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Arturo Sandoval Wins Best Latin Jazz Album Grammy

Chick Corea takes Best Instrumental award

By Jeff Tamarkin

Trumpeter/composer Arturo Sandoval took home the big prize for Best Latin Jazz Album last night in Las Vegas at the 23rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards presentation. Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You) (Concord Jazz) is Sandoval’s tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, with whom Sandoval was touring when he defected from his native Cuba in 1990. The album received a positive review in JazzTimes last summer.

Dear Diz also won in the category of Best Engineered Album.

The other albums that were nominated in the Best Latin Jazz Album category were Live In Chicago by Chuchito Valdes (Music Roots), Poncho Sanche and Terence Blanchard = Chano Y Dizzy! by Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard (Concord Picante), Tempo by Tania Maria (Naïve) and the self-titled Jerry González y El Comando De La Clave (Sunnyside).

Chick Corea won the Latin Grammy in the category of Best Instrumental Album for his Further Explorations with Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian (Concord Jazz). The other contenders in that category were Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook by Miguel Zenón (Marsalis Music), Brasilianos 3 by Hamilton De Holanda Quinteto (Adventure Music), Rasgando Seda by Guinga + Quinteto Villa-Lobos (SESC SP) and Día Y Medio by Paquito D’Rivera and Berta Rojas (On Music).
The overall Record of the Year award went to ¡Corre! by Jesse & Joy.

Arturo Sandoval–Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You):  another loving tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, mentor to so many musicians and supporter of Afro-Cuban jazz.

Esperanza Spalding To Host Benefit Concert for Free the Slaves
Gretchen Parlato, Bobby McFerrin will join the bassist/vocalist

By Jeff Tamarkin

Esperanza Spalding, the bassist and vocalist, will host and perform at a benefit concert for Free the Slaves, a human rights organization dedicated to eradicating slavery and human trafficking worldwide. The show takes place at City Winery in New York City on Dec. 4 at 8:00 p.m. Spalding will be joined by vocalists Bobby McFerrin and Gretchen Parlato and various special guests to be announced. She will perform with two groups for the show: a jazz quartet and the Chamber Music Society band.

One hundred percent of all ticket sales, live auction items and merchandise will go to Free the Slaves.

Free the Slaves is described in a press release as "an international human rights non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating slavery and human trafficking worldwide." For more information, visit Free the Slaves.


 Dave Weckl Using Crowdfunding to Finance New Recording with Jay Oliver

Drummer Dave Weckl is teaming up again with his old friend, keyboardist and fellow St. Louis expat Jay Oliver, and using “crowd funding" to raise money for their new project.

Friends since high school, Oliver and Weckl worked together on Weckl's early solo albums Master Plan, Heads Up, and Hard Wired and the Dave Weckl Band albums Rhythm of the Soul and Synergy, but it's been twelve years since the two last collaborated.

Though the drummer has recorded for Concord Music subsidiary Stretch Records since 1998, with his most recent CD Multiplicity coming out in 2005, this time he's turning to fans and friends to finance the project via the crowd-funding site Pledge Music.

Like the better-known KickStarter and other similar services, Pledge Music allows creators to set a financial goal for a prospective album, then promote it online directly to fans. Supporters can pledge at different levels to get various rewards, but the project proceeds and the money is collected only if the fundraising goal is met.

For their as-yet untitled project, Weckl and Oliver plan to assemble a package that will include not only an album of new music, but also a DVD, written charts, and “play along" mixes without drums, guitar, bass, or keyboards. The recording will feature additional guest musicians, yet to be announced, and will include a drum duet featuring Weckl and a collaborator TBA.

Possible levels of support range from $15, which gets you project updates and an MP3 download of the finished product, all the way up to $15,000, for which the lucky supporter will be rewarded with a “private jam in your home/venue." The campaign ends on December 10. For more information or to pledge your support, visit Weckl's page at Pledge Music
 View the original article...
This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman. Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved.



Ravi Coltrane – flying to the top of the class

“He’s one of the most important and influential musicians alive today,” words you might think appropriate for the son of one of the true giants of the saxophone. Though they were in fact used by Ravi Coltrane to describe his cousin – über-producer/beat-maker/conceptualist Stephen ‘Flying Lotus’ Ellison (here to play London’s Troxy on Friday) – who had dropped by to catch Trane Jr at Ronnie Scott’s. Ellison’s presence was wholly apt too from the perspective of what both his aunt Alice, and in turn his uncle John, were always striving to expand and explore new horizons. Ravi too wears the mantle of his father’s legacy with such ease and grace, not weighed down by his own or anyone else’s expectations. Thus if Ellison’s cosmic electronica continues aunt Alice’s mind expanding, spiritually-charged works then Ravi’s rich reimagining of his father’s legacy delves deeper into that inner world of harmonic space and metronomic time-stretching. For an hour or so Ronnie Scott’s was just about the hippest place to be on the planet; FlyLo sitting stage-right beaming at his cousin and his band tearing it up with hearty good humour and deadly intent.

Coltrane’s quartet are tight – both personally and musically – casually reminding themselves of the music from a sheaf of charts, but soon immersed eyes-shut in their own private inner versions of the music. Pianist David Virelles – also at last year’s LJF with Steve Coleman – was the perfect linear foil to Ravi’s vertiginous solo sojourns, finding salty sweet chords, adding a sour edge to the tenorist’s pungent ideas. Bassist Dezron Douglas was also outstanding, his sound a highly cultured blend of Charlie Haden’s sparing but spot-on note choices, and Jimmy Garrison’s dark and deep groove power. Drummer Johnathan Blake was the wild card in this tough and tender trio, his playing in a constant state of flux. First working his two ride cymbals and hi-hat with little additional percussive adornment; he built the entire set to a swooshing, swinging climax. But it was the undeniable and closely proximate presence of legendary beat-maker Flying Lotus, sitting just a few feet from him that sparked a curious change of tack – as Blake turned on some snapping, robotically precise breaks of his own on the appropriately titled, Ralph Alessi-penned, ‘Transition’. Ellison laughed in wry acknowledgement of the gesture.

Such good-humoured finesse from this superlative band hit even greater highs when all three lifted their leader, corralling his ideas and spurring them on further still as each sax solo bobbed and weaved. The set itself was a mix of old and new material – Monk’s ‘Skippy’ providing a suitably off-kilter starting point. From there the band drew on Ravi’s recent Spirit Fiction album, with its mercurial mix of sinewy melodies and subtle, shifting rhythms. Concluding the first set with a raptly received ‘Countdown’, one of his father’s many knotty mathematical puzzles, here given a suitably post-Glasper, post-Lehman working over, it begged the question did Trane invent math-jazz? Certainly Nicolas Slonimsky’s groundbreaking theories – that also inspired Frank Zappa and many others – underpinned the likes of ‘Giant Steps’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘Satellite’. Yet it’s to Ravi Coltrane’s credit that he sidesteps cliché and confounds expectations, wrapping up any high-minded concepts in his glowing tenor tone, and a vortex of heavy rhythms, all dispatched with vigour, fearlessly carrying his father’s legacy into a new century and beyond.

Mike Flynn

Smooth Music News (Smooth Jazz Network)

New Tony Bennett DVD out November 19

Legendary singer Tony Bennett will release a DVD version of his film The Zen of Bennett via RPM/Columbia Records on November 19.  The film, which premiered to positive critical and audience reactions at  the Tribeca Film Festival in April, also debuted in theaters in New  York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco among others this fall. The  DVD version includes exclusive bonus footage of deleted scenes,  including clips of Tony with Michael Buble and Lady Gaga as well as  interviews with the filmmakers.  The Zen of Bennett is an intimate perspective on Tony's life and personal philosophy.  Filmed  by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe, the documentary  employs a voyeuristic approach while illustrating the isolation  experienced by the artist in the midst of the recording sessions for his  #1 album Duets II.  Bennett's creative process is revealed while recording duets with his guest artists including John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Michael Buble and the late Amy Winehouse.  Tony's next performances are scheduled for this weekend (November 17-18) in Westbury, New York.


Brian McKnight Releasing New Album in 2013

Brian McKnight is readying a new album, tentatively titled Words for release in early 2013.  He tells Billboard, "I hadn't really planned on making another one."  But his record company E1 who released his 2011 album Just Me, called to see if he wanted to release another project.  Brian says he worked on nearly 40 songs for the set and that stylistically there's no real theme for the album.  He also collaborated with singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, who co-wrote the planned title track with him.  McKnight hopes to release the album's first single this     month but  says he's "torn" about which track to go with.  He     plans to give E1  three choices and let the label decide.  Brian's next performance will be with his full band in Detroit, MI on November 23.

Spencer Day 'The Mystery of You' due March 2013

Singer, pianist, composer Spencer Day is set to release his third album, The Mystery of You, via Concord Jazz on March 12, 2013.  He says the set was influenced by the experiences he went through in a romantic relationship over the past several years, including the exhilarating beginning and the heart-breaking end.  “It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with in my adult  life, but it’s also been a huge opportunity for growth,” Day says of the  ill-fated relationship and the music that emerged from it.  “Each of  these songs represents a different phase in that growth process.  Along  the way, I really started trying to understand my own psychology.”  Spencer grew up listening to a wide cross-section of composers, including  Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Joni Mitchell, John Lennon and Paul Simon.  And he says the classic MGM musicals that played in his local theater in Utah, where he grew up, left their mark on his  musical style.  He released his debut album, Introducing Spencer Day in 2004 and Vagabond followed in 2009.  Spencer is currently the Artist in Residence at Rockwell's in Los Angeles, performing every Wednesday night throughout the month of November.  He will be in Boston at the Fenway Center at Northeastern University this Saturday, November 10.  

John Coltrane picture book Introduces kids to jazz icon

Sometimes, when you lose almost everything as a child, a lifeline appears that restores your faith and re-ignites your spirit. For John Coltrane, that lifeline was the saxophone, and the musical dreams it inspired. Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)—written by NY Times-bestselling author Gary Golio (JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow) and illustrated by award-winning artist Rudy Gutierrez—captures John’s struggle from lost boy to musical leader, from darkness to light. In words and images that reflect the depth of John’s joy as well as his yearning for inner peace, Spirit Seeker tells the story of how art and spirituality shaped one man’s talents, and gave him the courage to share those gifts with the world.
Drawn along by saxophone greats like Lester Young and Johnny Hodges, John’s life changed overnight when he first heard bebop master Charlie Bird Parker. Still, the sadness that had clung to him since childhood—and his father’s death—led to drinking and drug use that finally brought his early success to a standstill. In a moment of great courage, John remembered the words of his grandfather, Reverend Blair, and cleansed his body of the deadly habits weighing him down. Following a spiritual revelation, he set free his enormous talent to soar like an angel of sound. With the creation of his masterpiece A Love Supreme, he offered a timeless gift of gratitude to the Divine.
For young people, Spirit Seeker highlights the importance of goals and aspirations—particularly in the face of personal adversities—and showcases the value of the Arts in providing a guide or roadmap for the future. Golio’s sensitive, poetic text and Gutierrez’ intricate, expressive paintings portray Coltrane as the multifaceted musical genius he was, infusing his music with a new understanding of God and Spirit that should spark fresh thinking in young minds.
Gary Golio has been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition and the Michael Eric Dyson show, and featured on CBS-TV in New York City. He is the author of JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow – A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and When Bob Met Woody – The Story of the Young Bob Dylan (Little, Brown). Golio is a clinical social worker/psychotherapist who helps children, teens, and their families deal with the multifaceted problems of addiction, a subject addressed in an Author’s Note about musicians and drug use. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, author Susanna Reich, and is available for interviews. Visit him online at
Spirit Seeker illustrator Rudy Gutierrez’ art graces the cover of Carlos Santana’s “Shaman” CD, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, The NY Times, and Ms. He has been awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the American Society of Illustrators, and a Pura Bel Pre Illustrator Award. See his children’s book art at

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