Jazz

At the heart of any successful jazz enterprise is a spirit of resourcefulness. It's what leads an improviser to navigate a tricky passage, or a bandleader toward fresh ideas. And on the eastside of Portland, Ore. back in 2014, it's what led a few enterprising souls to create the Montavilla Jazz Festival — an event whose DIY mindset extends to the musicians on the bill.

This #NowPlaying discovery comes to us from this year's Tiny Desk Contest. You can see Freakquencee on the latest installment of the Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf livestreaming series with guest host Tobe Nwigwe.

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, it was virtually impossible to imagine attending a live concert in person, let alone a festival. One of the first American jazz festivals to make a comeback and bring a little rejoice to the world, is Exit Zero in Cape May.

Emma-Jean Thackray, 'Say Something'

Jul 28, 2021

Movementt/Warp Records / YouTube

Multi-instrumentalist and producer Emma-Jean Thackray has been an active member of the London nu-jazz scene for some time now, but her first f

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is coming out of the pandemic a changed man. The co-founder of The Roots and the music director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon did something he never thought he'd do — he bought a farm in upstate New York.

"The last year has really been a big lesson for me in terms of self-love," Questlove says. "I was world famous for being a machine. ... I thought chaos was the only way that I could exist. But now I embrace quiet, and I can hear myself think."

There's a moment on "Oceans of Time," from a 2016 album by The Cookers, when alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr. takes a solo full of swerving self-assurance. Swinging mightily behind him is the composer of the tune, master drummer Billy Hart.

Re-Revising 'The History Of Jazz'

Jul 15, 2021

For most contemporary music consumers, listening to jazz is a historical exercise. Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue is, at the time of writing, still No. 3 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart 61 years after it was released, much to the chagrin of the artists making music in the same tradition today.

Impulse! Records / YouTube

What does "Reclamation'' mean to Brandee Younger?

Edition Records / YouTube

Groove is foundational for Nate Smith, a brilliant drummer known for holding it down with everyone from Brittany Howard to Dave Holland to Van Hunt.

YouTube

Vibration is always critical for Melvin Gibbs, whose electric bass has motored everyone from Ronald Shannon Jackson to Rollins Band.

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