Archive for February, 2012

February 27th 2012
The Jazz Session #350: Jimmy Heath

Posted under Podcast & Saxophonists

The Jazz Session celebrates its fifth anniversary with one of the giants of the music, saxophonist and composer Jimmy Heath. In this interview, Heath talks about his early days as a writer and arranger; his Queens neighborhood and its importance to jazz history; why he loves the sound of a big band; and how he keeps himself moving forward and growing at this stage in his career. He also shares a fax of a 1947 concert poster, received the morning of the interview, with some hilarious text. Learn more at

CONTEST: I’m giving away 55 CDs to celebrate the 5th anniversary of The Jazz Session. Listen to the show to learn how to win.


February 23rd 2012
The Jazz Session #349: Darcy James Argue

Posted under Composers & JazzDIY & Podcast

Composer Darcy James Argue’s latest work is a multimedia piece called Brooklyn Babylon. In this interview, he tells the amazing story of how he and visual artist Danijel Zezelj created the piece; goes behind the scenes of the composition and the technical aspects of producing such a large work; and also talks about a performance on March 9, 2012 at which his band Secret Society will play his works and the works of other composers. Learn more at, see much more of Brooklyn Babylon at and follow Darcy on Twitter at @darcyjamesargue.

NOTE: This interview is part of a new monthly collaboration with JazzDIY, the online journal for the 21st century jazz musician. Visit to see a video interview with Darcy James Argue in which he talks about the business of music.

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February 20th 2012
The Jazz Session #348: The Wee Trio

Posted under Bands & Bassists & Drummers & Podcast & Vibraphonists

The Wee Trio is James Westfall (vibes), Dan Loomis (bass) and Jared Schonig (drums). Their new album is Ashes To Ashes: A David Bowie Intraspective. In this interview, the trio talks about why they chose David Bowie — and why they were initially reluctant to do so; how they managed an 8,000-mile tour across the United States; and what makes the trio work as a unit. Learn more at and follow them on Twitter at @weetrois.

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February 16th 2012
The Jazz Session #347: Aaron Staebell

Posted under Drummers & Podcast

Drummer Aaron Staebell’s new CD is Bending and Breaking (2011). In this interview, Staebell talks about smashing different sounds and styles together to see what works; how a visit from John Hollenbeck caused him to finally perform his own compositions in public; why it’s important for him that his compositions have stories behind them; and why he likes living and working in Rochester, NY. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter at @aaronstaebell.


February 13th 2012
The Jazz Session #346: Ben Wendel

Posted under Podcast & Saxophonists

Saxophonist Ben Wendel’s new CD is Frame (Sunnyside Records, 2012). In this interview, Wendel talks about composing the music for the album; his proclivity for long musical lines; and the many and varied writing projects he’s been involved in recently. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter at @benwendel.

CONCERT NOTE: Ben Wendel will be performing CD release shows for Frame at The Jazz Gallery in New York City on February 17 and 18. Details here.

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February 10th 2012
The Jazz Session #345: Sue Mingus

Posted under Podcast & Promoters

Sue Mingus has been guiding bassist Charles Mingus’s legacy since he died in 1979. She is the author of Tonight At Noon (Random House/Pantheon, 2002), a memoir of her life with Mingus. In this interview, Sue Mingus talks about the fourth annual Mingus High School Competition and Festival, happening this month in New York; how to bring Mingus’s music to the current generation of musicians; why she feels differently now about going after music pirates; her memoir and the idea of memory; and what lies ahead for the music and legacy of Charles Mingus.

NOTE: See a complete calendar of the Mingus High School Competition and Festival and also the performance schedule of the Mingus ensembles.

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February 7th 2012
The Jazz Session #344: Tim Berne

Posted under Podcast & Saxophonists

Saxophonist Tim Berne’s new band and album are both called Snakeoil (ECM, 2012). In this interview, Berne talks about what he looks for in new band members; what inspires him to compose; and why he believes the digital era has harmed independent record labels. Learn more at

ON TOUR: Snakeoil is touring the US and Europe. Visit Berne’s site for tour dates.


February 2nd 2012
The Jazz Session #343: Noah Kaplan

Posted under Podcast & Saxophonists

Saxophonist Noah Kaplan’s new CD is Descendants (Hat Hut, 2011) with Joe Morris on guitar, Giacomo Merega on bass and Jason Nazary on drums. In this interview, Kaplan talks about his life-changing studies with Joe Maneri; why classical music theory was important to his musical development; and how he approaches collective improvisation. Learn more at

CONCERT NOTE: The Noah Kaplan Quartet performs Friday, February 3, 2012 at Douglass Street Music Collective (295 Douglass St. Brooklyn, NY) at 8 p.m.

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