Monthly Archives: June 2015

Jazz at Lincoln Center and Sony Music Team Up for Blue Engine Records

blue_eng_logoJazz at Lincoln Center has shelves upon shelves of recordings from concerts it has presented since its founding in 1987, including a studio recording featuring the pianist Chick Corea, a musical Mass with a gospel choir written for the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York and concerts with the saxophonists Sherman Irby and Ted Nash. Now, that organization, together with Sony Music Entertainment, is bringing that archive, as well as new studio and live recordings, to the public through the creation of its own label, Blue Engine Records, to be announced on Tuesday.

Source: New York Times

LA Times: Ornette Coleman, jazz innovator and disruptor, dies at 85

ornette_colemanWhen saxophonist Ornette Coleman played clubs in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s, audiences often covered their ears and waited outside until his set was done. He shunned the conventions of melody and harmony and encouraged his bandmates to do the same, producing a sound too dissonant for mainstream tastes.

So in 1959, when the iconoclastic musician and composer blew into New York for a gig at the legendary Five Spot jazz club, hostility flowed — drummer Max Roach expressed his disapproval by punching Coleman in the mouth.

But the club was filled, night after night, for weeks. By the the end of his run, Coleman had launched a new kind of cool.

“He’s doing the only really new thing in jazz since the innovations of Parker, Gillespie and Monk,” pianist John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet said at the time.

Coleman, whose spontaneous approach to jazz improvisation and imaginative compositions stamped him as one of the most innovative and controversial figures of the post-bebop era and brought him a Pulitzer Prize for musical composition in 2007, died of cardiac arrest Thursday in New York, said his publicist, Ken Weinstein. He was 85.

Source: Los Angeles Times

New ‘Late Show’ Bandleader Jon Batiste Shares the History of Jazz

Jonathan+Batiste+i7636eFZrWomThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently named gifted and charismatic New Orleans jazz musician Jon Batiste as bandleader. At the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, Batiste sat down with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson for a lively conversation that was part performance and part discussion (watch Batiste and Isaacson join in song at the 44:15 mark). They talked about the roots of jazz, their hometown of New Orleans, the importance of arts education, and the state and future of American musical traditions.

Source: Huffington Post

CDN: DC Jazz Festival to roll out over 120 acts in 80 neighborhoods

JAZZ-FEST-POSTER-800b-700x467WASHINGTON, June 6, 2015 – Touting itself as the fastest growing jazz festival in the U.S., the 2015 D.C. Jazz Festival will welcome a diverse selection of locally, nationally and internationally acclaimed artists performing in venues across the Nation’s Capital this week from Wednesday to June 16.

As the area’s largest and most diverse music festival, boasting more than 125 performances in nearly 60 venues across the city, the DCJF reaches more than 60,000 visitors of all ages each year.

“As a supporter of the DC Jazz Festival for the last seven years, we are proud to be associated with the overall growth of the festival and in particular, Jazz in the ‘Hoods,” said Erik A. Moses, managing director of Events DC’s sports and entertainment division. “The Jazz in the ‘Hoods series brings people together to enjoy great jazz in a variety of DC’s coolest neighborhood venues,” he noted.

Source: Communities Digital News

The Canadian Press: Montreal jazz festival a boon for businesses

image MONTREAL — When Ray Charles opened the inaugural Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1980, founder Alain Simard was working on a budget of $70,000.

Little did he know that years later the festival would stave off financial ruin and draw millions in money and crowds to become one of the country’s most economically successful events of the summer.

“We could never have imagined that it would become a symbol of Montreal and bring about $100 million economic windfall each year,” said Simard, who is overseeing his final festival this year beginning June 26.

Source: The Canadian Press

ITT: The Collective That Saved Jazz

salim_Tony-Smith-192.web_850_592By Salim Muwakkil
This year, a truly golden anniversary is taking place in Chicago: the 50th birthday of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization unlike any other in the history of jazz music—or any musical genre, for that matter.

The AACM is at once a management firm, artistic salon, aesthetic manifesto, training ground for young musicians and musical manifestation of black cultural nationalism. In short, it’s hard to pin down. But what’s clear is this: It is the most illustrious jazz collective in history.

The AACM was formed in Chicago in 1965, when jazz was losing its pop currency to rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. For jazz musicians, as AACM member George Lewis explains in his 2007 book, A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, everything was beginning to evaporate: club dates, dance-band jobs, instrumental recording sessions. And so musicians came together and organized, under the logic that if the clubs refused to hire them, they would create their own venues and put on their own concerts.

Source: In These Times