The Jazz Session #450: Cat Toren

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Cat Toren is a Canadian pianist living in New York. She’s about to release an album called Inside The Sun featuring music she’s written since moving to New York five years ago. This episode contains a sneak peek at some music from that album. In this interview, Toren talks about making the switch from classical piano to jazz; choosing between New York City and Berlin; finding ways to be contemplative in one of the world’s largest cities; and why she feels improvisation is a collective activity. Learn more at cat-toren.com.

The Jazz Session #449: Jasmine Lovell-Smith

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Soprano saxophonist Jasmine Lovell-Smith’s debut album is Fortune Songs. In this interview, Lovell-Smith talks about the long road from her native New Zealand to Brooklyn to Connecticut to her current home in Mexico; why she stopped playing music, and how she found the inspiration to start again; her early love of Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins; and her upcoming recording projects. Learn more at jasminelovellsmith.com.

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The Jazz Session #448: Mike Bono

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Guitarist Mike Bono’s first album is From Where You Are. In this interview, Bono talks about discovering jazz on the radio as a teenager and how it changed his life; the sweet pizza-parlor gig that helped him learn standards; his time at the Berklee school of music; and his recent appearance at the Sundance Film Festival in a tribute to Nina Simone. Learn more at mikebonomusic.com.

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BONUS: I asked my parents and sister to record the intro for this episode. It did not go well.

The Jazz Session #447: Reggie Quinerly

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Drummer Reggie Quinerly’s new album is Invictus (Redefinition Music, 2015). In this interview, he talks about how a poem from the 19th century informs his career and writing; why he wanted to make an album that doesn’t sound like a “drummer’s record;” his relationship with one of his mentors, Lester Grant; and the need for musicians to control their own destinies. Learn more at reggiequinerly.com.

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The Jazz Session #446: Akua Dixon

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Cellist Akua Dixon has just released a self-titled solo album that features arrangements she’s written for a variety of ensembles and occasions, but never had the chance to record. In this interview, Dixon talks about her career as a performer and arranger, going all the way back to the band at the Apollo; the traditional and innovative ways she arranges for string quartet; the shameful lack of African-American musicians in American orchestras today; and her time playing with many musical giants, including Max Roach. Learn more at akuadixon.com.

BUY THIS ALBUM AND SUPPORT THE JAZZ SESSION AT THE SAME TIME.