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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Kendra Shank

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Abbey Lincoln once stated "When everything is finished in a world, the people go to look for what the artists leave. It's the only thing that we have really in this world -- is an ability to express ourselves and say, ‘I was here.’" Today, through the words, mind and soul of Abbey Lincoln, comes those same feelings from vocalist/philosopher/educator, and hopefully soon to be composer, Kendra Shank. Kendra Shank is here with all the passion and insight of a most seasoned classic jazz p …
29.01.2011

Alan Hewitt

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The All-Star Cruise is setting sail once again on Monday, January 21, 2008 from Port San Diego, California on the ship Carnival Elation, hosted by the Haven Entertainment. On board the cruise is platinum award winning pianist/composer/producer Alan Hewitt, which features three days of pre-cruise shows held at the Town And Country Resort in San Diego on Friday, January 18th, Saturday, January 19th and Sunday January 20th. The shows bring together some of R&B, soul, and adult contempora …
29.01.2011

Tom McDermott

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I recently caught a set with New Orleans traditional jazz pianist Tom McDermott and his jazz trio on August 4 at Gulfstream, a restaurant in uptown New Orleans. The eclectic set included everything from Henri Mancini's "Days of Wine and Roses" done bassa nova-style to Fats Domino's upbeat "I'm Walking." His solid rhythm section included University of New Orleans music graduates Andy Wolf on bass and Cale Pellick on drums, who both admitted the post-Katrina music scene is still reeling a bit. The …
29.01.2011

Three's Company

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When Steve Allee was a young boy, his family would go visit an uncle with an extensive record collection. At some point during the gathering, his uncle would invariably start playing all kinds of music−classical, Dixieland, even Hawaiian. One day, his uncle played "It Ain’t Necessarily So" performed by Miles Davis and arranged by Gil Evans. When it was over, Allee asked, "Would you play that song one more time?" After it was done playing a second time, he still asked, "Could we h …
29.01.2011

Bobby Sanabria

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Bobby Sanabria is a bandleader, a composer, an incredible drummer and most of all an individual who believes in giving back to the community and the jazz art form that he truly feels grateful to be a part of. He was inspired as a young man growing up in the Bronx of New York City when he watched the legendary Puerto Rican bandleader and percussionist Tito Puente perform a free concert in his neighborhood. Never forgetting that experience, and the fire that it lit within him, Sanabria has by h …
29.01.2011

j.dee

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Jazz saxophonist j.dee is one man you do not want to refer to as funky. He will also object if you say his music is smooth. So what is it with this cat from LA anyway? The sax man who is better known for his production and songwriting skills will tell you that his music is tippin’ on the edge of funk, and that just happens to be the name of his current CD. "What I wanted to try and do is to be a little funkier than the mainstream smooth jazz artists are, but still be smooth jazz. I…
Jazz musician Najee is known as a legend in the contemporary jazz arena. He has been nominated for two Grammy Awards in his time and his CDs have garnered frequent airplay since he debuted back in 1988. With all these accomplishments Najee still manages to keep a sense of humility which is admirable. He recently released his second jazz CD under the Head's Up label called "Rising Sun", a jam packed musical session that is diverse with everything from Latin-tinged music, to ball …
29.01.2011

Ronny Smith

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Smooth jazz guitarist Ronny Smith dedicated his song "Falling In Love With Jesus" from his recent album Simply Stated to his parents. He professes, "Music affects people in many different ways. I only hope that any music I perform, play, or write will have a positive affect with the G-rating. Indeed his album Simply Stated has a smooth jazz G-rating, perfect for spreading good vibes and a gentle mood across the room. These positive feelings were a staple of his upbringin …
29.01.2011

Claire Martin

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Claire Martin, ‘UK’s best jazz vocalist,’ made her debut at The Oak Room of the legendary Algonquin Hotel, on New York’s West Forty Forth Street this summer. Coinciding with the release of her twelfth album, He Never Mentioned Love, a tribute to the late, great Shirley Horn. We spoke with Claire on her return to the UK about The Algonquin, her musical friends and returning home again to the sea. Claire Martin’s Algonquin debut had been a long time in …
29.01.2011

Tanya Kalmanovitch

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Violist and violinist Tanya Kalmanovitch is a rarity in the world of music, as she has the ability to combine the abilities to create sophisticated compositions with strong elements of classical music, with her fondness for improvisation that reflects her love of jazz music. Earlier the gifted composer/musician united with pianist/harmonium player Myra Meldford and released Heart Mountain, a CD that may best be described as chamber jazz. We spoke to Kalmanovitch earlier in the summer to gain …
29.01.2011

Candy Dulfer

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Many labels have been applied to the music performed by Dutch alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer, including, smooth jazz and funk, but it is perhaps the superlatives that her fans use to describe her music that is most accurate, words like, unbelievable, wonderful, incredible and awesome. Speaking to me on the phone from the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where she was performing, Dulfer said, "I just make albums that I like, and if smooth (jazz) radio picks it up, then it is a gre …
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 …