Archive for the ‘Howard Mandel’ Category

Howard Mandel’s Top 11 of 2009

December 8th 2009

My 11 top CDs of 2009 blow past conventions to enrich jazz, blues, new and unusual music. They’re chosen from almost 1000 I received for review — an abundance of fine releases since November 2008, the full year following Barack Obama’s election to president.

Maybe it’s coincidence that fresh thinking, spirited energy and practical creativity runs high  at this moment in history — or maybe it’s that 2009’s challenges require musicians like everyone else to find new answers to the tough questions: how to find joy amid gloom, work to harmonize and stand independently, keep the beat and take time out, too. The following CDs (most also available as MP3 downloads), are pleasures from the past 12 months I recommend for their surprises and soulfulness. Listed in no particular order. For complete annotations and a list of more-than-honorable mentions, see my blog posting.

Henry Threadgill Zooid, This Brings Us To, Vol. 1 (Pi)

The Thirteenth Assembly (Bynum, Fujiwara, Halvorson, Pavone), (un)sentimental (Important Records)

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Infermal Machines (New Amsterdam Records)

Charles Tolliver Big Band, Emperor March (Half Note)

Steve Lehman Octet, Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi)

Bela Fleck, Throw Down Your Heart, Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3: Africa Sessions (Rounder)

Kurt Elling, Dedicated to You (Concord

Keith Jarrett, Paris/London: Testament (ECM)

Indigo Trio (Mitchell-Bankhead-Drake), Anaya (Rogue Art)

Allen Toussaint, The Bright Mississippi (Nonesuch)

Digital Primitives, Hum Crackle and Pop (Hopscotch)

— Howard Mandel,, Down Beat, City Arts-New York, The Wire, So Jazz (see my cover interview with Keith Jarrett in the Dec 09 issue), NPR

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Jazz Awards comments from Konitz, Rudd

July 13th 2009

Lee Konitz, recipient of the JJA’s 2009 Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award wrote on July 2:

I want to thank you and your Jazz Journalists Colleagues for your acknowledgment of my life’s work. A great honor, to be sure.

My really greatest achievement is still being around to say thanks!! I’m playing more than ever — the travel is difficult (for everyone) but that’s what we’re paid for, after all.

I intend to continue playing nice, spontaneous variations on nice songs as long as possible. So, many heartfelt thanks.
Love, Lee

Roswell Rudd, named Trombonist of the Year by the JJA, wrote on June 26:

The special folks who have been able to experience
music performance and write about it in such a way that it continues the sound
(from sublingual to lingual)
I’ve always admired this

And you support us in so many ways

The annual awards get together is just one other

It’s great to see yourself and others who are skilled this way

You’re players too!
Many thanks for your work

Good health and happy landings

Roswell Rudd

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Videos: JJA 2009 Jazz Awards

July 11th 2009

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Howard Mandel: At the 2008 Jazz Awards

June 20th 2008

June 20, 2008 — The Jazz Awards, the 12th annual such celebration of excellence in music and music journalism produced in New York City by the Jazz Journalists Association, went off last Wednesday afternoon with plenty of highlights and nary a hitch. Hank Jones — voted Pianist of the Year — engaged in three bebop-referencing improvisations with big-toned tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, there was cool quartet music to start by The Miller Quartet (graduates of the New School and CUNY’s jazz program), an upbeat version of “I Love You Madly” sung by Roseanna Vitro, accompanied by pianist Mark Soskin, and a tear-up end set by trumpeter Igmar Thomas & the Cipher. But beyond the music itself, the event was star-studded — with appearances by Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia, 83-year-hip drummer Roy Haynes, NEA Jazz Masters including Candido Camero (awarded as Percussionist of the Year), Frank Wess, George Wein, Dan Morgenstern — and especially Maria Schneider, who won Awards as composer, arranger, leader of the large band and principal of Sky Blue, the Record of the Year.

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Howard Mandel: Splendors of Brooklyn

February 29th 2008

The move-to borough’s expanding scene: on a Saturday night the “creative music community” has a choice of alluring concerts.

Has it happened — Brooklyn become the center of the avant world?

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