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New-York based jazz trombonist Matt Haviland has been in demand as a performer and featured soloist with some of the top names in jazz since the early 1980s. His horn has been an important part of large groups like those led by Maria Schneider and Steven Bernstein, as well as the Mingus Big Band. He is a regular member of the Pete McGuinness Jazz O…
 
Podcast 778 completes my two-part conversation with Maria Schneider. A recipient of almost every award given for composing, arranging and conducting, Ms. Schneider has moved to the forefront of genre-bending music. Whether it’s the work she did with David Bowie on “Sue (or In A Season of Crime,” her thrilling new work Data Lords, or her collaborati…
 
With the release earlier this year of Data Lords, a two-disc opus, Maria Schneider stepped up her battle with the giants of the technological world. An outspoken critic of companies like Amazon, Google and YouTube, Ms. Schneider has been standing up for citizens’ rights to maintain their online privacy and personal information, as well as artists’ …
 
Here is Part Two of my recent conversation with the legendary Michael Cuscuna. While Part One concentrated on the recent offerings of the Photography of Francis Wolff, Part Two is all about Cuscuna's limited edition archival releases on Mosaic Records. 2020 has been a good year for the label. Of particular interest to me was the release of The Comp…
 
"Francis Wolff's images of musicians at work are so relaxed and intimate that they capture the spirit not just of the moment but also the era." - Herbie Hancock It was a real treat to get to spend some time on the telephone with Michael Cuscuna, the legendary jazz record producer, discographer, writer and entrepreneur a few weeks ago. For the past …
 
Tomorrow is Veteran's Day here in America, and I can think of no better way to honor men and women who served their country in uniform that helping to shine the light on some music made by servicemen almost 75 years ago. Jason Burt always knew his grandfather, Ralph Burt had served in the Pacific in World War II, and that he had helped develop is c…
 
After almost forty years and twenty-five albums as a collaborative jazz group, the Yellowjackets are not a group that rest on their laurels. The group has had continued success, won a number of Grammy Awards, and been a fixture on the Fusion, Smooth Jazz and other charts for years. Their last two albums have shown the band is still forging ahead wi…
 
In this COVID-riddled world, Hallowe'en will not be the same. Our community here in Western Massachusetts has not banned Trick or Treat, so Nancy and I will do the social distance thing and leave trays of candy out in the driveway for those kids (and kids at heart) who come out Saturday night The spirit of Hallowe'en lives on in this Podcast, which…
 
Those following the music of trumpeter Michael Sarian over the past few years will have a pleasant surprise when they listen to New Aurora. Known for his septet Michael Sarian & The Chabones and big band The Big Chabones, the latest release from the New York based musician finds him fronting a four piece acoustic group, and playing flugelhorn in a …
 
Harold López-Nussa has been successfully making records that blur the lines between straight-ahead jazz, Latin Jazz and Cuban folk music for years now. His latest release on Mack Avenue, Te Lo Dije (the title roughly translates to "I Told You" pushes those boundries even further. López-Nussa once again has his favorite musicians working with him: J…
 
As the follow-up to his GRAMMY-winning big band album, Back to the Sunset, Cuban-born drummer, composer, educator, and 2011 MacArthur Genius Fellow Dafnis Prieto returns to a smaller group release called Transparency, on his independent music label, Dafnison Music. Prieto's fearless Sextet features a top-shelf lineup, including Román Filiú (alto sa…
 
" I view Kenny as the most unique composer and pianist of his generation. Because he died young and avoided the spotlight, his brilliant compositions have been overlooked for too long" - Noah Haidu On the occasion of what would have been Kenny Kirkland's 65th birthday, pianist Noah Haidu is getting ready to release the first endeavor dedicated enti…
 
We are almost three-quarters of the way through the dumpster-fire that has been 2020, and Christian McBride has done more than his share to try to keep our minds on new music. No less than three of the top releases of this troubled year have his imprint, with a new release coming out this week. Early in the year we finally got the long-awaited reco…
 
I trust you have enjoyed the first two parts of my three-part conversation with bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottlieb this week. Mark and Danny have released Electric Blue this week, their first recorded duo project, on Egan's Wavetone imprint. Check it out on CD, streaming, or high-quality vinyl to see what one of the most important rhythm …
 
Podcast 764 is Part Two of my three part conversation with Mark Egan and Danny Gottlieb. Having been partners in rhythm for almost fifty years, their latest release, Electric Blue, is their first recorded set of duets. Part One was a detailed discussion of the making of Electric Blue, and the approaches bassist Egan and percussionist Gottlieb take …
 
After nearly 50 years of playing music together, going back to their days as students at the University of Miami through their years of touring and recording as members of the original Pat Metheny Group, with the Gil Evans Monday Night Orchestra, exploring new tones and textures with their band Elements and heading up their own individual projects,…
 
August 29 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Charles Parker, Jr., best known to music fans as Charlie Parker, or simply "Bird." From his birth in Kansas City, Kansas to his untimely death at the age of 35, Parkerwas insgtrumental in re-creainge and establishing the music we call jazz. Regrettably, his early death from hard living and abusi…
 
When bandleader/composer/arranger John Beasley began to reimagine the music of Thelonious through the vehicle of his inventive, versatile MONK’estra, it might have been easy to assume that he had created a continuing homage to one of jazz’s singular talents. Perhaps it would morph into something like the Mingus Big Band? But if that is what you tho…
 
Gregg August’s latest work could not be more timely. It’s entitled Dialogues on Race, Volume 1 and quite frankly, is there a more important topic for the world to be having a conversation about today? Using his experience as a classical musician, and modern classical composer, he has taken a broad subject and used various musical devices to illumin…
 
David Gilmore’s second album for Criss Cross, From Here to Here, is just his sixth release as a bandleader. This seems to be a criminal lack of material, as Gilmore has spent the past 35 years as a key member of performances and recording sessions with the likes of Steve Coleman, Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Cassandra Wilson and Wayne Shorter.…
 
I crossed another "I've really got to talk to this cat" off my list earlier this summer when I finally got to interview bassist Martin Wind on the occasion of his new release White Noise. Martin has been the rock of the rhythm section for groups led by Matt Wilson and Dena Derose for years, as well as recording a few albums under his own name. Whit…
 
I’ve been a big fan of the Ropeadope Experiment series, beginning back in June 2001 with The Philadelphia Experiment - featuring ?uestlove, Christian McBride, and Uri Caine with special guest Pat Martino. The Detroit Experiment, produced by Aaron Luis Levinson and Carl Craig, followed soon after with a stellar cast including Amp Fiddler, Geri Allen…
 
In keeping with our recent podcasts about piano trios, Podcast 755 is a converation with veteran drum legend Jeff Hamilton. His career has spanned almost every type of ensemble - the Big Bands of Woody Herman and Count Basie, the exotic quartet the L.A. 4 with Ray Brown, Bud Shank and Laurondo Almedida, and backing singers from Ella Fitzgerald to D…
 
It's past the midpoint in what has been a hot and sticky summer in New England, so why not some summer themed music for these remaining lazy, hot days? Today is August 16th, the feast day of Saint Roch, the patron saint of Dogs, so why not celebrate the "Dog Days"? The Romans associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius t…
 
One of the best piano trios you might not have heard much of over the past fifteen years has been the group lead by pianist Denny Zeitlin. With Buster Williams on bass and Matt Wilson on drums, the three top-notch musicians have recorded five wonderful albums for the Sunnyside label. Living on opposite coasts of the US, the trio interacts sporadica…
 
This weekend should have been the annual Newport Jazz Festival. Regrettably, the worldwide pandemic that has stopped liver performances everywhere has made it impossible for the Festival organizers and Artistic Director Christian McBride to go forward. Summer just isn't summer for me without the great jazz festivals I normally attend, or for that m…
 
On “World Music Day”, June 21, a day that celebrated the contributions of musicians worldwide, a group called the Music Workers Alliance launched an unemployment countdown clock, ominously counting the days until July 31, when enhanced unemployment benefits (the extra $600 weekly called FPUC - Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) are set to …
 
The centennial celebration of Peggy Lee’s birth continues to be commemorated with new music releases and the airing of an updated documentary. Honoring one of the 20thcentury’s most important musical influences in the world of jazz and popular music, and in conjunction with UMe/Capitol, the Peggy Lee Estate recently released The Capital Transcripti…
 
It’s been a pleasure to watch pianist Christian Sands grow as a composer, musician and bandleader. By the time he was ready to graduate from Manhattan School of Music, he had released three trio albums and been nominated for a Latin Grammy as part of the School’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, led by Bobby Sanabria. Tabbed by Christian McBride to be pa…
 
It's always a delight to speak with alto sax star Rudresh Mahanthappa. Possessed of a deep knowledge and deeper interest in a wide variety of topics, he brings a wry sense of humor to any discussion we have had. The release of his Hero Trio album is well worth talking about. Backed by longtime collaborators Francois Moutin (bass) and Rudy Royston (…
 
Back on January 20th - and doesn't that seem like a year or so ago? - I posted Podcast 720, which featured Cathy RIch, the daughter of legendary drummer Buddy Rich, talking about her father, and the posthumous release of Just in Time: The Final Recording, a live set recorded at Ronnie Scott's in London. At that time, we also talked about the public…
 
What is a musician to do when he can't play in front of audiences? Or if her studio time has been cancelled? And how does he or she deal with the lack of supporting musicians? If you are Ben Goldberg, you use this time to create "Plague Diary", a musical diary of new material posted every day to Bandcamp. Existing only as a series of digital downlo…
 
Whether its on baritone sax, alto flute or bass clarinet, Dr. Brian Landrus is among the most exciting players and composers around. Just over forty years old, and a newly minted Ph.D. from Rutgers University, Brian has been made several of the most interesting recording of the past few years. From The Deep Below in 2015, his large ensemble work Ge…
 
Jimmy Cobb, one of the most important drummers in jazz from the 1950's on, has died at the age of 91. The cause was lung cancer. Had he only played on Kind of Blue, the 1959 masterpiece from the Miles Davis Sextet, his mark in the jazz world would have been made. His subtle pulse, all brushes, cymbals and snare, make the music from that historic da…
 
Here's Part Two of my conversation with Chris Crenshaw, a top trombonist and one of the many fascinating musicians who make up the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. In this Podcast, Chris, talks about more recent releases on Blue Engine Records from the JLCO archives, including their take on Duke Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige and Handful of Ke…
 
Blue Engine Records, the label operated by Jazz at Lincoln Center, continues to release more exciting music for us to enjoy. Reaching into their rich archives of performances form the past four years, they have recently released two albums that feature one of their top trombonists, Christopher Crenshaw. The Fifties: A Prism was a highlight of the 2…
 
If we were not living through the nightmare of COVID-19, promoter Danny Melnick of Absolutely Live Entertainment would be busy with jazz shows across the world, and would be gearing up for presenting the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival. But these are strange days indeed, and Danny finds that all of his hard work has gone for naught. At least for…
 
This episode we talk with Dan Gardoqui or the Lead with Nature Podcast. Dan is a skilled naturalist whose passions include birding, tracking and hunting. Stories of Dan's unique perspective on engaging with the natural world within! Patreon!: https://www.patreon.com/Naturalistics website: https://naturalisticspod.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/Na…
 
We've lost another giant. Lee Konitz, the alto sax player whose career spanned from bebop in the clubs of Broadway to the present has passed away from COVID-19 related issues. he was 92. One of the players introduced to me by my father, Konitz found a way to do it all during his 70 odd years in jazz. He helped invent improvisational jazz with Lenny…
 
A lengthy conversation with Wolfgang Muthspiel has been a long overdue podcast to prepare for my listeners. The Austrian born guitarist, composer and record label owner has been among the most dynamic guitarists of recent years, and has made some shining albums for ECM. His latest release, Angular Blues, is a return to the trio format, following tw…
 
Wallace Roney, one of the top trumpet players in the world today, died this week from complications from COVID-19. He was 59. Roney was one of the "Young Lions" that invigorated straight ahead jazz in the 1990's. Chosen by Miles Davis as his heir apparent, he was a close friend and collaborator with Miles from 1985 until Davis' death in 1991. He sp…
 
Felipe Salles lives a few towns away from me in Western Massachusetts, but his latest album tackles a subject that concerns people from all over the Western hemisphere. The New Immigrant Experience, written and conducted by Salles with the 18-piece Interconnections Ensemble, is a powerful new multimedia work inspired by the lives of “Dreamers,” the…
 
I liked Lakecia Benjamin’s first two CDs. They were fun - funky and swinging. But they were not that memorable. I love her new CD. Pursuance: The Coltranes, pays homage to two of the greatest musical innovators of the 20th century, John and Alice Coltrane. That’s some pretty tough company to put yourself near, given the married couple are among the…
 
The works of William Shakespeare and the jazz world have had a limited connection. Sure, Duke Ellington released Such Sweet Thunder, a twelve-part suite based on Shakespeare’s work in 1957, and Dame Cleo Laine recorded the moving Shakespeare and All that Jazz with her husband Sir John Dankworth in 1964. There is a somewhat obscure but very interest…
 
Trumpeter Jason Palmer has been near the top of my list of people to feature on Straight No Chaser for several years now. As a sideman working with Mark Turner and Noah Preminger, he made huge contributions to some of their top recordings, and last week he dropped his fourteenth album as a bandleader. The Concert: 12 Musings for Isabella is a live …
 
This time on the podcast we discuss ways for naturalists to navigate times when we must turn our practice inside or close to home. Nature is never canceled and there is always something cool to find! Patreon!: https://www.patreon.com/Naturalistics website: https://naturalisticspod.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/Naturalistics_ email: naturalistics…
 
A common thread runs through the next few podcasts that will appear on Straight No Chaser. Each has a talented jazz composer and performer who found creative inspiration from sources other than music itself. In the next few days you will hear conversations with Jason Palmer, whose latest album was inspired by works of art stolen from the Isabella G…
 
Today is the 90th birthday of our greatest living composer of Broadway musicals, Stephen Sondheim. His career has spanned the past sixty odd Broadway seasons, during which he wrote or co-wrote many of the most important, influential and successful shows in history. He collaborated on two classics as lyricist – first with Leonard Bernstein (West Sid…
 
Bria Skonberg has been one of the most exciting new artists of the past few years, combining a deep love of “hot jazz” with a desire to expand her sphere of knowledge. The latest result of this search is Nothing Never Happens, produced by Grammy-winner Eli Wolf. While Bria’s singing and trumpet solos are clearly the center of attention, this is ver…
 
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