Jazz in Brief: Sorey, Crispell, Mahanthappa and More


Drummer Tyshawn Sorey and pianist Marilyn Crispell collaborate for The Adornment Of Time, a release on Pi Recordings.

(Photo: John Rogers)

Sorey-Crispell Summit: Drummer Tyshawn Sorey and pianist Marilyn Crispell released The Adornment Of Time on Sept. 27 through Pi Recordings. A single 64-minute track, recorded live at The Kitchen in New York, features intimate musical dialogue and comes not long after Crispell contributed to Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry (ECM). Sorey’s most recent leader date, 2018’s Pillars, was followed this year by contributions to guitarist Lage Lund’s Terrible Animals (Criss Cross Jazz).


Brecker Competition: Los Angeles-based Alex Hahn took top honors Aug. 26 at the inaugural Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition, which was held at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eliat, Israel. Named for the innovative saxophonist who died in 2007, the competition aims to manifest Brecker’s “spirit and influence” in subsequent generations of jazz players while bolstering young, new talent, according to a press release. Hahn was awarded $12,500; for second place, Miami-based Alex Weitz received $7,500; and for third place, $2,500 went to Boston-based Artem Badenko.


Final Bar: Tenor and baritone saxophonist Turk Mauro, who performed alongside Buddy Rich, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims in addition to leading his own groups, died in August. He was 75. ... Bassist Larry Taylor, who played with blues and psych act Canned Heat, as well as John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, died Aug. 19 in California. He was 77. Following his work with those high-profile ensembles during the ’60s and ’70s, the bassist went on to collaborate with Tom Waits. ... Outsider folk singer and visual artist Daniel Johnston died Sept. 10 after suffering a heart attack at the age of 58. The reclusive Texan released dozens of albums beginning in the ’80s and in 2018 told The Austin Chronicle that a new album was on the way. It has yet to be released.

Gift of History: Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., was recently presented with a bass guitar made from wood removed from the school’s historic building during a recent renovation. StoryWood Music partnered with bassist Ben Williams, an alumnus of the school, to create the instrument. The body of the bass was built from reclaimed heart pine beams from the original school building, while the neck was made from 100-year-old maple reclaimed from Creighton University’s old gymnasium and rock walnut that spent a century underwater in Panama. StoryWood Music, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, builds guitars and basses made exclusively from reclaimed or salvaged wood that has an interesting story behind it.


Guitar Competition: The 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition will be presented Dec. 2–3 in Washington, D.C. The first-place winner will receive $30,000 and Concord Music Group recording contract. Second-place and third-place winners will receive prizes of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. Fifty percent of each prize will be paid directly toward the winner’s future musical studies. The remaining funds may be applied toward music education expenses or career promotion.


Princeton Performances: Jazz at Princeton University, helmed by saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, has announced the schedule for its 2019–2020 season, which runs Oct. 12–May 9. Highlights include performances by student groups joined by guest artists, including Portuguese vocalist/composer Sara Serpa with her Intimate Strangers project, Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuña and Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto.


Production Major: Beginning in fall 2020, Interlochen Arts Academy students will be able to major in Music and Sound Production. Independent engineer, producer, arranger and vocalist Marc Lacuesta will lead the new program.


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July 2020
Makhathini, Davis, Muthspiel, Moore, Corea, Younger and Douglas, McBride
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