Before & After: Jimmy Heath

A bit of my Before & After interview with Jimmy Heath at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Rockville, MD Feb. 18, 2011. Jimmy talks about Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, Johnny Griffin, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, the importance of interpreting the lyric and the “three ears” through which we listen to music. Complete article appears in the May 2011 issue of JazzTimes.

Before & After: Janis Siegel

janisEverybody knows Janis Siegel from her three decades singing with The Manhattan Transfer, but her own taste and musical personality are best reflected by her various solo recordings. Siegel’s recent studio efforts have dealt with standards, Broadway show tunes and the grits ‘n gravy world of the Hammond B-3. Her new CD, A Thousand Beautiful Things (Telarc), features some of her favorite contemporary songs by Bj√∂rk, Nellie McKay, Annie Lennox, Sam Philips, Raul Midon and others, recast in Latin arrangements by pianist Edsel Gomez.

In person, Siegel is both thoughtful and quick, and very much in the moment. She recognized many of the artists immediately, poring over the CD notes to examine and comment on song choice. She also expressed genuine interest in the new names, writing some of them down for later downloading. At one point she flipped the script and began playing me songs from her iPod, asking me to identify them. Continue reading