The Jazz Session #327: Amir ElSaffar

Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar’s new CD is Inana (Pi Recordings, 2011). In this interview, ElSaffar explains maqam music and his decision to spend five years studying it in depth; how he plays microtonal music on a standard Bb trumpet; and his particular combination of traditional Arabic music with jazz. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter at @amirelsaffar.

The Jazz Session #326: Mike Baggetta

Guitarist Mike Baggetta’s new CD is Source Materials. In this interview, Baggetta talks about his compositional process and how he writes for specific ensembles; his experiments with prepared guitar in both solo and duet formats; and how he approaches playing standards. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter at @mabnotes.

The Jazz Session #325: Joan Stiles

Pianist Joan Stiles’ new CD is Three Musicians, featuring Joel Frahm and Matt Wilson. In this interview, Stiles talks about playing without a bassist; how visual art and music come together in her life; and her collage-based approach to playing standards. Learn more at

The Jazz Session #324: Tim Hagans

Trumpeter Tim Hagans’ new CD is The Moon Is Waiting (Palmetto Records, 2011). In this interview, Hagans talks about his special relationship with his drummer of choice; how he worked with a choreographer to write some of the music on the new album; and how he’s evolved over the years as a composer for large and small ensembles. Learn more at

The Jazz Session #323: Andrea Wolper

Vocalist Andrea Wolper’s new CD is Parallel Lives (Jazzed Media, 2011). In this interview, Wolper talks about her unfettered and very personal approach to song choice and performance; how poetry influences her work; and her parallel life as an activist for social justice. Learn more at and follow her on Twitter at @AndreaWolper.