In spite of the early hour and chilly air, Sauti Sol arrived at the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge in Austin, Texas, in good spirits — not to mention colorful jackets that provided a welcome contrast to the cloudy sky. There, the Afro-fusion quartet from Nairobi greeted the morning birds and joggers with a version of its recent single, "Love or Leave." The song amply demonstrates the group's signature acoustic sound, which is anchored by the guitar of Polycarp Otieno and vocal harmonies of Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Chimano and Delvin Mudigi.
A Toronto-based jazz trio whose approach to the genre has angered aficionados and grabbed the attention of young fans, BADBADNOTGOOD carries on jazz's rich tradition of reinvention and provocation. Its two full-length albums cover material that's of interest to your average oddball twentysomething: experimental rock, video-game soundtracks and electronic music, among others.
Pianist and singer Barbara Carroll is an old and dear friend of Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland. In fact, Carroll was the second ever guest to appear on Piano Jazz when the show began 30 years ago. Carroll recalls 1979 as a banner year for her, as well — it's the same year she started what became a 25 year run performing at Bemelman's Bar, at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:58 pm
The drummer Henry Cole plays brilliantly in the quartet of saxophonist and fellow Puerto Rican Miguel Zenón, a band responsible for my favorite jazz album of 2011 (Alma Adentro) and one of my favorites of 2009 (Esta Plena). This year, Cole released his debut album as a bandleader, an Afrobeat record called Roots Before Branches.
Self-described as "hot, raucous, retro swing for two," Two Man Gentlemen Band lives up to its claim. But, as the name suggests, there's a subtle ridiculousness to the group's sound. Andy Bean and Fuller Condon have made a career of recording old-school, '60s-style folk on vintage equipment, only to pack their songs with parodies, anachronisms and absurdities.
There are two war-related anniversaries this week that make today's album review all the more timely. Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the U.S.; tomorrow, May 30, marks 50 years since the world premiere of English composer Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral. The War Requiem was commissioned for the cathedral's reconsecration after it had been destroyed by a Nazi bombing raid in 1940.
The death of a great musician ripples through the jazz community. It's a special loss to those improvisers we might call immediate survivors: working partners who'll miss that special interaction with a singular musician.
It's taken a decade, but Trampled by Turtles' music has officially crossed over into the mainstream. The Minnesota band's most recent albums, Palomino and the new Stars and Satellites, have helped Trampled by Turtles make the transition from club favorite to the sort of cult sensation that draws enormous festival crowds.