Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WBGO Jazz88 preserving, promoting and presenting jazz in the New York tri-state area

Radio WBGO FM is an independent, community-based, public radio station proported to be one of the bastions of the art of jazz in the New York tri-State area. Broadcasting since 1979 from studios in Newark, New Jersey, the mostly jazz radio is heard 24/7 free-to-air on 88.3 FM, via the Internet and mobile applications.

“ Fans from around the globe tune in for jazz, blues, R&B shows on the weekend, and award-winning news. Jazz88 has won the "Keeping the Blues Alive" Award and twice won the Gavin Report's "Jazz Station of the Year" Award“ .

A National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, WBGO is the third most listened to public radio station in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area and has a significant history of success with the weekly JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater currently carried by over 130 stations nationwide.

“ Jazz 88's dedication to preserving the uniquely American art form of jazz for future generations has spawned a Children's Jazz Series, now in its eleventh year. The series offers eight free concerts that are presented annually by top-name musicians who develop their programs specifically for young people”.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dobet Gnahore: From Africa with energy

Michael Reckord, Gleaner Writer

The statement that Ivory Coast's Grammy Award winner Dobet Gnahore is the most energetic singer ever to perform in Jamaica cannot be proved. But it could be true.

To take the title, Gnahore would have to beat the numerous high-voltage dancehall, soca and rock performers who have entertained audiences in the island. That fact should give music fans who did not see Gnahore's concert at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts on Sunday evening an idea of how exciting the show was.

Gleaner Review @ http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20111026/ent/ent7.html

Dobet Gnahore sparkling performance at the Phillip Sherlock Centre (UWI) in Jamaica

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dobet Gnahore is compared to Africa's great legends... gave amazing performance in Jamaica

Dobet Gnahoré, Africa's new voice, a dancer and percussionist from the Ivory Coast, has been compared to genre legends and cultural ambassadors like Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masakela.

But, she's a rarity who on stage exudes an inner strength and commanding presence. She is mesmerising even before she opens her mouth to sing. With such voice filled with emotion and range Dobet, it is said, moves through ranges of heartfelt ballads, funky stuff, and danceable songs all performed in a wide range of African styles.

Dobet Gnahore dances and the true depth of her amazing talent shines through. Acrobatically she leaps across the stage in rapid quick movements and at just 24 years old she seems to have gotten it all, an exceptional voice, amazing dance skills and the engaging aura reserved for artistic greats.

Dobet Gnahore is arguably African music’s most exciting young talent.

Dobet Gnahore Live @ AB Brussels!
Dobet Gnahore musicians:
Dobet Gnahoré : vocal, percussions
Colin Laroche de Féline : guitars, vocal
Clive Govinden : bass, vocal
Boris Tchango : drums, percussions, vocal

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Karen Smith O.D.: Jamaican jazz vocalist extraordinaire

Karen Smith, Jamaican jazz vocalist extraordinaire, has been described as a performer with a combination of smooth sophistication and sprightly energy who never fail to deliver a knockout performance.

The warmth and clarity of her vocal styling and easy mastery of musical genres in the range of pop and jazz, reggae and R&B has earned the cabaret star an ardent fan base. Invested with her country’s insignia, Commander of the Order of Distinction O.D.(Officer Class)for service in the field of music, Smith’s top class acts not only charms her cross-genre audiences but also made her a nine-time winner of the Jamaica Music Industry (JAMI) Awards and numerous other accolades.

Karen Smith gave an excellent show and left her audience demanding more… by the end of her stint on stage [she]once again proved that she is a Jane of all genres and master of all… - says Jamaica Gleaner.

Performance as is reputably described is not exclusive to Jamaica; Karen Smith weaves her class, style, movements and voice too across the United States, Canada and throughout the Caribbean.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stevie Wonder tribute to Miles Davis opens London's O2 concert

Legendary R&B great Stevie Wonder captured live at London’s O2 Arena before a capacity crowd of 15,000 on September 30th 2008 opening his “Live at Last” concert with Miles Davis “All Blue”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[Jamaican guitarist] Seretse Small leads 10-hour album recording [of Jazz for Hope 2011]

The 10-tracks Jazz For Hope 2011 CD, a pre-recorded studio album that preceeds the annual Jazz for Hope (United Church) concert held July 2011, is the latest production by All About Jazz guitarist and Griot Music head Seretse Small.

Jazz for Hope 2011, recorded at Harry J studio in Kingston on a 10-hour deadline, is a treasure trove of love songs, gospel jazz, jazz standards, and interpretations of Jamaican music.
Produced by Small, the made for charity CD project engaged the services of Jamaica's talented but mostly unsung musicians in saxophonist Ian Hird, vocalist Andrew Lawrence, Dale Haslam (bass guitar), Aaron Vereen (percussions), Kamla Hamilton and Kenrick Lawrence (keyboards), Obed Davis (drums)and leader Seretse Small (guitar).

See full story @ JAZZ FOR HOPE 2011!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sonny Rollins takes top honors at Jazz Awards

NEW YORK – Saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins isn't slowing down at age 80, winning musician of the year honors at the Jazz Awards.

Rollins, currently touring New Zealand, was also named best tenor saxophonist at Saturday's awards ceremony at the City Winery club - AP

Friday, June 10, 2011

Swedish jazz-influenced band played Ocho Rios Interantional Jazz Festival

Swedish group Mynta performed in Kingston at the opening of the 21st Annual Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival and at the Fathers Day closer in Ocho Rios.

Mynta presents an eclectic mix of rhythms with band members coming from diverse places such as India, Africa, Latin America, Cuba and Brazil.

Celebrating over 30 years of making music, the group, founded in 1979 by Swedish bassist Christian Paulin, has evolved from its original make-up as a typical jazz band into one of the world's top ensembles, creating a true fusion of jazz-influenced world music.

Mynta has performed at several major festivals in Dubai, India and China, as well as Hungary, Belgium and Denmark

Monday, May 30, 2011

Piano legend Monty Alexander receives proclamation from Broward County

Sunday, May 22, was declared Monty Alexander Day in Broward County following the outstanding performance of internationally acclaimed jazz performer, Monty Alexander, C.D., during the first annual Reggae Jazz Fusion (Maxi Priest, A. J. Brown) at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

Broward County Commissioner, Dale Holness presented a proclamation in honor of the 50th anniversary of the piano legend, which has earned him a place in the top five jazz artistes in Hal Leonard’s book titled: ‘The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of all Time.’- South Florida Caribbean News

Monday, May 9, 2011

Anthony Wilson: A sensitive, gifted accompanist, formidable guitar soloist,

Born May 9, Anthony Wilson’s career in jazz began auspiciously, and as a creative artist he continues to expand and impress. His first, self-titled CD received a Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Recording in 1998; his second CD “Goat Hill Junket” was featured prominently on many jazz critics' Top-Ten lists for that year; and his third CD “Adult Themes” earned a rare “5 stars” in Downbeat Magazine.

In May 2001, Groove Note Records released Wilson's “Our Gang,” a trio recording, which has also received raves in Downbeat and other publications.

Sensitive and gifted accompanist as well as a formidable soloist, Anthony Wilson has been recording and touring the world with the celebrated vocalist/pianist Diana Krall since he joined her in 2001 for her Grammy-winning CD/DVD “Live In Paris”. Recent recordings and concert appearances with the likes of Al Jarreau, Aaron Neville, and Madeleine Peyroux have served to spotlight Wilson’s growing artistry, musical maturity, and improvisational authority - All About Jazz website

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Michael Franks puts finishing touches on "Time Together" album

Jazz soulman Michael Franks is in studio putting the finishing touches on his highly anticipated new album "Time Together". In an e-mail message this week the apparently delighted singer told fans
"It's been a wonderful 6 months and I can't wait for you to hear it all".

On this latest project, Michael Franks reconnected with many old friends: Chuck Loeb, Gil Goldstein, Mark Egan, Charles Blenzig, Scott Petito, Veronica Nunn, Billy Kilson, Mike Manieri, David Spinozza, Romero Lubambo, Till Brönner and Eric Marienthal to name a few.

With his last CD "Rendezvous in Rio" dropped way back in 2006, the new album, "Time Together", Franks said, will be available in a few weeks.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monty Alexander commemorates 50 years of music with new album

S. Victor Aaron
via All About Jazz

Kingston, Jamaica's own Monty Alexander looms as large a figure in Jamaica's jazz world as Bob Marley does for its homegrown reggae. A virtuosic pianist in the Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson tradition, Alexander often melds Tatum and Peterson with the dancehall, calypso and reggae idioms from his homeland, and nobody does it better.

Regardless of the particular style of jazz he chooses, his piano playing lies at the heart of his artistry. He's truly a thrilling, joyful player with a flair for trills, block chord bombardments and amazing single note runs.

He avoids being overly showy due to the Peterson-like elegance in his playing style; he's a hard swinger and always respectful of tradition even when he branches away from it. This guy is a real legend.
Released March 8 ahead of his Birdland shows, Uplift, a collection of live recordings taken from assorted concerts between 2007 and 2010, isn't one of those tribute or stylistic exercise records he likes to make from time to time, and which are usually enjoyable excursions. Rather, it's straight up acoustic piano trio jazz containing a healthy mixture of standards and originals, which remains the best way to fully appreciate what a phenomenal player Mr. Alexander truly is.

Joining Alexander are Hassan Shakur on bass and either Herlin Riley or Frits Landesbergen on drums. These aren't household names, but they know well how to bolster the leader without competing for attention.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Reggae interpretation of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" released, musicians unknown

Reggae Interpretation of Kind Of Blue, a tribute to Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, is an album too long in waiting of which California based reggae artist manager Issa Aryanpure dubbed “one of the most unique albums of its kind”.

According to Aryanpure, in 1981, a group of Jamaican musicians got together under the direction of New York University Prof. Jeremy Taylor, a jazz musician and educator, the result a masterpiece album. It is unfortunate, however, that Taylor passed away shortly after recording this album and it was never released until 2009.

Posthumously Secret Stash Records worked with the family of Prof. Taylor to turn this project into a reality. Prof. Taylor, who was fascinated by Jamaican music for a long time, traveled to the island several times to study the home-grown music with some of the best players of the time.

In his 1979 book, “A Space Between” Taylor wrote, “My first trip to Jamaica (May 1977) was the most eye-opening musical experience of my life. I met so many incredible players who had been brushed off by the snobby musical establishment…..I had to find a way to showcase their unparalleled talent in a different medium and this was the spark that lit the fire to create this reggae tribute to Miles Davis’ best selling jazz album of all times.

Kind of Blue put it in the hands of formidable Jamaican musicians result in the unparalleled Reggae Interpretation of Kind Of Blue. The album offers 5 tracks along with a dub of each one for a total of 10 tracks!

01.So What
02.Freddie Freeloader
03.Blue in Green
04.All Blues
05.Flamenco Sketches
06.So What Dub Version
07.Freddie Freeloader Dub Version
08.Blue in Green Dub Version
09.All Blues Dub Version
10.Flamenco Sketches Dub Version

Friday, April 1, 2011

Seretse Small: one passionate guitarist

Jamaica Observer story

Watching musician Seretse Small on guitar you wouldn't have the slightest idea that guitar was not his first love! But, according to Small he really wanted to play the saxophone and then go on to drums but his dad could afford neither

" I got caught, not with a guitar bug, but a music and culture bug in the 70's primarily from being with my mother as she innovated Caribbean theatre at the Cultural Arts Centre at UWI," recalled Small about his journey into music. Read more: Seretse Small

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dionne Warwick takes a walk on the jazz side

Among the myriad voices that surfaced throughout the 1960s, Dionne Warwick remains one of the most distinctive and most enduring. The first decade of a career that now spans 50 years was defined by a steady stream of million-selling hits custom-crafted for her by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

In 1990, Warwick made her first recorded foray into jazz, crafting an album of Cole Porter standards for Arista under the direction of producer Arif Mardin. But Clive Davis, then head of Arista, deemed the original sessions too jazzy and the tracks were re-recorded.

Now, 21 years later, Warwick is revisiting jazzland, this time with 13 Sammy Cahn tunes on Only Trust Your Heart.

Prior to the album's release, the legendary singer discusses her new album, her appreciation for jazz, her 50th showbiz anniversary, and her work with such jazz legends as Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Joe Williams with JazzTimes’ Christopher Loudon @
Dionne Warwick jazz walk

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jazz singer Myrna Hague takes 'First Cut' of reggae

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

Myrna Hague's Melody Life album is an unusual project for the lady who is much more easily identified with jazz than reggae. Among the tracks on the 1972 Studio One album are Melody Life, First Cut Is The Deepest, Our Day Will Come, How Could I Live, What About Me, Time After Time and On a Clear Day.

Hague tells The Sunday Gleaner that the album was not only her introduction to some of the songs but also singing reggae. More on Melody Life

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chamber Music Society tops Billboard Jazz Album Chart after Grammy awards

Chamber Music Society moves into #1 last week on the Billboard Jazz Album Charts following Esperanza Spalding bolt from the blue Best New Artist Grammy win.

Before the Grammy, Spalding’s third album, which is hailed among the US jazz community, peaked at #3 before put on a slide down the best-selling jazz album list. But, what a difference a Grammy makes in the life of a jazz bassist who only genre ficionados saw as the next big thing in jazz.

Still, Chamber Music Society was not nominated for a Grammy award and, including Spalding herself, almost none believed the little-known performer had a ghost of a chance to hold the statuette prize. No jazz artist as before won Grammy’s Best New Artist award.

Now a bemused music world not only is taking stock of jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding but also is reaching out tangibly in making her the top-selling artist on Billboard over the fortnight and also placed the Heads Up CD at #34 – Billboard Top 200 (across genres), # 11 – Digital Album Chart (download), #16 – Tastemakers Album Chart (Independent Retailers), and moving up 42 positions to #5 on the based on listener's requests Jazz Week Radio Chart(see sidebar)

Twenty-eight weeks on chart, Chamber Music Society unseated the longstanding Crazy Love album (Michael Buble) at the top of the Billboard Jazz Album Chart. The Canadian’s latest album so far spent 73 on the US Chart.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Indeed! There is something about Jazz

There is something about jazz that makes it comparable to a large glass of chilled 'brackish' (just enough sugar) Jamaican lemonade on a warm summer day.

Perhaps it is the way it soothes the soul, whether the songs are gospel, folk, fusion or secular, or just on the edge like the ideal glass of lemonade that is not too sweet or too sour it can be very enjoyable.

Snippet from Jamaica Gleaner Writer Marcia Rowe's rave review of the annual concert 'Blues on the Green', organized by Embassy of the United States (US), held at Emancipation Park in Kingston.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wait, Who Is This Esperanza Spalding?

Credit: NPR Jazz

Forget the Arcade Fire: The biggest upset of the 2011 Grammy Awards, held Sunday night, was when jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding won for Best New Artist

A broad contingent of Spalding's fans, especially within but certainly not limited to the jazz community, knew she has winning musicianship. But few believed she had even a puncher's chance at the actual award. Especially for its highest-profile categories, the Grammys tend to reward top-selling acts signed to major record labels, regardless of musical merit.

And with teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber in the running — not to mention Drake,... But wait, who is Esperanza Spalding? Find out in this telling NPR Music Esperanza Story!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And the JAZZ GRAMMY goes to................



Track:A Change Is Gonna Come (Herbie Hancock)




Sunday, February 6, 2011

Celebrating 66 years of Jamaica's reggae king BOB MARLEY

Bob Marley was the Third World’s first pop superstar. He was the man who introduced the world to the mystic power of reggae. He was a true rocker at heart, and as a songwriter, he brought the lyrical force of Bob Dylan, the personal charisma of John Lennon, and the essential vocal stylings of Smokey Robinson into one voice.— says Jann Wenner, at Marley’s 1994 posthumous introduction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1999 Time magazine chose Bob Marley & The Wailers' Exodus as the greatest album of the 20th century. In 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a feature-length documentary about his life, Rebel Music, won various awards at the Grammys.

In 2006, the State of New York renamed a portion of Church Avenue from Remsen Avenue to East 98th Street in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn "Bob Marley Boulevard".

Internationally, Marley’s message also continues to reverberate amongst various indigenous communities. The Aboriginal people of Australia continue to burn a sacred flame to honor his memory in Sydney’s Victoria Park. Members of the Native American Hopi and Havasupai tribe consider Marley to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. And, many in Nepal, Marley is considered to be an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu.

Celebrating 66 albums viz;
16 Official albums
4 Official live albums
33 Compilations albums
7 re-Mixed albums
6 Tribute albums

ountless many have recorded the Marley catalogue in jazz (Monty Alexander, Charles Hunter), bossa nova (Bossa 'n' Marley)and in other genre.

Laura Izibor performed an excellent set at Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival

Photos by Janet Silvera

Laura Izibor , Irish recording artist, musician, songwriter and producer, came to Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival 2011 not only as a relative unknown but also was billed on closing night ahead of current reggae star Tarrus Riley, American songstress Natalie Cole and international acclaimed, Jamaican-favoured group Air Supply.

A daunting task for any greenhorn but by the end of a riveting 45 or so minutes on Saturday, January, 29th patrons were overheard suggesting that Turn Key Production, organizer of the annual festival, brings her back for an encore next year.

Arriving centrestage during a nagging, intermittent rain, Laura Izibor was excellent in returning life to a rain-drenched event.
Still, nothing less should have been expected from an artist whose music has been compared to recording artists Aretha Franklin and Alicia Keys and whose writing talent draws comparison to that of Carole King and Joan Armatrading.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Diana Krall mass appeal draws fullhouse on Quiet Night tour

Younger jazz musicians do not ordinarily have the mass appeal to sell out tickets in large concert halls; Diana Krall changed that as full house are turning up to her Quiet Night album tour to revel in the delight of her acoustic jazz improvisation and interpretations of old standards, her intimate ballads and bossa nova.

The husky-voiced Canadian was raised on jazz by both parents who were jazz pianists, and she studied piano at age four. Later Diana Krall would draw inspiration from Nat King Cole and from piano-playing singers, particularly Carmen McRae. She played in the school band, but by age 15 had a gig three nights a week in the town of Nanaimo.

At age 16, she won a Vancouver Jazz scholarship to study at Boston's Berklee College of Music for the next year. Afterwards, the Canadian Arts Council awarded her a grant to study with pianist great Jimmy Rowles in L.A. The next few years she bounced between Toronto, Boston, and New York, studying with master jazz musicians and playing in small clubs.

Diana Krall began singing against the rhythm, developing a sultry but pure voice compared most to Julie London. She built a small following and released a few albums.

Those few albums debuted with Trust Your Heart, a 1995 album tribute to Nat King Cole was successful, but All For You in the same year remained in the Top 10 of Billboard's Traditional Jazz Charts for over a year and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz vocals. 1997's Love Scenes, filled with smooth ballads like “They Can't Take That Away From Me," also received Grammy nominations. Throughout the 1990's, she was building both a catalogue and a following well beyond jazz idiom.

1998 and Diana Krall reached new levels of popularity with When I Look in Your Eyes, an album with a diverse repertoire including hit parade favourite from the 20's, 50's and won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal performance, Best Non-Classical Engineered Album, and was up for Album of the Year against Santana, the Backstreet Boys, and the Dixie Chicks. Though she didn't win, everyone now knew the name Diana Krall.

The Live in Paris 2002 album earned Diana Krall a Grammy. The 2004 release, The Girl in the Other Room was more pop than jazz, but fans never complained. Quiet Night 2010 is her ninth studio album.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Natalie Cole was the class-act of Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival 2011

American singer, songwriter and commanding stage performer Natalie Maria Cole, the daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole, duly substantiate the jazz reference in the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival. She was unanimously the class-act of the three-day fest held at Greenfield Stadium in Trelawny, Jamaica over last weekend.

Cole not only woo the large turn out on Saturday night but became the darling of the Jamaican Dailies.

Gleaner writer Janet Silvera wrote that 'After three nights of the 'Art of Music', the question of who was the best, is a toss-up between the sophisticated, elegant class act who goes by the name Natalie Cole and Jamaica's very own, Tarrus Riley.

Dazzling the audience in an exquisite dress, Cole, sparkled and so did the diamond microphone that she held in her hand.

Having lost [some] weight, Cole looked like jazz legend Nat King Cole's little girl, but when she opened her larynx, she brought out the woman.

This was no child act, "This is Prime Plus," shouted university lecturer and Sunday Gleaner columnist Carolyn Cooper. Yes, Natalie Cole has upstaged Prime Time, and showed herself to be among the artistes of this world capable of bringing audiences to their knees.

"I like when you sing with me," she told the thousands that stood on the greens at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, waiting to hear her belt the Grammy Award-winning 'Record of the Year', Unforgettable, and this she did, but not before flirting her prowess through the words of Miss You Like Crazy, the uptempo Mr Melody and the anthem Inseparable.

By the time Cole reached that juncture in her performance, she could easily have ended there, but she didn't. The star performer continued, unwilling to short-change her clients'.

Air Supply, Natalie Cole steal the show, screamed The Jamaica Observer newspaper's headline.

'Preceding Air Supply was the daughter of one of the greatest singer ever lived - Natalie Cole. Her dad shoes fit just perfectly as she came on stage and delivered an ultra smooth performance.

Her sweet, clear voice rang out in the cool morning air, warming the hearts of her listeners.