David French

David’s Contributions

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January/February 2008    Artist Profiles

Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Swing the Funny

We get the irreverent label thrown at us a lot,” says bassist Moppa Elliott. “It’s not so much irreverence as anti-hero-worship. There’s this real hero-worship problem in jazz.” Elliott, 29, is the leader of Mostly Other People Do the Killing (MOPDTK), a...

November 2007    News

Jazz Icons DVDs: Buried Treasure

Eric, I’m gonna miss your ass over here.” It’s Charles Mingus talking to Eric Dolphy in 1964 as the Mingus sextet rehearses in Stockholm. Mingus looks fierce in wraparound shades. They’ve just gone through “So Long Eric,” a then-new tune composed as a farewell...

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November 2007    At Home

Jeff “Tain” Watts

I moved here in 1998,” said drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. “I was working a lot, still in Wynton Marsalis’ band, and my manager at the time told me, ‘It’s time for you to invest in some property.’ I saw an ad on a Sunday for a 1,300-square-foot loft in downtown...

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October 2007    Artist Profiles

Christian Scott: Brave New World

“We’re trying to bring the music to the masses,” says trumpeter Christian Scott, seated in a quiet Greenwich Village café, wearing a Lakers jersey and radiating positive energy. “All the guys in the band had a concept of my music and my band being the kind...

October 2007    Overdue Ovation

Ahmed Abdullah: Channeling Spirits

Trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah celebrated his 60th birthday playing at Sista’s Place, the café, political center and performance space in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he has worked for a decade as musical director and a frequent performer. His 12-piece...

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09/18/07    Concerts

Festival of New Trumpet Music

This was the first of two evenings of music curated and conducted by former Metropolitan Opera Orchestra trumpeter Mark Gould as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music. In his opening remarks, Gould explained that his goal was to combine classical music...

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July/August 2007    Artist Profiles

Peter Leitch: Picking and Clicking

I’ve always been interested in photography, going back to high school. But then I discovered music and that was it for photography for the next 30 years.” Between sets at Walker’s, the classic old-New York watering hole in Tribeca, veteran guitarist Peter...

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05/02/07    Concerts

Freddie Hubbard and Friends

By now the troubles Freddie Hubbard (pictured) has had with his lip have been reported extensively enough that fans know not to expect the bravura fireworks of his peak years. But they also know that they are going to see a legend surrounded by a crack outfit...

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May 2007    Artist Profiles

Melody Gardot: Philadelphia Story

My college years were cut short—I went to the school of hard knocks instead,” said Melody Gardot. The 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Philadelphia recently released her first album, Worrisome Heart, a soulful and seductive mix of folk, jazz and blues...

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May 2007    Artist Profiles

Conrad Herwig: Sketches of Salsa

Everybody’s doing an Afro-Caribbean record now because it’s in vogue,” said Conrad Herwig, 47, discussing his new album, Sketches of Spain Y Mas: The Latin Side of Miles Davis. “But we’ve earned our salsa badge. Brian Lynch and I have performed thousands...

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04/14/07    Concerts

Thelonious Monk 90th Birthday Celebration

In his introductory remarks, promoter Jack Kleinsinger admitted that he was a little early for Monk’s October 90th birthday but wanted to be the first to put on such a concert. He went on to say that the inspiration for the event had come from Memories of...

04/13/07    Concerts

John Abercrombie Quartet in NYC

The group—Abercrombie, violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron—took the stage, all dressed in black, and began the first number so quietly and casually it almost seemed as if they were warming up. Abercrombie picked a few notes...

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March 2007    Overdue Ovation

Charles Tolliver: It's Time

I never vanished. I was right here all the time playing.” Charles Tolliver, 64, was in Brooklyn, sitting in a tall-backed rocking chair with a pouch of Gauloises tobacco and a vintage brass Besson trumpet within reach. He was reflecting on some of the recent...

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02/08/07    Concerts

John Fedchock Big Band in NYC

This one-night stand at the Standard was a teaser for the NY Big Band’s upcoming release, Up and Running —their fourth—due out in March on Reservoir. Fedchock made a name for himself as a soloist and arranger during the seven years he played with Woody Herman...

12/03/06    Concerts

Red Hot + LIVE! The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti

As the title implies, this concert was conceived as a recreation, or extension, of the 2002 Fela Kuti tribute album that included—among the dozens of participants—jazz artists such as Roy Hargrove, Ron Blake and Brian Lynch. The album was part of the “Red...

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December 2006    News

Ray Charles and Count Basie: We Meet at Last

I remember when Kenny G did that thing with Louis Armstrong—it pissed a lot of people off,” said Gregg Field, referring to the smooth-jazz icon’s 1999 studio-magic duet on “What a Wonderful World.” Field is the producer of Ray Sings, Basie Swings, and has...

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About David French

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David French is a native New Yorker and currently lives in Brooklyn.

“I first got heavily into jazz [by listening to] the big bands of the 1930s,” French says. “The charge you get from sitting a few feet away from a driving big band is still one of the great perks of life in New York.”

French also writes for Down Beat, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Paste and The Mississippi Rag.