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Before & After: Laurin Talese

Laurin Talese arrived in Philadelphia right around the turn of the millennium, as the neo-soul movement was reaching critical mass in the city. The scene added one more element to her already versatile voice, which had been honed through both classical training and the testing ground of the church in her native Cleveland. While studying … Read More “Before & After: Laurin Talese”

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Overdue Ovation: Ben Goldberg

As his 60th birthday approached in August, clarinetist/composer Ben Goldberg briefly considered mounting a retrospective series of his many past ensembles. With the wealth of projects he’s assembled and recorded since his debut with the New Klezmer Trio in 1991, Goldberg could have easily booked his weeklong stint at the Stone at the New School … Read More “Overdue Ovation: Ben Goldberg”

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Live Review: 2019 Detroit Jazz Festival

“Reunion” was the watchword for the 40th annual Detroit Jazz Festival, which welcomed back five of its former artists-in-residence for the occasion. But one unwelcome reunion threatened the fest’s culminating performance on Labor Day, as storm clouds once again gathered prior to Stanley Clarke’s final set—as they had in both 2014 and 2017, when the … Read More “Live Review: 2019 Detroit Jazz Festival”

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5 Great Albums Featuring Pharoah Sanders, Sideman

While Pharoah Sanders earned jazz immortality with his own “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” some of his finest recorded moments have been on projects led by other artists. Between the combustible partnership with John Coltrane that made his name and his recent hookup with Joey DeFrancesco, here are five of Sanders’ most exhilarating collaborations. … Read More “5 Great Albums Featuring Pharoah Sanders, Sideman”

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Live Review: Outsiders Fest in Philadelphia

Besides the funky ferocity of his bass playing, Jamaaladeen Tacuma is famous for his eclectic sartorial ensembles. As the curator of the Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival in Philadelphia over the last five years, Tacuma has presented combinations of musicians that are as colorful and unexpected as his flashy wardrobe tends to be. For … Read More “Live Review: Outsiders Fest in Philadelphia”

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The Art Ensemble of Chicago’s Way Forward

Sometime in 1969, an ad ran in the Chicago Defender, the city’s long-running African-American weekly: “Musician Sells Out!” It was typical of Lester Bowie’s sly sense of humor to use this accusation of compromise as a statement of intent; he was turning his back on a successful career as an R&B sideman to delve into the … Read More “The Art Ensemble of Chicago’s Way Forward”

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Live Review: Big Ears Festival 2019

Knoxville, Tenn.’s determinedly eclectic Big Ears Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary with a packed long weekend of boundary-stretching music from March 21 to 24. Rather than spend too much time trumpeting its own first decade, the festival chose to shift the spotlight to two even more impressive landmarks: the 50th anniversaries of both ECM Records … Read More “Live Review: Big Ears Festival 2019”

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Huntertones: Social Media Music

While Jon Batiste famously uses the term “social music” for his crowd-pleasing, genre-blurring approach, the music of Huntertones—the band co-led by Batiste’s Stay Human bandmate, trumpeter Jon Lampley—might better be called “social media music.” The group was founded by three Ohio State University classmates and has found success, first in Columbus and now in Brooklyn, by … Read More “Huntertones: Social Media Music”

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The Place of the Drum Solo in Jazz

Photo above: Max Roach at the Three Deuces, New York, 1947 (William P. Gottlieb Collection/Library of Congress). Last October, JazzTimes surveyed a number of musicians and contributors to come up with a list of 40 Essential Solos. The results ran the gamut of styles and eras, but the article had one (not uncommon) shortcoming: Only … Read More “The Place of the Drum Solo in Jazz”

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Live Review: 2nd October Revolution in Philadelphia

The idea of the avant-garde has always been built around the shock of the new, the unceasing urge to push further, reinvent, or question what’s come before. All of which can make it somewhat disconcerting to realize just how long some of our most challenging artists have been stretching those boundaries, and how many have … Read More “Live Review: 2nd October Revolution in Philadelphia”

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Chops: Duck Baker and Bobby Broom on Thelonious Monk

Bobby Broom’s 2009 Thelonious Monk tribute album, Bobby Broom Plays for Monk (Origin), almost didn’t happen. Prior to going into the studio, the Chicago-based guitarist convened his trio to test out the concept. After hitting on a New Orleans-flavored arrangement of “Bemsha Swing” that felt right, bassist Dennis Carroll suggested that the tune sounded like … Read More “Chops: Duck Baker and Bobby Broom on Thelonious Monk”

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The Stone: An Oral History

The downtown scene in New York City has witnessed its fair share of great venues come and go over the years. The latest loss, or change, occurred in March, with the shuttering of the original Stone, an East Village venue launched in 2005 by saxophonist-composer John Zorn. A new Stone has risen at the New … Read More “The Stone: An Oral History”

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John Coltrane: Love & Heart & Spirit

This article appeared in the June 2017 issue of JazzTimes. Early in the new documentary Chasing Trane, Benny Golson recalls his friendship with John Coltrane, complaining that the iconic saxophonist made him do all the talking. “He was quiet,” Golson recalls. “He never talked—until he put that saxophone in his mouth.” Director John Scheinfeld, never … Read More “John Coltrane: Love & Heart & Spirit”

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Chops: Marc Ribot and Antonio Sanchez on the Art of Improvising to Film

When Antonio Sanchez recorded his score for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the uniqueness of the situation led him to assume that this would be a one-time thing—after all, solo drum improvisations are hardly common in film soundtracks. But that very idiosyncrasy, combined with the film’s Best Picture Oscar, opened … Read More “Chops: Marc Ribot and Antonio Sanchez on the Art of Improvising to Film”

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