Prince plays the blues – Chocolate Drops, Wynton, Clapton, too

The blues is big-time pop again -- processed to a triumphant apotheosis by Prince at Madison Square Garden as I detail in my new City Arts column -- (but did it ever go away? Here's the Artist with James Brown and Michael Jackson in 1983)   -- reinvigorated in acoustic revivalist and hybrid form by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who kick off a three-month US tour at Lincoln Center's American Songbook Series on Wednesday, Feb 2 --    … [Read more...]

Live jazz broadcasts — back to future formats

Hail for putting 14 Carefusion Newport Jazz Fest sets on the 'net, and Wynton Marsalis for live-streaming from France's Marciac Jazz Festival video of his Modern New Orleans concert. Back-to-the-future, as broadcasts allow music fans geographically anywhere (and now any time) to get in on the action. … [Read more...]

More on Tuli Kupferberg & Harvey Pekar

Tuli Kupferberg, the wispy hipster comic social critic of ol' boho downtown NYC who died at age 86 on Monday, will be buried with a public service Saturday 7/17 at St. Mark's Church in the East Village. According to his family, "There will be no religious element . . Fugs Coby Batty, Steve Taylor and Ed Sanders will be the main speakers, after which anyone who cants can talk, sing, recite poetry, or whatever they like." This seems eminently sensible for a man who preached a kind of wised-up utopian socialism in goofy "parasongs" with his band … [Read more...]

The blues in NYC

My column in City Arts - New York's Review of Culture, focuses on America's deep, dark musical strain as it is today in a blues-challenged city. It doesn't mention that Wynton Marsalis is the world's greatest blues trumpeter, as he proved last night playing "bread and butter" from the Count Basie songbook with the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra, a show repeated tonight (2/12) and Saturday. … [Read more...]

Wynton & Orch play NEA Jazz Masters, on radio tonight!

Just announced: WBGO, NPR and Sirius/XM are broadcasting live and streaming on the web tonight's NEA Jazz Masters ceremony and concert with W. Marsalis and the LIncoln Center Jazz Orchestra performing works by Muhal Richard Abrams, Bill Holman, Bobby Hutcherson et al. Pianist Cedar Walter will perform with singer Annie Ross, Kenny Barron will play solo piano and the great Yusef Lateef will duet with percussionist Adam Rudolph. Rocco Landesman, NEA chairman, co-hosts the proceedings. Tune in at 7:30 pm EST. Subscribe by Email … [Read more...]

Wynton le Chevalier Marsalis

A survey in my latest City Arts column of the music of trumpeter-composer Wynton Marsalis, in the jazz spotlight for 25 years. Founder and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, educator, activist, humanitarian, winner of a Pulitzer and multiple Grammies, Wynton stands tallest in my book when he just plays jazz. … [Read more...]

Winners and their blues

Winners of this blog's first Blues Lyric Contest are suitably troubled -- and all get Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson Play the Music of Ray Charles DVDS to ease their weary minds. All have expressed regrets they can't get to  Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts of Wynton and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra celebrating for Mary Lou Williams' centennial or  alto saxist Maceo Parker, so sadly those tix go wanting. But that's the blues for ya. . .  … [Read more...]

Midnight (EST) deadline, blues contest entries

Prizes of Jazz at Lincoln Center tix for this weekend and dvds of Wynton Marsalis with Willie Nelson for the best blues lyrics or prose poem will be determined at 12:01 tonight (11/11/09). Several stunning (!?!) efforts have been received -- via the comments box below -- but I'm not publishing any of them until all the tries are in and the winners have been chosen. Is it hard to write a blues lyric? See my examples from yesterday, or search the web for classics, which are plentiful. Three to five choruses fitting a standard 12-bar blues form, … [Read more...]

Blues lyrics: write to win

For tickets to Jazz at Lincoln Center this weekend or a dvd of Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson performing live, try writing a blues. How hard can it be?"Minutes seem like hours, hours seem like days,Seems my baby would stop her lowdown ways" -- Muddy Waters, "Country Blues" "Woke up this morning, looked 'round for my shoesYou know I had those mean old walkin' blues" -- Robert Johnson, "Walkin' Blues" . "Whoa, oh tell me babyWhere did ya stay last night? An' why don't ya hear me cryin'?Whoo hoo, whoo whoo, Whoo who. . . " -- Howlin' Wolf, … [Read more...]

Reasons to be cheerful: Wynton books Ornette

Wynton Marsalis has high regard for the music of Ornette Coleman -- as demonstrated by Jazz at Lincoln Center's just-released 2009-2010 concert schedule, which begins next September 26 with a single performance by Coleman's quartet featuring two bassists and his son Denardo on drums. This booking might seem like a point of departure for JALC, which has a reputation for being tradition- rather than innovation-minded, but it really isn't. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed its members' original arrangements of Pulitzer Prize-winning … [Read more...]

Classic Monk, classical Jazz at Lincoln Center

The jazziest scene at the second night of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Monk Festival was in the fifth floor atrium, during intermission of simultaneous concerts by pianist Danilo Perez's trio (reprising his cd Panamonk, in the Allen Room) and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performing members' arrangements of Monk's music in big band settings led by Wynton Marsalis, with featured pianist Marcus Roberts (in more formal Rose Hall). Between sets all-age, all-hipster-style attendees mingled in the buzzy, high ceilinged room. Especially fashionable … [Read more...]