NPR Music: Take Five’s Top 10 Jazz Records Of 2009

December 7, 2009


The weekly NPR Music column Take Five reached out to ten of its contributors to ask each for his/her favorite jazz album of 2009.

The resulting Top 10 list, posted yesterday, features Darcy James Argue‘s Infernal Machines, which continues to build its case as one of the most acclaimed jazz releases of the year.

“Argue makes his Secret Society debut with Infernal Machines,” writes Josh Jackson, host of WBGO’s The Checkout, “and he introduces a band that pulses like a steam locomotive. His compositions don’t punk the idea of jazz orchestra. Instead, they expand its source code to include organized sound from today and references beyond the time when large ensembles were de facto. Elements of classical minimalism, anthemic rock, and Ellingtonia meet a cast of improvisers who make this jazz in every way. It would be a shame to keep this kind of originality a secret.”

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Darcy James Argue On NPR

October 13, 2009

In case you missed it, a story about Darcy James Argue and his innovative 18-piece big band Secret Society called “A Jazz Band Worth Blogging About” aired this afternoon on NPR’s All Things Considered.

The profile featured interviews by Patrick Jarenwattananon, who also posted additional thoughts and more quotes from Argue on NPR’s jazz blog, A Blog Supreme.


Steve Lehman Trio At Firehouse 12 Tonight

October 9, 2009
Photo by Dominik Huber

Photo by Dominik Huber

Tonight at 8:30 and 10:00 p.m., New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will present innovative saxophonist/composer Steve Lehman and his trio, featuring bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Damion Reid, performing scaled down arrangements from his acclaimed new octet release, Travail, Transformation and Flow (Pi Recordings), as well as other music.

Lehman’s record, which daringly integrates elements of spectral harmony into jazz, has collected a long list of positive reviews (including this one on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross), and led critics to call him “an inspired talent” (John Fordham, The Guardian) and “a major force in jazz’s avant-garde” (Michael J. West, Washington City Paper) who is “thinking about jazz in a new way” (Will Layman, PopMatters.com) by opening “his own corridor of exploration” (Nate Chinen, New York Times).

Learn more about Lehman, his music and his longstanding connection to the area in feature articles in this week’s New Haven Advocate and yesterday’s Hartford Courant.


NPR Jazz: KLANG At The Chicago Jazz Festival

September 12, 2009
Photo by Jason Marck (WBEZ)

Photo by Jason Marck (WBEZ)

NPR Jazz blogger Patrick Jarenwattananon recalls KLANG‘s “inventive set of Goodman-inspired originals and re-arrangements from clarinetist James Falzone” in a new post highlighting 10 of his favorite moments from this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival.

He notes the group “just released an album as cleanly executed as its name, Tea Music, might imply. But it was an exquisite treat to hear him re-score ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy,’ ‘Memories of You,’ ‘Six Appeal’ and other Goodman repertoire in a sort of 21st century, post-Jimmy Giuffre version of small group swing.”

Tea Music features all original music from the band’s usual repertoire and quartet line-up with vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy, but you can hear this special edition of the band, dubbed KLANG: The Goodman Project, featuring special guest guitarist Dave Miller, in this recorded live performance on Chicago Public Radio’s Eight-Forty-Eight.


Friday Links

May 22, 2009

Here are a few linx links worth passing along in brief this week:

NPR has a new dedicated jazz blog called A Blog Supreme that, the name notwithstanding, we heartily endorse following closely.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced the 2010 class of NEA Jazz Masters, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Bobby Hutcherson and Yusef Lateef. This is the nation’s highest honor for a jazz musician.

CDBaby has announced its newly redesigned site, which will offer individual track downloads for the first time, will launch in July.


Act Like You Know: Ornette Coleman

March 9, 2009
Photo by Jimmy Katz

Photo by Jimmy Katz

NPR’s Patrick Jarenwattananon and Lars Gotrich offer a guide to understanding Ornette Coleman in five easy steps, posted in honor of his 79th birthday.

This is part of the site’s ongoing series, Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler.


Mary Halvorson Featured On NPR Music

February 12, 2009

The Mary Halvorson Trio‘s December 22nd performance/interview on WNYC’s Soundcheck is now being featured on the NPR Music Web site.

The 16-minute segment includes Ms. Halvorson speaking about a number of career and music-related topics, as well as live performances of two tracks from the trio’s acclaimed 2008 debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records).

Ms. Halvorson and her trio, along with special guests Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) and Jon Irabagon (saxophone), will perform at Roulette in New York on Friday night.