Things are happening in the jazz underground in Berlin. One of the labels to look out for is Shoebill Music. The label was founded in 2006 by Johannes Haage, Philipp Gropper, Christian Lillinger, Roland Schulz, and Sebastian Sternberg, but today it is run solely by Johannes Haage. In recent years, the label has taken a turn and is now focusing on releasing high quality vinyl albums that come with download codes. It is the plan to offer digital distribution as well in the future, but right now focus is on the physical product. One of the most ...read more
There is something about places. A particular place can create a special mood. When it comes to music, a place can create a unique frame that adds inspiration and ambience. Just think of the music recorded at the Village Vanguard. The name itself is enough to send shivers down the spine. However, unique musical places do not have to be connected with legendary venues. Sometimes, a surprising setting can have an equally enchanting effect and this is the case with the albums from Argentinian pianist Paula Shocron and Norwegian guitarist Bjørn Vidar Solli. Paula ...read more
The story of the Grateful Dead may be the most fascinating in the history of rock and roll, the chapter dealing with the archiving of their live recordings perhaps the most absorbing of all, if only because it continues to be written with the ongoing release of various projects from various stages of the iconic band's career. Under the tutelage of current archive chief David Lemieux, his quarterly series of concert pieces unearths stellar performances that illustrate the changes the Dead underwent in their three decades of existence. Lemieux and his team of researchers also devote themselves to the focused ...read more
The '80s were very good to singer David Bowie, and maybe too good for his own good. After producing Let's Dance(EMI, 1983), his best selling one, which was followed by a very successful world tour, he went on to reproduce his successes in a very grand and hefty way, mostly by reproducing the same pop formula endlessly. That resulted in a string of below average pop records that only served to increase his popularity and income rather than breaking new music ground for others to follow like he always did. By the end of the '80s, the taken course of ...read more
Horace Tapscott began his musical career as a trombonist, and during the early part of the 1950s played in the Gerald Wilson big band. It wasn't until his US Army tour of duty in the late 1950s that he studied piano. He subsequently gave up the trombone due to an automobile accident while on tour with Lionel Hampton and settled in 1961 in Los Angeles to concentrate on piano. Tapscott came to an obscure form of prominence in that period as a rebellious pianist during a time when New York was quickly becoming recognized as the center of the avant-garde ...read more
The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards program has been shining a light on some of the best and brightest South African up-and-comers in music, drama, dance, film, and other art forms since 1984. Almost from the start, and for the two decades that followed, music was simply represented with one umbrella category when these awards were given out, but jazz finally earned its own place at the table in 2006. Since that time, rising stars like drummer Kesivan Naidoo, pianist Bokani Dyer, and bassist Shane Cooper have all been rightly recognized with this honor. Pianist Kyle Shepherd joined ...read more
Drummer Mark Guiliana's work has nothing to do with benzedrine, berets, William S. Burroughs and the like; he's a beat poet of a different sort, shrewdly dissecting and interpreting the language of rhythm in real-time. Guiliana is one of the few drummers who can successfully and creatively straddle and blur the electro-acoustic dividing line, and he's been a key ingredient in the musical recipes concocted by artists as different as bassist Avishai Cohen, vocalist Gretchen Parlato, singer/rapper Matisyahu, and pianist/keyboardist Jason Lindner. Thus far, Guiliana has largely been viewed as a valuable sideman, but things are rapidly ...read more
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