Music

There is possibly no other single musician who has defined the state of Latin Jazz more than Eddie Palmieri, who turns 81 years old today.

Anna Yatskevitch

 

There are plenty of reasons to root for Ben Allison. He's a commanding bandleader, a virtuoso bassist, a proprietor of his own record label, and now an electric bassist and audio recording engineer. But the most impressive dimension to the artist is the artist himself — his songwriting especially.


Courtesty Jazz.org

Our partners at Jazz at Lincoln Center continue a beloved New York tradition with soulful renditions of holiday classics by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. 

Courtesy of NJMH

Four leading music critics representing a range of perspectives and publications will converge in this annual critics’ roundtable, hosted and moderated by Nate Chinen, the director of editorial content at WBGO. Along with Nate, the panel will include Giovanni Russonello, who writes about jazz for The New York Times; Michelle Mercer, an author and contributor to NPR; and Eugene Holley, Jr., who contributes to Downbeat, Publisher’s Weekly, and WNYC. They’ll discuss the issues, albums, artists, and standout moments that shaped jazz in 2017.

Paul Payabyab-Cruz

Jazz has generated more than its share of holiday staples throughout the years, from Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas to the Vince Guaraldi Trio finessing “Christmas Time is Here.” One sturdy recent addition to the canon has been Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O, by a smart, scrappy unit consisting of Jeff Lederer on reeds, Paul Sikivie on bass and Wilson on drums.

Juan Carlos Villarroel

It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by all of the young talent working in jazz today, many of whom reside in our backyard in New York City. Meanwhile, there are arguably more skilled musicians than ever playing the music outside the United States. Here are four mega-talented Dutch artists you may not know, but should.


Brooks Brothers

Take Five presents a roundup of five new holiday tunes, with a throwback bonus.

Frans Schellekens / Redferns/Getty

Sunny Murray, an improvising drummer who pioneered a radical and influential approach to rhythm, died on Thursday night in Paris. He was 81.

Kevin Millet

Leyla McCalla has traveled a winding path as a musician, from the European classical canon to the folkways of her Caribbean heritage. Born into a Haitian-American family in Queens, she was raised in Maplewood, and brought up in the New Jersey public school system. 


Nathan West

Julian Lage Trio, “Atlantic Limited”

Not too long ago, Julian Lage formed a first-rate trio with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen, casting it loosely in the image of a similar unit led by his chief guitar hero, Jim Hall. The band released its debut album, Arclight, last year, coming in for some just acclaim. Now there’s a follow-up on the horizon: Modern Lore, which Mack Avenue will release on Feb. 2.

Bex Wade

 Shirazette Tinnin is a versatile musician whose next album, Sonic Wallpaper, will highlight her individuality and spotlight her composing, including songs with her own lyrics. 

She’s a jazz-trained drummer whose influences range from Art Blakey to Sheila E. It was after seeing Sheila E. on TV, at age 4, that Shirazette decided that she wanted to play drums.

Jon Hendricks
Photo: Brian McMillen / www.brianmcmillenphotography.com

Jon Hendricks – By Monifa Brown

Keeping up with the cats
Always knowing what to scat
A wordsmith with gifts
Ohhh, how your gab uplifts 

Telling our story with love and glory
Making history without mystery
Monk, Horace and Duke knew
Bird and Basie too
Free rein to put your pen to the game
The Father of vocalese you did it with such ease 

Lawrence Sumulong / Jazz at Lincoln Center

More than three dozen acts have been added to the NYC Winter Jazzfest, finalizing the festival lineup for 2018. Among them are Nicholas Payton & Afro-Caribbean Mixtape, the vocal group Duchess, Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFUNK, and the Eli Degibri Quartet. They will all appear on the Winter Jazzfest Marathon, a two-day crush of shows on Jan. 12 and 13. The festival itself sprawls to eight days, the longest edition yet, though with fewer groups performing than in 2017.

courtesy of the artist

Allan Harris is a classic crooner with considerable range. His new album, Nobody’s Gonna Love You Better, offers an extraordinary mix of songs from across the spectrum, from standards (“I Remember You,” “Moody’s Mood for Love”) to rock songs by Jimi Hendrix and Steely Dan to his own soulful originals.

He's also created a musical, Cross That River — the story of an ex-slave who became one of the black cowboys in the Wild West. Many of the cattle drovers after the Civil War were black, but we’ve rarely ever seen them in movies.

Rob Davidson / WBGO

Nominations for the 60th Grammy Awards were announced this morning. Here are the nominees in the Jazz field. Pianists Billy Childs and Fred Hersch are each multiple nominees, in the album and solo categories. So is saxophonist Chris Potter. Stay tuned to WBGO and wbgo.org for more commentary about the awards.

Jim Marshall / Jim Marshall Photography LLC

Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie were both born a century ago, in 1917. In their honor, here’s a heap of information about “‘Round Midnight,” a bedrock jazz standard whose evolution reflects their mutual regard.

Jean-Pierre Leloir

Holiday shopping, or a personal splurge? Here are five good reasons to spend your money.

There are few artists as plugged-in to music's future as Mark de Clive-Lowe. So it's also exciting when this forward-thinking jazz pianist gets the opportunity to investigate an ancient myth from his ancestral past.

Once upon a time, jazz joints were happening all around Newark. Sparky J's. The Front Room. The Key Club. The Cadillac Club. And groups with an organist shook the earth. Jack McDuff. Jimmy McGriff. Lou Donaldson with Lonnie Smith. Charles Earland, The Mighty Burner.

 

David Redfern / Getty Images

Jon Hendricks, a revered jazz singer who refined and popularized the art of vocalese, or putting lyrics to famous improvised solos, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 96.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Aria Hendricks.

William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

George Avakian, a producer, artist manager and writer who played a foundational role in jazz’s expression on record, died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 98.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Anahid Avakian Gregg.

deedeebridgewater.com

It’s been a busy year for vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater.  WBGO’s Ang Santos caught up with the jazz icon in New York City, as she tours in support of a new album.

Ang Santos:  Joining us on the WBGO Journal is Dee Dee Bridgewater, at the Blue Note in New York City.  No stranger to our airwaves, Thanks for being with us.

Dee Dee Bridgewater:  You’re welcome

AS:  You’re touring for your new album, 'Memphis, Yes I’m Ready'. To my understanding the album was a project that spanned over several years?

Erich Auerbach / Getty Images

Every holiday has its jazz soundtrack, though some yield more copious results than others. When Thanksgiving rolls around, one track stands above all: “Stuffy Turkey,” a lesser-known entry in the glorious songbook of Thelonious Monk.

Over the last several years, one success story in the so-called vinyl boom has been an independent company called Vinyl Me, Please. Founded in 2013, it has expanded to reach more than 20,000 subscribers, each of whom receives a spotlight album of the month, reissued in a deluxe pressing with original artwork and other extras.

Erin Baiano

When Cassandra Wilson sings a story, it’s heartfelt and soulful, brimming with that Wilsonian introspection. She’s sung new insight into Miles Davis, the Great American Songbook, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Robert Johnson. Her originals come from a place deep inside.


courtesy of the artist

Marlene VerPlanck was a “girl singer” with the big bands of Charlie Spivak, Tex Benecke and the Dorsey Brothers, but she became a more familiar voice in everyone’s life when she became one of the most active jingles singers in the business. “MMM, good. MMM, good. That’s why Campbell’s soups…” That was the ubiquitous Marlene, singing about airplanes and selling musically everything else.

AFP

On Friday, ECM Records made its catalog available on major streaming services, in an expansion of its partnership with the Universal Music Group. This made an ocean of material more widely available, including classical and world music.

But the trove is of special importance to jazz fans — like WBGO's music director, Gary Walker, and its director of programming, Steve Williams, who supersized this edition of Take Five with 10 tracks from as many unmissable ECM albums.

Tom Marcello / Flickr

Ben Riley, a subtle and versatile jazz drummer best known for his affiliation with Thelonious Monk in the 1960s and Kenny Barron, one of Monk’s pianistic heirs, in all the years since, died on Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York. He was 84.

Anthony Barboza / Getty Images

One way or another, you've heard Grover Washington Jr.'s saxophone. Perhaps on "Mister Magic" or another of his instrumental hits, like "Winelight." Or on "Just the Two of Us," the smash hit featuring Bill Withers.

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