Sunday, May 10, 2015

Resolutions revisited

I recently finished my first year at Berklee College of Music. In celebration, I wanted to go back to my musical New Years Resolutions post and reflect. My resolutions were to listen to new music, read books every month, and to continually learn new things.

This past weekend, I watched the "Essentially Ellington" competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center on livestream. Wynton Marsalis was in charge of this event, and he eloquently put my my feelings about jazz into words: "Jazz has space to find yourself in."

So to build off of my resolution to listen to new music, I wanted to share artists on this page that I have not highlighted before.

My sketch of Carla Bley

Resolutions revisited 

1. Lawns - Carla Bley and Steve Swallow

Carla Bley was recently named a 2015 NEA Jazz Master. Back in my freshman year of high school, I was fortunate enough see Carla Bley and Steve Swallow perform at the New England Conservatory. I also remember being able to go to a rehearsal where she was playing and sitting ten feet away from her. And honestly, at that time, I had no clue what was happening. I just remember how I thought her hair was funny, and how she played a song called "Lumpy Gravy". But now, when I hear this music, it's solace.

2. Oscar Groove - Terence Blanchard E-Collective

I saw Terence in concert with this particular group last month at the Berklee Performance Center. The show was a double bill with Ravi Coltrane, so I didn't know what to expect. And I have to say, I was blown away from this group! The combination of electronic elements with jazz reminded me of late Miles Davis. Terence is an incredibly inspirational person, as both a film composer and bandleader.

3. Cycling Through Reality - Kendrick Scott Oracle

I happened upon Kendrick's music on NPR one day, and loved the sound of it. This music is modern, cool, hip - whatever you want to call it, it grabs your attention. This kind of music reminds me of the music Robert Glasper is playing by combining hip hop and jazz. Kendrick's drumming on this song has such fire and intensity, you can't help but groove along to it. 

4. Wise One - Jack DeJohnette Trio featuring Ravi Coltrane & Matt Garrison 

Jack DeJohnette is one of jazz music's great drummers. While I have heard many albums with him on them, I haven't listened to much music that he has led. I stumbled across this video, and enjoyed the freedom of communication within the group. Jack can harness a wide array of tonal colors on the drums, and every time he takes a solo I can hear melodies. 

5. Tailgate Ramble - Preservation Hall Jazz Band

This New Orleans style of jazz, Dixieland jazz, is especially fun to listen to. I've seen the Preservation Hall Jazz Band several times in concert, and each time I see them I am amazed at how much fun they have. The smiles on their faces could light an entire city! With this kind of enthusiasm, you can't help but get up and dance! 

Final Thoughts:
This summer break I plan to explore different jazz music to share on this blog. Because jazz isn't just one thing - it's a community of sounds. And hopefully within that community, we can all find our own space.

Please visit my jazz poetry blog, "Without a Poem", where I improvise a new poem everyday!

What new music have you been listening to?

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