Sunday, July 04, 2010

Jazz Brunch Jam - for the ears and eyes

Happy 4th everyone. Not a lot of time to write today, but wanted to share a pair of jazz selections that have been on my plate lately. One is to listen to: Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project, and one is to watch: Icons Among Us: Jazz In the Present Tense.

First off let's start with Herbie. He's one of my favorite jazz artists for his longevity and willingness to adapt and grow. His latest release teams him up with superstars from ALL over the world: India Arie, Jeff Beck, Pink, John Legend, The Chieftains, K'Naan, Los Lobos, Dave Matthews, Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, and many, many others. Each of the ten songs here feature at least one of these artists; some of them join together Herbie with three other artists. The album's message in many ways reminds me of another album I wrote about late last year, the Playing for Change foundation's benefit album Songs Around the World (an album which I absolutely love and bought four copies of to give as Christmas presents). It's a positive message of love and unity, and one that the songs on the album were made to deliver, songs like John Lennon's Imagine and the Civil Rights staple A Change Is Gonna Come. And although not necessarily jazzy from beginning to end, with Hancock's presence I felt it alright to include in this week's Jazz Brunch Jam.

Herbie is also out on tour right now. Check out dates below for a chance to catch him. And for those of you who check out the album and truly love it, there is a documentary outlining the making of the album.

Want to win a copy of it? Just leave a comment (or email me) with your name and email address and I'll choose a winner next Sundayish.

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.


The other exciting selection I have to share with you is one for you to watch and is entitled Icons Among Us: Jazz In the Present Tense. For many people, jazz is considered a dead genre, one that sells comparatively few albums and is gasping its last breaths on life support. Thankfully, for jazz listeners, this simply isn't true, and this documentary is here to prove it. Over the course of the DVD, the present crop of today's fresh jazz musicians is brought before us, artists who are pushing what we consider to be "jazz" in new directions. New artists (from all over the world, not just the United States) featured include Marco Benevento, Terence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane, Robert Glasper, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Donald Harrison Jr., Anat Cohen, Esperanza Spalding, and Medeski Martin and Wood. Interspersed among the new talent are snippets from these artists' influences, including Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis, and of course, Herbie Hancock.

As you meet each new artist, some of which I had been familiar with (artists who's I've previously written about like Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding), and others who are new and investigation worthy (Marco Benevento and Anat Cohen), you get a chance to hear their motivations and aspirations and listen to live performances of their music. All together, the documentary's producers worked through seven years of interviews with over seventy five jazz artists to put this together, and although the documentary works its way through a TON of artists, it still feels like you get a good sense of who each of them is, where they are coming from, and where they want to take jazz to. Although I don't have a copy of this to give away, I HIGHLY recommend it both for its own merit as well as its ability to turn you on to some artists that you might not be familiar with. Head over to Amazon to order yourself a copy. Here are a few tracks from artists featured:

Marco Benevento - Ila Frost : Between The Needles & Nightfall

Robert Glasper - For You
: Double Booked

Esperanza Spalding - I Adore You : Esperanza


Herbie Hancock tour dates

July 5 - Vienna State Opera House - Vienna, Austria
July 6 - Incheba - Bratislava - Slovak Republic
July 9 - Auditorio de Peniscola - Peniscola, Spain
July 10 - North Sea Jazz Festival, Amazon Ahoy Complex - Rotterdam, Holland
July 12 - Theatre De La Mer - Sete, France
July 14 - Schloss Park - Neu Hardenberg, Germany
July 15 - Volkspark - Mainz, Germany
July 16 - Montreux Jazz Festival - Montreux, Switzerland
July 17 - Umbria Jaz Festival, Arena Santa Giuliana - Perugia, Italy
July 21 - Nice Jazz Festival - Nice, Italy
July 22 - Molde Jazz Festival - Molde, Norway
July 24 - Jardines de Cap-Roig - Cap-Roig, Spain
July 25 - Esceario Puerta Del Angel - Madrid, Spain
August 6 - Buffalo Place Rocks The Harbor, Buffalo, NY
August 7 - Lowell Summer Music Series, Lowell, MA
August 8 - Jazz Fest -Ft. Adams State Park -Newport, RI
August 9 - Tanglewood Koussevitzky Music Shed, Lennox, MA
August 10 - Spaulding Auditorium, Hanover, NH
August 13 - Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
August 18 - Chene Park Music Theater, Detroit, MI
August 20 - Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Milwaukee WI
August 21 - Symphony Center, Chicago IL
August 22 - Ryman Auditorium, Nashville TN
August 25 - Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek, CO
August 26 - Center for the Arts, Jackson Hole, WY
August 28 - Mt. Baker Theater, Bellingham, WA
August 29 - Woodland Park Zoo Amphitheatre, Seattle, WA
September 1 - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA (Herbie Hancock: Seven Decades - The Birthday Celebration)


Miguel H Gonzalez said...

I feel so lucky to have seen many of the jazz greats before they passed. I'm not that old; it was really just being a jazz fan from a young age (9th grade and up) and actually going to many shows. Strangely, I didn't see Herbie Hancock perform until a few years ago. Now I've seen him about four times in as many contexts -- electric, acoustic, eclectic. I like Herbie's eclectic work. Like the masters of yesteryear, Herbie knows how to meld pop and improv into jazz.

chissy n said...

really liking the imagine project and loving herbie hancock's diversity on this one!

mito. said...

yo, sean, i like the robert glasper tune - very nice find. and concerning the new hancock-album: could be good, have to check it. by the way, the leela-cd hasn't arrived yet. good looking out, mito.

Sean said...

Yeah, the range on the album is wide for sure. If you don't already have a copy Chissy, leave your email address (or email it to me) and you'll be in the running to win a copy.

Sean said...

Mito, I'm looking into your Leela James CD.