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Paper Trail: Where You Can Find the Historical Documents of Jazz

Jazz was developed outside of the academy, but it lives on in part through the schools and institutions that have sought to preserve the music’s history, thanks to donations from musicians, producers, writers, and photographers. Universities, libraries, and museums around the country contain the documents that lend jazz its narrative—scores, letters, photographs, and other papers. … Read More “Paper Trail: Where You Can Find the Historical Documents of Jazz”

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Before & After: Leon Parker

Leon Parker has been keeping busy since he returned to the United States a few years ago, having previously spent about two decades abroad in France—during which time he rarely performed or recorded. Now the 54-year-old drummer, who came to prominence in mid-’90s New York for his pared-down style, is active in a number of … Read More “Before & After: Leon Parker”

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Michael Brecker Competition Continues Legacy of Generous Musician

Michael Brecker used to receive one or two unsolicited cassettes in the mail, every week, from young and aspiring musicians seeking his advice and guidance. Brecker, one of the most influential saxophonists to emerge in the wake of John Coltrane’s death in 1967, was a busy man—he played on close to 1,000 albums in his … Read More “Michael Brecker Competition Continues Legacy of Generous Musician”

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Before & After: Miguel Zenón

Over the course of his distinguished recording career, Miguel Zenón has frequently drawn inspiration from the folk traditions of his native Puerto Rico. On his new album, Sonero, out August 30 on the Miel Music label, he channels the late salsa pioneer Ismael Rivera—a little-known artist in the United States but revered elsewhere. “He’s always … Read More “Before & After: Miguel Zenón”

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Before & After: Simba Baumgartner

Simba Baumgartner, Django Reinhardt’s great-grandson, is just 22, but he has already proven himself an adept practitioner of Gypsy jazz, the indelible style pioneered by Reinhardt in the 1930s. Baumgartner’s debut album, Les Yeux Noir (Arte Boreal), is a faithful tribute to Reinhardt made up entirely of songs he recorded in his relatively short lifetime, including “Blues … Read More “Before & After: Simba Baumgartner”

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Joshua Redman Quartet: Come What May (Nonesuch)

Joshua Redman’s excellent new album marks a homecoming of sorts. The tenor saxophonist is joined by Aaron Goldberg on piano, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Gregory Hutchinson on drums—an immaculate rhythm section Redman last played with on his 2001 release, Passage of Time. The band first recorded together on Beyond, the year before. Nearly 20 … Read More “Joshua Redman Quartet: Come What May (Nonesuch)”

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Eric Reed: Everybody Gets the Blues (Smoke Sessions)

The title of Eric Reed’s new album has a double meaning—as in, everybody understands the blues, and everybody feels down from time to time. “Your blues may not be my blues, but everybody gets them,” he writes in the liner notes. True enough, but this album is too joyful for that to be the parting … Read More “Eric Reed: Everybody Gets the Blues (Smoke Sessions)”

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Myra Melford: Both Sides Now

On a New York evening in mid-autumn, the pianist Myra Melford, playing with her quintet, Snowy Egret, opened the first set of a two-night run at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola with “Small Thoughts,” a memorable track from her new album, The Other Side of Air. Released on the Firehouse 12 label in November, the record is … Read More “Myra Melford: Both Sides Now”

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JazzTimes 10: Essential Albums of the 2000s

The 2000s were a particularly diverse decade for jazz. To name just three major factors in the music of that era, the influence of rock and hip-hop grew increasingly prominent, big bands experienced a resurgence, and the ever-creative Wayne Shorter began a valiant stylistic transformation. Here’s a look at 10 of the decade’s best albums. … Read More “JazzTimes 10: Essential Albums of the 2000s”

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Cécile McLorin Salvant: Wide Open Window

Above: Cécile McLorin Salvant. Photo by Mark Fitton. On a cool evening in late September, Cécile McLorin Salvant wafted onto the stage of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium as if in a trance. Dressed in a billowy white gown that she had designed herself, she stood wordlessly for an uncomfortable moment, … Read More “Cécile McLorin Salvant: Wide Open Window”

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Benje Daneman: Improvising on the Bible

Benje Daneman is slightly uncomfortable with the idea that you might hear his new album, a 10-part suite based on Biblical scripture, as explicitly religious. “I don’t want to become that Christian jazz guy, because that’s not what it’s all about,” the trumpeter says in a recent phone interview from Michigan, where he lives with … Read More “Benje Daneman: Improvising on the Bible”

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Chops: Living for the City

Jazz has changed a lot over the past hundred or so years, but at least one thing about it has remained a constant: New York is—and probably always will be—its undisputed hub. Ever since Duke Ellington decamped from Washington, D.C., for Manhattan in the early 1920s, eventually establishing his orchestra as the house band at … Read More “Chops: Living for the City”

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Mary Halvorson: Reinventing the Identity of the Jazz Guitarist

On a recent evening at Jazz Standard in Manhattan, Mary Halvorson was hunched over her large hollowbody guitar, unleashing some alien sounds. Though her instrument—a Guild Artist Award—sat imposingly in her lap, she wielded it like a toy, strumming with spasmodic energy, plucking jagged phrases, and using pedal effects to create thick distortion and, at … Read More “Mary Halvorson: Reinventing the Identity of the Jazz Guitarist”

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Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)

The estimable tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington has, over the past few years, earned a reputation as something of a seer. That’s partly thanks to his choice of promotional imagery. On the cover of his aptly titled breakout album, The Epic—released on the Brainfeeder label in 2015—Washington is depicted in a black-and-white photograph, holding up his … Read More “Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)”

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Thomas Morgan: The Universal Answer

Since moving to New York almost 20 years ago, the bassist Thomas Morgan has appeared on more than 100 albums, establishing himself as one of the most in-demand sidemen in jazz. Collectively, the musicians he has recorded with make up a kind of modern pantheon of influential jazz artists: Craig Taborn, David Virelles, Paul Motian, … Read More “Thomas Morgan: The Universal Answer”

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David Virelles: Mystery, History

On a mild evening in mid-October, the Cuban-born pianist David Virelles was channeling Thelonious Monk at Jazz Standard in Manhattan. The occasion was Monk’s centennial, and Virelles had enlisted a couple of seasoned collaborators—the bassist Ben Street and the drummer Andrew Cyrille—to help him pay tribute to one of jazz’s chief architects. Though Virelles is … Read More “David Virelles: Mystery, History”

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Camille Thurman: Double Threat

The singer-slash-horn player is a rare phenomenon in jazz, mostly because singing and horn playing are mutually exclusive. There are, of course, standouts, including the two Louises, Armstrong and Jordan. Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody sang, too, and memorably, but never all that seriously. There’s Valaida Snow, who sang and played trumpet, along with the … Read More “Camille Thurman: Double Threat”

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