Happy 2013 International Jazz Day! We assembled a roundtable of historic and influential musicians that will be in Turkey today for International Jazz Day to shed some light on some issues concerning jazz music today. Read on below as Robert Glasper, John Beasley, Keiko Matsui, George Duke, and Terence Blanchard give some insight on a few questions we posed to them!
Tony Williams was the original headbanger birthed out of the jazz idiom. Less interested in the Sly Stone, Jimmy Hendrix, and James Brown aesthetic that Miles Davis was heading into at the time (circa 1969), Williams left the Second Great Quintet to put together a group of his own more aligned with his British rock contemporaries of The Who and Cream for instance. Those were the influences that birthed the Tony Williams Lifetime. Rounding out Lifetime — or the “organ trio on steroids” as Lenny White describes it — were John McLaughlin on electric guitar and Larry Young on organ, both of whom were equally as innovative with their own instruments and compositions as Williams was with the drums (though this lineup would change numerous times over the years).
Before there was this obsession with jazz and hip-hop, there was a different intersection of music happening on the streets on New York, LA, and other cities around the nation. 24 hours after Jimi Hendrix played his first notes at Woodstock, Miles Davis called his musicians — Lenny White included — into the studio for what would become the ‘Bitches Brew’ sessions and that would be the beginning of a sound and approach to music that White would come to define. The marriage of these rock and jazz aesthetics brought us groups like Return to Forever, Tony Williams’ Lifetime Band, and more. Read along as we delve into the roots of this style, White impact on the history, and where he sees the music going today.
Mark Whitfield Jr. comes from a dynasty of incredible musicianship and that has most certainly left a mark on his life as a musician. Beginning on the drums before even he could remember, Whitfield Jr. grew up shuffling around gigs with his father always eager to hop on stage and hold down the beat. Mark will be at the Generations of the BEAT Festival with his quartet for the first time on March 24th and he’s turning 23 that day too! Check out what he had to say about the upcoming festival, advice for developing drummers, and his experience growing up in a musical dynasty.
Few drummers so strongly represent a time in music more so than New York City native Lenny White. Coming out of Jamaica, Queens by 18, the left-handed drummer was picked up by serial bandleader and educator Jackie McLean with whom he gained his initial chops. Within two years White had already got the call to record the formative Miles Davis album Bitches Brew — alongside fellow drummer Jack DeJohnette — a record that would go on to become a staple of the jazz canon and ultimately jumpstart White’s fusion of jazz and rock, a style that he would come to help define.
We live in a very fortunate time to have so many generations as well as so many different subsets of drummers with us today. From the traditionalists to the producers who chop them up (and some who do it all) we are extremely excited to delve into the Generations of the BEAT with insightful discussion from musicologists, the musicians who rely on these drummers, and the drummers themselves.
Alicia Olatuja came to national prominence with her solo for President Obama’s most recent inauguration with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, but with Olatuja the music goes a whole lot deeper than simply that performance. Between gigs with her husband, Michael Olatuja, as the Olatuja Project and backing up artists like Chaka Khan, Somi, and Christian McBride on vocals, Olatuja has crafted a unique space for her own music which she will releasing this Spring. Be sure to check out her process behind recording the album, working with incredible musicians, and more as we discuss her music.
David Weiss is one of those unsung musicians on the scene in New York who has an eye for talented musicians and a penchant for fostering that talent. You can find him any number of nights frequenting jam sessions at Smalls, gigs at Le Poisson Rouge, and rehearsals in Midtown. A quick peek at his discography unveils names like Robert Glasper, Jeremy Pelt, and Marcus Strickland (all of whom he’s produced), Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, and the Cookers (whom he’s performed with), as well as the New Jazz Composers Octet and Point of Departure (both of which he leads). Point of Departure, his current focus, will be releasing their record and performing at DROM on Wednesday 3/6/13. Check out the concept behind Point of Departure and more!
Leading up to the February 26th release of ‘Cover Art,’ we will be bringing you interviews with the musicians and previews of the songs each one arranged for the record, so check back with us often! This past week we spoke with guitarist Matt Stevens who arranged “Oceans” by Pearl Jam for ‘Cover Art.’
Leading up to the February 26th release of ‘Cover Art,’ we will be bringing you interviews with the musicians and previews of the songs each one arranged for the record, so check back with us often! Today we have a great interview with Gerald Clayton, one of two pianists on the record, who arranged D’Angelo’s “Africa” for ‘Cover Art.’
Leading up to the February 26th release of ‘Cover Art,’ we will be bringing you interviews with the musicians and previews of the songs each one arranged for the record, so check back with us often! Check out tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III who arranged Bon Iver’s “Perth” for ‘Cover Art.”
Teddy Campbell has made a career out of molding his gospel upbringing and feel into an unmatched versatility that brought him gigs as a longtime musician on shows like ‘American Idol’ and ‘Don’t Forget The Lyrics’ as well as his current gig as drummer for ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’ Moreover throughout his career Campbell has recorded with the likes of George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Kelly Clarkson, Kirk Whalum and more as well as serving as music director and touring with the Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Bette Midler, and Queen Latifah among many others.
Leading up to the February 26th release of ‘Cover Art,’ we will be bringing you interviews with the musicians and previews of the songs each one arranged for the record, so check back with us often! Today we’re interviewing drummer Jamire Williams who arranged “Refractions In The Plastic Pulse” by Stereolab for ‘Cover Art.”
This past weekend was a whirlwind of amazing music and as we sift through more and more of the recordings and videos, we’ll be bringing you an exclusive look at these incredible musicians, the dynamic arrangements, and the one of a kind musical moments that have to be heard!
In preparation for Winter JazzFest this weekend we dropped by the rehearsal for Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life to get a sneak peak of this all-star band featuring Strickland on saxes, the legendary Ku-umba Frank Lacy on trombone, Yuki Hirano holding down the keys, Mark Kelley on bass, Charles Haynes on the drums, and emcee Raydar Ellis on the mic.
Gordon Goodwin is one of the leading minds in music today. He continues to pioneer a new era of big band music with his Big Phat Band, he composes for film and TV at Warner Bros and elsewhere, and he continues to educate the next generation of musicians around the world. Goodwin’s versatility is unmatched and his mastery of dynamics unparalleled. One listen of any of his work will get you hooked. Read on below for Part 2 of our interview with Gordon Goodwin, the bandleader!
2013′s Winter Jazz Festival will be kicking off on 1/11/13. This year Revive Music Group will be presenting two action-packed nights of music at Sullivan Hall filled to the brim with a roster of amazing musicians. We’re bringing you previews of these incredible artists to give you a taste of what is to come in January. We met up with Ari Hoenig to discuss what he’s got in store for Winter Jazz Festival. Check out our preview with The Ari Hoenig Group below featuring Mike League, Wayne Krantz, and Tivon Pennicott!
There is more to David Virelles’ music than meets your ears. From the vast array of media to the cultural implications employed throughout his intertwined mesh of improvisation and composition, Virelles consistently transports both his musicians and listeners to new spaces of creativity and mind-space that they have yet to inhabit. Bringing his experiences both from Cuba and his travels around the world, Virelles has created a masterpiece of mood with ‘Continuum,’ his highly anticipated debut.
I think that’s the one thing that’s essential in our records that we’re putting out now. It’s got to definitely sound a certain kind of way. It can’t sound like we tried to skimp on mixing or mastering. The studio has to sound up to speed with anything else a person puts on the radio. That’s the audience we want. We want it to be heard by as many people as possible. It can’t sound like they have to sit and think about whether they like it or not.
Andy Allo may be the new girl on the block with Prince’s New Power Generation, but with a number of breakout performances and a growing fan base, Allo is coming into her own with no hesitation. Her sophomore album, ‘Superconductor,’ (produced by Prince) will be out November 20th of this year and features Maceo Parker and Trombone Shorty among many other great musicians. Ahead of the release, Allo sat down with The Revivalist for an exclusive look into the Andy Allo x Prince connection and how that manifested itself in ‘Superconductor’ along a healthy dose of what makes Allo tick.
There are incredible things that can be done with digital technology, but the innovation of something else seems like a waste of time to me. What’s fascinating is how we can use all of this stuff as instruments to create something we hear in our heads that we can’t get any other way. Or something we feel, something coming from us. Why not, you know?
Music has been on Philip Dizack’s mind since he was just a kid. “When I was twelve, I just knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” With his Truth Revolution Records debut, End of An Era, Dizack has brought together two amazing sets of musicians (Justin Brown, Sam Harris, Joe Saylor & Linda Oh, Kendrick Scott, Aaron Parks) to bring his concepts of life, love, and loss into perspective for our ears. The music is stunningly engaging, beautifully composed, and masterfully performed. Check out what Dizack had to say about the record and his thought process for the music.
Kenneth “Gizmo” Rodgers is releasing his highly anticipated debut album “Red Balloon” tomorrow and we’ve got the scoop on the recording process from the man who produced the record, the one and only Derrick Hodge. Read on below for the story on how they met and their process of working together.
Gary Burton is one of the foremost innovators of the vibraphone. Moreover, his work as a soloist, duetist, band leader, band member, and educator has influenced countless generations of musicians. As he reaches the fortieth anniversary with one of his most prolific collaborations, that with Chick Corea, we asked him to look back on his career, their partnership, and the legacy he has left.