jazz Archive

Yellowjackets: Adding a Voice

More than a dozen musicians have been members of jazz fusion band the Yellowjackets since the group was launched in 1977. But keyboardist and founding member Russell Ferrante says that there are common threads that weave through all of the band’s music. “A strong sense of pulse and groove, a balance of structure and spontaneity,

My Favorite Year: ‘Coltrane ‘58: The Prestige Recordings’

1958 was a landmark year for saxophonist John Coltrane, and by extension for jazz as a whole as well. Coltrane had made his first recordings (in Hawaii with fellow Navy servicemen) some 12 years earlier, and played as a sideman with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk in the middle 1950s. and didn’t begin recording under

Ghost-note: The Beat Goes On

In response to enthusiastic inquiries from fans, percussionists Nate Werth and Robert Sput Searight were inspired to launch their superstar side-project, Ghost-Note, in 2015. “Sput and I started taking drum solos together while on the road with Snarky Puppy,” Werth explains. “After the show, fans would approach us in awe and ask us how long

Album Reviews: Two Alex Chilton Compilations

Editor’s Note: Today’s something of a milestone: my 3,000th post. As a general matter, I make a point of not writing reviews that are a response or rebuttal to other views. In fact, for the most part, I avoid even reading other reviews, at least until after I’ve filed mine. But I have been struck

Virginia and the Slims’ Smokin’ Jump Blues

Virginia and the Slims play a unique and often under-appreciated strain of American music. Jump blues and swing is a high energy musical style designed as much for dancing as for active listening. Guitarist Sean Anderson started the Asheville-based band in 2013, and since that time the group has built a loyal following with its

Album Review: Dennis Coffey — Live at Baker’s

In the course of his career, Dennis Coffey has made a name for himself several times over. The Detroit guitarist was a key session player in that city’s music scene; as one of the famed Funk Brothers studio aggregation, he lent his skills to numerous funk and soul side of the 1960s and beyond. His

Reviews of Five New Jazz Titles

Tony Bennett & Diana Krall – Love is Here to Stay Tony Bennett is an American institution (watch for my interview with him, coming soon). At age 92 he’s still going strong, long after most all of his contemporaries have left us. Diana Krall is only a bit over half Bennett’s age, but she’s well

Single Review: Y. Dan Rubenstein – “Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix”

An alluring Latin jazz feel provides the foundation of Rubenstein’s “Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix.” intricate guitar lines flit in and out of the arrangement, but as alluring as the music is, the Bay Area singer would have listeners focus on his lyrics. The song is a spoken-sung conversation between two lovers, but it’s

Hundred-word Reviews, March 2019 Part Two

Yesterday I covered ten albums in 1000 words. Today I’ll do the same. All titles are new or recent releases. Shumaun – One Day Closer to Yesterday I love me some atmospheric, progressive leaning and ambitious music. And that’s what’s on offer within One Day Closer to Yesterday. The music has hints of Pink Floyd,

Way Out West with Sonny Rollins, Part Four

Continued from Part Three… You were 26 years old when you made Way Out West, but you had recorded nearly a dozen albums by that time. In those days, did you view recording sessions as a means of documenting a live performance, or was working in the studio different from playing live? I started recording