JazzCast Ep. 22: Miki Yamanaka!

miki

Welcome to Episode 22 of the JazzCast, where you can hear curated listening sessions with jazz musicians! This week we have Miki Yamanaka, jazz pianist from Japan and masters student at Queens College. If you’ve ever been to Smalls, you’ve probably seen her or even played with her. She’s busy! If you like her music, please come out and support her show at the Fat Cat in New York on Thursday night, September 4th, at 7:00 PM. There is a cover charge of $3. Miki has an infectious laugh that everyone loves! I hope you enjoy this “interview,” although it’s more like two friends talking about her music, which was great. Thanks for listening!

Mentioned in this podcast:

(to be continued…)

 

JazzCast Ep. 21: JS Williams!

square_finalWelcome to the JazzCast! Today I have an awesome and touching interview with JS Williams, jazz cat and trumpet player from New York. I was really thankful to be able to find a few minutes as he runs back and forth between DC and NY to be able to dig into his latest album, the “Late Bluemer.” He plays with a stellar cast of musicians, including:

What I liked most about this interview was the fact that I would have never known the meaning behind the songs “Grim Reaper,” “Ambivalence,” and “Submission” without sitting down and talking about it. It gives a whole new meaning to his music, and as always, JS tells it like it is! I was also really impressed at his tribute to his various teachers – his father, grandmother, his middle school teacher, and Josh Landris – who taught him one lesson but made an everlasting impact. In honor of all the parents making this the “true” teacher appreciation week I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Please support JS Williams by downloading the songs if you like them!

Click here to access JS William’s iTunes album: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-late-bluemer/id604034578 

Click here to access “The Late Bluemer” on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jswilliams

Mentioned in this podcast: (links coming soon!)

JazzCast Ep. 20: Christie Dashiell!

Square_final

Welcome to the JazzCast! Today we have an interview with vocalist extraordinaire Christie Dashiell! Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Greenville, NC, contemporary award winning jazz vocalist Christie N. Dashiell honed her vocal skills at Howard University and then, later, the Manhattan School of Music. Dashiell’s history includes performances with Howard’s premiere vocal jazz ensemble, Afro-Blue. She has also performed at the Kennedy Center as a part of the 2010 Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead residency program. She is the recipient of Downbeat magazine’s Best College Graduate Jazz Vocalist and Outstanding Soloist awards in the jazz vocal category. Most recently, Dashiell appeared on season three of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” as a member of Afro-Blue and performs with the group, now known as Traces of Blue. Dashiell can be heard on several nationally released recordings including, John Blake’s Motherless Child, the Jolley Brothers’ Memoirs Between Brothers and as a Kennedy Center Discovery Artist on NPR’s “JazzSet” with Dee Dee Bridgewater. She has been seen in concert with Esperanza Spalding, Fred Hammond, Smokey Robinson, Geri Allen and Allan Harris.

Christie is performing at Bohemian Caverns in Washington, D.C. on Friday and Saturday, August 8th and 9th, with two sets each night at 8 and 10 pm. It looks like the 8pm on Friday night has already sold out, so be sure to get your tickets soon! You can get tickets here:  http://www.bohemiancaverns.com/tickets/.

Mentioned in this podcast:

NY Pics and more

IMG_3618Last Tuesday, I got to run up to New York for a bit to take a professional development course on teaching economics. I’m always at a loss of how to make econ easier, so it was a great way to get some new ideas that are actually fun and informative. I hate lecture! Looking forward to teaching the new year as a result. It will be fun! After the PD, I visited with my good friend Miki for a bit. Walked through Times Square and just loved it. The evening started out with a Barry Harris masterclass. The most amazing thing about the whole experience was watching how hungry the other students were. I was surprised at the diversity of ages – I thought it would mostly be younger cats, but it was all ages, to include seniors just learning to play.IMG_3629 Mr. Harris teaches a piano class first, where he plays something and then everyone (like 25 people) get up to the piano and try their hand at it. Takes forever but is informative and everyone was videotaping. Then came the singing lesson. He calls it ear training, but it’s more like karaoke, but with the same song over and over and over again. At first I was enjoying it because the song was difficult, and we all sang along, but when everyone got up to the mic individually it went a little long. As a result the instrumental lesson was only 22 minutes. However, there IMG_3622was more packed in that 22 minutes than all my college years combined, in some ways. He taught the way jazz should be taught, with the master singing and everyone imitating on their instruments. He started us off with scales (which, by the way, I wasn’t used to playing so fast, he does sixteenth notes at 240), to progress to patterns which he then strung together for sentences. Why isn’t everyone teaching this way? There should be a Barry Harris class at every college and university. IIMG_3655 recorded it on my phone and am slowing making my way through each night. I had difficulty understanding him sometimes, especially the difference between E and D and B, so it’s helpful to have the recording to go back to. That’s not all, though, I found myself at Zinc Bar to see Tivon Pennicott, and then Smalls which was alive and industrious. Met many new jazzers and was elated to see Laurence Leathers again! He was a freshman at MSU while I was a grad student. So many years ago. And now he’s famous, plays with everyone. Then, on Wednesday morning, I got to hang with Lynn Gruenewald, alto sax and flute player from MSU. I got to meet her beautiful dog Remo and catch up on life and happiness. She was actually looking after Ingred Jensen’s daughter (there was a Darcy James Argue rehearsal) so I got to see Ingred and family as well. Her daughter is so smart! I couldn’t believe how well she listened and how interactive andIMG_3641 verbal she was. And so there it is! I’m back again in NY this week as well to get some more Professional Development, and to see more jazz. I’ll also be conducting interviews for my podcast, yay! I’m writing this post as a test for this website, but it’s also fun to review the 24 hours of craziness that was New York last week. Looking forward to more jazz!

JazzCast Ep. 19: Elliott Hughes, Part 2

square_final.jpg

Welcome back! This episode is part two of an interview with Australian composer and trumpet player Elliott Hughes. Episode 18 (part  1) was an introduction to large ensemble writing in Australia, and Episode 19 (part 2) is about Elliott Hughes‘ music and his Horizon Art Orchestra.

Elliott Hughes is a Melbourne based composer and trumpet player, who combines interests in jazz, contemporary classical chamber and orchestral music, and electroacoustic music. He has had his music performed in New York, Canada, Hong Kong and around Australia, releasing his debut recording in 2012 with his large ensemble Horizon Art Orchestra.  He has also worked collaboratively with theatre companies, scoring short films, and as a freelance arranger.

Elliott Hughes is coming to Washington, D.C. to have his music performed with the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra on Monday, August 11th at 8 and 10 pm sets. Additionally, the Brad Linde Expanded Ensemble will perform his music at theJazz Gallery in NYC on August 12th, and at An Die Musik in Baltimore on August 13th. We hope you can make it out to one of these performances!

Upcoming Performances of Elliott Hughes’ Music:

Songs in order of appearance:

Mentioned in this podcast:

Part 1 Episode 18 Mentions:

Part 2 Episode 19 Mentions: