Exciting New Jazz Music – Midón, Mendoza and Metropole
Introducing Raul Midơn, Vince Mendoza and the Metropole Orkest.
Recently I have been studying the music of gifted musician/compose/conductor Vince Mendoza whose stunningly beautiful and very hip orchestral music is typically classified as “contemporary” or pop jazz. Look him up on Spotify, Amazon or Apple Music and you will probably be as stunned as I was say, “why haven’t I heard of this guy before. (He’s been recording sensational sounds for more than 20 years.)
Mendoza has recorded a number of recordings with Metropole Orkest a full symphonic orchestra that plays some great jazz.
If You Really Want
In 2014 singer/guitarist/composer Raul Midón joined the Metropole Orkest, conducted by Vince Mendoza, to record the album ‘If You Really Want’. It took four years to find the right time and partner to release the record, which is out now on Artistry Music and received a Grammy. You just have to listen to it! The vocals are soulful, the compositions are elegant, and the orchestra, led by Mendoza is sensational.
A glimpse into the making of “If You Really Want”
Raul Midon: “I Just Want To Pick Somebody Up”
John Scofield, Vince Mendoza, Metropole Orchestra – Honest I Do
Pianists have grabbed a particularly bright spotlight, but trumpeters, saxophonists, bassists, and singers have shined too. And musicians of all ages, from the 29 year old vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant) to 80 year old saxophonist Charles Lloyd (one of my favs) and many in between, have released some great music.
Below are four of the many sources that have published “best of Jazz” lists. Each list is different and yet there is some overlap. Most of the lists have links to audio and video samples some have reviews and artist profiles. Maybe you will find a new or an old favorite among them. Click the titles to go to each list. Enjoy .
What does it sound like and where can I find Chamber Jazz?
What Is Chamber Jazz?
Chamber music is written for, and performed by, small classical or jazz ensembles. and typically features improvised solos. Many of these groups play a style that is a fusion of both jazz and classical elements. Some groups include string instruments.
What does Chamber Jazz Sound Like? (Music video below)
In my experience the sound of chamber jazz is sometimes classical sometimes jazzy and sometimes a fusion go both styles. The music varies greatly from album to album as different composers and musicians express their creativity. The sounds are sometimes familiar and sometimes avant gardé and experimental.
The music program that we will perform at Jazz In The Chamber, includes a number of original tunes with a familiar jazz feel and some that are cinematic and expressive.
Is Chamber Jazz Is Hard To Find?
A bit of searching and listening is required to find some chamber jazz. Much of the new jazz music being written and recorded sounds like chamber jazz but is not necessarily called that on the album. I’ll share some of my music discoveries with you in this and coming newsletters.
Here’s some interesting chamber jazz found on You Tube:
Childs was playing professionally as a teenager, and he made his recording debut in 1977 with the J. J. Johnson QuintetHe gained significant attention during 1978–84) playing with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s group. While influenced early on in his playing by Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, and Chick Corea and in his composing by Paul Hindemith, Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky, Childs nevertheless had an original conception of his own from near the start, developing his own voice as both a pianist and a composer in jazz and classical music genres.Read more at Wikipedia.
Samba Of The Trees, a composition inspired by trees was chosen by North End Woodlands.
The North End Woodlands project, formed in November 2016, has created a collaborative plan to reforest the avenues of the North End of Colorado Springs and will use Samba of The Trees as a website anthem. Tree planting is beginning and you may donate all or part of a tree through their website.
About Samba Of The Trees: A stand of cottonwood trees in Garden of the Gods park has been a refuge for me. I lay against mighty trunks, watch the golden light shimmer through the beautiful leaves and feel the peace and grace of ancient wisdom. One morning the melody and rhythm of Samba of The Trees came to me and I wrote the piece in its entirety when I got back to my studio. The following is a score recording of the piece. While the digitally sampled audio is pretty realistic but live performance with improvised solos is quite lovely.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Yellowjackets Return with Raising Our Voice.
Raising Our Voice is a collaboration with Brazilian jazz marvel Luciana Souza, an ideal choice for the first vocalist to join the Yellowjackets.
“The band keeps moving forward,” says saxophonist Bob Mintzerwho joined the group in 1990. “It’s one of the few partnership bands in the last four decades. It’s democratic, laissez-faire and accommodating to everyone in the band to contribute. We’re constantly reinventing ourselves as a reflection of what’s happening in the world.”
In a 2013 interview with Anat Cohen published in JazzTimes, one of my heroes , composer and wind instrument virtuosos Paquito D’Rivera talks about what he learned from his father about listening to good music.
“Well, my father is still today a main figure to look up to in my career. He was a classical saxophone player. He never had the ability to improvise. But he loved the music of Ellington, and especially the Goodman Orchestra. He used to play for me many Goodman swing band songs; he never called it “jazz.” For some reason he didn’t like the word “jazz.” He preferred to call it “swing.” He’d play the Goodman Swing Orchestra back to back with Goodman’s wonderful rendition of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. So, I was like 8 or 9 years old and also I was pretty confused. But it was a very happy confusion, because he had the concept of that music. He was very Ellingtonian, not only because he loved the Ellington orchestra, but because he said there are only two kinds of music: good and the other is not. When you play or at least try to understand different sides of music, you become a better musician, like when you can speak different languages. You understand life better, you know? So I think it is a big mistake when people concentrate only on one. Many jazz people are too sectarian sometimes. They don’t want to hear nothing else but Bird, Dizzy, Ellington and so on. What about listening to other types of music that Bird, Dizzy, and Ellington tell you to listen to? I think those great jazz musicians are so great because they understand other cultures. Jazz is a music coming out of a multi-national and multi-ethnic society and country. Everybody here has put their own thing into this wonderful style called “jazz.” So, my father saw that from the beginning, and I was very fortunate to be his student.”
Would you put Bill Evans on your list of best jazz pianists? McCoy Tyler? Chick Corea?
In jazz, the horns – the saxophones and trumpets – have traditionally been the music’s glamour instruments and its main focus. But the piano has been a vital part of the jazz idiom since its inception, in both solo and ensemble settings. Its role is multifaceted due largely to the instrument’s combined melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic capabilities and is often the foundation of a great jazz ensemble. (Ask any horn player how they feel about a good jazz pianist.)
In anybody’s list there is always room for agreement and argument. Take a look at a great resource put together by Udiscovermusic.com. Check off your favorites and discover more about those who are new to you
Esperanza Spalding The 21st Century’s Jazz Genius?
In a well-written article for National Public Radio’s Lara Pellagrinelli makes the case for why Esperanza Spalding Is The 21st Century’s Jazz Genius.
“Spalding has undeniably made her mark within that male-dominated, musically conservative field. At the same time, she’s also shown her capacity to operate irrespective of its borders, an unusual achievement irrespective of her gender.
She didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. A native of Portland, Ore., Spalding played classical violin as a child and gigged in an indie band on bass as a teenager. She graduated from the Berklee College of Music in only three years, becoming,…”
FluteDaddy is honored to take the stage at Motif Jazz Cafe, Colorado Springs #1 Jazz Club 8 PM Friday 8/31. FluteDaddy quartet will be premiering five of Joseph’s new compositions and playing some fresh takes on jazz standards and Brazilian jazz tunes. Joseph Liberti flutes, Adam Ohlson keys, Marc Neihof bass and Tyler Kennamer drums. Join us for for some”FluteDaddy jazz – original, beautiful and hip.”
Hazel Scott may be the best jazz musician you never heard of.
Born in Trinidad, Hazel was raised on music. Her whole family played and her mother, Alma, an aspiring concert pianist, taught music to help make ends meet. Unbeknownst to her family, Hazel Scott absorbed everything she heard until one day she woke her grandmother from a nap by playing a familiar hymn on the piano, two-handed and with perfect pitch. Her grandmother woke thinking, not wrongly, that she was witnessing a miracle. Her story is a fascinating bit of jazz history. Read her extraordinary story at Naritive.ly
Watch the video below to experience her ability and great style as a vocalist and pianist.