On this episode of Piano Jazz, singer-songwriter and guitarist Boz Scaggs performs a few standards in a program that originally aired in 2004.
Scaggs met future rock star and classic-rock staple Steve Miller while the two were attending prep school in Texas. In 1959, Skaggs joined a group headed by Miller, beginning a musical association that lasted, on and off, into the late '60s.
One of the original new-school New Orleans brass bands, a Dirty Dozen show guarantees a good time. This year actually marks three dozen years since the first incarnation of the group coalesced to resurrect a then-disappearing tradition — and infuse it with both bebop and funk. As with many a show since '77, there was dancing and handkerchief-waving aplenty, and several original members were present to anchor the proceedings.
Roger Hayward Lewis, baritone and soprano saxophone
One of the finest guitar players in jazz history — who made all those classic records with Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Ron Carter and so on — is still at it at age 82. Fittingly, Jim Hall's rhythm section at Newport is top-shelf international caliber: Scott Colley (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums). And Julian Lage, a much younger guitar phenom, joined in a cross-generational confab of guitar heroes.
Clap your hands now! From Michel Camilo's stomping, tassled Oxfords to Esperanza Spalding's vibrating upright-bass strings and a whole lotta dancing, here's the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival forever enshrined in animated GIFs. See a gallery of Adam Kissick's pixel portraits here — and follow us on Flickr.
Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 4:32 pm
In 2007, I was interviewed by a journalist over lunch a day before the premiere of my Violin Concerto. One of his first questions was, "So why do you write in these old forms, the symphony, the concerto ... ?" I told him that these were simply titles which imply nothing about the form, which was another thing entirely. But it led me to ask myself: What is a symphony these days? If it no longer comprises a four-movement structure with an energetic first movement, a slow movement, a scherzo, and some kind of quick rondo, then what exactly characterizes it?
Wayne Shorter is among the most influential jazz composers of all time. His performances are relatively scarce, but he's turning 80 this year and he's returned to Newport to celebrate. His quartet of more than a dozen years tears apart and reconstructs his tunes — and some other pieces — in a Mr. Potato Head style. It's thrilling and a little mystifying alike. And his old friend Herbie Hancock also swung through Rhode Island to mark the occasion.
As a whole, Terence Blanchard's high-functioning quintet reliably serves up sleek modernism in the form of post-bop jazz. Individually, its members are also becoming great composers: Blanchard's new album, Magnetic, features tunes from everyone in the band. The new repertoire sees Blanchard cop some electric feels for his trumpet. And a guest turn from guitarist Lionel Loueke, who also appears on the album, makes this band a rare six-person quintet.
A guitarist who sounds like no other, Mary Halvorson can both astound and confound, with craggy phrasing, strange pitch-bends and pedal effects galore. With two quintet albums out and a septet record due soon, she's at Newport this year as a composer and bandleader too. Her quintet resembles certain classic Jazz Messengers lineups or Charlie Parker's working band, but her pieces take a few more left-hand turns. That keeps the proceedings good and weird.
Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 11:30 am
Pianist Bill Charlap's trio is about as quintessentially "New York elegant" as it gets. At Newport, it's been drafted to accompany the reedman Bob Wilber, an esteemed elder who specializes in classic jazz styles. (You might specialize too if you were mentored by Sidney Bechet.) The presence of Newport favorite Anat Cohen makes this something of a clarinet summit: a refreshing little hint of traditional jazz at a festival that's become a lot about the modern lately.
Take a New-Orleans-style brass band, then cram it into a Volkswagen Golf: That's the general principle of how trombonist Ray Anderson's band makes a joyful noise with only four members. Matt Perrine is the sousaphonist of choice for many a New Orleans group; his bass line supports the trombone-trumpet free-for-all. The Pocket Brass Band presents music from his Sweet Chicago Suite, inspired by his hometown.