WFMT: Chicago 's Candice Agree writes....From the age of 3, CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe toiled at a keyboard-not in typing, as unintended preparation for his 13 years at the Washington Post, but in studying classical piano in Delmar, a suburb of Albany, NY. Although he loved playing, his interest in current events and politics pulled him into a journalism career. No stranger to Chicago, in 2008, O'Keefe was in Grant Park the night that Barack Obama was elected president. O'Keefe, 37, is about to become a fixture in the White House press room, as he will cover the Biden administration for the TV network he joined in 2018. But he has never left his first passion far behind. He shared some musical memories with us before taking on his new assignment at CBS News as Senior White House & Political Correspondent. Photo courtesy CBS News)
READ Candice Agree's Q&A with Ed O'Keefe.
Jane Ira Bloom, Mark Helias 'Some Kind Of Tomorrow' was Reviewed by JAZZ VIEWS Sammy Stein, who wrote........
Saxophone player Jane Ira Bloom and bass player Mark Helias are long-time collaborators. This album was born out of the need to create music in such a unique time where live audiences and in-person studio recordings were impossible. Recorded remotely from their homes, the music stands as a departure from any kind of release they have done together as all tracks are completely improvised. The resulting sound is raw, intimate, and fearless.
I asked Jane Ira Bloom about the recording, and she explained, " Given how we had to make this made Mark and I rely on the most basic aspect of our collaborative impulse – our two sets of ears. Mark and I have known one another for over 40 years. We first met in New Haven CT in the 1970s, and when you think about it, you build up so much shared vocabulary when you've played with someone over such a long time.
We really didn't plan this recording. It happened because we needed to improvise with one another and so the music emerged from a different place than normal when you plan a recording project."
READ THE FULL JAZZ VIEWS REVIEW
An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational Signum Saxophone Quartet presents their first Deutsche Grammophon album. Featuring inventive arrangements of music by composers from Dowland to Peter Gregson, as well as Guillermo Lago's Sarajevo, a saxophone quartet original, Echoes showcases the full potential of the saxophone – a modern instrument more than capable of capturing the echoes of the past.
For January 19, 2021, the Signum Saxophone Quartet: Echoes is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release.'
"the Monet of the classical guitar" Sharon Isbin, returns to Montana Public Radio's - Musician's Spotlight to talk technique, collaboration and guitar diplomacy with host John Floridis. Isbin's accomplishments involve big numbers: she has recorded more than 30 albums, premiered 80 new works by composers like John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner and Lukas Foss, performed as a soloist with over 200 orchestras around the world, appeared on numerous television and radio programs, hit #2 on Billboard, and won dozens of prestigious honors and awards. Montana Public Radio's Musician's Spotlight will Broadcast this segment on Tuesday 1/19/2021.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE & LISTEN
TFOV Founder - Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck writes.....RE-INVENTIONS takes talent and a lot of courage to take world-renowned and treasured classical pieces by the masters and rework them into your vision. After hearing this album, I think you will agree that Robin should put the crown on her head because she proves why she is piano music royalty.
The 2 LP set is a beautiful translucent smokey marble with three sides of music. The sound for instrumental piano is exceptional. I would think most instrumental music is well suited for the vinyl format. Of course, when you have an equally exceptional musician such as Robin Spielberg performing, the sound is that much more beautiful and defined.
Robin Spielberg has poured her heart and soul into this music, which becomes apparent quite readily. Track after track you have the opportunity to revisit classic compositions and the old blended with the new reborn into several variations. The color, ambiance, and heavenly beauty of this music is brilliantly performed. I can guarantee if you appreciate piano solo music, you will fall in love with RE-INVENTIONS. I know it did not take me long!
READ THE FULL Final on Vinyl REVIEW
THE Violin Channel writes......The United States Marine Band commissioned American composer Peter Boyer for special fanfare at Biden/Harris Inauguration, to be performed at the U.S. Capitol on January 20th, 2021. Boyer's new work, "Fanfare for Tomorrow," will be performed as part of the one hour prelude music of the inauguration, conducted by Colonel Jason K. Fettig., the Marine Band's Director.
The piece was originally for solo French horn, was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra. Boyer significantly expanded and developed it for a full concert band for this inaugural commission.
The United States Marine Band, the "The President's Own," is America's oldest continuously active musical organization. It is said that debuted in 1801 for Thomas Jefferson's inauguration. "I had just over a week to compose and orchestrate the piece," Boyer said. "Col. Jason Fettig had cautioned me about writing too high for the brass, due to the very cold conditions in which the piece would be performed outdoors. I had just a few hours to create and deliver this lower key version of the piece to the Marine Band. Happily, It seems to have worked out well!"
READ THE FULL Violin Channel ARTICLE
Hollywood Soapbox - John Soltes writes......Arturo O'Farrill, who heads The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, has always brought the real world into his musical compositions, and that's especially true of his latest release, Four Questions, featuring well-known academic Dr. Cornel West. The album was met with acclaim in 2020 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.
The title of the album is pulled from the original composition featuring West on the album. The 16-minute piece pairs the academic's voice with the measured musical musings of the orchestra. Surrounding this central tune are other songs that speak to the versatility of O'Farrill's creative output, including "Baby Jack," "Jazz Twins," "Clump, Unclump" and the "A Still, Small Voice" series.
"What happened was I had been very interested in Dr. West's speaking for many, many years," O'Farrill said in a recent phone interview. "You can't help but be aware of Dr. West, and periodically he would come to a show. And I'd see him in the audience."
READ THE FULL Hollywood Soapbox ARTICLE
An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational SIGNUM saxophone quartet are now set to present their first Deutsche Grammophon album.
"The London-based trio The Comet Is Coming-made up of the saxophonist King Shabaka, the percussionist Betamax, and the keyboardist Danalogue-thrusts empyrean jazz into an apocalyptic future, where raucous psych rock and danceable electro-grooves ride lush tenor lines to outer space.
The fantastic 'Schneller!' has four trumpets interweaving, performed by the magical Kenny Rampton and then the sublime 'Waiting Here For You' features more outstanding musicians from around the world. Hear Sarah tell the story of those recordings and more.
The magic of Christmas! Joy is in the air, everybody's in good cheer and you can hear carols everywhere. The outside is covered in snow, but it is warm by the fireside. Romance is at your heart, while you sit with your loved-ones under the Christmas tree. These are images that Sarah McKenzie creates in this original composition called ‘You, Me & the Christmas Tree'. It captures the spirit of Christmas. It's a song about love and being together. Sarah admits that only when she moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music did she grasp the full meaning of those legendary jazzy Christmas songs. In her home country of Australia she has never experienced a ‘White Christmas', so "a lot of those iconic songs only really started to make sense to me once I experienced winter on the East-coast of the United States with tons of snow and cold temperatures, but also saw the lit-up Christmas trees and Christmas markets, the smell of mulled wine and ‘chestnuts roasted on an open fire'. I instantly fell in love with that season of the year and always wanted to put my feelings in a song."
Sarah chose to record ‘You, Me & the Christmas Tree' with an A-lister cast of Jazz' finest: John Clayton on double bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums, Warren Wolf on vibes and Randy Napoleon on guitar. And they went to legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles for this recording, the studio in which a lot of famous Christmas albums have been recorded (Frank Sinatra's ‘A Jolly Christmas', ‘Christmas Carousel' by Peggy Lee, Diana Krall's ‘Christmas Songs'), but also the building on which the famous Christmas tree is lit up every year since 1958. According to Los Angeles Magazine that Christmas tree was the first of its kind, designed by Ollsen Lighting and it featured 4,373 bulbs at 25 watts each.
I was very lucky that during lockdown the Diablo Regional Arts Association in Walnut Creek, CA commissioned me to create a 60-minute video extravaganza with the theme MUSIC CONNECTS OUR WORLD. My idea was to create ten cross-genre video clips that would include musicians from all corners of the world and put the videos together with announcements so they become like a concert. The stylistic reach was from Bossa Nova to Tango, from Bebop to Choral Music. And there was this one song in my drawer that sounded a bit like pop music, but I did not really know what to do with it. My Australian producer Chong Lim, who I happened to speak to during that time, just had his tour as keyboarder for David Foster cancelled and he recommended that I speak to the drummer of that tour, John JR Robinson. John was all up for it and recorded the drums for the track and recommended that I speak to Michael Thompson for guitars. Michael then added the guitars and recommended that I ask Jon Gilutin to add Hammond B3. It was amazing! All these legends, who had worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion suddenly recorded a song of mine and I was playing and singing alongside them. I very much hope that you'll like it! Here is WAITING HERE FOR YOU.
When the corona virus hit in early March Sarah McKenzie was just on tour in France and all her shows got cancelled. At the same time the US government implemented a travel ban for everyone who was travelling from the Schengen territory so Sarah was unable to return to her home in Los Angeles immediately. ?In order not to get stuck during lockdown in a big city I rented an old school house in the very South of England, in Hastings at the English Channel coast. It was a very romantic place from the 17th century with vines on the outside and a large garden with roses and lots of other flowers and old, very stylish furniture on the inside and an old piano that I would play every day. We had planned to stay for two weeks, in the end it was 3 1/2 months. I found a small but well equipped recording studio in Hastings, that had an engineer who had recorded a lot of jazz, and a Yamaha baby grand piano. Perfect conditions to start working 24/7. The song SCHNELLER! was inspired by drives on the German highway. It is called Autobahn and it is one of the very few places in the world where there is no speed limit. For someone not used to this it is quite a frightening experience to travel at 130 mph. So once I had picked my finger nails out of the dashboard I thought this experience needs a song. I then had to find the right musicians for it. With Geoff Gascoyne (bass) and Donald Edwards (drums) I have a long lasting working relationship already, but who could play those trumpets? I was very lucky to then come across Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's Kenny Rampton, who is a fantastic trumpet player and who put in the extra miles that it needed to make this song special. I hope you'll like it.'
After the great success of Sarah McKenzie's 2017 disc, Paris in the Rain(Impulse! Records), the 31-year-old pianist, singer, and composer returns with the poignant, Secrets of My Heart, reuniting with noted Australian composer, arranger, and events music director, Chong Lim, who produced her first two discs – Don't Tempt Me and Close Your Eyes. Recorded in New York City, Secrets of My Heart exudes cosmopolitan flair with its lineup that includes French bassist Pierre Boussaguet and Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Bocattoalongside guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Donald Edwards, vibraphonist Warren Wolf,tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts, and cellist Jody Redhage Ferber(all of whom based in the United States).
After enchanting jazz fans with her 2015 Impulse! Records debut, We Could Be Lovers, Sarah McKenzie returns with the sensational follow-up, Paris in the Rain. Like before, the 28-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-born singer, pianist, composer and arranger teams with the acclaimed Brian Bacchus – who has produced classics for such stars as Norah Jones, Lizz Wright, and Gregory Porter – to deliver a gripping program of jazz classics and originals – all of which present McKenzie's incredible musicality in glamorous glory.
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