From a young age, Warren Wolf studied piano and drums, and you can still see him gig on those instruments. But the Baltimore native and resident has made his biggest mark as a vibraphone and marimba player — whether with Christian McBride's Inside Straight group, or with the SFJAZZ Collective, or, increasingly, as a bandleader himself. His 2013 album Wolfgang, his second LP, turns up the spotlight on his composing, and his Wolfpack band showcases his mallets up front.
The Grammy Award-winning Bobby McFerrin joins host Michael Feinstein to talk about his musical evolution. In addition to demonstrations of his a cappella style, McFerrin performs a number of songs from Porgy and Bess and shares a bluegrass track from his 2013 album Spirityouall.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, pianist and composer Alice Coltrane shimmers on a set of her original tunes and honors the legacy of her husband, saxophonist John Coltrane. She also duets with host Marian McPartland in Trane's "Giant Steps" and "Miles' Mode."
1964 was a great year for cutting-edge jazz records like Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme and Andrew Hill's Point of Departure. But none sounds as far ahead of its time as Eric Dolphy's masterpiece Out to Lunch, recorded for Blue Note on Feb. 25, 1964.
Piano Jazz remembers John Dankworth with a special session recorded before a live audience at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. A saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, arranger and bandleader, Dankworth and his wife and longtime musical partner, singer Cleo Laine, appeared on the program in 1998, along with host Marian McPartland and bassist Jeff Campbell. Dankworth enjoyed a long career as one of England's most celebrated jazz musicians.
The basic story behind drummer Rudy Royston's first album sounds like that of many sidemen in jazz. He moved to the New York area. His talent got him into bands led by higher-profile artists like Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Ben Allison and Dave Douglas. And when it came time to document his own composing and arranging, he could rely on the network he had tapped into. Douglas issued Royston's album 303 earlier this month on his own record label, Greenleaf Music.
Alto saxophone phenom Grace Kelly has recorded with icons Lee Konitz and Phil Woods and is a seasoned road warrior with tour dates around the world. And she's till in her early 20s. She recently added vocalist to her resume.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:05 pm
From the outside looking in, it may seem as if jazz recordings have slowed to a flurry. But it's really more like a blizzard, with dozens already coming down in the new year — including new efforts from big names like Pat Metheny, Danilo Pérez and Brad Mehldau. Before we're snowed under, here are a few others worth hearing.
Frank Wess' new album, Magic 201, is a sequel to last year's similar helping of ballads and midtempo strollers, Magic 101. The new album is very nearly every bit as good, and made a little more poignant by Wess' death just before Halloween. On his last session as a leader in 2011, he was still sounding strong at 89.