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Cyrillic Aimée (Let’s Get Lost): Actually, I love having my personal moment to put on makeup before the show. It relaxes me and concentrates me. Plus, I get to have a moment without the boys, and sometimes, while I put on my makeup, I listen to a podcast (RadioLab), or to some comedy (Louis CK). I really enjoy putting it on more than I enjoy wearing it!
I used to never wear makeup, on- or off-stage, and one summer, I went on tour with a very popular electro-swing band called Caravan Palace, and we were playing in front of huge audiences of thousands of people, and when I would see the photos of the concert, I couldn't see my eyes in any of them! I realized that onstage is not like in real life. You have to wear makeup, because of the spotlights and the fact that the audience can be far away. So I bought some makeup and started learning and realized I liked doing it.
Read the full piece from: AXS.com
The Caribbean island of Cuba has been in the news a lot lately, mostly in conjunction with the “thawing” of relationships between the nation and the United States, something that will allow for a greater cultural exchange between the two countries. Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez left the island quite some time ago and is now enjoying a life in the US where he works with vaunted musician and producer Quincy Jones. The most recent fruit of their combined labors is Rodriguez’s new album, Tocororo. Rodriguez is currently on tour in the US and he’ll also be appearing with Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in July.
We had a chance to speak by email with Rodriguez, who talked about working with Jones and why the album is called Tocororo while also speaking candidly about making the difficult decision to leave Cuba. His insights below are given exclusively to AXS.com.
Read the full piece from: AXS.com
All of this comes as he settles into his new role as Newport’s artistic director, succeeding the festival’s legendary cofounder, George Wein.
McBride was already juggling assorted off-stage roles — most prominently hosting National Public Radio’s “Jazz Night in America” — when Wein announced in March that he was handing over the artistic director gig, and promoting Danny Melnick to producer. But McBride knew all along he would remain an active musician.
Read the full piece from: Boston Globe
Russell Ferrante and Bob Mintzer are still around, with Dane Alderson/b and William Kennedy/dr-synth being the newest members since Haslip and Bailey have moved on. The team still sounds together, comfortable in the mix of acoustic and electric on this latest album.
The band can still churn out exciting new material, such as “Golden State” which sounds like the hustle and bustle of LA traffic with Ferrante’s hectic piano and Mintzer’s lane changing tenor. Newer members Kennedy’s ride cymbal pushes the jagged edges and mysterious piano on “Guarded Optimism” and Alderson’s bass work around Ferrante’s fingers on “Anticipation” is warm and deft.
The quartet also does some respectful tributes to tenor players of the past; Eddie Harris is felt on the soulful and funky “Eddie’s in the House” with an irresistible soul groove, and John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” is reworked with some draping strings, reharmonization and countermelody to give it a more cerebral celebration. Hints of Weather Report are delivered on the playful “Fran’s Dance” while the traditional American tune “Shanendoah” spotlights Mintzer’s glowing tenor.
Read the full piece from: JazzWeekly.com
The record is beautiful and Aimée’s voice is light and limpid, though not without metal. Her roles as the character in these narratives are almost soubrette-ish. Her diction is truly exceptional throughout and impressive in both English and French – and it would seem nearly as good in Spanish too. And there is evidence of real imagination behind her programmes and her interpretations.
This is a bright and chirpy album. Both her last two albums are just so. Her singing is deeply expressive, yet she is far too intelligent a musician ever to be for a moment self-indulgent or self-conscious.
Read the full piece from: LatinJazzNet.com
Salvant has a unique way of turning a song from a simple melody with rhythm into a audible painting, creating intricate textures not unlike a Monet as she goes from a swinging bop feel on “Nothing Like You” but yet twist and turn it into a taffy pull. Her talent for dynamics made her throw out lyrics like a slingshot on “Let’s Face The Music and Dance” whereas the pop 60s hit “Wives and Lovers” mixed prismatic harmonics with kinetic undercurrents by the rhythm team, with the opposing tensions creating an agonizingly glorious contrast.
Read the full piece from: JazzWeekly.com
Prior to recording the album, the band had road-tested the new tunes during a European tour, including an extended run in London.
For the 11 p.m. set, attendance was strong, particularly for a Tuesday night. With the band’s current lineup—Bob Mintzer on saxophones and EWI, Russell Ferrante on keyboards, Will Kennedy on drums and Australian Dane Alderson, a new addition, on bass (replacing Felix Pastorius)—a more straightahead character is evident, with a lesser degree of fusion bite.
The opening number, “Spirit Of The West” (from 1998’s Club Nocturne), held a guileless cheerfulness, romping with pan-piping synth sounds and warbly bass. Even less than a decade ago, this band had a harder sound, which now seems diluted to a pastoral lightness.
Read the full piece from: DownBeat.com
“As a toddler, my uncles [saxophonist] David Lastie, [trumpeter] Melvin Lastie and [drummer] Walter Lastie had a band, the Lastie Brothers Combo. They would rehearse at my grandparents’ house and with me being there, I got to hear the music. I heard ‘Moanin’’ and ‘Sister Sadie.’ So music was always a part of me.”
Riley’s uncles and grandfather, who played drums in the church, were his first influences in his upward-spiraling career of over 40 years. At 59, Riley is considered one of the finest and most unique jazz drummers in the world and stands strongly in New Orleans’ impressive drum lineage, one that includes Ed Blackwell, James Black, Earl Palmer, Smokey Johnson, Idris Muhammad and more. Those legends too were influential in his development.
Read the full piece from: OffBeat Magazine
With great spirit and animation he travels the African diaspora from Congo Square to his Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, to New York and beyond. Riley celebrates his strikingly good album New Direction with the guys who joined him in its making – pianist Emmet Cohen, bassist Russell Hall, trumpeter Bruce Harris and saxophonist Godwin Louis. You want the best, you got the best.
Read the full piece from: Louisiana Weekly
Julian Lage, Arclight (March 11, Mack Avenue Records)
The album starts with a slightly modified rock beat (“Fortune Teller”), and digs in from there -- an emphasis on melody and a lack of politeness set help Lage set himself apart from jazz guitar’s often florid tradition. Notes of prog stay “jazzy” with the sparse ensemble, while Lage’s lyric gift leaves the listener with melodies likely to endure even after just one listen. Even “Nocturne,” though gentle, won’t necessarily lull you to sleep (though it’s not out of the question the song could end up alongside Ed Sheeran on some tactical Spotify playlist). Lage’s inventive arrangements will engage even the most intimidated of jazz listeners, and his omnivorous, memorable flights will keep them on the hook.
Read the full piece from: Billboard.com
Barack Obama and wife Michelle have announced plans to hold a concert next month, featuring a string of musical legends including Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Sting and Herbie Hancock.
Other performers on the day will include Joey Alexander, Terence Blanchard, Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Till Brönner, Terri Lyne Carrington, Chick Corea, Jamie Cullum, Kurt Elling, Robert Glasper, Buddy Guy, Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain, Diana Krall, Lionel Loueke, Hugh Masekela, Christian McBride, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, James Morrison, Danilo Pérez, Rebirth Brass Band, Dianne Reeves, Lee Ritenour, David Sánchez, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Trombone Shorty, Chucho Valdés, Bobby Watson and Ben Williams. John Beasley is overall musical director.
Read the full piece from: The Guardian
Ever since he returned to perform in his war-torn homeland in the 1980s, he's seen the potential for jazz to be a vehicle for social change, and spent much of his time offstage seeding this vision in the form of youth music education programs. The Panama Jazz Festival he founded, for instance, doesn't just feature major international acts — it brings students from all sorts of backgrounds to share the stage, and funnels profits back to them.
Read the full piece from: NPR.org
In this release New Direction, he heads a band of young whipper-snappers, who dive into a set list of mostly Herlin Riley originals that run the gamut of styles, but are still jazz-oriented.
The title track “New Direction” kicks things off in exemplary fashion with Riley laying down a rhythmic direction that signifies his inventiveness, with pianist Cohen offering an inspired solo, and guitarist Mark Whitfield demonstrating why he was included in this session. “Spring Fantasy” is a Latin infused number with a bluesy feel, that has some stellar alto work by Godwin Louis. Pianist Cohen also shows some smart single-note playing.
Read the full piece from: Audiophile Audition
A scaled-down quintet version of the ensemble appears in Seattle next week, with bassist Christian McBride at the helm, plus two saxophonists: Kirk Whalum, playing tenor in a muscular, straight-ahead style that might surprise his smooth-jazz fans, and husky-toned altoist Tia Fuller, who has burning bebop chops. The group, which writes its own tunes and arrangements, is rounded out by Carl Allen (drums) and McBride’s regular trio pianist, Christian Sands.
Read the full piece from: Seattle Times
Not just any electric guitar, mind you, but a Fender Telecaster, which brings out a welcome country twang in Lage’s formerly suave, sophisticated melodic imagination. The mood veers from tender to raucous, with echoes of Bill Frisell and particularly Jim Hall, whose erstwhile colleagues, bass player Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollensen, make up the sensitive, ever-responsive rhythm section.
Read the full piece from: The Irish Times
Like the Arclight of the title, this is jazz that glows with a simple intensity that throws light on what’s possible with six strings and an unlimited imagination. Released on 11 March, Arclight is Lage’s first release with the Mack Avenue label and also his debut electric guitar album. However, unlike Dylan’s decision to go electric, Lage’s selection of electric guitar - specifically, a Fender Telecaster, “the most refined embodiment of the modern guitar” as Lage puts its - seems a sensible choice for a guitarist looking for the next step in his development as an artist.
Read the full piece from: LondonJazz News
Tocororo is equal parts sophistication and sincerity. It's the sound of a prodigiously talented Cuban embracing the wider world of music. Best of all, the album resonates with the possibility of all the other new music we'll discover as Cuba itself opens up to the world.
Read the full piece from: NPR All Things Considered
The end result is a brisk but bracing affair, with few cuts lasting over four minutes. Lage and company spin minor variations on each of the catchy numbers' melodic, harmonic and rhythmic foundations without undue extrapolation—an approach suggested by producer and singer-songwriter Jesse Harris, who wisely encouraged the trio to stick with first takes, capturing the spontaneous energy of their initial renditions.
Read the full piece from: All About Jazz
Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez is living up to the promise that producer/discoverer Quincy Jones initially saw in the Cuban exile a number of years ago. Each album has had its own personality and has shown growth in terms of style and composing skills...Each song has a lyrical simplicity, yet with enough richness in delivery and tecnnique to make you come back for more. Bravo.
Read the full piece from: Jazz Weekly
On stage and in the studio, Ray did it all -- jazz, R&B, rock and roll, pop. He even helped bring the country music he loved to a broader audience. But whatever genre of music he was playing, there was no mistaking his singular sound –- that virtuoso piano playing that matched that one-of-a-kind voice. Even as a young man, he had the rich, raw honey tone of an old soul. No matter the feeling -– whether it was love, longing, or loss -– Ray Charles had the rare ability to collapse our weightiest emotions into a single note. And from the tiny clubs in which he started out to the arenas that he eventually filled, Ray was an electrifying performer. He couldn’t see us, but we couldn’t take our eyes off of him.
Read the full piece from: The White House
It’s kind of a continuation of my last album, It’s A Good Day. It’s the same band, and if It’s A Good Day was the sun, Let’s Get Lost is the moon. The band was created in the studio for the last album, and I had the band in my head before that, and the idea of having these two completely different sounding guitars come together on it. I had no idea how it was going to sound, and Michael, the electric guitar player, lives in Brooklyn and we worked on arranging and he had a great guitar view of the arrangements in a way where one wouldn’t stomp on the other’s toes.
Read the full piece from: New York Observer
Mr. Riley, who just turned 59, has been a shining exemplar of New Orleans rhythm — as a cultural study, a living language and a model of hybridity — since emerging on the national scene in the 1980s. Working first with the pianist Ahmad Jamal, and then the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, he established a reputation for his commanding yet ebullient groove. That irresistible force provides the foundation for “New Direction,” but not as an end unto itself.
Read the full piece from: New York Times
Bassist Christian McBride (also) won the Grammy Award for best improvised solo for his work on "Cherokee" from his trio album "Live at the Village Vanguard," which bested work from Alexander as well as Joshua Redman, John Scofield and saxophonist Donny McCaslin.
Read the full piece from: the LA Times
Aimée showcased her linguistic and musical range by covering a rarely performed Edith Piaf ballad, “T’es Beau Tu Sais,” then singing “Estrellitas Y Duendes,” written by the Dominican pop star Juan Luis Guerra. The combination reflected the musical influences of her French father and her mother’s Dominican heritage. Valeanu and Danor added a bolero feel to the Piaf tune, and Moignard and Valeanu seamlessly traded bright guitar riffs on the Guerra song.
Read the full piece from: DownBeat
The bulk of the set consisted of a composition apiece by each musician. Fuller’s challenging “Decisive Steps,” she said, is a distillation of what she always advises students about “moving forward in faith and not fear,” and she practiced what she preaches on her roaring alto solo. McBride’s “Paint Brushes” came next, Burton supplying an intro and the bassist wrapping up the soloing with one of his own. Jones’s “Gretchen” was written as Christmas approached, for Mack Avenue founder Gretchen Valade, and he joked that “Contrary to popular belief, trumpet players can write pretty songs” — his lovely waltz proving the point, greatly aided by his own gorgeous flugelhorn solo.
Read the full piece from: Boston Globe
The familiarity returns once this ensemble begins to play because whether the SuperBand reinterprets standards, contemporary pop and gospel tunes or plays their own originals, the virtues that distinguish previous Live From the Detroit Jazz Festival albums are manifestly present on this effort. Jazz, perhaps more than all other genres, is best appreciated when heard live because that’s when the notes on those charts become three dimensional, as the musicians engage in instrumental conversation and use the notes written on the page as a runway for creative flight.
Read the full piece from: SoulTracks
This iteration of the “Superband” fulfils all the promise that the names attached to the project impart. With the exception of “Test Of Time” by Makoto Ozone, the remaining numbers were all composed by members of the band, starting with “Preach Hank!” by tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum. In a nod to the great R&B saxophonist Hank Crawford, the band gives soulful reading of the number, with the composer Whalum rocking out his solo and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix filling the air with his high notes. All of the band members take a piece of the action with exuberance.
Read the full piece from: - Audiophile Audition
Jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene is a double Grammy nominee for an album that pays tribute to his daughter. Two years after Ana was killed in the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the musician released "Beautiful Life" -- his first album since the tragedy, reports "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King. Greene described music as "the language that kicks in when words don't suffice."
Read the full piece from: CBS News
The 12-track gem includes guitarists Adrien Moignard and Michael Valeanu, bassist Sam Anning, and Raj Jayaweera on the kit — the same ensemble that was featured at the helm on It’s A Good Day. In preparation for Let’s Get Lost‘s January 22nd release, we are excited to premiere Aimée’s fun up-tempo rendition of Harry Ruby’s classic standard, “Three Little Words.” Opening at a blistering tempo, you can’t help but admire Jayaweera’s impressive brush work underneath Moignard and Valeanu’s light yet assertive guitar comping.
Read the full piece from: Revive-Music
For her unblinking cover of “Wives and Lovers” — a curdled artifact from the early 1960s, by Burt Bacharach and Hal David — the jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant devised an ingeniously simple visual concept. This clip has a blank backdrop, a blood-red filter (also as in red flag, red light, flashing sirens) and just two human figures: Ms. Salvant and Storyboard P, the brilliant flex dancer, who turns the song’s distressingly sexist message nearly inside out.
Read the full piece from: the New York Times
Cécile McLorin Salvant Jazz Standard, Aug. 25: It’s not just deep mastery of a historical tradition that sets Ms. Salvant apart as a jazz singer. As she showed in this coolly intoxicating set, she’s also working with a rare set of critical tools, and the ability to make a roomful of listeners feel like sly accomplices.
Read the full piece from: the New York Times
Beyond consensus, however, these groups include a significant spectrum of women — nearly half of the total — in both traditional and transgressive roles. Not just Adele, now in a class by herself, but new stars Kacey Musgraves (country), Courtney Barnett (indie rock), Cecile McLorin Salvant (jazz), Elle King (rock ’n’ soul) and Rhiannon Giddens (neo-folk roots)...
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you from all of us at Mack Avenue!
On the guitar + singing front, Chris Eldridge and I were thrilled to finally come out to the west coast this fall to perform, finishing our year at the Fretboard Summit alongside our fellow guitar lovers. Chris and I have entered the proverbial “bat cave” with an eye on a project we are very excited to share when the time is right!
2015 also saw the beginning of a new collaboration with John Zorn, in the form of performing his Bagatelles with one of my favorite guitarists, Gyan Riley. This is music that (for the time being) only exists in the live format: either at The Stone or on the road, so we hope to see you at one of our shows soon!
Finally, this year represented the beginning of my newly formed trio, featuring Scott Colley and Kenny Wollesen, a project I have been fantasizing about ever since I was very young. We have some exciting news to share in the new year. in the meantime, I want to thank you all so dearly for coming out, your support and amazing energy! I cannot wait to see on the road you soon!
Nels Cline + Julian Lage European Tour:
16 Feb - Ljubljana, SI - Cankarjev Dom Ticket Info TBD
17 Feb - Warsaw, PL - Pardon To TuTicket Info TBD19 Feb - Wels, AT - Alter Schlachtof Wels
20 Feb - Ferrara, IT - Jazz Club Ferrara
21 Feb - Muri, CH - Pflegidach - Pflegi MuriTicket Info TBD23 Feb - Bremen, DE - MOMENTS
24 Feb - Milano, IT - Blue Note MilanoTicket Info TBD26 Feb - Groningen, NL - Grand Theatre GroningenTickets
29 Feb - Bozen, IT - Bozar
2 Mar - Brussels, BE - TBDTicket Info TBD3 Mar - Amsterdam, NL - BimhuisTicket Info TBD
Julian Lage (Trio Configuration):
3/ 6 - Cambridge, MA - Club Passim (Two Shows)
Early Show: Tickets
Late Show: Tickets
3/8 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
3/10 - New York, NY - Rockwood #2
4/6 - Savannah, GA - Savannah Music Festival
4/23 - Morrow, GA - Spivey Hall
4/24 - Chattanooga, TN - Jazzanooga Festival
4/25 - Athens, GA - The Foundry
4/30 - Madison, WI - The Frequency
5/1 - Evanston, IL - SPACE
5/2 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark
Tickets *on sale 12/19
5/5 - Vienna, VA - Barns at Wolftrap
5/6 - Fairfield, CT - StageOne
5/7 - Northampton, MA - Parlor Room
5/8 - Portland, ME - One Longfellow Square
5/ 9 - Burlington, VT - Signal Kitchen
On Sale TBD
5/11 - Brooklyn, NY - The Hall at MP
Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge:3/22 - Johnson City, TN - Downhome
3/23 - Richmond, VA - Modlin Center
3/24 - Roanoke, VA - Jefferson Center
3/25 - Danville, KY - Norton Center
4/3 - San Francisco, CA - Herbst Theatre
4/21 - Denver, CO - Gates Concert Hall
When Tyner closed his mini-set with "Blues on the Corner," from his album "The Real McCoy," he achieved his most dynamic playing of the evening, even if its opening passages proved a bit messy. The pianist quickly regained his footing, however, generating excitement with crisply delivered repeated notes and achieving a blues-swing sensibility with his trio.
Read the full piece from: Chicago Tribune
“Jazz is not seen as an alternative music, it’s seen as a dusty, old thing,” says McLorin Salvant. “There are so many instances of people saying, ‘Jazz is dead.’” Yet for her, it is full of life. “I think most of those songs have this timeless quality to them; there is no real reference to time,” she says. Now it is up to the audience to embrace the new voices and faces of jazz as they revive and reinvent that golden age, because if we’re going to bring back jazz, it’s going to take someone like McLorin Salvant to make it happen.
Read the full piece from: The Last Magazine
Cécile McLorin Salvant, 26, brings much of her touring set list to the Grammy-nominated jazz vocal album, For One To Love on Mack Avenue Records, released on September 4, 2015. Nothing about the songs on this album, or this young artist, says meek, mild, or clean — unless it’s the efficient way Salvant cuts through the crap down to the meat of the bare bone of the covers and originals she takes on.
Read the full piece from: Examiner.com
Read the full piece from: NPR
...the pianist and composer shares music from his own recording Space Time Continuum (Mack Avenue) and music featuring rising star singer Cecile McLorin Salvant.
Read the full piece from: WBGO: The Checkout
“Glory being the pinnacle of success and splendor, the highest recognition of excellence, it is a tremendous responsibility and a huge honor to be considered for such an important award."
Read the full piece from: Latin Jazz Network
I always wanted to have kind of a certain natural quality to my voice, and I wish it were more rough than it is, but I would listen to a lot of blues singers and sort of try to go more towards that. I had a hole in my voice. I still do...But I realized that in jazz, I could take advantage of that.
Read the full piece from: NPR Fresh Air
Salvant's aesthetic idiosyncrasies immediately mark her apart, even within the space of "jazz singing." She's long had a predilection for finding rowdy songs from the dawn of the music to grow into — not exactly common for a twentysomething jazz musician — and that continues here...
Read the full piece from: NPR First Listen
A lot of jazz groups tend to lose themselves in the thematic structures and far-out concepts of the artistic leader of the album. Not this group. Ever since they got together, pianist Pérez, bassist Patitucci, and drummer Blade knew they spoke the same cinematic language...“For us, it was like writing the soundtracks of our own lives. It was about using music to paint a scene, using the sounds to tell a story,” Pérez added.
Read the full piece from: AXS
“When you look at this particular lineup, there are a wide range of styles represented: from the Django-influenced guitar approach of Evan Perri to the soulful/gospel leanings of tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and when you consider the other players, you can find just about everything in between.”
Read the full piece from: DownBeat Magazine
Mr. Diehl has taken a winding road to jazz. As a child, he played mostly classical music and learned a few jazz standards from his grandfather, who plays trombone and piano and introduced Mr. Diehl to the virtuoso pianist Art Tatum. Mr. Diehl was obsessed with aviation—his father, a funeral director, owned a plane—and he wanted to become an airline pilot. He took his first flying lesson at age 13 and recently flew a single-propeller plane from Columbus, where his parents still live, to gigs in Michigan.
Read the full piece from: Wall Street Journal
The trio is featured on “Santa Maria”, a commissioned work beginning with bowed bass singing over rhapsodic piano and sprawling malleted tom toms and cymbals before moving into a Spanish-tinged interlude that introduces a brightly swinging melody. The trio ratchets things up several notches on Diehl’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, a fiercely bebopping tour de force taken at a demonic tempo. (Page 31)
Read the full piece from: The New York City Jazz Record
The DVD captures the Chapter IV concert at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York. Live performance segments are interspersed with conversations with Whalum on a variety of subjects, from being a musician to the spirit of improvisation.
Read the full piece from: Journal of Gospel Music
The Gospel According To Jazz: Chapter IV - by Kirk Whalum on Rendezvous/Mackavenue closes the week at number one on the Billboard Jazz Chart.
Read the full piece from: Mack Avenue Twitter Feed!
Rick Braun on his new album: "It's R&B and jazz mixed together, whereas with straight-ahead jazz there is more of a swing...
Mr. Jones, 36, was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and while he made his name in New York City — notably during his six years as...Mr. Jones, 36, was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and while he made his name in New York City — notably during his six years as...Mr. Jones, 36, was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and while he made his name in New York City — notably during his six years as...
Ms. Payne's disc, "Come Back to Me Love" (Artistry/Mack Avenue), is a collection of standards and originals done with opulent big-band arrangements; it's the sort of recording that offers an authentic alternative to the trend of pop stars doing classic repertoire with orchestral backing.