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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Vinny Valentino

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Although Vinny Valentino is a guitar virtuoso, his talent with six strings often overshadows his insight and genius as a composer. "I think that it is very difficult in our world to wear many different hats and for people to be accepting of those different hats. If you are a guitar player, you are not really thought of as a great composer," says Valentino. He continues the thought with, "(Take) Pat Metheny, nobody really thinks of Pat as a great composer. Well, I guess some people do, but …
29.01.2011

Ann Hampton Callaway

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It was Cyndi Lauper who rode the pop tune "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" in the early eighties, but Chicago born songstress, Ann Hampton Callaway, is one of New York City's bright lights in 2006, and she is the one having all the fun. The lady with the effervescent personality and fabulous vocals often refers to herself as a lover. "I was just born to be a lover," says Callaway. "I think that sense of love immediately draws people in. I am so glad that I can sing because all of that stuf …
29.01.2011

Reuben Rogers

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"There is something about when you are so close and people can almost touch you. It is another feeling and that is the way I like it," Reuben Rogers says in replying to my question about the type of venue that best suits him as an artist. The highly acclaimed bassist who earlier this year debuted his self-titled solo project continues, "(So close) that they can hear you breathe. I like to be able to look down and see the reaction of the person to the soloist, and to the energy of the song that t …
29.01.2011

Wycliffe Gordon

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If you are a fan of jazz music and you haven't heard of Wycliffe Gordon, you have to get dialed in now! You have probably heard people make statements about other artists such as, "It is almost like he/she makes that instrument talk." Well Gordon does indeed give a human voice to his Edwards 500 bore trombone and he has a lot of fun doing it. With songs like "Shhhh!!!!" from his most recent release, Cone's Coup from the Criss Cross label and "Take Your Cake Back" from the previously …
29.01.2011

Mark McLean

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I recently caught a show at the Toronto International Dance Festival with legendary jazz great David "Fathead" Newman. The show was billed as "Dance And How It Moves You." Along with David "Fathead" Newman were dancers extraordinaire, Brenda Bufalino (tap dancer) and Esmeralda Enrique (flamenco dancer), as well as contemporary break dancer, Jason York. The show took place August 16, 2006 at the Toronto Distillery in the underground cavern known as the Fermenting Cellar. Newman was accompanied by …
29.01.2011

Joshua Bayer

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"I am a simple carpenter of tunes" is how Joshua Bayer introduces himself. Like many gifted musicians, his modest description is a grand understatement, but one look at his resume and another version comes to life. Musician, composer, performer, educator, husband, father and son, Joshua Bayer is a very unique individual with a very unique sound. The master of the stand up bass, Bayer has just released a new CD entitled New Voice: Old Voice, in which his artistry and singular vision …
29.01.2011

Davide Virelles

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JazzReview: I’m with David Virelles (an award winning pianist) and Luis Deniz (an award winning alto saxophonist) of the The David Virelles Quintet.They have known each other for a long time, having gone to school together in Cuba. The band has just finished playing their set for the Beaches International Jazz Festival. The festival takes place in the east end of downtown Toronto on the shore of Lake Ontario. Davide you have just finished a tour, how did that go? …
29.01.2011

Rollins Ross

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Roxbury native Rollins Ross recently returned from Puerto Rico where he was on tour at the San Juan Hotel and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Martha’s Vineyard Cottagers. Despite the whirlwind travel, Ross was upbeat and relaxed when I entered his Mattapan home for our interview. His living room was filled with CDs, DVDs, a piano and music memorabilia. Although a jazz musician at heart, he loves his R&B and his long-standing band, Soul Source, will be laying rhythm an …
29.01.2011

Monika H.

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Monika Heidemann, or Monika H as she prefers to be called, joins Julie Hardy and Brenda Earle as part of the new wave of very talented contemporary Jazz singer/composers coming out of New York City. One couldn't hope for a more resounding endorsement than she received from highly respected Dominique Eade: "Monika always had her ear pointed in a different direction; she wasn't going for the beaten path and she stayed true to the sound she was after. She's smart, hip and has a great sense …
Soaring on the wings of critical acclaim and success, Chris Botti has reached a pristine zenith of achievement in his career. Most importantly, he has done so without compromising his vision. Chris Botti is intent on imparting awareness of the importance of music in the lives of children, as well as the parental involvement that is necessary in aiding children with this process. There once was a time when children pursued their love of music absorbedly, therefore chose to dedicate their live …
29.01.2011

John Lee Hooker Jr.

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John Lee Hooker Jr. comes across as being wary of journalists and a little bit surly, but he warms up quickly when you get around to talking about his fans. The bluesman is a phenomenal singer/songwriter who has paid his dues on both the music scene and in life. Hooker discussed with me is upcoming September tour of Spain, Switzerland and Germany to promote his most recent release Cold As Ice. At the time, he was in the midst of traveling across the United States for the same re …
29.01.2011

Shilts

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The group Down to the Bone has always been in the forefront of breaking the smooth jazz mold. One of the group's signature personnel is saxophonist Paul "Shilts" Weimar, who is the group's longest running member. After working nine years with Down to the Bone, Shilts is breaking out with his own style of music in a solo project called HeadBoppin'. Not only has Shilts been playing sax with Down to the Bone for nine years, he has been playing sax since he was ten years old. He says, W …
29.01.2011

Brett Boyd

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He lives in New York, just finished high school, plays a sweet trumpet and can sing the pants off any of today's "singers." His name is Brett Boyd. Brett comes from a most musical family; one grandfather played trombone in big bands with Tommy Dorsey, Sammy Kaye and Ted Lewis. His other grandfather sang and used to open for Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey band. His grandmother was a classical pianist and his father is a singer. Nobody needs debate whether or not talent can be genetic. His …
29.01.2011

Ignacio Berroa

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On a warm summer evening in Havana, Cuba, a young man stands outside a concert hall talking with some friends. He is ecstatic and he is telling this friends that his life can end now and he will go peacefully because he has seen the great Dizzy Gillespie perform. Performances such as this are a rare thing in Havana and this one has left a very strong impression on the young man. Little did he know at the time that a short four years later, this same young man would get to& …
29.01.2011

Harvie S

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Harvie S is one of the most adventurous musicians working on the scene today. On his latest CD, "Funky Cha," the bassist continues to push into new territory, exploring the meeting of jazz and Afro-Cuban music. The album features reworkings of a few familiar tunes by Thelonious Monk and Cole Porter, but it’s mostly made of up six original tunes that capture S and his band’s bold, infectious sound. One of the compositions featured is "S," which won second prize in the 2006 Interna …
29.01.2011

Larry Vuckovich

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When you first see his face on the cover of his latest CD release Street Scene, Larry Vuckovich looks like your grandfather; the grey hair sticking out from under the black beret, the trench coat tied at his waist, the knowing world weary look on his face. He sort of looks like one of those tough guys in the old nineteen forties movies, kind of like the guy Humphrey Bogart would run into, or maybe Cagney or maybe even George Raft. The album cover is straight out …
29.01.2011

Annie Ross

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I had the opportunity to go to the Hollywood bowl on July 19, 2006 to see John Pizzarelli and guests perform under the stars. The guests included Bill Henderson, Kurt Elling, Tierney Sutton and Annie Ross. Each of the five singers (John also sang) was in top form. One of the real highlights of the evening was when Annie Ross sang "Twisted," which was only up-staged when she sang "Lush Life." It was a remarkable evening. Several weeks before the Jazz at the Phil concert, I spoke with An …
29.01.2011

Randy Brecker

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Forty years after he began his music career, Jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker comes to life as he talks about the new directions emerging in the genre. Brecker says that the globalization of Jazz music, "just adds to the spicy mix of Jazz." He points to bassist Richard Bona from Minta Eastern Cameroon as a perfect example of someone who has infused a new element into Jazz. "His brand of Jazz is mixed in with an incredible array of folk influences that you just couldn't get from somebody who …
Think back to keyboardist Marc Cary’s first four releases. His debut as a leader, 1994’s Cary On (enja) immediately demanded our attention with its clarity and imprint of his emerging style and presence. His next two for Arabesque Recordings - 1996’s Listen, containing the beautifully bluesy "Conditional Statement" by flutist Y.C. Laws, and 1998’s The Antidote, an entrancing collection of compositions that lift the spirit gently off the ground - brought him more into our foc …
One car ride with tenor saxophonist Don Braden is like a trip around the world. Within an hour of dropping off his instruments for repairs and locating our destination for a chat, we talked about finding spirituality in The Big Apple, the presence of God in the music industry, his four-year old Lexus, our disappointment in the present political administration, the insane traffic jam in mid-town we were caught in, and the Braden family fish. What he exemplifies is the attitude of some of today’s …