Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris Interviewed at AAJ

Authenticity is a special word for vibraphone wizard Stefon Harris when it comes to his art, which springs from the tradition of jazz music, but is approached through a modern lens that takes into account the sounds and perspective of 2009.

He has enough audacity--also a special word for Harris--to say it clearly, to elucidate what he is going for in his music. And he has enough audacity on the bandstand to go for it.

Harris recently released Urbanus, the second disc with his urban-meets-jazz group Blackout, and his first for Concord Records. AAJ Contributor R.J. DeLuke spoke with Harris at length, about Blackout and Urbanus, about his early days, and how he's benefited from a combination of formal education and the kind of mentoring that's so important in keeping jazz alive and authentic.

Check out Stefon Harris: Authenticity and Audacity at AAJ today!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Beatles: Masterful in 2009

The Beatles
Catalog Remasters

As with most news concerning The Beatles, the announcement of the release of remastered and repackaged CDs of the group's entire discography seemed at first something to celebrate. Second thoughts arose when details of the exercise were divulged. But over-cerebralization gets in the way of enjoying the music. The nature of the marketplace, and diversities of personal preference, are perhaps more productively viewed as different ways to enjoy the work of a band that has exerted more influence than any other in the history of pop music.

The first batch of Beatles CDs issued in 1987 presented the titles in their original British track sequences. This was in contrast to the hodgepodge created at the time of the original American releases when Capitol cobbled together what amounted to extra LPs to satisfy the demands of Beatlemania--by mixing album tracks and singles. (Those titles have themselves since been reissued, indicating that interest in the Beatles' work really knows no bounds).

As digital technology and archiving expertise evolved over a quarter century, virtually nothing was done with the Beatles' catalog with the exception of The Anthology (Capitol-Apple, 1995-6), a mammoth work on its own terms, plus the isolated revision of Yellow Submarine, as soundtrack to the 1999 DVD reissue, and Let It Be... Naked (Capitol-Apple, 2003), more about which later. In contrast to the forward thinking that earmarked the Beatles career, the modernization of their recorded legacy was left to languish.


Iconic Saxophonist Ornette Coleman Interviewed at AAJ

"Some people think of music as being on some higher level," Ornette Coleman says by phone from his apartment in New York City. "But basically it's the human being that receives the pleasure from sound. Not from the argument over what it is."

There are a lot of questions about Ornette Coleman and the music he makes. Talking with him, trying to parse these questions, can be a learning experience in many ways. Simply put, Coleman isn't like most other people. He isn't even like most other jazz musicians. He has his own distinct philosophy, of music and of life—one being just an echo of the other—and hearing him explain it can be both exhilarating and confusing.

AAJ Contributor Warren Allen spoke with Coleman and, as ever, the legendary free jazz progenitor's responses are enigmatic, enlightening and profound.

Check out Ornette Coleman: Music is a Verb at AAJ today!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

News Center Upgrade and new Navigation Bar

We upgraded the Review Center and Article Center last week. This week we upgraded our News Center. News is now grouped by type per day. We also include a handy pop up window to get more info about an announcement (just drag your mouse over the [+] icon).

We launched our new navigation bar yesterday. The new version will allow us to expand choices and better organize access.


All About Jazz Launches Listening Party/Album Streaming Service

All About Jazz and Warp Radio have partnered to offer a weekly Jazz Listening Party / Album Streaming service to record labels and musicians.

We kicked off our first party with trumpeter Nathan Eklund's Trip To The Casbah on Jazz Excursion Records.

AAJ readers can access the album in the right panel on each page and can open the player in a separate window by clicking the "up arrow" icon in the header portion of the Listening Party box. Web publishers are encouraged to place the Listening Party Widget on their site or blog.

Click here to view how the Listening Party will appear at All About Jazz.

If you have an interest in sponsoring a Listening Party, please contact Michael Ricci.

Sponsor an All About Jazz Listening Party
Stream an album to the largest collection of jazz enthusiasts on the web.

Options | Order Now

One Week$350
Two Weeks$550

What's a Listening Party?

An All About Jazz Listening Party allows you to stream a full length album to the largest collection of jazz enthusiasts in the world for an entire week. Readers can access the Listening Party from the AAJ website, from the AAJ bulletin board and from other websites and blogs via AAJ's Listening Party widget.

Robben Ford's "Indianola" - First Track to Top 1,000 Downloads in a Single Day

Guitarist Robben Ford's track "Indianola" from Soul on Ten (Concord Music Group, 2009) was the first MP3 at All About Jazz to top 1,000 downloads in a single day, reaching 1,216.

To download more free music, visit our Free MP3 page. We currently offer AAJ members over 60 pages of quality music.

All About Jazz has offered a free daily download since November 2005 from artists spanning all genres of jazz including Gary Burton, Wayne Krantz, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Brian Blade, Jon Hassell, Kenny Garrett, Dave Holland, Aaron Parks, Terence Blanchard, Craig Taborn, Mike Moreno, Rob Reddy, Ted Nash, Mingus Big Band, Exploding Star Orchestra, David Weiss, Bob Mintzer, Microscopic Septet, Ron Horton, Ben Allison, Greg Tardy, Ingrid Jensen, John McNeil, Craig Taborn, Darcy James Argue, Wycliffe Gordon, Mario Pavone, Scott Kinsey, Billy Kilson, Upper Left Trio, Cuong Vu, Darcy James Argue, Charlie Hunter, Erik Friedlander, Maria Schneider, Rez Abbasi, Rick Parker Collective, Brooklyn Jazz Underground, Paul Bollenback, Wayne Horvitz, Joel Harrison, John Ellis, Christian McBride, George Colligan, Club d'Elf, Jeremy Pelt, Vic Juris, Hiromi, Jonathan Kreisberg, Eddie Gomez, Bern Nix, Either/Orchestra, Moutin Reunion Quartet, Dave Phillips and Freedance, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Alan Pasqua, Jenny Scheinman, Roberto Magris, Ken Vandermark, Dave Stryker, Bill Carrothers, Buck Hill, Bob Brookmeyer, Marc Copland, Mark Egan, Charles Gayle, Donald Harrison, Lonnie Plaxico, Joe Locke, Scott Amendola, Claudio Roditi, Eddie Daniels, Tom Christensen and many more.

Trumpeter Bill Dixon Interviewed at AAJ

Trumpeter and composer Bill Dixon is one of those rare figures in creative music who was both there as it took its initial steps and currently remains at the forefront of contemporary improvisation. In the last two years, he has directed or co-led orchestral configurations and recorded and performed with hand-picked small groups of international renown. The modern brass language and its expansion of vocal sounds into areas hitherto rarely occupied by any instrument certainly are reflected in Dixon's years of solo work and sculpting of sound.

Over the past couple years, AAJ Contributor Clifford Allen has spoken with Dixon about his music, his paintings and his legacy, creating the definitive profile of this highly creative but sadly undervalued artist.

Check out Bill Dixon: In Media Res at AAJ today!

Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon Interviewed at AAJ

Wycliffe Gordon is one of the busiest jazz trombone players in the business today. He has traveled the world performing with the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, under his own name and as a duo with Jay Leonhart. As an educator he has performed and taught master classes at various schools.

AAJ Contributor Marcia Hillman spoke with Gordon about the state of education in jazz today, as well as his work with Wynton Marsalis and an exciting new documentary that's in the works about the life of one of jazz's busiest trombonists

Check out Wycliffe Gordon: Keeping the Spirit and the Letter Alive at AAJ today!

Guitarist Robben Ford Interviewed at AAJ... And More!

Few guitarists on the scene today can boast a longer, more diverse and accomplished career than that of perennial blues-jazz great Robben Ford. Having toured and recorded as a sideman with such legendary performers as Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Bonnie Raitt and Miles Davis, Ford has also made a name for himself as a bandleader, instrumental composer and songwriter. With the release of his 2009 album Soul on Ten, his fourth for the Concord label, the five-time Grammy nominee is showing no sign of slowing down as he continues to light up stages across the globe with his unique brand of blues- and jazz-influenced guitar artistry.

Recorded live over two nights at the Independent in San Francisco, alongside two studio tracks, Soul on Ten is a collection of classic covers, new versions of some of Ford's older tunes and new songs from Ford's ever expanding catalogue of original material. Featuring some of the finest musicians in the business, including organist Neal Evans of the funk band Soulive, bassist Travis Carlton (son of famed guitarist Larry Carlton) and drummer extraordinaire Toss Panos, Ford has brought together an ensemble that reflects his own diversity, allowing him to take his music into new and interesting realms of expression.

AAJ Contributor Matthew Warnock spoke with Ford about Soul on Ten, his growing reputation as a songwriter, gear and more in the informative Robben Ford: From the Soul, published today at AAJ.

But that's not all. To celebrate the release of Soul on Ten, AAJ is providing even more coverage:

  1. Read Managing Editor John Kelman's review of Soul on Ten, also published today at AAJ;
  2. Download "Indianola", a full mp3 track from Soul on Ten, today's AAJ Daily Download;
  3. Watch Ford perform in concert with guitarist Larry Carlton, bassist Travis Carlton and drummer Toss Panos, live at the 2008 Cordoba Guitar Festival, today's AAJ Daily Video.
AAJ is committed to providing the most extensive coverage available surrounding new releases, so be sure to check out all the buzz about Robben Ford and Soul on Ten at AAJ today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Enter The Beatles 14-CD Giveaway Contest!

All About Jazz members are invited to enter The Beatles remastered and rediscovered CD giveaway contest starting today. 7 winners will receive 2 of the 14 CDs listed below. We'll announce the winners on October 10th.

Click here to enter the contest

(Following The Beatles at AAJ automatically enters you in the contest.)

Good luck!
Your Friends at EMI Music

The Beatles' Entire Original Recorded Catalogue Remastered
By Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music Will Be Available September 9

The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music have announced the release of the original Beatles catalogue, which has been digitally remastered for the first time, for worldwide CD release on September 9, the same date as the release of the widely anticipated The Beatles: Rock Band video game. Each of the CDs is packaged with replicated original U.K. album art, including expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos. For a limited period, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. On the same date, two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released.

The albums have been remastered by a dedicated team of engineers at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London over a four year period utilizing state of the art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. The result of this painstaking process is the highest fidelity the catalogue has seen since its original release.

This will mark the first time that the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on compact disc. The 14 albums, along with a DVD collection of the documentaries, will also be available for purchase together in a stereo boxed set.

Within each CD's new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. With the exception of the Past Masters' set, newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere.

A second boxed set has been created with the collector in mind. The Beatles in Mono gathers together, in one place, all of The Beatles recordings that were mixed for a mono release. It will contain 10 of the albums with their original mono mixes, plus two further discs of mono masters (covering similar ground to the stereo tracks on Past Masters). As an added bonus, the mono Help! and Rubber Soul discs also include the original 1965 stereo mixes, which have not been previously released on CD. These albums will be packaged in mini-vinyl CD replicas of the original sleeves with all original inserts and label designs retained.

Remastered Releases

  1. Please Please Me (CD debut in stereo)
  2. With The Beatles (CD debut in stereo)
  3. A Hard Day's Night (CD debut in stereo)
  4. Beatles For Sale (CD debut in stereo)
  5. Help!
  6. Rubber Soul
  7. Revolver
  8. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  9. Magical Mystery Tour
  10. The Beatles
  11. Yellow Submarine
  12. Abbey Road
  13. Let It Be
  14. Past Masters

More Housecleaning

We made design improvements to both the Review Center and the Article Center. Enjoy!

Vocalist Tierney Sutton Interviewed at AAJ

Vocalist Tierney Sutton discovered jazz while immersed in Russian language and literature studies at Wesleyan University. During her college years she also abandoned her earlier atheism and became engaged in a lifelong study of Man's spiritual nature. She has adopted no halfway measures in any of these pursuits. Though she hasn't yet written lyrics, she brings the passion of a poet to the use of language and lyricism in her singing. Her religious devotion is Dostoevskian in its upright clarity of purpose. And what she does as a jazz singer with the Tierney Sutton Band--pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker, who have been playing together since 1994--is entirely unique on the jazz landscape. As a result she is one of the brightest and fastest-rising stars in the jazz firmament.

AAJ Contributor Carl Hager spoke at length with Sutton about her new album Desire (Telarc, 2009), and the faith that runs as a thematic undercurrent.

Check out Tierney Sutton: Not a Material Girl at AAJ today!

Bassist John Patitucci Interviewed at AAJ

As sayings go, "One man's trash is another man's treasure" is pretty straightforward, especially for those enamored with garage sales. For lovers of jazz music, it may hold a bit more significance, for it played a fateful role in the life of one of today's superlative artists in the genre.

John Patitucci is one of the finest bass players in jazz. A mainstay of the Wayne Shorter quartet for years, he's also blessed the world of music by augmenting the art of folks like Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, B.B. King, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Natalie Cole, Queen Latifah, Sting, Carly Simon, Joshua Redman, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Mulgrew Miller, and many more.

Veteran AAJ Contributor R.J. DeLuke spoke with Patitucci about his latest trio release, Remembrance (Concord, 2009), his near-decade long relationship with Shorter, and much, much more.

Check out John Patitucci: Celebrating Jazz Heroes at AAJ today!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Avant-Guitarist Keith Rowe Interviewed at AAJ

In early June 2009, multi-instrumentalist Keith Rowe made one of his rare visits to London to play a concert at Cafe Oto as part of Another Timbre's Unnamed Music Festival in a trio with saxophonists Martin Kuchen and Seymour Wright, before heading north to Leeds to play another set the following evening with the same trio. Having been in the audience for the first night of the festival--and seeing fine sets by Sebastian Lexer and Aleks Kowalski, Rhodri Davies, Lee Patterson, Louisa Martin and Lucio Capece, and by Tom Chant, Angharad Davies, Benedict Drew and John Edwards--on the second night, hours before he was due to perform, Rowe agreed to give an interview to All About Jazz.

Check out AAJ Contributor John Eyles' in-depth interview with Rowe, Keith Rowe: One Bird Flying Through at AAJ today!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baritone Saxophonist Gary Smulyan Interviewed at AAJ

A baritone saxophonist who plays like Bird? And harvests more than a half-dozen Grammy awards in the process? That seeming contradiction characterizes the great successes of Gary Smulyan, one of today's most in-demand jazz performers, educators, and recording artists.

AAJ Contributor Edward Bride spoke with Smulyan recently, and the saxophonist provides insight into his unique sound and approach, one less inspired by the great baritonists and more by alto legends like Charlie Parker and Phil Woods.

Check out Gary Smulyan: Low Man Aims High at AAJ today!