Few harmonica players announce themselves by tone alone quite like James Cotton. The great bluesman, born 80 years ago today in Tunica, Mississippi, has a huge, vibrato-laden sound that’s instantly recognizable, and while he’s influenced many harp players, no one else sounds like him.
Gunther Schuller died on Sunday, June 21, in Boston. He was 89. Schuller was a Renaissance man of the Space Age. He began playing French horn with the New York Philharmonic when he was 16, became principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony at 17, and for the better part of the next 75 years excelled at more endeavors than virtually anyone else in modern music.
I spoke with Charles Lloyd on June 19. The great saxophonist and flutist’s quartet (Gerald Clayton, piano; Joe Sanders, bass; Kendrick Scott, drums) will be in concert at the Solid Sound Festival at MassMoCA on Sunday, June 28.
I spoke with Steve Davis on June 17. I’ve known Steve for about 20 years and first heard him at the 880 Club in Hartford […]
Eli & the Hot Six is led by the tuba player and pianist Eli Newberger, a legendary figure in traditional jazz circles. Newberger, a world-renowned pediatrician and Harvard Medical School professor, was a co-founder of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band in 1971. On Monday, June 22, Eli & the Hot Six will perform Swingin’ Gershwin at…
I didn’t see Ornette Coleman until 1971 when he headlined the Saturday afternoon program of the Newport Jazz Festival with a quartet that included his old friends Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell. It was fortuitous that he was on the afternoon bill…
Bill Frisell, the musical polymath whose wide-ranging soundscape readily qualifies him for membership in my personal pantheon of artists who are, to borrow Duke Ellington’s encomium, “beyond category,” will be at MASS MoCA later this month for Solid Sound: Wilco’s Music and Arts Festival.
Bob Belden, who died on May 20 (click here for the New York Times obituary), worked in a wide variety of settings as a saxophonist, arranger, producer, and a&r executive over the course of his 35 year-long career. His orchestral work, Black Dahlia, earned him a Grammy, and as a producer he oversaw the reissue of many of Miles Davis’s recordings of the ’60s and ’70s.
When Dizzy Gillespie said, “The professional is the guy who can do it twice,” he might have been thinking of Clark Terry, whom he once referred to as “the quintessential trumpet player.” Clark had a long and ceaselessly productive life. He was a star sideman in the big band era, a civil-rights pioneer in recording studios, an educator and mentor to generations of musicians, and…
A week ago I wrote about a pair of concert performances by the Miles Davis Quintet that were filmed during its 1967 tour with the […]