Music

JOE ALPER / JOE ALPER PHOTO COLLECTION LLC

The improbable new release by John Coltrane, Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, arrives with the excitement of a rare celestial event. A small trove of previously unissued studio material recorded by the saxophonist and his quartet on a single day in 1963, it has already caused a commotion prior to its release this Friday. "Like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid," is how Sonny Rollins described the discovery, in a quote from the liner notes that has widely circulated, as a fond gesture from one colossus to another.

After five years of vital funding, it looked like the end for the Doris Duke Artist Awards, one of the most prestigious — and sizable — grants in the United States available to artists working in jazz, contemporary dance and theater. A satellite initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, it reached that firm, five-year expiration date set in its inaugural year on June 30, 2017.

Lonesome Blues is a play about blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson, one of the best-known and best-selling blues artists of the 1920’s. His emotional singing was powerful, and nobody played guitar like Lemon. He rarely played in strict danceable time, and his sometimes whimsical, sometimes dramatic guitar often burst every which way. Lemon’s playing and singing is in the DNA of all the blues artists who came after him. Lonesome Blues imagines him on his last night, only in his mid-30’s, dying in the cold of Chicago, remembering highs and lows of his life.

On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane and his quartet arrived at Van Gelder Studios in New Jersey to record an album. It was a busy time for the group, which featured pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones.

Kamasi Washington's idea of heaven is the world he creates and retreats to in his mind. The jazz torchbearer's double album Heaven and Earth, out today, represents that inward heaven versus his outward reality on Earth.

Hadas

Justin Brown — the drummer behind acclaimed, forward-thinking musicians like Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Ambrose Akinmusire — is  ready to make his own statement.


Courtesy of Joe and Nancy Marciano

Jazz has its hallowed locations, those rare spots where the music attains full dimension and history is repeatedly made. Right away one thinks of the great clubs, but a recording studio can just as readily serve such a function.

Chris Tobin

Since Julian Lage focused his attentions on a Fender Telecaster a couple of years ago, his music has become more country, more sparse, and arguably more soulful. Lage recently brought his trio onto Morning Jazz to talk about that shift, and play a few tunes from his newest album, Modern Lore.


Chris Tobin / WBGO

Tenor saxophonist JD Allen’s new release, Love Stone, is a departure from what his fans are accustomed to hearing.

After telling his story on albums ranging from his 1999 debut, In Search of JD Allen to last year’s Radio Flyer, Allen turns here to stories of love.

Jimmy Katz

In Take Five this week, some killer bassists step out front.

WBGO

It would be impossible to overstate the importance of Dorthaan Kirk to WBGO.

Newark’s First Lady of Jazz, as she’s widely known, has also been the spiritual center of our organization. Today is her last day in the building, though she will continue to be a vital (and no doubt vocal!) member of our family.

Anna Webber

Cyrille Aimée is always having fun on stage. She smiles in countless photos from her concerts. And in her smile is the joy of a little girl who grew up near the birthplace of Django Reinhardt, and who snuck out at night to sing with the gypsies.

Frank Jerke

One day, reading a story to my son Nate, who was 2 at the time, I asked if he'd thought about what he wanted to be when he grew up. He gave me a studied look, paused, and replied: “I think a doctor.” I beamed, and the studied look remained as he continued, “or maybe a turtle.” Startled, and at the same time welling with laughter, I wondered: when exactly did we lose this ability to wander? To simply be? 

Todd Cooper

Robert Glasper has an idea about what jazz should sound like today.

What initially began as an experimental meeting of musical minds at SXSW has now turned into R+R=NOW — a superband with a mission to reflect our present time. The group will release its debut, Collagically Speaking, tomorrow on Blue Note Records.


Enid Farber / Enid Farber Fotography

The Jazz Journalists Association Awards is an annual ritual for writers, musicians, and music industry types — as is the annual group photo of all who attend.

Nico Van Der Stam

Quick, hum a few bars of an original composition by Erroll Garner — other than “Misty.”

Serious Garner-philes surely know the impish “Afternoon of an Elf,” the bittersweet ballads “Solitaire” and “Gaslight,” and a few others. But I’d wager that most jazz fans would draw a blank. The pianist’s populist versions of standards got most of the bandwidth, and the overwhelming fame of “Misty” dominated whatever attention was left for his originals. Even those aware of Garner’s healthy catalog would likely be stunned to learn just how prolific he was as a composer.

WBGO

Lorraine Gordon will always be remembered for her indefatigable stewardship of The Village Vanguard, where she maintained the highest of standards. She was also a terrific storyteller — and had more than a few terrific stories to tell.

Joan Powers

The Branford Marsalis Quartet had been rampaging at the Village Vanguard for over an hour — in full burnout mode, practically rattling the pictures on the walls — when its leader swerved unexpectedly into a softer mode. Channeling his best Ben Webster warble on the tenor saxophone, Branford closed the set with a songbook ballad, “Sweet Lorraine.” For those in the room who recognized its gladsome melody, the implicit dedication rang clear.

New York's Village Vanguard may come closer than any other club to embodying the spirit of jazz. For nearly 30 years, the guardian of that spirit has been the Vanguard's formidable impresaria, Lorraine Gordon. Gordon, a jazz champion since her teen years and one of the music's female pioneers, died Saturday at the age of 95.

Shervin Lainez

Amy Cervini sings all across the musical spectrum. She has recorded tributes to Blossom Dearie and country songs. She's sung shows for children and shows that I've called "delightfully naughty." She also often sings alongside Melissa Stylianou and Hilary Gardner in the trio Duchess, tackling everything from jazz standards and pop to the astonishingly fast and hip vocal arrangements of the Boswell Sisters. Having been a saxophonist gives Amy much more improvisational chops as a vocalist.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Elemental Music

Tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon and trumpeter Woody Shaw hailed from two different jazz generations, but found common purpose in the music.

Now each artist has a new album on the near horizon, featuring vibrant live performances largely recorded in Japan, and previously unreleased. Dexter Gordon Quartet Tokyo 1975 and Woody Shaw Tokyo 1981 are both due out on July 13, in CD and LP editions, from Elemental Music. 

Simon Rentner

Welcome to the island of St. Lucia, where we soak in deeply African rhythms that morphed into brilliant modern Creole creations in recent years.  The Checkout explores five Caribbean jazz songs you should know curated by Yves Renard, the Artistic Director of the Soleil St. Lucia Summer Festival.


Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Chris Tobin / WBGO

Amy Cervini recently came to WBGO for a Singers Unlimited session with Michael Bourne. They talked about her new album, No One Ever Tells You — and, with Michael Cabe playing piano, she sang some of the songs. 

She’ll celebrate the album’s release with a gig June 15 at Subculture in the East Village. She’s been in residence for years at the 55 Bar, and often works with the group Duchess. (Duchess sings next on June 27 at the Jazz Standard.)

Chris Tobin / WBGO

Before her recent engagement at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and a gig at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, saxophonist Tia Fuller visited Afternoon Jazz. 


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