Ever since he started becoming one of the best alto saxophone players in the world, Miguel Zenón has drawn influence from his upbringing in Puerto Rico. Folk melodies, forms and rhythms have inspired many of his technically astounding yet immediately gratifying works. So it makes sense that he's giving back. He's launched an initiative called Caravana Cultural, presenting free jazz concerts and lectures on the island. His latest album Oye!!! was recorded live in San Juan with Puerto Rican musicians.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 12:40 pm
By Howard Mandel
The pianist and composer John Beasley has one of the most formidable tasks of anyone associated with today's International Jazz Day, the celebration produced by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He's music director of the centerpiece concert to be live-streamed from Istanbul tonight (2 p.m. ET in the U.S.).
In a small, packed Washington, D.C., living room late one December night, I heard a cacophony of horns, keys, drums and guitars that simply floored me. It was brash, zany, brainy, scary and danceable. At the end of a long year of amazing live music, this would turn out to be one of the most memorable concerts I'd seen.
Comparisons have always helped me appreciate jazz. An artist plays a tune fast; another does it as a ballad. A trumpeter finishes his solo, and a saxophonist takes that closing phrase and morphs it in a different direction. A musician revisits a composition years later with a new arrangement and ensemble. Aligned side by side, you get a good sense of why jazz is a music of individual style, and of gradual accretion, and of friendly "Oh, yeah, watch this" motivation.
On this episode of Piano Jazz With Jon Weber, velvet-voiced singer, guitarist and composer Allan Harris joins Weber for a set of standards and a few tunes from the Harris-penned musical, Cross That River.
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You don't really listen to an Omar Sosa concert so much as experience it. The Cuban-born pianist's overall demeanor exudes a sense of calm and deep reflection, while a spiritual connection to music and his ancestors comes through in his piano playing.
The percussionist and bandleader Tito Puente would have celebrated his 90th birthday this weekend on April 20. And the recently released box set Quatro: The Definitive Collection is a great place to start celebrating the once and forever King of Latin Music. It captures the driving sound of big band mambo and cha-cha-cha that launched people onto dance floors for decades.