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Jazz Artist Interviews (709)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

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 …
29.01.2011

Lizz Wright

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"Music lives in that place where anything can be picked up. It can become a different statement in someone else’s hands than in my hands. The fact that it can be passed from hand to hand is something beautiful, almost spiritual. It means different things in different places and I approached this record as if there is no history. I was just a voice, and I loved it." Lizz Wright Please join JazzReview in this most insightful interview with Lizz Wright. Her comments and …
29.01.2011

Cheryl Bentyne

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Cheryl Bentyne has been the soprano voice of the world-renown vocal group The Manhattan Transfer since 1979. She has won Grammys (and countless other awards), toured the world and performed with such musical legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1992, she released her first solo album, the ethereal "Something Cool," and MT fans hoped more solo projects would follow. But it wasn’t until ten years later when Cheryl resumed her solo recording career in Japa …
29.01.2011

Matt Bianco

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Two decades have passed and three lives have traveled very different paths, sometimes touching upon the past, whether by song or a brief recall of a faint memory. However, fans do not forget. They just anticipate the resurrection of a new beginning in hopes of past musical magic becoming restored. Hope is not a strategy, just a forgone wish gambled upon. But in this case, this gamble paid three to one, for hope won out. Ladies and gentlemen, Matt Bianco is back in studio. Matt Bianco, in part …
29.01.2011

Beegie Adair

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Capture if you will a moment in your life when the mood, music, and a scene from a particular movie engraved a moment in your memory bank. Likelihood is that the film you were watching with your significant other close by your side, would be instantly recalled when you hear that familiar theme. We all have those experiences at one time or another and it is dedicated artists like Beegie Adair that bring them back to life, note by note. Whether by jewel box or performance, Ms. Adair feels what you …
29.01.2011

Sakesho

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A group that has been around for just around two years is making a mark on the music scene to bring the best of the French Caribbean to listeners around the world. Sakesho, pronounced sah KAY show, is presenting to audiences the style of beguine music, which is intensely syncopated and polyrhythmic. This style of music has fascinated steelpan drummer Andy Narell, who for many years has always looked at many styles of world beat music. The group combines beguine with calypso beats, Afro-Cuban …