Before & After: Lisa Fischer

DSCN8779Lisa Fischer

By Larry Appelbaum

Lisa Fischer has long been considered a singer’s singer. She won her first Grammy in 1991 for her hit “How Can I Ease the Pain,” but in years since, she’s become a go-to, first-call backing vocalist, sharing the stage with many of the biggest names in business, including The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Sting and more than two decades with the late Luther Vandross. The 2013 Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom reminded audiences of her prodigious vocal skills and helped revitalize her career as a solo artist. We caught up with Ms. Fischer on the last day of her sold-out weekend at Blues Alley. Her perceptive comments were offered with insider’s insights punctuated by joyous laughter.

Gregory Porter & Common

“Running” (from Refugee Song, LLC). Curated and Produced by Keyon Harrold and Andrea Pizzicone; Lyrics by Andrea Pizzicone, Keyon Harrold, Common; Music by Keyon Harrold and Jasson Harrold. Recorded in 2016.

Before: I feel transported, like I’m traveling through space. I might get the feeling of being lost but there’s something about this voice makes me feel safe. Continue reading

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Before & After: Dianne Reeves

By Larry Appelbaum

 2015 was a banner year for Dianne Reeves, winning a Grammy for Beautiful Life and receiving her honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School. She spent a good part of the past 12 months working on her follow-up Concord disc and touring both stateside and abroad. We met for this session during her summer stop at the Alfa Jazz Festival in Lviv. Eager to hear her thoughts on a handful of recent releases, we also served up collaborations between Mahalia Jackson and Duke Ellington, her cousin George Duke with Kamasi Washington, Portland-based singer Nancy King with bassist Glen Moore, and an oddly awkward Carmen McRae curiosity with Ben Webster from 1958.

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Interview with Maria Schneider

On April 12, 2016, I interviewed composer, arranger and bandleader Maria Schneider during her weeklong residency at the Library of Congress. We discussed her creative process, how she met and began working with Gil Evans, artists rights in the digital marketplace, crowdfunding and commissions, her setting of poems by Ted Kooser and her collaboration with David Bowie.

Interview with Jacob Collier

On Oct. 2, 2016, in the midst of his first American tour, British singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Jacob Collier stopped up to WPFW-FM for a bit of a chat on my radio program. We discussed a number of issues including his relationships with Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones, his wildly popular YouTube videos,  artist rights in the digital world and how he created his recently released debut recording “In My Room” entirely in his room at home.