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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

Born in Nagasaki, Japan , Hiromi Kanda was exposed to American music via the armed forces personnel that were stationed in the city. At the age of 8, Hiromi moved to Osaka with her family. It was there that she developed an appreciation for several forms of music from Sinatra and Cole Porter, to the Monkees and the Supremes. ‘Days of Yesterday’ is Hiromi Kanda's sophomore album, and is a remarkable album from a vocalist who doesn't just sing the standards, she symbolizes them.
A new release from the great Michael Franks is a highlight of any musical year but the advent of the sublime ‘Time Together’ has been rendered that much more special by the fact it has been five years since his previous project, ‘Rendezvous In Rio’, first hit the streets,. When recently I talked with Michael from his home in New York State the topics ranged from the weather, the autobiographic nature of ‘Time Together’, his passion for British television crime drama and many things in between.  
Isabelle Geffroy, aka Zaz, released her eponymous debut CD in May 2010 and by any standards it is excellent. If you ask Zaz about her musical influences she will explain that she prefers to think of them as meetings. She is expressive, powerful and has such vocal control that the execution of each song appears effortless. Not only will the album will dazzle you but also make you sit up and listen.
Throughout a discography that dates back to 1987 and her debut recording ‘A Drop Of Water’, the wonderful Keiko Matsui has differentiated herself by continuously crafting memorable melodies that she considers to be reflections of herself. Her latest CD is titled ‘The Road’ from which the title track has just been released as a music video. When I talked to Keiko from her home in Los Angeles I was eager to discover more.
06.07.2011

Monika Herzig

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Monika Herzig is an extremely creative and talented pianist. Her CD ‘Come With Me’ is replete with fabulously original tunes that take the listener on an exhilarating and rewarding journey while the title track is underpinned by a truly wonderful story.
14.05.2011

Gordon Goodwin

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Composer and arranger Gordon Goodwin certainly has an impressive resume.  A 2006 GRAMMY Award winner for his arrangement of 'Incredits' from the Pixar film The Incredibles, Gordon has also enjoyed eleven more Grammy nominations and picked up three Emmy Awards along the way.  Not only that, since 2000, Goodwin has been the driving force behind his own creation Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and when recently I talked with him from his studio in Los Angeles I was interested to know what had been his motivation for beginning what has now evolved into a modern day big band phenomenon.
'We're Here to Listen' by pianist Leslie Pintchik is a wonderful showcase for her skills as a performer, composer and arranger.  Her talents have placed the album right up there with genres best and when recently I was fortunate enough to interview Leslie it proved to be a totally enjoyable experience.
14.05.2011

Marissa Caliguire

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Someone who has made it her mission to harness contemporary jazz for the benefit of others is Detroit based music writer, photographer and broadcaster Marissa Caliguire.  In 2010 she masterminded the charity release 'C Notes For Haiti' which featured a wonderful selection of jazz-infused R&B from the likes of Kloud 9, Darnell Kendricks, Nick Colionne and Rick Braun.  Proceeds went to aid those impacted by the disastrous quake that hit the island in January of that year and now she is back with a brand new charitable venture.  When recently I met with Marrisa at the Hard Rock Hotel in…
01.04.2011

Maysa

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Over a career spanning more than twenty years, the hugely talented Maysa has remained ahead of the curve with a sound that is both sophisticated and soulful  When recently I talked to her from her home in Baltimore, MD I was interested to learn more about the exciting ventures she already has lined up for 2011.  However, before doing so I wanted to take Maysa back to her early days in music and how she first got started.
05.03.2011

Edwin Livingston

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Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave.  His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up with him in LA I first asked him about the creative process that brought the project to fruition.
The latest album from French composer and pianist Christophe DelValle is titled ‘Shared Moments’. It is an interesting collection with some compelling collaborations so when Christophe recently took time out to talk with JazzReview the first thing on the agenda was to discover the motivation that lay beneath the music.
As ‘Ultra Sheen’, the title track from his new album, reaches its conclusion, tenor saxophonist, composer, and rapper David Boykin proclaims: "I crept up in position on competition, that slept on my skills in composition, and kept on with ambition pursuing my violation, built my rep on original creation, not steeped on renditions of dated tunes, that should have been slated for demolition, a long time ago, before a wrong rhyme ago." Well folks that sounds like fighting talk! …
It could be argued that the cohesiveness that marks out super-group Fourplay from the crowd is, in part, tied to the offstage camaraderie between band members Harvey Mason, Bob James, Nathan East and Chuck Loeb. With the brand new album, ‘Let’s Touch The Sky’, this tight distinctive groove is again on display and it is interesting to ponder from where this obvious togetherness comes. According to Mason, when the group isn’t performing they are enjoying what he calls ‘Fourplay din …
29.01.2011

Anders Helmerson

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Marching to the beat of his own drum, Anders Helmerson truly exemplifies what it means to be the exception and not the rule. From music to medical school and back to music, Helmerson is a well rounded artist who allowed his creativity to take him to new heights and to ultimately create his own genre of music which he has dubbed Progressive FusionMarching to the beat of his own drum, Anders Helmerson truly exemplifies what it means to be the exception and not the rule. From music to medical school and back to music, Helmerson is a well rounded artist who allowed his creativity to…
29.01.2011

Chris Standring

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Already described as extremely cinematic, ‘Blue Bolero’ by Chris Standring has already become one of the most talked about releases of 2010. The compositions, arrangements and choice of instruments all show off a different side to his musical persona so when recently I talked to this talented guitarist from his studio in Los Angeles, I was particularly eager to ascertain how this amazing project had come about. "I started putting the album together in late 2008" Chris told me.
29.01.2011

Jessy J

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When in 2008 sax player Jessica Spinella, aka Jessy J, released her debut CD ‘Tequila Moon’ a range of factors combined to make it one of the most hyped events of the year. Produced by Paul Brown, who also provided a significant writing input, the album merged smooth jazz with Latin sensibilities in a way that had rarely been done before. A little more than a year later she was back with her sophomore effort ‘True Love’ which moved Jessy J closer yet to her Latin herita …
29.01.2011

George Anderson

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For fully thirty years Shakatak has remained at the forefront of British jazz-funk and for much of that time the band’s bass player has been George Anderson. Now, brand new for 2010, and with a few of his Shakatak friends around to lend a hand, Anderson has released his debut solo recording, the wonderful ‘Positivity’. When recently I talked to him from his home in Middlesex, England I first asked if he ever imagined that the Shakatak adventure would endure in the way that it …
29.01.2011

Tom Grant

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‘Delicioso’ by pianist Tom Grant is his twenty fourth album release. In fact ever since 1976, and his recording debut with ‘Mystified’, he has been a standard bearer for the genre of music that evolved into smooth jazz. This latest project bears testament to the fact that, much like good wine, he is getting better with age and when recently I talked to him from his studio in the Pacific north west I was eager to discover what inspires him to remain totally connected …
29.01.2011

Taj Mahal

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With two Grammy awards and a further eight nominations to his name, multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal can truly be regarded as one of the best in blues. Indeed, ever since 1968, and the release of his self titled debut album, this legendary performer has exerted an influence that transcends genres. When recently he appeared at the Bandshell in Daytona Beach, for a performance at the American Music Festival, I was allowed exclusive backstage access to talk to him. He had just c …
29.01.2011

Attila Molnar

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It’s a long way from the renaissance splendour of Budapest to the urban intensity of Washington DC but this is the journey that writer, producer and keyboard player Attila Molnar has taken to realise his musical dream. When recently I talked with him from his Maryland recording studio the conversation ranged from living life on a new continent to his passion for making music. A shining example of what the American dream can deliver; Molnar arrived in the USA in 1997 with a whole …