As the 1970s punk scene was turning the corner into a new decade, Joe Jackson showed them the way with a pair of essential new wave albums, Look Sharp! and I'm the Man.
But as soon as fans thought they knew the angry young Brit with the sharp suits and even sharper commentary, Jackson changed. His Gershwin-esque piano music became huge hits in the '80s, but then he changed again.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:11 pm
Maybe you remember when you first realized that the rabbit hole of jazz was far, far deeper than you'd possibly imagined. That the same tenor saxophone player on Kind of Blue also made Blue Train and Giant Steps and A Love Supreme and Interstellar Space and dozens of other albums and who knows how many guest appearances, and that that was just what people recorded of John Coltrane. And that all those records involved scores of other contributors, who in turn played with scores of other people over scores of years.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:39 pm
When Joshua Redman plays Boston, it's a homecoming. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University and quickly won the 1991 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. Warner Brothers signed him to make a string of successful albums.
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.