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JazzTimes January/February 2019

Get JazzTimes digital magazine subscription today for in-depth coverage of the jazz scene. In addition to insightful profiles on jazz stars new and established, every issue contains reviews of the latest CDs, books and performances. This award-winning publication features lively writing, stunning photography and sophisticated design. Often controversial, always entertaining, JazzTimes is a favorite of musicians and fans alike.

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[jt] notes

My November 2018 was emotionally all over the place. First there was the crushing news of Roy Hargrove’s death (see our short obituary on pg. 17 and longer obit online; a more in-depth appreciation by one of his closest friends will appear in our next issue). Then there was the excitement of tabulating our contributors’ votes for my debut year-end Top 50 list as JazzTimes editor (and it was exciting, even though the No. 1 new and historical albums were pretty much foregone conclusions). And then there were the moments that put everything in wider perspective. The most memorable of those happened at the Village Vanguard on Nov. 13, as I watched pianist Marcus Roberts make his first headlining appearance at that club in 15 years, covering his 1990 album Deep…

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a great day frame by frame

In 1958 Art Kane was a successful art director who had dabbled in professional photography with an itch to make it his full-time profession. Knowing that Esquire was planning a special issue on jazz, Kane made an audacious proposal to the magazine’s then-editor Harold Hayes and art director Robert Benton to photograph a collection of prominent jazz musicians on location in Harlem. After getting the green light for the session, the nascent photographer was faced with the daunting task of shooting not 15 or so musicians as he’d expected but 58. The result was the iconic and often-imitated image known familiarly as “A Great Day in Harlem,” after Jean Bach’s 1994 documentary about the photograph, the photographer, and the musicians. JazzTimes spoke with Kane’s son Jonathan who, on the 60th anniversary…

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not a hollywood square

Talking with Jeff Goldblum is one rare instance in which it’s comforting to learn that a Hollywood reputation holds true. Well, nearly true. Reached by phone this past fall, Goldblum, 66, is less quirky than he is enthusiastic without affectation—especially about his new Decca release, The Capitol Studios Sessions, an outgrowth of his semiregular gig at the L.A. venue Rockwell Table & Stage. There, Goldblum leads a small group of aces from the piano, swinging agreeably on meat-and-potatoes repertoire, bringing in special guests, and charming the curiosity-seeking crowd. The album, recorded in front of a studio audience and produced by Larry Klein, is an effective advertisement for that Wednesday-night engagement. Throughout the hour-long program of jazz and trad-pop standards, Goldblum quips and comps, mostly letting featured players like trumpeter Till Brönner…

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cleared for takeoff

James Francies appeared humbled and startled to see a full house for his gig at New York’s Jazz Standard. It was a chilly Friday evening in early November, and it was pouring outside. “Wow. I’m glad y’all came out in all of this rain,” he said, after introducing members of his band. “If I didn’t have to be here, I would be at home watching Law and Order or something.” The audience had reason to brave the elements. Not only is the 23-year-old Francies one of the most talked-about pianists in jazz today, but the concert was celebrating the release of his auspicious Blue Note debut, Flight. Hailing from Houston and having attended the city’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts—alma mater to such jazz luminaries as Jason Moran…

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full calendar

When Satoko Fujii was four, she was so shy that she begged to quit kindergarten. In response, her parents sent her to piano lessons. It was the first step in the self-discovery of a genuinely avant-garde musical artist. “With music we can be totally free and it is special for that reason—the best thing about music,” she declared over the phone 56 years later, from her home in Japan. “So I don’t want to limit myself.” The Japanese celebrate a person’s 60th birthday as kanreki, a time when one circle of life is completed and another begins. Fujii honored the tradition with an audacious undertaking: the release of a CD of new music for each month of her kanreki year of 2018. She didn’t limit herself. There is an album of solo…

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art hirahara

With the release in 2000 of his impressive first album, Edge of This Earth, pianist Art Hirahara made it clear that he saw himself as a composer as much as a player. Like so many ambitious young musicians from the Bay Area, the San Jose native had lit out for Oberlin. Looking to explore the intersection of technology and composition, he earned a B.M. in electronic and computer music. But he also found a vehicle for his love of improvisation when he was introduced to jazz by longtime Oberlin professor Neal Creque, a brilliant but undersung pianist/composer from the Virgin Islands who made his mark on the New York Latin jazz and studio scenes in the late 1960s. After earning an M.F.A. in jazz piano performance from CalArts, Hirahara returned to…