the country. When Japanese Americans, Dan and June Kuramoto, formed the group in East Los Angeles, they wanted to bring in other cultures to the mix, including Asian, Latin and African American, and others. By doing that, the group has helped to establish a style all their own. Their newest CD Little Tokyo …
29.01.2011

Jim Brock

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Percussionist Jim Brock needs no introduction to those in the music industry. He has during his career played live with and recorded on the projects of such esteemed artists as Brandford Marsalis, Victor Wooten, Delbert McClinton, Arturo Sanoval, Hootie and the Blowfish, Kathy Mattea and John Melencamp. He has, however, remained one of those artists who is untarnished from the lure of developing an insensitive ego and he has not become jaded by a music industry, …