Before & After: Vijay Iyer

© Larry Appelbaum

At the 2007 Vancouver Jazz Festival, Vijay Iyer gave an afternoon workshop on his compositional approach and took a break before his evening concert to listen to some music and share his comments.



1. Thelonious Monk
“It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” (from Plays Duke Ellington, Riverside). Monk, piano; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums. Recorded in 1955, reissued 2007.

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Before & After: Gretchen Parlato

© Larry Appelbaum

Since capturing the 2004 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition, Gretchen Parlato has become a favorite of critics, fans and fellow musicians. She sings standards, but not from the dog-eared pages of the American Popular Songbook. With a musician’s sensibility, she carves out idiosyncratic arrangements of jazz instrumentals, Brazilian sambas, and 1980’s pop and r&b gems. She’s also starting to write more and her song stories are as distinctive as her phrasing. It seems everyone wants to work with Parlato these days, and she’s already appeared on more than 50 recordings, including projects with Lionel Loueke, Kenny Barron, Terence Blanchard, Becca Stevens and Esperanza Spalding. Parlato’s latest recording as a leader is The Lost and Found (Obliqsound).

1. Gregory Porter

“Illusion” (from Water, Motema). Porter, vocal; Chip Crawford, piano. Recorded in 2010. Continue reading

Before & After: Tuck & Patti

For this 2004 JazzTimes B&A, Tuck (Andress) and Patti (Cathcart) sat close to one another on the edge of the bed in their hotel room; Tuck cross-legged, Patti dangling her legs and occasionally touching the floor with her feet in rhythm to the music. In between selections, Patti told stories about nervously meeting Carmen McRae (“my heart)” for the first time, and how Mahalia Jackson “answered all my questions” with her music. We started with a classic to break the ice.

1. Sarah Vaughan
“Sophisticated Lady,” from After Hours (Roulette). Vaughan, vocal; Mundell Lowe, guitar; George Duvivier, bass. Recorded in 1961. Continue reading

Before & After: Toots Thielemans

Toots-ThielemansWhen I met Jean “Toots” Thielemans in early 2007 to record this piece for JazzTimes, he was not prepared to do any serious listening (he thought it would be an interview about his latest cd). He vacillated for a few minutes, finally agreed, and eventually warmed up to the idea and told some great stories. To prompt him, I wanted to get his reaction to various guitarists, a few harmonica players (including Stevie Wonder), and some Brazilian tracks.

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Before & After: Terri Lyne Carrington

Drummer, composer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington established her reputation as a pre-teen prodigy jamming with giants and receiving a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music at age 11. She has since collaborated on the road and in studios with Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry and many other luminaries, and she received mainstream attention on television as the house drummer on the Arsenio Hall Show and Vibe. In addition to her various projects and production credits, Carrington is Artistic Director of the Beantown Jazz Festival in Boston and professor at the Berklee College of Music. Her latest recording is The Mosaic Project on Concord Jazz. She joined us for this interview last year, just three days after Hank Jones passed.

1. The Great Jazz Trio

“Rhythm-A-Ning (from Autumn Leaves, 441). Hank Jones, piano; Richard Davis, bass; Elvin Jones, drums. Recorded in 2002. Continue reading