Tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin got his start at age 12, when he began playing in his vibraphonist father's band in Santa Cruz, Calif. That group played the Monterey Jazz Festival for three years. In 1984, McCaslin took a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston; while there, he performed regularly in the area with Ken Schaphorst's True Colors Big Band.
What is a mistake? By going through examples with his improvisational jazz quartet, Stefon Harris gets to a profound truth: many actions are perceived as mistakes only because we don't react to them appropriately.
The band Sexmob specializes in a distinct strain of deconstructionist improvised music: jazz that aims at fun by bouncing off the walls. The quartet has tackled James Bond music, rock covers, Duke Ellington, the Macarena and exotica, plus originals from leader Steven Bernstein.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 3:41 pm
Eddie Palmieri has been a force for Latin jazz since the 1950s, when he hosted the legendary mambo shows at New York's Palladium Ballroom. His groups, including the renowned La Perfecta, revolutionized Latin music in the 1960s and '70s. His records number more than 30 as a leader, and he's won nine Grammy Awards. At 76, Palmieri is still a foremost ambassador for the music he loves.
Earlier this year, the clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg released two remarkable albums with two almost entirely different bands. Goldberg has left a mark in many modern improvising contexts, including the New Klezmer Trio he co-founded and the Tin Hat chamber ensemble.
Some music festivals are known for certain specific things; others are known for a broad assortment. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is known for everything. The city's arms are just that wide.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, originally broadcast in 2003, alto saxophonist Phil Woods brings his quintet's rhythm section — bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin — by for a session with host Marian McPartland. Woods has been called "The New Bird," as in the heir to bop alto pioneer Charlie "Bird" Parker.
Noodling gloriously, sax men Joe Lovano and Joshua Redman feel their way into the acoustics of a new space with "Blackwell's Message," named for the irresistible drumming of Ed Blackwell, who parlayed his New Orleans parade beat all over the world. Coincidentally, New Orleans' WWOZ is providing the recording crew and a host for a live webcast and broadcast on NPR Music. We have highlights here.
Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 10:11 am
Drummer Allison Miller, a go-to choice for jazz heavies and arena-level singer-songwriters alike, has made time to cultivate her own working band in the past few years. Boom Tic Boom features some of her favorite female instrumentalists in pianist Myra Melford and violinist Jenny Scheinman, as well as a long-running partner-in-crime in bassist Todd Sickafoose, and it interprets her jaunty tunes with plenty of headroom for any onomatopoeia from her percussion palette.
Ever since he started becoming one of the best alto saxophone players in the world, Miguel Zenón has drawn influence from his upbringing in Puerto Rico. Folk melodies, forms and rhythms have inspired many of his technically astounding yet immediately gratifying works. So it makes sense that he's giving back. He's launched an initiative called Caravana Cultural, presenting free jazz concerts and lectures on the island. His latest album Oye!!! was recorded live in San Juan with Puerto Rican musicians.