Archive | Jazz

Miles Davis during a studio recording session, October 1959.

Bartók’s Surprising Influence on Jazz

There are some fascinating connections between jazz and the music of Béla Bartók. Both have a pristine, highly-ordered sense of structure. Both are built on complex rhythmic grooves which grow out of a folk tradition. Jazz pianist Dániel Szabó delves into this subject in a recent article where he writes, Whenever I hear the second movement of […]

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Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett is celebrating his 70th birthday with two new releases: the classical exploration <em>Barber/Bartók</em> and the live compilation <em>Creation</em>

Keith Jarrett: “Ol’ Man River”

Jazz is there and gone. It happens. You have to be present for it. That simple. -Keith Jarrett Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert were all masters of keyboard improvisation- the ability to use a well known melody as the basis for completely new, spontaneous music. Perhaps no one alive today continues that tradition more eloquently than […]

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Walter Becker of Steely Dan during Steely Dan in Concert at Roseland - 1995 at Roseland in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Patti Ouderkirk/WireImage)

Remembering Steely Dan’s Walter Becker

Walter Becker, the songwriter, guitarist, bassist, and record producer, passed away on Sunday. He was 67. Becker is best known as the co-founder of the band Steely Dan, active between 1972 and 1981 and again from 1993 on. He played guitar and bass and co-wrote songs along with the group’s lead singer and keyboardist, Donald Fagen. […]

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Remembering Allan Holdsworth

Allan Holdsworth, the legendary British-born jazz fusion guitarist, passed away earlier this month. He was 70. Holdsworths’ stunning virtuosity and harmonic innovations influenced rock guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen. He was called “the John Coltrane of the guitar.” In 1983, the New York Times’ Jon Pareles wrote: He pours out notes in a liquid rush without slurring […]

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Jason Vieaux

Jason Vieaux: “In a Sentimental Mood”

American guitarist Jason Vieaux is our guest soloist for this weekend’s Richmond Symphony concerts. His Grammy-winning 2014 album, Play, includes this beautifully atmospheric performance of Duke Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood: An interesting story surrounds the 1935 composition of this famous jazz standard. According to Ellington, We had played a big dance in a tobacco warehouse, and afterwards […]

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Jason Vieaux: “Images of Metheny”

Here is music which seems strangely appropriate for the unofficial end of summer. It’s an excerpt from classical guitarist Jason Vieaux’s 2005 album, Images of Metheny, which pays homage to the music of the Pat Metheny Group. Something interesting happens when Metheny’s glistening, electronic-based, Brazilian-tinged jazz fusion is transferred to the intimacy of the solo guitar. Letter from […]

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New York

Bill Evans: Some Other Time

To finish the week, let’s step into the jazzy, dreamlike serenity of Bill Evans’ Some Other Time. The melody is by Leonard Bernstein. It comes from the end of the second act of On the Town. The 1944 musical, which offers its own touch of dreamy surrealism, follows three American sailors on a 24-hour shore leave in wartime New […]

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Keith Jarrett and the Power of Two Chords

Two chords, set in a continuous loop between tension and resolution, provide the foundation for this powerful solo improvisation by pianist and composer Keith Jarrett. It was the final encore from a concert in Tokyo in 1984. Jarrett (b. 1945) is an American pianist and composer who moves freely between the worlds of jazz and […]

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neworleans

Marking the Tenth Anniversary of Katrina

As we mark the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, here are the soulfully defiant sounds of the New Orleans-based Treme Brass Band. This is music that proudly proclaims, “we’re still here!” It’s the same sense of spirit that emerges from the solemn jazz funeral procession that suddenly turns into an uplifting street celebration. I […]

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An art deco travel brochure from the 1920s.

Three Musical Portraits of Cuba

Cuba is home to one of the world’s richest musical melting pots…the vibrant convergence of west African and European (especially Spanish) musical traditions over 500 years of history. From rumba and son cubano to Afro-Cuban jazz and salsa, this Latin musical stew often features dizzying rhythmic complexity while retaining a suave sense of “cool.” Clave rhythm, […]

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The Listeners' Club

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