wynton marsalis

Content tagged as wynton marsalis.

Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (SLG)

Ravi Coltrane: In Flux (SLG)

Now in his early 40s this tenor and soprano saxophonist has taken his time to emerge, but then again there was a huge shadow cast over his life. His father was jazz legend John and his mother the pianist/composer Alice. Not that he seems to have suffered unduly by these possibly career-crushing associations (there is an interesting...

Charles Lloyd Quartet: Rado de Nube (ECM/Ode)

Charles Lloyd Quartet: Rado de Nube (ECM/Ode)

The rehabilitation and resurrection of saxophonist Lloyd is outlined elsewhere at Elsewhere (see tag) but in brief it goes like this: he made huge selling album in the late 60s which was embraced by hip hippies, accusations of "sell out" from jazzers followed, the wounded Lloyd retreated from the public gaze, then slowly reappeared via...

Dr John and the Lower 911: City That Care Forgot (Shock)

Dr John and the Lower 911: City That Care Forgot (Shock)

The good Doctor's voice can be an acquired taste and there is no doubt he lost many loyalists when he went schmaltzy and kinda boring in the late 80s/early 90s. It was almost as if he had run his course when he started doing live albums and standards.Now of course this son of New Orleans has plenty to write about post-Katrina, and this album...

MILES DAVIS, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY (1990): Miles runs the voodoo down

MILES DAVIS, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY (1990): Miles runs the voodoo down

When trumpeter Miles Davis turned 60 in 1986 the New York weekly Village Voice marked the occasion with a lavish 28-page supplement of essays and critical opinion. By way of introduction the editor, Gary Giddins, wrote words which seemed admirably bare and understated: “For four decades Davis has been in the forefront of American music...

MILES DAVIS INTERVIEWED (1988): Man with the attitude

MILES DAVIS INTERVIEWED (1988): Man with the attitude

It was probably about lunchtime in New York, but here in Auckland it was 4.30 am on a grim and watery Tuesday, hardly the best time to do a phone interview. Certainly not this prearranged caller to the man known as the Prince of Darkness and who has been known to open his end of the conversation with a terse “Don’t ask me no stupid...

MILES DAVIS IN CONCERT 1988 REVIEWED: The Prince claims the crown

MILES DAVIS IN CONCERT 1988 REVIEWED: The Prince claims the crown

For even the most devout Miles Davis follower, it was difficult to anticipate what the legendary trumpeter would pull out for his one-only Auckland concert. Recent albums weren’t helpful – they sport different line-ups to the seven-piece outfit he was bringing – and overseas concert reports were divided between...

WYNTON MARSALIS INTERVIEWED (2000): Once more, back to the future

WYNTON MARSALIS INTERVIEWED (2000): Once more, back to the future

To refer to Wynton Marsalis as a jazz musician is to unintentionally diminish him. Certainly he plays jazz trumpet, has released a couple of dozen albums in the idiom, was the catalyst for and focal point of a renaissance of jazz in the 80s and is musical director for the prestigious Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in New York.Yes, Marsalis is a...

CHARLIE PARKER: If only . . .

CHARLIE PARKER: If only . . .

The night I heard Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter had separated I went on a half serious, half parody, totally drunken Rod bender. I played all his Famously Scottish Songs (me‘n’Rod bellowing “here’s one Jacobite, won’t be home tonight” across 2am suburban streets), some of the old classics (I may have even...

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (1959)

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (1959)

Take it from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis. For slow romantic action when he wants to make out, it's the album he plays. Steely Dan's Donald Fagen likes the trance-like atmosphere it creates, and that it's "like sexual wallpaper." And jazz-rock guitarist John Scofield says that 35 years ago it was so common you...

CHICK COREA INTERVIEWED (2007): The restless quest for connection

CHICK COREA INTERVIEWED (2007): The restless quest for connection

After the long drought came the flood: just 10 days on from Herbie Hancock’s Auckland concert in early 2007 came that by Chick Corea, a keyboard player whose jazz career is equally long and diverse. For jazz lovers used to years between international artists of this calibre, these musicians connect to two great periods in jazz: Corea...

LESTER BOWIE REMEMBERED (1941-1999): Does humour belong in music?

LESTER BOWIE REMEMBERED (1941-1999): Does humour belong in music?

Humour hasn’t had much place in jazz. Certainly Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong entertained by mugging things up. But mostly jazz is poker-faced music played to furrowed brow audiences which think it’s somehow more morally uplifting than other music. A couple of years ago Denis Dutton, the philosopher/academic from...

IVAN NEVILLE INTERVIEWED (2005): The family that plays together . . .

IVAN NEVILLE INTERVIEWED (2005): The family that plays together . . .

More than four decades after one of the family first scored a hit, and 25 years from the first Neville Brothers album Fiyo on the Bayou, you could almost forgive the brothers Aaron, Art, Charles and Cyril for slowing down a little.  The oldest, keyboardist Art, is 68 and had a close call with death after back surgery in late 2001. And...

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis: Live From New York City (DVD/Shock)

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis: Live From New York City (DVD/Shock)

While this beautifully shot concert film might not persuade you that this meeting of minds was as thrilling as the relentlessly theorising Wynton Marsalis makes it out to be, there are considerable pleasures to be had hearing Willie Nelson's deliberately languid vocals with the small and classy jazz group on hand. And harmonica master Mickey...

THELONIOUS MONK AND JOHN COLTRANE IN 1957: Genius loves company

THELONIOUS MONK AND JOHN COLTRANE IN 1957: Genius loves company

Thelonious Sphere Monk was one of the most gifted -- and eccentric -- of all jazz musicians. The memorably named pianist/composer, who died in 1982 aged 64, helped define the bebop movement and his quirky, angular compositions are among the most memorable in jazz. To drive them home he gave them titles such as Epistrophy, Humph,...

JOHN COLTRANE AND MILES DAVIS: Genius at work and playing, 1955-61

JOHN COLTRANE AND MILES DAVIS: Genius at work and playing, 1955-61

For two people about to write themselves into music history, their credentials were not promising. Only a few years previously, the trumpeter was so hooked on heroin that he was almost unemployable and would often fail to show for concerts. The other was a little-known saxophonist whose career was sound but unspectacular. He had played...

CHET BAKER REMEMBERED: The long journey into night

CHET BAKER REMEMBERED: The long journey into night

Trumpeter Chet Baker's death in 1988 was tragic -- but, at 59, he was lucky to have lived so long. A brilliant stylist whose work in Gerry Mulligan's piano-less quartet in the early Fifties -- and whose recordings in Paris shortly afterwards -- are worth serious investigation, Baker modelled himself on Miles Davis at his most ineffably cool....

DUKE ELLINGTON: A genius, but not that great?

DUKE ELLINGTON: A genius, but not that great?

Few statements about music can be delivered unequivocally, but here's one: Edward Kennedy Ellington was one of the greatest composers of last century. And of all time. And no discussion need be entered into. Other than to observe he didn't "compose" in the traditional sense: most of his best-known songs were written with...

Allen Toussaint: The Bright Mississippi (Nonesuch/Warners)

Allen Toussaint: The Bright Mississippi (Nonesuch/Warners)

This godfather and keeper-of-the-keys in New Orleans music has popped up quite a lot recently in a more mainstream popular culture context by appearing on albums with James Hunter and Elvis Costello (The River in Reverse), and would be well known to Elsewhere readers. For this album however (produced by the remarkable Joe Henry) the...

BRANFORD MARSALIS INTERVIEWED (2009): Putting the past to bed

BRANFORD MARSALIS INTERVIEWED (2009): Putting the past to bed

Branford Marsalis, who played in bands with Sting and helmed his own Buckshot LeFonque -- which had a stab at the hip-hop-to-bebop territory -- is these days dismissive of his brief skirmishes with popular music. He’s back playing jazz and much prefers it. The audiences may be smaller but he gets to play exactly what he wants, can look...

PIANIST VIJAY IYER PROFILED (2009): The jazzman has a master plan

PIANIST VIJAY IYER PROFILED (2009): The jazzman has a master plan

Among the many things Wynton Marsalis learned from Miles Davis was this: never undersell yourself. If you know you’re a genius just say so. If you know the past and future of jazz just tell people you do. Don’t hold back, put yourself in the lineage, come off arrogant if need be. What Wynton didn’t learn was to say...

MILES DAVIS QUINTET; EUROPEAN TOUR 1967 (/Impro-Jazz/Southbound DVD)

MILES DAVIS QUINTET; EUROPEAN TOUR 1967 (/Impro-Jazz/Southbound DVD)

You might have thought in the decade since Ken Burns' groundbreaking television series Jazz that there would have been a slew of DVDs out there on the market to add depth to what he showcased. But there hasn't really been. Back before jazz was an "art form" few concerts were filmed for posterity. Jazz, by definition, was in the...

Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro (ECM/Ode)

Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro (ECM/Ode)

The album title here perhaps suggest rather more shadowland than is evident in these beautiful, sometimes light-filled duets by acoustic guitarist Towner and flugel/trumpet player Fresu. Certainly they head to the shadows for a lovely treatment of Blue in Green (from Miles Davis' classic Kind of Blue), but with Towner's rich and inclusive...

Dave Holland Octet: Pathways (Red Eye/Southbound)

Dave Holland Octet: Pathways (Red Eye/Southbound)

Bassist Dave Holland has always had a much deserved reputation for his big band line-ups for which he writes interesting charts and gets in some of the finest (and often up-coming) jazz players. Here he has the benefit of some established names: sax and flute player Antonio Hart, trombone player Robin Eubanks and vibes player Steve Nelson...

RAY BROWN, SUPERBASS (1926-2002): A talent beyond words

RAY BROWN, SUPERBASS (1926-2002): A talent beyond words

Ray Brown great practical joker. Once, in Japan, Brown --- bassist in pianist Oscar Peterson’s famous drummerless group, the most highly paid trio in the jazz world in the 1950s -- went to a pachinko hall, one of those gambling parlours where you are blinded by blazing neon and deafened by the incessant roll of small steel balls. He...

JOE HENDERSON INTERVIEWED (1994): A star to guide them

JOE HENDERSON INTERVIEWED (1994): A star to guide them

Joe Henderson is sitting at a press conference in Carnegie Hall, New York, patiently answering another dumb leading question. Someone among the contingent of journalists has just asked this legendary tenor saxophonist -- who turned 57 this week -- why it has taken so long for him to be recognised. Henderson smiles wanly and with the...

DIXIELAND DISCOVERY: Louis, Pete, Al and me down South

DIXIELAND DISCOVERY: Louis, Pete, Al and me down South

Duke Ellington famously observed there’s only two kinds of music, good and bad. He may well be right. But there's also hey-nonny-nonny folk music, most of which frankly I don't consider music at all. It’s a mistake. Most of my life I’ve managed to avoid folk - except for one year when I was asked to judge the category...

THE YOUNG LIONS OF JAZZ (1994): Tomorrow is the question

THE YOUNG LIONS OF JAZZ (1994): Tomorrow is the question

If rock is the culture which eats its young -- or at least allows Kurt Cobain to leave a suicide note which says “I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasm I once had as a child” -- then jazz is the music which barely allows youth to exist at all. The contract of jazz almost demands its young artists leap...

CHRISTIAN SCOTT INTERVIEWED (2010): The navigator in difficult waters

CHRISTIAN SCOTT INTERVIEWED (2010): The navigator in difficult waters

Trumpeter Christian Scott out of New Orleans is a hot property in jazz these days. He has received considerable critical acclaim for his unique tone (he plays a specially made trumpet) and the intensity of his playing. He learned from grandfather Big Chief Donald Harrison Snr and uncle Donald Harrison Jnr who had played in Art Blakey's...

Christian Scott: Yesterday You Said Tomorrow (Concord)

Christian Scott: Yesterday You Said Tomorrow (Concord)

From the opening bars - a slightly discordant guitar and unsettling drums and knocks -- this album announces itself as something delivering the unexpected by a young jazz trumpeter out of New Orleans. Scott, 27, and his smart young band here probe the edges of the avant-garde and free playing but always remain thoroughly grounded in the long...

MARCUS ROBERTS INTERVIEWED (1990): Keys and thought in black'n'white

MARCUS ROBERTS INTERVIEWED (1990): Keys and thought in black'n'white

Recently a well known jazz writer, Pete Watrous - not known for his exaggeration - acclaimed Marcus Roberts’ new album Deep In The Shed as “the best jazz album for a decade.” Put that to 26-year-old pianist Roberts and he laughs (for the first and only time in an earnest half-hour conversation) and starts to sound like...

ROY HARGROVE INTERVIEWED (1990): Young man with a horn

ROY HARGROVE INTERVIEWED (1990): Young man with a horn

Roy Hargrove’s youth is the reason he doesn’t have too much to say for himself. At 20, Hargrove simply may not have all that much to talk about. After all, what can he have done? Quite a lot, in fact. Three years ago while still in high school, this hot jazz trumpeter out of Texas was playing on stage at the famous...

COURTNEY PINE INTERVIEWED (1998): Finding the inner man

COURTNEY PINE INTERVIEWED (1998): Finding the inner man

Courtney Pine is diverted from telling his daughter how Tony Blair trounced the opposition and of the legacy of John Major. “She's four months old, it’s never too early to start,” he laughs, then embarks on a discussion about cricket. “You’ve got a good team – and it’s a rebuilding...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Miles Davis; Tutu (Warners)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Miles Davis; Tutu (Warners)

For Davis' most pure jazz followers who had forgiven him the street corner funk of the late Sixties/early Seventies, the trumpter was a lost cause on his return in '81 after almost a decade without any new studio material. From Man with the Horn to Your Under Arrest ('85) he was widely criticised for simply failing to play trumpet in any...

MILES DAVIS; BITCHES BREW (2010): The sorcerer in his laboratory

MILES DAVIS; BITCHES BREW (2010): The sorcerer in his laboratory

Carlos Santana, who says rarely a day goes by when he doesn't listen to some Miles Davis, believes you only have to listen to the Davis' album Live at the Plugged Nickel -- recorded in December 65 at a Chicago club but not released until '68 -- to realise the trumpeter had exhausted standards such as Stella By Starlight and On Green Dolphin...

Chet Baker: In New York (American Jazz Classics/Southbound)

Chet Baker: In New York (American Jazz Classics/Southbound)

Although you could hardly argue with a line-up which had tenor player Johnny Griffin, pianist Al Haig, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones alongside trumpeter Chet Baker, the result was a fairly mainstream, late Fifties sessions which -- while admittedly pushing Baker in a way he hadn't previously -- don't really separate...

MILES DAVIS AND QUINCY JONES AT MONTREUX: The circle is unbroken

MILES DAVIS AND QUINCY JONES AT MONTREUX: The circle is unbroken

It was emblematic of the soul rebel career of Miles Davis that in his final years he was painting as much as he was playing, had a cameo spot in a movie (Dingo) playing a pre-electric period jazz trumpeter, exchanging tapes with Prince, recorded with rapper Eazy Mo Bee and – most surprising of all turned up at the Montreux Jazz...

JOE LA BARBERA PROFILED: Counting the beats

JOE LA BARBERA PROFILED: Counting the beats

For some reason - perhaps because they work in a loud profession - you expect drummers to shout. Few do, and while Joe La Barbera may have started his career in the appropriately named Thundering Herd led by Woody Herman, the quietly spoken drummer doesn't shout about it, and doesn't bellow about his illustrious career either. For the...

Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones: Here We Go Again (Blue Note)

Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones: Here We Go Again (Blue Note)

This cross-generational/cross-genre superstar triumvirate isn't as unusual as it appears on paper: There are two or fewer degrees of separation between the protagonists. Jones has toured and performed with Nelson (here); Willie and Waylon got together for their less-than-thrilling Two Men with the Blues project (CD/DVD); and Jones began life...

MILES DAVIS; TUTU 25 YEARS ON: Hope you like my new direction?

MILES DAVIS; TUTU 25 YEARS ON: Hope you like my new direction?

Depending on when he was talking and the mood he was in, Miles Davis would claim to have changed the direction of music three – or four – times. No one would doubt the impact of Birth of the Cool, Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew – which might make the “three”. But the fourth? Although it didn't change the...

WYNTON MARSALIS, FROM THE PLANTATION TO THE PENITENTIARY: Wynton in the 21st century

WYNTON MARSALIS, FROM THE PLANTATION TO THE PENITENTIARY: Wynton in the 21st century

 Only a few jazz musicians have actually changed the course of the music: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis (twice, maybe three times) and Ornette Coleman undeniably reset the compass -- and Wynton Marsalis certainly did. However many would qualify Wynton with, “but not in a good...

BEN WEBSTER AND ART TATUM: Genius loves company

BEN WEBSTER AND ART TATUM: Genius loves company

 In my experience, jazz people tend to live in the past. Radio programmes are more often about the greats of yesteryear than the living, jazz mags essay Ellington over ECM, and in any given year you get the clear message that record companies are more interested in reissues than recording new names. Jazz musicians too contribute to this:...

Irma Thomas, The Irma Thomas Collection (1996)

Irma Thomas, The Irma Thomas Collection (1996)

In music, titles are bestowed by The People rather than being handed down from above -- and they are so singular and specific that there can only be pretenders but no replacement figures. So there is only one King of Rock'n'Roll and that's Elvis, only one Queen of Soul and that will always be Aretha, and only James Brown will ever be considered...

Keith Jarrett Trio, My Foolish Heart (2007)

Keith Jarrett Trio, My Foolish Heart (2007)

Most people who know his music don't come to albums by jazz and Elsewhere pianist Keith Jarrett expecting to snap their fingers, smile at the swinging grooves and generally enjoy the good humour on display. Jarrett is usually a furrowed-brow listen, or in an instructively meditative mood. His emotionally dense, improvised solo piano work...

The Neil Cowley Trio: Displaced (HideInside/Southbound)

The Neil Cowley Trio: Displaced (HideInside/Southbound)

Frankly, British jazz usually doesn't ring my bell. There have been a few artists (Courtney Pine, Andy Sheppard, Jazz Warriors etc) in the past couple of decades who have made an impact, but most have seemed lacking in depth and gravitas, especially when lined alongside some of the hot talent the States is inevitably throwing up. However...

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