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JazzTimes March 2019

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access_time2 Min.
together through life

For JazzTimes’ first issue of every new year, dated March (January/February doesn’t count because we actually finish producing that issue in December), it’s become our custom to reserve a large amount of feature space for tributes to those in the jazz community who passed away in the previous year. Necessarily, and sadly, this issue’s collection of farewells, beginning on pg. 22, is only an abridged list of the individuals we lost in 2018. Two more, Jerry González and Roy Hargrove, are remembered in separate sections of the magazine. Another three receive brief notices on pg. 17, along with two charter members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians who shuffled off this mortal coil early in 2019, Alvin Fielder and Joseph Jarman. Go to jazztimes.com for longer obituaries…

access_time5 Min.
satchmo goes digital

The Louis Armstrong House Museum Collections—constituting “the world’s largest archives for a single jazz musician,” according to Ricky Riccardi, the institution’s Director of Research Collections—have long been available to the curious eye. “The archives have been open to the public since 1994,” Riccardi notes. “But it’s always been by appointment only, and you needed to come to Queens College [in Queens, N.Y.].” Those limiting factors, once a deterrent or at the very least an expense on multiple fronts, are now a thing of the past. The holdings have been digitized and, as of the housing website’s launch in November of 2018, any item in the archives can be accessed from anywhere across the globe. The digitization of these materials marks a new frontier for a painstaking project of documentation and preservation…

access_time5 Min.
viva xalapa!

To most of the world, Latin jazz is either Afro-Cuban or Brazilian. Few listeners would associate it with Mexico, whose best-known musical export remains mariachi. Do Mexicans even care about jazz? That question was answered for me in October, when I arrived in Xalapa—the capital of Veracruz and one of Mexico’s artiest, most culturally rich cities—for Latin America’s first Congress of Jazz Education, a milestone in the music’s history. Professors and students from several countries gathered for four days of lectures, workshops, jamming, and networking. The event was spearheaded by pianist Rafael Alcalá, director of the Center of Jazz Studies at Xalapa’s Universidad Veracruzana. “Our students need to know what is going on in different parts of the world and to know that they are not alone in the search,” he…

access_time3 Min.
big band booster

When she was all of 12 years old, Mariel Austin witnessed the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble performing Charles Mingus’ “Fables of Faubus” and knew instantly where her life was headed. “I was just so moved by it, so stricken,” she says. The power of the big band, and the myriad possibilities inherent in its instrumentation, affected her in a big way. Specifically, one instrument had her name on it. “I pretty much just pointed to the trombone and said, ‘I want that.’ It was the slide,” she says. “It’s just so unique—other than the slide whistle, which is pretty much a toy.” That was nearly two decades ago, and Austin has never looked back. She attended her hometown’s Berkeley High, then Cal State Northridge, studying composition and her instrument of choice.…

access_time1 Min.
ryles in memoriam

This being our annual tributes issue, it seems fitting to honor not only the many individuals we lost in 2018 but also a place that has now become part of the past: Ryles, which stood at the corner of Hampshire and Inman Streets in Cambridge, Mass., for 41 years. Cambridge’s oldest jazz club and the second oldest such establishment in the greater Boston area, Ryles was opened by the late impresario Jack Reilly in 1977. Its emphasis was always on local performers, but given that Berklee and New England Conservatory students, faculty, and alumni fell into that category, the quality of the music it presented was consistently high. Over the years, Pat Metheny, Arturo Sandoval, Jon Hendricks, McCoy Tyner, Maynard Ferguson, and many others graced Ryles’ stage. However, the club’s…

access_time4 Min.
prince of trumpet

Paolo Fresu has the air of a prince. Given to scarves, he dresses with casual cool and speaks English with a disarming Italian accent. Playing the trumpet is hard, but Fresu makes it look easy. He can lift a flugelhorn to his lips with one hand, appear to simply breathe into it, and fill a large auditorium with the golden aura of his sound. But few princes work so hard. He plays around 200 concerts a year, records prolifically, leads over 20 different current bands, and operates both a festival (Time in Jazz, in his native Sardinia) and a record label (Tuk). Just one example of his work ethic is how he chose to celebrate his 50th birthday in 2011: He played 50 concerts in 50 days with 50 different ensembles.…