Archive for August, 2011

August 29th 2011
The Jazz Session #305: Ben Syversen

Posted under Podcast & Trumpeters

Trumpeter Ben Syversen’s most recent record is Cracked Vessel (2010). In this interview, Syversen talks about the wealth of inspiration available in New York; how authors such as Roberto Bolagno have influenced his music; and why it’s important for him to write for specific musicians. Learn more at bensyversen.com and follow him on Twitter at @bensyversen.

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August 26th 2011
Spreading the love: The Field Negro Guide To Arts & Culture

Posted under TJS In The News


I’m a big fan of a podcast called The Field Negro Guide To Arts & Culture, hosted by guitarist Vernon Reid and comedian W. Kamau Bell. I like smart people anyway, but these two guys are particularly inspiring on a variety of topics both in — and far beyond — their chosen fields. So I was thrilled when I saw that their Producer Extraordinaire, Alex Thornton, posted this on their site. Thanks, guys.

By the way, you can follow all three members of the FNGTAC crew on Twitter:

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August 25th 2011
The Jazz Session #304: Carmen Staaf

Posted under Pianists & Podcast

Pianist Carmen Staaf’s most recent CD is a trio recording called Eye To Eye (2011). In this interview, Staaf talks about duo and trio playing; her travels to India; and how her music has been affected by everything from anthropology to meditation. Learn more at www.carmenstaaf.com and follow her on Twitter at @carmenstaaf.

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August 22nd 2011
The More You Know: Music Biz Edition

Posted under Jazz Writing & Podcast

Earlier today I started tweeting a series of snarky tips for musicians and music industry folks. They were retweeted quite a bit, so I decided to collect them all here. You can follow me on Twitter at @jasondcrane. Enjoy!

  • Every time your web site begins playing music automatically, a puppy spontaneously combusts.
  • Every time someone is forced to visit myspace to learn more about your music, a baby seal falls into a meat grinder.
  • If you’re an active musician whose web site was last updated a few months ago, you’re causing global warming.
  • Every time you send out a promo CD with no track titles or musician names, a butterfly flaps its wings and they fall off.
  • Every time someone visits your gig calendar and finds it was last updated in 2009, Dick Cheney shoots a guy in the face.
  • Every time your bio lists your “forthcoming CD” as one that came out 3 years ago, George W. Bush chops down a redwood.
  • Every time you make me type your CD details into my music software because you forgot, Donald Rumsfeld has an orgasm.
  • Every time you put a comment form rather than your email address on your web site, an old person loses their health care.
  • Every time your bio is a long list of the people you’ve “shared the stage with,” more oil spills into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Musicians: If you have a Twitter account & haven’t tweeted in weeks or months, you don’t have a Twitter account.

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August 22nd 2011
The Jazz Session #303: Ron Carter

Posted under Bassists & Podcast

Bassist Ron Carter’s 1973 CTI recording All Blues has just been reissued. In this interview, Carter talks about the making of the album and how he chose the band; why he thinks jazz schools need a broader vision; and why he supports labor unions. Learn more at roncarter.net.

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August 22nd 2011
PHOTOS & RECAP: Nico Soffiato at Goodbye Blue Monday

Posted under Live shows

I headed to Goodbye Blue Monday in Bushwyck, Brooklyn, to see guitarist Nico Soffiato as part of his monthly residency there. He plays on the third Saturday of every month, usually with his trio plus a special guest. This month’s guest was saxophonist Noah Kaplan. Nico has been my guest on The Jazz Session.

Here are my photos and tweets from the show. If you’d like to get these photos and tweets as they’re happening, follow me on Twitter.

From Nico Soffiato at Goodbye Blue Monday – August 2011

“Nico Soffiato’s band exploring the jagged edge at Goodbye Blue Monday”

From Nico Soffiato at Goodbye Blue Monday – August 2011

Nico Soffiato plays as vocalist Rosalie Kaplan looks on. She and saxophonist Noah Kaplan are in the band dollshot together.

From Nico Soffiato at Goodbye Blue Monday – August 2011

“Really enjoyed Nico Soffiato’s set at Goodbye Blue Monday. He’s got a great ear for experimenting with guitar sounds”

From Nico Soffiato at Goodbye Blue Monday – August 2011

“Skronk jazz from Noah Kaplan and Nico Soffiato”

From Nico Soffiato at Goodbye Blue Monday – August 2011

“I’m impressed with how often Nico Soffiato lays out, even at his own gig. Serve the music first.”

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August 22nd 2011
PHOTOS and RECAP: The Hands Down and Baudolino’s Dilemna at The Local 269

Posted under Live shows

I went to The Local 269 on Houston Street recently to see an evening of adventurous music. I was there for two of the four bands — The Hands Down (with Jessica Lurie, Ben Syversen, Brian Drye, Michael Bates and Sean Dixon) and Baudolino’s Dilemna (with Ken Filiano, Stephen Haynes, Warren Smith and Michael TA Thompson). Both bands were excellent, and Stephen Haynes in particular blew me away. I’ve interviewed three of the performers from the two bands: Brian Drye, Ken Filiano and Stephen Haynes. Ben Syversen will be my guest on August 29.

The Hands Down

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

Baudolino’s Dilemna

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

From The Hands Down and Baudolino's Dilemna at The Local 269

And here’s what it looked like outside when I left.

1 Comment »

August 22nd 2011
PHOTOS & RECAP: Amy Cervini’s Jazz Country at 55 Bar

Posted under Live shows

I always enjoy hearing Amy Cervini sing. First of all, she’s got a fantastic voice and she knows how to use it. She’s also totally unashamed to sing the music she loves. And she hires great musicians. All those things were in sharp focus recently during her show at the 55 Bar in NYC, where her Jazz Country project played. The band this time featured Matt Aronoff on bass and Jesse Lewis on guitar. I wrote a poem inspired by the show and also took photos and sent out tweets. If you want to get these tweets and photos while the shows are happening, follow me on Twitter. Enjoy!

From Amy Cervini at 55 Bar – August 2011

” inventive, charming, joyous”

From Amy Cervini at 55 Bar – August 2011

From Amy Cervini at 55 Bar – August 2011

“Jesse Lewis is channeling David Gilmour on a gorgeous version of ‘Calling You’ from Baghdad Cafe”

From Amy Cervini at 55 Bar – August 2011

“King Cole Trio vibe now with a swinging version of ‘Frim Fram Sauce'”

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August 18th 2011
The Jazz Session #302: Renee Yoxon

Posted under Podcast & Vocalists

Renée Yoxon is a vocalist from Ottawa, Ontario. Her debut recording, Let’s Call It A Day, is a duet album with guitarist René Gely. In this interview, Yoxon talks about the jazz scene in Ottawa; how she started singing standards and why she still does; and how her science background has influenced the way she approaches the physicality of singing. Learn more at www.reneeyoxon.com and follow her on Twitter at @reneeyoxon.

2 Comments »

August 15th 2011
The Jazz Session #301: Jamie Saft

Posted under Pianists & Podcast

Pianist and keyboardist Jamie Saft explores his love for reggae, dub and improvisation on New Zion Trio (Veal Records, 2011). In this interview, Saft talks about the merger of those disparate musical elements; why he doesn’t write music on paper; and why he’d rather hear Slayer than “Stella By Starlight.” Learn more at www.jamiesaft.com.

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August 14th 2011
PHOTOS & RECAP: Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam

Posted under Live shows

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

On Saturday (August 13, 2011) I headed to ibeam here in Brooklyn for a duo performance by two musicians I’d never seen live — pianist Carmen Staaf and bassist Kendall Eddy. I’d heard a bit of Staaf’s work online (and knew her a bit via social media), but I didn’t really know what to expect.

In a phrase: I was extremely impressed.

Staaf is an incredibly melodic player whose technique is so solid that she can effortlessly execute whatever comes to mind, a talent she displayed on uptempo bop tunes and her own contemplative compositions. Eddy was a great foil for Staaf. He’s a sensitive player with great fluidity over the entire range of the bass. A solid arco player, too.

The whole program was strong and enjoyable, with the two standouts for me being Staaf’s composition “Nymphs of the Milky Way” and their lush rendition of the Cuban classic “Los Tres Golpes.”

Here are my photos and tweets from the gig. If you’d like to get this content while it’s happening, follow me on twitter at @jasondcrane. And please visit the online homes of Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy.

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

“Look out! Some serious Cuban piano happening right now with @carmenstaaf – and they’re still just warming up! #cachao”

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

“Really clever reworking (or maybe contrafact) of a Monk tune by @carmenstaaf”

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

“Kendall Eddy channeling Cachao”

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

“@carmenstaaf’s ‘Nymphs of the Milky Way’ was gorgeous. She’s such a melodic writer and improviser.”

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

“Now into ‘Gone With The Wind.’ Quite a switch”
“Now onto a Kenny Wheeler tune. I think.”
“Closing out with some bop.”

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

From Carmen Staaf and Kendall Eddy at ibeam (Aug 13, 2011)

“They had one more in them. A lovely, contrapuntal version of ‘All The Things You Are.'”

1 Comment »

August 11th 2011
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Posted under Podcast & Site Updates

We made the goal just before 2 p.m. ET. What can I say? I’m humbled and amazed. These last 24 hours have seen such a huge outpouring of support for this program. Here they are: The Jazz Session 100.

Thank you.


Jason Crane

P.S. — I can always use more members, so please keep spreading the word. You can join here.

2 Comments »

August 11th 2011
The Jazz Session #300: Planetary Unknown

Posted under Bands & Bassists & Drummers & Pianists & Podcast & Saxophonists

For The Jazz Session’s 300th episode, a rare chance to sit down with four musical veterans: David S. Ware, William Parker, Cooper-Moore and Muhammad Ali. The four have just released Planetary Unknown (Aum Fidelity, 2011). This interview was recorded in the dressing room just after their performance at the 2011 Vision Festival. In this interview, they talk about the spiritual side of music; give advice to young musicians; and tell stories from their 100+ years as performers. Learn more at Aum Fidelity’s Planetary Unknown page.

NOTE: Today (August 11, 2011) is the final day of the “100 By 300” membership campaign and I haven’t quite reached my goal. Please support the show by joining today for as little as $10 a month.

Tracks used in this episode: Passage Wudang; Shift; Duality Is One; Divination; Crystal Palace; Ancestry Supramental.

Three of the four members of this band have been on The Jazz Session before:

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August 10th 2011
Photos & Recap: David Binney at 55 Bar

Posted under Live shows & Podcast

The last time I saw saxophonist David Binney‘s band at the 55 Bar in NYC, I made the mistake of getting there at 10:30 for a 10:15 set, which meant I was so far back I was almost outside on the sidewalk. That’s because Binney packs the place every time he plays. (David was on The Jazz Session earlier this year. Listen to the interview.)

From David Binney at 55 Bar – 8/9/11

Tonight I was smarter and got there in plenty of time to get a seat right next to the band. They did not disappoint. Binney was joined by Dan Weiss on drums, Eivind Opsvik on bass and Jacob Sacks on Fender Rhodes. It was a fantastic show and I had a front row seat. Here are some of my photos and tweets from the evening. If you’d like to get this content while I’m tweeting it, just follow me on Twitter at @jasondcrane. (P.S. — Thank you to the wonderful server at 55 Bar who charged my phone and thus allowed this post to exist. I don’t know your name but you’re fantastic!)

From David Binney at 55 Bar – 8/9/11

“@davidbinney notes: DB’s band started at a level of intensity at which most bands end their shows. A whirlwind.”
“Dan Weiss is wearing a shirt that says I Hate Mayonnaise.”
“Jacob Sacks is a very impressive Rhodes player who looks like Geddy Lee.”

From David Binney at 55 Bar – 8/9/11

“Eivind Opsvik’s groove is why the word ‘deep’ exists.”

From David Binney at 55 Bar – 8/9/11

“I love David’s sound. Like a sword wrapped in silk.”

From David Binney at 55 Bar – 8/9/11

“Very intense unaccompanied saxophone solo”
“@davidbinney is driving a steamroller into a crowded mall right now.”

From David Binney at 55 Bar – 8/9/11

“rhythm section stretching out”

From David Binney at 55 Bar – 8/9/11

“Zero pretense. Everything is in service of the music.”
“Dan Weiss. Goddamn.”

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August 8th 2011
The Jazz Session #299: Tyshawn Sorey

Posted under Drummers & Podcast

Tyshawn Sorey is a forward-looking, broad-thinking player and composer who refuses to be categorized. In this interview, he talks about his use of silence; interesting ways to set up the drums; and perceptions of African-American composers. Learn more at http://www.tyshawnsorey.net/.

Tracks used in this episode: (from Koan) Awakening; (from Paradoxical Frog) Homograph; (from Koan) Only One Sky; (from That/Not) That’s Blues, Right; Permutations For Solo Piano; (from Koan) Embed.

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August 4th 2011
The Jazz Session #298: Ingrid Laubrock

Posted under Podcast & Saxophonists

Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock’s most recent album is The Madness Of Crowds (Intakt, 2011) with the band Sleepthief. She’s also part of the trio Paradoxical Frog with Kris Davis and Tyshawn Sorey. In this interview, Laubrock talks about her self-taught entry into improvised music; her collaborations with a variety of musicians; and why she went back to study standards even though she doesn’t often play them. Learn more at www.ingridlaubrock.com/pages/home.htm.

Programming note: Due to a technical problem, I lost part of this interview. My apologies to Ingrid. I’ll have her back on the show for a longer conversation.

Tracks used in this episode: Entraordinary Popular Delusions; You Never Know What’s In The Next Room; The Slow Poisoners; There She Goes With Her Eye Out; Hindsight Is Always 20-20.

3 Comments »

August 1st 2011
The Jazz Session #297: Kyoko Kitamura & Jen Baker

Posted under Podcast & Trombonists & Vocalists

An interview and performance with vocalist Kyoko Kitamura and trombonist Jen Baker, recorded live at Downtown Music Gallery in Manhattan. In this interview, Kitamura and Baker talk about collective improvisation; building a new vocabulary; and the structures of their compositions. Learn more at kyokokitamura.com and baker7jenz.com/home.html.

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