jazz

cyruschestnut.net

In a conversation about improvisation, American jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut says he looks inside himself for something new every time he performs. It's a standard set by an early mentor, jazz singer Betty Carter, who demanded originality from herself and her players. Chestnut now divides his time between recording (nearly an album a year), touring, and teaching at Howard University. On Saturday, Dec 8 at the Dalton Center Recital Hall at WMU, Fontana will present Cyrus Chestnut and his quartet in a concert that touches on classical music, gospel, pop, rock, and particularly, music from A Charlie Brown Christmas. 


Eric Ryan Anderson

Cara Lieurance talks to Branford Marsalis about everything from his career moves, to today's jazz students, to the longstanding musicians in his quartet, to the books he's read lately (lots of history and non-fiction), in a preview of his sold-out Oct 26th show in Kalamazoo. The Branford Marsalis Quartet takes the stage at 7:30 pm at the Cityscape Event Center, in a concert presented by Fontana.


Joe Policastro

Near the release of the Joe Policastro Trio's latest album, Screen Sounds,  Jazz Currents host Keith Hall invited bassist Joe Policastro, guitarist Dave Miller, and drummer Mikel Avery to show off their sound in WMUK's Takeda Studio, and have a conversation about the rock, soul, film, and pop influences that appear in their creative arrangements.

One of the unusual things about the trio is they have their own personal "sandbox" for exploring music together: a 3-day-a-week standing gig at the Chicago nightclub Pops for Champagne, which allows them to explore their repertoire to the edges. The three members of the trio talk about their work together and apart, and how they find compelling music in everything from Japanese westerns to daytime soap operas.


Wayne Powers' life as an entertainer - actor, singer, comedian, radio host - has taken him from coast to coast and everywhere in between. Living in Kalamazoo for the last three years, he re-energized his love of singing, and began to plan a studio recording. The resulting album, If Love Were All, has just been released in the U.S., and a local album release concert and celebration will be held Tuesday, Aug 7, from 7-10 pm at the Union Cabaret and Grille in Kalamazoo. 

In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Wayne Powers recounts his early experiences as an out-of-his-depth teen jazz singer in New York clubs, which put him on a track that would lead to a job with music legend Henry Mancini's publishing business in Los Angeles. He became a member of the Off The Wall Improv group, a training ground for young comics (Robin Williams was one of his improv partners). Powers broke into television, and starred for two seasons on NBC's 13 EastAfter its surprise cancellation, he chose to leave television and return to music, recording 1993's Plain Old Me.  Now, after 25 years (and yet another career as a popular radio host), Powers recorded the "saloon" songs that have been touchstones for him through the years.


Jimmy Katz

NOTE: This interview with John Pizzarelli was first aired on WMUK in May, 2018. Our condolences to John and his family on the loss of his father, jazz great Bucky Pizzarelli, due to complications from COVID-19. 

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