By Brian Zimmerman
Each week, join the JAZZIZ Editors and special musical guests as we listen to and discuss a handful of albums on a given theme. It’s social media in the truest sense of the term: no algorithms, no computer-generated playlists. Just jazz fans sharing records with other jazz fans.
JAZZIZ Travel: Miguel Espinoza
Award-winning virtuoso flamenco guitarist/composer Miguel Espinoza gracefully balances tradition and innovation, blending flamenco with jazz, classical and subtle world music on his latest album with his Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion, Veneta. Available now, Veneta is mostly made up of new original material, capitalizing on sophisticated rhythmic elements that are emotional, natural and organic. The group's unusual instrumentation, held together with soulful "duende," is a multitude of international and traditional influences, featuring Espinoza's guitar alongside Dianne Betkowski on cello, Lynn Baker on sax, Randy Hoepker on bass, Andy Skellenger on Indian tabla and Spanish Cajon, with Mario Moreno on timbales, congas, and bongo.
January 26, 2022
JAZZIZ Travel: Stacey Kent and Jim Tomlinson
Last year, Stacey Kent released Songs from Other Places, a varied and eclectic collection of voice and piano duets with Art Hirahara. Recorded during the lockdown, these songs explore the concept of travel and give musical expression to our collective desire to roam the world again in a post-pandemic world. Songs from Other Places, released on Candid Record, also feature three new originals written by the songwriting team of Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro and Kent's longtime collaborator/saxophonist Jim Tomlinson.
January 19, 2022
JAZZIZ Travel: Christiane Karam
Vocalist/composer Christiane Karam will release Nar, her first album in nine years, on January 28. A tribute to the lives tragically lost in the 2020 explosion at the Port of Beirut, her birthplace, the record is intended to be a joyous and uplifting tribute to the resilience, connection and triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Nar is also a meeting of cultures, including folk music from different regions of the Middle East and the Balkans with contemporary jazz. Its 13 tracks, originals or reimagined traditional material, span different languages and take on common themes shared amongst humanity, such as love, grief, belonging, overcoming and starting anew.
January 12, 2022
JAZZIZ Travel: Malcolm Jiyane
Malcolm Jiyane is a revered figure of the contemporary South African jazz scene. He's a successful painter as well as a musician. A generous sideman and bandleader, Jiyane plays multiple instruments. He was an integral part of SPAZA's most recent release, UPRIZE!, where he played piano. On his new debut album as a leader, he showcases his chops on the trombone. UMDALI is out now on the Mushroom Hour Half Hour. Its music meditates on the concept of creation. It draws on spirituality. It also pays tribute to a history of mentors, including Johnny Mekoa, founder of the Music Academy of Gauteng, which Jiyane attended from a young age. And with UMDALI, Jiyane continues to stretch our idea of what it means to improvise within the context of jazz.
December 15, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Hedvig Mollestad
Norwegian guitarist/composer Hedvig Mollestad has fronted her own acclaimed power-trio with bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad for the best part of this decade. Her new album, however, finds her performing her sweeping brand of progressive jazz-rock with a loosely-configured sextet. Documenting a performance from 2018, Tempest Revisited was conceived as a hymn to her birthplace of Alesund, Norway, and takes cues from the weather and the natural world at large. It was unveiled for the anniversary of the opening of Parken, a cultural house in Alesund. (A new album by her trio, Ding Dong. You're Dead was also released earlier this year.)
December 08, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Elena Maque
Vocalist/composer/saxophonist Elena Maque was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is a university-trained musician, who spent years honing her craft and wowing audiences throughout Russia, Europe and the United States, where she currently resides. She is highly regarded for her ability to cross-pollinate with funk and pop. Her new album, Feel Again, reveals an even wider range of influences with its Latin tinges and bossa nova vibes, via a program of three invigorating covers and six original compositions. Feel Again is also the result of a collaboration with Los Angeles-based acclaimed keyboardist Scott Kinsey. JAZZIZ Travel is a new podcast series hosted by JAZZIZ online editor Matt Micucci that explores jazz and creative music in all four corners of the globe. In this series, you will hear conversations with artists and people talking about the significance of jazz as an art form, the influence of folk music traditions of different cultures and backgrounds, or simply sharing their thoughts, ideas and insight on their multicultural projects.
December 01, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Sara Serpa
Sara Serpa is a singer/composer/improviser who, through her practice and performance, explores the use of the voice as an instrument. She was born in Lisbon, Portugal, and moved to New York in 2008, where she resides to this day, and where she creates ethereal music drawing from a broad variety of inspirations, including literature, film and visual arts, as well as history and nature. Her new album, Intimate Strangers, documents her collaborative and multi-media performance with Nigerian author Emmanuel Iduma, commissioned by John Zorn. Much of it revolves around Iduma's stories and stories of others that he collected in his book, A Stranger's Pose, and deals with such themes as migration and displacement. It also continues a narrative that Serpa began in 2020 with Recognition: Music For a Silent Film. While that album grappled with the legacy of Portuguese colonialism in Africa via her own family's history, Intimate Strangers gazes back at colonial powers from the vantage point of Africa itself.
November 24, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Henry Cole
Puerto Rican master drummer/composer/arranger Henry Cole is known for his versatility and groove. Over the years, he has performed with many of the greats, from Miguel Zenón to Gary Burton and beyond. During this time of intense activity, he also developed his own idiosyncratic "mestizo sound," which synthesizes African, Indigeound and European influences in a contemporary jazz setting. This sound, also developed via a mixture of personal experiences within a wide range of styles and genres, reflects the eclectic of his Puerto Rican heritage. It is showcased on his upcoming bold and life-affirming work, Buscando la Vida, the music of which came from a profoundly personal place and was inspired by dramatic events in his recent history. The record features his dynamic ensemble, Villa Locura, augmented by the renowned Metropole Orkest and special guests.
November 17, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Amir ElSaffar
Trumpeter/vocalist/composer Amir ElSaffar is a Chicago native of Iraqi-American heritage. A visionary musician with a prominent background in classical music and jazz, ElSaffar is also a purveyor of old, endangered Arabic music. He is particularly fond of the Iraqi maqam, which he performs actively as a vocalist and santur player, and has integrated in his eclectic and idiosyncratic artistic vision. His new album, The Other Shore, was released earlier this year via Outhere and marks a further evolution for his Rivers of Sound ensemble, which has grown to become a 17-piece all-star lineup featuring instruments of various cultures and backgrounds. Yet, As ElSaffar explains via an official statement: "I'm less interested in the surface intermingling of cultures and more fascinated by the sonic possibilities in this unique combination of instruments from around the world."
November 10, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Adam Bałdych
Adam Bałdych is a Polish violin master who works within a wide range of settings and genres, and who is particularly known for leading a jazz violin renaissance in European jazz in later years. Yet, no matter the project, he is driven by one fundamental goal: to make music that communicates, able to enter people's lives and stay with them. His new album Poetry is a landmark project featuring his quintet and the great trumpeter/flugelhornist Paolo Fresu. It marks a further step in Bałdych's journey, away from mere virtuosity and towards a kind of authentic individual expression that feels more natural. Much of its music was written during the pandemic and is dedicated to his wife and his young son, who was born in 2020.
November 03, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Anna Gréta
Icelandic-born, Sweden-based singer/songwriter/pianist Anna Gréta was born in music (her father is acclaimed jazz saxophonist Sigurður Flosason) and has performed with some of the great Nordic jazz musicians of today. On October 29, she will release her debut album, Nightjar in the Northern Sky, via ACT Music. The record emerged from a period of two years and was partly influenced by the isolation of the global pandemic. It includes twelve original compositions, shaped by tinges of the familiar sonic Nordic surrealism, nature and Anna Gréta's own process of self-discovery. As an official press release puts it, "with each of the tracks on this album, she creates self-contained worlds that are part of a bigger picture, light-footed, relaxed, reduced, concentrated. And a remarkably multilayered, immersive and beautiful experience."
October 27, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Moor Mother
Camae Ayewa, a.k.a Moor Mother, is not only a musician but a poet, visual artist and prominent thinker. Having established her reputation as a force to be reckoned with in creative music everywhere, particularly with her debut album Fetish Bones from 2016, she has continued to share her thoughts in a variety of music and multimedia projects. Her latest album, Black Encyclopedia of the Air, is a collaboration with soundscape artist/producer Olof Melander and despite tackling such difficult themes as injustice, the erasure of African identity and a future without the stains of colonialism, she has described it as her most accessible album yet. As with all other Moor Mother releases, Black Encyclopedia of the Air also features a multitude of guest artists, instruments and voices, which together with a wide-ranging palette of influences and energy evoking the free jazz tradition is aptly described via an official press release as "a time traveler's guide to the modern world."
October 20, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Hiromi
Virtuoso pianist/composer Hiromi's new album, Silver Lining Suite, is a blend of classical composition and jazz invention. It is also her collaboration with violinist Tatsuo Nishie, concertmaster of the New Japan Philharmonic. The origins of this collaboration can be traced back to the pianist's Save Live Music series of concerts and livestreams, which took place at Blue Note Tokyo during the pandemic. It was Nishie who assembled the string quartet for this project. Silver Lining Suite, out now on Telarc, is a soundtrack representing the emotional toll of the pandemic. It takes listeners on an emotional journey, from the isolation and uncertainty of its early days to the fortitude and optimism that carried Hiromi and so many others through these trying times. "[The pandemic] was weird, worrying and uncertain in the beginning, full of negative emotions," she says via a press release. "I tried to find something positive I could do under this situation."
October 13, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Ches Smith and Daniel Brevil
Drummer Ches Smith and percussionist Daniel Brevil join us on this new episode of JAZZIZ Travel to talk about their collaboration on the new album, Path of Seven Colors, out now on Pyroclastic Records. This eight-track collection melds Haitian Voudou and contemporary jazz, and is performed by the We All Break ensemble, the brainchild of Ches Smith. The origins of We All Break can be traced back to 2013 and since then, the group has expanded into a stellar and multicultural quartet, with Smith and Brevil alongside pianist Matt Mitchell, saxophonist Miguel Zenón, rising-star bassist Nick Dunston, vocalist Sirene Dantor Rene, and Markus Schwartz and Fanfan Jean-Guy Rene.
October 06, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Daniel Garcia
Via de la Plata is an ancient commercial and pilgrimage path that crosses the West of Spain from North to South. It represents the country's main artery and allowed Spain to come together for the first time, bringing together people of different cultures, from Celtic and Nordic to Mediterranean and African, and from the Americas also. An awareness and passion for this melting pot of cultures inform the latest project by Daniel Garcia, Via de la Plata, released on September 24 via Act Music. This new record finds the pianist/composer/arranger digging deep into his heritage and the music of his country. It is also a culmination of his investigation of the link between jazz and flamenco, which was partly inspired by his Berklee School of Music teacher and mentor, Danilo Pérez. Via de la Plata is performed with a core trio and special guests, including Ibrahim Maalouf, Gerardo Núñez and Anat Cohen.
September 29, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Patrick Shiroishi
Los Angeles-based saxophonist/composer Patrick Shirioshi's previous LP, 2020's Descension, heavily focused on the experience of being inside a Japanese-American concentration camp. By doing so, he revisited one of the darkest pages in American history that is not talked about as often as it should. His new album, Hidemi, is a solo multilayered woodwind journey that is more on the personal experience of his grandfather, who appears on its cover, after getting out. Due out on October 29 via American Dream, Shirioshi's forthcoming full-length is not only a fascinating work of expressive, creative avant-garde music and improvisation. Through it, the multi-instrumentalist consciously aims to represent the Japanese-American experience past and present, acknowledging music as a means for communication and activism.
September 22, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Gisele Ben-Dor and Juanjo Mosalini
Argentinian Astor Piazzolla, born in 1921, leaned heavily on the jazz vocabulary to create the nuevo tango, a form of music in which new elements are incorporated into the traditional Argentinian tango. To celebrate the centennial of this groundbreaking music artist, conductor Gisele Ben-Dor and bandoneon virtuoso Juanjo Mosalini have released an exquisitely expressive tribute album titled Piazzolla: Cien Anos. The album was released on August 5 via Centaur and documents a live performance recorded in January 2020 with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra at the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This was neither the first time the pair have collaborated together nor is it the time they find themselves celebrating the legacy of Piazzolla. However, every time they do, they expose the heart of tango as Piazzolla imagined it: a cosmopolitan and emotional roller coaster, technically virtuosic, savage and tender.
September 07, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Bram Weijters
Pianist/composer Bram Weijters is based in Antwerp, Belgium, and is certainly one of the most exciting voices on the contemporary Belgian jazz scene. He has led and participated in a wide range of projects, including his Crazy Men ensemble, which recently released their second full-length record, The Return, out now on Sdban Ultra. The band consists of musicians from a wide array of contemporary jazz bands and offers thrilling reinterpretations of music from the Belgian jazz-rock and fusion scene from the 1970s, which was populated by both local and international talent. If you don't know much about this historic scene, then The Return and this podcast conversation are two good places to start. The album, recorded live and remixed in the studio, is the band's sophomore full-length and includes 14 reworkings of compositions from artists including Philip Catherine, Placebo, the Palle Mikelborg ensemble, Bob Porter, Bill Frisell and more.
September 01, 2021
Miles Monday: Merci Miles! with Kenny Garrett, Deron Johnson, Florence Joelle Halfon & Ashley Kahn
In this special "Miles Monday" episode of JAZZIZ Conversations, we discuss the recording, remastering and release of Merci Miles! (Live at Vienne), a previously unpublished live concert album made available by Rhino Records on June 25. The album captures an electrifying set by The Miles Davis Group at the Vienne Jazz Festival in the summer of 1991, marking one of Miles' final live performances before his death on September 28. We're joined in the conversation by Vince Wilburn Jr. (drummer, record producer and nephew of Miles Davis), saxophonist Kenny Garrett, keyboardist Deron Johnson, Merci Miles! co-producer Florence Joelle Halfon and jazz critic Ashley Kahn. Purchase your copy of Merci Miles! at the Miles Davis shop: https://www.milesdavis.com/albums/merci-miles-live-at-vienne/
August 25, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Sebastián de Urquiza
Double-bassist/composer/vocalist Sebastián de Urquiza, born in Boston but naturalized Argentinian, is a musician in constant growth. He recently released his large ensemble debut as a leader, Unity Vol. 1, with a second volume on the way. Recorded in Switzerland, the session features a multinational and multicultural lineup united by jazz and improvisation. Each of the compositions refers to a specific setting or climate, showcases that sensation of unity and comes with a great dose of feeling and sensation.
August 25, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Satoko Fujii
Japanese artist Satoko Fujii is one of the most exciting voices to have emerged from the avant-jazz scene of the '90s. A prolific bandleader of several ensembles large and small in different parts of the world, the pianist/accordionist/composer is fast approaching her 100th album. This year alone, she has released a number of noteworthy records, with more to follow before the year's end. Her latest LP is titled Moon on the Lake and was released on May 7 via Libra Records. It features Fujii alongside bassist Takashi Sugawa and drummer Ittetsu, two of the most in-demand younger musicians on the Japanese jazz scene, and marks her return to the standard piano trio for the first time since 2013. It is also a good starting point for an overview of Japan's jazz and creative music scene, and Fujii's own personal artistic journey.
August 18, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Peter K. Siegel on Joseph Spence
Richard Thompson, The Grateful Dead, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal. They are just some of the artists who have been influenced by Bahamian guitar legend Joseph Spence (1910-1984). By combining individual inspiration and talent with regional musical traditions, Spence created a seminal guitar style. Yet, it is also thanks to the work of such music preservationists as Peter K. Siegel that his legacy lives on to this day. The founder of the fabled Explorer Series for Nonesuch Records met and recorded Spence in New York City and the Bahamas in 1965 when he was only a teenager. He shares memories of spending time with Spence in his hometown and abroad in our latest episode of JAZZIZ Travel. During this time, he also recorded the guitar master in a variety of locations. A selection of these recordings is featured in a new LP titled Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing, released on July 16 via Smithsonian Folkways.
August 11, 2021
JAZZIZ Conversations: Guitar Legend John McLaughlin
A living legend of improvised music, with a career now spanning more than five decades, John McLaughlin is no stranger to translating tumultuous moments into compelling, thoughtful audio art. Witness his searing contributions to Miles Davis’s infamous Jack Johnson sessions, the explosively pioneering rock/jazz hybrid he helped create as a member of the first edition of Tony Williams’s Lifetime, or the expansive explorations encompassed by his own music -- be it the rhythmic revolution of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the unprecedented east/west fusion of Shakti, or the thrilling telepathic interplay his current outfit, the 4th Dimension. His newest album, Liberation Time, is set for release on July 16, 2021.
August 05, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Oscar Rossignoli
Honduran-born pianist Oscar Rossignoli folds many traditions into his music, from his classical music formation to his passion in Latin and North American jazz. In later years, he has been living in New Orleans and working with some of the city's best jazz musicians. He has also established his reputation in various settings and bands, including his brilliant Extended trio with Matt Booth and Brad Webb and by leading his own quartet. His latest self-released album, Inertia, marks his first full-length solo piano project. The record, which he says he had been wanting to do for a long time, showcases his long relationship with his instrument of choice, as well as his process of discovery through improvisation. Tracks range from original compositions to improvisations and include a nod to Chopin and a tribute to the late great Chick Corea.
August 04, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Jan Lundgren
Today, we speak with pianist/composer Jan Lundgren, one of the main exponents of Swedish jazz today, as well as a major proponent of the emancipation of European jazz from American jazz. Lundgren is based in Ystad, a small picturesque coastal town in the South of Sweden, where he also founded the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival, which returns this year on August 4-7. His latest album, Into the Night, was recorded at last year's edition of the festival and marks the debut of his new drummer-less piano trio with saxophonist Emile Parisien and bassist Lars Danielsson. The stirringly sensitive program features a healthy mix of originals and covers with stellar arrangements and captivating improvisation. Into the Night will be released on August 27 via ACT Music.
July 28, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Rodrigo Amarante
Brazilian-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer Rodrigo Amarante released his new eclectic and poetic album, Drama, on July 16 via Polyvinyl. This is the long-awaited follow-up to his 2014 solo album debut, Cavalo. It also follows his theme tune to the Netflix hit show Narcos, and several other projects, including as a member of Rio rockers Los Hermanos and collaborations with such greats as Gal Costa, Norah Jones and Gilberto Gil. Drama is a bilingual collection of new songs drawing on a wide range of styles, textures and emotions, and showcasing the artist's penchant for storytelling, as well as his own characteristic touch. In this podcast conversation, we find out more about his personal journey and history, from his early and formative years in Rio to the influence of his interest in filmmaking, his creative approaches to composition and arrangement, and much more.
July 21, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol
Turkish-American GRAMMY-nominated pianist/composer/scholar Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol deepens his singular approach to melding the sonorities of Turkish music with contemporary jazz on his forthcoming LP, An Elegant Ritual, due out July 16 via the DÜNYA label. This is a landmark release in his discography also because, while he has worked within a wide range of settings in the past, An Elegant Ritual marks his first-ever trio recordings, featuring James James Heazlewood-Dale on acoustic bass and George Lernis on drums, gongs and bendir.
July 07, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Min Xiao-Fen
Min Xiao-Fen is one of the most innovative interpreters of the pipa, one of the key instruments in Chinese music with a rich and storied history stretching back nearly two thousand years. Upon moving to the United States in the mid-'90s, she began to forge a new path for the pipa in modern jazz, free improvisation and contemporary music via collaborations with many creative music greats and through her own fascinating projects, including her work with her Blue Pipa Trio and her 2017 release, Mao, Monk and Me. Her forthcoming album, White Lotus, is a collaboration with guitarist Rez Abbasi and an original score she wrote for the 1934 Chinese silent film, The Goddess. The album is out on June 25 and ahead of its release, we decided to chat with Min Xiao-Fen about it. We also explored moments of her own artistic journey and the link between jazz and the Chinese music tradition.
June 10, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Nnenna Freelon
Multi-GRAMMY nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon released her first album in more than a decade on May 11. With its classic standards, jazz-infused re-imaginings of '70s soul hits and original compositions, Time Traveler compiles an intimate expression of love for her late husband, preeminent architect Philip Freelon, who passed away from ALS in 2019, and a universal love letter to all those who've lost someone dear. Freelon believes that music has a time-traveling quality. This allows us to expand on the central theme of our podcast. In our conversation, we also discuss the themes of grief and loss that are at the heart of her new record. "Singing from the heart of grief gave my voice a new shape and allowed a kind of freedom. I found unexpected gifts of hope and joy in the palms of sorrow," says Freelon. Listen to our podcast conversation with Nnenna Freelon via the player below. Time Traveler is out now via Origin Records and you can order it here. Featured photo by Chris Charles.
May 27, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Sunny Jain
Sunny Jain is an innovative percussionist/composer known for his music, which blends his Punjabi roots with his love of jazz, rock, funk and more. His new multi-disciplinary project "Phoenix Rise," which includes a new 10-track album and a "planet-based" recipe book, is out on May 21 and promotes a belief in global citizenship by supporting social justice movements.
May 20, 2021
Crate Digging: 10 Albums You Need to Know for May 2021
Remember record stores? Remember the thrill of turning your friends on to new music by swapping vinyl and CDs? Yeah, we do too. That’s why we’re rebooting that tradition for the digital age with our “Crate Digging” podcast series, in which we’ll search through crates of our memories to bring you a handful of album recommendations on a given theme. It’s social media in the truest sense of the term: no algorithms, no computer-generated playlist. Just jazz fans sharing records with other jazz fans. Welcome to the party! For this episode of Crate Digging, we talk about 10 new albums released this month (May 2021) that you need to know about! Albums mentioned in this episode: Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas - Other Worlds (Greenleaf); Mandy Barnett, Every Star Above (Melody Place/BMG); Noah Haidu - Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett (Sunnyside); Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band - Soul Conversations (Outside In); Sons of Kemet, Black to the Future (Impulse!); James Francies - Purest Form (Blue Note); Ralph Peterson Jr. - Raise Up Off Me (Onyx); Wadada Leo Smith, Milford Graves, Bill Laswell - Sacred Ceremonies (TUM); Anna Webber, Idiom (Pi); Dave Holland, Another Land (Edition).
May 13, 2021
JAZZIZ Travel: Habibi Funk founder Jannis Stürtz
JAZZIZ Travel is a new podcast series hosted by JAZZIZ online editor Matt Micucci that explores jazz and creative music in all four corners of the globe. In this series, you will hear conversations with artists and people talking about the significance of jazz as an art form, the influence of folk music traditions of different cultures and backgrounds, or simply sharing their thoughts and ideas. The first episode of the series features a conversation about Habibi Funk Records with its founder Jannis Stürtz. Habibi Funk is a Berlin-based record label dedicated to re-releasing and preserving music from the Arab-speaking world, often written during times of war or exile, and heard by few. This is music made by Arab artists blending local and regional music traditions with musical interests from outside the regions, playing with such styles and genres as funk, soul, rock and more, including jazz. Habibi Funk's latest release is Fine Anyways, which compiles recordings by Lebanese singer/songwriter Rogér Fakhr and, like the rest of the Habibi Funk catalog, will surely sound to many listeners as a revelation. You can listen to the conversation with Jannis Stürtz via the player below and order Fine Anyways here.
May 06, 2021
JAZZIZ Not What You Think: Richard Elliot
In today's episode JAZZIZ Publisher and Founder Michael Fagien speaks with Saxaphonist Richard Elliot about life, family, the industry and most importantly music.
May 03, 2021
Crate Digging: Third Stream
Remember record stores? Remember the thrill of turning your friends on to new music by swapping vinyl and CDs? Yeah, we do too. That’s why we’re rebooting that tradition for the digital age with our “Crate Digging” podcast series, in which we’ll search through crates of our memories to bring you a handful of album recommendations on a given theme. It’s social media in the truest sense of the term: no algorithms, no computer-generated playlist. Just jazz fans sharing records with other jazz fans. You can listen to the podcast version via the player below. Write-ups of individual albums and sample tracks follow. Welcome to the party! For this episode of Crate Digging, we have chosen some of our favorite third stream albums! Albums included: Modern Jazz Quartet, Django (Prestige, 1956) Gunther Schuller, Jumpin' in the Future (GM, 1988) Jacques Loussier, Play Bach N.1 (Decca, 1959) Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963) André Hodeir, Jazz et Jazz (Fontana, 1959) Various Artists, The Birth of Third Stream (Columbia, 1996) Eric Dolphy, Out There (New Jazz, 1961) John Lewis, Jazz Abstractions (Atlantic, 1961) Franco Ambrosetti, Music for Symphony and Jazz Band (Enja, 1991) Joe Lovano, Rush Hour (Blue Note, 1994)
April 29, 2021
Crate Digging: 10 Albums You Need To Know for April 2021
A sax legend’s first album in eight years; a singer/songwriter’s first-ever full-length live record; the release of a long-lost session by an elusive jazz icon. All this and more in our list of albums released this month that you need to know about. Gary Bartz, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, Gary Bartz JID 006 (Jazz Is Dead) Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble, NOW (International Anthem) The Dave Weckl Band, Live in St. Louis Chesterfield Festival 2019 (Autumn Hill) Pasquale Grasso, Solo Ballads (Sony Masterworks) Vijay Iyer Trio, Uneasy (ECM) Norah Jones, ‘Til We Meet Again (Blue Note) Dan Wilson, Vessels of Wood and Earth (Brother Mister/Mack Avenue) Hasaan Ibn Ali, Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album (Omnivore) Michael Wollny, Emile Parisien, Tim Lefebvre and Christian Lillinger, XXXX (ACT) Tony Allen, There Is No End (Blue Note)
April 21, 2021
Crate Digging: Jazz & Sports
Remember record stores? Remember the thrill of turning your friends on to new music by swapping vinyl and CDs? Yeah, we do too. That’s why we’re rebooting that tradition for the digital age with our “Crate Digging” video series, in which we’ll search through crates of our memories to bring you a handful of album recommendations on a given theme. It’s social media in the truest sense of the term: no algorithms, no computer-generated playlist. Just jazz fans sharing records with other jazz fans. For this episode of Crate Digging, we have chosen some of our favorite albums testifying to the link between jazz and sports! Ralph Sutton Quartet, Jazz at the Olympics (Omega, 1961) Bob James, Touchdown (Tappan Zee, 1978) Oscar Feldman, Gol (ZOHO, 2017) André Previn & Russ Freeman, Double Play! (Contemporary, 1957) Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Whipped Cream & Other Delights (A&M, 1965) Marcus Shelby Orchestra, Transitions (MSO, 2019) Jamiroquai, Travelling Without Moving (Sony/Columbia/Work, 1996) The Great Jazz Trio, Someday My Prince Will Come (Eighty-Eights, 2004) Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Golden Boy (Colpix, 1963) Eddie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri Is Doin' It in the Park (G.R.G., 2013)
April 15, 2021
Crate Digging: Jazz & Literature
Welcome to the party! For this episode of Crate Digging, we have chosen some of our favorite albums testifying to the longstanding link between jazz and literature!
April 08, 2021
Crate Digging: Spiritual Jazz Albums
You can listen to the podcast version via the player below. Write-ups of individual albums and sample tracks follow. Welcome to the party! For this episode of Crate Digging, we have chosen some of our favorite spiritual jazz albums! Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra, Promises (Luaka Bop, 2021) Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse!, 1971) John McLaughlin, My Goal’s Beyond (Douglas, 1971) Lonnie Liston Smith, Astral Traveling (Flying Dutchman, 1973) Muriel Grossman, Reverence (Dreamland, 2019) Sun Ra, Space Is the Place (Blue Thumb, 1973) McCoy Tyner, Asante (Blue Note, 1974) Tom Scott, The Honeysuckle Breeze (Impulse!, 1967) Maisha, There is a Place (Brownswood, 2019) Charlie Haden and Hank Jones, Steal Away (Verve, 1995)
April 01, 2021
Crate Digging: Spring Awakenings
This week on the Crate Digging podcast, we celebrate spring with albums that revel in themes of nature, featuring Bill Evans, Joao Gilberto, Marian McPartland, Earth Wind & Fire and more! Subscribe to JAZZIZ Magazine: https://www.jazziz.com/subscription-options Sign up for the JAZZIZ Vinyl Club: https://www.cambeywest.com/subscribe2/?p=JAZ&f=vinylclub
March 24, 2021
Crate Digging: 10 Albums You Need To Know for March 2021
A legendary soul, funk and R&B outfit’s 50th-anniversary celebration; a bandleader’s love letter to his Southern roots and the heritage of Black Music; a tribute to a free jazz trailblazer. All this and more in our list of ten albums out this month that you need to know about. Gretchen Parlato, Flor (Edition) Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, Tone Poet (Blue Note) Miguel Zenón, Law Years: The Music of Ornette Coleman (Miel) Behn Gillece, Still Doing Our Thing (Posi-Tone) Jon Batiste, We Are (Verve) Veronica Swift, This Bitter Earth (Mack Avenue) Dr. Lonnie Smith, Breathe (Blue Note) Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra, Promises (Luaka Bop) Jim Snidero, Live at the Deer Head Inn (Savant) Pat Metheny, Road to the Sun (BMG) Tower of Power, 50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater – Oakland, CA – June 2018 (Mack Avenue)
March 17, 2021
Crate Digging: Vanguard Vocalists
This week on the podcast, we talk about some of our favorite young vocalists of this generation and ones to be on the lookout for in the near future. These are our vanguard vocalists. Zara McFarlane, Arise (Brownswood, 2017) Veronica Swift, This Bitter Earth (Mack Avenue, 2021) Silvana Estrada, Lo Sagrado (self-released, 2017) The Brianna Thomas Band, Everybody Knows (Breathline, 2020) Jazzmeia Horn, A Social Call (Prestige, 2017) Vuyo Sotashe on Fima Chupakhin, Water (self-released, 2019) Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue, 2017) Michael Mayo, “You and You” Kandace Springs, The Women Who Raised Me (Blue Note, 2020) Samara Joy, “Stardust”
March 11, 2021
Crate Digging with Pedrito Martinez: Life-Changing Albums
This week on the podcast, we sit down with Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez to discuss the albums that changed his life. Pedrito was a founding member of the group Yerba Buena and has performed and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield and Eric Clapton. He was also featured in Season 3 of the hit Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. His new album, Acertijos (RiddlesI), is due out March 19, 2021.
March 03, 2021
Crate Digging with Jeff Coffin and Derek Brown: Dynamic Duo Albums
Saxophonists Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band) and Derek Brown (Beatbox Saxophone) will release a new album, Symbiosis, on EarUp Records on February 26. They sat down with JAZZIZ Crate Digging hosts Brian Zimmerman and Matt Micucci to discuss their favorite jazz albums featuring dynamic duos. Albums and tracks featured in this episode: Chick Corea/Bobby Mcferrin - PLAY “Blue Bossa” Jan Garbarek/Charlie Haden/Egberto Gismonti - FOLK SONGS “Equilibrist” Abdullah Ibrahim/Johnny Dyani - GOOD NEWS FROM AFRICA “The Pilgrim” John Coltrane/Rashied Ali - INTERSTELLAR SPACE “Leo” Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden - JASMINE “One Day I’ll Fly Away” Milford Graves/David Murray - REAL DEAL “Stated with Peace” Archie Shepp/Mal Waldren - LEFT ALONE REVISITED “Left Alone” Tony Bennett/Bill Evans “My Foolish Heart”
February 24, 2021
Crate Digging: Remembering Chick Corea
In this episode of Crate Digging, we remember the life and legacy of pianist Chick Corea, who died last week after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. JAZZIZ Editors Matt Micucci and Brian Zimmerman share their favorite albums from across Chick's discography, and they even read a few album recommendations from our fans on social media. Chick, this one's for you. Thanks for the music, maestro.
February 17, 2021
Crate Digging: Valentine’s Day Albums
Remember record stores? Remember the thrill of turning your friends on to new music by swapping vinyl and CDs? Yeah, we do too. That’s why we’re rebooting that tradition for the digital age with our “Crate Digging” series, in which we’ll search through crates of our memories to bring you a handful of album recommendations on a given theme. It’s social media in the truest sense of the term: no algorithms, no computer-generated playlist. Just jazz fans sharing records with other jazz fans. This week we bring you a list of some of our favorite Valentine’s Day albums. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963) James Moody, Moody's Mood for Love (Argo, 1957) Miles Davis, Porgy and Bess (Columbia, 1959) Patrice Rushen, Straight from the Heart (Elektra, 1982) Marquis Hill, Love Tape (Black Unlimited, 2019) Frank Sinatra, Songs for Young Lovers (Capitol, 1954)
February 11, 2021
Crate Digging: Outstanding Debut Albums
Remember record stores? Remember the thrill of turning your friends on to new music by swapping vinyl and CDs? Yeah, we do too. That’s why we’re rebooting that tradition for the digital age with our “Crate Digging” video series, in which we’ll search through crates of our memories to bring you a handful of album recommendations on a given theme. It’s social media in the truest sense of the term: no algorithms, no computer-generated playlist. Just jazz fans sharing records with other jazz fans. You can watch a full-length discussion of the albums via the video player below. Write-ups of individual albums and sample tracks follow. Welcome to the party. Wishing you a happy new year, this week we bring you a list of some of our favorite jazz debut albums.
February 04, 2021
JAZZIZ Crate Digging: Jazz Meets Hip-Hop
Jazz and hip-hop are dialects of the same language. Put them together, and their conversation is sublime. From jazz artists with hip-hop sensibilities to rappers versed in the rhythms of jazz, here are six albums that bridge the gap. Look out for our Jazz Meets Hip-Hop print issue coming March 2021. Become a subscriber today: https://www.jazziz.com/subscription-options
January 27, 2021
10 Albums You Need To Know: December 2020
A fabled guitarist’s fully solo debut album; a testament to a jazz great’s continued legacy; unheard outtakes from a legendary session. All this and more in our list of ten albums out this December 2020 that you need to know.
December 09, 2020
Miles Monday: Richard Howell
Richard Howell is a Bay Area saxophonist who has performed and recorded with numerous pop, soul, and jazz music icons such as Etta James, Chaka Khan and Maurice White. His new album is ‘Moon Over Tiburon.’ It can be ordered on his website.
December 08, 2020
Crate Digging Ep. 6: Best Albums of 2020 (Part 1)
We look back on a year of improvisation, change, adaptability and, yes, even some hope, via the best albums of 2020.
December 04, 2020
Miles Monday: Mahavishnu Orchestra's Ralphe Armstrong
Ralphe Armstrong is a bass player from Detroit, Michigan. While still in his teens, he was hired by John McLaughlin to perform in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. He has since toured and recorded with Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, Carlos Santana, Geri Allen, Lenny White, Herbie Hancock and more.
November 24, 2020
Crate Digging Ep. 5: Jazz Meets Disney
In this episode of Crate Digging, we explore albums at the happy intersection of jazz and Disney. Here's what it sounds like when America's original art form comes to the Happiest Place on Earth.
November 19, 2020
Miles Monday: Keyboardist Brandon Coleman
Brandon Coleman is a Los Angeles-based keyboardist who has performed with the industry's most sought after musicians, including Stanley Clark, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Brain Mcknight, Stevie Wonder, Esperanza Spalding and many more. His latest album is 'Resistance.'
November 17, 2020
Crate Digging Ep. 4: West Coast Jazz
In this episode of Crate Digging, JAZZIZ Editors Brian Zimmerman and Matt Micucci share their favorite albums from the West Coast jazz scene, then and now.
November 12, 2020
Miles Monday: Bassist Ben Williams
Ben Williams is a bassist, bandleader and composer from Washington, D.C. In 2009, he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition, which led to stints with Stefon Harris, Bilal and Pat Metheny. His latest album is 'I Am a Man.'
November 10, 2020
Crate Digging: Jazz Albums for Election Week
In this episode of Crate Digging, we explore recent jazz albums with political themes. View the full list of albums here: https://www.jazziz.com/crate-digging-our-favorite-albums-for-election-week/
November 05, 2020
Miles Monday: Jazz on Film
We look forward to our Winter 2020 “Jazz on Film” issue by talking with Vince Wilburn Jr. about Miles’ love for cinema and his history as an actor.
November 03, 2020
JAZZIZ Live Ep. 108: Vocalist Luba Mason
The classically trained singer, pianist, dancer and Broadway actor. Her new album 'Triangle' was released in August. Mason has trademarked her own musical format called Mixtura, "a blend of different musical currents.
October 30, 2020
JAZZIZ Live Ep. 107: Marc Free of Posi-Tone Records
Marc Free is a musician, poet, record producer, entrepreneur and founder of the California-based jazz label Posi-Tone Records, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
October 29, 2020
Miles Monday: Cameron Graves
Cameron Graves is a keyboardist, composer and founding member of The West Coast Get Down. A frequent collaborator of Kamasi Washington, he appeared on the saxophonist's groundbreaking album 'The Epic.' Graves' own debut album, 'Planetary Prince,' was released in 2017.
October 27, 2020
Crate Digging: Albums We Loved This Week
JAZZIZ Editors Brian Zimmerman and Matt Micucci dig through the crates to bring you albums we loved this week, along with news, reviews and more!
October 23, 2020
JAZZIZ Live: Reza Ackbaraly of Qwest TV
Reza Ackbaraly is the co-founder, along with Quincy Jones, of Qwest TV, a subscription video-on-demand service featuring jazz and related eclectic music. It has been called the "Netflix" of improvised music.
October 22, 2020
Miles Monday: The Potash Twins
Ezra and Adeev Potash are hosts of Bravo's new digital series Beats + Bites with the Potash Twins. They are dedicated food adventurers and internationally known jazz recording artists. Their 2017 Travel Channel miniseries Southern Road Trip with The Potash Twins was produced in2017 by Bizarre Foods star Andrew Zimmern.
October 20, 2020
Miles Monday: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine is an actor, photographer and lecturer. His TV acting credits include recurring roles on The Chi, The Knick, Treme, Heroes, and guest-starring roles on The Newsroom and Bones. His feature film acting credits include Blood Diamond and 40.
October 13, 2020
Crate Digging: Albums We Loved This Week
JAZZIZ Editors Brian Zimmerman and Matt Micucci share the albums they’ve been listening to this week. Viewers are welcome to do the same on our Facebook page!
October 12, 2020
JAZZIZ Live: Catching Up with Dave Koz
Dave Koz is an internationally acclaimed saxophonist who has garnered nine GRAMMY® nominations and 11 No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. His new album ‘A New Day’ is due out October 9, and he’ll be hosting a virtual album release party to celebrate.
October 08, 2020
Miles Monday: James Mtume
James Mtume is a percussionist who performed in Miles Davis’ band from 1971 to 1975. He has appeared on 80 albums with a variety of other notable musicians—including Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Roberta Flack and Lonnie Liston Smith. His namesake group Mtume had several No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts.
October 06, 2020
10 Albums You Need To Know: October 2020
A long lost live album from the First Lady of Song; the return of an interplanetary ensemble; a record of kaleidoscopic music. All this and more on our list of jazz albums out this October 2020 that you need to know.
October 02, 2020
Miles Monday: Keyon Harrold, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Etienne Charles
We mark the 29th anniversary of Miles Davis’ passing with a trumpet summit featuring Keyon Harrold, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Etienne Charles and a few other special guests.
September 29, 2020
Keyboardist David Garfield on Smokey Robinson, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder & More
David Garfield is an in-demand keyboardist from Los Angeles. He has recorded with Smokey Robinson, Cher, Larry Carlton, Steve Lukather, Spinal Tap, George Benson and The Manhattan Transfer. His new album, ‘Stretchin’ Outside the Box’ is due out soon.
September 25, 2020
Reading Jazz: Five Essential Nonfiction Books
In today’s episode, we’ll explore five essential books of nonfiction that provide unique insights into the history of jazz.
September 23, 2020
Miles Monday with Trumpeter Charles Tolliver
Charles Tolliver is a trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader who has recorded with jazz heavies including Andrew Hill, Oliver Nelson, Gerald Wilson and Max Roach. His new album, Connect, is his first release in more than a decade. Buy it here: https://amzn.to/3hSmGhD
September 22, 2020
David Sancious: Keyboardist for Jeff Beck, E-Street Band & More
David Sancious is a world-renowed, Hall of Fame keyboardist and musician and has worked with Jeff Beck, Bruce Springsteen, Seal, and more. His new album 'Eyes Wide Open' was released in April.
September 16, 2020
Miles Monday with Christian McBride
Christian McBride is a six-time GRAMMY-winning bassist and composer. His new album ‘For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver’ is a tribute to Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery and Oliver Nelson. Buy it here: https://amzn.to/3iuREO1
September 14, 2020
Coltrane News + Our Favorite Trane Albums
We share some exciting news for Coltrane fans (and vinyl record collectors). Plus, we’ll count down five of our favorite Coltrane records.
September 11, 2020
Miles Monday: Saxophonist and Producer Terrace Martin
Terrace Martin is a multi-instrumentalist and producer who has worked on records with several prominent artists in hip-hop and R&B, including Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Busta Rhymes and Stevie Wonder. His new album Dinner Party -- featuring Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, and 9th Wonder – was released in July.
September 08, 2020
Jazz Electric Bass: Five Essential Albums
JAZZIZ LIVE host Brian Zimmerman walks us through five essential electric bass albums that should be in every jazz fan's collection.
September 02, 2020
Miles Monday with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is a trumpeter and composer from New Orleans. His unique brand of music fuses African- and African-American-rooted genres like West African percussion, Afro-Caribbean styles, hip-hop and brass band music. His latest album, Axiom, was recorded live at the Blue Note jazz club in New York in New York. Axiom is available here: https://amzn.to/2YUIH8M
September 01, 2020
JAZZIZ Live: Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed trumpeter, composer and bandleader, an educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He currently serves as Managing and Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center. His new album ‘The Ever Fonky Lowdown,’ was released exclusively on digital platforms on August 21; stream or buy here: https://amzn.to/3gt4zOD.
August 26, 2020
Miles Monday: John Beasley On Miles, Monk & Musical Directing
John Beasley is a Grammy-nominated pianist, composer, arranger, conductor and musical director. He was the one-time keyboardist for Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. As the bandleader of the MONK’estra, he reimagines the work of Thelonious Monk. The group’s latest album, can be ordered here: https://amzn.to/3gwdZck
August 25, 2020
Actor Andy Garcia & Drummer Richard Baratta on Music, Movies
Andy Garcia is an Oscar-nominated actor and director who has appeared in such films as The Godfather Part III and Ocean’s 11. He was Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nomination for his titular role in For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. Richard Baratta is a film producer whose recent production credits include The Joker and The Irishman. He’s also a jazz drummer whose new album, Music In Film: The Reel Deal is out September 25.
August 21, 2020
Gerald Clayton Discusses His Blue Note Records Debut
Gerald Clayton is a four-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer. He has performed and recorded with a range of distinctive artists from Diana Krall and Roy Hargrove to John Scofield and Diane Reeves. His new album, Happening: Live At The Village Vanguard, is his label debut on Blue Note Records. Gerald Clayton - Happening: Live At The Village Vanguard https://amzn.to/2YgupyY
August 19, 2020
Miles Monday: Miles News, Bill Evans' Birthday, Big Announcements & More!
In this episode, we discuss news from the world of Miles Davis, celebrate the birthday of Bill Evans and discuss upcoming guests on Miles Monday!
August 18, 2020
Bandleader Maria Schneider on Conquering the Data Lords
Maria Schneider is a composer, arranger and bandleader whose namesake orchestra has received twelve GRAMMY nominations and five GRAMMY awards. The orchestra’s latest album, Data Lords, is a musical examination of two very polarized worlds: the digital world and the organic world.
August 14, 2020
Jazz Guitar: Six Essential Albums
JAZZIZ LIVE host Brian Zimmerman walks us through SIX essential guitar albums that should be in every jazz fan’s collection.
August 13, 2020
Carlos Santana & Cindy Blackman Santana
Carlos Santana's wife, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, will release a solo album, Give the Drummer Some, on September 18. The 17-track collection will feature Cindy on vocals and drums, with guitars by Carlos on eight tracks. Other guests include Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Living Colour's Vernon Reid and jazz-fusion great John McLaughlin.
August 11, 2020
#MilesMonday with Vince Wilburn Jr. and Erin Davis
For today’s episode, co-hosts Brian Zimmerman and Vince Wilburn Jr. are joined by Miles Davis’ son, Erin Davis, to talk about news from the Miles Davis Estate.
August 11, 2020
Carol Welsman & CD Giveaway
Carol Welsman is an internationally acclaimed singer and pianist whose expressive vocal styling and dynamic stage presence have captivated audiences around the world. With her new album Dance With Me, she makes her foray into Latin jazz.
July 31, 2020
Brian Bromberg Honors Jimi Hendrix
Brian Bromberg is a bass player whose career bridges straightahead jazz and fusion. His new album, Plays Jimi Hendrix, will be released on September 18, the 50th anniversary of Hendrix’s passing.
July 30, 2020
Miles Monday: Lenny White
Lenny was the drummer Miles Davis' famous 'Bitches Brew' sessions. Watch for the LIVE video on our Facebook feed! #MilesMonday
July 27, 2020
10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Keeping a Record Collection
Today we are joined by Jeff Coates, in-house analog expert for Pro-Ject Audio, to discuss some tips and tricks for keeping a record collection.
July 24, 2020
Good Vibes with Warren Wolf + Jazz News
Warren Wolf is an acclaimed vibraphonist from Baltimore, Maryland. His new album ‘Reincarnation’ pays tribute to his love for the R&B and soul hits that served as the soundtrack to his formative years in the 1990s. Plus, news of an exciting partnership between NASA and vocalist Gregory Porter.
July 23, 2020
Viewer Call In Show: YOU Review Your Favorite Albums
In tonight’s episode, YOU get to review your favorite albums on air. [link will be provided in the chat once we go live] to join the show and we’ll discuss the albums you’ve been enjoying this month! ( please have your audio and video ready as our producer Geoff, will be able to see and hear once you join to make sure you are ready to come on the show!)
July 22, 2020
JAZZIZ Last Call: Talking Wes Montgomery with Guitarist Norman Brown
Norman Brown is a Grammy award-winning contemporary jazz guitarist who has sold over 2 million albums in his career. He has been called “one of the greatest, most articulate guitarists out there” by George Benson. His new album ‘Heart to Heart’ is due out August 7 on Shanachie Records.
July 20, 2020
JAZZIZ Last Call: Drummer Dave Weckl and Vocalist Clivia Tanisi
Dave Weckl is a Grammy-winning drummer who has performed with Chick Corea's Elektric and Akoustic Bands. Clivia Tanisi is an Italian-born vocalist who became a professional jazz singer at the age of 14. The husband and wife team will release a new EP, Love’s Way Back, on July 3.
July 17, 2020
JAZZIZ Last Call: Our Favorite Jazz Album Covers
As a preview of our upcoming “Art of the Album” issue, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite album covers. We invite you to do the same in the comments!
July 16, 2020
JAZZIZ Last Call: Talking Miles Davis & More with Vince Wilburn Jr.
Vince Wilburn Jr. is a drummer and the nephew of jazz legend Miles Davis. He’s also the bandleader of the progressive all-star ensemble The Miles Davis Electric Band, featuring alumni from Miles’ most iconic groups.
July 15, 2020
T.S. Monk on Discovering a Previously Unreleased Album by Thelonious Monk
T.S. Monk is a jazz drummer, composer and bandleader. He is the son of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. An unheard recording of a 1968 high school performance the legendary jazz pianist, Palo Alto, is set for release by Impulse! Records on July 31.
July 14, 2020
Catching Up with Drummer Peter Erskine
In this episode of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass, we are joined by drum legend Peter Erskine. Known as a member of Weather Report and Steps Ahead, Erskine has appeared in over 500 albums and along with his work as a leader, has worked alongside many of the greats. In 1992, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. To find out more about him, visit him online.
June 26, 2020
JAZZIZ Happy Hour: Gino Vannelli
Gino Vannelli is a Canadian rock singer and songwriter who had several hit songs in the 1970s and 1980s. His best-known singles include “I Just Wanna Stop”, “Living Inside Myself” and “Wild Horses”.
June 19, 2020
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Pat Coil
A conversation between JAZZIZ Publisher and Founder Michael Fagien and pianist Pat Coil, whose recording credits include Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, Trisha Yearwood, Ernie Watts, Michael McDonald, George Strait, Peter Cetera, Scott Henderson & Tribal Tech, Barry Manilow, Michael Feinstein, Kenny Rogers, Travis Tritt, and Woody Herman.
June 15, 2020
Bassist Jimmy Haslip on Jaco, Fourplay, and Turning the Bass World Upside-Down
In this episode of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass, we are joined by influential and versatile bassist Jimmy Haslip. Known as a founding member of the jazz-fusion group the Yellowjackets, Haslip was also an early user of the five-string electric bass.
May 29, 2020
Saxophonist Boney James on His 'Solid' Reputation in Jazz
In this episode of JAZZIZ Daily Brunch, we are joined by four-time GRAMMY-nominated and multi-platinum saxophonist/composer Boney James, who will be releasing his new album, Solid, on June 12 via Concord Records.
May 24, 2020
JAZZIZ Daily Brunch: Al Di Meola
In today’s episode of JAZZIZ Daily Brunch, we are joined by Al Di Meola, who, for the past four decades, has been recognized internationally as a virtuoso of the highest order. The guitarist/composer is known for his work in jazz fusion and world music, bean his career as a guitarist in the group Return to Forever in 1974 and, between the ’70s and ’80s, released such critically and commercially successful albums as Elegant Gypsy and Friday Night in San Francisco. He recently released Across the Universe, which we featured on our list of ten albums out in March 2020 you need to know. This is his sophomore recording in tribute to The Beatles, whom he recognizes as a major influence that prompted him to start playing guitar.
May 02, 2020
JAZZIZ Track by Track: Raul Midon Reflects On His New Album 'The Mirror'
Raul Midon, the endlessly talented vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, walks us through his new album, The Mirror, track by track. The Mirror was released on March 13 on Mack Avenue Records. For more info, visit mackavenue.com or raulmidon.com. Thanks again to all of our sponsors. Links to products described in the podcast can be found here: Qobuz.com: qobuz.com/signup Mack Avenue Records: mackavenue.com Smoke Sessions Records: smokesessionsrecords.com The Master Sessions: themastersessions.com Nandan Gautam: nandangautam.com Vanquish Studios: vanquishstudios.com
March 18, 2020
10 Albums You Need To Know for February 2020
JAZZIZ Editors Matt Micucci and Brian Zimmerman discuss the 10 albums you absolutely must know for February 2020! This month's list includes new works by Pat Metheny, Christian McBride, Makaya McCraven, Kat Edmonson and more! Thanks again to all of our sponsors. Links to products described in the podcast can be found here: Qobuz.com: qobuz.com/signup Mack Avenue Records: mackavenue.com Smoke Sessions Records: smokesessionsrecords.com St. Lucia Jazz Festival: jazz.org The Master Sessions: themastersessions.com Morris Paul Kennedy: musicbymorris.net Cone of Confusion: coneofconfusion.bandcamp.com Nandan Gautam: nandangautam.com Wayne Wilkinson: waynewilkinson.com Vanquish Studios: vanquishstudios.com
February 29, 2020
Made in Miami: Snarky Puppy's Michael League on Why the GroundUP Music Festival Calls the Magic City Home
Bassist Michael League is co-founder of the genre-fusing jazz collective Snarky Puppy and the brains behind the band's homegrown label, GroundUP Music. For the past four years, he's also served as the Artistic Director of the label's namesake festival, the GroundUP Music Fest, whose 2020 edition took place in Miami Beach February 14-16. With a maximum capacity of roughly 2,000 people, GroundUP is like no other music fest you've ever experienced. It's intimate and wholeheartedly communal, so it isn't uncommon to bump shoulders with participating musicians as they rove the festival grounds alongside you. In addition to Snarky Puppy, performers for the fest included saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Brian Blade, vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant and one-time Doobie Brother Michael McDonald. JAZZIZ was onsite at the fest to take in the sights and sounds, we had the chance to sit down with League backstage to discuss the origins of the fest and plans for the future.
February 21, 2020
JAZZIZ Not What You Think: Kirk Whalum
A gem from the vault, this episode of JAZZIZ Not What You Think features JAZZIZ Publisher Michael Fagien in conversation with world-class saxophonist Kirk Whalum. The interview took place in 2019 in advance of the release of Whalum's album Humanite, which would go on to become a "Critics' Pick" for Album of the Year in the Winter 2019-2020 issue of JAZZIZ. Faith, family and, of course, music are the topics of discussion. Enjoy this blast from the past. We'll see you next week with another fresh episode.
February 11, 2020
10 Albums You Need To Know for January 2020
Our first 10 Albums You Need To Know list for 2020 starts the year off on a high note, featuring new works by piano wunderkind Joey Alexander, guitarist Jeff Parker, New York "cave music" trio Moon Hooch and the legendary Wayne Shorter with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Hear who else made the list in our first and only episode to feature co-host Matt Micucci's terrible Matthew McConaughey impression!
January 27, 2020
Benny Benack III Has A Lot of Livin' To Do
Joining the show for our first podcast of 2020 is trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III. At just 28 years old, Benny has an old soul, a quick mind and a big heart, and his music reflects both his love for the jazz tradition and his ear for the modern sound. His new album, A Lot of Livin' To Do, is due out January 24.
January 10, 2020
Confidentially L.A. with Aubrey Logan
Our guest on the podcast today is trombonist and vocalist Aubrey Logan. Aubrey is a frequent guest of Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox and is currently on the road with saxophonist Dave Koz as part of his Summer Horns tour. She has just released a new album on Resonance Records, Where The Sunshine Is Expensive, a musical chronicling of her relocation from Seattle to Los Angeles.
December 26, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Track by Track with Bria Skonberg
Trumpeter, vocalist and composer Bria Skonberg joins the podcast to walk us through her latest album, Nothing Never Happens, track by track. We'll hear some backstory about each song, then listen to an excerpt in a whole new context. Peek inside the mind of one of the most forward-thinking trumpeters on the scene courtesy of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass.
December 20, 2019
Special Holiday Edition: Christmas with Jonathan Butler
On this special holiday edition of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass, guitarist and vocalist Jonathan Butler joins the podcast to discuss his new album, Christmas Together, which was released on October 4 on Mack Avenue Records. The album is a festive affair, featuring contributions from Dave Koz, Keiko Matsui, Kirk Whalum and other musicians he counts as friends. Butler also tells about his holiday traditions as a kid -- he grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, which meant he celebrated Christmas in the summer! -- and shares some of his favorite Christmas recipes and gift ideas.
November 27, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Tucson Jazz Fest Headliner Grace Kelly
Joining the JAZZIZ Backstage Pass podcast today is the incredibly talented and eminently fashionable saxophonist Grace Kelly. Now, even if you don’t Grace Kelly by name, you’ve probably heard her before. She's performed with keyboardist Jon Batiste on The Late Show with Steven Colbert and was also among the performers at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. She was also something of a protege of the late saxophone master Phil Woods. The two even released a joint album together, The Man with the Hat, in 2011, when she was just 20 years old. More recently, Kelly was awarded the top prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition for her original song "Feels Like Home" featuring Elliott Skinner. (Her win, it should be mentioned, came in the Country Music category, a testament to her amazing versatility.) Kelly also happens to crush it in the social media game. She’s posting music videos all the time, including, most recently, a mash-up of Billie Elish’s “Bad Guy” with Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” featuring bassist Nik West. Her most recent album is Go Time: Live in LA. Our conversation was sponsored by the Tucson Jazz Festival, which runs from January 10 through 20 in various locations around Tucson. Kelly will appear at the festival on January 12, sharing a double bill with Aubrey Logan of Postmodern Jukebox and Dave Koz’s Summer Horns. For tickets and more info visit tucsonjazzfestival.org
November 22, 2019
10 Albums You Need To Know for November 2019
In this week's episode, JAZZIZ online editor Matt Micucci joins Backstage Pass host Brian Zimmerman to review the 10 Albums You Need To Know for November 2019! Also discussed in this podcast: gnarly beards, college film majors, jazz bagpipes and more! Here's the full list of albums discussed in this episode: Bria Skonberg, Nothing Never Happens (self-released) Release date: November 1 Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This (Decca) Release date: November 1 Jon Batiste, Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard (Verve) Release date: November 1 Keith Jarrett, Munich 2016 (ECM) Release date: November 1 Dave Douglas, Engage (Greenleaf) Release date: November 8 Kyle Eastwood, Cinematic (Jazz Village) Release date: November 8 David S. Ware, Théâtre Garonne, 2008 (AUM Fidelity) Release date: November 15 Marius Neset and London Sinfonietta, Viaduct (ACT) Release date: November 22 Bobby Watson, Vincent Herring, Gary Bartz, Bird at 100 (Smoke Sessions) Release date: November 29 Various Artists, If You’re Going to the City: A Tribute to Mose Allison (Fat Possum) Release date: November 29 Feature photo of Bria Skonberg by Dario Acosta
November 19, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Marcus Hubbard of The Soul Rebels
Trumpeter Marcus Hubbard, a New Orleans native now based in Houston, is a veteran member of The Soul Rebels, a brass band fusing sounds from trad-jazz to N’awlins funk to contemporary trap music. The Soul Rebel’s new album, Poetry In Motion, is available now on Mack Avenue Records. In this episode, we talk about the making of the new album, the history and current role of brass bands in New Orleans culture, the musicality of Metallica and the best place for catfish in The Big Easy.
November 08, 2019
JAZZIZ Not What You Think: Harry Connick Jr.
Joining JAZZIZ Publisher Michael Fagien on the podcast today is pianist, singer, actor and talk show host Harry Connick Jr. Connick's new album, True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter, pays tribute to one of the most iconic Great American Songbook composers of all time. In October, Connick was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of 30 million albums sold, 13 No. 1 jazz albums, three Grammys and two Emmys. Hear about all that in more in today's episode.
November 01, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: 10 Albums You Need To Know for October 2019
JAZZIZ editors Brian Zimmerman and Matt Micucci are back again with another episode of 10 Albums You Need To Know, this time for the month of October. This month's list is scary good, featuring new music from guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, pianist Hiromi and vocalist Harry Connick Jr. Plus, Matt coins a new catchphrase and shares his creepy Halloween plans. We also remember our favorite Jack Black and discuss whether calling someone a good dancer counts as libel. (We get crazy, folks. What else can we say?) Here's the complete list of albums discussed in this podcast: Bill Frisell, Harmony (Blue Note) Release date: October 4 Chick Corea, Trilogy 2 (Concord Jazz) Release date: October 4 Hiromi, Spectrum (Concord Jazz) Release date: October 4 Kirk Whalum, Humanité (Artistry) Release date: October 11 Spyro Gyra, Vinyl Tap (Amherst) Release date: October 11 Jan Garbarek and The Hillard Ensemble, Remember me, my dear (ECM) Release date: October 18 Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller, The Art of Piano Duo – Live (Groovin High) Release date: October 18 Roberto Fonseca, Yesun (Mack Avenue) Release date: October 18 Carmen Lundy, Modern Ancestors (Afrasia) Release date: October 25 Harry Connick Jr., True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter (Verve) Release date: October 25
October 24, 2019
JAZZIZ Not What You Think: Becca Stevens
Becca Stevens is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has made a career of testing the limits of her musical identity. Her unique artistic vision, cultivated across four albums as a leader, draws from a variety of genres, from jazz to Irish folk to indie-rock. Stevens' latest leader project is the five-track EP WONDERBLOOM, which is due out in November. A full-length album of the same name is set to follow in March. On it, the North Carolina-bred, Brooklyn-based artist promises that she will once again "[defy] all expectations, this time dreaming up a groove-heavy, dance-ready sound infused with elements of pop and funk and R&B." If it is anything like her previous albums, WONDERBLOOM will also serve as a showcase for Stevens' precise and penetrating lyricism. As she has proven across her own albums and through collaborations with Snarky Puppy, David Crosby, Esperanza Spalding and Jacob Collier, Stevens is the kind of songwriter who creates deep connections with her listeners through clear, honest language and profoundly simple melodies. In this episode, she discusses the making of her new album with JAZZIZ Publisher Michael Fagien.
October 18, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Actor Michael Imperioli on Jazz, Creativity and Co-Hosting the JFA Loft Party
Joining the podcast today is actor, writer, director and longtime jazz fan Michael Imperioli, best known for his role as Christopher Moltisanti on the HBO hit series The Sopranos, for which he won an Emmy in 2004. Imperioli's other onscreen credits include award-winning movies Goodfellas, Bad Boys, Lean on Me and Last Man Standing, as well as the Spike Lee productions Malcolm X, Jungle Fever and Summer of Sam, which he co-wrote and co-produced. In 2018, Imperioli published his first novel, The Perfume Burned His Eyes, which chronicled the life of a Queens teenager who moves with his broken family to Manhattan and goes on to befriend Lou Reed, a luminary of the 1970s downtown New York rock scene. Imperioli is an avid admirer of that historic musical era in New York City, and an enthusiastic champion of rock and roll in general. But he's also a passionate jazz fan and an active member of the Jazz Foundation of America, an organization that provides financial support, housing assistance and disaster relief to musicians in need. On October 19, he'll return to his duties as co-host —along with actor Danny Glover — of the Jazz Foundation of America's Loft Party in New York City, a concert benefiting JFA's lifesaving programs. It will feature performances by Wyclef Jean and The Pharoah Sanders Quartet, along with a tribute to Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and a celebration of New Orleans icons Dr. John, Dave Bartholomew and Art Neville. The drum legend Roy Haynes will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. If you're in the area and would like to support, you can buy tickets online at jazzfoundation.org. In this episode, Imperioli talks about the records that brought him to the jazz flame, his total infatuation with Charles Mingus and Ron Carter and the time he smoked a joint with Gil Evans outside the jazz club Sweet Basil.
October 10, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Jacky Terrasson Breaks Free from the Comfort Zone
Joining host Brian Zimmerman on the podcast today is pianist Jacky Terrasson. Born in Germany to an American mother and French father, Terrasson has been a force in modern jazz since his rocket-propelled arrival on the scene in 1993. That year, two major achievements set him on a rapid path to success: the first was winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. The second was recording his self-titled major-label debut with Blue Note Records. Blue Note has remained a home for Jacky for nearly three decades, and just last month, he released his 12th album for the label. Simply called 53, the album is meant to reflect his truest self as seen from the distance that only experience can provide. With all original music, the album features three different trios comprising some of Jacky's closest musical partners and a few new collaborators. We talk to Jacky about the making of the new album as well as the monumental influence pianists like Bud Powell, Keith Jarrett and Ahmad Jamal on his life. We also discuss his lifelong passion for fine food, his new foray into acting and why the nickname that has hung around him for so long — "the piano player of happiness" — doesn't make him all that happy.
October 04, 2019
10 Albums You Need To Know: September 2019
In this episode of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass, host Brian Zimmerman is joined by JAZZIZ online editor Matt Micucci to discuss the 10 Albums You Need to Know for September 2019 And this one's a real treat, featuring previously unreleased material from Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane! That, plus new albums from Herb Alpert, George Coleman and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Joining us on this very special episode is Matt Micucci's dog, Chloe.
September 20, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Around the World with Chick Corea
Today's guest is internationally acclaimed, 22-time Grammy-winning pianist Chick Corea, one of the most recognizable artists in modern jazz. JAZZIZ spoke with Chick backstage before his performance at the Concord Jazz Festival in Concord, California, where he and the members of his newly assembled Spanish Heart Band performed selections from their most recent album, Antidote. The album, released in July, finds Corea returning to one of his longest-held musical passions: the music of Spain. It was a genre he began to explore in his early days as a pianist growing up in Boston, and one that he would continue to hone throughout his prolific career as a leader and collaborator alongside other legends such as Miles Davis, Paco De Lucía and Herbie Hancock. Fans of Corea will instantly recognize some of the material on Antidote, which includes reworkings of classic tunes like "Armando's Rhumba" and "Duende" from his previous Latin-tinged albums My Spanish Heart and Touchstone. We talked to Chick about the making of the new album and his long-harbored obsession with Spanish music. And, because Chick is such a relentless globetrotter — the day before his Concord set, he had just flown in from Europe; a few days later, he would be leaving for Japan — we ask him about his favorite international destinations and travel tips. Let's take it backstage.
September 06, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Dave Koz Salutes the Greatest Horn Sections in Pop
Joining host Brian Zimmerman on the podcast for this episode is contemporary jazz saxophonist Dave Koz, whose new album Summer Horns II: From A to Z, is a salute to the greatest horn sections in rock and pop history. It’s an extension of his first Summer Horns project from 2013, which featured hip arrangements of classic tunes by Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Chicago, Stevie Wonder and many more. In this podcast, we ask Dave to talk about his favorite horn sections of all time and what makes them so special. We also discuss the recent release Lost Koz, which collects previously unissued tracks from throughout Dave’s career, as well as his Dave Koz & Friends At Sea cruise events. Dave has such a warm personality and is such a great storyteller that it wasn’t a minute into our conversation before we were finding common ground. Among our other big similarities: we’re just a couple of Jewish guys who happen to love classic Christmas music. We talk about that, too. You’re going to like what you hear. If you’d like to help us spread the word about JAZZIZ Backstage Pass, write us a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks!
August 30, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Poncho Sanchez Re-imagines Coltrane in a Latin Light
JAZZIZ was recently on the scene in Concord, California, to take in the 50th annual Concord Jazz Festival, a showcase for some of the phenomenal artists signed to the Concord Jazz label. Rising stars like vocalist Jazzmeia Horn and Esperanza Spalding were a joy to behold, but equally entertaining were the many Concord Jazz veterans, such as keyboardist Chick Corea and Dave Koz. But when it comes to Concord artists, no one has been involved with the label longer than the legendary percussionist and vocalist Poncho Sanchez, a true pioneer of Latin jazz. Born in Texas in 1951, Poncho’s career took off in the mid-1970s when he was asked to join the world-famous Latin jazz ensemble led by vibraphonist Cal Tjader. Poncho performed with him until Tjader’s untimely death in 1982. A year later, Poncho began a relationship with Concord Records that has lasted to this day, one that has resulted in more than two dozen recordings, a Grammy Award and several Grammy nominations. On his latest project, Trane’s Delight, Poncho celebrates the life and music of the iconic saxophonist John Coltrane. Due out September 20 via the Concord Picante subsidiary, Trane’s Delight is a love letter from one musical pioneer to another, as the Latin Jazz legend pays homage to one of his earliest and most indelible influences. The album arrives just in time for the late tenor titan’s 93rd birthday on September 23. Sanchez’s performance at the Concord Fest featured material from the new album, much of which was arranged with Sanchez’s musical director, trombonist Francisco Torres. In a wide-ranging conversation, we discussed the monumental influence that Coltrane had on his life, as well as the innate Latin aspects of Coltrane’s playing. If you’d like to check out all of the amazing Concord releases coming out right now, visit their website at concord.com.
August 23, 2019
Steven Van Zandt of The E Street Band, 'The Sopranos' and 'Lilyhammer'
This week, we take you “backstage” with actor, broadcaster, political activist and rock and roll icon Steven Van Zandt. Steven is best known as the guitarist in the E Street Band, where serves as the right-hand man to The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. But he also generated widespread acclaim for his longtime role on The Sopranos, on which he played Silvio Dante, right-hand man to another boss, Tony Soprano. Others know him as the frontman from groups such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes or Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. His latest project is the TV show Lillyhammer, in which he plays Frank Tagliano, a New York mob boss who relocates via witness protection to Lillyhammer, Norway. Van Zandt was also the producer and one of the writers for the show, which was the first original series produced by Netflix. It aired for two seasons starting in 2012. Recently, music from the show was released on CD and streaming in two volumes. The first volume is a collection of jazz standards and originals written and arranged by Van Zandt, and the second volume collects rock and roll, Norwegian folk music, funk and other musical odds and ends. The albums feature Steven’s latest band, Little Steven and the Interstellar Jazz Renegades, and Steven was generous enough to join us from New York — sitting in traffic no less— to talk about the new project. We also cover his love of Miles Davis, his friendship with Springsteen, his role in helping to end apartheid in South Africa and that famous Sopranos ending.
August 22, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: 10 Albums You Need to Know for August 2019
In this episode of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass, host Brian Zimmerman is joined by JAZZIZ online editor Matt Micucci to discuss the 10 Albums You Need to Know for August 2019,featuring new releases by drum legend Jimmy Cobb, rising star vocalist Veronica Swift, Brazilian jazz icon Eliane Elias and straightahead jazz sensation James Carter. Also discussed in this episode: Irish accents, the dangers of driving-while-jazzing and what it would be like to fly coach class through the Twighlight Zone. You’re not going to want to miss this one, folks.
August 16, 2019
Pianist Monty Alexander Plays Monk with a Reggae Twist
Monty Alexander is a Grammy-nominated artist whose virtuosic skill at the keyboard and vibrant personality have been packing concert halls around the world for decades. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1944, Alexander moved to the States as a teenager and has since become an American jazz hero, having played alongside luminaries of the genre like Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra and others. But he still holds Jamaica dearly in his heart. His vast discography, which reaches back to 1964, showcases a repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expressions — the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. His latest album is Wareika Hill: RastaMonk Vibrations, a delightfully imaginative, unique and compelling interpretation of the music of Thelonious Monk. It’s been described as a “mind-boggling collective of classic Monk songs infused with a sensibility that melds the worlds of Jazz, Ska and Reggae into a unique melting pot of Monk with a twist.” It’s due out August 23 on MACD Records. In this episode, Monty tells about his childhood in Jamaica and discusses the immense influence that Jamaican musicians made on jazz. He also shares some of his favorite reggae artists and tells about the time he was discovered by Frank Sinatra in a small bar in Miami — while playing piano for a Frank Sinatra impersonator. Listen via the player above.
August 03, 2019
10 Albums You Need to Know for July 2019
In this episode, JAZZIZ Backstage Pass host Brian Zimmerman is joined by JAZZIZ online editor Matt Micucci to present the 10 Albums You Need To Know for July 2019, featuring new records by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, saxophone icon Houston Person, former Béla Fleck and Flecktones member Jeff Coffin and trumpeter Kenyatta Beasley. We’ve also got the debut jazz album from Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band. Also discussed in this wide-ranging podcast: Montreal’s finest poutine, the legacy of João Gilberto and Matt’s new catchphrase. Happy listening, everyone.
July 19, 2019
Gwilym Simcock of the Pat Metheny Quartet
We’re switching things up this week. Sitting in the host chair for this episode of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass is Michael Fagien, the founder and publisher of JAZZIZ Magazine. And he’s brought with him a very special guest. Gwilym Simcock is one of the best jazz players to come out of the U.K. in recent years, a winner of the prestigious Mercury Prize and the first musician of a jazz background to be named a BBC First Generation Artist. In February, he released a new solo piano album called Near and Now on ACT Music. Recorded at his home in Berlin, the album serves as an intimate showcase for Simcock’s musical style, which blends highly narrative compositions with vivid, exploratory improvisations. When he’s not playing shows with his own group, he’s on tour with legendary guitarist Pat Metheny, holding down the piano chair alongside Linda May Han Oh on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. Michael talks about what it was like to work in such an iconic jazz ensemble and so much more.
July 13, 2019
Jamie Cullum Reinvents Himself...Again
On this episode of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass, host Brian Zimmerman engages in a frank and wide-ranging discussion with pianist and vocalist Jamie Cullum, the best selling U.K. jazz artist of all time. It has been five years since the release of Jamie’s previous album, Interlude, and nearly 20 since the release of his first recording, Heard It All Before, for which he pressed just 500 copies. Now he’s out with a brand new record called Taller. It was released June 7 on Blue Note Records, and in many ways, it’s stylistic reinvention for the 39-year-old Grammy-nominated musician, fusing genres from his past and carrying with it a deeply personal message. Cullum said the title came from an aspect of his relationship with his wife, the actress and writer Sophie Dahl. Cullum stands about 5 feet 5 inches; his wife is 6 feet tall. The title track of the album is all about measuring up emotionally and intellectually and how real stature has nothing to do with height at all. Thematically, the disc is far-reaching yet profoundly deep, with songs touching on social media, Brexit and the anxiety inherent in all creative projects. JAZZIZ spoke to Jamie via telephone while he was in London. And like all good Londoners, we pick up the conversation talking about — what else? — the weather.
June 28, 2019
10 Albums You Need To Know: June 2019
In this episode, JAZZIZ Backstage Pass host Brian Zimmerman is joined by JAZZIZ online editor Matt Micucci to present the 10 Albums You Need To Know for June 2019, featuring new records by best-selling U.K. jazz artist Jamie Cullum, former Earth Wind & Fire frontman Philip Bailey and not one but two jazz harpists. And as a podcast exclusive, we even include a new flamenco album from piano master Chick Corea. Also discussed in this wide-ranging podcast: bad haircuts, balloon twisting and a hypothetical Justin Bieber jazz album.
June 14, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Joel Ross
Even if you’re a casual jazz fan, it would be hard to ignore the buzz around Joel Ross. Just 23 years old, the vibraphonist recently released his debut album as a leader, KingMaker, and it’s already being hailed by jazz and pop critics alike as one of the best albums of the year. It’s a smart and self-assured statement, full of hypnotic grooves and intricate melodic structures. But the fact that it was released on the legendary Blue Note Records makes it a first impression for the ages. In joining Blue Note, Ross becomes part of a storied lineage of vibraphone players that includes Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson and Ross’ own mentor, Stefon Harris. Elite as that company may be, Ross is eager and equipped to join it. He possesses boundless skill and imagination, and he’s the type of artist who can push the music forward from the inside, merging tradition with innovation in an effort to arrive at someplace new yet familiar.
May 27, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: 10 Albums You Need to Know for May 2019
Welcome to another episode of JAZZIZ Backstage Pass. This week, we bring you the 10 Albums You Need to Know for May 2019, featuring new titles by vibraphone phenom Joel Ross, DJ-producer Flying Lotus, trumpeter Theo Croker and vocalist Camila Meza. In the episode, we also discuss co-host Brian Zimmerman’s recent trip to Australia for the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, imaginary songs from Irving Berlin’s long-lost vault and why Bill Evans makes for an odd soundtrack at the gym.
May 10, 2019
Tierney Sutton Takes Jazz to the Movies
In this episode, JAZZIZ Backstage Pass host Brian Zimmerman sits down with Tierney Sutton, an eight-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist who has received a “Best Jazz Vocal Album” nomination for every project she has released in the last decade. Her latest project is the album Screenplay, on which the Tierney Sutton Band sets their sights on the wide-ranging panorama of film music. The ambitious 19-track project is being released in five installments. The first was released in February and features the music of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The second dials in on film music from 1939 to 1945.
April 29, 2019
10 Albums You Need to Know: April 2019
Join JAZZIZ Editors Brian Zimmerman and Matt Micucci as they discuss the 10 albums you need to know for April 2019, featuring new titles by Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Kendrick Scott Oracle, Mark Guiliana and more!
April 13, 2019
JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Steve Davis – The Last Jazz Messenger
Trombonist Steve Davis has been a member of some of the most prestigious ensembles in jazz: Chick Corea’s Origins, the Jackie McLean Sextet, Benny Golson’s New Jazztet, the Christian McBride Big Band and the all-star collective One For All. But his biggest claim to fame may be that he was the last musician ever to be hired into Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He even appeared on that legendary group’s final studio album, 1990’s One for All. Now, nearly 30 years later, Davis has released a new album, Correlations, on which the all-star trombonist has assembled a powerhouse group all his own. Released March 8 on Smoke Sessions Records, the album finds Davis at the helm of a new, multi-generational sextet that is packed with talent and loaded with potential. In this episode, we talk to Davis about the new CD and what he learned from leaders like Blakey and McLean (Hint: don’t hog the solo spotlight, but do wear the right jacket to the gig).
March 29, 2019
10 Albums You Need to Know: March 2019
In this podcast, JAZZIZ Backstage Pass host Brian Zimmerman is joined by online editor Matt Micucci to discuss the 10 Albums You Need to Know for March 2019. The full list of albums is below. To read the text version of this feature, click here.
March 17, 2019
Emmet Cohen Links Jazz's Past and Present
Emmet Cohen is a young pianist with a broad vision of jazz. He’s committed to what he calls the intergenerational transfer of artistic knowledge, history, and traditions. To that end, he’s embarked on a recording project he’s dubbed the “Masters Legacy Series,” a celebratory set of recordings and interviews honoring legendary jazz musicians. He serves as both producer and pianist for each album in the series. And he’s just 28 years old.
February 28, 2019
Joe Lovano Is at Home on ECM
Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano may be best known for his long-running tenure at Blue Note Records, the label he’s called home since 1991. But within the same span, he’s also been a vital presence on the German label ECM, founded by renowned producer Manfred Eicher. It’s a relationship that stems back to 1981, when Lovano first appeared on drummer Paul Motian’s album Psalm. In the years since, the saxophonist would perform on albums by ECM luminaries like John Abercrombie, Steve Kuhn and Marc Johnson, but to this point, he has never recorded an ECM album under his own name. That all changed on January 25, when ECM releases Trio Tapestry, a new album featuring Lovano in the leader role alongside pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi.
February 28, 2019
Snarky Puppy's Mike "Maz" Maher
Mike “Maz” Maher is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated band Snarky Puppy, a group that, since its beginnings in 2004, has made it its mission to smash genre walls and steer jazz in new directions. In 2016, Maz released the album Idealist on Snarky Puppy’s homegrown label GroundUP Music. It features his new band, also called Maz, and is bursting with influences from jazz to funk to indie-rock to pop. It also found him exhibiting a talent few fans knew he had: singing.
February 28, 2019
10 Albums You Need to Know: February 2019
In this podcast, JAZZIZ Online Editor Matt Micucci joins host Brian Zimmerman to discuss the 10 Albums You Need to Know About for February 2019. You may have come across this list as an article on our website, but we’re presenting it here — for the first time ever — as an audio podcast. Now you can hear these incredible albums yourself. Join us as we discuss and listen to new works by Chris Potter, Wadada Leo Smith, Keiko Matsui, Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom and more!
February 14, 2019