Monday, June 29, 2009

Saxophonist Chris Potter Interviewed at AAJ...And More

Saxophonist Chris Potter, at age 38, has long been fast-tracked to the head of his class to become regarded as one of the strongest players on the scene. It doesn't seem that long ago that he was first making waves on recordings, and then became part of the superb Dave Holland quintet, where his strengths were put on display all over the globe.

Fact is, Potter has earned his stripes every step of the way. He's made his bones with some of the greats in the art form, all along the way developing his thing. It can be heard in his recordings over time. Growth. Maturity. Strength. It's evident, and other musicians are aware of it. That's why his phone is always ringing. That's not bound to stop. Not because of his age and how much he has before him, but because Potter possesses the attitude of many of his influences, like Holland. The spirit of adventure; the desire to take on challenges.

AAJ's R.J. DeLuke spoke at length with Potter about Ultrahang, his third release with his Underground group--Craig Taborn , Adam Rogers and Nate Smith, being released officially on July 1, 2009. The two also discussed how the saxophonist has managed to achieve such in-demand status at such a young age, and his experience working with artists including Marian McPartland and Jim Hall. Learn all about it in Chris Potter: Way Above Ground with Underground, published at AAJ today.

Additionally, Managing Editor John Kelman has weighed in on Ultrahang in his CD review, also published today.

AAJ is committed to bringing you the most extensive coverage available surrounding important new releases, so be sure to check out the buzz about Chris Potter and Ultrahang at AAJ today!

More Pagination!

For all you pagination lovers, we've added scrolling to the MP3 Download of the Day, Video of the Day, Musician Kudos, Contest Giveaway of the Week, and Podcast of the Week pages.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Contributor News: June 2009

Dear fellow AAJ contributor,

2009 continues to be our year as we recently won our 8th consecutive Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) Jazz Award for best website. For more exciting news please read on...

AAJ: Built to Last

Amongst all the industry doom and gloom, AAJ remains a beacon that is experiencing significant growth. Regardless of what you hear about the state of the music business in general, we remain optimistic about our future as more and more sponsors (and readers) turn to the web and choose All About Jazz. Our content is stronger than ever, we're building a formative editorial and writing staff, our technology is constantly improving, we're following our project plan and seeing impressive results, we're developing strategic partnerships, and above all, we're having fun and serving jazz.

Embedded Comments and Pagination

We made two significant improvements to article.php (the script that presents articles and CD reviews). You'll notice that we now show the comments box to registered members. Adding the box has already given our reader comment volume a boost and activity grows by the day. We also added a new pagination feature to make our longer articles easier to read. Check out this example.

Gina Vodegel: How You Can Help

We're always on the look out for more editors to help us prepare articles and CD reviews. Please read this request by fellow editor Gina Vodegel on how you can participate.

First, I'd like to say a few words about being an editor for All About Jazz. The job description is simple, to edit incoming reviews by various contributors. You never know what will be next, what artist or style you'll be reading about. This is a nice surprising element I enjoy very much. And it's also very handy to learn about new music this way!

The work itself requires a sense for the English/American language, of course. And has a few basic and often practical or technical guidelines. In general, contributors are free to write in their own style and voice. As such, editing is never the same, never boring and always a challenge in the most positive meaning of the word. Another nice aspect is the opportunity to communicate and become friends with other people.

Contributors as well as editors hail from different backgrounds, with one main thing they share: commitment to spread the word about music. Good music. So, if you happen to be reading this and feel an itch to join the editorial staff, please do. Visit the Contributor Center and click the appropriate links.

Thank you!

Contact John Kelman if you have an interest in joining our editorial staff.

Big Numbers

Speaking of encouraging signs, All About Jazz won its 8th consecutive Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) Jazz Award, we exceeded 91,000 readers on June 9th, we topped 60,000 MY AAJ registrations on June 22nd, and we raced past 4,000,000 MP3 downloads on May 26th. The web is all about building momentum, and we're definitely on a roll.

Jason Crane's Podcast of the Week

Long-time AAJ contributor and podcaster Jason Crane is now featuring his outstanding weekly program The Jazz Session at AAJ. You can access it by clicking "Podcast" in the navigation bar or scroll down the right side of each page and click the latest podcast. This week Jason is featuring the band Rudder.

CD Assignments

We just sent out a big batch of CD packages to several writers. If you requested CDs over the last couple of months, chances are your package is on the way.

We do have a surplus of vocal and straight-ahead jazz CDs, so if you have an interest in either style and would like to review some, contact me direct.

Looking for reviews of...

We're looking for reviews of the following three CDs for inclusion on the AAJ home page:

David Hazeltine & Joe Locke
Mutual Admiration Society 2
Sharp Nine Records

Bill Anschell & Brent Jensen
We Couldn't Agree More
Origin Records

Nineteen-Eight Records

Get Your Widgets!

We're expanding our suite of widgets in an effort to push our content out beyond All About Jazz. If you have a website or blog, please consider adding an AAJ widget or two.

What are AAJ widgets you say? AAJ widgets are dynamically updated and customizable content boxes that are pushed from to a user's website or blog. View how they appear at the Jazz Excursion website, the Montreal Jazz Festival website or the AAJ News Blog. See them all in action on a single page.

Chris May

Congratulations to one and all for a much deserved 2009 JJA Jazz Award. This year we'd like to bring special attention to the efforts of Chris May. Chris is a senior editor, a regular contributor, and has helped shape the direction of AAJ since he came on board back in 2004. Thanks, Chris!

All the best,

Michael Ricci

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bill Frisell: The Quiet Genius

If there is a given within the music of guitarist Bill Frisell, it's the honest approach in every note he composes and plays. There are no compromises. His magical world of creativity incorporates yet transcends all styles and genres of music, and as one of today's most original and innovative composers, he has created a unique and distinct voice that has developed into his own personal musical language.

Without perhaps trying to do so, Frisell creates the greatest support yet for the argument that jazz doesn't have to be stylized, compartmentalized, or labeled. There is a seamless quality to his compositional approach that weaves between various cultures, generations, and styles within his art form. Bill prefers not to speak about his music but to let it unfold and thereby challenge listeners to find their own interpretation, their own relationship with the music.

Within the depths and at the heart of his creative process, he stays true to the jazz approach, yet on the surface, there lies a musical diversity from many generations of Americana to the music of South America, Europe, and Africa. A brilliant guitarist, one hears influences from Jim Hall to Jimi Hendrix, but to focus on his technical proficiency would be to deny his compositional genius as a painter of sound.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


We've added a new pagination feature to make our longer articles easier to read. Check out this example.

Trumpeter Chad McCullough Interviewed at AAJ

Seattle trumpeter Chad McCullough has been working hard to garner a reputation in his hometown and beyond as a versatile, creative musician. McCullough has performed with a wide range of artists, including Jay Thomas, Claudio Roditi, Marc Seales, Thomas Marriott, Ingrid Jensen and Bob Florence. He's toured extensively with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in the jazz trumpet chair, and also as the band's pianist.

McCullough's debut recording, Dark Wood, Dark Water (Origin Records, 2009), taken from the title of a poem by American poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), is a strong debut, emphasizing the 27-year-old trumpeter's prowess as an improviser who demonstrates an understanding of the rich lineage of jazz trumpet.

AAJ Contributor John Barron spoke with McCullough recently, providing a window into Dark Wood, Dark Water, as well as his day-to-day work behind the scenes with Origin Records.

Check out Chad McCullough: Playing to the Gig at AAJ today!

Monday, June 22, 2009

AAJ Wins 2009 Jazz Journalist Award for Website of the Year

All About Jazz won its 8th consecutive JJA Jazz Award. Click here to view the entire list of winners.

Pianist/Bandleader Arturo O'Farrill Interviewed at AAJ

Arturo O'Farrill, an extraordinary pianist, admits he came out of the bebop school of playing, a Bud Powell disciple, and his strong chops would attest to that. He didn't pursue the music of his father--the great Chico O'Farrill--in his younger days, but he came upon it as he studied the music. He came to not only appreciate it, but his excellent bands embody it.

He's led two Latin big bands, one celebrating his father's music (the Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra and the other--the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra--examining more broad influences. The latter's Una Noche Inolvidable (An Unforgettable Night), (Palmetto Records, 2005) was nominated for a 2006 Grammy and its Song for Chico (Zoho Music, 2008) won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.

Veteran AAJ Contributor R.J. DeLuke spoke with O'Farrill about the genesis of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, bringing Latin music into the mainstream, and his views on what jazz needs to do in order to regain its status as popular music.

Check out Arturo O'Farrill: Upholding the Latin Tinge at AAJ today!

Recent Interviews & Take Fives


Faith Gibson: Shooting for the Big Moon

Lewis Nash: Professionalism and Respect

Michael Tomlinson: Finding His Way Out West

Take Fives

Take Five With B.D. Lenz

Take Five With Jackie Allen

Take Five With Alan Steward

Taek Five With Eric John Eigner

Take Five With D.J. Sweeney

Take Five With Charlie Harrington

Take Five With The Oscillators

Take Five With Marc Brenken

Take Five With Joe Higham

Take Five With Georg Cocron

Take Five With Steve Lehman

Take Five With Ron Jackson

Take Five With Sarah DeLeo

Take Five With Mark Rapp

Take Five With Damon Zick

Take Five With Michael Smith

Take Five With Charlie Harrington

Take Five With Chico Hamilton

Monday, June 15, 2009

Keyboardist Craig Taborn Interviewed at AAJ

Craig TabornThere is no place for fear or doubt in pianist Craig Taborn's playing--such states are banished from a mind that seeks to explore the musical possibilities of each moment with maximum freedom. Taborn's improvisational playing is a continual creation where the journey is the thing, and words like beautiful, ugly and mistake have virtually no meaning. True improvisers like Taborn, with the ability to take the leap into the unknown, have always been a fairly rare breed.

From early collaborations with James Carter, Taborn has gone on to work in a wide variety of settings, from acoustic trios to electronic and techno. He has played with some of the most innovative musicians around, such as Roscoe Mitchell, Bill Laswell, David Torn, David Binney and Lotte Anker, to name but a handful. In whatever setting he appears, Taborn leaves an indelible mark.

AAJ Contributor Ian Patterson spoke at length with Taborn about his latest release with bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, Farmers by Nature (AUM Fidelity, 2009), the moral dilemma of audience recordings and more in Craig Taborn: Rooted, featured at AAJ today.

You can also read Ian's in-depth review of Farmers by Nature, also published today at AAJ. Additional reviews by Mark F. Turner, Mark Corotto, John Sharpe, Lyn Horton and Sean Patrick Fitzell are also available.

AAJ provides the most extensive coverage of jazz artists and new releases on the web. Be sure to check out AAJ's coverage of Craig Taborn and Farmers By Nature at AAJ today!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pianist Antonio Ciacca Interviewed at AAJ

Antonio Ciacca
Antonio Ciacca knows a thing or two about multi-tasking. The New York-based pianist is a tireless statesman of jazz, composing music for his own small groups, arranging for various big bands and working as Director of Programming for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Adding to all of this, Ciacca and his wife are busy raising five children in the hustle-and-bustle of 21st Century Manhattan.

Born in Wuppertal, Germany and raised in Italy, the 40-year-old musician received a formal music education at the Bologna Conservatory, but learned about jazz on the bandstand. A brief stay in Detroit, Michigan in the early '90s and numerous performance opportunities in Italy with some of the biggest names in jazz prepared Ciacca for a permanent move to New York in 2007. The pianist has shared the stage with legendary artists Art Farmer, Lee Konitz}, Johnny Griffin and Dave Liebman, and has toured extensively with saxophonists Steve Lacy and Benny Golson.

AAJ Contributor John Barron spoke with Ciacca about the beginnings of his career, lessons learned from playing with jazz legends, and his role with Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Check out Antonio Ciacca: Bringing People Together Through Swing at AAJ today!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jazz Speakers Bureau Launches

Leading professionals on the jazz web discuss innovative promotional strategies for jazz musicians.

The Jazz Speakers Bureau presents industry leaders with specialized experience in web-based promotions for lectures, workshops, and discussion panels.

Engaging, educational and entertaining, our speakers provide practical and useful information as well as pertinent strategies and career guidance for musicians and jazz professionals. Our team has presented at festivals, universities, association meetings, industry conferences, and on the radio--nationally and internationally.

Contact the Jazz Speakers Bureau and ask about our availability and rates.

215-362-2852 | | Inquiry Form

Speakers & Topics

Michael Ricci
Lover of jazz and technology, Michael merged his two passions to create the world's largest jazz music website...

Leveraging the All About Jazz Network to Reach the Jazz Marketplace

Bret Primack
A web video pioneer who has posted nearly 350 videos online, with nearly 6 million views...

Using Web Video to Excite, Inform and Grow Your Audience

Jim Eigo
A veteran of the jazz music business with over thirty years experience...

Promote Yourself! Strategies For Promoting Your Music in the 21st Century

Marc Myers
A journalist and marketing consultant, Marc writes daily about legendary jazz recordings and interviews jazz legends at his blog JazzWax...

How to Blog Your Way to Success

AAJ Celebrates Steve Lehman's New Release with Two Reviews and a Free Download

Alto saxophonist Steve Lehman's Travail, Transformation, and Flow is his most fully-realized album to date. AAJ is celebrating the June 9, 2009 release of his new octet album with two reviews and a free downloadable MP3 track from the album:
  1. Read Mark F. Turner's insightful review, up at AAJ today;

  2. Download "Echoes," the opening track on Travail, Transformation, and Flow, also available via Lehman's Musician Profile, Take Five Interview and the CD review pages;

  3. You can also read Troy Collins' equally in-depth review of Travail, Transformation, and Flow tomorrow morning, June 9.

AAJ's mission is to provide as much coverage as possible around new releases. Be sure to check out the buzz surrounding Steve Lehman's Travail, Transformation, and Flow at AAJ today!

Pianist Ran Blake Interviewed at AAJ

If you close your eyes while listening to Ran Blake's Driftwoods (Tompkins Square, 2009), you may find yourself transported into the grainy, low-key black and white world of a 1940s or '50s classic noir film. Try to leave the theater and something quietly, without much fanfare draws you back into the story. This is the music of Ran Blake. While the vaguely familiar exists, there's enough hidden in the shadows of Driftwoods to make each listen seem like a world premiere.

His interpretations of the classic, traditionally vocal pieces contained on Driftwoods certainly require active participation by the listener. And as in all forms of art, it's what's created between artist and receiver that truly matter. One can easily lose the familiar, but Blake insists that it's up to the listener to decide whether he's successful in conveying the original message of the song.

AAJ Contributor Tod Smith spoke with Blake about his passion for film, how Blake finds links between art and reality, and the nature of his music, which now spans nearly six decades.

Check out Ran Blake: Lurking in the Shadows at AAJ today!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Guitarist Mike Moreno Interviewed at AAJ

A native of Houston Texas, Mike Moreno has been making waves.
The guitarist first paid his dues playing gigs around New York, and has since been able to perform with some of the biggest names in jazz, including the Joshua Redman Elastic Band, Lizz Wright, Nicholas Payton, Greg Osby and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Though he spends a lot of his time playing and touring as a sideman, Moreno leads his own band and has recorded two albums under his own name, Between the Lines (World Culture Music, 2007) and Third Wish (Criss Cross, 2008), which have received strong praise from fans and critics alike. Fresh from a series of gigs in Europe, Moreno is hitting his stride as he prepares to head into the studio later this year to record his third album.

AAJ contributor Matthew Warnock spoke with Moreno about the challenges of recording an entire album in six hours, using the studio to shape a sound that's different from live performance and much more.

Check out Mike Moreno: Focusing on the Music at AAJ today!

125 New Additions to AAJ Upcoming Jazz CD/DVD Release Center

The AAJ Upcoming Jazz Release Center has just been updated with 125 new releases, reissues, imports and DVDs.

The Upcoming Release Center is updated weekly and can be searched by artist, month of release, record label and type (reissue or new release). It is the most comprehensive new release listing for jazz music on the internet.

Legendary Pianist Marian McPartland Interviewed at AAJ

Marian McPartland, whose personal artistic history is deeply entwined with that of jazz, continues writing, touring and educating. Following her muse, she has encountered a who's who of jazz while leaving her own indelible mark on the music. Her radio program, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, is the longest running show on National Public Radio, and she continues to tape new episodes.

At the age of 91 she's still going strong with Piano Jazz, as well as periodic performances and composing new music, including the ambitious symphonic piece, "A Portrait of Rachel Carson."

AAJ contributor Maxwell Chandler spoke with McPartland about her lengthy career, rubbing shoulders with other legends and how she's managed to turn Piano Jazz into the longest running radio show devoted to jazz.

Check out Marian McPartland: Living Through the History at AAJ today!

Access The Jazz Session Podcast from AAJ:Mobile

The Jazz Session Podcast now available on AAJ:Mobile!

In addition to our daily content, readers can now tune into our weekly Jazz Session podcast with Jason Crane. This week, Jason talks to Gary Burton about his new live record and his ongoing tour with Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez.

Readers can also download a free MP3 of the day, view local calendar information, access reviews, articles, interviews, news, musician profiles, our extensive venue directory and more.

AAJ:Mobile is the perfect companion to the website and allows readers to access content in a phone-friendly format. A streamlined version of the website, AAJ:Mobile loads fast and updates every 15 minutes.

AAJ:Mobile Location

  1. Open your mobile phone's web browser.
  2. Choose the menu option that lets you enter a web address
    ("Go to," "Go to URL," "Enter URL," etc.)
  3. Enter or as the web address

AAJ:Mobile Content

  • Local Calendar of Events with geo search
  • Free MP3 Download of the Day
  • Venue, Radio Station, Record Store directory and search
  • Daily CD reviews and searchable archive
  • Daily articles/interviews and searchable archive
  • Daily news and searchable archive
  • Musician directory and search
  • Daily birthdays
  • Weekly Jazz Session podcast

About The Jazz Session

The Jazz Session, is a weekly jazz interview show hosted and produced by jazz broadcaster Jason Crane. The online show has seen well over 200,000 downloads of its 60 episodes. The show features interviews with jazz masters such as Sonny Rollins and Chico Hamilton, along with musicians from more recent generations such as the trio Fly, Kate McGarry, John Ellis and Jason Moran.