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Jazz Artist Interviews (634)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

Friday Evening October 7, 2005 at Founders Hall in the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, California, Dee Dee Bridgewater opened a two-night, four-set stand as part of the tenth season of the Jazz Club Series. Dee Dee has just released J’ai Deux Amours, a remarkable album from its retro packaging and glamour photography to the eleven very memorable songs sung for the most part in French. The CD includes liner notes of the highest caliber …
29.01.2011

Lisa Bell

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Inspiration, a incident on which ideas are chiseled. Diversity enters when maturity mixes with confidence, however, innovation only evolves when all the other variables of the talented source are allowed to nurture into a spirit. Creativity is not bought, sold, or birthed with the vocalizing of a note. It just comes from within, requiring no explanation for its existence. Such is the growth of vocalist Lisa Bell and her journey thus far. Ms. Bell is a jazz artist who never turn …
29.01.2011

Keely Smith

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Effervescent always, however graceful to a fault, the life and times of Keely Smith has taken many directions and side streets. From her 1948 introduction of future partner, animated artiste of lyrical brass Louis Prima--to her current jewel box sensation Vegas 58: Today, Keely Smith never compromised her opinions, feelings, and unique demeanor. At 73, she is still Vegas, still flamboyant, still the icon of class entertainment to those who embrace the moments and city she aided in sculpting. …
Michael Feinstein and George Shearing have just released an album on Concord Records entitled "Hopeless Romantics" [catalog 2152] that combines their unique vocal and piano stylings with the beautiful music of unsung composer, Harry Warren. Michael Feinstein was introduced to Harry Warren by Ira Gershwin, for whom he worked as a secretary. After his introduction, Michael spent many days hanging out with Harry whom he says, "was something of a grandfather and a mentor." …
29.01.2011

Najee Rasheed

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With a style all his own, saxophonist Najee Rasheed put the "ooow" in smooth, taking jazz into the mainstream, along with his brother, Fareed, playing guitar. Najee’s works hit the charts as soon as they hit the air during the early 1980s, making listeners beg for more. His millions of fans have stayed with him, waiting for his next album. The innovative brothers captured the attention of classic diva, Chaka Khan, whom requested they tour with her. Nominated for …
29.01.2011

Judy Wexler

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At times it has been stated, "Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking, but a full-on metamorphosis." When a career takes this road, the words are just as powerful. Keeping that in mind, just sit and spin awhile with jazz vocalist Judy Wexler. Former actress, Ms. Wexler followed that pulsating romantic, called a heart, and launched a whole new dimension to sound studios unexplored. With the int …
29.01.2011

Rita Coolidge

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Rita Coolidge has finally made the album that she has wanted to for so many years. The Grammy-award winning singer who had a string of pop hits in the 1970s, including "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher & Higher," has released a sophisticated jazz record, "And So Is Love," on Concord Records. Coolidge, however, isn’t jumping on the jazz bandwagon like other rock stars. Long before Rod Stewart was recording standards, Coolidge released "Out Of Th …
29.01.2011

Claire Ritter

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On June 24, 2005 I had the distinct, pleasant opportunity to speak with composer, pianist Claire Ritter, about her recent album, "Greener Than Blue," and about some current and future projects that she is working on. Prior to speaking with Claire, I listened to the album several times, featuring seventeen original pieces of music, sixteen of which Claire wrote. It is an album that is immediately appealing and that grows more so with each listening. Claire is joined by some remarka …
The title "66 2/3," connotes the right combination of nostalgia and humor to represent the vibe and intent of The Frank & Joe Show’s recently released sophomore record. While the music and packaging on their new recording often draws heavily on the past, in no way is The Frank & Joe Show strictly a ‘nostalgia’ act. In fact, it seems that co-leaders Frank Vignola (guitar) and Joe Ascione (percussion) have been directing much of their collective energies toward countering that very notion, …
29.01.2011

Kazu Matsui

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Narada sent me Kazu Matsui's album Stone Monkey awhile back and I admit I put off listening for a while. My mistake. This is interesting, creative, and risk taking in its boldest sense. We spoke by phone when Kuzu Matsui was in LA working on a movie soundtrack with James Horner. Talking to the guy made me feel a sense of simpatico. He is forthright, open, and hasn't let the business end of music temper his attitude. Supported by charming bits of elfish laughter, this interview was a gas! J …
29.01.2011

Ron Blake

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By way of sandy beaches, tropical breezes and a place where one takes time to listen, learn, love and appreciate the sound of music. Ron Blake is a jazz musician who plays in many different genres. He is a tenor of choice amongst many types of music. His new disc "Sonic Tonic" proves that jazz can, but does not always have to be "art music" to intellectualize and ponder upon the quality, tonality and complexity of solos. It can also simply just feel real good! Good feelings and good vibrations a …
An epiphany in thought is by all standards an event many of us embrace. It changes the axis of our lives and many times our inner direction. In music, this is a welcome occurrence. It opens a new dimension and purpose to one’s gift-a crossroads to a legacy. For singer/songwriter/musician Julie Lavender, "Never Felt the Sun" may be the defining moment of just that, her epiphany. Released by Covenant Records, this project is a mirror into the mind, soul and talents of one very fresh, but …
29.01.2011

Brian Culbertson

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Multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson is one of the premier performers in smooth jazz. His shows are primarily upbeat in nature and the audience senses the energy that Culbertson brings to his performance. He says, That's kind of what I like to do. The albums are one thing and you go out and see a live performance and it's a whole other energy going on. People seem to like it. However, if it wasn't for one special person in his life, Culbertson wouldn't be the kind of performer he is t …
29.01.2011

Scott Henderson

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Scott Henderson has recently released another trio record entitled "Live." It's with his long-standing members John Humphrey on bass and Kirk Covington on drums and vocals. This one is more along the lines of his blues/rock vibe and much of it is very unrestrained, 'in your face' playing--as it should be for a guitarist who is so eclectic in his tastes and so accomplished in many styles of playing. Jeff Beck, Richie Blackmore, Albert King, Pat Metheny, and John Scofield are all guitarists he cit …
Gerald Veasley, who started playing bass at the age of 12, has been into music for a very long time. He remembers the first record he ever bought, Curtis Mayfield's We're a Winner. He says Mayfield had this beautiful voice that was somewhat fragile, but yet there was a power in it at the same time. After his father died while he was going to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, he used music to help him through his loss and found solace. He says, when my father died, …
The worlds of pop and jazz have always mingled, especially among vocalists. In the ‘40s and ‘50s, such musical icons as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald were quite adept at straddling both idioms. Today we have artists like Antia Baker, Sting and Nora Jones, who expertly incorporate a variety of genres in their music. Now add vocalist Veronica Martell to that list. On her latest CD, "The Art Of Intimacy" (Apria Records), pop and jazz fuse together in a seamless fashion to create a …
29.01.2011

Keiko Matsui

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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

Ron Levy

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With credit for more than 200 songs, coupled with 35 years of touring, Ron levy is no stranger to discipline or the B-3 organ. His album, Green Eyed Soul aptly describes the feel of Levy’s get down and jam style of rhythm. Finally able to do what he enjoys-the creative process of growing music, Levy no longer has to spend his time on the road, promoting his work. His music promotes itself. JazzReview: I believe I have four of your albums now. The last one was "Vood …
29.01.2011

Sheldon Reynolds

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Without a doubt, Earth Wind & Fire was the most dynamic band to hit the scene during the 1970s and 80s-crossing every line, culturally and musically. They also cut through the age divide. Officially beginning in 1969 in the Chicago area, by producer Maurice White, this group was unique from the very start. Like most bands, a little tweaking was necessary-switching band members, finding their voice and hitting their stride. After regrouping and plenty of time gigging, the distinct voices, …
29.01.2011

Terence Blanchard

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Jazz musicians are some of the coolest cats on the planet. Creative, down to earth, and soulful are just a few short descriptions for these individuals who take life and transform it into beautiful, intense and crazy expressions. Their language is based on reality and keeping it real is what straight ahead music is all about. Straight ahead, forward thinking and towards the future is where the creative ideas lie. "Flow," Terence Blanchard’s brand new album, soon to be released this June, expr …