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Music lives and breathes on stage. The split second choices that improvisers make and the communication between musicians on the bandstand provide audiences a sense keep reading »

Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Eubie Blake are among the many who called Brooklyn home for a time, and we are all the better for what they created during that time. Had it not been for these men and women, Brooklyn Jazz wouldn’t be putting the dent into music that it is now; stirring the pot in the mainstream while lighting a fire under established players who just want to play standards all day. Here are some of the borough’s legends that made history by not being satisfied with keeping the peace.

On Tuesday, May 28th jazz trumpet legend Terence Blanchard will be releasing his new record, ‘Magnetic,’ on Blue Note Records featuring saxophonist Brice Winston, pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Joshua Crumbly and drummer Kendrick Scott as well as special guests Ravi Coltrane, Lionel Loueke, and Ron Carter. From 5/29-6/2 Blanchard and crew will be gracing audiences at the Jazz Standard with live performances of material from the album. We sat down to discuss his process in recording, the importance of young composers, as well as an array of topics in a conversation with the musical titan.

E.J. Strickland will be bringing his dynamic quintet to the Generations of the BEAT Festival this weekend for a set that is sure to bring the heat. We caught up with Strickland to discuss his unique development as a musician, his various methods of composition, and more. Be sure to catch the E.J. Strickland Quintet at 8pm on Day 1 of our drummer festival this Saturday 3/23/13.

Mark Whitfield Jr. comes from a dynasty of incredible musicianship and that has most certainly left a mark on his life as a musician. Beginning on the drums before even he could remember, Whitfield Jr. grew up shuffling around gigs with his father always eager to hop on stage and hold down the beat. Mark will be at the Generations of the BEAT Festival with his quartet for the first time on March 24th and he’s turning 23 that day too! Check out what he had to say about the upcoming festival, advice for developing drummers, and his experience growing up in a musical dynasty.

The pulsating Yoruban derived rhythms that are so seductive and foundational in Afrobeat can be reduced to the work of one man, Tony Allen. Allen was self-taught, practicing his chops while working as an engineer at a local Lagos radio station when he was only 18. He caught his first break playing claves for the highlife band “The Cool Cats” headed by ‘Sir’ Victor Olaiya, the catalyst that brought him into the nucleus of the Nigerian music circuit where he later met his partner and bandleader from 1964-1979, Fela Kuti.

As a continuation of the “Evolution of an Instrument” series, this week we take a look at the drum kit. Jazz drumming is interestingly void of an extensive composed repertoire. Set apart also from many other genres, where there are certain beats and grooves that are commonplace, the role of the drummer have evolved to not solely provide the foundation for the beat in jazz, as bass does. Instead, it is the conversational, ornamental, sometimes ephemeral element of an ensemble. It is the gut, the underbelly, and one of the deeply intuitive instruments in jazz, where it differs from percussive elements in more European rooted music.

Today commemorates the death of a beloved leader in the grand lineage of jazz music, Thelonious Monk, October 10, 1917-February 17, 1982. Monk is revered as an architect of bebop, and one of the most influential jazz composers, pianists, characters of all time.