September 2023


Kris Davis

At the Vanguard

In late May 2022, pianist and composer Kris Davis realized a dream. She and her ensemble Diatom Ribbons performed six nights at the world’s most famous jazz venue — New York City’s Village Vanguard.

For sure, many pianists have documented their stints at the Village Vanguard. And some of those albums have become part of the pantheon best live albums in jazz history. Davis adds her scintillating new double-disc album, Kris Davis’ Diatom Ribbons Live at the Village Vanguard (Pyroclastic Records) to that distinguished legacy.

  • Tyshawn Sorey

    Plays It His Way

    Tyshawn Sorey’s latest release Continuing (Pi) is album three of a trilogy documenting Sorey’s unique pursuit of the jazz canon.

  • Dan Auerbach

    Tells Everybody

    Dan Auerbach, the co-pilot of the dynamic blues-rock cookers The Black Keys and owner of his Nashville-based Easy Eye Sound studio, is the latest champion of the blues tradition with Tell Everybody! (21st Century Juke Joint Blues), which arrived as an impressive compilation of relatively unknown elders and upstart new-to-the-attention bluesters.

  • Paal Nilssen-Love

    Lives & Loves Large

    On the evening of Saturday, March 25, Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love was seated on the stage of the respected Oslo club Victoria — Nasjonal Jazzscene.

    He was being interviewed by Lasse Marhaug, a veteran sound artist and graphic designer, who’s worked with the drummer for decades. In the midst of the conversation, Sebastian Uul, performing as Mr. Orkester — an unhinged one-man band — burst in from the rear of the club, turning the proceedings delightfully upside-down. The gathering was the third and final night marking the 10th anniversary of Nilssen-Paul’s raucous big band Large Unit, and the drummer was determined to make the occasion both outsized and full of surprises.

Blindfold Test

Before taking a live Blindfold Test in Indianapolis during the American Pianists Association Awards last April in Indianapolis, pianist Sullivan Fortner was asked first to tell the audience the deal he struck with his father. His father wanted the young pianist to go into medicine. Fortner said no. With tears in his eyes, Fortner’s dad relented, but asked his son to do one thing. “He said, ‘The only thing I ask is that you go and you get a master’s degree,” Fortner said. “At least when all else fails, you could teach. … So I went to Oberlin and Manhattan School and got a master’s degree.” The rest is history. Fortner is one of the bright stars on the jazz scene today who happened to win the American Pianists Association Award in 2015. This is his first Blindfold Test. He gave 1,000 stars to every artist because “If you play a jazz or anything closely remotely to this thing that we call jazz or African-American musical class or American classical music, everybody deserves a thousand stars.”

  • Tommy Flanagan: “Beat’s Up ” from Overseas (Prestige, 1958)
  • Allen Toussaint: “Mardi Gras In New Orleans” from American Tunes (Nonesuch, 2016)
  • Geri Allen: “Soul Heir” from The Gathering (Verve, 1998)
  • Duke Ellington: “Take The A Train” from Uptown (Columbia, 1953)
  • Emmet Cohen: “Spilling The Tea Kettle” from Uptown In Orbit (Mack Avenue, 2022)
  • Nat King Cole: “Caravan” from Blues, Jazz At The Philharmonic, Featuring Nat King Cole and Les Paul (Jasmine, 2001)
  • Ahmad Jamal: “Autumn In New York” from Live at Bubba’s (Who’s Who in Jazz, 1980)
  • Herbie Hancock: “Mimosa” from Inventions & Dimensions (Blue Note, 1964)
  • Gerald Clayton: “Scrimmage” from Two-Shade (Emarcy, 2009)
  • Nicholas Payton: “Watch It” from The Couch Sessions (Smoke Sessions, 2022)
Also in this Issue
  • Marc Ribot
  • Warren Wolf
  • Lucian Ban & Mat Maneri
  • Cecile Strange
  • Motéma Music
  • Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Jamie Branch
  • Lowcountry
  • JoVia Armstrong
  • Anthony Hervey
  • Nicole Zuraitis
  • Eric Alexander
  • Kate Gentile
  • Noah Haidu
  • David Virellis
  • Chris Speed
  • Louis Hayes
  • Marquis Hill
  • Lonnie Liston Smith
  • Tony Allen
  • & More!
  • MdCL
  • Dr. Millen Kirov
  • Tom Hammer
  • Eliane Elias Transcribed
  • Kawai CA401 & CA501 Reviewed
  • Toolshed
  • Sara Gazarek at Eastman

PLUS: Dozens of album reviews, product reviews and much more!