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Jazz Profiles: The Spirit of the Nineties by Reginald Carver & Lenny Bernstein

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Handy and concise, this collection of brief Q&A interviews with 40 contemporary jazz artists, accompanied by thumbnail biographies, lists of selected recordings, and arresting photos, should be useful to anyone interested in the careers of Carver’s and photographer Bernstein’s chosen subjects. The chapters are arranged according to instrumental groupings and feature such musicians as Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Wallace Roney, Branford Marsalis, James Carter, Joshua Redman, Bobby Watson, Don Byron, Craig Handy, Steve Turre, Bill Frisell, Russell Malone, Geri Allen, Cyrus Chestnut, Marcus Roberts, Christian McBride, Reginald Veal, Cindy Blackman, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Kevin Mahogany.

Unfortunately, because Carver’s questions tend to be very superficial and repetitious, we barely get to know the individual respondents at all. He may just as well have conducted a survey about early influences, training and experience, opinions regarding the resurgence of popularity of jazz in the ’90s, and advice to beginners. As a result, we learn very little about why we should consider these musicians the individualists that they purportedly are.

Originally Published