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Branford Marsalis’ Secret

“I’m ready when you are.” Branford Marsalis does not waste time. In the handful of minutes since we shook hands in the lobby of his New York hotel, the saxophonist has marched into the adjacent restaurant, picked a window table, and ordered coffee and a pastry. He’s still looking at his cellphone, scrolling for last-minute … Read More “Branford Marsalis’ Secret”

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Jon Batiste: All in the Family

“Man, there is no other gig like this,” Jon Batiste declares buoyantly, settling onto a sofa in his New York office. It’s a little after 11 a.m., and the Louisiana-born musician has just arrived for work—next door to the Ed Sullivan Theater, where he’s been an onstage regular since September 2015, playing piano and leading … Read More “Jon Batiste: All in the Family”

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A Listener’s Guide to “Loud Jazz”

Last fall, at a New York performance by the current incarnation of King Crimson, I was reminded yet again of the long-running alliances between progressive rock and jazz—in the music, which upholds a similar respect for virtuosity and ensemble dynamics, and in the crowd, whose patience and focus met or even surpassed what can be … Read More “A Listener’s Guide to “Loud Jazz””

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The Charles Lloyd Interview: Life of a Song

On March 15, the tenor saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd spent his 80th birthday at home—both literally and, given that he’s one of jazz’s most exalted and enduring live performers, figuratively. At a concert in Santa Barbara, Calif., Lloyd led a special ensemble combining bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland—the rhythm section in Lloyd’s … Read More “The Charles Lloyd Interview: Life of a Song”

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The Bad Plus: Goodbye, Hello

It was a familiar parade. On Dec. 27, the founding members of the Bad Plus—pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King—walked single file along the upper banquette at New York’s Village Vanguard toward the stage for their first set of the evening. They were dressed much like I first saw them at … Read More “The Bad Plus: Goodbye, Hello”

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Trombone Shorty: Living for the Crescent City

Trombone Shorty hits the stage at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in February with his namesake horn in one hand, a trumpet in the other and a clear sense of mission in his stride. The New Orleans native and his longtime band, Orleans Avenue—named after the street that runs through his Tremé neighborhood—are on … Read More “Trombone Shorty: Living for the Crescent City”

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