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Trombone Shorty (Photo: Mars Breslow)

Metheny, Trombone Shorty Inspire Monterey Jazz Fest Crowds
The red numbers flashing on the Monterey County Fairgrounds’ LED billboard seemed daunting: hundreds of musicians in dozens of performances at eight staged areas over three nights and two days. Ultimately, the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) on Sept. 21–23 was a weekend of connections and impressions.
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Blanchard Champions Opera in St. Louis
Trumpeter Terence Blanchard brought his quintet to Jazz at the Bistro on Sept. 19, kicking off the St. Louis club’s 2012–’13 season with four nights of music. …
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Rollins, Shorter Dazzle in Detroit
Powerhouse performances by Sonny Rollins and Wayne Shorter were highlights of this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival, with each saxophonist delivering a set that added to the luster of his legendary career. …
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Zenón’s Inner Soul Shines in Angola
“We aren’t presented with many opportunities to visit the African continent with our music,” Miguel Zenón said softly, speaking in Spanish to a roomful of listeners at the Hotel Trópico in Luanda, Angola. “It’s a bendición—a blessing—to play for you.” …
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Buddy Guy Receives 2012 Kennedy Center Nod
On Sept. 12, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that bluesman Buddy Guy is among the 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees. …
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Harold Mabern,
Mr. Lucky: A Tribute To Sammy Davis Jr.
In 2007, pianist Harold Mabern paid tribute to songwriter Harold Arlen with the album Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and now he’s released a very different type of homage—Mr. Lucky: A Tribute To Sammy Davis Jr.
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Medeski Martin & Wood,
Free Magic
Medeski Martin & Wood made its name on the road. Sure there’s a deep catalog of exceptionally fine recordings, but it’s the work they’ve done together on the bandstand that makes MMW so special. Free Magic truly delivers that live magic on disc. …
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Jeff Coffin & The Mu’tet,
Into The Air
(Ear Up)
Saxophonist Jeff Coffin is a musical magician who spins a lot of plates at once. Coffin—the cover subject of DownBeat’s October issue—is a sought-after sideman who massaged Béla Fleck’s multidimensional repertoire with comforting melodic undertones …
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Ron Miles, Quiver
(Enja/Yellow Bird)

Trumpeter Ron Miles revels in wide-open spaces. (In the liner notes to Quiver, writer Chip Stern implies that Miles would be more widely known among jazz audiences if he were based in New York, rather than making Colorado his home.) …
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Tia Fuller,
Angelic Warrior

(Mack Avenue)

For saxophonist Tia Fuller, being an Angelic Warrior is no joke. Fuller charges out of the gate and takes no prisoners on her third—and best—album for Mack Avenue. …
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Alexander von Schlippenbach,
Plays Monk
Seven years ago, pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach and the band Die Enttäuschung took on the entire Thelonious Monk catalog with …
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Dave Douglas Quintet,
Be Still
Beauty. Love. Grace. Dignity. Joy. Those words spring to mind when listening to Be Still, the latest album by the Dave Douglas Quintet. It’s a love letter to the trumpeter’s mother, who passed away last year after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. …
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The Bad Plus,
Made Possible
Since the trio’s debut in 2001, albums by The Bad Plus have mixed components of jazz and indie rock in ways that have confounded musical purists. Bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King continue that streak with …
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Van Morrison,
Born To Sing:
No Plan B
(Exile/Blue Note)
In the press kit for Born To Sing: No Plan B, Van Morrison says that the album’s title conveys the notion that “it’s not a hobby, it’s real, happening now, in real time.”…
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Donny Hathaway,
Live + In Performance

(Shout! Factory)

With a voice that made even emotional scars sound enthralling, Donny Hathaway was one of the most brilliant soul musicians working in an era when many of the giants were releasing their definitive albums. …
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Strike a Chord
Casio’s Privia PX-150, PX-350, PX-750 and PX-850 (pictured) digital pianos offer an enhanced keyboard and a powerful sound engine in a lightweight and stylish design. All four models feature a redesigned 88-note Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action …
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Shaw’s Piece
RS Berkeley and Greg Black Mouthpieces have unveiled the Woody Shaw Legends series trumpet mouthpiece. …
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Alternate Tuning
D’Addario created its new Helicore Fourths-Tuning cello string set for bass tuning: E, A, D, G (low to high). The bass tuning allows for new possibilities in alternative cello playing, as well as a way for bass and guitar players to adapt to the cello quickly. …
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Saved by Boogers
Gorilla Snot is a naturally sticky substance created to help drummers and guitarists improve their grip on sticks, mallets and picks. It also helps reduce cramping and muscle fatigue. …
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Watertight Cases
Gator Cases recently added a new line of waterproof, injection-molded microphone cases. Available in two sizes, the cases provide …
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Motema Records



American Jazz Museum


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Classic by Ira Gitler // July 30, 1964
Chet Baker’s
Tale of Woe
In the middle 1950s, Chet Baker was the young Lochinvar out of the West, the fair-haired boy of critics and laymen alike, riding in on his golden trumpet. Rising to prominence with Gerry Mulligan’s pianoless quartet, as the West Coast jazz movement began its popular sway, he won the New Star award in DownBeat’s first International Jazz Critics Poll in 1953. Then Baker formed his own quartet and went on to win both the DownBeat and Metronome readers’ polls for the next two years.
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