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.
Last night at our gig we had an extraordinary experience of synergy. After the trauma of relocating indoors to escape the rain, we started warming into our groove.People enjoyed us and we had fun. By the third set, when many of the patrons were heading home we had built up a full head of steam. The remaining folks gathered around the band to just listen. We musicians, anchored by relationship and trust turned loose and became exuberantly creative. The more we opened up the more the listeners became engaged, and they and we, all became part of the music performance. The music was over the moon. It was the kind of experience musicians live for and fans leave home in any weather to go be a part of.I awakened this morning thinking, that is what life can be when we are not divided by fear but rather united in joyous celebration of being.
“I feel like there are more reasons to be excited about improvised music today than at any time during my 41 years on the planet,” the jazz critic Nate Chinen tells Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone Says: “He has a point, and you don’t need to be a diehard fan of the genre to appreciate it. Crossover stars such as Kamasi Washington and Esperanza Spalding are receiving generous mainstream attention, alongside innovators like pianist Vijay Iyer and guitarist Mary Halvorson. Meanwhile, Thundercat, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and others are seamlessly fusing hip-hop, R&B and electronica with their jazz mastery, introducing elements of a century-old art form to new audiences.” From: Rolling Stone Article
From Amazon.Com: “One of jazz’s leading critics gives us an invigorating, richly detailed portrait of the artists” and events that have shaped the music of our time. Grounded in authority and brimming with style, Playing Changes is the first book to take the measure of this exhilarating moment: it is a compelling argument for the resiliency of the art form and a rejoinder to any claims about its calcification or demise.
I am looking forward to reading this. I pre-ordered the Kindle version for $13 and will read it on my tablet or computer. Amazon listing.
Bela Bela a composition inspired by a Bela Fleck performance .
A few months ago I attended a concert performed by Bela Fleck the 16 time Grammy award winning banjoist and his delightful, banjoist wife Abigail. They gave a performance that was exciting and beautifully polished yet very intimate. In addition to performing on banjo Abigail sang and did some wonderful country-style dancing. I was enchanted and the music danced around in my body all night. In the morning I composed Bela Bela a piece that is an abstract of my experience of the show. I arranged the piece for chamber jazz sextet including Flute, guitar, cello, piano, bass and drums. The video is a recording of the score. We have not yet performed the piece live. Enjoy.
Too Darn Hot is a song written by Cole Porter for his musical Kiss Me, Kate (1948)
Too Darn Hot seemed and appropriate subject for today. Formerly we almost never used our air conditioning system, preferring fresh air. Now as the temperature clips above 90 regularly we are often glad to have relief. Cole Porter’s tune is a little musical relief. Here’s two versions:
Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song for her 1956 album “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook”.
In the stage version of Kiss Me Kate, it is sung at the start of Act 2
In this version you can hear a full orchestral arrangement.
Three years ago, my journal reminded me this morning, Icelebrated a wonderful musical success. Ladder To The Moon, a narrated concert of music inspired by the life and art of Georgia OKeeffe, created by me, was performed at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. A group of amazing musicians and I played my compositions and arrangements, to a sold out room for a standing ovation.
I overcame many challenges to accomplish this including my ignorance, inexperience and fear,and a nearly disabling letter from a hater. Days before the concert I received a letter from a local jazz musician who, after reading the ads for the event, wrote to tell me: you are not any good, you will never be any good, you are making the good musicians in town look bad, and you should just quit.
I will never forget this event and will always be grateful to Alan Joseph, Marc Neihof, Dave Hanson and Stefan Flores who performed brilliantly both individually and collectively. This was an audacious undertaking for me and I am grateful I escaped with my life.
Today my music is so much more advanced and I am delighted to say I will be performing my new compositions with other orchestras this year. And, I am so ready to tackle another project like Ladder To The Moon. Ok Universe, send it my way. Thank you mom and dad for teaching me to never give up.