Noodling gloriously, sax men Joe Lovano and Joshua Redman feel their way into the acoustics of a new space with "Blackwell's Message," named for the irresistible drumming of Ed Blackwell, who parlayed his New Orleans parade beat all over the world. Coincidentally, New Orleans' WWOZ is providing the recording crew and a host for a live webcast and broadcast on NPR Music. We have highlights here.
Drummer Allison Miller, a go-to choice for jazz heavies and arena-level singer-songwriters alike, has made time to cultivate her own working band in the past few years. Boom Tic Boom features some of her favorite female instrumentalists in pianist Myra Melford and violinist Jenny Scheinman, as well as a long-running partner-in-crime in bassist Todd Sickafoose, and it interprets her jaunty tunes with plenty of headroom for any onomatopoeia from her percussion palette.
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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