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Jazz Artist Interviews (634)

Get up close and personal with your favorite jazz artists!

29.01.2011

Russell Malone

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Russell Malone has been turning the heads of jazz lovers for over a decade with his versatile guitar playing. Frequently named in lists and polls of players deserving wider recognition, he may finally get his due with his new Verve release Heartstrings, his sixth as a bandleader. The recording notably features the guitarist performing in front of both gorgeous string sections and a stellar rhythm section featuring Kenny Baron on piano, Christian McBride on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on dr …
29.01.2011

Danny Luciano

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Just a short walk through the corridors of time will put you in touch with some of the most versatile musicians, vocalists, and composers who gave us what the music world is proud to call the birth of Jazz. What you find is, if music is the language of the world, when it speaks from the soul..that's blues when it comes from the heart that's Jazz. If a guy makes you pat your foot and you feel it down your back, you don't have to ask anybody if that's good music or not. You can alw …
DellaRatta is a crafter, not solely of music in the general sense, but of a specific ambiance. A jazz artist with a distinctive style augmented by equally distinctive accompanying musicians. DellaRatta doubles as the vocalist and pianist in a swinging quartet. He is equally in depth in both roles. JazzReview.com: Tell me about the earliest experience with music you remember and maybe some of the things that sparked your interest in music, Jazz in particular. DellaRatta: …
29.01.2011

Jeffery Smith

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Apart from "Old Blue Eyes," Ella, and Tony Bennett, I'm not really a huge fan of jazz singing. I'll take a John Coltrane record any day, but even I have been jonesing for someone to bring the format back into mainstream prominence. Jeffery Smith could finally be the male jazz vocalist that I have been craving. Granted there is Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, and Kevin Mahogany, but none has really captivated the medium like Frank Sinatra once did. Then there's Andy Bey, who just released a gem, but he …
29.01.2011

Hugh Ragin

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I have a soft spot for the more adventuresome aspects of jazz, the avant-garde, free, way out, loft scene stuff. And I have been a Hugh Ragin devotee since my first experience hearing him on a David Murray album. When I heard he was set to release an album on Justin Time, I knew I had to talk to him about it. We sat down from his office at Oberlin to talk about his album, "An Afternoon in Harlem," his friendship with David Murray and Roscoe Mitchell, and his teaching. This is a conversation with …
29.01.2011

Joe Sherbanee

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Technical virtuosity combines with emotional depth in the music of Joe Sherbanee. With eloquent writing and vivid themes. The Road Ahead, Sherbanee's daring debut album for Native Language music, breaks down music barriers. Fusing together contemporary jazz with funk, blues, and pop influences, the crossover appeal becomes obvious in a style that cannot be categorized. JazzReview.com : You were taught by your father to play the drums ..Was that your first introduction into music? …
29.01.2011

Benn Clatworthy

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It would be difficult for me to think of a harder working musician than Benn Clatworthy. A tenor saxophonist that is every bit the player that Joshua Redman is, Clatworthy has been a staple in Los Angeles clubs for the past two decades. He has a brand new album, "Let's Face the Music" (available by calling 562-698-8267 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and we spoke at length about his release and his humble life in music. The following is a portrait of one of the most unheralded musicians in the mus …
29.01.2011

Tatsu Aoki

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If one were to ask a jazz musician or serious jazz listener in Chicago about Tatsu Aoki, chances are that they're aware of the Tokyo-born bassist, who moved to Chicago in 1978 from a brief stay in New York. "It was either (Chicago) or New Orleans," Aoki said. "In New York, I couldn’t get a good read on the pulse of the city. It was either Chicago or New Orleans. I chose Chicago." Aoki is a virtual cottage industry in the Chicago music scene. He has released 28 albums as a leader or solo …
29.01.2011

Joanne Brackeen

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I was mortified to see an unnamed guitarist (Mark Whitfield) on stage at an undisclosed location (The Iridium) in a major metropolitan city (New York) play some sort of instrumental pop, smooth, crossover, hybrid. What had led such a promising young musician to abandon his once true calling? After all, he (Mark Whitfield) was touted by most members of the selective media and his own label (Verve) to be the next great guitarist in jazz. The answer? Simple. It's why strippers disrobe (not that I'm …
Through the years jazz has come to mean different things to different people, branching and rejoining itself in a myriad of styles. Here is one jazz performer defining and redefining what jazz means today. A San Jose native, who later moved to the Los Angeles area, Geissman grew up on the sounds of the Beatles, Eric Clapton, surf guitar music and later jazz/blues greats B.B. King and Kenny Burrell. Geissman was a senior at Cal State Northridge when he was recommended by a mutual friend …
29.01.2011

Ray Drummond

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As a student enrolled in Stanford Business School, Ray Drummond could have chosen a much easier life than that of a jazz musician. The mere fact that he left school to journey down that difficult road is a testament to the bassist's love for the music. He is one of the most in-demand bassists of our time. Christian McBride may garner the publicity, but Drummond has McBride's record output beat hands down. Drummond has been featured on well over two hundred recordings. His latest as a leader has …
29.01.2011

Dave Scott

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I first ran into trumpeter Dave Scott at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Every Friday night, LACMA provides a year round showcase of some of the finest jazz on the West Coast, and it's free. I was familiar with Scott because he was an instructor for the jazz department at my alma mater, the University of Southern California, and he had a release on Vinny Golia's Nine Winds label, the premiere free jazz label in North America. The following is a candid portrait of the horn player th …
29.01.2011

Loston Harris

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When I received Loston Harris's debut in the mail, I actually laughed out loud that the press release described his vocal quality as to that of a cigar. Being a cigar smoker myself, I was curious as to how that comparison would be drawn. I put the CD on and I soon began to understand why. This young man audibly had all the vocal facilities to be a star. I had an opportunity to sit down with the young Harris during his recent North American tour for his inaugural release on N2K, 'Comes Love'.
29.01.2011

Michel Petrucciani

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"My philosophy," said Michel Petrucciani, "is to have a really good time and never to let anything stop me from doing what I want to do." Nothing unusual about that, one might think. But since Petrucciani was an adult standing only three feet high and weighing 65 pounds, one might expect his ambitions to have been, so to speak, closer to the ground. But, had he not aspired to achievements above his station, he might have chosen to play something more convenient such as the harmonica rather than …
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