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Ahmad Jamal: An American Classic

Read "Ahmad Jamal: An American Classic" reviewed by Chuck Lenatti

1930-1958: From Pittsburgh to The Pershing Frederick Russell Jones was born on July 2, 1930, to a working-class family in jny: Pittsburgh. His friends called him Fritz. As a boy, he delivered newspapers to Billy Strayhorn's family. He converted to Islam around 1950 and took the name Ahmad Jamal. His family identified him as a child prodigy at the tender age of three after his uncle challenged him to repeat what he played on the family piano.

The Big Question

Does Jazz History Weigh Too Heavily on Today’s Practitioners?

Read "Does Jazz History Weigh Too Heavily on Today’s Practitioners?" reviewed by Ian Patterson

It is no outlandish claim to say that jazz is obsessed with its past--just look at the number of tribute albums, songs and concerts inspired by the music's forbearers, or at the never-ending stream of historical reissues. For many jazz musicians, navigating jazz means honoring the music's “ancestors" and playing “in the tradition." Jazz education programs generally look to the past to instruct their students. Reviewers of albums by contemporary jazz musicians, almost without exception, make ...


Lorne Lofsky: Steward of the Canadian Guitar Tradition

Read "Lorne Lofsky: Steward of the Canadian Guitar Tradition" reviewed by John Chacona

Guitarist Lorne Lofsky rocketed to fame when It Could Happen To You (Pablo Records, 1981), his debut release as a leader, was produced by fellow Canadian Oscar Peterson. Lofsky has since toured and recorded with a wide range of musicians from all around the world, including Peterson, but his hometown of jny: Toronto has been his base for more than 40 years. In that time he has witnessed many changes in the scene of that dynamic, cosmopolitan city, and has ...

Journey into Jazz

Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases

Read "Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Every year, Record Store Day (RSD) promises limited edition vinyl releases for all tastes in music. From the latest popular artists to the most obscure archival releases, RSD drops try to cover a lot of musical territory. Practically all genres of music are represented and, of course, jazz is no exception. Fortunately, the April 2024 drop promises plenty of jazz offerings, so the most difficult part for most jazz collectors might easily be deciding what not to buy.

Jazz Raconteurs

James Brandon Lewis: Jazz, Spirituality, and the Art and Science of Musical Abstraction

Read "James Brandon Lewis: Jazz, Spirituality, and the Art and Science of Musical Abstraction" reviewed by Dave Kaufman

The contemporary jazz world is currently witnessing an artistic renaissance, characterized by an upsurge in creativity and innovation. This movement is fueled in part by rising stars such as Joel Ross, Immanuel Wilkins, and Isaiah Collier, as well as seasoned veterans like Charles Lloyd, David Murray, William Parker, Joe Lovano, and Bill Frisell, whose creative passion remains vibrant and fires undiminished decades into their career. However, much of the surge in innovation has been driven by artists who are entering ...


Cyrille Aimée: Music Flows From Within

Read "Cyrille Aimée: Music Flows From Within" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

Renowned vocalist Cyrille Aimée possesses a wholly unique sound. Certainly, it is based on her voice timbre but also reflects her approach to music. She is equally adept at jazz standards and pop-jazz. She can swing and scat on cue, then shift to high tech sound loops. Songs in English, French and Spanish are delivered with equal expressiveness, the same for Stephen Sondheim and Michael Jackson hits. Most importantly, her songs are joyful, buoyant; even the ballads are uplifting. Aimee's ...

Live Review

Big Ears Festival 2024

Read "Big Ears Festival 2024" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Big Ears Festival Knoxville, TN March 21-24, 2024 After last year's triumphant tenth anniversary, the festival returned with the slogan “The adventure continues." The iconic and influential Nonesuch Records' 60th anniversary was celebrated with performances by Brad Mehldau, Caroline Shaw, Darcy James Argue, Mary Halvorson, Davóne Tines, Sam Amidon, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Yasmin Williams, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson and Molly Tuttle, and a rare live performance by Robin Holcomb. Electronica pioneer King ...


Bernardo Sassetti: The Pianist Who Danced With Silence

Read "Bernardo Sassetti: The Pianist Who Danced With Silence" reviewed by Nathalie Tamara Freson

If a musician's degree of brilliance is measured by the emotions they awakens in his listeners, then Bernardo Sassetti was a genius. And that he certainly was. With a prolific career (which resulted in a discography and filmography of close to 30 CDs), Sassetti spent the first few years playing alongside illustrious figures of the jazz world, such as Freddie Hubbard, Paquito D'Rivera and Guy Barker, the latter with with whom he collaborated intensively (on albums such as ...


Fernando Trueba & They Shot the Piano Player

Read "Fernando Trueba & They Shot the Piano Player" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba has long been a jazz fan, and has made several films with a jazz focus. Calle 54 (2000) is still a notable documentary on Latin jazz. The film primarily consists of studio performances by a wide array of Latin Jazz musicians. Artists featured include Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Cachao, Eliane Elias, Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera, Chano Domínguez, Jerry Gonzalez, Dave Valentin, Aquíles Báez, and Michel Camilo. The film takes its name from Sony Music ...

Chats with Cats

Women in Jazz Media: Kim Cypher

Read "Women in Jazz Media: Kim Cypher" reviewed by B.D. Lenz

It is rare that a jazz musician is just a jazz musician. In order to survive you almost always have to have another gig, teach, or work in some auxiliary role to your music life. A musician who exemplifies this diversification is Kim Cypher, a saxophonist/vocalist based in the UK. Besides being a musician and composer, she is also a radio host, gig promoter and a member of Women in Jazz Media, an organization dedicated to promoting women in this ...

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