Neill Duncan is a jazz saxophone player who lost an arm in 2012. He now plays a saxophone designed for one-handed players by Maarten Visser. Two of Visser's designs for tenor and soprano saxophones won this year's One Handed Musical Instrument Trust instrument competition. But Duncan isn't the only player using one, Visser isn't the only one designing them, and saxophones aren't the only instruments adapted for one-handed players. [more inside]
Rufus Harley debut jazz recording in 1965 was unexpected, mostly because one featured instrument was bagpipes. In seven tracks: Bagpipe Blues, Kerry Dancers, Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me), More, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Sportin', Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.
Using just the saxophone, violin, and their voices--and with no looping--saxophonist Colin Stetson and violinist Sarah Neufeld create incredibly layered and engrossing aural landscapes on their 2015 album Never were the way she was. Their video for "The rest of us", directed by Dan Huiting, is cinematic in its own right, but it's the driving gallop of the music that will stick with you. [more inside]
NPR's Bob Boilen (host of All Songs Considered): "People ask me all the time to name my favorite Tiny Desk Concert. It's my desk and I've seen almost all of the nearly 400 concerts up close. So you'd think this would be easy. Moon Hooch have made it a lot easier." (video) [more inside]
Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (full album stream) is the second instalment in Matana Roberts's projected 12 part Coin Coin series of albums, "using the language of acoustic jazz to look at ideas of race, class and gender politics in American society". Coin Coin was the nickname of a totemic figure from African-American history, Marie Thérèse Metoyer – a freed slave who founded a community along the Cane River in Louisiana in the late 18th century where people of colour enjoyed greater freedoms and opportunities than they could in most other places in the South. [more inside]
The World According to John Coltrane is a one-hour documentary, featuring lots of music footage and interviews with prominent jazz musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Tommy Flanagan and many others. It's an excellent primer on the enormously influential saxophonist's life and music.
Eric Dolphy [auto-music] was a true original with his own distinctive styles on alto, flute, and bass clarinet. His music fell into the "avant-garde" category yet he did not discard chordal improvisation altogether (although the relationship of his notes to the chords was often pretty abstract). While most of the other "free jazz" players sounded very serious in their playing, Dolphy's solos often came across as ecstatic and exuberant. His improvisations utilized very wide intervals, a variety of nonmusical speechlike sounds, and its own logic. Although the alto was his main axe, Dolphy was the first flutist to move beyond bop (influencing James Newton) and he largely introduced the bass clarinet to jazz as a solo instrument. He was also one of the first (after Coleman Hawkins) to record unaccompanied horn solos, preceding Anthony Braxton by five years. - AllMusic (previously: 1, 2)
On Saturday, March 1, 1947, at the Hi-De-Ho nightclub in Los Angeles, in a booth near the bandstand, Dean Benedetti switched on a Wells-Gardner disc cutter - starting what would become the most legendary jazz recordings in history. (400 KB PDF) [more inside]
"Ornette in '59" - a BBC documentary segment about Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come. [more inside]
Lester Young (Aug. 27, 1909–March 15, 1959) is given not just a memorial, but extensive musicological criticism and contextual information in this ten-chapter series by jazz pianist and blogger Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus. Solo transcriptions and analyses, interviews with Lee Konitz, Tootie and Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, an essay on Young's influence on Miles Davis, a discographic primer and more. (Previously.) [more inside]
Frank Morgan died yesterday. He was 73. Interview. Some sounds. (another beautiful american saxophone stylist).
Here's a chance to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with the music of some of the great saxophonists who've made their mark in American improvised music. The following MySpace Music pages feature audio, video, photos and text aplenty, to get your jazz mojo working. In no particular order: Lester Young, Hank Mobley, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Don Byas, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler, Charlie Parker, Joe Henderson, Earl Bostic, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Johnny Hodges, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Stitt, Benny Carter, Sidney Bechet and David Murray.
Michael Brecker has passed away Arguably, one of the most influential saxophonists of all time, he has lost his fight against myelodysplastic syndrome. Truly a major loss for the jazz and rock worlds.
The Language of Saxophones At 55, L.A. musician and poet Kamau Daáood is finally beginning to acknowledge the possibility of his own place in local letters with his debut book of poetry, The Language of Saxophones, a 30-plus-year retrospective published by City Lights. Though he’s recorded a solo CD and read nationally and internationally, Daáood had never seen fit to collect his material in a book. Until now. “I never liked the idea of poetry sitting on a shelf somewhere, lost in all those book spines”.