Note the message on Kevin Eubanks' cap: "Meet You at the <a href="http://www.americanjazzmuseum.com/SiteResources/Data/Templates/t1.asp?page=getcalendar&DocName=Home">Blue Room</a>." It's a nice club in Kansas City, in the historic district where Count Basie, Lester Young and Mary Lou Williams used to play.
Credit Len Katz Photography
From left to right: Kevin Eubanks, Bill Pierce and Marvin Smitty Smith perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival.
Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 8:58 am
Kevin Eubanks (briefly) and saxophonist Bill Pierce (in the mid 1980s) both played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the two-generation-spanning band that is so very important in jazz from 1950s through the '80s. Now Pierce chairs the Woodwinds Department at Berklee College.
Eubanks and Marvin Smith were in TheTonight Show band together for 15 years, with guitar riffs and rim shots for Jay Leno Monday through Friday. "Smitty" brought Los Angeles bassist Rene Camacho into this group.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 2:54 pm
Earlier this month the pioneering contemporary music label New Albion shut its doors after 25 indispensible years. Although in retrospect it seems obvious — the label hasn't offered a new release since 2008 — the announcement from Foster Reed, the label's founder and creative visionary, was still shocking. All of New Albion's remaining physical stock is being shipped off to its artists, while some (though apparently, only a few) of its releases are available through a digital storefront.
Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 7:01 am
Drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, 77, has certainly played thousands of gigs like this one, where he's hired to bring his casual brilliance to the extended songbook of jazz standards. After all, he played on John Coltrane's first album as a leader, and with every other name in hard bop from the late 1950s onward. In contrast, pianist Ethan Iverson's schedule currently revolves around touring with The Bad Plus, a band whose repertoire almost entirely omits common-practice jazz.
In the western suburbs of Paris 150 years ago today, a boy was born to an unassuming couple, proprietors of a china shop who had no great taste for music. But that little boy felt otherwise, and grew up to write music of bold color, timbre and harmonic daring.
Claude Debussy ignored the old rules about how to write music and in the process created a brave new world of sonic possibilities.
Former Nickel Creek fiddler Sara Watkins is a musical protege, both as a vocalist and as a multi-instrumentalist who plays the guitar, mandolin and ukulele. Watkins enjoyed widespread success in Nickel Creek, which included her older brother Sean and childhood friend Chris Thile.
Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 3:19 pm
In the early 1970s, British musician Bill Fay recorded a couple of luscious folk albums — which didn't sell very well. Fay was dropped from label after label, and though he continued to write his storybook songs over the years, he eventually fell off the map.
If you ever listened to jazz vocalists and wondered if you could ever in your life scat like them, there's someone who's willing to teach you. The vocalist Rhiannon has long held the importance of improvisation as a personal credo, and in her career has blended that art form with jazz, world music and storytelling.