Guess the artist from the lyrics 1

Occasionally, I’ll post a stanza or two from a contemporary jazz vocalist’s song and you reply with who it is!

Here’s a fun one:

And when God gave out rhythm
He sure was good to you
You can add, subtract multiply
And divide by two
I know today’s your birthday
And I did not buy no rose
But I wrote this song instead and I call it…

Contemporary jazz 25 years ago – May 11, 1991

Looking back at the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart from May 11, 1991, you see some of the first recordings from the post-MCA acquisition of GRP Records. Greenhouse by Yellowjackets, Love and Understanding by George Howard, and Healing the Wounds by the Crusaders were all in the top ten.

album cover to the 1991 recording Greenhouse by the Yellowjackets

Greenhouse was the first recording featuring new saxophonist Bob Mintzer. The music continued the trajectory away from pop-jazz that had most evident in their previous recording The Spin. Mintzer is still with the quartet as is founding member Russell Ferrante and, several years away from the band, William Kennedy.

Healing the Wounds was a complete surprise when it came in to the radio station where I was volunteering. No advance notice or hype. You could pull that off in 1991. Produced by Marcus Miller, Healing the Wounds featured band founders Joe Sample and Wilton Felder in great form. I still love the opening track “Pessimisticism.” Continue reading “Contemporary jazz 25 years ago – May 11, 1991”

ABC to air International Jazz Day concert!

The 2016 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert will be broadcast on ABC on April 30 at 7 p.m. CST followed by an on-demand webcast at 8 p.m.. The concert will feature a cast of internationally renowned jazz artists including Joey Alexander, John Beasley (Music Director), Kris Bowers, Chick Corea, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez , Chucho Valdés, Terence Blanchard, Till Brönner, Hugh Masekela, James Morrison, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jamie Cullum, Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Sting , Eli Degibri, David Sánchez, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Watson, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, Ben Williams, Buddy Guy, Lionel Loueke, Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour, Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kendrick Scott, Zakir Hussain, Trombone Shorty, and the Rebirth Brass Band. This year’s concert will be hosted by President Obama and Michelle Obama at the White House.

New music glance

album cover of Evolution from Dr. Lonnie Smith

Here’s some music that just came out that I was able to sample and enjoy:

Man Made Object – Go Go Penguin
Manchester based trio plays a mash-up of minimalist piano themes, deeply propulsive bass lines and electronica-inspired drums.

Evolution – Dr. Lonnie Smith
The Hammond B-3 organist returns to Blue Note with his tight band and guests Robert Glasper and Joe Lovano. Put on the first track, “Play It Back,” to kick-start your day!

Also out:
More Serious Business – Jazz Funk Soul (Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp, Jeff Lorber)

 

Twenty years of contemporary jazz!

original logo for ContemporaryJazz.com, from 1996

Twenty years ago this month, I launched this site.

Where does the time go? When I started out in 1996, I was 25 years old. Being a fan of contemporary jazz was a core part of my identity. I seemed to have all the time in the world. I loved working on the site as much as possible. My wife and the site were my top passions. Since then, a lot has happened with me and contemporary jazz. I found a deeper passion – being a father. I could not be more blessed with my two wonderful children. Contemporary jazz was overshadowed by smooth jazz. And then vocals became the thing – the worst music I remember is when instrumentalists tried to be singers. Illegal downloading cut into record company profits and genres were cut. Jazz, with a couple of rare exceptions, was solely delegated to independent labels. The smooth jazz radio format disappeared. Touring seems to have been eliminated.

At least, that’s what I’ve observed.

Today, it’s easier than ever to find the music you want to hear through an abundance of online radio and services. AccuJazz has nearly every type of jazz you can imagine. For ten dollars a month you can listen to almost any recording with Google Play Music or Apple Music. Getting the word out is the hard part. Without a centralized hub, you can’t spread the word to the masses. So artists are on their own a lot to get the word out. I think most of them want to make music and not spend time with the business and marketing aspect of it. You can communicate with your existing audience with social media but how do you build a new audience? It’s the best of times and the worst of times for some. Record labels were sometimes seen as a pain if they insisted on a certain type of record or a set number of vocals. But they had a resource or resources to get the music to people who could write about it or play it. Now there is freedom from record companies since you can pretty easily sell your music online but the outreach is gone.

This is speculation on my part. I’m a communicator, not a musician. Your thoughts are welcome.

I have plans for ContemporaryJazz.com. It’s been an important part of my life and I’ll never let it go. So stay tuned as I am determined to have 40th and 60th anniversaries too!

First logo for the site, made in late 1995 with Paint Shop Pro:

original logo for ContemporaryJazz.com, from 1996