Heads up that I'll be joining the other 21 Jazz Journalist Association 2021 Jazz Heroes from across the country for what is promised to be a brisk, engaged and guided conversational "town hall" presented by "Jazz Video Guy" Bret Primack and the JJA, focusing on what we are doing in our communities to support jazz and the jazz community, especially during the pandemic. I'll be hoping to get some tips on what I can do to help rebuild and support a lively jazz community here in Rochester
13 posts categorized "Jazz News"
See anyone you know (hint, lower corner...)? Yes, as announced yesterday by the Jazz Journalist Association, I've been honored to have been named a 2021 Jazz Hero by the JJA this year for my work over the years and during this pandemic, doing what I can with JazzRochester to keep jazz alive and try to build a community around live jazz here where I live. Although I feel a bit of "imposter's syndrome" as there are so many people who are doing so much for the music in and around Rochester, I am proud of what I've done with JazzRochester since starting it as a blogging/writing project way back in 2005.
You can read the way too kind JJA Jazz Hero profile by our own Derek Lucas at Jazz 90.1, who nominated me along with Ed Trefzger of JazzWeek (... thanks guys). Just look for my ugly mug and Rochester, NY and click. Now let's get back to work to keep being worthy of this honor.... Hope to see you out at some live jazz as soon as possible in our crazy new normal!
The Eastman New Jazz Ensemble under Dave Rivello and Eastman School of Music students Theresa Chen, George Darrah, and Jon Rarick have received DownBeat honors in the magazine’s 40th annual Student Awards competition.
The Eastman New Jazz Ensemble was recognized in the Outstanding College Performance Large Jazz Ensemble category for its March 2, 2016, concert in which the musicians performed Bob Brookmeyers’s unreleased work Running in Place/Verticals and an unrecorded piece by Bill Holman titled The Big Izzy. Chen won the award for Outstanding Original Composition for Small Ensemble. Her work, Ilha Formosa (“Beautiful Island”), written for a piano trio, tenor and soprano saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and string quartet. Chen is currently a second-year DMA student in jazz piano performance. Darrah, a jazz composition major who will receive his master’s degree this month, won Outstanding Arrangement for Too Close for Comfort. Rarick was recognized for Outstanding Arrangement for his arrangement of J. Russell Robinson’s Portrait of Jennie, the title song for a movie of the same name. Rarick, a second year master’s degree student in jazz writing who is graduating this month, is from Grayslake, Ill.
The Student Music Awards were announced in the June issue of DownBeat. The issue was mailed April 25 (I have mine... although this info is from ) and will be on newsstands on May 16.
I wanted to note the passing of one of the voices and long time advocates for the Rochester jazz community, Tom Hampson, who died this week at the age of 87. While I was acquainted with Tom and listened to his WXXI Jazz from the Cellar program from time to time, I never had an opportunity to get to know him so don't feel qualified to say much more. Instead, I've gathered a few thoughts from local jazz musicians who knew him much better:
- So sad to hear the news that Tom Hampson has passed away. He was a treasure to the Rochester community and music community at large. Tom was a very successful constitutional and corporate attorney @ Harris-Beach, jazz DJ at WXXI and all around great friend to so many. He was a champion of the Rochester Jazz scene and Eastman Jazz. He was the caretaker of the legal side of Alec Wilder's music and a close personal friend of Marian McPartland. His show 'Mostly Jazz' on WXXI would profile an artist for an entire show. He would tell the stories behind the music and personal anecdotes of his experiences hearing and meeting the greatest artists in the history of jazz. He was a dear friend that cared about people, not just because they played the music he loved. I'll remember him forever. —Bob Sneider
- RIP Tom Hampson. Tom was an amazing guy who had a show on WXXI 1370 for many years. He was one of the most supportive guys to all us jazz musicians in Rochester often dedicating shows just playing our music. Tom also wrote for City Newspaper back in the day and would review gigs and concerts in town. Most importantly he was a great person to talk with. He will be dearly missed. —Mike Melito
You can also read (or listen) about Tom here on WXXI's website.
I encourage others in the jazz community who knew Tom to share their memories of Tom and jazz in Rochester in the comments to this post. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. Given what I've been through for the past six months that I've mentioned in previous posts, you know mine does.
The Grammy nominations are in and among the 25 nominees in 5 categories I'm happy to say I've heard a number of them, but will need to add the others to my list to check out. As you can see, the "way beyond his years" Joey Alexander, who played at the 2015 XRIJF garnered 2 nominations. There are other faces familiar to Rochester audiences in there as well.
I'm sure there are many of you who are saying "where the heck is ...!" and encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on the link at the end of this post, or by starting a conversation on the Facebook page or by aiming a tweet at Jazz@Rochester.
Best Improvised Jazz Solo (Category 31):
- "Giant Steps," Joey Alexander on My Favorite Things (Motema)
- "Cherokee," Christian McBride on Live At The Village Vanguard (Christian McBride Trio) (Mack Avenue)
- "Arbiters of Evolution," Donny McCaslin on The Thompson Fields (Maria Schneider Orchestra) (ArtistShare)
- "Friend or Foe," Joshua Redman on The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch)
- "Past Present," John Scofield on Past Present (Impulse!)
Best Jazz Vocal Album (Category 32):
- Karin Allyson, Many A New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein (Motema)
- Denise Donatelli, Find A Heart (Savant)
- Lorraine Feather, Flirting With Disaster (Jazzed Media)
- Jamison Ross, Jamison (Concord Jazz)
- Cécile McLorin Savant, For One To Love (Mack Avenue)
Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Category 33)
- Joey Alexander, My Favorite Things (Motema)
- Terence Blanchard Featuring The E-Collective, Breathless (Blue Note)
- Robert Glasper & The Robert Glasper Trio, Covered: Recorded Live at Capitol Studios (Blue Note)
- Jimmy Greene, Beautiful Life (Mack Avenue)
- John Scofield, Past Present (Impulse!)
Best Large Jazz Ensemble (Category 34)
- Gil Evans Project, Lines Of Color (Blue Note/ArtistShare)
- Marshall Gilkes & WDR Big Band, Köln (Alternate Side)
- Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Cuba: The Conversation Continues (Motema)
- Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare)
- Patrick Williams, Home Suite Home (BFM Jazz)
Best Latin Jazz Album (Category 35)
- Eliane Elias, Made In Brazil (Concord Jazz)
- The Rodriguez Brothers, Impromptu (Criss Cross Jazz)
- Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Suite Caminos (5Passion)
- Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet, Intercambio (Patois)
- Miguel Zenón, Identities Are Changeable (Miel Music)
Also, we should mention that Snarky Puppy, which came to the 2014 XRIJF, was nominated in the contemporary instrumental category along with Bill Frisell, Marcus Miller, South African flautist Wouter Kellerman and Kirk Whalum.
Congratulations are in order.... The Student Music Awards announced in the June issue of DownBeat magazine included four students at the Eastman School of Music:
- Garret Reynolds was recognized for Undergraduate College Outstanding Composition for his work Our Time. The 12-minute piece was recorded during his recital in November 14, 2014. It features Evan Burrus, alto saxophone; Matthew Sieber-Ford, tenor saxophone; Julian Garvue, piano; Emiliano Lasansky, bass; Michael Craig, drums; and Lanighan on trombone and Reynolds on flugelhorn. Reynolds, a member of the class of 2016, is a jazz trumpet major.
- Brendan Lanighan was recognized for Undergraduate College Outstanding Arrangement for Lament by J.J. Johnson. The piece was recorded in October 2014 and features Shoghi Hayes, trumpet; Mike Forfia, bass; Michael Craig, drums; and Garvue on piano and Tanaka on clarinet. Lanighan will receive his bachelor’s degree in jazz trombone and music education this month. In the fall, he will be student teaching at Williamsville East High School, gigging, and continuing to teach his private students.
- Gabe Condon and Julian Tanaka were named Graduate College Arrangement winners for In a Sentimental Mood and Orbit (Unless It’s You), respectively. Condon’s arrangement of the Duke Ellington standard “In a Sentimental Mood” was inspired by a 1963 recording of the work featuring John Coltrane and Ellington. The seven-and-a-half minute work was recorded during a March 2014 concert by the Eastman Studio Orchestra, featuring Marc Abrate as baritone saxophone soloist and Condon as guitar soloist. Condon, who is receiving his master’s degree in jazz writing this month, is releasing his debut album on June 22. He will be pursuing a performing career in New York City after graduation. Orbit (Unless It's You) is a rarely performed Bill Evans trio piece. Tanaka arranged it for a big band, and the five-and-a-half minute work was recorded during an Eastman Jazz Ensemble concert in fall of 2014. Featured soloists were Garvue on piano; Condon on guitar; Tanaka on clarinet; and Aaron Eckert, euphonium. Tanaka will be continuing his studies next year as a master’s degree student in jazz writing.
Entries for the annual Student Music Awards are judged on musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement, authority, and other criteria. The judges include editors of DownBeat, professional musicians, and educators.
As I noted on Twitter and Facebook on March 5th, Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival’s announced today that the Club Passes for the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Festival have sold out, which is much earlier than any previous year and even prior to the Club Pass Series lineup being announced.
Individual tickets to all Club Pass Series shows will be available at the door for $25 per person per show at Kilbourn Hall and $20 per person per show for all other shows. Entry to all Club Pass Series shows is first-come, first-served with the Pass or tickets purchased at the door. Individual Club show tickets are not available in advance. To keep these types of individual tickets available, the festival promoters limit the number of Club Passes sold. “Several thousand passes were sold, a few hundred more than last year, and sales were brisk from day one,” said Marc Iacona, Producer and Executive Director, continuing:
While we could keep selling passes we intentionally limit the number so that people who choose not to buy a pass can purchase tickets to single shows at the door. We are thrilled that the popularity of Club Pass Series has grown each year. We say that the exciting part of this series is, ‘It’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know,’ and this year’s early pass sell-out certainly reflects the following that the Club Series has built over the years.
For the 2010 Festival, more than half of all Club Passes were sold before the end of December and the remainder sold out before May.
As I sat listening last night to a rotating group of Eastman School of Music jazz studies students jam at Havana Moe's on East Avenue, swinging their way into better chops through some standards (although most chops were in pretty good shape already), I noticed that, of the folks packed into the bar, there were more under 30 than older. The enjoyment I experienced last night going out to hear some jazz (I also hit the Strathallan for Nancy Kelly's first set with Dino Losito, Bob Sneider and Mike Melito, where more than a few "youngsters" had come to listen) reminded me that I still needed to jump on the #jazzlives bandwagon, despite it being well underway. Let me explain.
At the end of August, in anticipation of all of the jazz festivals that would kick into high gear around Labor Day (Chicago, Detroit, Tanglewood, etc.), jazz writer and blogger Howard Mandel (Jazz Beyond Jazz) started a social networking experiment using Twitter to show that contrary to popular belief and the Wall Street Journal's arts writer Terry Teachout, jazz is not destined for the grave, nor are its listeners all in their late 40s or older (OK, this listener is). The brouhaha caused in the jazz world by Teachout's article is collected on NPR's A Blog Supreme here. While I think the initial idea was to end the campaign after the end of the Labor Day holiday, it appears to have grown feet of its own and goes on.
Suggesting that listeners use what in Twitterspeak is called a "hashtag," #jazzlives," Mandel and a chorus of other bloggers, jazz activists, musicians, festivals, journalists, and of course listeners have been keeping up a steady stream of tweets on Twitter that show folks who love live jazz enough to "raise their hands by tweeting about WHO they heard and WHERE they heard it." Although not a scientific poll (and some say Twitter is actually used by us older folks more than the young), the idea is to show the rich and varied audiences out there for live jazz music and give us some hope that Teachout and others who are walking down the street bellowing "... ring out yer dead!" are wrong. Based on the stream of tweets I've seen, there may have been thousands since the campaign started before Labor Day. I think it's a great thing to keep up as it provides yet another source of what's going on in the wider world of jazz.
So if you're at a jazz gig here in Rochester or elsewhere and are on Twitter, give a shout out about who you're hearing and where you're seeing them by adding "#jazzlives" to your tweet. Please no promotion. You can check out the #jazzlives stream directly on Twitter here. Unfortunately, the widget that is available through Mandel's site and AllAboutJazz.com is a size my side panels can't support (yet...), so I've also added the #jazzlives hashtag stream as a panel on my Twitter widget that can be reached by clicking on the little blue bird with a sax in the right panel and selecting that tab.
A bit late due to aforementioned issues with time, etc., but the 51st Grammy Award nominations are out. I felt compelled to put up a "here are the Grammy nominations" post. Don't always agree with their choices, but there are a few good ones in there. and here are the nominations for jazz (that would be Field 10, Categories 45 for your Grammy novices):
Best Contemporary Jazz Album
- Randy in Brasil—Randy Brecker (MAMA Records)
- Floating Point—John McLaughlin (Abstract Logix)
- Cannon Re-Loaded: An All-Star Celebration of Cannonball Adderley—Various Artists (Concord Jazz)
- Miles from India (TWO CD SET)—Various Artists (4Q/Times Square Records)
- Lifecycle—-Yellowjackets featuring Mike Stern (Heads Up International)
Best Jazz Vocal Album
- Imagina: Songs of Brasil—Karrin Allyson (Concord Jazz)
- Breakfast on the Morning Tram—Stacey Kent (Blue Note)
- If Less Is More...Nothing Is Everything—Kate McGarry (Palmetto Records)
- Loverly—Cassandra Wilson (Blue Note)
- Distances—Norma Winstone (ECM)
Best Jazz Instrumental Solo
- Be-Bop—Terence Blanchard, soloist (Track from: Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival--Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars) (Monterey Jazz Festival Records)
- Seven Steps To Heaven--Till Brönner, soloist (Track from: The Standard, Heads Up International)
- Waltz For Debby—Gary Burton & Chick Corea, soloists (Track from: The New Crystal Silence, Concord Records)
- Son of Thirteen—Pat Metheny, soloist (Track from: Day Trip--Nonesuch Records)
- Be-Bop--James Moody, soloist (Track from: Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars) (Monterey Jazz Festival Records)
Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
- The New Crystal Silence—Chick Corea & Gary Burton (Concord Records)
- History, Mystery—Bill Frisell (Nonesuch Records)
- Live—Brad Mehldau Trio (Nonesuch Records)
- Day Trip—Pat Metheny with Christian McBride & Antonio Sanchez (Nonesuch Records)
- Standards—Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter & Peter Erskine Trio (Fuzzy Music)
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
- Appearing Nightly—Carla Bley and Her Remarkable Big Band (WATT)
- Act Your Age—Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (Immergent)
- Symphonica—Joe Lovano with WDR Big Band & Rundfunk Orchestra (Blue Note)
- Blauklang—Vince Mendoza (Act Music and Vision)
- Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard—The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (Planet Arts Recordings)
Best Latin Jazz Album
- Afro Bop Alliance—Caribbean Jazz Project (Heads Up International)
- The Latin Side of Wayne Shorter—Conrad Herwig & the Latin Side Band (Half Note Records)
- Song for Chico—Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (Zoho)
- Nouveau Latino--Nestor Torres (Diamond Light Records)
- Mighty Pirates - Marooned/Aislado—Papo Vázquez &The Mighty Pirates (Picaro Records)
Well, there they are. Click on the links to be taken to buy them on Amazon. I will try to give some of these a listen and may post later and may also find and link to some posts from other jazz writers and bloggers about the nominees. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Recently ran across the article resulting from a July 2nd interview that Frank DeBlase over at City Newspaper did with Rochester International Jazz Festival honcho John Nugent. There's some interesting stuff in there on how they set the number of Club Passes each year (this year it was 3,200, which sold out early) and why the non-jazz acts are necessary (which I've explained elsewhere and don't add up to that many anyway). Frank even gives us his own tally of jazz vs. non-jazz at the end.
In honor of April, which is Jazz Appreciation Month , LRSmedia is debuting starting today the television show Legends of Jazz Presents the 2007 NEA Jazz Masters as a special webcast premiere in conjunction with the entire online jazz community. This one-hour television special, soon to come to your local PBS station hosted by 2007 NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis on his Legends of Jazz program, will feature conversation and musical performances by bandleader and pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi, trombonist Curtis Fuller, vocalist Jimmy Scott, flutist Frank Wess, and saxophonist Phil Woods. Special guest and co-host Nancy Wilson will interview Ramsey Lewis about his music, 50-year career and his selection as an NEA Jazz Master. The special is co-produced by LRSmedia and Chicago's WTTW National Productions. It is filmed in state-of-the-art high definition.
The NEA Jazz Masters Awards are the highest honors that the U.S. government bestows upon jazz musicians and are given in recognition of the jazz—one of America's greatest gifts to the world. As Lewis says, "This special 2007 NEA Jazz Masters program, like the others in our Legends of Jazz series, provides not only exciting performances, but showcases that unique energy sparked when great artists respond to each other in conversation and through music."
In conjunction with Jazz Appreciation Month, LRSmedia is making the program available to websites around the world. More than 50 websites will participate in this amazing online event by embedding a video player on their website. Unfortunately, the embedded player requires too wide a berth to host on my site, so you'll have to travel to the Legends of Jazz site to watch the show by clicking on the image below. Or you can wait until it's on television...its up to you.
Herbie Hancock's win of the Best Album Grammy for River: The Joni Letters was more than just another Grammy for Herbie, who has a few of them already. It was only the second time in 50 years that a jazz album had won that award. In a recent interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS, Hancock riffed on that subject, saying:
. . .if I were to win this award, this would be a win for jazz, which is not only just the music that I personally love, but it's the music that represents the heart of America. And really, I believe the heart of the spirit of the human being because the music contains characteristics that are the best of what a human being has to offer, which is that it's nonjudgmental, that it's about sharing, not about competition. That it's about being in the moment, and it's totally creative, and also the music is eclectic, and it borrows from other genres of music, and it lends itself to other genres of music. And there are just so many characteristics that really talk about the human spirit. So I wanted to win so that people would begin to pay attention to this music, which I think is a great music.
I agree. . . . Here's the whole interview:
Do you have anything to add?
So, were you as surprised as Herbie Hancock was on last night's 2007 Grammy Awards show when it was announced that his album of Joni Mitchell music River: The Joni Letters had won the Best Album award? Damn! A jazz album getting a Grammy for Best Album? As the stunned Hancock pointed out, this was the first time that it had happened in over 40 years. While I dutifully report the Grammy nominations, I've often disagreed with and sometimes outright guffawed at their choices for Best Album and other categories. Who woulda thunk that they'd actually pick a jazz album and a pretty damn good one to boot! While River: The Joni Letters was seen by some as just another in a number of lesser works that have been appearing on the jazz scene trying to cadge some sales out of tributes to this or that artist's music, with the obligatory appearance by Norah Jones, it is unlike those albums in a number of ways that distinguish it and, I think, make it a great jazz album, despite receiving a Grammy. First, Joni Mitchell's music and lyrics have always struck me as full of jazz sensibilities. Listening to her music and her forays into jazz, such as 1979's Mingus (where, by the way, she was joined by Hancock and Shorter, as well as Jaco Pastorius), I've always thought that Joni Mitchell could have been (or is?) a great jazz vocalist and composer. Second, Hancock has assembled a killer group of musicians, including Shorter and Dave Holland, and they all bring something to the recording—they're not just going through the motions to get paid. His choice of vocalists also adds another layer of flavors to Shorter and Holland's (I especially loved Tina Turner on "Edith and the Kingpin" and Leonard Cohen was perfect for "The Jungle Line". My second (or was it third) time through River: The Joni Letters confirmed that I just enjoy listening to it.
The winners of the Jazz categories (including another for River):
- Best Contemporary Jazz Album: River: The Joni Letters Herbie Hancock [Verve]
- Best Jazz Vocal Album: Avant Gershwin Patti Austin [Rendezvous Entertainment]
- Best Jazz Instrumental Solo: "Anagram" Michael Brecker, Track from: Pilgrimage [Heads Up International]
- Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: Pilgrimage Michael Brecker [Heads Up International]
- Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) Terence Blanchard [Blue Note]
- Best Latin Jazz Album: Funk Tango Paquito D'Rivera Quintet [Paquito Records]
Leave a comment and tell us what you think. If you'd like to buy the albums on Amazon click on the links (or on the picture for River). Apparently, there is a special Amazon only version of River: The Joni Letters that has two bonus tracks, including "All I Want" by Sonya Kitchell, whom some of you may have heard at the 2006 Rochester International Jazz Festival.