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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Deanna Witkowski

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Deanna Witkowski has red hair, grew up in the western half of New York State and Pennsylvania. Nothing unusual there, but then you come to the part where she plays a style of jazz that is heavily influenced with Latin vibes. Whoa, where did that come from? We could make this into a story that says Witkowski had designs on being a famous Latin artist from the time she was a little girl, but the truth is, at least in the beginning, it was more a fluke. She recalls, "I was in gradua …
29.01.2011

Brenda Earle

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JAZZREVIEW: I’ve listened to your album Happening, and I like it very much. You have a very good band, and a nice sound with the Saxophone and strings. However, on the song that you sing with Julie Hardy, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic I can’t tell you two apart. BRENDA EARLE: That’s interesting isn’t it? JAZZREVIEW: Yes it is. It’s just that I thought I would be able to tell you apart, having listened to her album so often and I can’t. BRENDA EARLE …
My mother had a friend who passed on some time ago and that lady was one of the biggest Lou Rawls' fans in the world. She had a life-sized, cardboard cut out of him in the entryway of her home. I mean she was a ''ride and die'' fan. I wouldn't go as far as to sticking a cardboard cut out of Will Downing in my foyer, but the way my autographed poster of him followed me from apartment to apartment for years, signifies that he is my absolute favorite male singer of all times. I was intro …
Saxophone players are not unusual to the world of music but when you find one whose influences have stemmed from his love of Hip Hop plus traditional jazz music, you got something pretty special on your hands. To be exact, you have an ''Uncommon Denominator'' that is indivisible by anything that doesn't equate to the love of music. I caught up with Hidden Beach recording artist, Mike Phillips, one Tuesday evening while he was on the road in Cleveland, OH and we ''chopped …
29.01.2011

Susan Werner

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At a time when so many singers are mining the archives in search of standards to sing, Susan Werner has written her own songbook. Her latest CD, "I Can’t Be New," recalls the classic tunes of Porter, Gershwin and Mercer. Werner’s songs are new, but they carry an old vibe, with their sharp lyrics and sophisticated melodies. Werner describes the songs as "one acts." These vignettes are an insightful, entertaining look at modern-day life and relationships told by a woman who w …
29.01.2011

Mark Murphy

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When Mark Murphy hit the jazz scene back in 1956, it was immediately obvious that he had what no one else had going for them: a very hip and remarkable way of interpreting a song, and a range and timing he optimized with every note, mesmerizing his listeners. Although Murphy confesses it took time to find his niche, many will disagree. Once you became turned on to Murphy’s remarkable style, you bought every single recording you could lay your hands on. Those who didn’t, now find t …
29.01.2011

Kerrry Politzer

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Labyrinth is the third album by jazz pianist Kerry Politzer. Of her music Kerry Politzer says "improvisation over a melody and changes, it definitely is that." To me it is some strikingly good straight ahead jazz with Brazilian and classical influences. On her third CD "Labyrinth" Kerry plays piano and has composed all ten of the works. She is accompanied by a first rate group of musicians: Andrew Rathbun, soprano and tenor sax; Chris Higgins, bass; George Colligan, drums.
29.01.2011

Gregg August

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Ann Braithwaite of Braithwaite and Katz Communications sent me an email asking if I would like to receive a copy of Gregg August's first album as leader entitled Late August. I replied, "Yes send it to me." It arrived and I put it into the CD player and then had to stop everything I was doing and just listen. Late August is contemporary jazz in the straight-ahead style with a Latin flavor. After listening to the CD a few times, I called Ann and asked if I could int …
This This past summer I had the great experience of speaking with Luther Hughes, who plays a hot acoustic bass and has put together the remarkable Cannonball-Coltrane Project. I saw this exciting band at Founder’s Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts center and bought their self-titled album. The Project’s members on Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project are Luther on Bass; Glenn Cashman on Tenor sax; Bruce Babad on alto sax; Ed Czach on piano; Paul K …
29.01.2011

Jane Monheit

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Back in the quaint town of North Hampton, Massachusetts is where I first experienced the sparkle of Jane Monheit, and her lyrical tone and expressions on stage. Almost angelic in nature, this initial encounter captured my total awareness. An eclectic feel in sound and method that redefines the jazz vocalist stereotype and perception. Opinions aside, Ms. Monheit’s energy and talent is foremost in the jazz industry. Ms. Monheit’s fifth studio album, The Season (Epic Records cat. 97221 …
29.01.2011

Matthew Shipp

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Origins originate from a phenomenon other than birth. Honing in on the phenomenon is more conceptual than descriptive. For mere mortals, the journey necessitates a ceaseless repetition of approaching how to understand the ultimate beginning of everything up to and including the self. And for Matthew Shipp, the means to approach this universal understanding is through the piano in the way in which he matchlessly creates sound. To talk with Matt is to talk to a person boldly adherent to …
29.01.2011

Ramsey Lewis

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Jazz legend Ramsey Lewis celebrates his career and personal milestones in 2005: 50 Years in the Entertainment Industry 71st Recording Album First-Ever Gospel Album, With One Voice 70th Birthday "This was not Ramsey’s first time performing religious music publicly. His unique style and versatility exemplify a fresh awakening in the sound of gospel music. The excitement generated by Ramsey is stimulating to observe and it is awesome …
29.01.2011

Danilo Perez

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JAZZREVIEW: What’s happening, man? DANILO PEREZ: Beautiful, man! I’m here with my daughter. You know, we just had another baby on Saturday another girl, Carlina Esmiralda Perez. I’m really happy and I’m excited about living life and everything. JAZZREVIEW: Congratulations on another new Danilo creation, my friend. Is that Carlina? DANILO PEREZ: That’s Daniella--15 months, man. JAZZREVIEW: You pres …
29.01.2011

Marc Antoine

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Guitarist Marc Antoine has established himself as a musician who brings out a distinctive sound mixing classical, Latin jazz and flamenco styles. This style has helped him gain momentum in the smooth jazz genre to release CDs that consistently top the charts. However, his latest CD "Modern Times" brings about a different sound to Antoine's repertoire. He says, "Although people primarily know me for my acoustic flamenco guitar sound, for years I've also done sessions on electric for Celine Dion, …
29.01.2011

David Benoit

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David Benoit is a very busy guy these days. He recently released his first all-orchestral CD, produced a tribute to the first Charlie Brown TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas and is getting ready for a Christmas tour with saxophonist Dave Koz. With everything the composer/conductor/instrumentalist has done, he is most proud of his classical-based CD called Orchestral Stories. Benoit's orchestral CD was a labor of love for him, but there were two things that he had problems wit …
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 …