It's tempting to mythologize Buffy Sainte-Marie — to call her a folk-music mother of dragons, or at least a shaman calling up lost spirits in her music. It's easy, after all, to exoticize individualistic women, especially women of color; doing so can even feel like offering a compliment. But on Power In The Blood, her first studio album since 2008, the 74-year-old firebrand defies categorization, as she has throughout a half-century of recording.
Is there a modern-day equivalent to Duke Ellington? Or Ornette Coleman?
Who are the people today who think differently about jazz — who have created new forms, and expanded the musical vocabulary?
For 30 years, saxophonist Steve Coleman has been pushing the music forward, traveling the world to collect new sounds, rhythms and ideas. Along the way he's mentored many of the most exciting younger artists in jazz — musicians like Ambrose Akinmusire, Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer.
Edward Kennedy Ellington -- who titled his bestselling autobiography "Music Is My Mistress," and who, as the greatest composer jazz has ever produced, worked as indefatigably as he did brilliantly as a bandleader, pianist, recording artist, and touring performer for more than half a century -- was born April 29, 1899. (He died in 1974.)
Jazz musicians have long admired pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn (1934–2005), whose sensitive and relaxed playing style and unique vocals earned her comparisons to fellow jazz greats such as Count Basie and Nat King Cole.
When I asked Chris Thile (mandolin/vocals) and Gabe Witcher (fiddle/percussion/vocals) about the song "Familiarity" before Punch Brothers took the stage at Boston's House of Blues March 6, both of their faces lit up. It's clear this particular song — among a number of notable ones on the band's most recent album, The Phosphorescent Blues — is something special.
Jim White, the Southern-born filmmaker turned singer-songwriter turned novelist, has a new album — or at least half of one. Jim now lives in Athens, Ga., where he's become friends with a longtime local bluegrass group, The Packway Handle Band. When they asked him to produce their album, he said yes, but only if he could join the band and have them do some of his tunes. That's where the name of this project, Jim White vs. The Packway Handle Band, comes from.
Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 5:47 am
12 min 40 sec
There's a quiet and a calm from José González that amplify his words. This has never been truer than on his new album, Vestiges & Claws. The songs are full of abstract imagery — more paintings than stories. He performed this song, "With The Ink of A Ghost," at my desk.
Idle as a wave Moving out at sea Cruising without sound Molding what's to be Serene between the trace Serene with the tide and ink of a ghost