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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Radio Funding Campaign


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (November 2014): Conrad Herwig

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (November 2014): Conrad Herwig

Conrad Herwig is one of New York's more prominent young progressive/mainstream trombonists. He has recorded and/or performed with a number of famous leaders, including, but not limited to, Joe Henderson, Jack DeJohnette, and Paquito D'Rivera. Herwig is an alumni of the famous University of North Texas jazz program, an experience that obviously prepared him well as a big band player. He began his professional career in the early '80s with Clark Terry's big band; stints with Buddy Rich, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mel Lewis, and others were to follow. Herwig has become an increasingly in-demand sideman in the '90s. He is an accomplished pedagogue, having taught clinics and workshops around the world. Currently, Herwig is on the faculty at William Patterson College in New Jersey. His seventh album as a leader, The Latin Side of John Coltrane, emphasizes an affinity for South American idioms. Criss Cross followed in 1998, and a year later Herwig resurfaced with Osteology. Unseen Universe followed in fall 2000. — Chris Kelsey

Conrad Herwig's Discography as a Leader:

"Shades of Light" SteepleChase 31520

'Hieroglyphica" Criss Cross 1207

"Unseen Universe" Criss Cross 1194

"Osteology" Criss Cross 1176

"Heart of Darkness" Criss Cross 1155

"The Latin Side of John Coltrane" Astor Place 4003

"Ao Vivo No Festival de Jazz de Guimaraes, Portugal" Groove 10

"New York Breed" Double-Time 108

"The Amulet" Ken 016

"Intimate Conversations" Ken 012

"New York Hardball" Ken 002

"With Every Breath" Ken 008

Late in the decade, he made his recording debut as leader on which he was teamed with saxophonist Jim Snidero. When he moved to New York he played with Mario Bauza and Eddie Palmieri, continuing to play with the latter throughout the 90s. These latter associations imbued him with a long lasting interest in Latin music.

Herwig continued to record, with varied critical success, throughout the 90s. During all this time, he was advancing his interest in and facility at writing music.

His inspiration often extended outside of jazz as is demonstrated by several of his compositions that were inspired by the short stories of Joseph Conrad, which appear on the December 1997 recording Heart Of Darkness. On his recording dates, Herwig has worked with many noted artists from the world of jazz, including Ronnie Cuber, Gary Smulyan, Brian Lynch, and several from the world of Latin music, including Dave Valentin and Paquito D'Rivera.

Herwig's technical fluency, honed on the often demanding musical complexities of Latin music, has allowed him to develop into areas of music where many other trombonists would not care to venture. Never content to re-work depleted ground, Herwig's 1998 session Osteology, on which he was paired with fellow virtuoso trombonist Steve Davis, found him exploring regions that would probably have never occurred to earlier two-trombone teams such as J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding.

Herwig's inventive and probing mind was revealed in his tribute to John Coltrane. Where many less imaginative, if often better known, performers, might have been content to only regurgitate music that was already three decades old, Herwig chose to explore the saxophonist's influence through the seemingly inappropriate use of the Latin form. The device threw fresh and interesting light upon Coltrane's music and gave clear notice that the trombonist has much to offer jazz in the new century.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (October 2014): Roy Hargrove

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (October 2014): Roy Hargrove

Artist Biography by Scott Yanow

Roy Hargrove is a hard bop-oriented musician (and acclaimed "Young Lion") who became one of America's premier trumpeters during the late 1980s and beyond. A fine, straight-ahead player who spent his childhood years in Texas, Hargrove met trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis in 1987, when the latter musician visited Hargrove's high school in Dallas. Impressed with the student's sound, Marsalis allowed Hargrove to sit in with his band and helped him secure additional work with major players, including Bobby Watson, Ricky Ford, Carl Allen, and the group Superblue. Hargrove attended Berklee for one (1988-1989) before decamping to New York City, where his studio career took flight.

In 1990, the young Hargrove (he was only 20 at the time) released his first of five recordings for Novus. He often toured with his own group, which for several years including Antonio Hart. In addition to Novus, Hargrove also recorded for Verve and served as a sideman with quite a few notable figures, including Sonny Rollins, James Clay, Frank Morgan, and Jackie McLean, and the ensemble Jazz Futures. His Verve album roster includes 1995's Family and Parker's Mood. Habana (a Grammy-winning album of Afro-Cuban music) and Moment to Moment followed at the end of the decade. Hargrove also went on to contribute to well-received R&B albums by Erykah Badu and D'Angelo, but he also remained indebted to hard bop with such albums as 2008's Earfood. A year later, Hargrove returned with his 19-member big band on Emergence.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (September 2014): Dave Valentin

Dave Valentin (born April 29, 1952, in New York City) is a jazz flutist.

He learned latin percussion first when he was a teenager, and then switched to flute. Valentin's teacher, the legendary Hubert Laws, suggested that he not double on saxophone because of his attractive sound on the flute. He studied at the Bronx Community College. In 1977, he made his recording debut with Ricardo Marrero's group and he appeared also on a Noel Pointer album. Discovered by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, Valentin was the first artist signed to GRP Records, and he has been a popular attraction ever since. Valentin has recorded over 15 albums, combining the influence of pop, R&B and Brazilian music with Latin and contemporary jazz to create a slick and accessible form of crossover jazz.

In 2000, he appeared in the documentary film, Calie 54, performing with Tito Puente. He toured with El Negro and MioSotis. Since the mid-2000s, Valentin has been signed to Highnote Records, releasing World On A String (2005) and Come Fly With Me(2006). He has done several collaborations with pianist Bill O'Connell, and was a Grammy Award winner for his Caribbean Jazz Project in the early 2000's with Dave Samuels as well as a Latin Grammy Award nominee in 2006.

In 2012, he suffered a stroke following a performance at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis, In.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (August 2014): Dee Dee Bridgewater

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (August 2014): Dee Dee Bridgewater

FEW ENTERTAINERS have ever commanded such depth of artistry in every medium. Fewer still have been rewarded with Broadway’s coveted Tony Award (Best Featured Actress in a Musical – The Wiz), nominated for the London theater’s West End equivalent, the Laurence Oliver Award (Best Actress in a Musical – Lady Day), won three Grammy® Awards (2011‘s Best Jazz Vocal Album for “Eleanora Fagan: To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater”, 1998’s Best Jazz Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocal for "Cottontail" – Slide Hampton, arranger – "Dear Ella "), and France’s 1998 top honor Victoire de la Musique (Best Jazz Vocal Album).

DEE DEE CAPTURED THE HEARTS of audiences worldwide in The Wiz with her signature song, If You Believe. According to Nick Ashford of Ashford and Simpson, Dee Dee’s rendition "personified a generation and gave us all hope."

AS A SPARKLING AMBASSADOR FOR JAZZ, she bathed in its music before she could walk. Her mother played the greatest albums of Ella Fitzgerald, whose artistry provided an inspiration for Dee Dee throughout her career. Her father was a trumpeter who taught music – to Booker Little, Charles Lloyd and George Coleman, among others. It is the kind of background that leaves its mark on an adolescent, especially one who appeared solo and with a trio as soon as she was able. Dee Dee’s other vocation, that of globetrotter, reared its head when she toured the Soviet Union in 1969 with the University of Illinois Big Band. A year later, she followed her then husband, Cecil Bridgewater, to New York.

DEE DEE MADE HER PHENOMENAL NEW YORK DEBUT in 1970 as the lead vocalist for the band led by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, one of the premier jazz orchestras of the time. These New York years marked an early career in concerts and on recordings with such giants as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach and Roland Kirk, and rich experiences with Norman Connors, Stanley Clarke and Frank Foster’s "Loud Minority."

DEE DEE DOESN’T CARE MUCH FOR LABELS, and in 1974 she jumped at the chance to act and sing on Broadway where her voice, beauty and stage presence won her great success and a Tony Award for her role as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz. This began a long line of awards and accolades as well as opportunities to work in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Paris and in London where she garnered the coveted “Laurence Olivier” Award nomination as Best Actress for her tour de force portrayal of jazz legend Billie Holiday in Stephen Stahl’s Lady Day. Performing the lead in equally demanding acting/singing roles as Sophisticated Ladies, Cosmopolitan Greetings, Black Ballad, Carmen Jazz and the musical Cabaret (the first black actress to star as Sally Bowles), she secured her reputation as a consummate entertainer.

NAMED AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS’ FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO) in October 1999, Dee Dee joined the battle against world hunger. Appealing for international solidarity to finance global grass-roots projects, the FAO’s Ambassadors aid in developing self-reliance in long-term conservation and management of sustainable agriculture, rural development and the conservation and management of natural resources.

TAKING OVER THE REIGNS OF JAZZSET FROM THE ILLUSTRIOUS BRANFORD MARSALIS, Dee Dee continues to bring her message to listeners. NPR's JazzSet© with Dee Dee Bridgewater is the jazz lover's ears and eyes on the world of live music. It presents today's best jazz artists in performance on stages around the world, taking listeners to Puerto Rico and Cuba, as well as Marciac in the French countryside and across the North American continent from Montreal to Monterey.


2011 Grammy® Award “Eleanora Fagan” Best Jazz Vocal Album

2007 Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

1999 New York AIR Award JazzSet

1997 Grammy® Award “Dear Ella” Best Jazz Vocal Album Best Arrangement


2013 “Lady Day” Little Shubert Theatre New York, NY

2013 “Club Harlem” Apollo Harlem, NY

1998 Ain’t Misbehavin’ Montreal

1995 Cabaret Paris, France

Friday, June 27, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (July 2014): Rosa Passos

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (July 2014): Rosa Passos

Rosa Passos

In her native Brazil, Rosa Passos is known and loved as "the female version of João Gilberto." For a singer/songwriter who carries the soulful cool of bossa nova into a new age, there can be no higher cumpliment. Mingling the classics of Gilberto, Jobim, Barroso and other masters of Brazilian songs with her own enchanting works, Passos sings in a sweet, warm, totally-in-tune voice that the Los Angeles Times has hailed as "sounding a bit like the legendary Elis Regina but with the rhythmic articulation of Ella Fitzgerald."

Rosa Passos was Born and raised surrounded by music in the city of Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia in Brazil and the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Stimulated by her parents, Rosa was already a promising pianist when she was five. As a teenager her father introduced her to a collection of early recordings from João Gilberto and Tom Jobim. Inspired by the movie 'Black Orpheus' (1959) and its soundtrack, she replaced the piano with the guitar, and since then she has been completely dedicated to her art of composing and singing. When she was 15, she had already appeared successfully on television in Salvador.

You will see the resemblance to João Gilberto, in fact, his music was a strong influence on her early years and made a lasting impression.

In 1972 her composition "Mutilados" won the first prize in the University Festival promoted by Aratu TV in the state of Bahia.

In 1979 Passos released her first record - the “Recriação” album, containing her own compositions with the co-composer Fernando de Oliveira, who has been her constant partner.

After taking several years off to devote herself to her husband and children, she returned to performing and recording in 1985, jump-starting a career that has been on the upswing ever since.

In 1991, Rosa released her first CD “Curare” - a refined record consisting of Brazilian Popular Music standards by Tom Jobim, Ary Barroso, Carlos Lyra, Johnny Alf, Bororó , Vinícius de Moraes and others.

In 1996 she released the “Pano Pra Manga” CD, with most songs composed by Fernando and her . Rosa's compositions have also attracted the interest of the American singer Kenny Rankin, who in 1997 recorded the songs "Verão" (Those Eyes) and "Outono" (Stay), both of them with the vocal participation of Rosa Passos.

In September of 1996 Oscar Castro-Neves - a renowned Brazilian musician living in the United States - invited Rosa to participate in a Brazilian night of Jazz at the Bowl, held at the Hollywood Bowl. Since her american debut, Rosa Passos has developed an ever growing international following.

Also in 1996, the singer/songwriter performed in Japan for the first time with saxophonist Sadao Watanabe which led her to successful appearances in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, as well as Colombia, Cuba, Uruguay and the U.S. In the years since, Passos has toured Japan five times, collaborated with Ivan Lins and Chucho Valdez in a memorable Cubadisco show in Havana.

In 1999, she was invited to perform during the 50th anniversary celebration of German Democracy, joining Paquito D’Rivera and the WDR Big Band for shows in Bonn and Cologne that featured her own songs and classic brazilian tunes. The same year she performed at the Jazz Festival Bern.

In Brazil, where she has built an impressive catalog of recordings, Rosa Passos has been one of the stars of producer Almir Chediak’s “Words and Melody” project, a series of recordings honoring the legacies of the great brazilian songwriters. Her discs of the songs of Tom Jobim and Ary Barroso were instant hits, in Brazil and internationally, featuring unique and innovative versions of such worldwide hits as Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil” and Jobim’s “Desafinado”, “Samba de uma nota só” (One Note Samba) and “Garota de Ipanema”(The Girl from Ipanema).

In August 2001 Passos performed in New Orleans (voice and guitar), from which arose an invitation to record a new cd, “Me and My Heart”, released in America in 2002, with the participation of bass player Paulo Paulelli.

In 2002, the “Azul” CD was released in Brazil , gathering her favorite songs by Gilberto Gil, João Bosco, and Djavan with special arrangements. In the same year she wowed a packed crowd at New York’s Lincoln Center for a “Tribute to Elis Regina” show.

Closing the year 2002, Rosa Passos returned to the United States to record with Ron Carter, one of the dominant bassists in jazz for over 40 years, her first CD with American-based jazz musicians entitled “Entre Amigos” (Among Friends).

Her 2003 schedule includes three presentations in Russia, one with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. This year Rosa Passos will also tour throughout the United States with the pianist Cesar Camargo Mariano.

Also in 2003, Rosa Passos joined the double-Grammy-winning “Obrigado Brazil” by famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma , with two songs by Tom Jobim ("Chega de Saudade" and "Amor em Paz"). Following the release of “Obrigado Brazil” , the singer/songwriter joined YoYo Ma and the other musicians from the record on a critically acclaimed world tour leading to its sequel in 2004 “Yo-Yo Ma Obrigado Brazil Live in Concert” with Jazz clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera and percussionist Cyro Baptista.

"Perhaps best of all, singer/guitarist Rosa Passos’ sweet-voiced renderings of Jobim were marvelous updatings of classic bossa nova, superbly demonstrating the subtle interplay between the voice and guitar this is the foundation of this enduringly appealing genre," the Los Angeles Times wrote, when the Obrigado Brazil tour played the Hollywood Bowl.

In 2004 Rosa Passos makes her Sony Classical solo debut with her album “Amorosa”, a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Joao Gilberto and his landmark 1977 album entitled “Amorosa”. Passos’ special guest is the french musician and bossa nova singer Henri Salvador, besides the musicians of “Obrigado Brazil” . To follow the album’s release Rosa and her fantastic brazilian jazz band that features Paulo Paulelli on five string upright bass, were engaged in an international and successful tour.

With “Obrigado Brazil” and “Amorosa” Rosa gets her first significant promotion in America. It even inspired Diana Krall to include two of its songs on her album ‘The look of Love’.

In 2006 , back from the international tour, Rosa was approached by Telarc to release her first CD solo (voice/guitar) entitled simply "Rosa" and invited to perform for the first time alone in the stage of Zanken Hall - at Carnegie Hall NYC, a dream predicted by her own father, followed by several performances in jazz festivals throughout Europe in the summer.

“As much as I enjoyed Amorosa, Passos' CD simply titled ‘Rosa’ (Telarc), with just her own guitar backing, is so intimate it sounds like she's singing to you only. Again, her voice is warm and the atmosphere is thick with intimacy” said Don Albert of in South Africa.

After that , Rosa comes back to Brazil to perform again in her own country in the event of “Rosa” release that includes a sold out 2-weeks tour in January of 2007 at Fecap Theater - São Paulo.

Rosa is working through her next concerts and has a scheduled DVD recording expected to happen in september/2007 together with Jazz Symphonic Orchestra in São Paulo . The DVD is a tribute to the great Diva of Brazil 'Elis Regina' who happens to be the inspiration for Rosa herself.

"Nobody plays bossa nova like Rosa Passos since the master João Gilberto," El País proclaimed. All About Jazz wrote of Passos, "She has done what so many vocalists have attempted since the days of Astrud Gilberto, but failed to do: she’s made the bossa nova sexy again ... Her voice, which is at once exotic and strangely familiar, is magnificent. Her interpretations of various bossa nova chestnuts are sublime. She takes these over-familiar songs and makes them sound brand new again."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (June 2014): Gary Burton

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (June 2014): Gary Burton

Born in 1943 and raised in Indiana, Gary Burton taught himself to play the vibraphone and, at the age of 17, made his recording debut in Nashville, Tennessee, with guitarists Hank Garland and Chet Atkins. Two years later, Burton left his studies at Berklee College of Music to join George Shearing and subsequently Stan Getz, with whom he worked from 1964-1966.As a member of Getz’s quartet, Burton won Down Beat magazine’s Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition award in 1965. By the time he left Getz to form his own quartet in 1967, Burton had also recorded three albums under his name for RCA. Borrowing rhythms and sonorities from rock music, while maintaining jazz’s emphasis on improvisation and harmonic complexity, Burton’s first quartet attracted large audiences from both sides of the jazz-rock spectrum. Such albums as Duster and Lofty Fake Anagram established Burton and his band as progenitors of the jazz fusion phenomenon.

During his subsequent association with the ECM label (1973-1988) the Burton Quartet expanded to include the young Pat Metheny on guitar, and the band began to explore a repertoire of modern compositions. In the ’70s, Burton also began to focus on more intimate contexts for his music. His 1971 album Alone at Last, a solo vibraphone concert recorded at the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival, was honored with his first Grammy Award. Burton also turned to the rarely heard duo format, recording with bassist Steve Swallow, guitarist Ralph Towner, and most notably with pianist Chick Corea, thus cementing a long personal and professional relationship that has garnered an additional four Grammy Awards.

Also in the ’70s, Burton began his music education career with Berklee College of Music in Boston. Burton began as a teacher of percussion and improvisation at Berklee in 1971. In 1985 he was named Dean of Curriculum. In 1989, he received an honorary doctorate of music from the college, and in 1996, he was appointed Executive Vice President, responsible for overseeing the daily operation of the college.

After eight years at RCA Victor, five at Atlantic Records, and sixteen at ECM Records (resulting in two more Grammy awards in 1979 and 1981), Burton began recording for GRP Records in 1988. In 1990, he paired up again with his former protege Pat Metheny for Reunion, which landed the number one spot on Billboard magazine’s jazz chart. After recording a total of eight CD’s for GRP, Burton began his current label affiliation with Concord Records. Departure (Gary Burton & Friends) was released in 1997 as well as Native Sense, another duet collaboration with Chick Corea, which garnered Gary‘s fourth Grammy Award in 1998. Also in 1997, Burton recorded his second collection of tango music, Astor Piazzolla Reunion, featuring the top tango musicians of Argentina, followed by Libertango in 2000, another Piazzolla project. His 1998 Concord release, Like Minds, an all-star hit featuring his frequent collaborators Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes, and Dave Holland, was also honored with a Grammy win, Burton’s fifth. Gary’s vibraphone tribute CD, For Hamp, Red, Bags and Cal, was released in March 2001 and was honored with Gary’s 12th Grammy nomination (to date he has a total of 15 Grammy nominations). His 2002 release was a unique project with Makoto Ozone, Gary‘s pianist collaborator of the past twenty years. For Virtuosi the pair explored the improvisational possibilities of classical themes including works by Brahms, Scarlatti, Ravel, Barber and others. In an unusual move, the Recording Academy nominated Virtuosi in the Grammy‘s Classical music category, a unique honor for Gary and Makoto.

As Gary announced his retirement from Berklee College of Music in 2003 after 33 years at the college, he formed a new band and began touring regularly. The “Generations” band featured a line-up of talented young musicians including then sixteen-year old guitarist Julian Lage and Russian-born pianist Vadim Nevelovskyi. Gary recorded two CDs with the group titled Generation and Next Generation and the band toured steadily from 2003 through mid-2006.

Since then, Gary has focused his recording and performing efforts on collaborations, with old friends and new, including tours and recordings with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Makoto Ozone, Spanish pianist/composer Polo Orti, and French accordionist Richard Galliano. Armistad Suite with Polo Orti and the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra was released in spring 2007. L’hymne a L’amour with Richard Galliano was released on the Camjazz label in August 2007. The double-CD live concert recording with Chick Corea, The New Crystal Silence, came out in 2008, resulting in the sixth Grammy for Gary Burton at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Chick and Gary toured full-time from September 2006 through spring 2008, and continued off and on playing concerts in the USA and Europe in 2009.

Next came collaborative project Quartet Live, reprising the Gary Burton Quartet of the 1970‘s with Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez. Having already toured in Japan, USA, and Europe, this group made their third tour with performances in the USA and Canada in June, 2009. Plans are already in place to re-unite and record and tour again in the near future. Meanwhile, Gary toured again with Chick Corea in 2010-2011.

June 2011 saw the release of Common Ground, Gary‘s first release on Mack Avenue Records featuring the New Gary Burton Quartet. The new group reunites the vibist with guitar star Julian Lage with the addition of drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Scott Colley. The group toured touring throughout 2011, and will be touring again this year (Europe in May, 2013, USA in September/October) and releasing their second CD, Guided Tour, scheduled for release in August 2013.

Meanwhile, Gary‘s latest duet collaboration with Chick Corea, Hot House (2012), on the Concord Jazz label, has been released world-wide and won Gary his 7th Grammy Award in the Best Improvised Solo category.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (May 2014): Joe Lovano

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (May 2014): Joe Lovano


Joseph Salvatore Lovano was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 29, 1952 and grew up in a very musical household. His dad, Tony, aka Big T, was a barber by day and a big-toned tenor player at night. "Big T," along with his brothers Nick and Joe, other tenor players, and Carl, a bebop trumpeter, made sure Joe's exposure to Jazz and the saxophone were early and constant.

Joe's mom, Josephine, and her sister Rose were serious listeners, as well, His Mom remembers hearing Big T play opposite Stan Getz and Flip Phillips when they were engaged. And Aunt Rose went to hear Jazz at the Philharmonic with Ella Fitzgerald when they came through Cleveland.

Not surprisingly, Joe began playing the alto at five, switching to the tenor a few years later. By the time he got his driver's license at sixteen, Joe Lovano was a member of the Musician's Union, Local 4, and working professionally. He started playing club dates (sometimes subbing for his dad), and Motown cover bands, eventually saving enough money from these gigs to put himself through college.

“My dad was a fantastic saxophone player with a really deep passion for the music. I grew up with his record collection and when I was a teenager, he’d bring me around to rehearsals and jam sessions"

The Boston Years

After high school, Joe attended Berklee and his college years were pivotal, a precursor of future collaborations and career opportunities. Joe had been searching for a way to incorporate the fire and spirituality of late-period John Coltrane into more traditional settings and at Berklee, he found it, discovering modal harmony.

“My training was all bebop, and suddenly there were these open forms with deceptive resolutions. That turned me on, the combination of that sound and what I came in there with. I knew what I wanted to work on after that.”

During his Boston years, Joe was part of a vibrant scene, always jamming and meeting new musicians, something he has done his entire life. To finance his education, he continued working club dates and other assorted gigs, including an organ trio engagement he shared with future Nonet member George Garzone down in Boston's combat zone.

His Berklee instructors also played a key role in his development, including Herb Pomeroy, who led the big band, Joe Viola, head of the saxophone department, Andy McGee, a saxophone teacher renown for his advanced improvisation concepts, the inspiring improvisation instructor John LaPorta, and Gary Burton. Joe was in Burton's number one ensemble during the vibist's first semester on the faculty at Berklee.

Twenty years later, Joe Lovano was the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from Berklee and an honorary doctorate in 1998. Berklee also awarded Joe its first endowed chair, The Gary Burton Chair for Jazz Performance in 2001.

A Full-Time Pro

Post-Berklee, after six weeks on the road backing Tom Jones, Joe returned to Cleveland. With his reputation ascending, he soon got the call from Dr. Lonnie Smith, who was living in Detroit at the time. Joe joined the organist for a series of gigs in the Motor City, as well touring on the Chitlin circuit in 1974.

A six month tenure with Brother Jack McDuff and the Heating System was next. The album Joe recorded with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Afrodesia, started getting a lot of airplay on Jazz radio across the country at that same time, resulting some early name recognition when Joe worked new clubs with McDuff.

“I was used to being in a multicultural world, playing with my dad and his bands, so when I started working the Chitlin circuit with Lonnie, I was pretty much the only white cat in the club. In this music, you're on testing ground all the time, and every time you come through it into the sunshine, you stand taller."

Eventually, the group played New York, the real Jazz proving grounds, for Joe's first Carnegie Hall gig, and in Harlem, at the Club Barron. Playing in New York was so intoxicating that Joe moved to Manhattan. He began sitting in with friends, and ended up working with Chet Baker at Stryker's, and Albert Daley at Folk City, as well as sitting in with Rashied Ali at his club, Ali's Alley. The city was a hotbed of music at the time, with a flourishing loft scene at Sam River's Studio Rivbea, and Ladies Fort, and an exciting lineup at the lower east side club, the Tin Palace.

On The Road With Woody

A few months after he relocated to New York, Joe joined Woody Herman's 40th Anniversary tour in 1976, which included “The 40th Anniversary Concert” at Carnegie Hall. For his second Carnegie Hall appearance, Joe shared the stage with Stan Getz on the classic Early Autumn, and was a featured soloist during the celebration, along with Frank Tiberi, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Jimmy Guiffre and Flip Phillips. The importance of the event was not lost on Joe's sister, Laura, and his Aunt Rose, who traveled from Cleveland for the gig.

“There's a challenge playing the same music and arrangements every night. You have to find the groove and play the music an enthusiastic spirits to make it come alive. With Woody, there was plenty of solo space to spark new ideas and Woody was very open to that. He encouraged it.”

Joe Lovano's three-year gig with Woody including many firsts, including touring Europe and playing major international festivals as a soloist. The band's nearly non-stop schedule, with only two weeks off every year, included a number of colleges and high schools, where Joe had his first experiences doing workshops and master classes.

"During my time with Woody, I spent every waking moment gigging, composing, studying, listening and trying to figure out where I was going to go from there, musically. It was an eye opening experience, traveling around the world and seeing what was happening."

A Woman Named Judi Silvano

After nearly three years on the road with Woody, Joe decided it was time to move on. He returned to New York, moving into a Chelsea loft that would be his home for the next twenty years. Thanks to his travels and playing experiences, he had already developed a network of great musicians. He began playing gigs, jamming, and playing with some of the best musicians on the planet. One of his musical collaborators was vocalist/dancer Judi Silvano.

"My concept of sound and energy using distinct instrumentation and drawing ideas from the world of music started to take shape during this period. Judi's sound, in particular, influenced ideas and feelings that were instrumental in opening up my concept about an ensemble sound that includes voice. I feel it gives my music a very organic, alive, human quality.

The blending of woodwinds, brass and voice became a constant front line sound that I hear all the time. It's led to a number of recordings in my discography including Worlds, Universal Language, Rush Hour, Celebrating Sinatra and Viva Caruso, which have documented these influences."

In addition to their musical partnership, Joe and Judi began a life together outside of music.

"Judi and I have had a joyous journey together since those days, not only in music but in our life partnership. She's taught me so much about life and the world of music and art. I've collobrated with her on a number of her projects, through the years as well. She's full of ideas, and is always surprising me with her depth, and expression. We continue to grow and learn from each other, in this blessed world of music and life we live in."

Paul Motian's World of Music

In 1981, Joe began playing with Paul Motian, in a Trio that included guitarist Bill Frisell. The group has just celebrated their 20th year together. Working with Motian helped Joe gain further exposure and renown, particularly in Europe.

"Paul Motion has always been one of the most creative improvisers in this music. Playing with his band since '81 has helped give me the confidence to produce the subsequent recordings I've done. Playing in the world of music is what I've learned over and over from Paul."

Paul Motian: "Joe’s provided the magic in my bands for over 20 years, he’s been a tremendous asset. I heard his potential over twenty years ago and we’ve been playing together ever since. He’s been a tremendous help to me, He has a fantastic memory, he remembers all the shit, it’s incredible."

Riding the wave of his European success with Motian, Joe began touring as a leader, just after his first recording, for Soul Note, Tones, Shapes and Colors. He also began collaborating with some of Europe's finest players, at the same time, teaching and doing workshops. During this period, Joe recorded as a leader for several other labels besides Italy's Soul Note records, including Enja, Jazz Club, Label Bleu, and Owl.


Joe's next high profile gig that brought him more national and international attention was with guitarist John Scofield's Quartet, with whom he recorded and toured from 1989 – 1993.

John Scofield: “Joe is very sonically aware – he thinks about the effect different instruments and different personalities will have. He was perfect for what I was doing – his sense of swing and his tone reminded me of the older guys, in a really positive way.”

As his reputation escalated, Joe began recording and touring with the major Jazz musicians of the late 20th century, including: Gunther Schuller, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Bobby Hutcherson, Dave Brubeck, Billy Higgins, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell, Michel Petrucciani, Lee Konitz, Abbey Lincoln, Tom Harrell, McCoy Tyner, Jim Hall, and Bob Brookmeyer, among many others.

In 1991, Joe Lovano signed with Blue Note Records and since then, has been leading his own groups, producing nearly twenty-five recordings as a leader and becoming one of the great Jazz artists of our time.

Bruce Lundvall, Blue Note Records: "When I saw Joe Lovano in Peter Erskine’s Band in the late 80’s, I offered to sign him on the spot. The first time I heard Joe Lovano I felt that he was the most creative and hard swinging tenor player I’d heard in years. Joe has emerged as a giant on his instrument and a full fledged giant of jazz."

A Life in Music

The secret to Joe Lovano’s success is his fearless ability to challenge and push the conceptual and thematic choices he makes in a quest for new modes of artistic expression, further defining the Jazz idiom.

Joe has long experimented with varying ensembles and formats, including playing unaccompanied saxophone and gongs, as well in duets, trios, quartets, quintets, his Wind Ensemble, Street Band and Nonet, all reflecting his searching and dynamic personality.

As much a composer as player, Joe is constantly seeking new ways to express his muse. Although he's one of the most successful musicians working today, his lifelong regime of practicing, jamming and trying new sounds, endures. In addition to his reed arsenal, Joe has a collection of gongs and a full drum sheet. At home, in his studio, he enjoys these multiple outlets for his creativity. He has played drums on three Blue Note recordings.

Villa Paradiso

Today, Joe and Judi live in the Hudson River Valley area of upstate New York. Although he's busy touring and recording, Joe is an avid swimmer and somehow still finds the time for an occasional 18 holes of golf.

When he's home, Joe Lovano enjoys landscaping, a good match for Judi's love of gardening. Together, when not making music, they explore the forest that surrounds them, stay busy enjoying their extended families in Cleveland and New York.

Friday, April 4, 2014



UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will collaborate to recognize jazz music as a universal language of freedom Paris and Washington, D.C. – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock are pleased to announce the third annual International Jazz Day, which will be celebrated around the world on April 30, 2014. Osaka, Japan has been selected to serve as the 2014 Global Host City. Presented each year on April 30th in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day encourages and highlights intercultural dialogue and understanding through jazz, uniting people in all corners of the globe. The celebration is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations.

“Jazz embodies the spirit of UNESCO,” said its Director-General, Irina Bokova. “It brings people together and builds peace, tolerance and understanding. It has been the soundtrack for positive social change, from the fight against racism to the struggle for democracy.”

The 2014 International Jazz Day celebration will kick off in Osaka, Japan on April 30th with a daylong series of jazz education programs, performances, and community outreach. An evening All-Star Global Concert at Japan’s treasured outdoor Osaka Castle Park will feature performances by Toshiko Akiyoshi, John Beasley (Musical Director), Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Theo Croker, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Roberta Gambarini, Kenny Garrett, James Genus, Roy Hargrove, Lalah Hathaway, Terumasa Hino, Earl Klugh, Marcus Miller, T.S. Monk, Gregory Porter, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Lew Tabackin, Steve Turre and other internationally acclaimed artists, with further details to be announced shortly.

The concert from Osaka will be streamed live worldwide via the UNESCO, U.S. Department of State, and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Daytime events in Osaka will include master classes, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops, and education programs led by world-renowned jazz musicians, educators, and diplomats.

Given its legendary history as Japan’s “jazz mecca” in the early to mid 1920s, Osaka is an ideal choice to serve as the International Jazz Day Global Host City. Osaka’s major early figures in jazz include composer Hattori Ryōichi and trumpeter Nanri Fumio, nicknamed the “Satchmo of Japan” by Louis Armstrong. Today, the city continues to play an important role in the ongoing development of jazz in Japan.

According to Ambassador Hancock, “Music has always served as a bridge between different cultures, and no musical art form is more effective as a diplomatic tool than jazz. On International Jazz Day, jazz is celebrated, studied, and performed around the world for 24 hours straight. Collaborations abound among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers, and thinkers who embrace the beauty, spirit, and principles of jazz, freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents.”

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is once again working with UNESCO and its field offices, national commissions, networks, Associated Schools, universities and institutes, public radio and public television, as well as NGOs to ensure their involvement and participation in International Jazz Day 2014. Additionally, in countries throughout the world, libraries, schools and universities, performing arts venues, community centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines will be celebrating the day through presentations, concerts, and other jazz-focused activities. Programs already have been confirmed in more than 140 countries and on every continent.

Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, said, “Each of the past two International Jazz Day celebrations reached more than one billion people through jazz performances, education and outreach programs, and media coverage in all 195 UNESCO Member States. This is a phenomenal figure and we believe even more people will participate in 2014.” Coinciding with this year’s International Jazz Day, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA)will issue postage stamps and a souvenir card to commemorate International Jazz Day on April 30th, 2014. Designed by UNPA Art Director Sergio Baradat, the stamps will be issued in U.S. dollars, Swiss francs and Euros. For more information, visit

The designation of International Jazz Day is intended to bring together communities, schools and other groups the world over to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact. Ultimately, it seeks to foster intercultural dialogue and raise public awareness about the role of jazz music in promoting the universal values of UNESCO’s mandate. As a language of freedom across the board, jazz promotes social inclusion, enhancing understanding, tolerance and nurturing creativity.

For more information about International Jazz Day and to register events on the official website, please visit or

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (April 2014): Gretchen Parlato

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (April 2014): Gretchen Parlato

In the ten years since her arrival in New York City, Gretchen Parlato has emerged as one of the most inventive and mesmerizing vocalists of her generation. In an artful communion of space, texture and a genre-bending repertoire, she has introduced a musical sea-change, making the power of subtlety front and center in jazz.

Parlato´s new album and DVD set, Live in NYC, serves as both a gift of gratitude for those loyal fans and a window into her captivating concert performances. Style Weekly gives insight to her live performances, saying "in performance, jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato is a revelation… her diaphanous voice expands into an instrument of impressive range, rhythmic sophistication and emotional power." The Jazz Breakfast even picks up on the differences between her records and live performance, commenting, "the New York-based Californian and her band are terrific on record, but in live performance they fill the music with even more energy, stretching it like some magic pliable plastic into new and exciting forms. The rhythmic and dynamic expertise of all four is extraordinary. They shift the accents around, they pause, and fall back in perfectly, they deepen the groove and then ´shallow´ it gently again." This set truly exemplifies the evolution of these songs since their inception years ago.

For Parlato, the release of Live in NYC is an opportunity to take a pause and look back over what has been a remarkably active and creative decade, and also to pay tribute to the city that has made it possible. "This album represents the beloved live performances we´ve shared over many years of playing together all over the world," says Parlato. "Though, it´s especially personal for me to have recorded in New York City, as 2013 marks 10 years of calling NYC my home after moving from Los Angeles."

While Parlato has performed on some of the world´s most prestigious concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, London Jazz Festival, North Sea & Montreal Jazz Festival, she chose the intimacy of Rockwood Music Hall for this special recording. Two different incarnations of Parlato´s transfixing working bands came together for two nights in December 2012 to record Live in NYC. "Over these years of touring together, two specific bands have stood out to me: Taylor Eigsti, Alan Hampton, and Mark Guiliana, and Eigsti, Burniss Earl Travis II, and Kendrick Scott. Each band has their own unique dynamic and approach to the music. I knew I had to feature both. I´ve spent so many years touring with these wonderful musicians," she explains. "I´ve always wanted to capture and share the magical energy, connection, and interaction of a live performance. Singing with these musicians has uplifted and inspired me, each of them supporting and challenging me as a singer."

The album´s nine live tracks (four of which appear on the accompanying DVD) are culled from Parlato´s three albums but all of the material has been significantly transformed in the years since it was recorded. While her artistic growth has been evident on each successive album, it´s particularly enlightening to have the opportunity to revisit this material and witness first-hand how it has changed over years of bandstand evolution. It also allows Parlato´s dedicated fans to carry home the experience they´ve only been able to share in nightclubs or via festival stages.

"I thought of featuring the songs that been reworked into versions that are different from how we recorded them in the studio," reflects Parlato. "So much of what we do is about the interpretive and improvisatory element each time we approach the music. The live album is accompanied by a DVD, as I wanted to make sure there was a visual component to enhance the aural experience. I find it especially fascinating to watch performers live, and get a detailed look into how they approach and play their instruments, and the dynamic and often subtle interplay between musicians," says Parlato.

Herbie Hancock´s "Butterfly," which opens the album, has changed from In a Dream´s intimate trio performance with guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke and bassist Derrick Hodge, to a simmering, soulful full-band treatment here. "Alô Alô" from The Lost and Found, has intensified from its original multi-layered track of Parlato´s voice and percussion, to a driving rhythmic showcase, each band member playing their instruments percussively. One of Parlato´s most popular covers, a Robert Glasper re-arrangement of SWV´s "Weak," played live moves with a spacious, shifting, and elusive groove that spotlights the band´s elastic cohesion. Live in NYC closes with Parlato´s original "Better Than," with the audience singing along, almost chanting together in this spellbinding arrangement.

In documenting the evolution of song and artist, Live In NYC both captures the kinetic energy of the room and reveals the tender relationship between artist and audience. It is, at its core, a joyful expression of Parlato´s heartfelt appreciation for those she has met along the way.

"Thank you NYC, family, musicians, friends, and fans worldwide who welcomed me with open arms, supporting, challenging and inspiring me to create. This live CD is for you." – Gretchen Parlato

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Libro In-fusiones de jazz

In-fusiones de jazz

Varios autores (Edt. Julián Ruesga)

ISBN: 978-84-614-5668-0

Edita: arte-facto, colectivo cultura contemporánea

Colabora: ICAS, Instituto de la Cultura y las Artes de Sevilla

Las investigaciones y reflexiones sobre los cambios que se están produciendo en las prácticas culturales, ante el influjo de las industrias culturales transnacionales y el desarrollo de los medios y tecnologías de la comunicación, están aportando elementos críticos y conocimientos que facilitan la adaptación, creatividad e innovación de los profesionales de la cultura ante las transformaciones y demandas sociales que provocan estos cambios. El colectivo “arte-facto” ha publicado ya tres libros desde esta perspectiva y acaba de publicar el cuarto. En esta ocasión se trata de “In-fusiones de jazz”, un libro de casi 300 páginas que en ocho capítulos se ocupa de la transforma-ción de la música de jazz en los últimos 60 años. El libro revisa la relación del jazz con el flamen-co, con las músicas latinas, con las vanguardias de la tradición académica occidental, el jazz en manos de músicos europeos, su encuentro con la electrónica y las tecnologías digitales y, en fin, las hibridaciones que estos cruces han producido transformando un genero musical que en origen estaba asociado a un lugar, hoy expandido y re-localizado por todo el mundo.

Aunque más que re-localizado, o además, habría que decir “re-significado”. Al fin y al cabo, como muestra el libro, la transformación del jazz ha sido el resultado de diversas re-lecturas, a través de sucesivas generaciones de músicos y audiencias, en su difusión por diferentes territorios geográficos y culturales del planeta. El libro muy bien podría haberse subtitulado: “Apuntes para otra historia del jazz”, ya que trata de músicos y músicas que normalmente quedan fuera de las narrativas al uso o, a lo más, como notas a pie de página o exotismos en las historias del jazz norteamericano. Muy acertadamente, el principio que sustenta el libro se basa en la exploración y análisis de la música de jazz desde una doble perspectiva: como expresión del espacio cultural que la produce y como elemento de transformación de las culturas musicales que la han recibido –y en las que se inscribe. Desde esta perspectiva el libro revisa la “jazzificación” de algunas músi-cas y las transformaciones del jazz en su encuentro con ellas –a través de los músicos que la han hecho posible y los contextos que han favorecido estas operaciones.

El primer capítulo, escrito por Julián Ruesga –que también coordina el libro- sirve de introducción general, a través de tres momentos importantes en la difusión y contacto del jazz con otros espacios culturales durante el siglo XX: la Europa de entreguerras, el Caribe de los años ’50 y la década de los ’60 en Estados Unidos. El belga Luc Delannoy, con varios libros publicados sobre el tema, se ocupa del jazz latino y la actual diáspora latinoamericana por el mundo. Luís Clemente escribe sobre el jazz-flamenco. El músico argentino Daniel Varela escribe sobre las interconexio-nes entre el jazz y las músicas de tradición académica occidental. Norberto Cambiasso (director de la blog-revista Esculpiendo Milagros) escribe el capítulo dedicado al jazz en Europa y la efer-vescencia política en la que surgió la “improvisación libre” en los ’60-’70. Santiago Tadeo (creador de la revista digital Acidjazz Hispano) cuenta en un extenso capítulo el encuentro del jazz con la electrónica y lo digital en las últimas décadas y las nuevas sonoridades y estéticas que ha producido. Continua con una reflexión general sobre el momento actual del jazz, del periodista y crítico de jazz del diario El País, Chema García Martínez. El libro se cierra con un apéndice escrito por Julián Ruesga donde reseña la bibliografía existente en castellano sobre las distintas escenas locales del jazz en Hispanoamérica.

Dos apuntes finales en apoyo del libro. Uno, subrayar como el jazz, igual que otras expresiones culturales, es un mirador privilegiado desde el que visualizar y comprender el funcionamiento de la cultura contemporánea y los nuevos modos de difusión y recepción que han creado los medios de comunicación electrónicos y las industrias culturales. El segundo, destacar que es el único libro en castellano, y uno de los pocos a nivel internacional, que se ocupa del jazz como fenómeno cultural transnacional inscrito en los procesos de mundialización cultural que hoy constituyen la cultura contemporánea.

Adolfo Luján

Friday, February 28, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (March 2014): Paco de Lucia

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (March 2014): Paco de Lucia

Paco de Lucia at The Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest 2012, Photo by Wilbert Sostre

Paco de Lucía was one of the greatest living guitarists in the world. He was born Francisco Sánchez Gómez in Algeciras, a city in the province of Cádiz, in the Southernmost tip of Spain on December 21st, 1947. His stage name was an homage to his mother Lucía Gómez.

His father, Antonio Sánchez, a day laborer, played guitar at night as a way to supplement his income. He, Paco's elder brother Ramon de Algeciras and flamenco master Niño Ricardo were de Lucía's main influences. His first performance was on Radio Algeciras in 1958. The brothers Ramon, Pepe (a singer) and Paco now compromise half of the Paco de Lucía sextet.

The training ground for a flamenco guitarist, de Lucía once said, "is the music around you, made by people you see, the people you make music with. You learn it from your family, from your friends, in la juerga (the party) drinking. And then you work on technique. Guitarists do not need to study. And, as it is with any music, the great ones will spend some time working with the young players who show special talent. You must understand that a Gypsy's life is a life of anarchy. That is a reason why the way of flamenco music is a way without discipline, as you know it. We don't try to organize things with our minds, we don't go to school to find out. We just live... music is everywhere in our lives."

In 1958, at only age 11, de Lucía made his first public appearance and a year later he was awarded a special prize in the Jerez flamenco competition. At 14 he was touring with the flamenco troupe of dancer Jose Greco. He worked with Greco for three seasons.

It was while on tour with Greco in the United States that de Lucía met the great Sabicas, an influential guitarist whose name became synonymous with flamenco n the U.S., who encouraged him to pursue a more personal style. de Lucía would follow Sabicas' advice a few years later in his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1970.

",i>In flamenco, the guitarist first and foremost, must not get in his way of the singer," de Lucía once explained. "There is a dialogue going on. The cantaor (singer) sings the words. There are no songs per se in flamenco, just short lyrics, so the guitarist follows the call of the singer. Part of the tradition in flamenco is not playing too hard or too much. You need to support the singer, help him."

Back in Spain, he joined Festival Flamenco Gitano, an annual flamenco showcase tour that lasted for seven years, and recorded his first album in 1965, at the age of 18.

With La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía, released in 1967, de Lucía began to distance himself from the influence masters such as Ricardo and Mario Escudero and by Fantasia Flamenca, recorded in 1969, he had defined his own style. His superb technique was displayed in well structured pieces that departed from the flamenco tradition of theme and variations.

In 1968, he met Camarón de la Isla, one of the premier flamenco singers. Their association has been chronicled on more than 10 records. In fact, their album Potro de Rabia y Miel (1991), the first by them since 1984, was perhaps the last release by Camarón de la Isla, who died in 1992.

De Lucía's new style became more evident in El Duende Flamenco (1972). Fuente Y Caudal (1973) (which included the hit Entre Dos Aguas) and Almoraima (1976) which some consider a masterpiece. They were followed by Paco de Lucía Interpreta a Manuel de Falla (1980), a superb tribute to the classical composer who was an admirer of flamenco music, and, in 1981, Solo Quiero Caminar.

He has been criticized by flamenco die hards for his forays into other styles (his own sextet, organized in 1981), includes bass, drums, and saxophone) and his high profile collaborations, especially with jazz musicians, most notably with pianist Chick Corea and fellow guitarist John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Al DiMeola. But the often dazzling results of these collaborations have been documented in several releases including the guitar trio albums Castro Marin (1979), Passion Grace and Fire (1982) and Friday Night in San Francisco (1981). He has also recorded soundtracks for films such as Carlos Saura's Carmen, Borau's La Sabina, and the ballet Los Tarantos, presented at Madrid's prestigious Teatro de la Zarzuela in 1986.

However, as if to make a point, de Lucía returned to pure flamenco with a vengeance in the spectacular Siroco (1987), a brilliant summations of his style, and then zigzagged back towards fusion with Zyryab (1990), which featured his sextet augmented by pianist Chick Corea.

De Lucía shrugged off the complaints or the concerns that he might lose his roots or betray the essence of flamenco. "I have never lost my roots in my music, because I would lose myself," he once said. "What I have tried to do is have a hand holding onto tradition and the other scratching, digging in other places trying to find new things I can bring into flamenco."

"There was a time when I was concerned about losing myself," he added, "but not now. I've realized that, even if I wanted, I couldn't do anything else. I am a flamenco guitarist. If I tried to play anything else it would still sound like flamenco."

In 2004, Paco de Lucia won the 2004 Prince of Asturias award of the Arts. This is the most important and prestigious award of its kind given in Spain. The other contenders were American rock musician Bruce Springsteen, French dancer Maurice Bejart and British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Paco de Lucia passed away on February 26, 2014 in Cancun (Mexico)


Los Chiquitos de Algeciras, with Pepe de Lucía (1961)

Dos guitarras flamencas en Stereo, with Ricardo Mondrego (1965)

Doce Exitos para dos Guitarras Flamencas, with Ricardo Mondrego (1965)

Música Clasica Transcrita para Guitarra, with his brother Ramón de Algeciras (Polygram, 1966)

Canciones Andaluzas para Dos Guitarras, with his brother Ramón de Algeciras (Polygram, 1966)

Dos guitarras flamencas en América Latina, with his brother Ramón de Algeciras (Polygram, 1966)

La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía (Polygram, 1967)

Fantasía Flamenca de Paco de Lucía (Polygram, 1969)

El Duende Flamenco de Paco de Lucía (Polygram, 1972)

Fuente y Caudal ( Entre Dos Aguas ) (Polygram, 1973)

Paco de Lucía en vivo desde el Teatro Real (Polygram, 1975)

Almoraima (Polygram, 1976)

Paco de Lucia plays Manuel de Falla (with the group Dolores) (Polygram, 1978)

Solo Quiero Caminar (Polygram, 1981)

Friday Night in San Francisco (Polygram, 1981) with John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola.

Siroco Live...One Summer Night (Polygram, 1984)

Siroco (Polygram, 1990)

Ziryab (Polygram, 1990)

Concierto de Aranjuez (Polygram, 1991)

Live in America (Polygram, 1993)

The The Guitar Trio (Polygram, 1996)

Luzia (Polygram, 1998)

Cositas Buenas (Universal Music Spain/Verve-Blue Thumb 80001939-02, 2004)

Integral (2003) 26 CD Limited Edition Box Set

En Vivo Conciertos Live in Spain (2011)


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist Of the Month (February 2014): Branford Marsalis

NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award®-winning saxophonist and Tony Award® nominee composer Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. The three-time Grammy Award® winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists.

Marsalis made his Broadway debut as the composer of original music for the Tony Award® winning Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play “Fences”. Marsalis received a Tony nomination in the category of category of “Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre” and a 2010 Drama Desk Award® for “Outstanding Music in a Play” for his participation. Following these successes, Marsalis was asked to score the 2011 Broadway premiere of “The Mountaintop” starting Samuel Jackson and Angela Bassett.

Leader of one of the finest jazz Quartets today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Branford has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, Düsseldorf, and North Carolina Symphonies and the Boston Pops, with a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem and Vaughn Williams. His propensity for innovative and forward-thinking compels him to seek new and challenging works by modern classical composers such as modern Scottish composer Sally Beamish who, after hearing Branford perform her composition “The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone” at the 2006 North Sea Jazz Festival, was inspired to re-conceive a piece in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” which he premiered as part of the Celtic Connections festival Beamish’s home country of Scotland in January 2009.

Making his first appearance with the New York Philharmonic in the summer of 2010, Marsalis was again invited to join them as soloist in their 2010-2011 concert series where he unequivocally demonstrated his versatility and prowess, bringing “a gracious poise and supple tone… and an insouciant swagger” (New York Times) to the repertoire.

photo by Stephen SheffieldIn 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts conferred the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship on the Marsalis Family, a celebration and acknowledgement of a family described by the New York Times as “jazz’s most storied living dynasty”, who have made an indelible mark, collectively and individually, on the history and the future of jazz, America’s art form.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet explores the limits of musical adventure and band cohesiveness on Four MFs Playin’ Tunes available August 2012. This is the first recording of the tight-knit working band with an electrifying young drummer that joined the band three years ago and the results are a nimble and sparkling album, featuring ambitious original compositions by members of the band, a Thelonious Monk classic, and one standard dating to 1930. The record blends the beautiful and subtle ballad sounds of 2004 release Eternal with the ecstatic contrasts of critically-acclaimed Braggtown. In other words, this just might be the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s most sublime musical achievement yet.

Having gained initial acclaim through his work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and his brother Wynton’s quintet in the early 1980s, Marsalis also performed and recorded with a who’s-who of jazz giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Sonny Rollins. He has also collaborated with such diverse artists as Sting, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby. His expansive interests are further reflected in his explorations in film, radio and television, including his role as the musical director of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for two years in the early 1990s. Marsalis has also acted in such popular movies such as Throw Mama from the Train and School Daze, provided music for Mo’ Better Blues and other films and hosted National Public Radio’s syndicated program Jazz Set.

Dedicated to changing the future of jazz in the classroom, Marsalis has shared his knowledge at such universities as Michigan State, San Francisco State, Stanford and North Carolina Central, with his full Quartet participating in an innovative extended residency at the NCCU campus. Beyond these efforts, he is also bringing a new approach to jazz education to student musicians and listeners in colleges and high schools through Marsalis Jams, an interactive program designed by Marsalis in which leading jazz ensembles present concert/jam sessions in mini-residencies. Marsalis Jams has visited campuses in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest, and later established an ongoing Marsalis Berklee Jams series with the Berklee College of Music.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans native joined forces with friend Harry Connick, Jr. to conceive the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village, the newly constructed community in the city’s historic Upper Ninth Ward that provides new homes for displaced residents, including displaced musicians and their families. At the heart of the Village stands the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a magnificent facility with performance, instructional and practice spaces and a recording studio.

Whether on the stage, in the recording studio, in the classroom or in the community, Branford Marsalis embodies a commitment to musical excellence and a determination to keep music at the forefront.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (January 2014) - Eliane Elias

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (January 2014)- Eliane Elias

Pianist/singer/songwriter, Eliane Elias is known for her distinctive and immediately recognizable musical style which blends her Brazilian roots, her sensuous, alluring voice with her impressive instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Eliane Elias’ musical talents began to show at an early age. She started studying piano at age seven and at age twelve was transcribing solos from the great jazz masters. By the time she was fifteen she was teaching piano and improvisation at one of Brazil’ s most prestigious schools of music. Her performing career began in Brazil at age seventeen, working with Brazilian singer/songwriter Toquinho and the great poet Vinicius de Moraes who was also Antonio Carlos Jobim’s co-writer/lyricist. In 1981 she headed for New York and in 1982 landed a spot in the acclaimed group Steps Ahead.

Her first album release was a collaboration with Randy Brecker entitled Amanda in 1984. Shortly thereafter her solo career began, spanning over twenty albums to date; seventeen on Blue Note Records and three on RCA Victor Group. In her work Elias has documented dozens of her own compositions, her outstanding piano playing and arranging, and beautiful vocal interpretations. All of her recordings have garnered a great deal of praise from the critics and all have topped the Billboard and Jazz Radio charts. In 1988 she was voted Best New Talent by the jazz critics poll ofJAZZIZ magazine.

Together with Herbie Hancock in their duet, she was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Jazz Solo Performance” category for her 1995 release, Solos and Duets. This recording was hailed by Musician Magazine as “a landmark in piano duo history.” In the 1997 Downbeat Readers Poll, her recording The Three Americas was voted Best Jazz Album. Eliane Elias was named in five other categories: Beyond Musician, Best Composer, Jazz Pianist, Female Vocalist, and Musician of the Year. Considered one of the great interpreters of Jobim’s music, Ms.Elias’ has recorded two albums solely dedicated to the works of the composer, Plays Jobim and Sings Jobim. Her 1998 release Eliane Elias Sings Jobim won “Best Vocal Album” in Japan, it was the number one record in Japan’s charts for over three months and was awarded the Best Brazilian Album in Jazziz Critics Poll of 1999.

Moreover, as a testament to the quality of her writing, the renowned Danish Radio Big Band has performed and recorded Elias’ compositions arranged and conducted by the legendary Bob Brookmeyer. The CD recording of this project is called Impulsive and was released on Stunt Records. It received a Grammy nomination for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” in 2001. In the same year, Calle 54, the highly acclaimed documentary film by Oscar winning Spanish director Fernando Trueba, featuring Ms. Elias’ performance of “Samba Triste ” also received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.

“On the Classical Side” recorded in 1993, demonstrated Eliane’s classical skills with a program of Bach, Ravel, and Villa Lobos. In 2002 Ms. Elias recorded with opera sensation Denyce Graves. For this recording, The Lost Days, Eliane arranged two Brazilian classical pieces and wrote an original composition especially for Ms. Graves entitled “Haabia Tupi”. In 2002 Ms. Elias signed to RCA Music Group/Bluebird label and released Kissed by Nature . Her second recording for the label, Dreamer, released in 2004 , is a fresh mix of tunes from the American Songbook, Brazilian Bossa Novas and two new originals, all sung in English and Portuguese, supported by a full orchestra. Dreamer received the “Gold Disc Award “and was voted Best Vocal Album in Japan in 2004. It reached #3 on the Pop Charts in France and #4 on the Billboard charts in the USA.

Ms. Elias’ cd Around The City released on RCA Victor in August 2006, merges bits of Bossa Nova, with shades of pop, jazz ,latin and rock and roll. Around The City features Ms. Elias’ vocals and songwriting in collaborations with producers Andres Levin and Lester Mendez as well as fresh takes on pop classics such as Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” and Bob Marley’s “Jammin”.

Eliane returned to Blue Note/ EMI in 2007 with her release, Something For You, a tribute to the music of pianist/composer Bill Evans. While touching the essence of the late great Bill Evans, she also brings her own unique gifts to the surface, as a composer, interpreter, outstanding instrumentalist and beguiling vocalist as well. This release received “Best Vocal Album of the Year” and the “Gold Disc Award” in Japan . This is the 3rd consecutive recording that Eliane receives these awards and her 4th all together.
“Something for You” reached #1 on the USA Jazz Radio charts, #8 on Billboard and #2 on the French Jazz Charts.

“I felt a strong connection to Bill’s music throughout every phase of this project,” Elias adds, “as did Marc. But it was especially strong when we were in the studio. When the red light goes on, there are only a few moments to compose yourself and try to enter into that concentrated place where all that remains is what we hear and play together. When I find that place where I can let go and allow the emotion to pass directly from me to what you can hear on this record, that’s making my tribute to Bill in the most sincere and beautiful way that I can.”

The year of 2008 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of the Bossa Nova. In celebration of this event, Eliane recorded a collection of classic bossa novas featuring some of the great landmark songs of Brazil with American classic and pop standards exquisitely performed as only Eliane can with lush romantic vocals and exciting playing accompanied by a stellar rhythm section and strings recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Bossa Nova Stories achieved the following positions: Debuted at #1 on the French Charts (2008),#1 Vocal Album - Swing Journal, Japan (May-June 2008), #1 itunes Top Jazz Album (USA January 2009), #2 itunes Top Latin Album (USA January 2009), debuted at #2 on Billboard Magazine: both Overall and Jazz Charts (January 2009). Bossa Nova Stories was nominated by the Brazilian Grammys (20th Premio da Musica Brasileira, 2009 ) for Best Foreign Album and it was the 2009 Album of the Year on Geezer Music Club. Eliane was the #2 artist in cd sales in France on the Annual Jazz Charts 2008. ”Bossa Nova Stories” is a captivating recording destined to become a bossa nova classic.

In 2009, EMI Japan released Eliane Elias Plays Live, an all-instrumental trio album with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron of a concert recorded in Amsterdam May 31, 2002. This performance demonstrates modern jazz trio playing at the highest level and spotlight Elias’s inventiveness and supreme command of the instrument on a collection of jazz standards and one original.

In 2011, Concord Records’ Light My Fire reached #1 on the French Jazz Charts, #1 on itunes France, #3 on Billboard’s Jazz Charts, #3 on iTunes and Amazon’s Jazz Charts in the USA. The cd features four compositions written or co-written by Elias herself and also includes covers of familiar works by songwriters as diverse as Jim Morrison and the Doors, pop icon Stevie Wonder and jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond. Backing Elias is a crew of twelve high-caliber players, including special guests such as guitarist/vocalist Gilberto Gil and trumpeter Randy Brecker. On Light My Fire, Elias wears many hats – as singer, pianist, composer, arranger and producer. Eliane’s song “What about the Heart” (Bate Bate) received a Grammy nomination for Best Brazilian Song.

Her latest release for Concord Records “I Thought About You” A Tribute to Chet Baker, offers her personalized spin on the work of a key American jazz artist while spotlighting her connection to the singer-instrumentalist tradition. It fully demonstrates the range of interests that Elias’ art now boasts, and arrives with a statement of purpose: jazz repertoire can sound totally fresh when delivered with ingenuity and passion. As a singer, Elias’s emotional candor and deep sense of time are part of I Thought About You’s main attractions. Elias’ charm, swing and charisma are right up front, and united with her incisive piano playing, they make a peerless package. It’s one of Elias’ most thoughtfully constructed albums, and shows just how adroitly she moves around the bossa-jazz-blues nexus.

In the first month after its release “I Thought About You” has already received significant notice and achievement, including #1 Pop Tributes, Amazon USA, #1 Amazon Jazz, France, #1 Most Wished For, Amazon USA, #2 iTunes Jazz, USA, #2 iTunes Jazz Charts France and Brazil, #4 Billboard Jazz Charts and Current, Jazz Charts USA.

With this impressive, varied body of work, Eliane Elias takes her place in the pantheon of music giants. Demonstrating her unique gifts as a pianist, singer, composer and arranger as well as melding her immense talents in jazz, pop, classical and Brazilian music, she is as Jazziz magazine has called her, “A citizen of the world” and “an artist beyond category.”