Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Honey Larochelle Interview

This Saturday, July 14 Honey Larochelle will play the Late Night Groove Series. We had an opportunity to catch up with Honey.
Blue Note: What can the Blue Note audience expect from your show Saturday?

Honey Larochelle: A high energy night full of warm edgy soul, reminiscent of the greats we all love... and a beautiful reunion of all-star musicians.

BN: What upcoming projects are you working on?

HL: My first full length album is finally underway and due out late September. I also have a couple side projects that will be pleasant surprises for folks, but I'll save those for later ;)

BN: What do you like about playing Blue Note and NY audiences?

HL: I love Blue Note and NY audiences because there's always a mixture of tourists and local fans, so there's a really diverse and exotic blend of listeners and cultures all together under one roof speaking the same universal language.

BN: What have you been listening to lately - where are you looking for inspiration?

HL: I just got back from a week tour of Brazil, so that has certainly inspired me a lot. I've been listening to a lot of samba and bossa nova.

BN: How does your diverse background play into your music?

HL:  Well my music is also quite diverse, so I think it plays a big part. But whether I'm writing hip-hop, dub step, jazz, or funk or sing-songwriter it all fits under the soul umbrella.

Get tickets here

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Vision of Ástor Piazzolla

Jazz educator Ed Tomassi defines new music styles as cohesive blends of past genres. Ástor Piazzolla's compositions capture this ideal. Using traditional tango as a backbone, Piazzolla infused elements of jazz and baroque music to create what has been coined nuevo tango. Carlos Kuri, author of Piazzolla: la música límite, notes that "Piazzolla's fusion of tango with this wide range of other recognizable Western musical elements was so successful that it produced a new individual style transcending these influences."
Piazzolla's compositional beauty has been noticed by listeners and performers. This success has influenced a variety of musicians to interpret Piazzolla's music. Notable albums include Al Di Meola's Di Meola Plays Piazzolla (1996), the Assad brothers' Sergio & Odair Assad Play Piazzolla (2001), Gary Burton's Astor Piazzolla Reunion (1998) and Libertango: The Music of Astor Piazzolla (2000). Musicians like Chick Corea and Gustavo Casenave have played Piazzolla's music at the Blue Note.

Nine-time GRAMMY award-winning clarinetist and composer, Paquito D'Rivera brings his tribute to Ástor Piazzolla next weekend at the Blue Note. D'Rivera will be performing from July 10 - 15.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sonnys in Jazz

There is a peculiar phenomenon among jazz musicians, especially saxophonists. Players like William Greer, Conrad Clark, Edward Stitt, and Cornelius Fortune share a commonality. They are a fraction of the community of jazz musicians nicknamed 'Sonny.' Saxophone giants include Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Criss, Sonny Simmons, Sonny Red, Herman "Sonny" Blount (Sun Ra), and the Coltrane-inspired Sonny Fortune. Fortune joined McCoy Tyner's group for over two years. With Fortune's contributions on Tyner's albums Sahara (1972), Song For My Lady (1973), and Song of the New World (1973), Fortune cemented his reputation as an instrumental innovator on alto and soprano saxophones. Come see Sonny Fortune, a living legend among nicknamed greats, at Blue Note on Monday, July 9 at 8 & 10:30pm.

Tenor Battles - An Ongoing Tradition

Tenor Titans Ralph Lalama and Billy Drewes continue the ‘tenor battle’ tradition as a part of Blue Note’s Sunday Brunch Series, Sunday, July 8 at 12:30 pm.

In a Bret Primack interview, Sonny Rollins explains this tradition in reference to his composition "Tenor Madness", featuring John Coltrane. 
“In those days we used to always have... tenor battles. It’s an old tradition.” Rollins clarifies that these duels are not out of animosity, but out of camaraderie and mutual respect. This tradition dates back to Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, the earliest primary influences of the tenor saxophone. When Lester Young joined the Count Basie Orchestra, Basie's wife took Young to record stores, encouraging him to check out Hawkins' recordings. Young's sound and approach was so revolutionary and different than Coleman Hawkins they were able to complement each other in duet. In 1957 Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt went head-to-head over rhythm changes on "Eternal Triangle". Al Cohn and Zoot Sims battled with a cool vibe on "Lover Come Back to Me.Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray showed that the West Coast can play bebop with "The Chase" and "The Hunt."  Gene Ammons’ Boss Tenors recordings with Sonny Stitt represent this tradition in a swinging bop form. For a modern approach, Jerry Bergonzi's  "On Again, Off Again" on Alex Riel's UnRiel (1997) features Michael Brecker and Jerry Bergonzi going at it.

Ralph Lalama and Billy Drewes are both influential New York tenor players. Lalama has won three GRAMMYs and released many albums as a leader. Drewes has over 100 recording credits to his name and has shared the stage with the finest in jazz. Both are members of the Vangaurd Jazz Orchestra.

This Sunday, July 8 at 12:30pm enjoy brunch and witness Billy Drewes and Ralph Lalama battle, continuing a respectful and exciting tradition.