Thursday, June 26, 2008

Notes from the Net: More on Miles From India,
an appreciation of Oliver Nelson, plus reviews, interviews and more

It's now officially summer time, and the linkin' is yet another collection of news bits about jazz musicians with a St. Louis connection, recent visitors and coming attractions, pus assorted other items of interest:

* First up, some links related to the Miles Davis-inspired project Miles From India, starting with another review of the two-CD set, written by's John Luciano. The CDs have also spawned a limited series of concerts, including one in Los Angeles, reviewed here, and one in San Francisco that inspired an article about how the jazz now is incorporating musical influences from all over the world, Last but not least, has an interview about the project with former Davis sideman, guitarist Pete Cosey (pictured).

* The film blog Cinema Styles recently had a nice appreciation of saxophonist and St. Louis native Oliver Nelson's film and TV scoring, with an accompanying .mp3 of his composition "A Typical Day in New York."

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake is featured in Breakin' Glass, a new book in the Photonality Jazz Series

* Saxophonist and composer John Zorn recently designed a sound installation/experiment for a San Francisco museum.

* Composer, sound artist and St. Louis native Ben Manley is taking part in NYC performance space Roulette's annual Mixology Festival, which focuses on new and unusual uses of technology in music.

* Here's a review of No Strangers Here, bassist Ben Wolfe's new CD from the St. Louis-based MAXJAZZ label, and a review of Wolfe's recent gig at NYC's Jazz Standard.

* Check out these two interviews with saxophonist John Ellis, who guests on the new Erin Bode CD The Little Garden - one in print from, the other on radio with blogger and DJ LeRoy "The Jazzcat" Downs.

* The Return to Forever reunion tour, which came through St. Louis last week for a date at the Fox Theatre, is getting lots of press, starting with news that group's two-CD Anthology has been released; the collection gets an "extended analysis" here. Also, check out reviews of the band's shows in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles, and this interview with drummer Lenny White in Drum Magazine

* Since playing at Jazz at the Bistro last October, bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding's star has contined to rise. She recently was interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered, and the New York Times has reviewed her new CD.

* Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, who's performed in St. Louis at both the Bistro and the Sheldon Concert Hall , has released a new CD devoted to the songs of Richard Rodgers

* Singer Paula West will perform at the Sheldon next season; here's a review of her recent gig in Charleston, SC.

* Trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Richard Elliot have been added to the lineup of this fall's Dave Koz Cruise, produced by St. Louis-based Jazz Cruises LLC. Braun, Elliot and Koz all will perform at The Pageant this summer.

* Pianist Les McCann and saxophonist Javon Jackson, who will team up for a four-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro in October, were a last-minute replacement for pianist McCoy Tyner at the jazz festival earlier this month in Telluride, CO.

* The National Endowment for the Arts has announced its 2009 Jazz Masters honorees, including guitarist and singer George Benson, drummer Jimmy Cobb, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, guitarist and harmonica player Toots Thielemans and trumpeter Snooky Young. Recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder will receive the 2009 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.

* Last but not least, composer and blogger Darcy James Argue recently had a couple of insightful and amusing posts about the phenomenon of "fan service," which he defines as "a marker or signifier that serves no legitimate aesthetic purpose, but is there to stroke those in the in-crowd while simultaneously alienating even the most sophisticated and open-minded newbies."

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