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.
If you’re free on Sunday afternoon, 2/5/17, join me for a look back at The Great Jazz Singers (Part 1) – From Satchmo to Lady Day. I’ll be speaking – and playing killer film clips – at the Freeport Memorial Library on Merrick Road at 2:30 pm, and it’s free.
Here’s the first playlist of audio and video clips from my recent series of talks on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 about the history and development of the piano in jazz. This expanded playlist corresponds to my talk, “From Jelly Roll to Nat King Cole,” covering the dawn of jazz, circa 1900, to the birth of the modern jazz piano trio. It includes fascinating and entertaining performances by Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Fats Waller, and so many more. Enjoy, and I welcome your feedback!
Just a note to thank to all my new friends who came to my jazz history lectures on the Queen Mary 2 as part of the 2nd Cunard/Blue Note Jazz at Sea transatlantic crossing this past week (Aug. 1-9), featuring the brilliant Herbie Hancock Quintet! It was such a pleasure to meet so many jazz fans – and maybe to inspire some new ones. I was especially gratified by your enthusiasm and spontaneous applause for the great jazz artists whose music we enjoyed together.
I’ll soon be sharing playlists from my talks, “Jazz Piano – A Brief History” (Parts 1&2) and “The Great Jazz Singers” (Parts 1&2 ) here on my website, so that you can find all those great video and audio clips easily; and I’ll post some recommendations for additional listening.
Please feel free to contact me with your questions and comments. You can always reach me here at my website, follow me on Twitter @amorrison2
, and on Facebook at http://fb.me/allenmorrisonjazz
. Hope to see you again soon!
Here’s a list of my favorite jazz CDs of 2015, as published in Jazz Times.
1. Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern(RPM/Columbia)
2. Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare)
3. Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet, Intents and Purposes (Enja)
4. London, Meader, Pramuk & Ross, The Royal Bopsters Project (Motéma)
5. Aaron Diehl, Space Time Continuum (Mack Avenue)
6. Dave Stryker, Messin’ With Mister T (Strikezone)
7. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls (ACT)
8. Cécile McLorin Salvant, For One to Love (Mack Avenue)
9. Nilson Matta, East Side Rio Drive (Krian)
10. Luciana Souza, Speaking In Tongues (Sunnyside)
1. Tony Bennett/Bill Evans, The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings(Fantasy)
2. Wes Montgomery, In the Beginning (Resonance)
3. Miles Davis, At Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 (Columbia Legacy)
Honorable mentions: Karrin Allyson, Many a New Day: Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein (Motéma); Chris Dingman, The Subliminal and the Sublime (Inner Arts Initiative), Chris McNulty, Eternal (Palmetto); Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Cuba: The Conversation Continues(Motéma); Robert Glasper, Covered (Blue Note); Jonathan Kreisberg, Wave Upon Wave (New For Now); Duduka da Fonseca Trio, Jive Samba (Zoho)… and I may add some others as they occur to me.
Thanks to my friends who pointed out that many of my links to articles that appeared on DownBeat.com are currently not working. This is due to a server problem at DownBeat’s web provider. They are working to fix it, but it may take several days before it is resolved. In the meantime, any new posts will be either self-contained or link to other verified sources.
Navigating the Digital Jungle
These days, it’s easier than ever for jazz artists to record, but harder than ever for them to monetize their recordings. For this article, published in the April 2015 DownBeat, I spoke with leading indie artists (e.g., guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Willie Jones III), label executives and industry analysts. I wanted to find out how musicians are surviving in an age where music consumers prefer to stream their music for free, or nearly so, rather than buy CDs or download MP3s. Surprise: the news is not all bad.