The jazz musician Butch Morris was beloved by his fellow musicians and acclaimed by critics and fans for his ability to conduct improvisation. While that may sound like a contradiction, Morris pulled it off — with jazz musicians and symphony orchestras around the world.
A resident of New York City, he died yesterday in a Brooklyn hospital of cancer. He was 65 years old.
Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:05 am
David Virelles moved to New York in 2009 — and, following in a long line of Cuban-born pianists before him, quickly found himself in several bands led by elite jazz musicians. But Virelles also moved to study composition with iconoclast Henry Threadgill, and what he's come up with as a bandleader extends beyond music.
Few pianists have been as influential to modern jazz practice as McCoy Tyner. His harmonic and rhythmic conceptions, notably displayed as a member of John Coltrane's "classic" quartet, are instantly recognizable. And at age 74, you can still hear his driving left hand and dense chordal suggestions in fine form.
Once he had established himself as a world-class saxophonist, Joshua Redman moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he grew up. Soon afterward, he co-founded the SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star resident ensemble and touring group, and served as its artistic director for several years. When he stepped down from his post, his replacement was another titan of the tenor sax: Joe Lovano.
Gil Evans was born in Canada in 1912. He latched onto jazz and, in time, taught himself to write it. First, for dancers, Evans arranged tunes off the radio for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra as well as the sweet, warm sounds of flutes and French horns. Then Evans downsized the Thornhill sound to a nonet for The Birth of the Cool.
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 1:47 pm
In 1983, buoyed by a $10,000 grant from a city arts fund, a new concert presenter in San Francisco put together a festival called Jazz In The City. Fast-forward 30 years, and that organization — now called SFJAZZ and presenting more than 100 concerts a year — has raised $64 million, largely in private donations, for a new state-of-the-art performance space and permanent home. The SFJAZZ Center held a grand-opening ceremony Monday, and will celebrate Wednesday night with an all-star opening-night concert.
Keyboard player and composer Chick Corea was born Armando Anthony Corea in Chelsea, Mass., on June 12, 1941. His father, a Dixieland trumpet player, introduced Corea to jazz at an early age. By the time he was 4, Corea had begun studying the piano and played regular jazz gigs in high school. After graduation, he moved to New York to study music at Columbia and then Juilliard.