Subway entertainers are a mixed bag, but in the arts mecca of New York City, they're often overqualified — so much so that bands and other musical acts need to audition to even set up underground. And those are just the "official" performers.
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.
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.