Veronica Swift Swings Like Mad (DownBeat, Oct. 2019)

Veronica Swift doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t listening to jazz: “Before I was even born, in utero, Mom was doing concerts.”
(Photo: Giancarlo Belfiore/UmbriaJazz)

If, at 25, Veronica Swift sounds like a veteran jazz singer, that’s because she’s been singing jazz professionally since the age of 9. Her mom, the terrific jazz singer Stephanie Nakasian, once took Veronica, then 12, to see bebop singer Annie Ross perform in New York, and the youngster sat in on a number. Afterward, Ross said to her, “My goodness, Veronica, that was amazing … but don’t come back too often!” Here’s my profile of Veronica from the October 2019 DownBeat.

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Filed under Benny Green, Emmet Cohen, Veronica Swift

João Gilberto, the Voice of Bossa Nova, Dies at 88 (DownBeat)

“Look at the wind tearing out the trees’ hair … .”

“But trees don’t have hair, João,” said the psychologist.

“And some people have no poetry in their souls,” he replied.

For my DownBeat obit on the genius João Gilberto, I spoke with Eliane Elias and the legendary Wanda Sá.

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Filed under Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Chris McNulty, Joao Gilberto, Stan Getz, Uncategorized

Blue Note Records Marks 80th Anniversary with Tons of Vinyl

Dexter Gordon with Blue Note Records founders Alfred Lion (l), and Francis Wolff (Photo: Courtesy Blue Note Records)

My recent conversation in DownBeat with Don Was, president of Blue Note, about the label’s 80th and how it is doubling down on vinyl for both reissues and current artists.

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Filed under Blue Note, Don Was

John Patitucci goes it alone in new album (@DownBeat.com)

John Patitucci and his 1859 Gagliano bass. (Photo: Melanie Futorian)

Despite being one of the world’s most celebrated jazz bassists,
@JohnJPatitucci says that it took him 40 years “to get up the courage” to do his recent one-man show in NYC. He explains why, reflects on his life and music, and discusses the future of the Wayne Shorter Quartet in my new interview with him.

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Filed under Brian Blade, Chick Corea, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Wayne Shorter

Wynton Marsalis Imagines Buddy Bolden – Interview in JazzTimes

Here’s my JazzTimes interview with Wynton Marsalis about channeling legendary cornetist Buddy Bolden, known as “the man who invented jazz,” for the film Bolden, which opens nationwide today (May 3, 2019). I recommend that everyone who cares about jazz see the film and check out the soundtrack. Wynton and colleagues did a brilliant job imagining what Bolden’s group sounded like – there are no existing recordings of them. He also recreated the excitement of a 1930s-era concert by Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra, with the help of the gifted actor-singer Reno Wilson as Pops.

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Filed under Bolden movie, Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Reno Wilson, Wynton Marsalis

Inside the Barry Harris Method (JazzTimes)

Dr. Barry Harris, at a recent appearance at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York.

What a joy to learn at the feet of Dr. Barry Harris, 89, one of the original bebop piano masters. I visited his regular Tuesday night workshop in Manhattan recently to interview him and join about 50 other eager students in learning how this sage approaches the art of bebop.

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Filed under Barry Harris, Lee Konitz

“From Bolden to Armstrong” at JALC Gala Concert

Harry Connick Jr. singing “Stardust” during “The Birth of Jazz: From Bolden to Armstrong,” Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2019 gala concert on April 17.
(Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Jazz At Lincoln Center)

It was quite a night: Harry Connick, Jr., Jon Batiste, Catherine Russell, Sullivan Fortner, Wynton, Branford and Jason Marsalis, among others, in “The Birth of Jazz: From Bolden to Armstrong” at the annual Jazz at Lincoln Center gala on April 17. My review for DownBeat.com.

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Filed under Branford Marsalis, Catherine Russell, Don Vappie, Harry Connick, Jr., Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jon Batiste, Sullivan Fortner, Vince Giordano, Wynton Marsalis