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Sonny Rollins Awarded National Medal Of Arts
Sonny Rollins received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on March 2. “I’m very happy that jazz, the greatest American music, is being recognized through this honor, and I’m grateful to accept this award on behalf of the gods of our music,” Rollins said. More »

Sonny Rollins receives the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama on March 2. (Photo: Ruth David, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts)


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Juilliard Jazz Hosts Swingin’
Alumni Reunion

Juilliard will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its jazz program with a Swingin’ Alumni Reunion concert on March 31 at the school’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater in New York. More »

Monterey Next Generation Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary
The Monterey Jazz Festival will host the 40th anniversary of the Next Generation Festival April 1–3 in downtown Monterey, Calif.  More »

Pianist George Shearing Dies
George Shearing, who possessed a mellow, yet orchestral, approach to the piano, died on Monday, Feb. 14, of congestive heart failure in New York. More »

Kennedy Center Announces
Upcoming Jazz Schedule

The John F. Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., has announced its jazz programs for the 2011–2012 season. More »

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1BY frank alkyer
Stan Kenton,
Artistry In Rhythm
(Jazzed Media)
Artistry In Rhythm, the new documentary DVD about Stan Kenton, could easily have been titled Defending Stan. A score of the great bandleader’s musicians have been interviewed for this fascinating two-hour stroll through the history of Kenton’s music.
More »

Glimpse Trio, 1985 (self-released)
1985 is the self-produced debut recording from the Oakland-based Glimpse Trio. Comprising guitarist Mike Sopko, bassist Ethan Rider and drummer Hamir Atwal, Glimpse puts the power in power trio.
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Omar Sosa,
Calma, Solo Piano & …

(Otá Records)

Omar Sosa’s Calma, Solo Piano & … is one of the most beautiful piano recordings of the year. Quiet, sparse and meditative, we find the masterful Sosa on his fifth solo recording—alone but with much more than piano. More »

Jaki Byard, A Material Of Black And White (HighNote)
During the early and mid-’90s, when I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see the wonderful Jaki Byard perform, his unaccompanied gigs were always the best.
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Christine Jensen,
(Justin Time)
A modern big band album featuring beautifully orchestrated charts and some of Montreal’s most advanced improvising musicians, Treelines adds another layer to saxophonist Jensen’s progression as an instrumentalist, composer and bandleader.
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Vijay Iyer–Prasanna–Nitin Mitta, Tirtha (ACT)
Individually, Indian-American pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, Chennai-born guitarist/composer Prasanna and tabla player Nitin Mitta, a Hyderabad native, are accomplished artists who shift easily among multiple musical languages.
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John Michael Runowicz, Forever Doo Wop
(University of Massachusetts Press)

Doo-wop is usually heard today only on period-piece film soundtracks or on late-night public television pledge drives, but the roots of the music, its cultural impact and the lives of its veteran performers should never be ignored.
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Yellowjackets, Timeline
(Mack Avenue)

Timeline marks the 30th anniversary of Yellowjackets, who welcome alumnus Will Kennedy—the incredibly dynamic drummer who has appeared on about half of the electro-acoustic band’s discography to date—back into the fold after a dozen years.
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TK Blue, Latin Bird (Motéma)
Get ready for a very different take on the music of Charlie Parker. On Latin Bird, alto saxophonist TK Blue pulls in a terrific band, including pianist Theo Hill, bassist Essiet Essiet, drummer Willie Martinez and percussionist Roland Guerrero.
More »

Fred Hersch, Alone At
The Vanguard
Perhaps it’s being cooped up inside this winter that has made solo piano recordings so inviting this time around, but another disc that has been playing constantly this month is Fred Hersch’s live unaccompanied set from a late-2010 Village Vanguard performance.
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Seval, I Know You (482 Music)
One of the many crucial voices in Chicago’s jazz community for more than a dozen years has been cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. It’s not just that he’s been an inventive improviser on an instrument that has never been near prominent in jazz, but because he has been an important part of a wide range of groups…
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t1Sound Army
The WK-7500 keyboard puts a substantial army of sounds at players’ fingertips. The 76-key instrument comes loaded with 800 tones that range from vintage pianos to a Chinese erhu.
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t2Computer Mic
CAD has added to its line of multipurpose USB microphones with the U9 MiniMic. The U9 plus directly into computers and includes a headphone out jack for playback monitoring.
More »

t3Connection Device
The iConnectMIDI is a new MIDI interface that offers plug-and-play connectivity between any MIDI controller device and iDevice.
More »

t3iPad Onstage
K&M is keeping up with the digital times by introducing the iPad holder. It can clasp onto any music stand or mic stand sized from 0.27–1.18 inches in diameter, and the Prismatic Clamp offers a wide swing range.
More »

t3Guitar to USB
The Alesis GuitarLink Plus makes recording on a computer ridiculously easy. It lets users connect guitars and other line-level audio sources directly to a Mac or PC without installing drivers.
More »

Motema Records

Jazz Cruises


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Classic By Dom Cerulli // July 25, 1957
Billy Taylor: Out Of A Rut
Billy Taylor has just pulled himself out of a rut. There was no damage done, but Billy thinks it was a close call. He shares with other small group leaders a problem delicate on two levels: the musical and the public relations.
More »

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75th book“Here’s a magazine and a book that match the freely improvised nature of jazz itself, which may explain
why DownBeat still commands attention in the 21st century.”
—Howard Reich,
Chicago Tribune

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