Tag Archives: Jazz

Video: Gil Evans Paris Workshop – Spoonful

xkogg-1The Gil Evans Paris Workshop is a project led by Laurent Cugny, gathering a  group of young Paris-based musicians around the music of Cugny and Gil Evans.

Spoonful, the formation’s first studio recording  on Jazz&People, will be released in the spring of 2017 and contains material arranged by Cugny who finds inspiration in his years of collaboration with Evans in the late 1980s.

Piano, direction, arrangements – Laurent Cugny
Reeds – Antonin-Tri Hoang, Martin Guerpin, Adrien Sanchez, Jean-Philippe Scali
Trumpets – Quentin Ghomari, Olivier Laisney, Malo Mazurié, Brice Moscardini
Trombones – Bastien Ballaz, Léo Pellet
French Horn – Victor Michaud
Tuba, flute – Fabien Debellefontaine
Guitar – Marc-Antoine Perrio
Bass – Joachim Govin
Drums – Gautier Garrigue

Interview: Fred Hersch In Paris

How is it for you to come play in Paris?

I love playing in Paris I wish this time I had more time. The last time I was playing at La Villette, Cité de la Musique, big concert. Playing at the Duc des Lombards is nice but it’s not a 9-foot Steinway in a beautiful concert hall,  it’s a different experience. I’ve been coming to Paris for years, since I was a teenager. My very first European tour, we spent a lot of time in Paris in 1979. So I’ve been trying to make Paris a place to play. It’s interesting,  I’ve gotten a lot of awards, Grand Prix du disque etc. But there are so many French pianists that it’s very hard to get in to France. But I think I have some big festivals coming up, Coutance [Jazz sous les Pommiers], and maybe Nice and some other ones that will come next week. So I think my visibility is starting to go up a little bit, so that’s good.

Do you prepare your sets?

No. I just get up there and play.

Do you remember a specific jazz record that was the first one to click for you ?

Yeah, I heard some jazz in high school. I mean I was a piano player so I had a Dave Brubeck album and a Ramsey Lewis album, some albums I picked at yard sales for 25c. But once I started playing I thought ‘ok this is something maybe I can do’ and started inching my way into being a jazz pianist. The records that really sold me, there were three of them : one was Miles Davis’ Friday and Saturday night at the Blackhawk.  Wynton [Kelly]’s playing is so great, the way he plays with Miles… And I love the sound of the album, you feel like you’re in the club and it’s very nice. Then there was a Mingus album, Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, with orchestrations and everything that is just so remarkable. And then an album by Ellington called Ellington Uptown. But particularly the Miles record really made me wanna say ‘okay, I can do this. I know I can do this. I’m gonna commit myself.’ I dropped out of school, started playing in clubs and really went for it. After I heard that.

Continue reading Interview: Fred Hersch In Paris

Video: The Kala Bazaar Swing Society

The Kala Bazaar Swing Society appeared in New Orleans over the spring of 2016, emerging out of street busking and jam sessions.

Led by guitarist and vocalist Kaladeva Chandra, the new quartet is currently finding its voice around the city, drawing from the swing repertory of the 1920’s and 1930’s.

On this session, recorded in a backyard on a warm Monday night, Kala, Marty Peters, Keenan Clayton-Hall and Barry Bremer laid down their chops on four compositions: “China Boy,” “I’ve Found a New Baby,” “Pennies From Heaven” and “Joseph Joseph.”


Photos: Jazz Fest 2016

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is one of the most anticipated events of the year in New Orleans. This year, it took place over the last two weekends of April.

I went out to shoot photographs of acts like Neil Young, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Big Freedia and many others on the second weekend, as thunderstorms took over the Fair Grounds.

See more photos of the Fest on OffBeat.com: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4 – Day 5 – Day 6 – Day 7

Jazz Fest 2016: First Weekend Reviews

Jason Marsalis, Christian Scott Put The Jazz In Jazz Fest Opening Day

Photo by Kim Welsh
Photo by Kim Welsh

Every now and again you hear a grumpy jazz-head complain about the Jazz Fest not really being about jazz anymore; and with main headliners including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, J. Cole and Flo Rida, there’s a case to be made there. Yet on its big opening day, the festival has proven again that it is still a prime event for jazz listeners.


Read more on OffBeat.com


Mo’ Jazz At The Fest

Photo by Willow Haley.
Photo by Willow Haley.

The 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has reached its middle-point. And on its third day of music, the Jazz Tent turned out to be a highlight of the festival.

Festival goers gave a warm welcome to New Orleans’ own Herlin Riley, who brought home to the Crescent City a group of young cats particularly well-versed in the post-bop groovy style that New York city was crawling with in the 1960s.


 → Read more on OffBeat.com


Boz Scaggs Rocks The Blues Tent

Photo by Kim Welsh.
Photo by Kim Welsh.

Guitarist, singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs has been recording and performing steadily since his debuts with the Steve Miller Band in the 1960s. And judging from his set under the Blues Tent on the second day of Jazz Fest, he doesn’t plan on slowing down.

Scaggs charmed the crowd early on with his mellow rendition of Willy Deville’s “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” only to switch gears and introduce a heavy road blues.


→ Read more on OffBeat.com

Photos: French Quarter Festival 2016

The French Quarter Festival rolled in the center of New Orleans with four full days of live music, food, dance lessons etc.

With New Orleans music in full force, the festival broke its attendance record by a long margin.

Among artists to be recognized in the photos below are: Bonerama, Magnetic Ear, Meschiya Lake & the Li’l Big Horns, Naughty Professor, The Tin Men, Cha Wa, Sonny Landreth, Cowboy Mouth, Buckwheat Zydeco, Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers, Shotgun Jazz Band and many more.


Faces of Frenchmen, Ep. 5: Delfeayo Marsalis


Trombonist and bandleader Delfeayo Marsalis sits down to talk about playing music in New Orleans.

Marsalis gives us his take on the musical and culture of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina and what effects the influx of outside musicians has has on the New Orleans sound.

You can catch Marsalis leading the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug Harbor just about every week.

OffBeat Staff

Offbeat: Russell Welch Hot Jazz Quartet


Fresh off Mardi Gras 2015, Frenchmen Street came alive again on Saturday, February 21, as the Louisiana Music Factory hosted an in-store performance by gypsy jazz connoisseur Russell Welch.

The Mardi Gras Indian songs were still resonating through the walls of the Louisiana Music Factory and the funky vibrations were slowly dissipating after an opening performance by the 79rs Gang when  Russell Welch and his Hot Quartet prepared to present their recent release, Mississippi Gypsy.

A pair of straight-laced shoes on his feet, a colored feather stuck in his bowler hat, and a guitar in his hands, the kid from Jackson, Mississippi, kicked things off with an avalanche of notes, backed by Molly Reeves on the rhythmic guitar, Josh Gouzy on the upright bass and Dr. Sick on the violin.

The record, Welch’s third release, is a continuation of his work in the tradition of gypsy jazz and of his fascination for the music of Django Reinhardt, which has spread through the world and has seen a certain revival in recent years.

But Mississippi Gypsy reflects the guitarist’s spirit and character better than any previous projects. It exhibits Welch’s chops as a young composer writing songs that respect the heritage of Django, while looking to find a new voice and paint a different portrait.

“We had brilliant people with amazing microphones and beautiful studios helping to make every instrument sound right,” said Dr Sick about Richard Burton at Jazzology Records and Eric Heigl, who handled the final mix at The Parlor Recording Studio.

In the process of recording the song “Explaining Places,” Dr. Sick committed a harmonic mistake.

“I was not very happy with what I had played,” the violinist remembers. “Russell looked at me and said ‘I want you to do that, four times.’”

The result is a confusion in the chord changes that only adds to the composition’s mood.

“It sounds rock’n’roll. It sounds right,” Welch said.

Russell tells the tale of a city we know in a language old as the hills, and yet born again each day.

Improvisation, central to this art, serves as the ultimate tool of expression and embellishment for this group of gifted musicians to complement Welch’s compositions, which are simple in nature but not devoid of charming intricacies that make the story of these streets unravel as a fable.

Welch belongs to a generation of young musicians who bring new ideas and modern influences and yet make sure to maintain comfortable place for tradition and heritage in their music.

Check out the Hot Quartet performing “Explaining Places” live in the Louisiana Music Factory.

The year in review for the USM Jazz program


The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music hosts a jazz program that is directed by Larry Panella. The program was running smoothly and students were learning the great music of America in their comfy “jazz station” on the USM campus, in Hattiesburg, Miss. until the violent EF4 multiple-vortex wedge tornado hit the city in February 2013. The road to recovery has given birth to a stronger program, back on its feet after losing almost everything.

Director of Jazz Studies at USM, Larry Panella, sat down with me to talk about the long and eventful school year the fall and spring semesters have been for him and the program.

Here’s a look at the obstacles the program overcame, and the sweet reward they are enjoying, coming in the fall semester of 2014.

16 year-old Georgian pianist shakes the jazz scene


You may not be able to retain or pronounce his name, but you sure will remember this young man’s playing. This is Beka Gochiashvili, a 16 year-old pianist from Tbilisi, in Georgia. If the jazz scene has welcomed and put under the spotlight new artists from more and more different countries, the small country of Eastern Europe is not known for providing many jazz virtuosi.

Well here is one for you. At 16 years old, Beka has already asserted himself in the jazz world as a great upcoming pianist, and we will probably be hearing about him more and more as things go on. The young pianist started playing at 2 years old, and was quick to get on stage, playing in Tbilisi jazz clubs at age 9, with influences such as Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Since then, his career has known success after success, going from being a semifinalist at the Monk Piano Competition in 2011 to recording his first album in 2012, and developing a strong musical relationship with pianist Chick Corea.


Beka received praise from many of today’s jazz giants, mainly from Corea who called him “the best ambassador for Georgia’s culture,” Keith Jarrett’s legendary trio’s bassist Gary Peacock said of him that he was a “very fine young pianist with a lot of future promise.” Bassist Stanley Clarke said Beka’s story was “the best debut of a young musician since Tony Williams with Miles Davis

Watch Chick Corea introduce the young Georgian pianist and sit down on the piano with him at the Tbilisi Jazz Festival in 2012. The video shows them play Corea’s famous hit Spain, Monk’s Straight, No Chaser, and Kenny Dorham’s Blue Bossa.