Delfeayo Marsalis is Soooo New Orleans!

“In Canada once, a student asked me, ‘How do you reconcile what you want to play with what the audience wants to hear?’ And I said, ‘Man, as I get older, I really want to play music that people want to hear.’ I don’t even understand what the question is.”

From my interview with the delightful Delfeayo Marsalis in the March issue of DownBeat.


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Filed under Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Music Writing and Clips, Wynton Marsalis

Remembering Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter at Jazz at Lincoln Center
(photo by Fran Kaufman)

Wayne Shorter was a hero to everyone in the jazz world, a visionary composer and an unequalled improviser who retained a childish sense of wonder and play. There was no one like him. I’m so glad I got to see him play live with his quartet at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2012. Here’s how the piece began:

An hour before pianist Danilo Pérez went onstage with the Wayne Shorter Quartet on April 28 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, I asked him what the group would be playing. He laughed. “We never know, man.” Well, how did it go last night? “It was exciting—and scary.”

My review in DownBeat.

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Filed under Downbeat, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Music Writing and Clips, Wayne Shorter

Geri Allen Enters the DownBeat Hall of Fame (DownBeat, Aug. 2022)

It was an honor to celebrate the innovative pianist/composer Geri Allen on her induction into the DownBeat Hall of Fame. For this article in the August 2022 issue, I spoke to her manager and close friend, Ora Harris, who generously shared many wonderful stories with me; her collaborator and friend, the masterful drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington; and Jana Herzen of Motéma Records, her last label before Geri’s untimely passing at age 60. Thanks to DownBeat Editor Frank Alkyer for the assignment.

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Charles Mingus at 100 (DownBeat, May 2022)

For Charles Mingus’s centennial, DownBeat asked me to do a deep dive on the composer, bassist and singular American cultural figure. In this package of three pieces, I explore the place Mingus occupies in the popular imagination, by all accounts well-deserved, as a force of nature, an iconoclastic truth-teller, a volatile, emotional man with a violent streak. But his many friends and fellow musicians, people who knew and loved him, remember a different side: the spiritual seeker, poet, esthete and philosopher; the bandleader who took pains to treat his musicians fairly; and, above all, the artist he was right down to his bone marrow. Among the artists and critics I interviewed: Christian McBride, Charles McPherson, biographer Brian Priestley, and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Vincent Gardner, who served as musical director for JALC’s Mingus centennial tribute. The main article is here. A sidebar on the making of “Epitaph,” Mingus’s magnum opus, is here. Another piece about new Mingus recordings and tributes is here.

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Filed under Charles McPherson, Charles Mingus, Christian McBride, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Vincent Gardner

The Education of Camille Thurman (DownBeat, March 2022)

Thurman was the first woman to tour and perform full time with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. (Photo: Courtesy of Camille Thurman)

Imagine if Sarah Vaughan played saxophone like Dexter Gordon. That’s approximately the effect when the 35-year-old singer and tenor saxophonist Camille Thurman performs. She told me about her struggles with sexism and crippling self-doubt in my interview with her, from the March 2022 @DownBeatMag.

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Filed under Camille Thurman, Downbeat, Jazz at Lincoln Center, JLCO, Wynton Marsalis

Coming Soon: A Mingus Appreciation

Charles Mingus – prolific American composer, bass virtuoso, memoirist, poet, notorious truth teller, and all-around badass – would have turned 100 years old this year. I was delighted when @DownBeatMag asked me to write an appreciation of Mingus and his place in jazz history – delighted, and a bit intimidated. How on earth could I summarize his life and contributions to jazz in six magazine pages, give or take? You can judge how well I did soon. My story will be in the May issue, hitting the streets approximately April 1.

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A Night in Anzio, Italy (

What a beautiful experience it was to be among the first wave of American tourists coming back to Italy last week. I was there to attend “A Night in Anzio,” an invitation-only jazz party in the seaside town south of Rome, assembled by Polish saxophonist Sylwester Ostrowski. Here are my impressions of the experience on The line-up included four great tenor saxophonists – Ostrowski, Igor Butman, Alexander Beets and Camille Thurman – Green. Take a look at the video here:

Their version of Dexter Gordon’s song “Cheesecake” is a classic. I especially loved Igor’s solo at about 53:00. Big thanks to Sylwester, Arlette Hovinga and Lois Gilbert of

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Filed under Alexander Beets, Camille Thurman, Endea Owens, Freddie Hendrix, Igor Butman, Music Writing and Clips, Sylwester Ostrowski

Larry Goldings is Becoming the Victor Borge of Jazz (JazzTimes, August 2021)

More than a gifted pianist, organist, and 20-yr member of James Taylor’s band, Larry Goldings is also the brilliant comic mind behind the viral CPAC “national anthem” video and, as most jazz fans know, the madcap “Hans Groiner” character, an “expert” on Thelonious Monk’s music who “improves it by making it more relaxing and less offensive to the ear.” Many thanks to Mac Randall of JazzTimes for publishing my interview with Larry. (BTW, don’t miss the priceless “Groiner interview” – an Easter egg embedded within the article.) #LarryGoldings #HansGroiner #JamesTaylor

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Filed under Hans Groiner, James Taylor, Jazz Times, Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Victor Borge

Siegel & Kinhan Serve Up “Vocal Gumbo” (Downbeat – April 19, 2021)

The Vocal Gumbo team: Lauren Kinhan (top left), Janis Siegel (bottom left) and Laurie Green.
(Photo: Laurie Green)

A little over a year ago, Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer arrived home from an aborted tour. “At first we all thought, OK, I’m sure we’ll be back at work by the summer.” When that didn’t happen, Janis and her buddy Lauren Kinhan of New York Voices started figuring out a way to convert their monthly “Vocal Mania” shows at NYC’s Zinc Bar to a live-streaming online format. The result, they told me for DownBeat Magazine, is Vocal Gumbo. My interview with Janis and Lauren.

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Filed under Downbeat, Janis Siegel, Lauren Kinhan, Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, Vocal Gumbo

Stacey Kent, Jim Tomlinson, and Kazuo Ishiguro “Wish They Could Go Travelling Again” (Jazziz, April 2021)

Stacey Kent and Kazuo Ishiguro

I think it’s safe to say that Stacey Kent is the only jazz singer to have a Nobel Prize-winning novelist writing lyrics specifically for her voice. That novelist is Kazuo Ishiguro. Stacey, Ishiguro and Jim Tomlinson, Stacey’s musical director and husband, are the subjects of my piece in Jazziz Magazine. (Free trials of Jazziz are available if you’re not a subscriber.)

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Filed under Jazziz, Jim Tomlinson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Stacey Kent

A Conversation With Sergio Mendes (TIDAL Magazine)

What a pleasure to interview Sergio Mendes, one of my musical heroes since I was a kid. The article appears in TIDAL Magazine, the highly readable online publication of the TIDAL streaming service (owned by Jay-Z).

Here’s one bit that didn’t make the final piece:

“Mas Que Nada” – Sergio’s signature song since Brasil ’66, a song that became the first-ever worldwide hit in Portuguese. The title means, approximately, “Yeah, right,” sarcastically, in Brazilian Portuguese. Sergio recalled when he heard the song for the first time:

“It was in Bottles Bar (the legendary Rio jazz hangout that witnessed the birth of Bossa Nova), maybe ’61 or ’62.  This young kid, Jorge Ben, came in with his guitar and started playing it. It was so different from the very melodic stuff Jobim would do, a different vibe. But a great chant! When I play it in Japan, the Japanese sing along with it – it’s like the national anthem!”

I asked if he had any idea the song could become such an enormous worldwide hit in its original language. “Never!” he said. “When I first heard my record of it on the radio [in 1966], I called Herb [Alpert, his producer at A&M Records]. He said, “Sergio I think we’ve got a big hit here!” 

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Filed under Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Cannonball Adderley, Frank Sinatra, Guinga, Herb Alpert, Hermeto Pascoal, Joao Donato, Milton Nascimento, Moacir Santos, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, Stevie Wonder

Cecile McLorin Salvant on gratitude, pandemics, awards, and what scares her (Jazziz Magazine, Jan. 2021)

“There’s something really exhilarating about doing something terrifying,” she said, talking about her latest project, Ogresse, her song cycle/performance piece, which she is trying to turn into an animated feature film. For my vocal jazz column in Jazziz Magazine (Jan. 2021 issue), the supremely talented @CecileSalvant, a recently minted MacArthur fellow, spoke to me from Miami, where she was spending the holidays. A beautiful person and artist.

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Filed under Aaron Diehl, Cecile McLorin Salvant, COVID-19, Jazziz, Sullivan Fortner

Emmet Cohen on turning lemons into lemonade (DownBeat, Feb. 2021)

Last summer, with the club and concert scene in the US and Europe shuttered and fear rampant, the sensational 30-year-old pianist @EmmetCohen managed to organize a tour of Europe for his NYC-based trio. Everywhere they went, they were told they were the only American band that had come over and performed. How did they do it? My news piece in DownBeat.

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Filed under Dizzy Gillespie, Emmet Cohen, Kyle Poole, Louis Armstrong, Marquis Hill, Melissa Aldana, Russell Hall

John Beasley Reflects on Miles, Herbie, and (of Course) Monk (JazzTimes, Jan/Feb 2021)

My latest for JazzTimes — Pianist @JohnBeasley is the Zelig of the jazz and pop music world, playing with everyone from Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock to Steely Dan, Carly Simon and Rickie Lee Jones, arranging music for American Idol, playing on James Bond movie scores, and serving as musical director for Jazz at the White House and International Jazz Day. But it’s his brilliant writing for the Grammy-winning MONK’estra that has won him his greatest acclaim. And he’s got a few stories…

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Filed under Donald Fagen, Herbie Hancock, John Beasley, John Patitucci, Miles Davis, Steely Dan, Walter Becker

The Royal Bopsters Return (DownBeat, Jan 2021)

I recently had the pleasure of talking to singer/arranger Amy London of the Royal Bopsters for Jazziz Magazine, then reviewing their new album Party of Four for DownBeat. The Bopsters – soprano London, alto Holli Ross, tenor Pete McGuiness, and bass Dylan Pramuk – specialize in the vocalese of the bebop era and beyond. On the new album, they perform songs by Billy Strayhorn and Tadd Dameron, standards and more modern stuff, including one by Wayne Shorter. They all get the Bopsters’ treatment: twisty, 4-part close harmonies and effervescent scatting.

Since the DownBeat review had rather strict space limits, here’s the full, unabridged version.

The Royal Bopsters

Party of Four

Motéma Music MTM0372

(Four Stars)

No jazz vocal group in the 20th century cast a longer shadow than Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. They had so many things going for them: their skill as arrangers and entertainers; their ferocious swing; their ability to channel horn or sax sections; and Jon Hendricks’ ingenious way with vocalese lyrics.

All those qualities are echoed in the work of The Royal Bopsters. Their first album, which included guest appearances by Hendricks, Annie Ross, and three other all-time jazz vocal greats, Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, and Bob Dorough, conveyed the sense of a torch being passed. Now, after a five-year hiatus, the Bopsters – Amy London (soprano), Holli Ross (alto), Pete McGuiness (tenor), and Dylan Pramuk (bass) – are back, and their sophomore release is an entertaining gem.

The new CD is like a master class for jazz arrangers and vocalists, with Pramuk and McGuinness steering the artful arrangements, while London, Ross and Pramuk contribute clever lyrics. The album is dedicated to the memory of Ross, whose life was tragically cut short last May after a three-year battle with cancer.

Ms. Jordan and the late Mr. Dorough (in one of his final recordings) return as guests, with delightfully free-spirited vocals. Uber-bassist Christian McBride, who presented the group at the 2019 Newport Jazz Festival, adds his deep pocket to two tracks. Pianist Steve Schmidt, bassist Cameron Brown, drummer Steve Williams, and percussionist Steven Kroon, provide first-rate support throughout.

Among several extraordinary tracks, Pramuk’s arrangement of Tadd Dameron’s classic “On A Misty Night” is a standout. It’s based on two previous records: Dameron’s big band arrangement from his The Magic Touch album; and a lyric written by British singer/keyboardist Georgie Fame to a Chet Baker trumpet solo from yet another recording. The whole album is peppered with such Easter eggs for jazz and vocalese fans.

The late Ms. Ross’s version of Tito Puente’s hit “Cuando Te Vea (When I See You),” for which she translated the lyric with the permission of the iconic Latin bandleader, is another highlight. It features McBride’s compelling tumbao and an uncanny mouth-trombone solo by McGuiness, but they don’t overshadow Ross’s impassioned vocal, a fitting valediction for a terrific singer gone too soon.

Party of Four: But Not For Me; On A Misty Night/Gipsy; How I Love You (Let Me Count The Reasons); Lucky To Be Me; Why’d You Do Me The Way You Did; Day Dream; Cuando Te Vea; Baby, You Should Know It; Our Spring Song; Rusty Dusty Blues; Infant Eyes; My Shining Hour. (58:42)

Personnel: The Royal Bopsters (Amy London, Holli Ross, Pete McGuinness, Dylan Pramuk), vocals; Steve Schmidt, piano; Cameron Brown, bass; Steve Williams, drums; Steven Kroon, percussion (7,11); Bob Dorough, vocals (8); Sheila Jordan, vocals (4); Christian McBride, bass (2, 7).

Ordering info: Moté

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Filed under Amy London, Bob Dorough, Dylan Pramuk, Holli Ross, Royal Bopsters

Congratulations to the 2021 Grammy Nominees!

I’m excited that so many of my favorite artists and interview subjects are nominated for 2021 Grammys! The list includes John Beasley; Kurt Elling, featuring Danilo Perez; Kenny Washington; Becca Stevens; Chico Pinheiro; Maria Schneider; Alan Broadbent; Chick Corea; Christian McBride; Brian Blade; Terri Lyne Carrington, and Jacob Collier (album of the year, no less!). Big congratulations to all. And stay tuned for my upcoming portrait of John “Killer Beas” Beasley in JazzTimes.

General Field

2. Album Of The Year
Award to Artist(s) and to Featured Artist(s), Songwriter(s) of new material, Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s), Mixer(s) and Mastering Engineer(s) credited with at least 33% playing time of the album, if other than Artist.

    Jhené Aiko
    Fisticuffs & Julian-Quán Việt Lê, producers; Fisticuffs, Julian-Quán Việt Lê, Zeke Mishanec, Christian Plata & Gregg Rominiecki, engineers/mixers; Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo, Julian-Quán Việt Lê, Maclean Robinson & Brian Keith Warfield, songwriters; Dave Kutch, mastering engineer
    Black Pumas
    Jon Kaplan & Adrian Quesada, producers; Adrian Quesada, Jacob Sciba, Stuart Sikes & Erik Wofford, engineers/mixers; Eric Burton & Adrian Quesada, songwriters; JJ Golden, mastering engineer
    Daniel Green, Bill Rahko & Rik Simpson, producers; Mark “Spike” Stent, engineer/mixer; Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin, songwriters; Emily Lazar, mastering engineer
    Jacob Collier
    Jacob Collier, producer; Ben Bloomberg & Jacob Collier, engineers/mixers; Jacob Collier, songwriter; Chris Allgood & Emily Lazar, mastering engineers

    Rostam Batmanglij, Danielle Haim & Ariel Rechtshaid, producers; Rostam Batmanglij, Jasmine Chen, John DeBold, Matt DiMona, Tom Elmhirst, Joey Messina-Doerning & Ariel Rechtshaid, engineers/mixers; Rostam Batmanglij, Alana Haim, Danielle Haim, Este Haim & Ariel Rechtshaid, songwriters; Emily Lazar, mastering engineer
    Dua Lipa
    Koz, producer; Josh Gudwin & Cameron Gower Poole, engineers/mixers; Clarence Coffee Jr. & Dua Lipa, songwriters; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer
    Post Malone
    Louis Bell & Frank Dukes, producers; Louis Bell & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer
    Taylor Swift
    Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, producers; Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner, Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Jonathan Low & Laura Sisk, engineers/mixers; Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer


31. Best Improvised Jazz Solo
For an instrumental jazz solo performance. Two equal performers on one recording may be eligible as one entry. If the soloist listed appears on a recording billed to another artist, the latter’s name is in parenthesis for identification. Singles or Tracks only.

    Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah, soloist
    Track from: Axiom
    Regina Carter, soloist
    Track from: Ona (Thana Alexa)
    Gerald Clayton, soloist
    Chick Corea, soloist
    Track from: Trilogy 2 (Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade)

    Joshua Redman, soloist
    Track from: RoundAgain (Redman Mehldau McBride Blade)

32. Best Jazz Vocal Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal jazz recordings.

  • ONA
    Thana Alexa
    Kurt Elling Featuring Danilo Pérez

    Carmen Lundy
    Somi With Frankfurt Radio Big Band
    Kenny Washington

33. Best Jazz Instrumental Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new instrumental jazz recordings.

    Ambrose Akinmusire
    Terri Lyne Carrington And Social Science

    Gerald Clayton
    Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade

    Redman Mehldau McBride Blade

34. Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new ensemble jazz recordings.

    Gregg August
    John Beasley

    Orrin Evans And The Captain Black Big Band
    John Hollenbeck With Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, Gary Versace And The Frankfurt Radio Big Band
    Maria Schneider Orchestra

35. Best Latin Jazz Album
For vocal or instrumental albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded material. The intent of this category is to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinian tango music.

    Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra
    Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
    Chico Pinheiro

    Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Aymée Nuviola
    Poncho Sanchez


62. Best Instrumental Composition
A Composer’s Award for an original composition (not an adaptation) first released during the Eligibility Year. Singles or Tracks only.

    Arturo O’Farrill, composer (Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra)
    Christian Sands, composer (Christian Sands)
    Alexandre Desplat, composer (Alexandre Desplat)
    Maria Schneider, composer (Maria Schneider)

    Remy Le Boeuf, composer (Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly Of Shadows Featuring Anna Webber & Eric Miller)

63. Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella
An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

    Hildur Guðnadóttir, arranger (Hildur Guðnadóttir)
    John Beasley, arranger (John Beasley)

    Remy Le Boeuf, arranger (Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly Of Shadows)
    Alvin Chea & Jarrett Johnson, arrangers (Jarrett Johnson Featuring Alvin Chea)
    Jeremy Levy, arranger (Jeremy Levy Jazz Orchestra)

64. Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals
An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

    John Beasley & Maria Mendes, arrangers (Maria Mendes Featuring John Beasley & Orkest Metropole)
    Erin Bentlage, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye Kendrick & Amanda Taylor, arrangers (Säje)
    Alan Broadbent & Pat Metheny, arrangers (Pat Metheny Featuring Meshell Ndegeocello)

    Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier Featuring Rapsody)

    Talia Billig, Nic Hard & Becca Stevens, arrangers (Becca Stevens Featuring Jacob Collier, Mark Lettieri, Justin Stanton, Jordan Perlson, Nic Hard, Keita Ogawa, Marcelo Woloski & Nate Werth)

11. Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
For albums containing approximately 51% or more playing time of instrumental material. For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new recordings.

    Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah
    Jon Batiste

    Black Violin
    Grégoire Maret, Romain Collin & Bill Frisell
    Snarky Puppy

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Filed under Alan Broadbent, Becca Stevens, Brian Blade, Chico Pinehiro, Christian McBride, Danilo Perez, Jacob Collier, Jazz Times, John Beasley, Kenny Washington, Kurt Elling, Maria Schneider, Music Writing and Clips, Terri Lyne Carrington

Jazzmeia Horn is Staying Busy (DownBeat, Nov. 2020)

My short piece about the gifted young jazz singer, from DownBeat‘s recent “25 For The Future” special issue.

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Filed under Jazzmeia Horn, Music Writing and Clips

Kenny Washington – A Late Bloomer’s Slow Rise to Vocal Stardom (JazzTimes, Sept. 2020)

After 35 years as a guest singer on other peoples’ records, Oakland-based Kenny Washington, 63, is releasing his first studio album under his own name. The album is called What’s the Hurry?

“I’m originally from New Orleans, the Big Easy,” Washington says. “The people are laid back. I’ve never been in a hurry to do anything.”

Joe Locke, the extraordinary vibraphonist who works with Washington often, calls him “one of the most important male vocalists in the world…Kenny is the whole package.”

I enjoyed talking to Kenny for this profile in JazzTimes Magazine. The record is seriously good. (Get it here:

Here’s a two-year-old video of him at KNKX Public Radio in Seattle (I haven’t found a video from the new album yet, but this will give you a taste of his talents).

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Filed under Joe Locke, Josh Nelson, Kenny Washington, Music Writing and Clips

Antonio Adolfo explores the music of Milton Nascimento

Antonio Adolfo

Milton Nascimento is one of the most singular Brazilian singer-composers of the last century. Antonio Adolfo, Rio’s great pianist, bandleader, and arranger – and no slouch in the composing department either – has explored his old friend Milton’s evocative harmonies and haunting melodies in an exquisite new album, made with the participation of some of Brazil’s most accomplished jazz musicians.

The album has been number one on jazz radio in the U.S. for three straight weeks, an unexpected and delightful surprise (to me, at least). Here’s my interview with Mr. Adolfo in DownBeat (including links to the music), just out today.

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Filed under Antonio Adolfo, Downbeat, Milton Nascimento, Music Writing and Clips

Revisiting a Classic Sinatra Album During the Pandemic (DownBeat, August 2020)

DownBeat recently asked me to review Capitol’s re-release of Frank Sinatra’s 1960 mid-career classic Nice ‘N’ Easy, now in an expanded edition for the album’s 60th anniversary ( A slightly “expanded edition” of my review is below. Diving back into that New Frontier world with Frank and Nelson Riddle – both of them at their artistic peak – proved a soothing diversion from the pandemic and the anxieties and outrages of the 24/7 news cycle. I heartily recommend it.

Frank Sinatra

Nice ‘N’ Easy (60th Anniversary Expanded Edition)

Capitol/UMe Records B0031729-02


Ol’ Blue Eyes to the rescue: In these troubled times, a classic album of Sinatra love songs might be the ultimate sonic comfort food.

Especially this album. Nice ‘N’ Easy was recorded in 1960 when Sinatra was at the height of his vocal powers. At age 44, no longer the carefree young crooner, his voice had deepened and matured, reflecting the agonies of his tempestuous six-year marriage to Ava Gardner. After two ballad collections (No One Cares and Only the Lonely) featuring torch songs near-suicidal in tone, Sinatra wanted to record love songs with a lighter touch.

The newly minted title track, by Lew Spence and the young Alan and Marilyn Bergman, was the only mid-tempo number. Sinatra had previously recorded the other 11 songs, all classic ballads, for Columbia in the 1940s. Now he intended to produce the definitive versions, with peak Nelson Riddle arrangements, this time in hi-fi and stereo. The 1960 versions are deeper and richer; the arrangements are more modern but timeless.

With his honeyed timbre, marinated over the years by booze, smoke and heartaches, Sinatra is the romantic hero of each little three-minute drama, the voice always intimate, now confiding, now confessing, sometimes just wryly commenting.

The new stereo mixes are breathtaking, and the bonus materials are invaluable: two session takes illuminate Sinatra’s process in the studio, recording take after take with full orchestra. There’s also an exquisite “The Nearness of You,” the album’s original title track.

Riddle was the best, and Sinatra knew it (“Nelson is the greatest arranger in the world” he declared). His orchestrations, particularly his writing for woodwinds and strings, are a heavenly combination of romance, classical know-how, and judicious use of jazz harmonies. If you don’t get goosebumps when Frank sings, in “That Old Feeling,” “…and when you caught my eye, my heart stood still,” as Riddle’s strings start to soar, check your pulse.

Nice ‘N’ Easy: Nice ’N’ Easy; That Old Feeling; How Deep Is The Ocean; I’ve Got A Crush On You; You Go To My Head; Fools Rush In; Nevertheless; She’s Funny That Way; Try A Little Tenderness; Embraceable You; Mam’selle; Dream; The Nearness Of You; I’ve Got A Crush On You (session takes); Nice ‘N’ Easy (session takes). 57:15

Personnel: Frank Sinatra, vocals; Nelson Riddle, arranger and conductor; orchestra includes Plas Johnson, tenor saxophone; Al Viola, guitar; Felix Slatkin, violin; Bill Miller, piano.

Ordering info:

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Filed under Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle