Archives for posts with tag: Jazz

Words by Hank Williams | Press still from Milford Graves Full Mantis

“This is a family house” Milford Graves says describing his house, which is down the street from the South Jamaica Houses in Queens, New York where he grew up. The house differs from everything else one might find on the block by the amount of decoration on the exterior—which supplies a hint that the man who lives inside isn’t your average resident.

in fact, “average” seemingly doesn’t apply to any aspects of the subject of Jake Maginsky’s documentary film of an innovative, yet somewhat unheralded percussionist.

Graves, probably best known for his role in the free/avant garde jazz scene, has put his stamp on a lot of things since his emergence in the early 1960s. Since his transition from Latin Jazz and conga drums to the drum kit (Graves found more acceptance and work playing the drum kit), Graves played with some key players, most notably saxophonist Albert Ayler. Although Graves missed playing with saxophone legend John Coltrane, he had a connection of sorts when he played at the latter’s funeral as part of Ayler’s band. Graves also suggested in a 2016 interview that he was behind Coltrane’s show at Harlem’s Olatunji Cultural Center, known as one of Coltrane’s last appearances before his death. An unofficial recording of which was later released posthumously.

When Graves turned to teaching, he poured the same passion into that as he did into his playing as he shaped a legion of students during his tenure at Bennington College. Jake Meginsky was one such student—though an informal one—he got a job at Bennington in order to meet Graves and convinced him to take him on as a student. Meginsky originally started recording Graves as a learning aid and began amassing a lot of footage. This is the base of the current film, though supplemented with extensive footage from Graves’s own collection.

One gets a skeletal biography from Full Mantis. It’s a deliberate choice and not necessarily a bad one. Meginsky instead chose to create a portrait of the artist via a view into his philosophy of the world, teaching, and approach to music. It works spectacularly well, especially considering that this is Meginsky’s first effort as a filmmaker.

The film centers Graves’s words and music and does an impressive job of highlighting his profundity (a word I don’t use lightly) in many areas and his enticing personality.

The other complicating factor in a project like this is Graves’s unorthodox approach to nearly everything he tackles. Actually, to say that Graves is an unorthodox teacher or musician would be a gross understatement. It would be accurate, though, to point out that Graves may be one of the most radical musicians one could ever encounter in the most literal sense of the word: he tries to get to the actual root of the issue–no matter what it is–for the solution to any kind of problem or challenge.

Full Mantis offers documentary evidence of Graves’s approach of going directly to the source in two key areas: martial arts and his understanding of musical time.

“Well, I started reading books,” Graves says about his martial arts training. Frustrated at the inability to achieve some of the lessons offered in Chinatown because there were limits placed on what non-Asian students could be taught, Graves decided to take lessons in his own hands, eventually settling on closely watching the insect the Praying Mantis after hearing that some of the movements were based on them. “I went to the source,” he says. He bought a few mantises and let them loose, observing their movements. “I just got the full mantis,” says Graves with a mischievous grin, noting that some interpreters or teachers might be hindered in various ways by their own physical or mental limitations. Graves wanted none of that.

The film next jumps to Graves’ musings on heart rate and musical time, noting that heart rate constantly varies in healthy people, which provided another breakthrough that led him to eschew the conventional metronome developing musicians use for keeping time.

Graves began closely studying medicine and human anatomy, haunting the medical textbook section in the former Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue. The next revelation came from a medical recording of human heart sounds he found there.

Graves, thinking that the heartbeats would be regular, was taken aback at the percussive patterns he heard. He eventually developed a software to translate the patterns from measured heart rates into music. He began taking the heart rate of everyone who enters his house and anyone he musically collaborates with: “I want to see how you’re vibrating inside,” Graves says. “How is your body oscillating?”

“Swing, it means, man, I want to live to the next day,” Graves explains, using the metaphor of someone crossing a busy street and dodging traffic as a way to explain the complex interactions involved in playing Jazz.

Watching a clip of Graves drumming all of a sudden makes the seemingly haphazard, disparate approach make perfect sense. Elements of his mantis-influenced movements are discernible as is his biologically-oriented approach to musical time signatures. Magically, concepts that seem impenetrable become clear.

Graves’s approach is also incredibly analytical, as would be expected for someone who bought his own EKG machine to track heart functions in an effort to better understand his own body and the bodies of those he interacts with to translate the information into a musical response that will connect with a particular audience on a vibrational level.

Maginsky shows a true example in a performance Graves does in Japan for a group of students in a gymnasium. Graves is surrounded by children dancing, jumping, and reacting in various ways; some even touch the drums or play the cymbals themselves while Graves, totally unfazed, keeps on playing, seemingly pleased with the results.

“We have to have some relevant vibrations,” Graves says, noting that the planet is changing all the time and that musicians should be in tune with that.

In a talk session after one of the New York screenings, Meginsky revealed that “ultimately the film was a labor of love” that just kept gaining momentum over time. Meginsky studied sound, healing, and music with Graves and that helped him structure the film and wrangle the disparate elements into place. “I wanted to see if I could structure the film in a way that had the same sort of energy transfer that Graves incorporates into his own performances.”

Given that charge, it succeeds on all levels. Graves smiled at the screening. His student has indeed learned his lessons well.

91 Minutes. 2018. Words and music by Milford Graves. Directed by Jake Meginsky. Playing at Metrograph Theater in New York and in select locations nationwide.

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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

Left-Right: Gary Burton, Wendy Oxenhorn, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Linda Oh, Catherine Russell, Jimmy Heath, Karriem Riggins

Left-Right: Gary Burton, Wendy Oxenhorn, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Linda Oh, Catherine Russell, Jimmy Heath, Karriem Riggins


Words by Hank Williams | Photos by Joyce Jones. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.
 
2016 marks the 50th year of the National Education Association’s annual Jazz Master Fellowship Awards, and the traditional tribute concert, held on April 4 this year at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, paid homage to the new honorees in style as they joined a select group of figures from the illustrious history of the music.
 
The awards grew out of NEA’s support for jazz, which started in 1969 with a grant to George Russell and the realization that despite its central cultural role in the US, jazz as a form had fallen on hard times in the 1960s with diminished audiences and little support. The Jazz Master Awards themselves began in 1982 to formally honor musicians who have achieved a particularly high level of achievement. Nominations can actually be made by anyone, though the awardees are selected by a panel of jazz experts.
 
This year, saxophonists Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders, vibraphonist Gary Burton, and Jazz Foundation of America executive director Wendy Oxenhorn were awarded Jazz Master Awards.
 
It was special for us at Suga’ in My Bowl because of the amount of former guests on our radio show represented at the ceremony. We interviewed Archie Shepp this month and Pharoah Sanders, Gary Burton, David Murray, Randy Weston, Billy Harper, Lakecia Benjamin, and Catherine Russell are all former guests.
 
The concert which is streamed live over the Internet (and will be archived online soon) featured arrangements of signature compositions by the honored musicians played by ensembles made of former jazz masters and younger musicians. The format highlights the continuity of the music and also provides the opportunity for interesting combinations that might not otherwise happen.
 
Shepp was the first of the new awardees profiled and the ensemble played a medley of his pieces ending with “Blues for Brother George Jackson” from the Attica Blues album. Shepp’s funky, soulful tribute to the Black Panther Party member killed by California prison officials.
 
Pianist Jason Moran (also the event’s host), trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Linda Oh, drummer Karriem Riggins, conguero Pedrito Martinez, trombonist Roswell Rudd, and saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and David Murray interpreted Shepp’s work for a big band, which Shepp himself revisited with new ensembles years later.
 
David Murray played Shepp’s part, while the robust rhythm section handled the strong backbeat the piece is known for. Although piano wasn’t part of the original, Moran’s part added welcome texture to the piece.
 

Archie Shepp: What is the relevance of jazz music if it reaches no further than middle class homes that can afford musical instruments and music instruction?

Shepp’s brief acceptance speech mirrored the politically engaged themes of the chosen song and much of his work, calling for the need to reach out to poor communities and engage them with the music:
 
“Finally we might ask ourselves what is the meaning of the arts and humanities if they are only available to a class of people. What is the relevance of jazz music if it reaches no further than middle class homes that can afford musical instruments and music instruction? It is essential that our schools universities and institutions reach out to the ghettoes the wretched communities which frequently languish outside their doors. They must create hope where there is despair, lest this world become what you see a virtual reality show.”
 
Shepp’s comments clearly reverberated among the performers and audience, with several others on stage acknowledging or echoing his points. He also had kind words for Pharoah Sanders. “We go back a long way”, said Shepp, “and he’s really like a brother to me”.
 

2016 NEA Jazz Masters Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp

2016 NEA Jazz Masters Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp


 
Vibraphonist Gary Burton was the next recipient introduced. Pianist (and Jazz Master) Chick Corea and vibraphonist Stefon Harrris were tapped to recreate Burton’s “Crystal Silence”, which he and Corea recorded together.
 

Gary Burton: “This generation that Chick and I were part of was around when the pioneers [of jazz] were still around. I feel that we’re in a unique position to carry on and pass on what we’ve learned”.

The meaning wasn’t lost on Burton, who joked that it was strange to actually hear his own work being played. “I’ve been playing that song with Chick for over 40 years”, he recalled.
 
Burton also reinforced the idea of social responsibility in his remarks. “This generation that Chick and I were part of was around when the pioneers [of jazz] were still around. I feel that we’re in a unique position to carry on and pass on what we’ve learned”.
 
Pharoah Sanders was introduced next. Jason Moran handled the introduction, pointing to the innovative work that came from Sanders’s collaboration with John Coltrane, especially on the latter’s groundbreaking Ascension album.
 
Pianist Randy Weston and saxophonist Billy Harper rekindled their collaboration for their Roots of the Blues project to honor Sanders. While most of the musical selections interpreted songs composed by the recipients, Weston instead selected something from his own catalog with “The Healers”. It was an appropriate choice, given Sanders’s heavy focus on spirituality in his work.
 
After Weston introduced the melody, he was joined by Harper and the duo went through the introspective piece that was a reminder that although Sanders is remembered for his fiery compositions of epic length and virtuosity, there’s a contemplative side to him as well.
 
Sanders, generally a humble man of few words, appeared overjoyed at the honor. “All I can say is the creator has a master plan”, he quipped, referencing one of this classic songs. “I just want to say thank you with a lot of peace and life to all of you — and to my family”. With that, he looked at Harper and Weston, who he suggested were his musical family.
 
Wendy Oxenhorn was the last recipient introduced and received the NEA’s A.B. Spellman Award for jazz advocacy. Several video tributes stressed the important role the Jazz Foundation of America has played in supporting musicians who cannot work or need financial help.
 
The program ended with Billy Taylor’s “I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel To Be Free” performed by saxophonists Jimmy Heath and Lakecia Benjamin, pianist Justin Coughlin, bassist Linda Oh, drummer Kareem Woods, and Catherine Russell’s vocals. The interplay between Heath and Benjamin highlighted the intergenerational nature of the event with the elder sax master generously encouraging Benjamin to take solos, seemingly pleased with her playing.
 
The event also kicks off the Smithsonian Museum’s annual Jazz Appreciation Month, meant to teach, highlight, and create excitement around the music. Lots of resources and educational material is available at the Smithsonian’s jazz website.
 
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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.
 
Joyce Jones is the executive producer and host of Suga’ in My Bowl. She is a graphic designer and her photos have been published in Black Renaissance Noir.

JazzLoft_Film_Marquee
What do you get when you cross a professional photographer driven by an obsessive (some might say self-destructive) work ethic, a rotating selection of musicians from the golden era of jazz, a ramshackle New York City loft, archive of roughly 40,000 photos and 4,000 hours of reel to reel audio tape? The answer is a book, public radio series, and—finally—documentary film that provides a fascinating look at its subjects and unearths some visual and audio documentation of an important piece of jazz history.

WNYC Radio producer Sara Fishko listened to around 400 hours of the tape from W. Eugene Smith’s collection to put together the original radio documentary and the film.

W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) was an award winning photographer best known for his photo journalism, including several essays published in Life magazine during its heyday and a stint as a paid staff member: a plum job.

While Smith is the central figure in the film, an equally important character is the ramshackle loft at 821 Sixth Avenue that Smith inhabited from 1957-1965. The building happened to be an after hours hangout for jazz musicians and had the perfect environment for them. At the time, the area was the center of the wholesale flower trade and largely uninhabited at night. Large, spacious loft spaces without neighbors to complain about after work jam sessions—which meant the wee hours of the morning for working musicians—drew several jazz luminaries. Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, and Thelonious Monk were all drawn to the space and Smith captured some 300 musicians on tape, including Roy Haynes, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Roland Kirk, Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry, Paul Bley, and Ron Free.

Smith originally moved in to the loft (abandoning his family in the process) to focus on his work and finish an ambitious project he had been commissioned to do: a photo essay on Pittsburgh, PA for its bicentennial. This period is where the film begins in earnest. Smith’s experience in Pittsburgh is probably an equally apt metaphor for his life and approach as is his prodigious output and awards.

Meant to be a fairly quick and lucrative project, the Pittsburgh photo essay drew him in. Instead of the two to three weeks and 200 photos he was contracted for, he stayed for months (later returning for more photos) and took some 17,000 photos. Smith, driven to prove his artistic chops after quitting his staff position at Life over creative differences, had taken on a Sisyphean task—and one that he would not complete in his lifetime.

While the film doesn’t dwell on the point, Smith’s obsession with work took priority over his family. It’s probably an understatement to say that he wasn’t the ideal father.

When telling stories like this one, it’s difficult to avoid falling into the twin traps of painting an uncritically nostalgic picture of the magic of the loft scene or reducing it to a story of tragic artists consumed by their work to the exclusion of all else.

To Fishko’s credit, the film avoids value judgments, instead allowing the subjects to tell their own story and viewers can come to their own conclusions.

Still, the film points out the toll that the loft life took on the musicians. Drummer Ronnie Free is interviewed extensively and was in the midst of the loft activity. Free ended up in Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric ward. Exactly why isn’t explained, but Free and others recount the prevalence of drugs on the scene and a generally unhealthy vibe. Following his release, Free got out of NYC and never returned. It marked the end of his jazz career, but it’s suggested that the decision may have saved his life.

Toward the end of the film, Smith’s son returns to recall that toward the end of his father’s stay in the loft (he was evicted in 1965), he finally had to put firm boundaries on their relationship. The elder Smith would call in distress and the son would rush down in the middle of the night. He put a stop to it to preserve his own family — and sanity — from the type of disruption that, viewers can presume, took its toll on the elder Smith’s family.

thelonious-monk-the-thelonious-monk-orchestra-in-town-hall
The centerpiece of the film, however, is an account of preparations for pianist Thelonious Monk’s 1959 Town Hall concert and collaboration with Hall Overton, who helped arrange Monk’s complex music for the large ensemble. Rehearsals lasted for three weeks and the loft was the headquarters for the effort. Historian (and Monk biographer) Robin D.G. Kelley is interviewed and the helpful context he provides for Monk is a welcome addition.

As usual, Smith was there and kept the tape rolling as musicians worked through the arrangements and debated how best to adapt the more challenging parts while several microphones Smith had embedded all over the space captured the sounds. The musicians’ comfort level with Smith was high enough that he just blended into the background, his camera clicking away, visually documenting preparations for what ended up being a historic performance.

Saxophonist Phil Woods appears throughout the film both on Smith’s audio recordings and in a recent interview reflecting on the loft. It’s an unexpected but welcome treat considering his recent death.

Kelley and Woods shed light on the difficulty of Monk’s music and the task of translating his idiosyncratic phrasing into work for a large ensemble. Monk and Overton collaborated on this and the film chronicles their working relationship and process extraordinarily well.

The large segment devoted to Monk in the middle of the film threatens to derail the storyline, but it goes safely back on course.

One major unanswered question of the film is left to a police officer walking his beat who climbs the rickety stairs to Smith’s loft to ask what’s going on. Why record all of this stuff and document it all so obsessively?

Smith’s quick reply to the bewildered officer—recorded on reel to reel audio tape by himself of course—is that he’s writing a book. While Smith did complete a photo essay of street scenes shot from his loft window for Life as a freelancer, whether or not a full length book was truly his quest is something only Smith could answer for sure. The same goes for exactly why he began capturing everything possible decades before technology would progress enough to provide viable platforms to display his obsessive documentary efforts.

Smith’s departure from the loft seems almost anticlimactic and minimal space is devoted to it: a wise choice, considering the film’s focus.

To a certain extent, it’s the end of an era. Jazz declined precipitously in popularity in the late 1960s and artists were having an increasingly more difficult time supporting bands and finding work. Sixth Avenue, with the elevated railway becoming a more distant memory and with its rebranding as Avenue of the Americas, was in the process of becoming the more upscale strip it is today and less amenable to quirky spots like the loft.

The loft scene itself would continue, with musicians simply moving elsewhere: Ornette Coleman’s loft downtown and Larry Rivers’ Studio Rivbea as just two examples.

What we’re left with is a film that does an admirable job of assembling several diverse storylines into a coherent whole. Expert editing combines Smith’s wonderful photos and impressively good audio into a very watchable package.

The Jazz Loft According to W Eugene Smith captures a snapshot of a New York that’s largely disappeared, an important era in jazz history, and an artistic mad scientist who aimed high and didn’t always meet the impossibly high goals he set for himself, but left an astonishing body of work in his wake. The film does justice to all of that.
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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

Dr. Judith King-Calnek

Dr. Judith King-Calnek

Suga’ in My Bowl is offering “The Brazilian Journey” as a premium in the February pledge drive at WBAI Radio. Suga’ host and executive producer Joyce Jones reached out to Dr. Judith King-Calnek to tap her enormous wealth of knowledge and lead our listeners through a fascinating tutorial of the Brazilian musical tradition, as we’ve done previously with “The Journey” and “The Blues Journey“, charting Afro-Latin and the Blues, respectively. We thought it would be interesting to extend “The Brazilian Journey” with a short “behind the scenes” chat for the blog and Dr. King-Calnek graciously agreed. Questions by Suga’ assistant producer Hank Williams.

When did you first become interested in Brazilian music?

I’ve always been interested in music and am not sure when I actually distinguished between musical genres. I remember loving songs like “Summer Samba” (by Marcos Valle & his brother) and Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66, and other things that entered into the rotations of American radio stations during the Bossa Nova invasion, but I didn’t think of them as or know them to be Brazilian. I think in the late ’60s and early ’70s even the popular radio stations were much more open to a wider array of sounds, from Brazil, Africa (hits from Hugh Masakela, Miriam Makeba and Manu Dibango), which opened up a lot of musical space for anyone who was musically curious.

I think in the late ’60s and early ’70s even the popular radio stations were much more open to a wider array of sounds, from Brazil, Africa […] which opened up a lot of musical space for anyone who was musically curious.

What was the first album that really stood out to you and what was special about it?

There were two albums: first was Flora Purim’s “Open Your Eyes You Can Fly”, which completely blew my mind. The other was Gilberto Gil’s “Nightengale”, which really excited me. Later I would come to realize that Gil’s “Nightengale” was an Americanized version of his Brazilian release “Refavela”, which I prefer. Both Flora’s and Gil’s music felt liberating. The rhythms were infectious and the melodies dared to go where other music didn’t go.

With so much music to choose from, how did you decide on which recordings to highlight in “The Brazilian Journey”?

I tried to think of music that exemplifies different historical, geographical, and musical phases in Brazil. It’s really hard because there’s SO much great music that inevitably something will be left out.

Is there anything you wish you’d covered, but couldn’t fit?

I woke up the other night, at about 2 in the morning and said, “Oh no! I didn’t talk about the Quilombo dos Palmares! or the Tailor’s Revolt (Revolta dos Alfaiates)! I didn’t talk about the Samba Schools Portela and Mangueira! I didn’t talk about this year’s carnival themes. Did I mention that Paulo Moura was not only a great saxophonist, but clarinetist as well? I should’ve ended with Trio da Paz and other great Brazilian musicians here in New York…” and on and on. In short, there is a LOT that I didn’t include. I’m sorry. I hope my musician friends and lovers of the music will forgive me.

What are a few key points you’d like listeners to take away from TBJ?

Brazil is a huge country — larger than the continental United States. It has an incredibly rich history, a dynamic present and a very promising future. I’m just offering a very small taste, the tip of the iceberg, if you will, to whet your appetite for the delicious world of Things Brazil.

How was the experience doing a radio documentary like this?

I LOVED working with Joyce Jones! It felt like spending time with two friends: great Brazilian music and Joyce. I am hopelessly in love with Brazil, its music and culture, and it brings me immense pleasure to share that passion with other folks. Also, I love doing radio and have missed it sorely since I’ve been off the air, so this was a great experience for me. Thank you very much for inviting me. Muito obrigada!

What do you think radio’s importance is in a world of video on demand and seemingly unlimited streaming audio options?

I’m an old time radiohead, so my view is a biased one. I like the organic relationship that radio has with a live audience. There is something very rich about local radio. But I do have to say that I love the fact that I can stream stations and listen even if I’m out of the area.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I’ve really enjoyed this experience and thanks again for inviting me. It’s helped me fight away the winter blahs.

Excerpts from “The Brazilian Journey” will air on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC area and streaming online at wbai.org from 11 PM – 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on February 16, 2013. You can make a pledge for the entire set on CDs at WBAI’s donation site.

Judith King-Calnek teaches anthropology, theory of knowledge and history at the United Nations International School, where she is the Head of the Humanities Department. She has taught anthropology at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. Her publications have focused on education and citizenship in various contexts (international schools, Brazil and the United States). Her most recent publications on free people of color in 19th Century Virginia reflect her continued interest in the intersection of race/color and citizenship in socially stratified societies. King-Calnek holds a Ph.D. in comparative education and anthropology from Teachers College Columbia University as well as two master’s degrees (curriculum and teaching and anthropology and education) from the same institution, and a BA from Pomona College. In addition to her teaching and researching, Judith King-Calnek pursues her long time love of Brazilian music and jazz as a radio programmer and producer in the New York area, for which she has received numerous awards. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

Hank Williams is a assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

Former Suga’ in My Bowl guests Pat Metheny and Wayne Shorter both have new CDs out!

OrchProjCoverSmallRecent Grammy winner Metheny’s is a 2-CD set featuring more music from his Orchestrion Project (and is called just that), which features Metheny leading a band of contraptions that accompany him playing and (in a sense) improvise on their instruments. As a tour, Orchestrion filled an entire stage with its good-sounding (if somewhat Rube Goldberg-ish) robotic bandmembers and the new release features music recorded on the tour. In his 2011 live duo gigs at NYC’s Blue Note with bassist and longtime collaborator Larry Grenadier, a more modest version of the Orchestrion joined the two, with Metheny’s roadie theatrically pulling a cover off of the instrument mid-show.

“The word ‘jazz’ to me only means ‘I dare you.’” — Wayne Shorter

WIthout_a_net_coverMeanwhile, Wayne Shorter’s making the rounds with his new release, titled Without a Net. Long-time collaborators Danilo Perez, John Pattitucci, and Brian Blade join Shorter on piano, bass, and drums respectively. Shorter stopped by National Public Radio’s Saturday All things Considered show to talk about his latest CD and delved into his expansive vision of what jazz means, his time with Miles Davis, Buddhism, and quite a bit more. The interview’s worth checking out and we liked what we heard from the CD, which is out now.

Nate Chinen also has a write-up in the New York Times, which repeats Shorter’s view on the slippery definition of jazz: “The word ‘jazz’ to me only means ‘I dare you.’”

Did any of you catch Shorter’s recent NYC performance at Carnegie Hall? Do you have or are you planning to pick up the Shorter or Metheny releases? Let us know in the comments!

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