Singer-songwriter Gregory Porter first broke through with his 2010 album Water and has since carved out a reputation as one of the next great jazz singers. His most recent album, Liquid Spirit, topped many year-end lists and appeared on NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums of 2013.
Among the breakout performers of 2013 was the young singer Cecile McLorin Salvant. Her unfussy, yet flexible delivery and penchant for material of an older vintage cut a distinct profile — especially for someone who turned 24 last year. It's no surprise that her recent album WomanChild was received with wide acclaim, named the top vocal album in NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll and collecting a Grammy nomination.
Since attending Berklee College of Music, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison has been a Jazz Messenger, a leading Young Lion, a New Orleans torchbearer, and a famed mentor for new talent. As a bandleader, he merges all that and more. Accompanied by a young rhythm section and fellow New Orleanian Detroit Brooks (guitar), the "King of Nouveau Swing" returns to his alma mater — where, incidentally he also played Toast of The Nation a decade ago. The concert, part of the First Night Boston festival, was hosted by Eric Jackson of WGBH.
Robert McFerrin, Sr., a baritone, was the first African American man to perform solo at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and an important interpreter of spirituals. He's clearly passed along some of his talent to his son, the world-renowned vocal gymnast Bobby McFerrin. And McFerrin the younger has recently taken an interest in his father's spiritual repertoire, putting his own spin on them for his 2013 recording spirityouall. At the Monterey Jazz Festival, he performs that material with his own progeny — his daughter Madison McFerrin.
The reedman Paquito D'Rivera has made a career out of crossing genres. Born in Cuba, his larder is never out of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American sounds; he's made a name for himself as a jazz virtuoso and classical performer. Chicago's Latino Music Festival took advantage this year. Artistic director Elbio Barilari, himself a composer (and host of Fiesta!
Every month, the members of the Colorado-born sextet Convergence gather from near and far at the Denver club Dazzle, often with a special guest. The band certainly has plenty of material to draw from — Convergence first converged in 1991. For Toast of the Nation 2013-14, it welcomed Hammond B-3 organist Larry Goldings from Los Angeles to ring in midnight in Mountain Time. Carlos Lando of KUVO hosts the festivities.
Marcus Roberts was a very young, very gifted pianist back in 1985, when Wynton Marsalis tapped him to join his band.
Six years later, Roberts went off to lead his own combo — and to write both jazz and classical music. And he taught. And he toured. And he recorded.
In fact, Marcus Roberts just released three new albums. One of them is a 12-part jazz suite. The other two take him back to the beginning: They're his first collaborations with Wynton Marsalis in 20 years.
This edition of JazzSet features a double helping of Wynton Marsalis celebrating New Year's Eve.
First, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra musicians play King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton, merging "Dippermouth Blues" and "New Orleans Bump." Then, Marsalis invites Vince Giordano and members of his band, The Nighthawks, to play tunes made famous by Louis Armstrong in the Hot Fives and Sevens recordings.
Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 4:22 pm
By John Rogers
The multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef, famed in the jazz world for embracing tranquil spiritualism and non-Western sonorities in his own music, died Monday at his home near Amherst, Mass. The death was confirmed by several members of his family.