“One of the thoughts that I used to play with was trying to write in a John Coltrane solo style. That’s how a lot of my styles came up—in solo mode, you know what I mean? It’s just up and down the scale, any rhythm you want to hit, it don’t have to be no set rhythm throughout the whole song. It’s solo time, so I’m going to go where I want. That kind of created my writing style. I always thought I was writing in the vein of John Coltrane.”
If you get into a room with some of the most amazing drummers alive, who is the luckiest person in the place? I’d say the bass players for one and that is exactly where Michael Feinberg will find himself this weekend at the Generations of the BEAT Festival. Leading a project of his own origination in tribute to the late-great Elvin Jones is one feat, but Feinberg didn’t stop there. Bringing in one of the baddest drummers alive in Billy Hart has proved to bring the Elvin Jones Project to a whole new level. Read on below as we discuss the project and more!
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.
After concluding a European tour for his new release “Renaissance,” multi-instrumentalist and composer Marcus Miller sat down to talk with The Revivalist to make sense of his experience putting together a new band as well as delving into some history of his own. Between his early years growing up as a fast-rising studio musician to learning from the great Miles Davis, Miller gives us the rundown on his experiences. In Part 2, we see the progression of jazz through Miller’s eyes as well as the non-musical side of things.
1962 was a pivotal year in jazz. The music was adapting and changing with the times, joining with other styles, switching instrumentations, and more. This showed both in the musicians of the time and the recordings that were made from the era. As we look back 50 years later and some of the masterpieces from 1962, we can’t help but highlight some amazing duos and collaborations that defined the era. Check out just a few of our favorites:
We know this week has passed you by too quickly and so we planned ahead and made you this week’s roundup! Here is what you missed…
When Duke Ellington connected with John Coltrane we were given what the philosopher Camus described as the most meaningful of relationships—that which is both short-lived and exceptional. Clocking in at just over thirty-five minutes, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane is a stolen moment from the songbook of music’s most important figures. Engaging the work is simple, by choice.
A bridge over troubled water, John Coltrane’s Blue Train takes the dregs of the big band era and fuses the major influences of that proving ground for many of jazz’s giants with the budding compositional and performance based changes that would later alienate the pioneers of the post-bop movements from aging mentors who preferred the regimented syncopation and organizational rigidity of the classic bandstand environment from whence the whimsically vaudevillian swing and steady pay came. A work of deference to its musical forebears, it is as much a note of thanks as a sheepishly insincere apology for the creative rebellion the album is primed to encourage.
During this period, Coltrane was incontrovertibly brilliant in his work as both arranger and composer. But, in a career trajectory that took the divergent road less traveled, this might have been its most remarkable deviation. At no other point during his time as a bandleader, did Coltrane record with a vocalist. It’s been said that some get it right the first time. As much as I would like to dispute this claim, I can’t help but think of Coltrane and Hartman.
To celebrate the great John Coltrane’s birthday today, WKCR.ORG (89.9FM) is streaming 24 hours of John Coltrane until midnight.
Head over to WKCR’s website and click on Tune In on the top right banner, or dust off your radio and turn the dial to 89.9FM.
Impulse! Records, one of the definitive trailblazers in recorded jazz, celebrates their 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center with two nights of performances a consortium of contemporary jazz heroes (Eric Reed, Stacy Dillard, Andy Bey, and others), playing the repertoires of John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, and other jazz legends that put Impulse on the map, followed by Reggie Workman’s African-American Legacy Project (Coltrane’s former bassist).
Artists can’t be afraid to really touch on other subjects and comment on the orders and disorders of the day. I think that’s important. Let people know what you feel and keep it real. It doesn’t mean we’re only making flowers here. You have to talk about the dirt as well.
John Coltrane’s five posthumously released albums: Expression, Live at the Village Vanguard Again!, Om, Cosmic Music (with Alice Coltrane) and Selflessness featuring “My Favorite Things,” are being released by Verve/Hip-O Select in a five album set available everywhere on September 16th, and available on the Hip-O Select website now.
The 2011 Giants of Jazz concert will honor drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath this year. Heath’s career spanned stints with John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon, JJ Johnson, and more. Other artists expected to perform will include Don Braden, Sharel Cassity, Cyrus Chestnut, Roy Hargrove, Bob Cranshaw and more! The event is held annually in South Orange, NJ.
An unforgettable shock of white hair juts from his chin in stark contrast with the color of the brass, and punctuates the mouthpiece of the horn belonging to Pharoah Sanders, the soul stirring tenor saxophonist from the Bay Area by way of Little Rock, Arkansas. Once known around the bay as Little Rock, Sanders soon replaced his given name, Farrell with Pharoah, and set about living up to the title – from the elongated beard to the unforgettable powerhouse of a stage presence created by his wailing vibrato and the mystical compositions that have come to typify his catalog.
The stories of music visionaries are very rarely in our culture the product of rigid government directives, but in the case of the rise of Jazz music in Egypt, the greatest pioneer was also a political dignitary who made it part of the national agenda. Salah Ragab was born in Egypt in 1936. By the 1960s, the multi-instrumentalist would be responsible for introducing jazz music to the Afro-Arab world, aligning himself with the compelling currents of American jazz music and to later be revered as the Godfather and pioneer of Egyptian jazz music. Strangely, very little has been written about his upbringing and the factors leading to this very important historical phenomenon.
Afrobeat is by definition a combination of many different styles of music that have come together into a hybrid form. It was most notably brought into prominence by the man who coined the term, Fela Kuti, along with his band members which included the likes of Tony Allen among others. Kuti took his political messages to the people through a mixture of the contemporary forms of music at the time – jazz, rock, funk – along with his African roots in highlife, Yoruba, and various other harmonic and percussive styles.
Called cultural nationalist, “musical prophet”, dissident, griot and icon. Called “the lone prince of the Black Arts Movement,” culture-bearer, provocateur, street scholar and bluesologist. On Friday May 27, Gil (Gilbert) Scott-Heron, an architect of hip-hop culture, whose voice defined a collective movement for black liberation, passed away. Just a teenager when the Black Arts Movement began in Harlem, Scott-Heron’s body of work and aesthetics of resistance has come to define the pain, oppression, complexity and beauty that sparked and sustained the Black Power Movement.
This week we take a look at the evolution of the low end of the saxes, the baritone and tenors. These players have defined recordings, performances, sounds, and styles with their rhythmic sensibilities, tonal innovations, and harmonic compositions. Take a look as we go down the line.
Minton’s Playhouse began as a place of residence and respite for road-weary touring musicians and New York City regulars eager for a place to play freely. Saxophonist, Henry Minton, opened the venue in 1938, after becoming the first black delegate to the Local 802 of the Musician’s Union. Things seemed to begin smoothly enough, but did not stay that way for long.
When John Coltrane’s blistering soprano sax led in on “My Favorite Things,” audiences were captured by Coltrane’s investigations into modal jazz and his complex re-workings of harmonies. More fascinating still, is that Coltrane chose to leave bop behind and explore this new musical territory- seen in hindsight as a pivotal turning point in the history of jazz – on an instrument that had almost become obsolete in jazz, the soprano sax. Seemingly out of nowhere, the soprano sax returned to center stage once again and proudly claimed its unique position in the story, tone and texture of jazz. Although Coltrane is one of the most famous players in jazz’s history and the history of the saxophone, there are countless more who made waves in different ways on both the alto and soprano. For this week’s Evolution of An Instrument we take you from Sidney Bechet, arguably the first jazz saophonist, through the beautiful alto tones of Lee Konitz, and up to the Carnatic intensities of Rudresh Mahanthappa. We talked with countless musicians to bring you a comprehensive list that reflects the scope of jazz history. We hope you enjoy this segment and stay tuned for Tenor and Bari next week!
Getting a chance to sit down with a legend of both the saxophone and jazz alike is not something to be taken lightly. Luckily, during the Impulse! Nights series celebrating the 50th anniversary of Impulse! Records, the Revivalist got to do just that. With a vast catalog ranging from the late ’60s into today, Dave Liebman has made a name for himself through hard work, respect, and talent throughout the music industry.
Two milestones have been reached in jazz this year. Impulse! Records is celebrating 50 years of churning out records for greats like Ray Charles, Max Roach, Chico Hamilton and many more. To celebrate this event, Impulse! Records and The Jazz Standard in New York City hosted a 4 night event celebrating its 50th year in Jazz. Impulse! also shares this magnificent milestone with one of Jazz’s heralded performers John Coltrane. Coltrane, who also released a number of records on the Impulse! label, would have been 85 years old this year.
“The New Wave Of Jazz Is On Impulse!” reads one of the opening pages of the liner notes on this new limited edition set. Indeed, it was a new wave, and it started as simply and brilliantly with that logo. This collection celebrates six albums during a short period of time, 1960-1961, that launched the lauded label. Creed Taylor existed before Impulse!, certainly, but after paying dues with ABC/Paramount, he got his shot to present his vision of how to run a label devoted to a single genre.