Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 10:17 am
Jamie Cullum is the UK's best-selling contemporary jazz artist. He's collaborated with Paul McCartney, Clint Eastwood and Pharrell Williams. On his latest album, Interlude, he covers some distinctive jazz songs, with the help of a few friends.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:18 pm
Writer Ben Yagoda has set out to explain a shift in American popular culture, one that happened in the early 1950s. Before then, songwriters like Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern wrote popular songs that achieved a notable artistry, both in lyrics and music.
John Darnielle is the core, and sometimes only, member of the band the Mountain Goats. Thought by many to be "America's best non-hip-hop lyricist," he crafts songs that read like stories, and sound like they were recorded in his basement on a rickety tape deck.
Since 2005, Brooklyn's Budos Band has helped define and develop the modern Afro-soul sound for which Daptone Records is known. The group's previous albums have been heavily influenced by Ethiopian jazz. But on the new Burnt Offering, the 10-piece band has taken cues from '60s- and '70s-era psychedelia and hard rock. Songs like "The Sticks," performed live for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, showcase this new side.
In 1984, when a young Steven Bernstein first encountered the blind virtuoso New Orleans pianist and singer Henry Butler, he was astonished. "This is it," he recalls thinking. "This is like the music that I always imagined. Everything you ever loved about music, all being in one place. But now it's all coming from one person." Nearly two decades later, Butler and Bernstein finally had the chance to collaborate when they were booked for a run together at New York's Jazz Standard.
For decades, David Murray was known as one of New York's most monstrously talented and astoundingly prolific artists — a tenor saxophonist who played and wrote for just about every imaginable context. He's still these things, but he lives in Europe now. So this year's Winter Jazzfest — already jam-packed with over 100 acts in two nights — saw fit to give New York audiences a proper saturation of what they'd been missing, presenting David Murray in three completely different sets.
Blue Note Records celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, marking three-quarters of a century issuing music by the biggest names in jazz history. The company continues to aspire to that standard, with a contemporary roster ever on the lookout for today's movers and shakers. The supergroup Our Point Of View — the name references a 1963 Herbie Hancock album — combines six of those Blue Note artists for a program of originals and classics heard on Blue Note Records alike.