Although he may look more like a professor or kindly physician, Antonio Adolfo is, in reality, a killer pianist/arranger and master of samba jazz. In early November, the beginning of summer in Brazil, I went to the beautiful new Blue Note in Rio de Janeiro to get my samba fix. Adolfo led a septet that features some of the finest jazz musicians in Brazil. And then he introduced his guest, one of the great Bossa Nova singer/songwriters, Carlos Lyra. My story in DownBeat.
Last week’s MIMO Festival-Rio was a musical bazaar including MPB (Brazilian pop), Afro-pop, Portuguese pop, jazz, salsa, and unclassifiable music from around the world. And it ended with a samba explosion to make traditional Brazilian music fans smile. Here’s my review in @DownBeatMag.
One of the most acclaimed clarinetists in jazz, Israeli-born Anat Cohen has somehow also managed to become one of the world’s foremost practitioners of Brazilian jazz. If you’d like to expand your appreciation of Brazilian music beyond the usual Bossa Novas, dig this hauntingly beautiful video. Then read my profile of her from the July 2017 DownBeat.
Pianists Sullivan Fortner (above), Aaron Diehl, Dan Nimmer, and two excellent student pianists from Julliard (Micah Thomas and Joel Wenhardt) rocked the “House of Swing” in “The Fantastic Mr. Jelly Lord,” the JLCO season opener at Jazz at Lincoln Center last weekend. My review in DownBeat.
Today I had the privilege of sitting down with Wynton Marsalis in his dressing room at Jazz at Lincoln Center for a DownBeat interview, five years after our first meeting. We talked about his career, his evolution as a musician and a human being, his hopes for the future. Article coming soon.
The 2017 Newport Jazz Festival was, as usual, a showcase and a proving ground for great soloists. Here’s my recap, concentrating on a few of the finest performances I heard, including those of vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant (above) who performed with the Aaron Diehl Trio; the Maria Schneider Orchestra; the Benny Golson Quartet; and the Christian McBride Big Band.
It’s not that Allegra Levy is necessarily an intrepid traveler or impulsive risk-taker. After all, the opening track on the 27-year-old New York jazz vocalist’s first album was an ode to worry and indecision entitled “Anxiety.” But when an email from a stranger appeared in her inbox one morning, it wasn’t long before she was on a plane to Hong Kong. She talked about her adventure and her second album with me for a DownBeat “Players” profile in the June issue.