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Tom Harrell (Photo: JL Neveu)

DownBeat’s 2013 Fall Preview: Harrell, Hendrix and Road Trips
The fall season is here, and great music will be its soundtrack. The arrival of autumn means that music lovers are marking their calendars for several significant events, including cool album releases, major tours and exciting fall festivals.
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Small hr HEADLINESSmall hr Melissa Aldana Wins Monk Competition
On Sept. 16, Melissa Aldana made history by becoming the first female instrumentalist to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
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Vijay Iyer Named MacArthur Fellow, Awarded ‘Genius’ Grant
On Sept. 25, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows. The recipients will receive a no strings-attached stipend of $625,000 over five years.
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Summer 2013 Concerts In Review
DownBeat looks back at some of the key concerts of the summer festival season, from Iowa City to Lisbon and beyond.
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Ray Charles Honored with USPS Stamp
Ray Charles is joining Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and Howlin’ Wolf as the latest music legend to appear on a U.S. Postal Service stamp.
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REVIEWS // EDITORS’ PICKS
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1 BY FRANK ALKYER
Erik Friedlander, Claws & Wings (SkipStone)
On Claws & Wings, cellist and composer Erik Friedlander has crafted a complex elegy to his late wife, Lynn Shapiro, a choreographer and writer who passed away from breast cancer in 2011. Throughout this eight-song program, you can feel his loss, anger and pain. Each composition has an absolute truth that came at a steep price; there is no forced resolution here. ...
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1 BY BOBBY REED
Nina Simone, Little Girl Blue (Bethlehem /Naxos)
The Naxos label recently launched a reissue program for the catalog of Bethlehem Records, founded by Gus Wildi more than five decades ago. Among the 1950s gems that has been remastered and will be available in CD, digital and vinyl formats is Nina Simone’s debut, Little Girl Blue, recorded in 1958. This trio album showcases her unforgettable voice and formidable pianism, with support from bassist Jimmy Bond and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath. ...
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1 BY FRANK ALKYER
Ed Reed, I’m A Shy Guy (Blue Shorts Records)
The art of the tribute album is tricky at best: Stay too close to the original and you’ll send listeners back to that source material. Muck around too much and, well … you’ll send listeners back to the original. But vocalist Ed Reed knows how to find the sweet spot in a song and how to make it his own, as he proves on his latest recording, I’m A Shy Guy: A Tribute To The King Cole Trio & Their Music. ...
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1 BY BOBBY REED
Ahmad Jamal, Saturday Morning (Jazz Village)
Pianist and DownBeat Hall of Fame member Ahmad Jamal is back with a cohesive studio album that radiates positive energy. Saturday Morning was recorded in a French studio in February with bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley and percussionist Manolo Badrena. One listen to this disc makes one suspect that Jamal is drinking from a magic fountain of youth. ...
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1 BY FRANK ALKYER
Ralph Towner/Wolfgang Muthspiel/Slava Grigoryan, Travel Guide (ECM)
I heard the beautiful baritone saxophonist Claire Daly play recently. And she quipped that she wished the world could be run by jazz musicians. She was referring to their ability to listen, to understand, to create beauty and cooperate. It was a joke, but also a deep insight, especially considering music like Travel Guide. ...
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1 BY FRANK ALKYER
Amir ElSaffar, Alchemy (Pi)
Amir ElSaffar is an explorer constantly challenging himself to find who he is as an artist and a person. His latest travels led him to Egypt and Lebanon for two years, where he continued his study of Arabic musical masters and the musical tonal systems of the Middle East. Those efforts are presented as a powerful force on Alchemy, his latest album on Pi Recordings. ...
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1 BY BOBBY REED
Allen Toussaint, Songbook (Rounder)
When Hurricane Katrina flooded the home and studio of New Orleans tunesmith Allen Toussaint, he temporarily relocated to New York and began regularly playing solo shows at Joe’s Pub. The format was straightforward: a genius armed with a piano, sweet vocals and a lifetime of emotional anecdotes. The live album Songbook compiles tracks from two 2009 concerts at the venue, and the result is a treasure. ...
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1 BY DAVIS INMAN
Cyril Neville, Magic Honey (Ruf Records)
Singer-percussionist Cyril Neville, of the venerable Neville Brothers clan, is in fine form on his new solo album, Magic Honey. Producer David Z (Etta James, Prince) helps Neville gracefully execute a homegrown mix of blues, funk and r&b. To get things rolling, Neville opens the disc with some Slim Harpo-indebted double entendre blues verses on the title track (“Late in the midnight hour, magic honey dripping from her hive”). ...
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JAZZ SCHOOL // TOOLSHED
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Power Play
Dixon has upgraded its nine-ply, 6- by 13-inch Rosewood Power Piccolo Snare. The drum is now equipped with rock maple hoops, finished to …
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Three’s Company
Protec has redesigned its Tri-Pac case for alto saxophone, flute (B or C foot) and B-flat clarinet. The new removable flute …
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Revamped & Reissued
Ampeg has reissued its V-4B 100-watt all-tube bass head. The new head embodies the original’s tone in a package that is unique to the V-4B. …
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Mini Strobe
Peterson’s StroboClip, the company’s smallest multi-temperament tuner, is accurate to one-tenth of a cent. In addition to standard equal-temperament tuning, StroboClip has presets …
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Jingle Some of the Way
Latin Percussion’s Click Hi-Hat Tambourine lets players mute the jingles with a simple click of an oversize button. Featuring a durable plastic frame …
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American Jazz Museum

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Small hrCLASSIC INTERVIEW
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Classic Ken Micallef // April 2011
Kurt Elling: Invitation to Epiphany
On his latest recording, The Gate (Concord Jazz), perennial DownBeat poll winner and recent Grammy Award winner Kurt Elling invites the listener on a journey. That’s standard patter for any artist intent on capturing, holding and increasing an audience, but from Elling the invitation is altogether something different. Something meaningful. When Elling sings, you hear the weight of experience, the weight of his life, behind every syllable.
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