Congrats to the jazz Grammy nominees

The Grammy Awards are far from the legit standard bearer for good music (in the pop categories, at least, they’re driven in part by sales metrics). Still, it’s always great to see jazz artists get some recognition from an industry that, on the whole, largely ignores the genre.

So congrats to this year’s jazz nominees (including Chick Corea and Anat Cohen, whose discs are on my Top 10 list). Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing many of these artists — including Brad Mehldau and rising-star saxophonist Melissa Aldana, at last summer’s Montreal Jazz Fest.

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
For an instrumental jazz solo performance. Two equal performers on one recording may be eligible as one entry. If the soloist listed appears on a recording billed to another artist, the latter’s name is in parenthesis for identification. Singles or Tracks only.

  • ELSEWHERE
    Melissa Aldana, soloist

  • SOZINHO
    Randy Brecker, soloist
  • TOMORROW IS THE QUESTION
    Julian Lage, soloist
  • THE WINDUP
    Branford Marsalis, soloist
  • SIGHTSEEING
    Christian McBride, soloist

Best Jazz Vocal Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal jazz recordings.

  • THIRSTY GHOST
    Sara Gazarek
  • LOVE & LIBERATION
    Jazzmeia Horn
  • ALONE TOGETHER
    Catherine Russell
  • 12 LITTLE SPELLS
    Esperanza Spalding
  • SCREENPLAY
    The Tierney Sutton Band

Best Jazz Instrumental Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new instrumental jazz recordings.

  • IN THE KEY OF THE UNIVERSE
    Joey DeFrancesco
  • THE SECRET BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL
    Branford Marsalis Quartet
  • CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE’S NEW JAWN
    Christian McBride
  • FINDING GABRIEL
    Brad Mehldau

  • COME WHAT MAY
    Joshua Redman Quartet

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new ensemble jazz recordings.

  • TRIPLE HELIX
    Anat Cohen Tentet

  • DANCER IN NOWHERE
    Miho Hazama
  • HIDING OUT
    Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra
  • THE OMNI-AMERICAN BOOK CLUB
    Brian Lynch Big Band
  • ONE DAY WONDER
    Terraza Big Band

35. Best Latin Jazz Album
For vocal or instrumental albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded material. The intent of this category is to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinian tango music.

  • ANTIDOTE
    Chick Corea & The Spanish Heart Band

  • SORTE!: MUSIC BY JOHN FINBURY
    Thalma de Freitas With Vitor Gonçalves, John Patitucci, Chico Pinheiro, Rogerio Boccato & Duduka Da Fonseca
  • UNA NOCHE CON RUBÉN BLADES
    Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis & Rubén Blades
  • CARIB
    David Sánchez
  • SONERO: THE MUSIC OF ISMAEL RIVERA
    Miguel Zenón

(Full list of Grammy nominees)

Jazz News & Notes: Wayne Shorter & Joni Mitchell honored; International Guitar Competition; Christopher Hollyday; music or basketball?

Helping jazzers in need: Wayne Shorter, 86, and Joni Mitchell, 71, were honorees at the Jazz Foundation of America’s third annual benefit in L.A., presented by Quincy Jones on Sunday night Herb Alpert‘s Vibrato Bar and Grill. The event raised more than $165k to help needy musicians. Chaka KhanWendy & Lisa (of the old Prince & the Revolution), and actor Rita Wilson were among the featured performers. The band, led by drummer Steve Jordan, variously included bassists John Patitucci and Larry Klein (one of Joni’s ex-husbands), saxophonist Antoine Roney, guitarist Ray Parker Jr., percussionist Alex Acuna (Shorter’s former Weather Report bandmate), pianist Patrice Rushen, and New Orleans pianist-singer Davell Crawford. More here

wayne shorter

Six-string showdown: 12 young guitarists are competing to win the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz’s International Guitar Competition. Semifinals are Dec. 2 at the Smithsonian, with a judges panel including Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Stanley Jordan, and Russell Malone; three finalists will play the Kennedy Center on Dec. 3, in a concert with saxophonist Bobby Watson, singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and others. Winner gets $30k and a Concord Music recording contract. Guitar was last the focus of the event — formerly the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2005. Nate Chinen reports.

Remember teen sax prodigy Christopher Hollyday? He’s back, and releasing music after a long hiatus mostly focused on teaching and studying.

We talking music or basketball?  “An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Salt Lake City Tribune has a full-time jazz reporter. It in fact has two reporters who cover Utah Jazz, the local basketball team.” (reported by the Financial Times, and tweeted by Daniel Brogan: correction of the year?). Here’s a good place to note that few daily newspapers still employ full-time arts reporters — music or otherwise. Yet some of those papers will still have a zillion sports reporters available to cover every time a local NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL athlete farts. Boo.

 

College jazz bands — Reviews round-up by Ken Franckling (JazzTimes)

Encouraging to know that college jazz programs continue to document their achievements via full recordings. For JazzTimes mag, Ken Franckling recently reviewed releases by several university big bands. Check ’em out:

 

 

Jazz News & Notes: New Cafe Bohemia; Ronnie Scott’s 60th; RIP, Fred Taylor; “Baby, It’s PC Inside” …

Cafe Bohemia, the Reboot: The celebrated NYC jazz club (’55-’60), home to performances by Miles Davis, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, and Charles Mingus, among many others, is back. The new/old venue, downstairs at the Barrow Street Ale House in the West Village, will be home to jazz, blues and folk shows programmed by managing partner Christine Santelli, also a notable singer & songwriter. Venue eventually will offer live music six nights a week.

Ronnie Scott’s 60th: Van Morrison, Brit saxophonist Courtney Pine and other celebrated musicians gathered Wednesday at the Royal Albert Hall for a concert honoring the iconic London jazz venue.

RIP, Fred Taylor: The veteran Boston-area jazz promoter and producer died at age 90.  JazzTimes obit here.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”: The PC remake by John Legend & Kelly Clarkson is the yule tune that you didn’t know you didn’t want: Classic original > “woke” revision.

 

Gerry Gibbs & Thrasher People, “Our People” — my review for JazzTimes

“Five musicians, 40 instruments, 19 interrelated compositions, five consecutive days in a Queens home studio, 66 minutes of music: By the numbers alone, Gerry Gibbs’ latest batch of original tunes is quite a feat. The sprawling disc, something of a followup to the drummer/composer’s 2017 salute to Weather Report, has Gibbs and Alex Collins, the pianist/saxophonist from that disc, joined by bassist Gianluca Renzi, flutist Mayu Saeki, and vocalist/percussionist Kyeshie Gibbs.”

Full review   

Happy Jazzoween!

Best Halloween-themed jazz album cover of all time?

For 1958’s “Blues for Dracula” (Riverside), Philly Jo Jones’ debut album as a leader, the drummer led a sextet including tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, cornetist Nat Adderley, and trombonist Julian Priestley.

Joining Jones in the rhythm section were pianist Tommy Flanagan and bassist Jimmy Garrison.

Scott Yanow, in the All Music Guide: “Drummer Philly Joe Jones’ debut recording as a leader, made shortly after he left Miles Davis’ Quintet, starts out with his amusing but overly long monologue on “Blues for Dracula,” during which he does his best to imitate Bela Lugosi. The remainder of the set (which has been reissued on CD) is more conventional, with fine playing from cornetist Nat Adderley, trombonist Julian Priester, the great tenor Johnny Griffin, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and the drummer/leader. Dizzy Gillespie’s “Ow” and Cal Massey’s “Fiesta” are heard in lengthy versions on the worthwhile but not overly essential release.

Al Foster, “Inspirations & Dedications” — my review for JazzTimes

“Only 16 when he started playing trio gigs with the likes of Larry Willis and Eddie Gomez, drummer Al Foster has spent six decades as a not-so-secret special groove ingredient enlivening performances and sessions by a long list of heavy hitters. For Inspirations & Dedications, a rare outing as a leader, Foster deploys his working quintet on two pieces by mentors, and 11 originals honoring family members and a friend.”

Full review