|Photo: Scott Hesse|
Creative music should challenge us, make us think and move us forward. Music can make one's life better and fuller, one of life's greatest pleasures.
|Photo: Scott Hesse|
In May of 2021, tenor saxophonist and composer James Brandon Lewis released "Jesup Wagon" on Tao Forms (AUM Fidelity). The music on the album told the inspirational story of George Washington Carver (1864-1943), agricultural scientist, inventor, and community organizer (the Southern farming communities). The recording introduced the world to the Red Lily Quintet. Composed of Lewis, Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Chris Hoffman (cello), William Parker (bass), and Chad Taylor (drums, percussion), the ensemble contains multitudes, playing with creativity, invention fire, and wit. The album made a slew of "Best of" lists later that year and deservedly so.
|Smithsonian/Museum of African History|
|Photo: Brian Harkin/NYT|
|Photo: Jimmy & Dena Katz|
Plenty of Big Band/Large Ensemble have come my way this Summer––here's three of the best!
While it turned out that the sessions that created "Renderings" were a hardship for those involved, the music triumphs. If you are an aficionado of Big Bands, you already know how good the WDR Big Band can be––thanks to the top-notch material and excellent arrangements from Chuck Owen, the large ensemble is at the top of its game––go listen.
Here's "Of Mystery and Beauty" with guest Sara Caswell:
|Photo: Eric Antoniou|
|Photo courtesy of BCM|
Here's "Let Me Love You":
Hard to believe it's 16 years since Ambrose Akinmusire won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. That same year, he won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition plus his debut album on Fresh Sound. In 2011, Akinmusire signed to Blue Note Records where he released five albums as a leader one as a member of the Blue Note All Stars. He's been a frequent guest artist appearing on albums by Jen Shyu, Me'shell Ndegeocello, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel and Mary Halvorson, Jack DeJohnette, and many more. He's also has collaborated with Australian composer Michael Yezerski for two seasons on the soundtrack of the STARZ series "Blindspotting". Earlier this month, Akinmusire was named the Artistic Director for the incoming class of 2025 of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz (formerly the Monk Institute) in Los Angeles, CA.
he Church of St. Eustache (pictured below)––the trumpeter rented space within the building bringing sound engineer Julien Bassères along to capture the improvisations. In an excellent interview with Nate Chinen for his SubStack blog, "The Gig", Akinmusire said "You know, the idea started from talking to Wadada and Roscoe, and them talking about the importance of having a solo record". (Sign up for "The Gig" as it is now Mr. Chinen's main vehicle for writing). There's certainly a precedent for this album as there are numerous Creative Music solo trumpet albums including several excellent TUM releases by Wadada Leo Smith.