Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:10 pm
Jazz is a sponge for outside sounds. Add another idea to it — say, European classical or gospel-inflected R&B music — and it absorbs, assimilating the sound into a new subgenre: like "third stream" or "soul jazz," respectively. Wring it out, and its own improvisatory essence remains in the mix.
Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of the grandfather of the jazz violin: Stephane Grappelli. Born in Paris in 1908, Grappelli grew up very poor — his mother died when he was 4 and he spent time in orphanages and boarding schools (including one run by the famous dancer Isadora Duncan) when his father was called away to WWI. Father and son were reunited after the war.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 7:06 pm
Before she died last year, Dave Douglas' mother left her son with a list of hymns and folk songs to play at her memorial service, down to the specific verses. But even after the funeral, the songs lingered in Douglas' head; he kept toying with the arrangements in search of a more personal reflection. He found it by rebuilding his quintet with new musicians and welcoming a special guest: Aoife O'Donovan, a singer and guitarist best known for her work in folk and bluegrass bands.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 3:40 pm
From January 1992 to September 2001, Branford Marsalis set the JazzSet pace, hosting 39 new shows a year (now we do 26) from the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band; festivals in Iowa City, Telluride, Pasadena, Mount Hood, Montreal and Brevard, N.C.; the new music festival in Groningen, the Netherlands, and the Havana Jazz Festival in Cuba; clubs from Yoshi's in California to Sculler's and the Regattabar in Boston. WGBH producer Steve Schwartz sent us lots of Boston sets during that first decade, all of them much appreciated.
Over the past 20 years, vocalist Karrin Allyson has recorded 13 albums that cover vast musical territory. She's explored The Great American Songbook, the musical styles of Brazil and France, the blues and the work of contemporary songwriters. She's recorded a tribute to John Coltrane and an album of late-night ballads, and she's earned four Grammy nominations.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 1:25 pm
Drummer Matt Wilson is always a colorful player — a timekeeper who exploits all the timbres a snare drum can give him, finding melody in it. And when it's his gig, he's also a colorful personality with flailing limbs and goofy joy on his face.
One of Billie Holiday's most iconic songs is "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism. Many people know that the man who wrote the song was inspired by a photograph of a lynching. But they might not realize that he's also tied to another watershed moment in America's history.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 10:23 am
Sometimes known as the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, the New York band Antibalas — which means "bulletproof" in Spanish — is a large group of talented musicians who play rhythm-intensive Afrobeat music. In a seven-year stretch, Antibalas has released four albums and withstood a five-year hiatus in which several members worked on the Broadway musical FELA!