If you ask saxophonist Charles Lloyd about his career in music, he'd start many decades ago, in the Memphis where he grew up and the Mississippi of his grandfather's farm. The South is where he absorbed the blues, picked up a saxophone and met the all-time great musicians who would shape his future course.
As a child, singer Catherine Russell bounced on the knee of Louis Armstrong. Her father, Luis Russell, held the position of musical director for Armstrong, and her mother, Carline Ray, was trained at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. It was only natural that Russell would choose a musical path for her own life.
Stacy Rowles once wrote a note to her father, pianist and composer Jimmy Rowles, stating: "Dear Dad, if you buy me a flugelhorn, I'll play the [expletive] out of it." Indeed she did, and she picked up singing, as well. A longtime mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz scene, Rowles worked with the all-female quintet the Jazzbirds, led by the late multi-instrumentalist Betty O'Hara, as well as the Jazz Tap Ensemble and the DIVA Big Band.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:25 pm
The Czech Republic capital of Prague is home to the annual Strings of Autumn International Music Festival where, in October 2012, soulful jazz singer Gregory Porter brought down the house. Applause between songs ran for a minute or longer.
Porter sang his anthem "1960 What?" to a "Compared to What" beat, and threw in Nat Adderley's "Work Song." Porter even put a little protest into his own song, "Real Good Hands," as he petitioned a future father-in-law for his daughter's hand.
I've been listening to two very good new albums led by drummers. After learning that both men are in their early 70s, I can't help but wonder how I process that fact in what I hear.
"Killer" Ray Appleton (b. 1941) and Barry Altschul (b. 1943) practice different styles. But they both came of musical age in the hard-bop era, spent many years living in Europe and eventually returned to New York. In other words, they've each got a lot of experience.
Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 10:46 pm
Boston-based R&B singer-songwriter Jesse Dee has opened for concerts by soul legends Etta James and Al Green, among others. Released last month, his debut album On My Mind, In My Heart is an energetic collection of funky, feel-good grooves.