Movies, TV & Music

JazzTimes January/February 2020

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United States
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10 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
what’s on jazztimes.com

Exclusive Content Matthew Kassel reviews the Jazztopad festival in Poland; singers Sheila Jordan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Veronica Swift sit down for a roundtable chat; and Lee Mergner selects the top jazz memoirs and biographies in our biweekly JazzTimes 10 list. Plus album reviews and much more. JT Blog Congratulations to guitarist Evgeny Pobozhiy (right), the first Russian winner of the Herbie Hancock International Jazz Competition—and to the second- and third-place finishers, fellow guitarists Max Light (left) and Cecil Alexander (middle). Check out Michael J. West’s full report on our website. Audio & Video The first episode of David Sanborn’s new music video series Sanborn Sessions, featuring Kandace Springs; track premieres by Mike Baggetta and Jana Herzen; downloads from Randy Brecker/Ada Rovatti and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra JATI LINDSAY (HANCOCK COMPETITION FINALISTS), COURTESY OF SANBORN SESSIONS…

2 min.
sacred spaces

At the heart of pianist Jason Moran’s recent exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York—the first full-fledged museum survey of his work, simply titled “Jason Moran”—were three life-size stage sets. Each replicated a long-gone venue that had once played an important role in the history of jazz: the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, the Three Deuces on West 52nd St., and Slugs’ Saloon in the East Village (the latter complete with sawdust on the floor and a fallen chair, clearly meant to evoke memories of trumpeter Lee Morgan, who met his gruesome end there in 1972). Over the course of the exhibition, various musicians performed in each of these “rooms,” sometimes moving from one to another, as if to call up different spirits for different songs. That the…

5 min.
the munich connection

To say that there is a single ECM Records sound is to oversimplify a catalog that now encompasses more than 1,600 albums. One suspects that if the late Jan Erik Kongshaug, who engineered hundreds of those albums, were still with us, he’d coolly dispute such a statement with a nuts-and-bolts response, pointing out the many different models of microphones he used over the years, how he placed them in different positions in different studios and enhanced their output with different types of reverb units. All true enough. But even so, a few general, long-established traits of the Munich-based label that Manfred Eicher has helmed since 1969 are undeniable: an emphasis on the space around and between instruments, whether it be defined solely by room ambience or bolstered by artificial means;…

2 min.
jt 50

This month: September 2000 In 2000, our computer systems and infrastructure did not simultaneously crash and cause a Y2K-induced apocalypse. JazzTimes turned 30 that year, and to recognize that marker of youth gone by, we put together an anniversary issue that ended up being both timely and timeless, and for the first time featured no image on the cover, just text—appropriately for the content inside. The September 2000 issue was anchored by long-form essays on the three preceding decades in jazz—Chip Stern on the ’70s, Bob Blumenthal on the ’80s, and Peter Watrous on the ’90s—as well as eight shorter pieces on various genres of jazz, such as mainstream, avant-garde, fusion, Latin jazz, smooth jazz and more, from contributors like Stanley Crouch, Bill Shoemaker, and Bill Milkowski. A serious jazz fan could…

4 min.
time’s on his side

During the documentary Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time, there’s a clip of the keyboardist and composer seated at his piano during a concert. He tells the audience, “I have a gratitude factor that I can’t even express about being allowed to have this kind of life.” And what a life it’s been. Over a career spanning six decades, Grusin touched virtually every corner of the entertainment world. He scored dozens of major films, including Tootsie, The Firm, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and On Golden Pond, earning eight Oscar nominations and winning one, for his score of The Milagro Beanfield War in 1988. He composed the themes to a slew of hit TV shows like St. Elsewhere, Maude, Good Times, and Baretta. As a recording artist he’s won 10 Grammys, and as…

3 min.
roots to hold close, wings to set free

Fabian Almazan left Cuba with his parents, fleeing an oppressive atmosphere, when he was only nine years old. Approximately 23 years later, a two-pronged purpose brought the celebrated pianist back. “Terence Blanchard was performing at a festival in Cuba,” the longtime Blanchard sideman explains. “But I was planning on going anyway because of a Jerome Foundation grant that I had received to record the endemic birds in Cuba, and then the resulting album, This Land Abounds with Life.” Featuring Almazan’s longstanding trio with bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Henry Cole, that release artfully integrates Cuba’s birds into its story. Field recordings that Almazan captured on the eastern edge of the island introduce “Songs of the Forgotten,” a composition referencing the personal and prevalent topic of displaced persons, but those…