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Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra to conclude 10th anniversary season on May 10-11

According to a news release, Arturo O’Farrill’s Grammy Award-winning ensemble, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, will conclude its 10th Anniversary season with a celebration titled, “Música Nueva 5: Big Band Poetry Jam & Beyond” at Symphony Space in New York City. 

Performance times are at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11, 2012, and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 12, 2012, at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street in New York City.
The program will celebrate the Nuyorican Poetry movement and the Latino community, and the artists will mix the classic sound of mambo, boogaloo, and salsa with hip-hop, acid jazz, and alternative improvisation. 

Additional guests for the evening include poet and curator Angel R. Rodríguez, Sr., as well as Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and turntablist DJ Logic. Spoken word artists include Sandra María EstevesTato LavieraOdilia Rivera SantosCaridad “La Bruja” De La LuzCirca ’95 (PattyDukes & RephStar), and Christopher “Chilo” Cajigas. The arrangers for the two-night engagement include O’Farrill, Todd BashoreAdam KromelowJason LindnerAdam O’FarrillJay Rodríguez, and Bill Ware. 

Founded in 2002 by O’Farrill to perform the full repertory of big band Afro Latin jazz and commission new works to advance this culturally rich genre, the ALJO was a resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center from 2002 to 2007. In 2007, the ALJO left Lincoln Center to pursue the twin goals of developing new audiences for big band Afro Latin jazz and of creating a robust educational program for young performers. O’Farrill founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance that same year to pursue both the performance and educational aspects of this uniquely pan-American art form.
The ALJO is currently in its fifth season in residence at Symphony Space, and it continues to tour nationally and internationally to critical acclaim, performing over the past several years at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston Symphony Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, The Joyce Theater (with Ballet Hispanico), Megaron Concert Hall (Athens, Greece), and the Taichung Jazz Festival (Taichung, Taiwan), among countless other venues. The ALJO received a Grammy nomination for its 2005 album, Una Noche Inolvidable (Palmetto), and in 2009 earned a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album for its release Song for Chico (Zoho). The Orchestra’s newest album, 40 Acres and a Burro (Zoho), was a 2012 Grammy nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.


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Jazz quartet Mole to release ‘What’s the Meaning?’ on RareNoiseRecords label on May 15

It was nearly eight years ago that Mexican born pianist-composer Mark Aanderud joined forces with Argentinian drummer Hernan Hecht. Their chemistry was immediate and natural. 

“The first things we did were all related to free music, with electronic elements or not, but always with the idea of creating songs or forms in the moment,” says Aanderud in a news release. “We do have some incredible magic going on, inasmuch as we can play concerts or record without ever speaking of music, and never repeating ideas or stifling development. This actually hasn’t changed over the years.” 
From their initial encounter, the two kindred spirits progressed to the formation of Mole (pronounced Mo-Lay), an exhilarating quartet that is breaking new ground in its approach to contemporary jazz with their auspicious RareNoiseRecords debut, What’s The Meaning?.

“I think this project is an inevitable spot in my career,” says Hecht, who is also a member of the RareNoiseRecords band Brainkiller. “It is our version of contemporary jazz, the sum of all the things we’ve heard and experienced in our lives related to jazz and everything else we have acquired; sounds of other music, other arts, the sense of song. It’s a freedom of expression, not determined by traditional jazz or directly from any line of traditional language learning. I am interested in music that is broad, not determined by a style.”
Though both Aanderud and Hecht would cringe at the prospect of being labeled a fusion band, Moledoes indeed fuse a variety of music styles, from jazz and rock to classical, funk and hip-hop. 

“I don’t really like the fusion concept, but of course with all the groove and electronic elements in our music it’s natural to think it sounds like fusion a little bit,” says Aanderud. “But I see us more in the same line as groups like Phronesis, e.s.t. and Kurt Rosenwinkel and in terms of electronic music, groups like Sigur Rós, Massive Attack and Radiohead.”
After a few years of exploring their chemistry together, Aanderud and Hecht began inviting other musicians into their inner circle to see how it affected their music.

 “We always considered the possibility of working with more people to achieve different characters, sounds and experience new artistic possibilities,” says Hecht. “So I instigated tours and recordings with Tim Berne, Rick Parker, Eli Degibri, Jonathan Kreisberg, Marco Renteria, Aaron Cruz and many more musicians, always with the desire of novelty.”
For their super-charged What’s the Meaning?, Aanderud and Hecht recruited New York guitarist David Gilmore, whose impressive list of credits includes tours and recordings with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Trilok Gurtu, Don Byron and Steve Coleman’s Five Elements.

“When we decided to tour with someone else from New York, to have new sounds and pressure to work with someone already recognized internationally, someone from which to learn with a shared philosophy and professionalism, we automatically thought of David Gilmore,” says Hecht.
Adds Aanderud, “There is probably no other guitarist as diverse in groove, time and the free approach as him. So it was easy to know he was the one we were looking for.”
Rounding out the quartet is Mexican upright bassist Jorge “Luri” Molina, whom Aanderud met years ago in their native country. 

“I’ve known Luri since I started playing jazz music,” says the keyboardist who is currently based in Prague. “We were still kids and we were starting to dig this music. He was a very straight-ahead player but he became one of the most charismatic and strong rhythm players I know, and an incredible musician who just understands any musical situation.”

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‘JAM Celebrity DJ Show: Kirk Whalum & Kevin Whalum’ on Sirius XM Watercolors 66

Watercolors celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month with an amazing lineup of contemporary jazz talent! This week, GRAMMY award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum teams up with vocalist (and brother) Kevin Whalum as your celeb DJs sharing stories about recreating the 1968 John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman duet recording, influential songs and what jazz means to them.

On-Air Time: 4/26, 12 Noon-2 p.m. Eastern
Rebroadcast: 4/28, 10 a.m.-12 Noon Eastern
Duration: 2 hours  (while you’re having lunch (EST) or breakfast (PST) !)
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Esperanza Spalding, Diana Krall & Trombone Shorty to perform at the 35th annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival

Esperanza Spalding,
Credit: Carlos Pericás

Esperanza Spalding, Diana Krall and Trombone Shorty will be performing at the 35th annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, scheduled on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1, 2012, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 108 Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga Springs, NY.

ESPERANZA SPALDING – Just one year after taking home a Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category, the bassist/vocalist performed a beautiful rendition of “What a Wonderful World” alongside the Southern California Children’s Choir at the 2012 84th Oscar Academy Awards in Los Angeles on February 26. She will perform on June 30.
 Diana Krall,
Credit: Courtesy of Artist
DIANA KRALL – The world-renowned artist and and one of the best-selling jazz vocalists of all time recently appeared with Paul McCartney on the 2012 Grammy Awards telecast in Los Angeles on February 12.  She will perform on July 1.
TROMBONE SHORTY – The New Orleans native trombone/trumpet phenomenon recently participated in a PBS televised performance at The White House as a part of the Black History Month celebration in Washington, D.C., on February 21.  Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will perform on July 1.

Trombone Shorty,
 Credit: Jane Richey
For more information on the 35th annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, go to
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Tavis Minner performs tonight at CD release party at Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

According to a recent news release, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame111 E. First Street (Upper Level) in Tulsa, OK, announces the following March performances: 
  • Tonight at 7 p.m., celebrate Tavis Minner’s latest album release, titled UNITY. Mr. Minner, who wrote, arranged, recorded, and produced the entire album, will be performing live, with copies of this great CD available for purchase.  
  • On Sunday, March 4, as part of the jazz hall’s Spring Series, vocalist and songwriter Cindy Cain performs at 5 p.m. the genre-hopping musical smorgasbord she calls “Don’t Fence Me In.”
  • “Tonight Show” superstar and Grammy-winning trumpeter Doc Severinsen will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6.
  • On Thursday, March 8, saxophonist Don Diego performs! An international performer, this crowd favorite will put on an energetic stage show with some blazing sax work. 
  • And at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 9, living legend Benny Golson comes to the Depot! Golson is the only living jazz artist to have written eight standards for jazz repertoire. His timeless tunes “Killer Joe,” “Whisper Not,” “Along Came Betty,” and “I Remember Clifford” have been recorded internationally and have become part of the Great American Songbook. During his career, Golson co-led theJazztet with Art Farmer, recorded the classic album Moanin’  with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and performed with musicians like Lionel Hampton, John Coltrane, and Red Garland.  

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Bassist & composer Linda Oh releases sophomore album “Initial Here” in May

On her follow-up album, Initial Herebassist/composer Linda Oh draws deeply upon her rich cultural heritage and broad range of inspirations to further define her musical autobiography.

“This album tells a story about identity,” Oh said in a news release. “Cultural identity and musical identity. I wanted to go in a few different directions to explore some more extreme emotions.”

Born in Malaysia to Chinese parents and raised in Western Australia, Oh arrived in New York five years ago with a love of jazz, early training in classical bassoon, and an adolescence spent playing electric bass in Aussie rock bands. All of that experience surfaces on Initial Here, from the in-the-tradition ballad playing on “Mr. M” to her buoyant electric basslines on “Deeper than Happy” and the mournful bassoon woven throughout “Thicker than Water.”

The quartet that Oh assembled to realize this eclectic blend of material in Initial Here are all equally adept at integrating diverse influences. Dayna Stephens is a graduate of both Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and is also a skilled bassist in his own right. Cuban-born pianist Fabian Almazan was a classmate of Oh’s at the Manhattan School of Music, where the two quickly formed a musical bond; Oh continues to perform in Almazan’s thrilling trio. And Rudy Royston has become the drummer of choice for artists as diverse as powerhouse saxophonist JD Allen, groundbreaking guitarist Bill Frisell, and forward-thinking bassist Ben Allison.

Family emerges as a major theme on Initial Here. A trip to Malaysia and China to visit long-unseen relatives made an enormous impact on the compositions for the album. It was Oh’s first trip to either country as an adult, and only her second time back in Malaysia since her family relocated to Australia when she was three years old. 

“It was an eye-opening trip,” she said. “It was nice to go as an adult and to hear the more personal stories that people never would talk about when you were a kid. And we visited Penang, Malaysia, where my great-grandfather was an artist and sculpted a temple. That was really inspiring to see.”

Initial Here will be released on May 22, 2012, on Greenleaf Music/eOne Distribution.

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Saxophonist Eldredge Jackson headlines All That Jazz event in Bartlesville

All That Jazz, an annual gala event of the Westside Community Center in Bartlesville, OK, will celebrate its 10th anniversary at 6 p.m. Saturday, February 18, at the Hillcrest Country Club (click here for map). This year’s musical lineup will feature the Mo Hemian Jazz Syndicate during dinner and, for the main entertainment, Tulsa jazz saxophonist Eldredge Jackson.

Jackson, a New Orleans-born saxophonist, who was raised in Tulsa, OK, has delighted audiences with his blend of traditional and smooth jazz peppered with a dash of gospel. Jackson has performed with a cross-section of urban jazz and R&B musicians such as Wayman Tisdale, Najee, Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Osborne, Angela Winbush, Stanley Jordan, Shirley Murdock, Con-Funk-Shun, Tom Braxton, and fellow Tulsans Charlie Wilson and The GAP Band.

Tax-deductible donations and proceeds from All That Jazz benefit the Westside Community Center’s youth programs. The Center has been a United Way agency since 1951. Today, the center focuses on uniting, nurturing and empowering local youth through programs such as the After School ZonePeaceful WarriorsSummer Enrichment, and Work Ethics (WE) Pro$per.

Tickets are $100 and include a raffle ticket for the evening’s showcased prizes. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Westside Community Center at (918) 336-6760 or email Executive Director Morris McCorvey at and include “All That Jazz” in the subject line.
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Hilton Portland and Executive Tower hosts Valentine’s Celebration with Kirk Whalum

According to a news release, Grammy Award winning jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum is the headliner of a “most romantic” dinner and concert at 7 p.m. February 14 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower in downtown Portland, Ore. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Hotel organizers have also included a one-night stay option with the purchase of dinner/concert tickets. Prices start at $35.

Whalum is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for his musical excellence including three Dove Award nominations, an NAACP Image Award nomination and has won two Stellar Awards-Gospel music’s highest honor. An eleven time Grammy nominee, Kirk won his first Grammy  award for Best Gospel Song (“It’s What I Do,” featuring Lalah Hathaway) alongside life-long friend and gifted writer, Jerry Peters. His most current releases (on Mack Avenue Records) are The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 3  (double CD & DVD) and Everything is Everything-the Music of Donny Hathaway.

For more info or tickets, go online to:
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Smooth jazz saxophonist Richard Elliot remains “In the Zone”

Richard Elliot invites loyal fans and newcomers alike to celebrate 25 years since the release of his debut album Initial Approach. Where’s the party? Where else – In the Zone, a grooving, funked up, horn splashed collection that finds the energized-as-ever tenor saxophonist paying homage to the pioneering instrumental artists of his formative years (’70s-early ’80s) whose brilliance and musical innovations inspired his own. 

“My original motivation for doing an album like In The Zone was the opportunity to reconnect with my earlier self, the musician I was when I first started out,” says Elliot in a new release. “The songs remind me of listening to my heroes in those days and seeing them perform live, feeling incredible joy and enthusiasm about the possibility of following in their footsteps. The wonderful thing is, so many years after I began performing professionally, I still feel that excitement. I love to play live more than anything. Under certain circumstances, the recording process can be arduous, but when you can tap into the kind on inspiration I draw from here, it’s a whole different, joyous experience. It’s all about feeling the same way I did back when I was 18 and dreaming that this could someday be my life.”

 Drawing on the influences of legends like Grover Washington, Jr., Bob James and David Sanborn, Elliot fashions the perfect contemporary jazz complement to Rock Steady, his 2009 recording that was inspired by the great R&B artists he grew up listening to; that collection debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart and remained on the list for over 40 weeks. In The Zone includes a simmering, hypnotic retro-soul cover of “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler),” a Marvin Gaye staple whose original instrumental version marked Washington’s first session as a leader. Beyond that, the collection is driven by nine powerful retro-flavored original songs penned by Elliot and co-producer Jeff Lorber, who share a colorful collaborative history over the past 10 years. 

Lorber, who began recording as leader of The Jeff Lorber Fusion in the late ’70s, brings his unique dual history as a Jazz Fusion pioneer and R&B producer/re-mixer to the session. In addition to his array of keyboards, including the Fender Rhodes, In The Zone features the input of longtime Elliot associates Nate Phillips (bass), Tony Moore and Lil’ John Roberts (drums), Dwight Sills and Michael Thompson (guitar), and percussionist Lenny Castro. 

“The interesting thing about my desire to pay homage to the wonderful array of R&B and jazz I grew up with on these last two recordings is that I actually wanted to do it as far back as Metro Blue,” says Elliot. “The music of the ’70s carved out a lot of where I wanted to go musically, and I felt this need to express some musical gratitude, not by doing a cover record but by incorporating a few familiar songs among originals that had references to my influences. Compared to Rock Steady, the vibe is definitely subtler on In The Zone, especially with David’s wonderfully sophisticated low-key horn arrangements, but the same love of that time is there. The vibe is the ’70s forerunner to the contemporary instrumental music that became popular in my own era as an artist.” 

Elliot is currently headlining on tour with Grammy award-winning guitarist Norman Brown. 

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Vibraphonist Warren Wolf to perform Nov. 16 at “The Checkout: Live From 92YTribeca”

Warren Wolf

Jazz vibraphonist Warren Wolf is set to perform at 92YTribeca in New York City at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 in support of his new self-titled, debut album (available on Mack Avenue Records). The performance is part of 92YTribeca and WBGO’s new series, The Checkout: Live From 92YTribeca, and is a shared double-bill with guitarist Lage Lund. The new series is syndicated and archived via Joining Wolf on-stage for the evening will be saxophonist Tim Green, pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Kris Funn and drummer John Lamkin. 
It’s no exaggeration to state that the release of Warren Wolf, makes it as apparent to jazz fans as it already is to jazz insiders that the 31-year-old vibraphonist is the next major voice on his instrument. Joined by a unit of authoritative swingers (bassist Christian McBride, pianist Peter Martin, drummer Greg Hutchinson, alto and soprano saxophonist Tim Green, and, on two tracks, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt), Wolf offers a ten-piece program that admirably represents his singular blend of efflorescent chops, muscular attack, lyric sensibility, harmonic acumen, encyclopedic knowledge of hardcore jazz vocabulary, tireless groove and downright musicality.
“I’m trying to bring forth what most cats did back in the day, coming out right at you swinging, nice and hard, not a lot of hard melodies or weird time signatures,” Wolf says in a news release. “I like to play really hard, fast and kind of flashy. I like to take it to a whole other level.”
The Checkout: Live From 92YTribeca is a new music series presented by 92YTribeca and WBGO, and created by WBGO’s Josh Jackson, host of the hour-long jazz radio program, The Checkout. The series pairs some of New York City’s most exciting jazz musicians and brings them to the mainstage at 92YTribeca for a live performance and broadcast on WBGO (as well as the station’s website, Portions of the recorded performance will also be used for future playback on The Checkout, as well as the show’s podcast, and syndicated and archived via The mainstage at 92YTribeca, 92nd Street Y’s downtown cultural venue, regularly features jazz as part of its eclectic offerings, which also include film, performance, visual art and a huge range of musical genres.   
“Our message is growing, and so are the ways we can deliver it – on a clear and consistent radio signal, on, and on mobile telephony,” says Jackson. We’re excited to work with 92YTribeca to create new opportunities to discover, engage, and build the jazz community.”