Monthly Archives: June 2013

National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters, Nation’s Highest Honor in Jazz


The National Endowment for the Arts has announced its 2014 Jazz Masters, the nation’s highest honors in jazz. The four recipients chosen for the honor are musician/educator Jamey Aebersold, saxophonist and instructor Anthony Braxton, bassist/ educator Richard Davis and composer/pianist Keith Jarrett. The honorees were selected for their “lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz”. They will each receive a one-time award of $25,000 at the NEA awards ceremony & concert on January 13, 2014, at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, which will be webcast live at and Congratulation, gentlemen, for this well-deserved recognition.

Photos: Aerbersold (John Nation), Braxton (Carolyn Wachnicki), Davis (Ken Halfmann), Jarrett (Rose Anne Colavito).

Cecil Taylor Receives Japan’s Kyoto Prize

ctaylor_awarded(June 21, 2013) Today, venerable pianist and composer Cecil Taylor was named a Kyoto Prize laureate by the the Inamori Foundation. The annual award is presented for excellence in the areas of the arts, philosophy, science and technology. The prize includes a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately $510,000) and will be presented at a ceremony in Kyoto in November.

Taylor was recognized with the Arts and Philosophy Prize in Music, along with fellow recipients inventor and electronics engineer Dr. Robert Dennard and Dr. Masatoshi Nei, an evolutionary biologist for outstanding work in their fields.

Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck Recording Discovered 50 Years Later


NEW YORK — Tony Bennett never forgot the first time he performed with Dave Brubeck more than half a century ago. But the tape of that memorable collaboration between two American jazz masters lay forgotten in a record label’s vaults until its discovery by an archivist just weeks after Brubeck’s death in December, and it’s just been released as “Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962.”

President John F. Kennedy’s White House made this jazz summit possible when it booked Brubeck and Bennett to perform at a concert on Aug. 28, 1962, for college-age summer interns. The crowd was so big that the concert had to be moved from the Rose Garden to an open-air theater at the base of the Washington Monument.

Source: Washington Post

2013 Playboy Jazz Festival: LA Times Review

playboy_jazzfest_13Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times Jazz Critic
June 16, 2013

There was a moment at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night when a question came to mind that felt a little like a Zen koan: If you hear a guitar solo but can’t see a guitar, did the solo really happen?

It’s the sort of thought perhaps associated with backing tracks and radio-ready pop, but this was the Playboy Jazz Festival, and the source was unquestionably live in the vocal group Naturally 7, which closed a set steeped with hip-hop and R&B with an a cappella take on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Bass, drums and that aforementioned guitar were on hand, but the only instruments were amplified voices.

Was it “real,” or did it have a place on a jazz festival’s bill?

Source: Los Angeles Times

Harry Connick Jr. releases “Love Wins” in honor of Ana Grace Marquez-Greene

Ana Grace Marquez-Greene

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Harry Connick Jr. has written a song in honor of a 6-year-old girl killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

Connick this week released the song “Love Wins,” dedicated to Ana Grace Marquez-Greene. He says proceeds will go to the Ana Grace Fund set up to help the girl’s family.

Connick played with the girl’s jazz saxophonist father, Jimmy Greene, and sang at the funeral for Ana, one of 20 first-graders and six adults killed in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Greene is scheduled to receive the Governor’s Arts Award at a ceremony Saturday at the International Festival for Arts and Ideas in New Haven.

Greene, an assistant professor at Western Connecticut State University, has released a series of critically acclaimed albums and received numerous honors.

Source: The Associated Press

Chucho Valdes – Jazz Great Carries On Tradition

Family dynasties are the backbone of Cuba’s rich musical history. Big bands that were formed during the golden age of Cuban music – the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s – are still performing today, with the son of the founder at the helm (and sometimes the original bandleader as well).

Latin-jazz great Chucho Valdes began learning piano when he was three, at the knee of his father, Bebo, a bandleader. As a teenager, he joined his father’s big band, Sabor de Cuba (Taste of Cuba), which had a residency at the Tropicana nightclub cabaret.

Havana in the 1950s was a holiday hotspot, and the Tropicana was one of its most popular nightclubs. One would think that being the boss’s son would have been a nerve-wracking experience, but Valdes says that his father prepared him well, and besides, the orchestra itself was just part of his son’s education.

Story Source: The Age Entertainment Photo Source:Provided