Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 3:38 pm
By Alex W. Rodriguez
Last weekend, at a sold-out, star-studded gala concert in Hollywood, Pharrell Williams and Herbie Hancock remixed Williams' hit "Happy," Kevin Spacey served up a compelling Frank Sinatra imitation singing "Fly Me To The Moon" and former President Bill Clinton offered a heartfelt reminiscence about his early days as a John Coltrane wannabe. ("Sometimes frustrated jazz musicians end up in another line of work and it ends up pretty good," he joked.) The opener was a jazz concert: Three virtuosic young trumpet players — Adam O'Farrill, Billy Buss and Marquis Hill — deftly negotiated standards.
On today's installment of World Cafe's Sense Of Place visit to Lafayette, La., we speak with Michael Doucet, who plays Cajun, Creole, zydeco and other traditional music as a founding member and fiddler of Lafayette band BeauSoleil.
Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 11:35 am
Henry Threadgill's music has always pushed boundaries. Two tubas with two guitars, a "sextett" with seven members, a free-improvising trio with an instrument made of hubcaps, a dance orchestra: Nothing is off the table.
A vital force on the West Coast jazz scene, Pete Jolly was a pianist and accordionist known for his movie soundtracks and television themes, including Get Smart, Dallas and M*A*S*H.
On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1986, Jolly showcases his swinging piano style with a solo in "You, The Night And The Music"; then, host Marian McPartland joins in for a performance of "Barbados." McPartland solos in "Close Enough For Love," and the two performers create a rousing finale as they play a two-person version of "Oleo."
In the noise-improv trio Borbetomagus, Jim Sauter hooks bells with Don Dietrich to obliterate any notion you have of the saxophone (sorry, birthday boy Adolphe Sax). In Oneida and Man Forever, Kid Millions is a psychedelic shaman of the drums. In "Game Jump," Sauter issues a brief warning that sounds something like a zombie-infested cruise ship bellowing its final notes before it plummets into a blood-freezing ocean. Then it's on.
Jon Batiste is from New Orleans, where a street parade might assemble around the corner on any given day. Evidently, he likes a good walkabout: He's liable to lead his band at a guerrilla concert in the New York City subway, or out of a venue, or — as he did at the Newport Jazz Festival — off stage and into the audience.
In November 1814, Col. Andrew Jackson marched on Pensacola, taking the Florida city away from Britain and Spain, while the Congress of Vienna was busy drawing new boundaries after the Napoleonic Wars. And 200 years ago today, in a little 10th-century town south of Brussels, Adolphe Sax was born.
Sax learned instrument-building from his father and soon was inventing new instruments of his own, including the one that bears his name. He patented the saxophone in 1846.
Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 11:46 pm
Miguel Zenón, the prolific alto saxophonist and composer, has just released a new album called Identities Are Changeable. Based on his interviews with fellow Puerto Ricans living in New York, he's arranged a new book of music to reflect their varying experiences.
Jazz Night in America recorded this unique work live from the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival, and accompanies Zenón to his old stomping grounds in the Bronx.