Monday, September 26, 2011

Guitarists Extraordinaire - Bob Stewart

A bona fide guitar hero and masterful improviser, John Scofield has covered a wide spectrum of musical styles with rare authority over the last four decades. From funk and fusion to swinging standards, rock-fueled jams, lush orchestral collaborations, earthy blues and old-time gospel music, Scofield has imbued each style with his distinctive six-string voice, earning accolades for his triumphs along the way. On "A Moment's Peace", Scofield and his all-star crew of keyboardist Larry Goldings, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade luxuriate in ballads associated with such legendary interpreters as Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone and John Coltrane, plus five new originals by the guitar great.

Meanwhile, Bill Frisell, whom the Wall Street Journal calls "the most innovative and influential guitarist of the last 25 years," focuses his new CD -- "All We Are Saying..." -- on the music of John Lennon. "John's music has been with me, the band, everybody, the world...seems like forever," explains Frisell. "The songs are part of us. In our blood. There was nothing we really needed to do to prepare for this. We've been preparing our whole lives. The songs were there. All we had to do was play them. Everyone involved with this has their own personal, deep, long relationship to John Lennon's music. It connects us all and brings us together. I feel blessed having the chance to play this music with these people."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Humphries Faith; Marsalis, Clapton & the Blues Bob Stewart

Drummer Roger Humphries has been on the jazz scene since 1962 when he joined Stanley Turrentine and Shirley Scott in Pittsburgh, then joined Horace Silver's quintet two years later and appeared on three of the pianist's classic recordings. Since then, he has provided the rhythmic beat for such greats as Ray Charles, Herbie Mann, Phil Woods, James Moody and Lee Morgan. "Keep the Faith" is the title of his brand new CD, just the third session on which he's been the leader. Humphries is in a classic jazz quintet setting with his regular group R.H. Factor, along with special guests including trumpeter Sean Jones.

New York City's premiere jazz venue got the blues last April when Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton performed together in Rose Hall for two sold-out shows dedicated to vintage blues. The extraordinary collaboration, billed as "Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues", paired these musical virtuosos with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as they brought to life a repertoire of songs selected by Clapton and arranged by Marsalis. The group combined the sound of an early blues jump-band with the sound of New Orleans jazz to accommodate the integration of the guitar/trumpet lead, a combination that gave the musicians the latitude to play different grooves, from the Delta to the Caribbean and beyond.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The American and Puerto Rican Songbooks - Bob Stewart

A collaboration that has spanned 18 years, the Tierney Sutton Band has garnered considerable critical praise throughout the world. The acclaimed vocalist is joined by instrumental virtuosi Christian Jacob, Trey Henry, Kevin Axt and Ray Brinker to form a partnership in musical unity. Together they have received three consecutive Grammy nominations, and received numerous nominations from the Jazz Journalists Association. With eight successful discs under their belt, they present their newest release -- "American Road" -- on which they devote themselves to reinventing the American songbook.

Many of the most cherished standards in jazz were born as popular songs which have served as a source of inspiration for jazz artists. They still do. Now, with "Alma Adentro: the Puerto Rican Songbook", saxophonist, composer and arranger Miguel Zenon brings that jazz tradition home-his homeland of Puerto Rico. The disc is comprised of ten pieces from a quintet of Puerto Rican songwriters, orchestrated by Argentine pianist, composer and arranger Guillermo Klein, and featuring Zenon's regular quartet augmented by a 10-piece wind ensemble. "This was not just about melodies and harmonies," says Zenon. "There was a deeper, more emotional connection here. I grew up with these songs and they all had a very special and lasting effect on me."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Remembering 9/11 - George

When the news broke of the the first plane crashing into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York Sept. 11, 2001, we at KCCK were just finishing up our 6-9 a.m. news and entertainment block.

Because it was apparent that big news was happening, we did twice-an-our updates on the situation throughout the rest of the day. Late that afternnon, we did an extended summary of the day's events from a world, national, state and local perspective. News Director George Dorman produced and anchored with interviews and reports by news producers Paulette Cott and Deb Williams and Station Manager Dennis Green. Gordon Paulsen was at the audio board in Master Control.

Our report was awarded First Place among Large Market Stations for Spot News Coverage for 2001 by the Iowa Broadcast News Association in the IBNA's annual news contest. Click here to listen to the report..

Monday, September 5, 2011

New World Flavors from Roditi and Figueroa - Bob Stewart

The work of trumpeter Claudio Roditi has inspired such accolades as "one of the very best performers in jazz" from the All Music Guide, earned praise from the Los Angeles Time for his "intelligence and music focus," and led the Chicago Reader to comment that Roditi has "a New York grasp of swing, the Brazilian gift for graceful and pungent lyricism, and an innate sense of how best to combine them in any given piece." In addition to leading his own band on 20 or so albums, he's worked in the bands of McCoy Tyner, Herbie Mann, Paquito D'Rivera, and others. For his new disc -- "Bons Amigos" -- Roditi and his quintet focus on a program of songs from his homeland of Brazil.

It's not every day that a distinguished sideman becomes a successful leader in his own right. But that hasn't stopped legendary percussionist Sammy Figueroa from becoming one of the most exciting artists in Latin jazz today. After many years of playing with jazz masters like Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis, Figueroa formed his own band, the Latin Jazz Explosion. On the heels of two Grammy-nominated discs, he and his band unveil "Urban Nature" -- recorded in Miami and reflecting the rich scene of Venezuelans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and other cultures that are currently percolating there, creating a whole new sound for Latin jazz.