Monthly Archives: June 2011

National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters


The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently announced the recipients of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Award — the nation’s highest honor in jazz. The five recipients will receive a one-time award of $25,000 and be publicly honored at the annual awards ceremony and concert, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center at its home, Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

With this class, the NEA is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the NEA Jazz Masters Awards, which recognize outstanding musicians for their lifetime achievements and significant contributions to the development and performance of jazz.


The 2012 NEA Jazz Masters are:


Jack DeJohnette, Drummer, Keyboardist, Composer
Born in Chicago, IL; lives in Willow, NY)
Von Freeman, Saxophonist
Born in Chicago, IL; lives in Chicago, IL)
Charlie Haden, Bassist, Composer, Educator
Born in Shenandoah, IA; lives in Agoura Hills, CA)
Sheila Jordan, Vocalist, Educator
Born in Detroit, MI; lives in Middleburgh, NY and New York, NY)
*Jimmy Owens, Educator, Trumpeter, Flugelhorn Player, Composer, Arranger
Born in Bronx, NY; lives in New York, NY)


*Jimmy Owens is the recipient of the 2012 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.


“These artists represent the highest level of artistic mastery and we are proud to recognize their achievements,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “Through their contributions, we have been challenged, enlightened, and charmed, and we thank them for devoting their careers to expanding and supporting their art forms.”

The Headhunters – Platinum

(Owl Studios)

Helmed by percussionist Bill Summers and drummer Mike Clark, the Headhunters musical franchise continues to roll on since their founding in 1973. Platinum pays homage to their debut recording, which featured the great Herbie Hancock and became the first jazz/fusion album to sell more than 1 million units. That recording has now sold over 2 million copies to date. This most recent endeavor evolves to includes a bit of hip-hop in the mix, with a host of rap artists, including Snoop Dogg. But make no mistake, the jazz and funk elements that are signature to Headhunters brand are at the heart of the music. Joining Clark and Summers on this effort is a great list of talents, which includes Donald Harrison on saxophone, Richie Goods on bass, Patrice Rushen on keyboards and returning Hunter saxophonist Bernie Maupin.

Click here to listen to a clip of “M Trane”.

Tracks: Platinum Intro, Mission Statement, Reality Of It, Salamander, D-Funk, I Feel Really Good About, Tracie, Rehearse Everybody, Paging Mr. Wesley, M Trane, Apple Tree, Palm Nut, Years of Touring, Congo Place, On The Road, Head Hunting, Skizness, Soul Glow, Platinum Outro .


Gerald Clayton – Bond: The Paris Sessions


There’s an art to finding a way to tell your own unique version of a story and to have it still be entertaining and make sense to those listening. This is essentially the story of pianist Gerald Clayton’s latest recording, Bond. On this effort, Clayton continues his exploration of new ways to tell the story. He manages to be innovative, and yet, musically entertaining, something which is quite an art. Joining Clayton in this effort are drummer Justin Brown and bassist Joe Sanders. The great bassist John Clayton (Gerald’s father) lends a producing hand to the project. In addition to the interpretations of the music, the alchemy of the trio makes the end result thoroughly engaging and engrossing .

Click here to listen to a clip of “3D”.

Tracks: If I Were A Bell, Bond: The Cast, Bootleg Bruise, Major Hope, Bond: Fresh Squeeze, Snake Bite, Sun Glimpse, Which Persons?, 3D, Nobody Else But Me, All The Things You Are, Bond: The Release, Shout And Cry, Round Come Round, Hank.


Peter Hum Quintet – A Boy’s Journey

(Peter Hum)

A Boy’s Journey, the recording debut of the Peter Hum Quintet, is a wonderfully captivating first effort. The thing you notice straightaway is the beauty of the compositions, all of which the Ottawa-based pianist, Hum, wrote. There’s a fantastic melodic quality to the tunes. Combining this element with the tremendous musicianship of the band makes this a terrific recording. Joining Hum on this debut are the talents of Kenji Omae on tenor saxophone, Nathan Cepelinski on alto and soprano saxophones, Alec Walkington on bass and Ted Warren on drums. This is a highly-recommended debut to check out.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Take The High Road”.

Tracks: Take The High Road, New Toy, La tendresse, s.v.p., Big Lou, Midway, Sojourner’s Truth, C.G., A Boy’s Journey, Unagi, Three Wishes.


Hiromi – VOICE


VOICE is a testament to why Hiromi is one of the most exciting and virtuostic pianist-composers of her generation. Hiromi’s knack for the spectacular visually doesn’t cloud her ability to connect to an audience harmonically. She somehow manages to be earthshaking and down-to-earth at the same time. She’s joined in her latest expedition by veteran bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips. The three musicians are in sync with each other and what you hear is the pure magic that happens when three seriously gifted artists work together. All of the recording’s brilliant compositions are the product of Hiromi, allowing for the incredible exchanges that take place. This is truly an amazing work of art from an incredible artist.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Temptation”.

Tracks: Voice, Flashback, Now or Never, Temptation, Labyrinth, Desire, Haze, Delusion, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8, Pathetique.


Steve Khan-Parting Shot

(Tone Center)

On Parting Shot , the latest recording from guitarist Steve Khan, he turns towards the Latin jazz that he’s loved for many years, especially as a 40-year resident of New York City, fertile ground for the artform. Khan’s wailing, bluesy-rock electric Gibson is augmented nicely by the rhythms of percusssionists Manolo Badrena, Bobby Allende and Marc Quioñones. Also joining the all-star affair are Anthony Jackson on bass and the great Dennis Chambers on drums. Most of the songs are Khan compositions, with the exception of a collobaration with Badrena, and a couple of tunes by Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk, latinized for the occasion. Really good stuff.

Click here to listen to a clip of “Zancudoville”.

Tracks: Chronology, Los Gaiterous, Change Agent, Bye-ya, Maria Mulambo, Influence Peddler, When She’s Not Here, Blues Connotation, Zancudoville, Just Deserts.