It was raining lightly. As I ambled somewhat mindlessly around the streets of Zurich, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how clean the place was. Having grown up in Baltimore and being famili…
On my descent through the ‘Internet rabbit hole’ the other day, I ran across NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro’s interview with Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts on his newly released EP Race for the White House. The songs on the EP are musical interpretations of four presidential candidates: Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson and Donald Trump. What makes this particularly noteworthy, aside from the ingenious creativity of translating the bid to be the POTUS into jazz , is the fact that Roberts wrote these compositions while listening to the candidates on the campaign trail. In Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker piece Roberts says he “wrote the songs fast, attempting to capture the candidates based on what was happening in debates and on the campaign trail at the time.”
I think he has captured them fully. For Jazz fans Race to the White House is a treat. Roberts is a skilled and enthralling pianist and composer . If you’re truly into mainstream jazz (or whatever YOU call it) you probably know about him. If you don’t know Roberts, don’t like jazz, are a politics junkie, or just fascinated by this train wreck of a campaign, take a listen. I could see them through Roberts songs. I like his view better than mine.
This guest post by Cortney Harding on Medium recently appeared on Hypebot. It poses a tough question for musicians and artists that use streaming services as a marketing and promotion tool. Is it working? Are fans discovering you and your music? Spotify insists that they’re an indie artist BFF because they are putting your music in the ears of millions of listeners at no cost to you. So I guess that means you should have lots of sales. Is it working? Spotify has yet to turn a profit despite the popularity and growth of streaming. They (and their competitors) haven’t convinced enough people to buy subscriptions to their service. Why?
What is the ‘attitude’ toward music today? How are people being moved by it? Or are they being moved? What does if anything does music mean to people and what are they willing to do because of it and for it. Courtney Harding’s take on this is a worthy read.
Youhave a successful music career you need more than great talent and blind ambition. You actually need a plan; a strategy and the resources to make it work. This information isn’t new and it’s easy to find online, yet everyday a musician calls it ‘a wrap’ on his budding career because he finally realized – after exhausting all his resources – it’s not happening. These are the folks that are holding on to myths that continue to circulate on what works in the music industry. What are some of the biggests myths? Check out the story that recently appeared on Music Think Tank.
The line up for every major CJazz festival, save a few, is almost exactly the same. So why when there are so many talented new CJazz artists, are we looking at the same faces at every show? It’s time for those of use who love this music to step up and be the change we want to see in CJazz.
I think this post has been a long time in the making, and in advance, I apologize for any profanity. Sorry but, as ever, not sorry, because someone really needs to say this.
I am growing more than a little bit annoyed at seeing the same lineups all over the country.
And I’m most certainly not alone in that. Certainly, I’m in the minority because I’m under 50, but if I’m hearing someone who’s in my mother’s age group consistently complain there’s nothing new in X festival and there’s no need to bother going, something is wrong with the picture.
This is 2015. It’s now about six years that we’ve been without a radio station, with some very few exceptions, but so far, the genre of contemporary jazz has been surviving well. However, there is a drastic shortage of new blood on the scene and I am growing exhausted with seeing…
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To ‘bite’ off an old Rodney Dangerfield joke: “I went to a fundraiser and a Smooth Jazz concert broke out.” I attended the ‘Permission to Talk ‘ fundraising event Lites Out Jazz on the Beach Smooth Jazz concert in Oceanside CA last weekend. The event was sponsored by the Ol’Loreece Foundation whose focus is to save and extend the lives of men by providing them much-needed health information.
The line-up was modest by most mega SJ concert standards but the performances were big, starting with keyboardist Brian Simpson and guitarist Marc Antoine, veteran SJ artists. Simpson’s effortless blending of jazzy keys, soulful tempo and funky beats is always a treat. He throughly entertained, grabbing his keytar (an instrument that personally, reminds me of a kids toy ; Brian somehow makes it work) hopping off the stage and hanging with the fans. Marc Antoine’s smooth, sweet, and contemporary latin style guitar, with just the right amount of smoldering heat provided a delightful complement and contrast of styles. It was a great set made even better by the band’s bass player Andre Berry whose ‘smoking hot’ bass solo was jaw dropping. And it just got better.
Guitarist Steve Cole followed. Steve’s guitar is crisp, clean, upbeat and always a pleasure to listen too. His scat singing is not too bad either – for a guitar player. To round it out the show ended with relative newcomer, saxophonist Eric Darius. Darius’ high voltage performance style is matched by his energetic saxophone playing and songs. However he slowed it down and ‘worked’ a version of Alicia Key’s “If I Ain’t Got You” that had the crowd practically swooning.
The real story here are the Paynes, Willie and Kathy. This concert proved that they are ‘patrons‘ of Smooth Jazz. Owners of Payne Pest Management, they are also board members of the Ol’Loreece Foundation and were also title sponsors for the highly successful 2014 San Diego Jazz Festival held last Memorial Day. How refreshing to discover that there are still people out there who aren’t afraid to unapologetically embrace and promote Smooth Jazz .
This was a real Smooth Jazz concert. It was clearly about the music and the fans. The venue was amazing right; on the beach and the emcee’s were two of So Cal favorite on-air personalities Kelly Cole, host of weekly radio show ‘Lites Out’ on KPRI and Tayari Howard, of KKSD. The tickets were reasonably priced, parking was plentiful, there was food, drinks, and plenty of happy concert goers. A beautiful saxophone signed by over 30 Smooth Jazz artists was auctioned off as part of the fundraising efforts. I love it! A party with a purpose!
The foundation plans to make this an annual event. To that I say “see you next year’.
For more information on Permission to Talk and the Ol’Loreece Foundation click here.