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Mary Ann Topper, Manager of Noted Jazz Artists, Dies at 79

Mary Ann Topper, manager to numerous notable jazz artists including Ray Brown, Diana Krall, Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, and Ron Carter, died on Nov. 14 in Hyndman, Pa., where she had been living for the last few years. She was 79. Topper had a long history as a starmaker and could rightfully claim credit for … Read More “Mary Ann Topper, Manager of Noted Jazz Artists, Dies at 79”

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Fred Taylor, Boston’s Beloved Jazz Impresario, Dies at 90

Jazz impresario Fred Taylor, who presented legends and emerging artists alike in the Boston area for more than five decades, died on Oct. 26. He was 90. As the founder of two of the Massachusetts capital’s most important jazz clubs—Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop—Taylor promoted artists such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Charles … Read More “Fred Taylor, Boston’s Beloved Jazz Impresario, Dies at 90”

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The Baltimore Jazz Collective: Building a Community

With the opening of the jazz club Keystone Korner Baltimore earlier this year, Todd Barkan, its co-owner and artistic director, realized that the venue needed stronger roots in the community. Barkan turned to another transplanted local—trumpeter Sean Jones—who last year became the chair of the Jazz Studies department at the Peabody Institute, one of the … Read More “The Baltimore Jazz Collective: Building a Community”

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Miles Davis’ Lost 1985 Album Rubberband Bounces Back

The career of Miles Davis was a series of directional shifts, each of which made an indelible mark on the history of jazz. The mercurial trumpeter was always looking ahead to do something new, something different. Whether it was also something better has been debated by critics, fans, and musicians for years. Each new move … Read More “Miles Davis’ Lost 1985 Album Rubberband Bounces Back”

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Johnathan Blake: Fascinated by Rhythm

Despite his roots in Philadelphia, Johnathan Blake is the quintessential New York City jazz drummer. He’s played with a virtual who’s-who of the jazz scene; the list is too long even for online reproduction but includes Tom Harrell, Kenny Barron, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. The son of … Read More “Johnathan Blake: Fascinated by Rhythm”

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Christian Sands & the Legacy of Erroll Garner

When Geri Allen first contacted Christian Sands about performing the music of Erroll Garner in a tribute to Concert by the Sea at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2015, Sands didn’t know a lot about the pianist other than his influence. “I knew his playing, I knew the comping thing,” he says, sitting backstage at … Read More “Christian Sands & the Legacy of Erroll Garner”

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Live Review: Double Vision Revisited at the Birchmere in Virginia

The trend for a band to revisit a particularly successful album from its past seemed to have started with the curators of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival who asked hip hop and alternative rock artists to perform one of their older albums from start to finish. The phenomenon soon spread to the 60s and 70s … Read More “Live Review: Double Vision Revisited at the Birchmere in Virginia”

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Marcus Shelby: Jazz & Baseball

Marcus Shelby loves baseball. His Facebook posts tend to be daily updates on the ups and downs of his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants, who are currently in rebuilding mode and therefore experiencing more of the latter than the former. The bassist and composer’s appreciation for the sport recently resulted in new music for … Read More “Marcus Shelby: Jazz & Baseball”

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Bernard Fowler: Going Deep Into the Rolling Stones

Singer and percussionist Bernard Fowler has been a backing vocalist for numerous artists and bands, including David Bowie, Material, and Alice Cooper. But it’s been his long-running association with the Rolling Stones that has sustained and inspired him. He’s been touring and recording with the Stones since 1988, so it should be no surprise that … Read More “Bernard Fowler: Going Deep Into the Rolling Stones”

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Nicki Parrott: It’s Possible to Sing and Play the Bass

Bassist Nicki Parrott is truly a musician’s musician. Except that she also sings. Although she came a little late to the vocals game, she’s become an accomplished singer, both as a recording artist and as a performer. Her latest album, New York to Paris, is her eighth for Arbors Records and beautifully showcases her unique voice … Read More “Nicki Parrott: It’s Possible to Sing and Play the Bass”

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Chuck Redd: Real Good Vibes

The term “journeyman” often gets used in a pejorative way to describe veteran jazz musicians of a certain age, like they’re perennial sidemen or sidewomen and not capable of headlining concerts or festivals. However, in the case of drummer/vibist Chuck Redd, the term well describes his life in music, in part because he still journeys … Read More “Chuck Redd: Real Good Vibes”

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Inside Stanley Nelson, Jr.’s New Miles Davis Documentary

How do you sum up the life and career of Miles Davis in just under two hours? That was the challenge that noted documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Jr. faced with his latest project, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and later screened at the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore … Read More “Inside Stanley Nelson, Jr.’s New Miles Davis Documentary”

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The Scene: Keystone Korner Baltimore

“This whole venture is based on friendship and synergy,” says Todd Barkan, jazz nightclub impresario and co-owner of Keystone Korner Baltimore, which opened on April 30—International Jazz Day. Barkan has partnered with high-profile restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier to bring this top-notch jazz club and restaurant to Baltimore, which hasn’t had a truly national-level jazz club since … Read More “The Scene: Keystone Korner Baltimore”

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Joey DeFrancesco and Pharoah Sanders: Meeting of the Spirits

When it comes to narrative arcs, few are more compelling than the story of two people on separate life paths who eventually connect and create something unexpected. Often, the two then travel in very different directions afterward. This is the trope that guides every version of A Star Is Born. It’s the story of Gil … Read More “Joey DeFrancesco and Pharoah Sanders: Meeting of the Spirits”

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Jennifer Wharton: All About That Bass Trombone

Jennifer Wharton lives and breathes trombone. She even admits to having a dress adorned with them (see the photo above for proof). The bass trombonist, born and raised in Northern California but a fixture on the NYC music scene, has been linked to the instrument since she was in middle school. Although she’s made her … Read More “Jennifer Wharton: All About That Bass Trombone”

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Kurt Elling Readies The Big Blind for NYC Premiere

The inspiration for Kurt Elling’s radio play The Big Blind—co-written with Phil Galdston and premiering at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York on Mar. 1 and 2—came from a very special place: the Green Mill, a longtime jazz club outside Chicago that has a rich and colorful past filled with mobsters, musicians, comedians, and … Read More “Kurt Elling Readies The Big Blind for NYC Premiere”

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Ben Sidran Recounts His Seven Decades in Jazz

On the eve of his 75th birthday, singer/songwriter/pianist Ben Sidran decided to release a three-CD compilation of performances spanning the last 40 years or so. Ben There, Done That, released on Sunset Boulevard Records, features an engrossing range of live cuts from 1975 to 2015, with cameos from David “Fathead” Newman and Phil Woods. Go … Read More “Ben Sidran Recounts His Seven Decades in Jazz”

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Helen Sung: Words and Music

One of the most interesting collaborations in recent years between a world-class jazz musician and an acclaimed poet—the album Sung With Words—got off to a rocky start. Several years ago, the pianist Helen Sung played in the West Wing of the White House at an event organized by the formerly named Thelonious Monk Institute (now … Read More “Helen Sung: Words and Music”

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Art Kane: A Great Day Frame by Frame

In 1958 Art Kane was a successful art director who had dabbled in professional photography and was itching to make it his full-time profession. Knowing that Esquire magazine was planning a special issue on jazz, Kane made an audacious proposal to the magazine’s then-editor Harold Hayes and art director Robert Benton: to photograph a collection … Read More “Art Kane: A Great Day Frame by Frame”

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Ted Rosenthal’s Dear Erich: Grandmother to Son

Ted Rosenthal has a long and impressive résumé. The 58-year-old pianist was an early winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition and went on to a successful career as a solo artist and accompanist to singers like Ann Hampton Callaway and Helen Merrill, as well as to horn players like Gerry Mulligan and Art Farmer. … Read More “Ted Rosenthal’s Dear Erich: Grandmother to Son”

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Oran Etkin: Music as Child’s Play

Lots of jazz artists and presenters like to talk about reaching a younger audience. But few go as far as clarinetist and saxophonist Oran Etkin, who regularly teaches and plays music to infants. Etkin created his Timbalooloo teaching method in order to reach potential music students before life, language, and thinking get in the way. … Read More “Oran Etkin: Music as Child’s Play”

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