Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AccuJazz News: Roll-out continues with "Third Stream"

This week's new channel highlights the hundreds of albums that fall under the category of "Third Stream," the term coined by composer Gunther Schuller to describe jazz music that
 incorporates influences from classical music.  

The channel features a surprising variety of music, from classic "jazz with
 strings" recordings by Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins to experimental big band arrangements by Stanton Kenton, Gil Evans and Maria Schneider.  Avant-Garde musicians like Ornette Coleman, Evan Parker and Bill Dixon have also found inspiration in classical music, as have younger cats like Brad Mehldau, David Sanchez and John Hollenbeck.

So, it's not all lush, romantic strings, and it's not all Avant-Garde noisefests.  It's both of those and a lot of other stuff in between.  Some of my favorites are the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations, Abdullah Ibrahim's "African Suite," and Wynton Marsalis' "All Rise," which I saw him perform with the Chicago Symphony.  Anyone who doubts Wynton's talent oughtta check out that piece -- it is unlike anything I've ever heard.

Give the channel a listen right now and let me know what you think right here, or on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, or the ShoutBox on the AccuJazz home page.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AccuJazz News: Roll-Out Continues With "Women of Jazz"

This week's new channel is called "Women of Jazz" and it delivers on the title's promise: it plays over 700 songs from female-led sessions. No men allowed. Well, I guess there are bound to be some dudes playing as sidemen on these recordings, but they're just supporting the woman's vision. On this channel, it's all about the ladies.

The classic vocalists, like Ella, Billie, Sarah, Anita, etc. are all here. So are innovative instrumentalists like Geri Allen, Regina Carter, Nicole Mitchell, Hiromi, Mary Halvorson, Jenny Scheinman and more. Great female arrangers like Maria Schneider and Carla Bley are also well-represented, as is the pack of younger female vocalists, including Cassandra Wilson, Kate McGarry, Patricia Barber, and plenty lesser known talents.

The jazz world isn't a man's, man's, man's, man's world after all -- and nowhere else is there such stark proof of that than on our new "Women of Jazz" channel. Give it a listen now, and let me know who YOUR favorite jazz women are, right here or on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, or the ShoutBox on the AccuJazz homepage. Most of mine were already mentioned above. Go ahead, listen already!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

AccuJazz News: Roll-Out Continues With "Decade: Pre-1940"

We said we'd give you a new channel every week and we're stickin' to it. This week's new channel is called "Decade: Pre-1940." It joins the other decade channels devoted to the '50s and '60s, and begins a chronological roll-out of new decade channels that will bring us all the way up to the present day.

For jazz fans who don't know much about what happened before bebop, the new channel is an essential education. The play list includes a variety of early jazz styles. Freewheeling New Orleans jazz by Jelly Roll Morton, raucous big band swing by Duke Ellington, and French gypsy jazz by Django Reinhardt all have a place on the channel.

I'm surprised at how much I really enjoy listening to this music. I think most jazz musicians and listeners are very bebop-centric in their perception of jazz history (just go to a local jam session if you don't believe me). There was so much great, important music being made before bop, and your understanding of jazz will expand considerably by hearing it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Now Playing on AccuJazz

There is a whole lot of new music playing on the many AccuJazz channels as of a few days ago. 33 new albums, to be exact. I have been adding music pretty steadily since the last installment of "Now Playing on AccuJazz," but thanks to some complicated upgrades in the technology behind AccuJazz, it's taken a little longer than usual to update our play lists. We've gotten it all straightened out, and now you're hearing all this great music among many thousands of other CDs, and you'll no doubt be hearing about even more new music very soon! Click the title to purchase from Amazon.

The Blue Note 7 - Mosaic

Keith Jarrett - Yesterdays

Eliane Elias - Bossa Nova Stories

The Bad Plus - For All I Care

Dr. Lonnie Smith - Rise Up!

Chick Corea & Hiromi - Duet

Avishai Cohen - Flood

Gerald Cleaver, William Parker & Craig Taborn - Farmers by Nature

The Clayton Brothers - Brother to Brother

Brad Shepik - Human Activity Suite

Michael Wolff - Joe's Strut

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic - Collective Creativity

Dee Alexander - Wild is the Wind

Claudio Roditi - Braziliance x4

Miguel Zenon - Jibaro

Ali Jackson - Wheelz Keep Rollin'

Swing Masters
- Vol. 1: Happy Birthday... Lionel!

The Stryker/Slagle Band - The Scene

Garison Fewell - Variable Density Sound Orchestra

Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra
- Muse

Jim Gailloreto - Jazz String Quintet

Reut Regev - This is R Time

Brian McCree - Changes in the Wind

Al Hood - Just a Little Taste

The October Trio + Brad Turner - Looks Like it's Going to Snow

Andrew Hill - Time Lines

Gutbucket - A Modest Proposal

Forgas Band Phenomena - L'Axe du Fou (Axis of Madness)

Richie Goods
- Live at the Zinc Bar

Fast 'n' Bulbous - Waxed Oop

Chick Corea & Gary Burton - The New Crystal Silence

Miles Davis
- Kind of Blue (50th Anniversary Collector's Edition)

Patrick Rydman - I Will Do It

Thursday, March 5, 2009

AccuJazz News: Roll-Out Continues With "Composers: Monk"

This week's new channel, "Composers: Monk," celebrates the compositions of genius pianist/composer Thelonious Monk. It is the second in our "Jazz by Composer" category, after the popular all-Ellington channel. In addition to a lot of recordings of Monk playing his own tunes we have hundreds of other artists interpreting the music, from Charlie Parker to Ravi Coltrane.

While "'Round Midnight" is undoubtedly Monk's most recorded piece, there are dozens of other compositions that you'll hear, possibly for the first time, by listening to the channel. Tunes like "Skippy," "Work," "Nutty," "Boo Boo's Birthday," and a long list of others are all less-heard examples of Monk's otherworldly writing talent.

I was worried at first that the channel would yield play lists consisting mostly of those most-recognizable of Monk's tunes: "'Round Midnight," "Straight No Chaser," and "Blue Monk." I was pleasantly surprised to hear a whole line up of lesser-known Monk tunes when I first launched the channel this morning.

My favorite Monk tunes are probably too many to remember right on the spot, but a few that really stick out would be: "Bye-Ya," "Evidence," "In Walked Bud," "Crepuscule With Nellie," "Let's Cool One," and "Monk's Dream." What are your favorites? Let me know by commenting right here, or via Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, or the ShoutBox on the AccuJazz home page.

Happy listening!

Monday, March 2, 2009

AccuJazz News: roll-out continues with new channel: "Avant-Garde Jazz"

As noted last week, we've begun a roll-out of new jazz channels that will continue indefinitely. We began the roll-out with "Straight Ahead," a mix of swinging, bluesy jazz from Duke Ellington to Bill Charlap. Next up is the opposite in the stylistic spectrum: Avant-Garde Jazz, making a current total of 26 different jazz channels.

The channel features a wide swath of Avant-Garde styles (i.e. not just free jazz). Sure, you'll hear plenty of Coltrane, Ayler, and Peter Brotzmann blowing with fire and passion, but you'll also hear Avant-Garde jazz/rock (Miles Davis, Jim Black, Mary Halvorson, MMW), jazz/classical experiments (Bill Dixon, Evan Parker, Michael Mantler), and other non-free Avant-Garde composers (Andrew Hill, Eric Dolphy, John Hollenbeck, Tim Berne, Nels Cline, I could go on and on...)

I really love listening to the channel and personally find free jazz to be strangely soothing when trying to get work done. Right now Matthew Shipp is banging away on a tune called "Galaxy 105" and I find it to be less distracting than inspiring.

I've already had some feedback from listeners who don't think the channel is "out" enough. CDs like "Leap of Faith" by Dave Douglas and "Hidden Gardens" by Lan Xang, as well as classics like the output of the early Ornette Coleman quartet might fall somewhere between mainstream and Avant-Garde, but I think they still fall broadly in the realm of Avant-Garde jazz. Please give the new channel a listen and let me know what you think on this blog, or on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or the ShoutBox on the AccuJazz home page.

A recent listen produced this play list fragment:

Matthew Shipp: Harmony and Abyss

Tim Berne: The Shell Game

Angelica Sanchez: Mirror Me