Russian-American Jazz Summit

On Sept. 30, 2009, I met with Russian author, journalist and Managing Editor of Cyril Moshkow at the Library of Congress to discuss the history of jazz in Russia and the American influence on Russian jazz musicians.  The conversation was co-sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center and the Library’s Music Division.

Before & After: Ben Williams

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince winning the Thelonious Monk International Bass Competition, Ben Williams has recorded his 2011 debut as leader, the critically acclaimed  State of Art (Concord), formed his own group Sound Effect, and continued recording and working with top stars, like Pat Metheny’s Unity Band. The 29 year-old acoustic and electric bassist placed 2nd in the JazzTimes critic’s poll for best new artist, and he appears most recently on the newly released NEXT Collective CD. Though he’s been in New York since his Juilliard days, I managed to catch up with Williams the day after Christmas in his hometown of Washington D.C.

1. Wayne Shorter

“Orbits” (from  Without a Net, Blue Note). Shorter, soprano saxophone; Danilo Perez, piano; John Patitucci, bass; Brian Blade, drums. Recorded in 2011. Continue reading

Interview with John McLaughlin (conclusion)

15724535_1024525094360250_3426269789617131743_oHere’s the final part of this interview with John McLaughlin from June 2, 2012 at the Alfa Jazz Festival in Lviv, Ukraine. Pt. 1 of this interview can be found here.

You mention that you’ve had a number of musical gurus in your life:  Ravi Shankar, Monk, Coltrane… who else?

Miles. Oh yeah.

Can you say what you’ve learned from Miles?

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Interview with John McLaughlin Pt. 1

IMG_0002This interview took place June 2, 2012 at the Alfa Jazz Festival in Lviv, Ukraine. The festival had arranged a meeting room for us in the hotel and invited half a dozen photographers and other journalists to shoot and watch. Despite distractions and endless clicking of camera shutters, McLaughlin remained focused, thoughtful and open throughout.

When you listen to music, what you’re listening for? Continue reading