jazz

Remembering Mulgrew Miller

Jun 12, 2013
David Tallacksen

The whole keyboard was Miller's canvas. His left hand could stride and swing with great authority, and when the two hands got together, he sent the train down the tracks. Hear music from WBGO's 25th-anniversary party, the Detroit Jazz Festival and the Kennedy Center Jazz Club.

 

JazzSet celebrates the art of the late piano great Mulgrew Miller.

 

Pianist and singer Freddy Cole gets better and better. If it’s possible, there is greater warmth and depth in his husky voice. His phrasing is even more subtle and sly. His sense of rhythm – just slightly behind the beat feels more suspenseful yet playful than before. His chemistry with the band seems to be more organic, tighter and empathetic.

  Is the guitar today’s universal instrument? Actually, the voice is our first and most universal instrument, but the guitar could follow shortly behind it. In permutations from the oud to the cittern, zither, bouzouki and many others, portable stringed instruments are easy to transport and play while singing. These instruments including today’s modern guitars are versatile in all styles of music. 

In late April, Bob Edwards Weekend (Saturdays from 8 to 10AM on WEMU) aired a revealing and insightful interview with pianist and producer Bob James. My curiosity about the new Bob James-David Sanborn collaboration, Quartette Humaine, was piqued. The four weeks of waiting are over and you and I can enjoy this new CD which is one of the finest examples of quartet interplay I’ve heard in a while. Legitimate comparisons will be made between Quartette Humaine and legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond.

 

johnmedeski.com

Artists reflect the unspoken needs of the viewers, readers and listeners. With A Different Time, pianist John Medeski takes us to that quiet, meditative place that is often out of reach given our frantic lives. Perhaps the age of the piano on which Medeski recorded the pieces has something to do with the classic, contemplative sound of A Different Time. The piano was built by the Gaveau piano manufacturers in central France in 1924. It was constructed in a style that predates the modern piano.

davidarnay.com

I admit it – I’m often skeptical regarding a concept CD from a new artist.  I think to myself - oh they need a gimmick to get to me to listen.  

One of the songs on Musica Para Un Dragon Dormido by pianist and composer Emilio Teubal is The Constant Reinventor. 

As we search for the best new music on  WEMU, we will often feature someone you’ve never heard before but think is worth your time. 

Jazz Appreciation Month concludes with International Jazz Day on Tuesday, April 30th and the global release of Woman Child by the trans-national singing sensation, Cécile McLorin Salvant on April 29th. “Woman Child” truly is a cause for celebration.

Tom Marcello (creative commons)

The April 22nd birthday of two legendary bassists: Charles Mingus and Paul Chambers is another reason that Congressman John Conyers submitted the legislation designating April as Jazz Appreciation Month in 2001. 

At a time of a national tragedy such as the Boston Marathon bombing, this music host’s first inclination is to present a program of supportive music to soothe you. But – life and new music goes on! Thus, I proceeded with my plan to premiere From Here On Out by the excellent Detroit quintet co-led by saxophonist James Hughes and trumpeter Jimmy Smith.

Now that the spring pledge drive is over, I can start the daily premieres again. This morning's premiere: "Louie's Dream: For Our Jazz Heroes" was appropriate for April which is Jazz Appreciation Month.


 

Jazz is Alive at EMU

Apr 1, 2013

Jazz   Is   Alive!  Benefit   Concert   &   Dance

7pm   Saturday,   April   6th   at   the   EMU   Student   Center   Ballroom

 

WEMU’s focus for Women’s History Month 2013 has been a living history approach. Throughout March we have balanced classic recordings of blues jazz women with new offerings.

WEMU listener favorite Harry Connick, Jr. was staff favorite from March 11th through the 17th.

Each week we track how many times we play a new CD. Between March 11th and the 17th, pianist and singer Harry Connick, Jr. claimed the top spot of our Sweet 16. We first premiered the disc on Mardi Gras 2013 (February 12th). The disc’s presence at the top of the list a month later is a testament to the authenticity of Harry Connick, Jr’s joyful New Orleans funk grooves.

We welcome Asuka Kakitani to the realm of expressive composers and arrangers with Bloom. Chronologically, March 21st is the second day of spring for 2013, but the weather proved otherwise. So, we dreamed of spring and listened to new music evoking rebirth and the beauty of nature by Asuka Kakitani and her Jazz Orchestra this morning on 89.1 Jazz.

Today we honored a woman who helped shape the history of jazz as a musician, band leader, composer, 

Blue is more than a color – it is a basic musical form and blue is a mood. Madeleine Peyroux explores all aspects of blue with her new CD The Blue Room. However, this isn’t a blues CD.

With Signs Of Life, singer Rondi Charleston breathes new life into jazz classics and shares highly personal yet universal reflections on life. During Women’s History Month we are focusing on women of jazz and blues past and present. Rondi Charleston’s Signs Of Life is one of the most powerful and personal discs to be premiered this March.

Bryan Ferry, leader of the 1980s musical art rock sensation, Roxy Music, is also a brilliant musical historian. With the new CD The Jazz Age he has merged his two passions. He took Roxy Music favorites such as "Love Is The Drug", "The Bogus Man" and "Slave To Love" and orchestrated them for a 1920s style acoustic big jazz band. 

Water and Earth Reviewed

Mar 14, 2013

With Water And Air, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt re-affirms his dedication to modern black music. Over the years he has absorbed the foundations of jazz: call-and-response, pacing, drama, interplay and tension and release.  It is especially that final principle that operates throughout Air and Water.

"This music isn't about a change in the direction as much as it's about strengthening my commitment to my art at present." - Jeremy Pelt.

In 2001 bassist Robert Hurst assembled some of his best musical friends for a recording session that is no longer hiding on a hard drive. 

free-times.com

Even though the official release of In A World Of  Mallets by Jason Marsalis is not until February 19th, we jumped on it immediately at WEMU.  With the panoply of vibes, tubular bells, marimbas and other mallet instruments this recording is like a breath of light, spring air.  Perhaps it’s the New Orleans vibe that percolates throughout the songs or the emergence of a new working group in jazz, but this is a welcome addition to the WEMU playlist.  

José James is simply beyond category. No Beginning No End is a culmination of his career and life weaving threads of jazz, balladry, R&B, classic and neo-soul plus hip-hop into a sensual stream of consciousness.

www.brooklynvegan.com

With their snaky rhythms, spooky harmonies and catchy licks, Brooklyn’s Menahan Street Band once again takes the top spot on WEMU’s “Sweet 16” for “The Crossing”.  All of the time spent backing up R&B and soul sensation Charles Bradley has sparked a giant leap of creativity and risk-taking in this leading soul/jazz/funk band. 

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