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New Jazz Albums You Should Hear Right Now

New Jazz Albums You Should Hear Right Now | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Roberto Fonseca is a 38-year old Cuban born composer and pianist. He’s the son of singer Mercedes Cortes Alfaro, who has sung on his records, and the half-brother of drummer Emilio Valdes and pianist Jesus “Chuchitos” Valdes.

Along with touring with Buena Vista Social Club, Fonseca has released eight albums including this one, dropped recently by Concord Music. It’s a spectacular melding of a number of influences -- from Cuban sonority to African rhythms to traditional jazz harmonies -- that's easy to digest while still encouraging multiple listenings. The dazzling “Mi Negra Ave Maria,” which features a beautiful poetry reading by Mike Ladd, is, alone, worth the price of admission.

WNMC's insight:

100% agreement on this one. If you like jazz, this is a must-listen. If you think you don't like jazz: this may be what changes your mind.

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Oud Awakening: Nashaz Furthers the Tradition of Blending of Jazz and Arabic Music

Oud Awakening: Nashaz Furthers the Tradition of Blending of Jazz and Arabic Music | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

A puzzling and intriguing challenge from an Egyptian cab driver in New Orleans inspires an impulse purchase of an alluring album in a used CD store. The album inspires a search for a difficult to find instrument, which in turn takes a jazz player to a radically different approach.

This unlikely turn of events ultimately led jazz guitarist Brian Prunkato switch gears, obsessively learn as much about Arabic music as he possibly can, and begin down two paths: a geographical path that would take him from New Orleans to Brooklyn, Ramallah, and beyond, and a musical path from jazz to Arabic music and back again.

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Thelonious Monk, 1959 - a picture from the past

Thelonious Monk, 1959 - a picture from the past | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it
Herb Snitzer photographed the seminal jazz pianist while playing in front of an audience of ambassadors at the United Nations in New York
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Anatomy Of Sample: Stanley Turrentine - Sister Sanctified

Anatomy Of  Sample: Stanley Turrentine - Sister Sanctified | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

I wore the cassette of The Cactus Al/bum out in my ride as a late teen. Still reeling from the onslaught of white boy rap by the Beastie Boys, I embraced 3rd Bass like they were my distant cousins. Serch’s high top fade and Chess King fashions appealed to me as I had yet to find myself, lost somewhere between The Bones Brigade, Surfer magazine and what I thought was South Jersey Hip Hop culture. I was obsessed with his NYC attitude and Prime Minister Pete Nice’s cane, pimp limp, and bravado, and I thought I could attain it by playing this record on repeat. Perhaps it was the dark beats, the Little Rascals samples, or the fact that 3rd Bass painted a very clear picture of the far away (but not so far away) culture of NYC that kept my curiosity peaked. Maybe it was the fact that I got a high top fade (and I mean Scoob Lover high top fade) that I thought Serch and I were kindred spirits. Side note: I am a white guy with no business or hair texture to have a high top fade. I used a lot of hair products to keep that thing up. Now the Beasties were my all time, and at the time, I had no idea of the war between the two that was going on behind the scenes at Def Jam. There is a reason why the Beasties kept going. 

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At 60, 'Challenges Are Opportunities' For John Zorn

At 60, 'Challenges Are Opportunities' For John Zorn | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

At 60, New York City-based composer John Zorn is wiser, sure, but no less prolific, thoughtful and antagonistic than before. His oeuvre is fantastically wide, from cutthroat jazz improvisation and pummeling noise-rock to gorgeous chamber music and, believe it or not, a genuine Christmas album. The saxophonist also runs the prolific Tzadik label, which releases Zorn's many works — including his latest album,Dreamachines — and highlights a vast swath of avant-garde and experimental music.

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Gary Burton on Music (Pt. 2)

Gary Burton on Music (Pt. 2) | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Gary Burton started out in 1960 with Hank Garland, combining jazz vibes with country guitar. Then he was in the thick of the bossa nova movement with Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto in 1964. In 1967 he released Duster, one of the first jazz-rock fusion albums and continued those explorations with Country Roads & Other Places (1968), Throb (1969) and Ring (1974). Through the '80s and '90s there were pairings with Chick Corea, Ahmad Jamal, Ralph Towner, Astor Piazzolla, Pat Metheny and others.

WNMC's insight:

His new CD is really terrific, too

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South African Singer Sathima Bea Benjamin Dies at 76 - News

South African Singer Sathima Bea Benjamin Dies at 76 - News | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it
Wife of Abdullah Ibrahim, Benjamin was admired by Ellington, others
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Music and More: Will Bernard - Just Like Downtown (Posi-Tone, 2013)

Music and More: Will Bernard - Just Like Downtown (Posi-Tone, 2013) | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Guitarist Will Bernard presents a fine album of soulful modern jazz in the company of John Ellis on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Rudy Royston on drums and Brian Charette on organ. “Sweet Spot” has an upbeat tempo with nice saxophone and snappy drumming. Ellis’ sound is tightly wound and a bit gritty, perfect for this setting. Solos for organ and guitar are featured before everyone comes together to end the tune in a hard driving motion. 

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Albert Murray: The Hero Of The Blues And Jazz

Albert Murray: The Hero Of The Blues And Jazz | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Albert Murray, one of America's most significant writers and thought leaders of the 20th century on the blues, jazz and their influence on American culture, died in his Harlem home on the evening of August 18, 2013.


In his non-fiction books The Omni-Americans, The Hero and the Blues, Stomping the Blues, The Blue Devils of Nada and From the Briarpatch File as well as in his novels Train Whistle Guitar, The Spyglass Tree, The Seven League Boots and The Magic Keys, Murray detailed his philosophy about the affirmative nature of art vs. chaos and entropy; the power of a literary, historical and cultural perspective over the limiting box of social science and race; and vernacular identity and heroism as basis for action, with the blues idiom serving as an intellectual compass and touchstone.

WNMC's insight:

Murray was a big influence on Stanley Crouch and Wynton Marsalis . . . though in he handled the same themes with a lot more subtlety and thought than the pronouncements of those two often reflect.

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Orrin Keepnews' Studio Secrets

In early 1953, Orrin Keepnews, a magazine editor and writer, and Bill Grauer, a bean-counter, started Riverside Records. Both had had some experience producing jazz reissues for RCA. As Orrin told me when I first interviewed him in 2007, “We were too damn dumb to be scared." The label was named after the office's telephone exchange following unfruitful attempts to come up with something better.

At first, Riverside's strategy was to use the new 10-inch LP format as a way to offer previously released pre-war jazz singles issued on the defunct Paramount label. Three singles would fit snugly on each side of the 10-inch LP. Then in 1954 Grauer heard a young pianist in Lenox, Mass. whom he thought Riverside should record. But Riverside could only afford a solo effort by Randy Weston, who wanted a trio session. A compromised was reached, and Randy was backed only by bassist Sam Gill.

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Cedar Walton, Pianist and Composer, Dies at 79

Cedar Walton, Pianist and Composer, Dies at 79 | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it
Mr. Walton often said he preferred the role of accompanist to that of bandleader.
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Sarah Vaughan 'Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection' Coming on August 20.

Sarah Vaughan 'Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection' Coming on August 20. | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Concord Music Group will release the two-CD Sarah Vaughan set Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection on August 20, 2013. Featuring six previously unreleased tracks and new liner notes, the compilation celebrates the 40th anniversary of Pablo Records, the jazz label founded by Norman Granz in 1973.

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Jazz Musician of the Day: Kevin Mahogany

Jazz Musician of the Day: Kevin Mahogany | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

All About Jazz is celebrating Kevin Mahogany's birthday today!

Kevin Mahogany - jazz vocalist When Kevin Mahogany cut his first records in the early and mid-‘90s, he was generally regarded as a welcome anomaly: a young male jazz vocalist in a field where most of his colleagues were either women or men over 60. With a voice reminiscent of the late Joe Williams, Mahogany has since established himself as a leader and an innovator in vocal jazz"for either gender and for any generation... 

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John Martyn: 'Bowie's a poseur' – a classic interview from the vaults

John Martyn: 'Bowie's a poseur' – a classic interview from the vaults | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it
John Martyn would have turned 65 today. To toast his memory, we offer this classic 1973 NME interview, taken from Rock's Backpages – the home of online music writing
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World Music Artist Marcus Corbett Releases Highly Anticipated Debut Album Strung Deep

World Music Artist Marcus Corbett Releases Highly Anticipated Debut Album Strung Deep | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Much to the excitement of music enthusiasts worldwide, Folk-World music artist Marcus Corbett has released his highly anticipated debut album Strung Deep. Based between Marlborough and Oxford in the UK and Pune in India, and having gigged the length and breadth of the UK and on the western coast of India, Marcus has quietly been gaining an esteemed reputation for his esoteric, unique blend of Indian classical music and British folk. 

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IMPASSIONED CLASSICISM: ANDY BROWN, HOWARD ALDEN, BOB RUMMAGE, JOE POLICASTRO

IMPASSIONED CLASSICISM: ANDY BROWN, HOWARD ALDEN, BOB RUMMAGE, JOE POLICASTRO | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

In January 2012, I wrote this post about a video of Andy, Howard, Joe, and Bob in a beautiful extended performance, and ended with a wish that some CD producer might record this group.  Delmark Records heard my plea, or perhaps they already knew it was a good idea.  Et voila!  Then Andy asked if I would be interested in writing the liner notes, which pleased me no end.  Here’s the verbal result: the music is within your grasp.

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Jazz Reviews: Magic 101Frank Wess

Jazz Reviews: Magic 101Frank Wess | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Former Count Basie Band saxophonist Frank Wess, 89 at the time of this 2011 recording, is in classic form throughout. Accompanied by pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Kenny Davis and drummer Winard Harper, he employs his tenor saxophone exclusively—no flute, no alto. He has a thick tone and articulates notes in a manner reminiscent of Ben Webster. This album is not a showcase for wringing harmonic variations out of the chord changes; it’s more about melodic improvisation and rhythm. Five of the performances are ballads, with “Blue Monk” and “Say It Isn’t So” completing the session. Wess plays Duke Ellington’s “All Too Soon” unaccompanied, and “Come Rain or Come Shine” and an original ballad titled “Pretty Lady” with Barron only. The duet performances demonstrate not only the pianist’s engaging solo abilities but also his skill at providing lively yet unobtrusive support.

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Jazz Musician of the Day: Larry Goldings

Jazz Musician of the Day: Larry Goldings | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

All About Jazz is celebrating Larry Goldings' birthday today!

With his signature Hammond organ style and versatility on many keyboards, Boston native Larry Goldings has traversed not only the wide spectrum of jazz where he is perhaps best known, but also the worlds of funk, pop, and electronic/alternative music.  

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Lester Young: Boston 1950 - JazzWax

Lester Young: Boston 1950 - JazzWax | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it
In 1950, if you headed away from Boston's Symphony Hall on Massachusetts Ave. toward the South End, you'd encounter an archipelago of jazz clubs. 

One of the best known Boston clubs before George Wein opened Storyville in 1954 was the Hi-Hat. Located where Columbus Ave. meets Massachusetts Ave., the Hi-Hat served barbecue and often hosted radio broadcasts featuring the performances of famed jazz artists. [Pictured above: A post card of Boston's Hi-Hat Club, which opened in 1937 and burned down in 1959]

Several of these remotes were recorded between May 26 and June 11, 1950 at the Hi-Hat with tenor saxophonist Lester Young and his band—Jesse Drakes (tp), Kenny Drew (p), Joe Shulman (b) and Connie Kay (d). These recordings are now available for the first time on Lester Young: Boston 1950 (Uptown) and the label's owner, Bob Sunenblick estimates they were made on June 4 and June 11, 1950, with two from February 1, 1953. 

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Motown meets Jazz in Gregory Porter's insta-classic BE GOOD

Motown meets Jazz in Gregory Porter's insta-classic BE GOOD | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Gregory is the real deal and a revelation in terms of new male jazz singers, but I think that his voice coupled with his songwriting may be the thing that leave. Every once in a while, there comes an artist who changes everything. New York-based Motéma Musicrecognized that back in 2009 when it signed Gregory Porter. Blessed with a stylistic vocal range that encompasses classic jazz, theater, Motown, and R&B, Porter went to town on his debut, 2010 album, “Water.” It went #1 internationally before the Grammy committee took notice, giving Porter a “Best Jazz Vocal” nomination. (Psst! He should’ve won.)

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Howard McGhee: Before the Storm

Howard McGhee: Before the Storm | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

It's hard to know why so many jazz trumpeters wound up hooked on heroin in the late 1940s and early '50s. The list included Freddie Webster, Fats Navarro, Chet Baker and Miles Davis. The first died of an overdose, the second from tuberculosis and drugs, the third seemed to impale himself on his habit only to survive for decades in declining health, and the fourth managed to clean himself up and have a profound influence on jazz's direction multiple times. But perhaps the most unfortunate victim of junk was Howard McGhee, an early bebop pioneer with Dizzy Gillespie in the mid- and late-'40s. [Photo above of Miles Davis, center, and Howard McGhee, right, by William P. Gottlieb]

As a result of his addiction, McGhee spent critical chunks of the 1950s at the Narcotic Farm—the federal drug-treatment facility in Lexington, Ky. His first stay came in late '53 and lasted until '55. During his time away, Kenny Dorham, Clifford Brown and Art Farmer rose to LP prominence on the East Coast and altered the sound and purpose of the trumpet.

WNMC's insight:

Dusty Blue is another fine outing from McGhee in this period . . .

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Jazz Musician of the Day: Count Basie

Jazz Musician of the Day: Count Basie | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Bill Basie studied music with his mother as a child and played piano in early childhood. He picked up the basics of early ragtime from some of the great Harlem pianists and studied organ informally with Fats Waller. He made his professional debut as an accompanist for vaudeville acts and replaced Waller in an act called Katie Crippen and her Kids...

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Jazz Articles: Marian McPartland Dies at 95

Jazz Articles: Marian McPartland Dies at 95 | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it

Marian McPartland, a pianist of ineffable swing and powerful grace, a groundbreaking figure in the history of female jazz musicians, and a beloved broadcaster whose syndicated NPR program, Piano Jazz, was a cornerstone of jazz broadcasting, died Tuesday night at her home on New York’s Long Island, according to NPR. She was 95.

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Jim James and Karl Denson To Rock Telluride With Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Jim James and Karl Denson To Rock Telluride With Preservation Hall Jazz Band | Jazz from WNMC | Scoop.it
As part of next month's Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, New Orleans legends Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform with special guests Jim James of My Morning Jacket and saxophonist Karl Denson. The gig will take place at the Telluride Conference Center on September 14 at 10 p.m.
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THE ASTONISHING WORLDS OF TEDDY WILSON

For some, my title may sound hyperbolic -- a sideways glance at a Fifties science-fiction anthology.  But it represents accurately the way I feel about Wilson's best playing.In a jazz landscape that occasionally seems dominated by the Coarse (showy playing and singing for effect), Wilson’s solo recordings seem the lyrical embodiment of delicacy.  By that I don’t mean effete playing, a series of tiny gestures, the aural equivalent of someone hunched over the harpsichord keyboard, making almost no sound.

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