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!

Random Bits

Mike Stern has signed with ESC Records. That seems to be a perfect home for the guitarist as the label features some of the best musicians making modern jazz today. Stern’s label debut should hit later in 2003 . . . A sequel to Verve//Remixed is under development . . . Concord Records will be issuing 30 titles in the SACD (Super Audio CD) format in 2003. The premiere release is a two-disc Chick Corea live recording. Since it’s got John Patitucci and Dave Weckl on it, I’m hoping for some selections from the Elektric Band reunion from late last year. Hopefully the famous people talking about Chick from Rendezvous segment on Chick’s site will be included.

Miles and McFerrin on TV Tonight

The Miles Davis StoryA guest on the discussion board informed us that the Miles Davis Story will be on the Bravo cable channel tonight. The DVD, which covers all aspects of Miles’ career, came out a couple of months ago, but here’s your chance to see it for free (if you have the channel). Bravo is also airing a profile on Bobby McFerrin tonight. You can view the channel’s schedule at their web site.