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JazzTimes July/August 2020

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10 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

Exclusive Content Colin Fleming reviews a new collection of classic photographs by Blue Note Records co-founder Francis Wolff; Lee Mergner interviews Kurt Elling’s longtime bassist and leader of the Ba(SH) Trio, Clark Sommers; and Michael J. West chooses essential John Lewis recordings in our latest JazzTimes 10. Plus album reviews and much more. JT Blog The Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) has announced the winners of its 25th annual JJA Jazz Awards—and we’re both honored and thankful to report that JazzTimes is among them, taking the award for Publication of the Year. But honestly, we’re just as gratified to see Carla Bley receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and Terri Lyne Carrington win Musician of the Year. Audio & Video Exclusive premieres of videos by JD Walter with Taylor Eigsti and Oran Etkin with Danilo Caymmi, plus…

3 min.
who cares? musicians do

Michael J. West’s feature story in this issue on the COVID-19 lockdown is the first major piece we’ve published about a pandemic-related subject, but I can promise you (sadly) that it won’t be the last. If we didn’t already know it in March, we sure know it now: We’re in this thing for the long haul, and it’s going to affect just about every aspect of our lives for quite some time to come. One thing that I do feel cautiously positive about is the way the jazz community has responded so far to the crisis. And I don’t just mean the outpouring of online events and benefit initiatives (some of which you can read about in Michael’s article), though those are all wonderful. I’m also thinking in terms of sheer…

7 min.
swallow in flight

John Scofield’s latest album Swallow Tales, his first as a sole leader for ECM, features nine compositions by his longtime mentor and friend Steve Swallow—who also plays bass on the album. The two have a connection that goes back decades, forged through countless live performances. Owing to its stripped-down trio instrumentation with little or no overdubs (drummer Bill Stewart completes the lineup), the album has a timeless quality, almost as if it could have been recorded in the ’70s, when so many of its songs were written. But that would discount the effect of their years of shared music-making. The story of Scofield’s affinity for Swallow and his songbook starts with Gary Burton. The guitarist was attending Berklee in 1971, when Burton came to teach there. Sharing an apartment with a…

4 min.
all notes work

Francesco Diodati is not your typical guitar-slinger. That much was clear when the Italian plectrist joined trumpeter Enrico Rava’s high-profile quartet and appeared on Rava’s 2015 ECM album WildDance. Rava has rarely played with a guitarist, but these days at his concerts, people wait for Diodati’s outrageous drop-dead solos. Although Rava put him on the radar, Diodati also pursues a wide variety of adventurous projects, including his own band Yellow Squeeds and the collectives MAT, Floors, and Oliphantre (with French vocal acrobat Leïla Martial). In every setting he is notably unselfish. Sometimes you wish he would solo more. But Diodati’s overarching priority is the ensemble whole, into which he integrates his many vivid guitar voices. Evidence of his growing reputation was his residency at the 2020 edition of Umbria Jazz Winter in…

4 min.
taking the write way

Syncopation. From slave-era “banjo and bones” accompaniment to ragtime through postbop and bossa nova, it’s always been the beating heart of the jazz idiom. And it’s a fundamental principle that helps one begin to decode the singular musical language of cliché-defying guitar antihero Wayne Krantz. His work with Steely Dan, Michael Brecker, Leni Stern, Michael Formanek, Carla Bley, and others gives us glimpses into an idiosyncratic musical mind that finds its full expression on solo albums like 1993’s Long to Be Loose, 1995’s live set 2 Drink Minimum, the thunderous Krantz Carlock Lefebvre from 2009, and 2014’s prismatic jazz-rock EP Good Piranha/Bad Piranha. On his latest album as a leader and composer, Write Out Your Head—which reflects the spirit of downtown jazz avatars like the great Henry Threadgill—Krantz indeed writes out…

5 min.
parallel lines, far from straight

Given the eerie similarities between avant-gardists Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan, what might be most surprising about them was what they didn’t share. Grimes, a bassist (who died April 15 of complications from COVID-19) and Logan, a multi-reedist (who died April 17, also of COVID), were both born in 1935—less than six months apart—in Philadelphia; both received formal musical training; both became significant figures in the mid-’60s “New Thing” and recorded for the ESP-Disk’ label; both then vanished from the public eye for decades, only to resurface in the 2000s and be welcomed back into the jazz community. And, in a final twist that might make Dickens blush, they both passed away in the same week, in the same city, of the same disease. These uncanny coincidences—“their stories now feel cosmically linked,” as…