Big Tuesday – March 25

Charlie Hunter Quintet - Right Now MoveIt’s a good day for modern jazz releases on Tuesday.
The latest from the man with the eight-string guitar, Charlie Hunter, will be out. Right Now Move was recorded in a three-day period and I’m looking forward to hearing what the track “Whoop-Ass” is all about.
Wayne Shorter hasn’t had a studio album in about nine years and hasn’t recorded an all-acoustic studio album since 1967! Alegria marks Mr. Shorter’s return to an acoustic environment, with the same stellar musicians that made last year’s Footprints Live! a success. Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, and Brian Blade play on most of the tracks.
Stanley Clarke’s 1, 2 To the Bass has been pushed back to April 15. It was originally due on March 25 as well.
Also on March 25, a man who would later publish two web sites about his love of jazz was born.

Modern Jazz, XM, and Soul Train Thoughts

The Bad PlusI heard a cut from Dave Douglas’ new CD on XM72 on the drive home today. It was an adventurous trumpet/electronica fusion piece – exactly what I’m interested in. I thought “this is jazz today – why isn’t anyone recognizing it?”. I got home and did a search for another band I was introduced to on XM72 this morning – The Bad Plus. My first result answered my question. Newsweek has an article discussing jazz artists, specifically pianists, whose music is demanding to be heard. Go read this inspiring article and listen to the sound clips from The Bad Plus, Brad Mehldau, Matthew Shipp, and Jason Moran. Thanks to the author of the article, Seth Mnookin, for helping relieve my jazz frustration . . . Russ Davis, the man behind Beyond Jazz, XM Satellite Radio channel 72, has a weekly weekend tradition. Every Saturday, he has “Words & Music,” hourly interview segments throughout the day. This week is “The Masters of Modern Jazz Guitar” and he’s got a monster list of musicians lined up. Davis talks to Al Di Meola, Charlie Hunter, George Benson, John Scofield, Larry Coryell, Pat Metheny, Ronny Jordan, Steve Khan, and more . . . Why doesn’t the Soul Train honor jazz? Their annual Music Awards ceremony was Saturday but no jazz artists or categories were presented. Didn’t they used to have a jazz award? I thought I remember Diana Krall winning in a few years ago.

Crusaders, Clarke, and Merger Possibilities

The CrusadersStix Hooper, Wilton Felder, and Joe Sample haven’t recorded together as The Crusaders in 20 years, but that changes on Tuesday when Rural Renewal hits stores. Eric Clapton guests on two of the eleven tracks, and the old Crusaders sound should be in full force with Steve Baxter on trombone. The band will tour this spring and summer, appearing on the same bill as David Sanborn in some locations. Sanborn will be touring in support of his own new recording, due in May. . . Stanley Clarke has a new studio release coming out on March 25. 1, 2 To the Bass will traverse fusion, pop, funk, and world music. A diverse list of people will be making appearances on the CD, including Oprah Winfrey, George Duke, Hubert Laws, and Q-Tip. . . Have you been read about EMI talking to AOL Time Warner about buying a majority stake in Warner Music? It could be worth $3 – 4 billion. But what does that mean to jazz? It could mean the consolidation of jazz labels. Blue Note could incoporate the WB roster, which includes Pat Metheny, Kenny Garrett, and Christian McBride among others. Norah Jones and Pat Metheny recording for the same company? It could happen…

Jazz Grammy Winners

History holds true as the Pat Metheny Group won the Best Contemporary Jazz award at the Grammy Awards on February 23. Metheny beat out excellent releases by John Scofield, Joe Zawinul, Yellowjackets, and Larry Carlton. Metheny didn’t win every award he was nominated for tonight, though. B.B. King took home the Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “Auld Lang Syne” against Metheny, Dave and Jeff Koz, Moby, and Kirk Whalum.

The Caribbean Jazz Project won the Best Latin Album. The Dave Holland Big Band won for Large Jazz Ensemble Album. Herbie Hancock picked up a couple of Grammys. He won Jazz Instrumental Solo for “My Ship” from the Directions In Music CD. He also got the award with Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove for that release in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group category. Diana Krall bested the other women (no men nominated in this category?!) for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Dave Grusin won Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist for “Mean Old Man” from James Taylor’s October Road. And the magic holds true when Take 6 and Stevie Wonder get together. The guys won R&B Performance by a Duo or Group for “Love’s in Need of Love Today” from the America – A Tribute To Heroes release.

At the Newsstand

It’s a good time to visit your local bookstore! The March issue of JazzTimes covers what this site is all about – “Jazztronica: A Brief History of the Future of Jazz”. The article features commentary from Matthew Shipp, Brad Mehldau, and Dave Douglas, among others. This issue also reviews Stefon Harris’ 11-movement suite, Grand Unification Theory. This is the third consecutive issue of this magazine I’ve bought (Wayne Shorter and Jane Monheit cover stories drew me in the last two months). Maybe it’s time I got a subscription.

Elsewhere on the newsstand: Down Beat has a cover story of Soulive, whose live album is due in April. The current issue also covers the John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and Al Foster collaboration ScoLoHoFo as well as Larry Goldings. Jazziz currently has Mike and Leni Stern on the cover, celebrating love in jazz. I don’t know what else in the magazine since it’s bagged with a CD at the bookstores I frequent. With the Internet, are sampler CDs worth the extra money? Add your comments!