Monday, January 29, 2018
Fellow professors at California State University, Fresno, until Levine's death in 2015, Boone and Levine performed their first concert together in March 2012; that fall they decided to lay down some tracks. "The Poetry of Jazz" features 14 iconic poems by Levine set to compositions by Boone based on the music he heard in their words and their author's delivery.
For the recording sessions, Levine was in the studio with the musicians. "He told me, 'Why the hell would I want to be in a room by myself? I do that enough already! Have the musicians there and then that will be fun,'" Boone recalls. "There were always musicians playing live with him. Phil did most tracks in a max of two takes. 'Gin' was the absolute first take."
A highly regarded composer who often sets text to music, Boone employs a vast and vivid sonic palette in writing and arranging settings for Levine's words. He recruited an impressive cast of California players, relying particularly on drummer Brian Hamada, bassist Spee Kosloff, and pianist David Aus, who also contributed compositionally.
In addition, on the intimate "The Unknowable (Homage to Sonny Rollins)," Boone evokes the inner struggle and beatific quest embodied by the saxophone colossus's famous woodshedding walks on the Williamsburg Bridge, a search that materializes in the thick, sinewy sound of Chris Potter's horn. Tom Harrell delivers a strikingly beautiful statement on "I Remember Clifford (Homage to Clifford Brown)," while the mercurial altoist Greg Osby darts and weaves around "Call It Music (Homage to Charlie Parker)," about Bird's infamous Dial recording session of "Lover Man." On Boone's poignant ballad "Soloing (Homage to John Coltrane)," Branford Marsalis's sinuous tenor lines bring to life Levine's comparison between his aging mother's isolated existence and a Coltrane solo.
"I wanted to record Phil's poems about Rollins, Brown, Parker, and Coltrane, as well as his poems that created melodies when he read them," Boone says. "We talked a lot about the relationship of music and the voice, and I told him, I don't want to react word by word. The music and the poetry had to be equal and symbiotic."
A lifelong jazz fan who was born (1928) and raised in Detroit when it was a proving ground for a brilliant generation of bebop-inspired improvisers, Philip Levine often wrote about jazz and the musicians he loved in his verse. But Boone, an award-winning composer, player and educator, wanted to dig deeper. He drew inspiration not only from the subjects of Levine's poems but also from the musicality of his language and his wry, emotionally restrained recitation.
Over the course of his career Levine collaborated with musicians in a variety of settings, but felt the results weren't always salutary, which made the connection with Boone all the more satisfying. He observed that "[Boone's] ability to both hear and 'get' my writing was astonishing... He can tell just where the music needs to carry the moment or the language has to climb over the instruments. His compositions seem to grow directly out of the thrust of the language."
Born in 1963 in Statesville, NC, Benjamin Boone grew up in an intellectually stimulating family and could have devoted himself to any number of pursuits. He concentrated on the saxophone and started improvising from an early age, but was also interested in composition. "I learned a great deal about science, literature, visual art, writing, history, politics, and music from my four older brothers," he says. "So I've always gravitated towards interdisciplinary projects like this one, where I can combine playing, composition, literature, and oration to create an artistic statement that addresses history and topics relevant today."
Boone traces his fascination with the music of spoken language to a hearing issue "that makes it hard for me to understand words," he says. "When I hear people speak I hear it as music, a melodic line. This fascination with spoken language allowed me to use Phil's voice as an instrument, which makes this project unique."
Boone is heralded as a performer and composer in both jazz and new music circles. His compositions have been heard in 29 countries and on more than 25 albums and have been the subject of multiple national broadcasts on NPR. He conducted musical research in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova as a Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellow and is currently spending a year in Ghana performing and composing with African musicians as a Fulbright Scholar.
With "The Poetry of Jazz" Boone has opened up a new literary and musical frontier, and there's more in store. The album features the first half of the 29 poems he recorded with Levine, who addressed his readers in his classic verse, writing "if you're old enough to read this you know what work is."
Photo of Benjamin Boone by Tomas Ovalle
Web Site: benjaminboone.net
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Concert produced by Bernardo Costa for Coisas da Música.
This Friday, January 26, don't miss the Luis Perdomo Trio featuring bassist Mimi Jones and drummer Rudy Royston. 7pm & 8:30pm.
See you there!
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Award-winning jazz pianist and world-renowned singer, Diana Krall continues with the 4th North American leg of her massive “Turn Up The Quiet World Tour” that has visited over 80 cities in Europe and North America thus far.
20 additional U.S. concert dates have just been announced for June. Among the many highlights of this tour leg are: New Orleans, Memphis as well as multiple dates in Texas including Austin’s ACL Live at the Moody Theatre.
On Sale 1/30
Akron Civic Theatre
Midland Center for the Arts
The Palladium at The Center for the Performing Arts
Hoyt Sherman Place
Des Moines, IA
The Ordway Music Theater
St. Paul, MN
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Peabody Opera House
St. Louis, MO
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Kansas City, MO
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX
ACL Live at The Moody Theatre
San Antonio, TX
Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
Sugar Land, TX
New Orleans, LA
Chapman Music Hall at Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Walton Arts Center
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Dave Brubeck / Cécile McLorin Salvant
Billy Perrigo talks to the pianist Darius Brubeck about the State Department tours his father, the pianist Dave Brubeck, was involved in from 1958, about the political objective of "cultural diplomacy" as these kind of cultural tours into countries "behind the Iron Curtain" were being called, and the direct response by the audiences in Poland and East Germany. Perrigo also talks to the historian Penny Von Eschen about what the New York Times described as "America's secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key", about the attempts by the State Department to send an image of "racial harmony" around the world to counterbalance the reports of racism in the USA. And he talks to Hugo Berkeley, the director of a PBS documentary on the subject of "Jazz Ambassadors" ( Time). --- John Shand talks to the singer Cécile McLorin Salvant about her latest album "Dreams and Daggers", about not listening to her own recordings unless she has to, about her advice to young singers, "Unlearn everything that was taught to you, and try to sing like your grandmother", about trying to focus more on the "play element" of her music than on how she sounds, to "really explore things and not have it be so sacred and so rigid and stiff", about the influence of Sarah Vaughan, about her choice of repertoire, about singing being her substitute for being an actor, as well as about her dream to return to sing baroque music at some point which would mean taking a pause from singing jazz ( Sydney Morning Herald).
3 January 2018
Marty Grosz / João Gilberto
Elizabeth Coady talks to the guitarist Marty Grosz about Woody Allen who "couldn't play jazz" but "owned a clarinet", about his earliest memory of traveling to New York on the S.S. Bremen in 1933 with his family including his father, the painter George Grosz, about his start in jazz, about his father's fascination with "what passed for jazz in Germany before 1930", as well as about the law suits he had to lead to reclaim control or possession of his father's artwork ( Chestnut Hill Local , Chestnut Hill Local ). --- Jaime Clara reports about the Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto who at the age of 86 lives in "absolute financial hardship". Gilberto had been declared legally incompetent by a Brazilian court and his daughter, the singer Bebel Gilberto, named as his legal guardian. Clara talks to neighbors of the guitarist who attest that they never heard a note from his apartment in the last 30 years ( Infobae).
4 January 2018
Jazz in Germany / Women in Jazz
Martin Laurentius presents a review of what happened in German jazz during 2017 and singles out the visibility of female musicians during that year, from saxophonist Angelika Niescier who had won the German Jazz Award, through panels organized by the German jazz musicians' union UDJ to the appointment of Nadin Deventer as new artistic director of the Jazzfest Berlin. He mentions the discussion of trumpeter Till Brönner's brainchild, a House of Jazz in Berlin and how the IG Jazz Berlin, a musicians' initiative, took part in it. He points out how Tim Isfort, new artistic director for the moers festival, managed to implement his own perspective in the program but also opened it up to a more general audience in the city (asking why that might be necessary in the first place), and he ends praising the drummer Christian Lillinger who won the 2017 SWR Jazz Award ( Goethe-Institut). --- The discussion about how female musicians in jazz are being recognized and treated has reached Germany, and the singers Pascal von Wroblewski and Tom Gaebel explain their own perspectives on it ( Laut).
5 January 2018
Ron Carter / Miles Davis
In a video interview Stephan Mejias talks to the bassist Ron Carter about how he has been looking for a long time to find hi-fi equipment which gave the listener the same sound he could experience in a live concert, but also about how important sound is for his concerts themselves ( Stereophile). --- Gwen Ansell watches the biopic "Kalushi" about South African freedom fighter Solomon Kalushi and finds fault in the use of references to Miles Davis in that movie, especially a supposedly anti-white statement by the trumpeter published in 1985 which the film's protagonist quotes, even though he was killed in 1978, summarizing, "The story of jazz, in Umkhonto we Sizwe culture and Kalushi's life, is far more nuanced - and positive - than a poorly sourced quote from Jet magazine" ( All Africa).
7 January 2018
Onyx Jazz Collective / Fred Hersch
Dale Eisinger talks to the saxophonist Isaiah Barr and the drummer Austin Williamson about their band, the Onyx Collective, about how most of their music is recorded in room-mic situations, about the theatrical or sound concepts behind their music, as well as about the jazz element in their music being, "Do what you want to do and vibe how you want to vibe", yet their music being far beyond what is traditionally labeled as jazz ( Interview). --- Kirk Silsbee talks to the pianist Fred Hersch about success and setbacks during his career, about Thelonious Monk's music which he calls "interesting puzzles. You can take them apart and reassemble [them] in surprising ways", about having been raised Jewish but since having become a practicing Buddhist, as well as about his latest album "Open Book" which has been nominated for a Grammy, like a dozen of his albums before (so far no win, though) ( Jewish Journal).
8 January 2018
Pittsburgh / Uli Beckerhoff
Emma Maurice looks at the present jazz scene in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and finds its roots in the city's long jazz history. She talks to the musicologists Michael Heller and Benjamin Barson who sees a renewed interest in jazz and at the same time venues closing down as a result of ongoing noise complaints from neighbors. She also talks to the drummer Jeff 'Tain' Watts who grew up in Pittsburgh and who is sure that even though clubs may be closing there will come others to replace them, especially as there is a lot of support, both from Pittsburgh University and from the local jazz community ( The PittNews). --- Eike Wienbarg talks to the German trumpeter Uli Beckerhoff about changes on the jazz scene during the last decades, about his own fascination with the music, about how the live experience helps new listeners to get an understanding of jazz, about the need to have young musicians present their perspectives of the music, as well as about his own road into jazz ( Weser-Kurier).
9 January 2018
Jazz being cool music / Eddie Palmieri
Will Hodgkinson is surprised by seeing a young crowd attending a concert remembering Alice and John Coltrane and featuring Pharoah Sanders and asks what it is that suddenly seems to have made jazz a cool music for young people. He talks to the drummer Moses Boyd who feels that "this kind of music has something the world needs right now", to Justin McKenzie of Jazz Re:freshed who confirms that "audiences are getting younger by the month" and explains how he handed out flyers at raves, grime clubs, reggae nights for years to get people interested but also says "the challenge is to keep them interested once the hype dies down". He talks to the rapper Nas who sees his act as an extension of his father's (the cornetist Olu Dara's) music, to the saxophonist Nubya Garcia who sees Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" as an initiation for the new interest in jazz, and to the saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings who explains that for a long time young people may have thought that jazz was not for them until they saw "Pharoah Sanders looking cool on the cover of [the 1969 masterpiece] Karma and the stigma is broken down" ( The Times). --- Raquel Laneri talks to the pianist Eddie Palmieri about practicing even when he is not at the piano, about Johann Sebastian Bach having been "the first jazz player", about his regular visits to a cigar lounge in Manhattan, about trying to take care of his health, as well as about his dream being to bring the symphonic orchestra he teaches at Rutgers University to Carnegie Hall one day, because he had studied in the Carnegie Hall building when he was 11 years old ( New York Post).
... what else ...
Jim Macnie celebrates The Bad Plus on the occasion of a change in personnel by collecting the concert announcements for the trio he wrote for the Village Voice over the years (and we wish he had given at least the years of their original source) ( Lament for a Straight Line). Giovanni Russonello hears the last concert of the "old" Bad Plus at the Village Vanguard as well as the first album by the "new" Bad Plus ( New York Times). --- Ethan Iverson , the now former pianist for The Bad Plus, has launched a new website, Do the Gig, featuring reviews of a variety of concerts in New York City (Do the Gig ). --- Ray Funk listens to saxophonist Sonny Rollins' interpretations of Calypso music ( The Guardian, Trinidad and Tobago). --- Jack Van Beynen talks to the New Zealand singer and saxophonist Nathan Haynes who had to give up performing after undergoing throat cancer therapy ( Stuff). --- Nicolas Niarchos talks to the drummer Phil Young about the healing power of jazz ( The New Yorker). --- Vivian Perkovic talks to the German club owner Wolf von Waldenfels about the need for alternative dance and music clubs and why he thinks they should not be publicly funded ( Deutschlandfunk Kultur ). --- Matt Sledge ( The Advocate) and Beau Evans ( New Orleans Times-Picayune) report about the trumpeter Irvin Mayfield who pledged not guilty in federal court to charges of fraud and money laundering. --- Nate Chinen previews some highlights of the upcoming Winter Jazzfest in New York, singling out performances by Yazz Ahmed, Ches Smith's We All Break, Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity, Onyx Collective, Stephane Wrembel Band, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition, Ranky Tanky, Catherine Russell, and Nicole Mitchell ( WBGO).
We learned of the passing of the trumpeter Melton Mustafa at the age of 70 ( Miami Herald), the saxophonist Scott Mullett at the age of 56 ( Sentinel Source, New England Public Radio), the drummer Harold Cardwell at the age of 77 ( Nuvo), the singer Betty Willis at the age of 76 ( Soultracks), the conductor Maurice Peress at the age of 87 ( New York Times), the pianist Andy Whittington at the age of 45 ( Port City Daily), the German bassist Joe Sydow at the age of 91 ( Hamburger Abendblatt), the French chanson singer (with a deep love for jazz) France Gall at the age of 70 ( France Info, Washington Post), the German clarinetist Claus Jürgen Möller at the age of 80 ( Hamburger Abendblatt), the Scottish trombonist George Kidd at the age of 78 ( The Herald), the drummer Cootie Harris at the age of 94 ( Meadville Tribune), the critic Richard Havers at the age of 66 ( Music Week), as well as the German saxophonist Klaus Marmulla. --- Ken Franckling published a list of musicians who passed in 2017 with links to their obituaries, for which he draws on different sources, including this newsletter ( Jazz Journalists Association).
Monday, January 1, 2018
Wadada Leo Smith's "America's National Parks" at Univ. of VA, Jan 27, as part of the Impulse Festival
Saturday, January 27 at University of Virginia as part of Smith's Impulse Festival residency
"A trumpeter and composer of penetrating insight."- Nate Chinen, The New York Times
Iconic composer, trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quintet - Smith, pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Pheeroan akLaff, and cellist Ashley Walters along with video artist Jesse Gilbert - will perform music from Smith's masterwork America's National Parks on Saturday, January 27 at the University of Virgina's Old Cabel Hall as part of the school's Impulse Festival.
The performance is part of the group's residency, which includes a public talk, a gallery exhibition of Smith's Ankhrasmation scores, workshops by Quintet members and more. The performance takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $13 for UVA faculty and staff, $10 for students and free for UVA students in advance from the UVA Box Office. For a full schedule and more information, log on to http://music.virginia.edu/impulse-festival.
America's National Parks is a six-movement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of the country's public landscapes. Cuneiform's 2-CD recording of the work was named the Jazz Album of the Year by DownBeat's 65th International Critics Poll and was at or near the top of most annual lists of best releases. JazzTimes wrote that the album "unites political engagement with a soul-deep connection to nature... rich with ineffable majesty, [the suite] fully engages with tensions at the heart of the American experience."
Wadada Leo Smith
Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improviser Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original and influential artists of his time. Transcending the bounds of genre or idiom, he distinctly defines his music, tirelessly inventive in both sound and approach, as "Creative Music."
For the last five decades, Smith has been a member of the legendary AACM collective, pivotal in its wide-open perspectives on music and art in general. He has carried those all-embracing concepts into his own work, expanding upon them in myriad ways.
Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized for his groundbreaking work. A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, he received the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and earned an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was also celebrated as Faculty Emeritus. In addition, he received the Hammer Museum's 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement "honoring brilliance and resilience."
In 2017 Smith topped three categories in DownBeat Magazine's 65th Annual Critics Poll: Best Jazz Artist, Trumpeter of the Year and Jazz Album of the Year, and was featured as the subject of a cover story in August 2017. The Jazz Journalists Association also honored Smith as their 2017 Musician of the Year as well as 2017 Duo of the Year for his work with Vijay Iyer. He was also voted Best Composer in the Jazz Station Awards. The JJA named him their 2016 Trumpeter of the Year, 2015 Composer of the Year, and 2013 Musician of the Year, and he earned top billing in two categories in the JazzTimes 2016 Critics Poll: Artist of the Year and Composer of the Year.
In October 2015 The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago presented the first comprehensive exhibition of Smith's Ankhrasmation scores, which use non-standard visual directions, making them works of art in themselves as well as igniting creative sparks in the musicians who perform them. In 2016, these scores were also featured in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Kadist in San Francisco.
Born December 18, 1941 in Leland, Mississippi, Smith's early musical life began at age thirteen when he became involved with the Delta blues and jazz traditions performing with his stepfather, bluesman Alex Wallace. He received his formal musical education from the U.S. Military band program (1963), the Sherwood School of Music (1967-69), and Wesleyan University (1975-76).
Smith has released more than 50 albums as a leader on labels including ECM, Moers, Black Saint, Tzadik, Pi Recordings, TUM, Leo and Cuneiform. His diverse discography reveals a recorded history centered around important issues that have impacted his world, exploring the social, natural and political environment of his times with passion and fierce intelligence. His 2016 recording, America's National Parks earned a place on numerous best of the year lists including the New York Times, NPR Music and many others. Smith's landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called "A staggering achievement [that] merits comparison to Coltrane's A Love Supreme in sobriety and reach."
The Impulse Festival
The Impulse Festival is sponsored by: McIntire Department of Music, McIntire Department of Art, Arts Administration, Gassmann Fund for Innovation in Music, Acquavella Family, Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts, UVA Arts Council, President's Commission on Slavery and the University, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences' Collective Response: Moving Forward committee, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Charlottesville Jazz Society, Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, Hampton Inn and Suites, University Programs Council and WTJU Radio.
Book your tickets today!
$15 Advanced / $20 day of show
There will be 2 shows at 8:00 and 9:30. Call 212-222-5159 for advanced sales and information.
This is the big band that thrilled a sold-out house this past October at Dizzy Gillespie's birthday celebration and was voted "Band of the Year" in the 2004 Jazz Station Poll. You will be delighted by the NYSAJE's repertoire from their latest CD "Oasis", that topped the charts at # 7 in December 2004 and remained in the top 20 for an unprecedented 16 weeks. And you won't want to miss fantastic vocalist Ira Hawkins' renditions of some jazz and blues classics.
Mike Longo has performed with a list of jazz legends that include saxophone great Cannonball Adderley, Henry Red Allen, Coleman Hawkins, George Wettling, Gene Krupa, Nancy Wilson, Gloria Lynn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing, James Moody, Astrud Gilberto and many others. It was in the mid-60s when Longo's trio was playing at the Embers West, that Roy Eldridge told Dizzy Gillespie about this new pianist he had heard. Dizzy came to hear him play and soon asked him to become his pianist. This started a life-long musical relationship and friendship.
From 1966 through 1975, Longo worked exclusively as Dizzy's pianist and musical director. Mike left the Gillespie group officially in 1975 to venture out on his own, but continued to work for Gillespie on a part-time basis until his death in 1993. Since that time Mike has recorded numerous albums and CDs on various labels with some 45 recordings with artists such as Gillespie, James Moody, etc. At present he has over 20 solo albums to his credit.
He is sought after as a music instructor and is in demand for jazz clinics and concerts at universities and music schools throughout the world, and has appeared at the Lincoln Center's new jazz room "Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola." Longo is founder and President of Consolidated Artists Productions (CAP), an independent recording label, dedicated to allowing artists to pursue the types of projects that are in line with their career objectives. All of the artists represented by CAP (over 70) are extraordinarily talented, both as composers and performers. Longo's latest venture, Jazz Tuesdays, is dedicated to allowing artists to retain creative control of their work and providing students and the general public with an opportunity to hear "world class jazz at affordable prices."
Mike Longo is a Steinway artist.
Admission is 15.00, 10.00 for students.
Tickets will be sold at the door, or call 212-222-5159 for advanced sales and information.
For more about the NYSAJE and other acts at "Jazz Tuesdays", check out www.jazzbeat.com
in the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium
The New York Baha'i Center
53 East 11th Street (between University Place & Broadway)
Two shows: 8:00 and 9:30 p.m.
Jazz Tuesdays is brought to you in part by grants from the Wilbur, Dorothy, and Frances Rose Davis Family Fund; the Hunt Family Fund; the DeChristopher Family Trust; and Dr. Margie Baker, jazz vocalist and educator.