Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 3:44 pm
The drummer Marcus Gilmore is coming off a major year in his career. In 2012, DownBeat magazine named him its top Rising Star Drummer in its long-running Critics Poll; pianist Vijay Iyer's trio, of which Gilmore is a member, also took the Jazz Album and Jazz Group of the Year categories.
The New York Times writer Jon Pareles called Lionel Loueke "the gentle virtuoso" for the engaging way Loueke melds African guitar traditions with jazz harmony. Loueke gets African-style rhythms going, tapping on his guitar and using his effects pedals. He sings and harmonizes with his own voice.
On a new box set collecting the first four albums of Jack DeJohnette and his band Special Edition, two discs are gems and the other two have their moments. DeJohnette's quartet-slash-quintet was fronted by smoking saxophonists on the way up, set loose on catchy riffs and melodies. The springy rhythm section could tweak the tempos like no one this side of '60s goddess Laura Nyro.
Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 1:23 pm
Alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw keeps good company. He tours with Roy Haynes, the living legend of jazz drums. He grew up in the Philadelphia music community, where new creative ferment in black pop music abutted multiple generations of jazz elders. He knows the music of Charles Mingus quite well from playing in the Mingus Big Band.
Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 1:55 pm
The history of jazz is often told as a sequence of epic heroes, legends whose careers proceed from one great accomplishment to another. Coincidentally, the saxophonist Chris Potter, bright-toned and gymnastically powerful, has been reading Homer lately. That's inspired his latest suite of compositions, a collection of tuneful numbers based on The Odyssey. The Sirens is geared largely around a quartet of widely admired musicians, not least of whom is Potter himself.
The jazz musician Butch Morris was beloved by his fellow musicians and acclaimed by critics and fans for his ability to conduct improvisation. While that may sound like a contradiction, Morris pulled it off — with jazz musicians and symphony orchestras around the world.
A resident of New York City, he died yesterday in a Brooklyn hospital of cancer. He was 65 years old.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 7:57 am
David Virelles moved to New York in 2009 — and, following in a long line of Cuban-born pianists before him, quickly found himself in several bands led by elite jazz musicians. But Virelles also moved to study composition with iconoclast Henry Threadgill, and what he's come up with as a bandleader extends beyond music.