Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 10:28 pm
In the late 1950s, detective shows were all the rage. Today, the series Peter Gunn, starring Craig Stevens as the titular gumshoe, has faded a bit from popular memory. Its theme music, however, remains unforgettable.
For decades, John Blake Jr. created a rare role for the violin within the jazz of his eras. A versatile player, he worked memorably with Archie Shepp, Grover Washington Jr., and McCoy Tyner. He released several solo recordings. He taught in conservatories and mentored many outside the classroom.
Blake died Friday, Aug. 15 from complications due to multiple myeloma, according to his family. He was 67.
Saxophonist, vocalist and songwriter Curtis Stigers wrote the Emmy-nominated theme song for the TV show Sons of Anarchy. Throughout his career, he's been straddling genres and reinventing jazz and modern standards.
On this episode of Song Travels, Stigers joins host Michael Feinstein to discuss his journey to become a songwriter. Stigers performs his original "You've Got the Fever," and host Feinstein joins him for a duet of the standard "You Are Too Beautiful."
Drummer and bandleader Matt Wilson is one of jazz's most sought-after players; he's recorded on over 250 albums, not including those of his own three current bands. He's one of the music's great optimists as well, whose energy and good humor (on or off the drum stool) serves him well as a teacher, public radio host or general ambassador. His latest recording, Gathering Call, came out early this year.
Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 2:35 pm
We had hoped to get the great drummer Brian Blade to give us a little private exhibition after his set at the Newport Jazz Festival this year. The weather, however, was proving much less generous than he and his band were. Early that morning, a steady all-day rain settled in over coastal Rhode Island, making it difficult to transport dry instruments anywhere. On top of that, a last-minute change to travel plans meant that Blade needed to get out of town quickly — to an airport over four hours away.
Burt Bacharach has written more than 600 songs and more than 70 Top 40 hits. In 1957, Bacharach met fellow songwriter Hal David, and the two began a collaboration that would result in some of the most memorable songs of their day.
Boston's Berklee College of Music was already one of the premier conservatories for jazz when it launched a new program designed to push a select group of students beyond the classroom. The Berklee Global Jazz Institute assembles a small international ensemble to create works on the bandstand and explore connections to culture, nature and other art forms.
The commanding singer Gregory Porter likes a good aqueous metaphor. He named his first album Water and led off with the title track. Then he called his latest album Liquid Spirit, which he released following last year's ecstatic Newport show. (He sang that title track, too, with its bouncy hand-clap exhortations.)