Before & After: Taylor Eigsti

This B&A originally appeared in JazzTimes in 2008. This is the first time it has appeared in its entirety.

1. Erroll Garner
“When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” (from Long Ago and Far Away, Columbia). Garner, piano; John Simmons, bass; Shadow Wilson, drums. Recorded in 1950)

Before: Erroll Garner? He’s got one of the most distinctive, original styles. There’s a cohesiveness between what he’s doing rhythmically with his left hand and what’s going on with the rest of the band. I’ve always loved where he places the beat; it’s got that forward motion to it. He swings his ass off! This makes me want to go through a big Erroll Garner phase. The arrangement is so tight, it sounds so effortless. I don’t know the tune but it’s something in B-flat minor. Continue reading

Before & After: Slide Hampton

This B&A originally appeared in JazzTimes in 2003.

Slide Hampton’s abilities and  accomplishments as a trombonist, composer, arranger and bandleader make him one of the most respected active musicians in jazz.  Born into a musical family in Jeanette, Pennsylvania, Locksley Wellington (Slide) Hampton grew up in Indianapolis where he began playing trumpet before switching to the trombone. After playing in a family band, he cut his teeth in the 1950s with Buddy Johnson, Lionel Hampton and Maynard Ferguson before forming his own octet with Freddie Hubbard, Booker Little, Julian Priester and George Coleman. The 1960s found Hampton with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, Art Blakey, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis, Woody Herman, and serving as musical director for R&B singer Lloyd Price. In 1968, Hampton moved to Europe where he found musical challenges and steady work for nearly 10 years before returning to the U.S. in 1977. Since then, he’s worked with Continuum (dedicated to the compositions of Tadd Dameron), and led The Collective Black Artists Orchestra, The Manhattan Plaza Composer’s Orchestra, and The Jazz Masters. His still active brass group, The World of Trombones, has just released Spirit of the Horn, with special guest Bill Watrous, recorded during a 2002 live performance at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh.   Continue reading

Before & After: Ray Barretto

Ray Barretto suggested we do the interview for this piece following his Kennedy Center gig back in 2004. We sat in his hotel room at the Watergate and stayed up until the early morning hours listening to music and sharing stories. When we finished and he was walking me to the door, I asked if there was anything he would have wanted me to play for him. He said yes, Duke Ellington.  Ray Barretto passed away 16 months later at the age of 76.

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1. James Moody
“Tin Tin Deo,” from Chano Pozo: El Tambor de Cuba (Tumbao). James Moody, tenor sax; Ernie Henry, alto sax; Dave Burns, Elamn Wight, trumpet; Cecil Payne, baritone sax; James Forman, piano; Nelson Boyd, bass; Art Blakey, drums; Chano Pozo, conga, vocal. Recorded in 1948. Continue reading

Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2011

Søren Kjærgaard, Andrew Cyrille, Lotte Anker

Copenhagen Jazz Festival

July 1-10, 2011

There’s a good reason why a quarter of a million people attend the Copenhagen Jazz Festival every year. Or maybe I should say there are 1,000 reasons, since that’s how many concerts are presented in 100 different venues across the city over a 10-day period. It’s a sprawling event encompassing nearly every style of jazz, focusing on Danish and other European jazz artists, along with a smattering of American headliners, African and Latin stars, and a few pop crossover acts. Continue reading

Before & After: Poncho Sanchez

1. James Moody with Chano Pozo
“Tin Tin Deo,” from Chano Pozo: El Tambor de Cuba (Tumbao). Moody, Ernie Henry, Cecil Payne, saxophones; Dave Burns, Elmon Wright, trumpets, James Forman, piano, Nelson Boyd, bass; Art Blakey, drums; Chano Pozo, conga, vocals, composer. Recorded in 1948.

Before: I know who this is. I love it. [sings along] I get chills listening to this. Chano Pozo with James Moody. This is where I come from, you know? This is when they were first mixing jazz and latin. I’m sure it’s a fine trap drummer behind him but it sounds like they‘re building a house back there [laughs]. Yeah, the house is going up. That’s a great band. Continue reading