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 Friday, 31 July 2015
Interviews
Ringing Dave King: The drummer talks about his new album, “I’ve Been Ringing You” PDF Print
Written by Pamela Espeland   
Tuesday, 13 November 2012

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Dave King©John Whiting
 

Dave King played back-to-back CD release concerts at the Artists’ Quarter on Friday and Saturday (Oct. 19-20), had a tooth pulled on Sunday, and left Monday for London, the start of a nine-city European tour behind the new Bad Plus CD, Made Possible. Still, he found time on Sunday evening to talk by phone about I’ve Been Ringing You, his new album on Sunnyside.


King made Ringing You with pianist Bill Carrothers and bassist Billy Peterson. King and Carrothers have recorded together before (Shine Ball, 2007, and The Electric Bill, 2002), but King had never played a note with Peterson until the day they all convened at a Minneapolis church and laid down the new tracks.
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Bop's Boswell: Robin D.G Kelley's Thelonious Monk Biography PDF Print
Written by Maxwell Chandler   
Saturday, 31 July 2010
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Robin Kelley has written what, without any trace of hyperbole, can be called the definitive biography of Thelonious Monk (Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, 2009). Stripping bare the many apocryphal stories which surrounded this eccentric genius, the reader is left with a compelling and accurate account of an important original. The following interview with Kelley tells the story of the biographer as well as his subject. 

MC: When did the idea to write a book on Monk come about, and how long after you had the idea did you start? 

RK: I've loved Monk's music since my teenage years.  My step-father at the time was a jazz musician and I was pretty much a self-taught piano player.  He introduced me to Monk, and with that a life-long fascination with the man and his sound.  I never thought I'd actually write anything about him until 1995, when I came down with some mysterious virus and had to be hospitalized over a weekend.  The shock of that experience made me think about my own mortality and what I really want to do before I expire, as it were.  I had already written two books about social movements in the U.S., inspired by critical political questions I and perhaps my generation were concerned about.  But in my hospital bed I asked myself, if I had one more book to write, something for me, what would it be?  Thelonious Monk.  So the seeds of the actually book go back fifteen years. 

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Catching Up With Bill Berg, Drummer for Flim & the BB’s PDF Print
Written by Jeff Timbs   
Monday, 03 May 2010

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Bill Berg

Following is an interview conducted recently with Bill Berg, the original drummer for the Flim & the BB’s. The former bandmates (Flim Johnson, Dick Oatts, and Billy Barber) were not available for this interview. 
 

Hi Bill, so what are you working on these days? 

Bill Berg: We're all busy working musicians. I've just been so busy with my music career, actually working on both coasts, so not much free time. 

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Offering “Sounds With Love and Intention”: An Interview With Matt Wilson PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Friday, 26 March 2010

“It will swing, breath, align, collide, shout, whisper and will make you laugh, cry and be happy that you made it out to share the moment with us!” – Matt Wilson (on his upcoming gig at the Artists Quarter) 

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Matt Wilson©Andrea Canter

He is frequently at the top of critics and listener’s polls for his exploits at the trapset, and his ensembles are among the most highly regarded in modern jazz. Matt Wilson is still in his 40s but his resume and accolades read like those of a wizened jazz titan. In addition to appearances with such luminaries as Dewey Redman, Janis Siegal, Cecil McBee, Fred Hersch, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, Sheila Jordan, Lee Konitz, Rufus Reid, Joanne Brackeen, Denny Zeitlin, Myra Melford, Frank Kimbrough, Deana DeRose and Charlie Haden, Wilson’s leadership of his Quartet and Arts & Crafts ensemble have earned him many “rising star” and “drummer of the year” honors. A recent visit to the Artists’ Quarter in St. Paul with Arts & Crafts provided an opportunity to catch up with one the busiest and most prolific artists on the scene today. 
 

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Talking with Evan Christopher PDF Print
Written by Pamela Espeland   
Friday, 19 March 2010

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Evan Christopher©John Whiting

Think “clarinet” and “New Orleans” and a certain sound may come to mind: sweet, quavery, old-timey Dixieland. I once thought of the clarinet as an instrument that had seen its day in jazz, making rare appearances for color and nostalgia. And then I heard Evan Christopher play. 

During my first encounter with the Creole-style clarinetist, an impromptu set at the Dakota Jazz Club http://www.dakotacooks.com/ in Minneapolis in 2008, he stole the show from Irvin Mayfield, who usually keeps a pretty firm grasp on such things. I heard Christopher again at Chickie Wah Wah in New Orleans in March 2009, where he has a regular gig on Monday nights, and back at the Dakota in October, where he played for more than two hours to a packed house with no break. Each time I came away knowing I had heard something old and something new.  

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Craig Taborn: Back Home With “Golden Valley Is Now” PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Saturday, 13 March 2010

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Craig Taborn©Andrea Canter
The Dave King for Two Days weekend at the Walker Art Center (March 12-13) presents the percussion titan with seven projects, ranging from his decade-long associations with the Bad Plus and Happy Apple (which will combine briefly as The Bad Apple) to free improv ensemble Buffalo Collision, rock-ish band Gang Font, and two new bands, Golden Valley is Now and Dave King Trucking Company. It’s a reunion for Dave and cohorts, particularly an opportunity to play again with his Golden Valley childhood pals, Reid Anderson and Craig Taborn. Of course every time the Bad Plus comes to town, Dave and Reid are together on the band stand. More rare is the reunion with Taborn, whose infrequently active Junk Magic ensemble includes King. A veteran of tours with James Carter, Roscoe Mitchell and Tim Berne early in his career, now engaged in projects with Chris Potter’s Underground, William Parker and Gerald Cleaver, and an upcoming piano duo with Vijay Iyer, Craig returns “home” hot off a solo piano tour in Europe. It’s a welcome opportunity to catch up with one of the world’s leading voices in keyboard wizardry, and Downbeat Magazine’s 2009 Critics’ Poll top “Rising Star” on electric keyboards.

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George and Chico Freeman/Michael Gibbs and the NDR Big Band
Written by Kevin O'Connor   

 July is rapidly becoming a month for the books. Having cleansed myself with a trip to the Rockies, I returned to the usual piles of material on my desk. Here are just a couple I couldn’t wait to devour:

 

George and Chico Freeman:  All in the Family (Southport)

ImageOnce in a while, the toils of a Music Director in a jazz station present a challenge. That is, every so often a recording comes along that simply blows me away but isn’t quite, in the parlance of the industry, a “radio friendly record.” Such is the case with an intimate new tribute album from the venerated first family of jazz in Chicago, the Freemans. The focus of this gem is on revered saxophonist Von “Vonski’  Freeman, who left us in 2012. Von was a true denizen of the City of Big Shoulders, having inspired countless players from Chicago.

 


But his sphere stretched well beyond the Midwest. Generations of players have absorbed his crafty approach to saxophone, sometimes without their knowledge.  He was also difficult to pigeonhole, so it’s only right that a musical postcard should be crafted by two of his closest relatives and sidemen:  Brother George and son Chico. In spite of, or perhaps all the better for, its intimacy, All in the Family is a challenge for the typical radio audience.  With its sweet interludes and seamless themes, this is one better left on “Continue” for your player, should you actually have one. Having said that, you’ll hear select tracks on KBEM for at least a couple of months.


Michael Gibbs and the NDR Big Band  Play a Bill Frisell Set List (Cuneiform)

ImageIt was once said by somebody, sadly not me: “Bill Frisell is a genre unto himself.” Though the guitar-brandishing fret wizard from Seattle chuckles it off, there’s rarely been a more apt description of a musician.  Frisell is a celebrated change-aholic, but not in the conspicuous ways of many of his peers.  With each recording, he explores new and strange visions. He’s never been above resorting to great gadgetry -- tape-loops, turntables, electronics. But he’s also disarmingly organic and as pure a jazz player as it gets, when the mood suits him.


This time, it’s not Frisell at the helm but NDR bandleader Michael Gibbs. Bill does appear on every track of this set list, which as the title betrays, is a live stab at the best and oddest of Bill’s pieces and his known renditions of other composers: “Benny’s Bugle” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”  This hits the airwaves this week.  

 
Robert Glasper: “Covered” (2015, Blue Note)
Written by Kevin O'Connor   

ImagePianist Robert Glasper is that all-too rare jazz musician who manages to reel in a respectable and growing crowd of jazz fans. More significantly perhaps, he also resonates with the hip hop and electronica crowd, particularly the ones who like a little substance and grit in their pop. There’s barely anything in the way of new composition on Covered, hence the title. The glaring exception is “Got Over.” Glasper  shares writing credits with no less than Harry Belafonte, who also appears on the track. The other original clocks in at thirteen minutes: “In Case You Forgot.”  It’s an opus unlike any he’s recorded to date. He also joins the ranks of pianists like Brad Mehldau in showing reverence for Radiohead, Joni Mitchell and other pop noteworthies.  

 
 

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