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 Thursday, 27 August 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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London/Meader/Pramuk/Ross: "The Royal Bopsters" (Motema)
Written by Kevin O'Connor   

 

ImageSometime after receiving my 11,932nd copy (unsolicited) of vocal jazz standards, I became a bit jaded. Be mindful this was the last time Bob Dole was on a Presidential ticket. While I would never discourage a musical venture of any kind, my tolerance for tuneless warbling through “I Thought About You” reached a saturation point long ago.  When a vocal venture makes it to the audition player, it’s usually because there’s a mitigating factor or two.

This is certainly true of a new release on Motema  Records:  Amy London, Darmon Meader, Dylan Pramuk and Holli Ross have recorded more than a tribute in The Royal Bopsters.  It’s a living, breathing participatory memento of new meets old.  No less than Mark Murphy, Bob Dorough, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross make appearances on what amounts to great choices of original and standard material--all done in the classic mode of bop singing exemplified by these giants of scat and song.

These are arguably the best of the surviving jazz vocalists from their era and they can still swing with the younger set, who gives them plenty of room. This quartet also shows strong potential in the Manhattan Transfer tradition.  Let’s hope they stay true to bop form, since top forty success is likely to elude most crossover acts these days.  

 
Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo: "Swing Zing!" (Self-Produced)
Written by Kevin O'Connor   

ImageA good guitarist can strum up a storm in any genre. A great guitarist can sound like a one-man orchestra who seems to effortlessly glide from style to style without giving much thought to idioms.  Such a player is Frank Vignola.  For decades, Vignola has been a master of all music, especially acoustic swing, classical and jazz. He flies under the radar with much of the mainstream in spite of or maybe due to these chameleon-like tendencies. 

His new CD Swing Zing doesn’t go too far in the direction of phase-shifting; it’s pretty much a swing affair. He has recruited Vinny Raniolo, who is more of a hollow-body Joe Pass denizen. As it turns out, this is a perfect complement to the Vignola whirlwind.

There are no jaw-droppers in the selection of material.  it’s the usual guitar-friendly standards like “Tico Tico” and “Sleepytime Gal.” Stop by for those, but stay for the musicianship.  Guests include:  Julian Lage, Bucky Pizzarelli and Gene Bertoncini.

 
 

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