Horace Silver, Charlie Haden, Kenny Wheeler, Joe Sample, Jimmy Scott, Gerald Wilson -- the jazz world lost several brilliant if not legendary practitioners last year. (And let's not forget, while we're at it, singer Jackie Cain, pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., or drummer Idris Muhammad [shown here].)
Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:35 pm
Caitlin Canty's Reckless Skyline — the second full-length album from the Vermont singer-songwriter, who's about to relocate to Nashville — was recorded live in four days in a western Massachusetts studio. With fellow songwriter Jeffrey Foucault at the helm as producer, Canty works with an all-star band that includes Billy Conway (Morphine) and Eric Heywood (Ray LaMontagne, The Pretenders).
I can't think of a master musician more out of sync with contemporary culture than Alasdair Roberts. The Scottish singer and guitarist tills Albion's millennium of traditional songcraft to express ancient emotions — usually with just the aid of an acoustic guitar, but occasionally with ornate instrumentation like oboes or clarinets. When he's not giving voice to aural heirlooms, he's writing songs in a similar tradition; music that could be described as British folk, but that conjures an even earlier time than Anne Briggs or Fairport Convention ever did.
In 1984, when a young Steven Bernstein first encountered the blind virtuoso New Orleans pianist and singer Henry Butler, he was astonished. "This is it," he recalls thinking. "This is like the music that I always imagined. Everything you ever loved about music, all being in one place. But now it's all coming from one person." Nearly two decades later, Butler and Bernstein finally had the chance to collaborate when they were booked for a run together at New York's Jazz Standard.
Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:29 am
For decades, David Murray was known as one of New York's most monstrously talented and astoundingly prolific artists — a tenor saxophonist who played and wrote for just about every imaginable context. He's still these things, but he lives in Europe now. So this year's Winter Jazzfest — already jam-packed with over 100 acts in two nights — saw fit to give New York audiences a proper saturation of what they'd been missing, presenting David Murray in three completely different sets.
The Devil Makes Three makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. The group's studio recordings, live albums and endless touring — to say nothing of its captivating live performances — have helped it score arena shows with Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson, as well as spots in festivals like Bonnaroo, Telluride and Hardly Strictly.
Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:47 am
The day composer John Luther Adams won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for his symphonic seascape Become Ocean, I tracked him down in Houghton, Mich., in the northernmost reaches of the Upper Peninsula. Over a crackly phone line, Adams — who turns 62 Friday — said he never thought much about a career with a capital C.