Geoffrey Himes

Geoffrey’s Contributions


April 2007    Albums

From the Plantation to the Penitentiary
Wynton Marsalis

The infuriating thing about Wynton Marsalis is that he is so incredibly talented that you can never simply dismiss him and yet he is so wrong-headed about so many things that you can never wholly embrace him either. Nothing brings this dilemma into sharper...


December 2006    Albums

Memories of T
Ben Riley's Monk Legacy

There’s a brief moment in the new version of “Rhythm-A-Ning” by Ben Riley’s Monk Legacy Septet where a descending line begins with Bruce Williams’ alto saxophone, is handed off to Wayne Escoffery’s tenor sax and is finished off by Jay Brandford’s baritone...


July/August 2006    Features

James "Blood" Ulmer and Vernon Reid: Harmolodic Blues

James "Blood" Ulmer and Vernon Reid share an interest in Ornette Coleman's harmolodic music that they've explored on three albums, including Birthright. Geoffrey Himes uncovers a bond forged by the blues.


July/August 2006    Features

Nonstandards Fare: Jazz and Pop

In the repertoires ofr some jazz musicians, Great American Songbook standbys are giving way to pop. Geoffrey Himes explores how jazz is reinventing itself.


January/February 2006    Features

Roswell Rudd: Song Styles of a Planet

Trombonist Roswell Rudd turned 70 last November. Among his presents was the reformation of his first (and unrecorded) band, which played in the Dixieland style he favored before falling for free jazz in the ’60s. Rudd’s story is classic jazz, from sharing...


June 2005    Albums

SFJazz Collective
SFJazz Collective

In the liner notes for the debut Nonesuch CD by SFJAZZ's resident troupe, Artistic Director Joshua Redman admits he considered forming a classic repertory band like the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Jazz needs ensembles like that, but it already has several...


May 2005    Albums

Joyous Encounter
Joe Lovano

Joyous Encounter opens with Vernon Duke's "Autumn in New York," introduced by a harmonic synopsis from Hank Jones' solo piano and then by a breathy statement of the melody from Joe Lovano's tenor sax. Paul Motian's light brushwork and shimmering cymbals...


March 2005    News

Fred Hersch: Piano Poetry

Pianist Fred Hersch first encountered the poetry of Walt Whitman as a 19-year-old student at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1976. "Whitman's 'Calamus' poems, which are about men loving men, were very powerful for me at age 19, when I was just coming...


March 2005    Albums

Same Mother
Jason Moran

Jason Moran got the title for his new album, Same Mother, from his wife's comment that jazz and blues share a common mama. That's true, but they have different daddies. Like any two half-brothers, jazz and blues are bound by family and divided by rivalry...


September 2004    Albums

The Lost Chords
Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow/Billy Drummond

Pianists with a sense of humor have always had problems in the jazz world. The most obvious examples are Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk, whose genius went unrecognized for so long partially due to their comic bent (in addition to being so forward-looking...


June 2003    Albums

David Sanborn

David Sanborn's new album, timeagain, is not a jazz album; it's a pop-instrumental record. But that's a description, not a judgment. There are good and bad pop-instrumental albums, just as there are good and bad jazz releases; one is not automatically superior...


May 2003    Features

Jacky Terrasson: Souirire de Francais

About 70 minutes into Bertrand Tavernier's 1986 film 'Round Midnight, Dale Turner, the character played by Dexter Gordon, picks up a soprano saxophone and plays the ballad "Tivoli." The year is 1960, and the place is the Blue Note, a brick-lined basement...


April 2003    Features

Christian McBride: Or So You Thought You Knew

The first thing you hear on Christian McBride's new album, Vertical Vision, is a hot-jazz tune that sounds like something Fletcher Henderson might have recorded in 1931. Beneath the crackling static of an old 78, you can hear a bouncy piano stranded somewhere...


December 2002    Features

Joshua Redman, Sam Yahel & Brian Blade: Get Yer Ya Ya Out

Joshua Redman is slouched on a blue, padded bench in the back of his tour bus, which is parked behind the Recher Theatre in Towson, Md. His short hair is thinning on top, but his honey-toned handsomeness is still striking, especially when he dons his San...

10/18/02    News

The Funk Brothers and Motown Jazz

When we think about the great Motown records of the '60s, we usually think of the singers. But it wasn't the Temptations who created the stair-climbing guitar intro to "My Girl." It was Robert White. It wasn't Marvin Gaye who came up with the voodoo bass...


May 2002    Features

Cassandra Wilson: The New Standard

When Cassandra Wilson played New York City’s Blue Note in February, a lot was riding on her week of shows. She was introducing a new album, Belly of the Sun (Blue Note), her first in three years, and a new band, her first in nine years without music director...

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About Geoffrey Himes