Archive for the ‘Artist Profile’ Category

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Rudresh Mahanthappa 

From DownBeat:

Rudresh Mahanthappa wasn’t interested in hearing Blue. I had offered to play some of the controversial note-for-note reconstruction of Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue by the band Mostly Other People Do the Killing, but the alto saxophonist declined. Repeating jazz history has never interested him much. Mahanthappa, 43, prefers taking jazz to new places, whether on his dozen or so acclaimed, wide-ranging albums as a leader, or in collaboration with artists such as Vijay Iyer, Bunky Green, Danilo Pérez, Jack DeJohnette and Rez Abbasi.

English: *description: Ken Vandermark photogra...

Ken Vandermark 

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Chicago saxophonist Ken Vandermark is one of the most persuasive, personified arguments for why every state’s liquor laws should be amended to allow minors to attend concerts if accompanied by a parent or guardian. While still in his tweens, Ken was enjoying jazz clubs in his hometown of Boston at the side of his father Stu, who wrote for jazz/improv bible Cadence Magazine. “I was out three nights a week at hundreds of shows like Art Blakey and Johnny Griffin. That’s where I fell in love with jazz, figuring out that they were playing the same pieces different ways every night. I was captivated by that.” His epiphany arrived when his dad gave him free-jazz saxophonist Joe McPhee’s “Tenor” album at the age of 17 from a stack of Cadence promos.

From the Chicago Reader:

Since the early 90s the Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker has been a key force in transforming the focus of the sound of jazz in her homeland. For decades jazz in Copenhagen largely replicated the sound of American bop, in large part because heavies like Dexter Gordon, Kenny Drew, and Ben Webster had taken up residence there for long spells during their careers; their presence had a deep effect on local players. Anker was one of the folks who pushed against that grain, performing an edgier, more improvisational sound. Now 56, Anker doesn’t rest on those laurels—instead, she’s continued to push against the status quo, placing herself in new, more challenging situations. A couple of recordings released late last year reflect that widening perspective with stunning results.

Ken Vandermark, at "Sonore" concert,...

Ken Vandermark


If any single artist can be viewed as an artistic focal point for Lexington’s long-running Outside the Spotlight Series of improvisational and free jazz-based performances, it would be Ken Vandermark.

From the combustible baritone saxophone work he added to the Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet when OTS made its bow at UK’s Memorial Hall in 2002, to the mix of original compositions and what he has long referred to as “free jazz classics” last August at Embrace Church with his own 10-member troupe, Audio One, Vandermark has proven an uncompromising and tireless artist.

Upcoming Vandermark dates in Kentucky:

8 p.m. Jan. 16 with Nate Wooley at Mecca, 948 Manchester St. $5. (859) 257-4636.
9 p.m. Jan. 17 at Dreamland, 810 E. Market in Louisville. $12.
3 p.m. Jan. 18 at W.B. Jones Auditorium of Somerset High School, 301 College St. in Somerset. Free. (606) 875-8234.
12:30 p.m. Jan. 20 for a master class at the Fine Arts Building, Room 22, University of Kentucky. Free and open to the public. (859) 257-4900.
7 p.m. Jan. 20 at the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at UK. Free. (859) 257-4900.

From WSJ:

Saxophonist Jon Irabagon and guitarist Mary Halvorson spent 2014 solidifying their stature as two of jazz’s rising stars. Each musician spent time in ensembles that showcased the increasing diversity of their sound and approaches. As the year wore on, Mr. Irabagon put his influences further in the distance as his own distinctive style emerged; Ms. Halvorson seemed to arrive fully formed seven years ago, but in the past 12 months she has demonstrated surprising new range in her composing and playing.

The incandescent piano of Vijay Iyer

Posted: December 11, 2014 by Mike in Artist Profile

From Livemint:

Of the performers who have made it to the A-list, pianist-composer Vijay Iyer perhaps shines the brightest. A critics’ favorite and Grammy award nominee, Iyer has been fulsomely praised as an extravagantly gifted pianist and composer who is bringing a new sensibility in intricate improvisations, which is much in evidence in the albums he has released in the past few years.

From peoplesworld:

A favorite elder statesman and unsung hero of Free Jazz, who served as a powerful conduit between the Black Arts Movement and the Downtown avant garde, passed away suddenly on November 19, just days shy of his 76th birthday. Will Connell had been planning a week-long residency over the Christmas season at the Stone in New York City, intended as a retrospective into his 50-plus years in the music as well as a showcase for his current projects.