ALL POSTS TAGGED "eric-sandler"

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“The greatest artists are the greatest imitators. All artists draw on inspiration from someplace else,” veteran rapper and cultural icon Talib Kweli explains as we discuss the current state of hip-hop and music in general. For his latest project, Gravitas, Kweli brought in an inspiration of his own in Q-Tip to produce and help him craft the sonic structure of his upcoming record. Check out below as we catch a few words on the impact of various American cultural phenomenons on music today, his current tour, and his upcoming record.

Over sixty years ago, Sun Ra organized his Arkestra as a conduit of his ever-changing devotion to sound, spirituality, and the mysterious effects of his music on audiences around the world. Now, nearly 100 years after his birth, the Sun Ra Arkestra is coming together again this weekend under the direction of saxophonist and original Arkestra member Marshall Allen to pay tribute to some of Sun Ra’s compositions and his legacy at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Happy 2013 International Jazz Day! We assembled a roundtable of historic and influential musicians that will be in Turkey today for International Jazz Day to shed some light on some issues concerning jazz music today. Read on below as Robert Glasper, John Beasley, Keiko Matsui, George Duke, and Terence Blanchard give some insight on a few questions we posed to them!

Tony Williams was the original headbanger birthed out of the jazz idiom. Less interested in the Sly Stone, Jimmy Hendrix, and James Brown aesthetic that Miles Davis was heading into at the time (circa 1969), Williams left the Second Great Quintet to put together a group of his own more aligned with his British rock contemporaries of The Who and Cream for instance. Those were the influences that birthed the Tony Williams Lifetime. Rounding out Lifetime — or the “organ trio on steroids” as Lenny White describes it — were John McLaughlin on electric guitar and Larry Young on organ, both of whom were equally as innovative with their own instruments and compositions as Williams was with the drums (though this lineup would change numerous times over the years).

Before there was this obsession with jazz and hip-hop, there was a different intersection of music happening on the streets on New York, LA, and other cities around the nation. 24 hours after Jimi Hendrix played his first notes at Woodstock, Miles Davis called his musicians — Lenny White included — into the studio for what would become the ‘Bitches Brew’ sessions and that would be the beginning of a sound and approach to music that White would come to define. The marriage of these rock and jazz aesthetics brought us groups like Return to Forever, Tony Williams’ Lifetime Band, and more. Read along as we delve into the roots of this style, White impact on the history, and where he sees the music going today.

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.

Few drummers so strongly represent a time in music more so than New York City native Lenny White. Coming out of Jamaica, Queens by 18, the left-handed drummer was picked up by serial bandleader and educator Jackie McLean with whom he gained his initial chops. Within two years White had already got the call to record the formative Miles Davis album Bitches Brew — alongside fellow drummer Jack DeJohnette — a record that would go on to become a staple of the jazz canon and ultimately jumpstart White’s fusion of jazz and rock, a style that he would come to help define.

We live in a very fortunate time to have so many generations as well as so many different subsets of drummers with us today. From the traditionalists to the producers who chop them up (and some who do it all) we are extremely excited to delve into the Generations of the BEAT with insightful discussion from musicologists, the musicians who rely on these drummers, and the drummers themselves.

Alicia Olatuja came to national prominence with her solo for President Obama’s most recent inauguration with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, but with Olatuja the music goes a whole lot deeper than simply that performance. Between gigs with her husband, Michael Olatuja, as the Olatuja Project and backing up artists like Chaka Khan, Somi, and Christian McBride on vocals, Olatuja has crafted a unique space for her own music which she will releasing this Spring. Be sure to check out her process behind recording the album, working with incredible musicians, and more as we discuss her music.

David Weiss is one of those unsung musicians on the scene in New York who has an eye for talented musicians and a penchant for fostering that talent. You can find him any number of nights frequenting jam sessions at Smalls, gigs at Le Poisson Rouge, and rehearsals in Midtown. A quick peek at his discography unveils names like Robert Glasper, Jeremy Pelt, and Marcus Strickland (all of whom he’s produced), Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, and the Cookers (whom he’s performed with), as well as the New Jazz Composers Octet and Point of Departure (both of which he leads). Point of Departure, his current focus, will be releasing their record and performing at DROM on Wednesday 3/6/13. Check out the concept behind Point of Departure and more!