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.
January 'UNCUT' contains rare interview with Sonny Rollins
Posted: January 12, 2021 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Michael Bonner writes.......This month's Uncut contains a rare interview with Sonny Rollins – the last of the true jazz titans, whose music Dylan once described as "big league sound, covering all bases". John Lewis's superb interview reads like history unfolding, as Rollins takes us through his memories of some of the 20th century's most profound musical and cultural revolutions, including jazz, the civil rights movement and more. I'm thrilled.
Theodore Walter Rollins was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem not far from the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre, and the doorstep of his idol, Coleman Hawkins. After early discovery of Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, he started out on alto saxophone, inspired by Louis Jordan. At the age of sixteen, he switched to tenor, trying to emulate Hawkins. He also fell under the spell of the musical revolution that surrounded him, Bebop.
He began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. Living in Sugar Hill, his neighborhood musical peers included Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor, but it was young Sonny who was first out of the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty.
In 1956, Sonny began recording the first of a series of landmark recordings issued under his own name: Valse Hot introduced the practice, now common, of playing bop in 3/4 meter; St. Thomasinitiated his explorations of calypso patterns; and Blue 7 was hailed by Gunther Schuller as demonstrating a new manner of "thematic improvisation," in which the soloist develops motifs extracted from his theme. Way Out West (1957), Rollins's first album using a trio of saxophone, double bass, and drums, offered a solution to his longstanding difficulties with incompatible pianists, and exemplified his witty ability to improvise on hackneyed material (Wagon Wheels, I'm an Old Cowhand). It Could Happen to You (also 1957) was the first in a long series of unaccompanied solo recordings, and The Freedom Suite (1958) foreshadowed the political stances taken in jazz in the 1960s. During the years 1956 to 1958 Rollins was widely regarded as the most talented and innovative tenor saxophonist in jazz.
Sonny remembers that he took his leave of absence from the scene because "I was getting very famous at the time and I felt I needed to brush up on various aspects of my craft. I felt I was getting too much, too soon, so I said, wait a minute, I'm going to do it my way. I wasn't going to let people push me out there, so I could fall down. I wanted to get myself together, on my own. I used to practice on the Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge because I was living on the Lower East Side at the time."
When he returned to action in early `62, his first recording was appropriately titled The Bridge. By the mid 60′s, his live sets became grand, marathon stream-of-consciousness solos where he would call forth melodies from his encyclopedic knowledge of popular songs, including startling segues and sometimes barely visiting one theme before surging into dazzling variations upon the next. Rollins was brilliant, yet restless. The period between 1962 and `66 saw him returning to action and striking productive relationships with Jim Hall, Don Cherry, Paul Bley, and his idol Hawkins, yet he grew dissatisfied with the music business once again and started yet another sabbatical in `66. "I was getting into eastern religions," he remembers. "I've always been my own man. I've always done, tried to do, what I wanted to do for myself. So these are things I wanted to do. I wanted to go on the Bridge. I wanted to get into religion. But also, the Jazz music business is always bad. It's never good. So that led me to stop playing in public for a while, again. During the second sabbatical, I worked in Japan a little bit, and went to India after that and spent a lot of time in a monastery. I resurfaced in the early 70s, and made my first record in `72. I took some time off to get myself together and I think it's a good thing for anybody to do."
In 1972, with the encouragement and support of his wife Lucille, who had become his business manager, Rollins returned to performing and recording, signing with Milestone and releasing Next Album. (Working at first with Orrin Keepnews, Sonny was by the early '80s producing his own Milestone sessions with Lucille.) His lengthy association with the Berkeley-based label produced two dozen albums in various settings – from his working groups to all-star ensembles (Tommy Flanagan, Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Clarke, Tony Williams); from a solo recital to tour recordings with the Milestone Jazzstars (Ron Carter, McCoy Tyner); in the studio and on the concert stage (Montreux, San Francisco, New York, Boston). Sonny was also the subject of a mid-'80s documentary by Robert Mugge entitled Saxophone Colossus; part of its soundtrack is available as G-Man.
He won his first performance Grammy for This Is What I Do (2000), and his second for 2004's Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert), in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category (for "Why Was I Born"). In addition, Sonny received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2004.
In June 2006 Rollins was inducted into the Academy of Achievement – and gave a solo performance – at the International Achievement Summit in Los Angeles. The event was hosted by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and attended by world leaders as well as distinguished figures in the arts and sciences.
Rollins was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, in November 2009. The award is one of Austria's highest honors, given to leading international figures for distinguished achievements. The only other American artists who have received this recognition are Frank Sinatra and Jessye Norman.
In 2010 on the eve of his 80th birthday, Sonny Rollins is one of 229 leaders in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, business, and public affairs who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A center for independent policy research, the Academy is among the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and celebrates the 230th anniversary of its founding this year.
In August 2010, Rollins was named the Edward MacDowell Medalist, the first jazz composer to be so honored. The Medal has been awarded annually since 1960 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.
Yet another major award was bestowed on Rollins on March 2, 2011, when he received the Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony. Rollins accepted the award, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, "on behalf of the gods of our music."
Since 2006, Rollins has been releasing his music on his own label, Doxy Records. The first Doxy album was Sonny, Please, Rollins's first studio recording since This Is What I Do. That was followed by the acclaimed Road Shows, vol. 1 (2008), the first in a planned series of recordings from Rollins's audio archives.
Mr. Rollins released Road Shows, vol. 2 in the fall of 2011. In addition to material recorded in Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan during an October 2010 tour, the recording contains several tracks from Sonny's September 2010 80th birthday concert in New York-including the historic and electrifying encounter with Ornette Coleman.
On December 3, 2011 Sonny Rollins was one of five 2011 Kennedy Center honorees, alongside actress Meryl Streep, singer Barbara Cook, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Rollins said of the honor, "I am deeply appreciative of this great honor. In honoring me, the Kennedy Center honors jazz, America's classical music. For that, I am very grateful."
For his new album Holding the Stage: Road Shows, vol. 4, the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins once again taps into his vast archives of his own concert recordings to compile superior performances for release in the acclaimed Road Shows series. The album encompasses some 33 years (1979-2012) yet coheres with all of the compelling logic and narrative force of an extended Sonny solo. Released by Doxy Records with Sony Music Masterworks - OKeh, this recording is truly a treasure chest that includes tunes Rollins has never before recorded and musical relationships previously undocumented. "This album consists of various periods of my career, with something for everybody," says Rollins. "It's who I am, and the music represents just about every aspect of what I do."
7 NEW 158 Total
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Since launching his Doxy label in 2006 with the Grammy-nominated studio album Sonny, Please, the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins has been turning to his vast archive of his own concert recordings to compile superior performances for release in Doxy's acclaimed Road Shows series. The selections in Volume 1 (2008) spanned nearly 30 years and included a trio track from the saxophonist's 50th-anniversary Carnegie Hall concert, while Volume 2 (2011) focused primarily on his epic 80th-birthday concert at New York's Beacon Theatre.
19 NEW ON - 80 Total
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