Winter JazzFest 2013 is upon us and we’re in the thick of rehearsals and preparation for this historic weekend of music. We’ve been running around with the musicians all week and today we’ll be bringing you last minute words and music from these incredible artists throughout the day. Be sure to check back to this page often for interviews, rehearsal footage, and mixes from our stage!
We grabbed a couple words with Otis Brown III who will be bringing his band to the Revive Music Stage on Saturday at 11:30pm. His long anticipated debut record as a bandleader will be out Spring 2013 and he’s got some surprises in store. Check out what he had to say about the performance, the record, and more! (Note: We’re pretty sure when he says Ben Williams on drums, he means bass. We’re hoping OBIII holds it down on drums all night).
The Revive Big Band is a “jazz army” (Complex Magazine) of sorts. Packing a punch unlike any other band — big or otherwise — it unites generations of like-minded musicians in presenting a new era of music. Formed in 2010 by composer, arranger, and trumpeter Igmar Thomas, the group’s musical styles, experience, and tastes range widely among the musicians, but their mission is universal. “We’re carrying on within the tradition of big bands, what would be relevant today,” Thomas explains. “Modifying the message, and making it translatable and accessible to the people, so that they have something relevant to grasp on to. It represents that little bridge.”
The Revive Big Band repertoire features original compositions by Thomas as well as inventive orchestrations of selected beats from legendary producers, notable hip-hop tracks and the original jazz records they sampled, all re-imagined and arranged into original works for the big band.
“Our voice is one that has one foot deeply placed in the roots of jazz and the tradition of that — á la Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie — but also, another foot deeply invested in the present. That’s the direction. Dizzy, Dilla and us,” says Thomas.
Past Revive Big Band performances have included: A Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest (featuring Jarobi ofATCQ, Buckshot, Sadat X, Dres, Dinco D, Charlie Brown, DJ Logic and more), Celebrating the Life of Legendary MC G.U.R.U. (featuring DJ Premier, Roy Hargrove, Greg Nice, Masta Ace, Jeru the Damaja and more), and The Revive Big Band featuring Nicholas Payton and Talib Kweli. The Revive Big Band hits at 9:00pm tonight (1/11/13) at Sullivan Hall!
We caught up with Rich Medina earlier who will be holding down the decks throughout the night and on through CHURCH with Mark de Clive-Lowe and special guests tonight. Medina cut his chops on deejaying around the world with artists who he tells us were way better than him. “It’s the only way, man. Mentoring is a lost art; everybody is all about doing their own thing these days. It’s cyclical though. Soon enough we will be back into it. It’s inevitable.”
Rich Medina and Mark de-Clive Lowe have been friends for upwards of 15 years, so you can expect to see some chemistry tonight between the two of them. Medina tells us that MdCL usually gives him an idea of what he wants in terms of setting the mood for CHURCH about 5 minutes before start, a testament to their artistic connection. As far as integrating jazz into his set, Medina explains, “You throw up the smokescreen when the moment strikes you and you hope they send it back instead of tomatoes [laughs].” As far as this new generation of jazz artists is concerned, Medina admits that he is a big fan of Gregory Porter, so if you listen closely you might catch a song. Either way, the crowd at Sullivan Hall will be in for a treat as Rich Medina sets the mood for the night. He is a master of his craft, yet as all great artists do, he sees himself as a constant student. To get you hyped for tonight, we’ve got Rich Medina’s Props Mixtape streaming!
If you haven’t checked out our full preview of Brandee Younger’s Afro-Harping: A Tribute to Dorothy Ashby, that is most certainly step one. If you’ve gotten that far, than we would have to suggest taking a listen to Dorothy Ashby’s original recording of Afro-Harping as a guideline/preview for tonight’s very special tribute. Brandee will be begin promptly at 10:15pm tonight 1/11/13!
Check back throughout the day for more updates!