At this point, there's nothing special about jazz musicians playing post-Beatles pop: It's just the new normal. But one of the trendsetters on that score was pianist Brad Mehldau and his versions of Radiohead and Nick Drake tunes. Now, Mehldau's trio has a new covers album out.
As the 1970s punk scene was turning the corner into a new decade, Joe Jackson showed them the way with a pair of essential new wave albums, Look Sharp! and I'm the Man.
But as soon as fans thought they knew the angry young Brit with the sharp suits and even sharper commentary, Jackson changed. His Gershwin-esque piano music became huge hits in the '80s, but then he changed again.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:11 pm
Credit Courtesy of the artist
Maybe you remember when you first realized that the rabbit hole of jazz was far, far deeper than you'd possibly imagined. That the same tenor saxophone player on Kind of Blue also made Blue Train and Giant Steps and A Love Supreme and Interstellar Space and dozens of other albums and who knows how many guest appearances, and that that was just what people recorded of John Coltrane. And that all those records involved scores of other contributors, who in turn played with scores of other people over scores of years.
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:10 pm
The quartet Garage a Trois.
Credit Michael Weintrob / Courtesy of the artist
Jazz is a sponge for outside sounds. Add another idea to it — say, European classical or gospel-inflected R&B music — and it absorbs, assimilating the sound into a new subgenre: like "third stream" or "soul jazz," respectively. Wring it out, and its own improvisatory essence remains in the mix.
Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of the grandfather of the jazz violin: Stephane Grappelli. Born in Paris in 1908, Grappelli grew up very poor — his mother died when he was 4 and he spent time in orphanages and boarding schools (including one run by the famous dancer Isadora Duncan) when his father was called away to WWI. Father and son were reunited after the war.