Podcast 968: A Conversation with Ada Rovatti
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
3d ago
Italy-born, Long Island, New York-based saxophonist and arranger Ada Rovatti’s seventh album as a leader, The Hidden World of Piloo is deeply personal, and stylistically varied. It features six improvisationally rich instrumentals that include blues grooves, samba vibes, straight-up lyricism, melancholic balladry and a comedic finale. Two songs include strings; another features the dobro, a country instrument unlikely to be in a jazz song. In a change for Ada, several compositions showcase top-tier vocalists, including jazz-poll champion Kurt Elling, the Netherlands jazz si ..read more
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Podcast 967: A Conversation with Sullivan Fortner, Part Two
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
5d ago
In Part One of our conversation, pianist and composer Sullivan Fortner talked about the creation of his latest release, the creative two-disc Solo Game. One disc is solo piano, the result of a curation in the studio with his mentor Fred Hersch, and the other electric keyboard and other musical toys to create both composed through and improvised soundscapes.  Part Two talks about future Fornter projects, like his coming performance with the National Symphony in `Washington DC to salute Duke Ellington and a choir-based recording to begin later in the year. We also talk about his work with&n ..read more
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Podcast 966: A Conversation with Sullivan Fortner, Part One
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
5d ago
The latest release from the rising star Sullivan Fortner shows off two very different sides of his musical pallet – lyrical and moving solo piano, and electronic explorations. Both will leave you wanting more, and to hear what he has next up his sleeve. Frustrated by his lack of musical outlets during the pandemic, “Game,” the second of two discs that make up Solo Game came first. Visiting a studio in Brooklyn to consider a project, Fortner began employing a range of instruments and effects — Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3, Moog, vocoder, celesta, chimes, drums, an immense variety of percussion (an ..read more
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Podcast 965: A Conversation with Giorgi Mikadze
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
1M ago
Giorgi Mikadze (pronounced “Gih-ohr-gih Mih-kahd-zeh”) is a pianist who values his heritage and roots, having been born and raised in Georgia, at the foot of the Caucasus mountains. While his training and early carer arch may have seemed typical for an aspiring jazz musician – classical training, Berklee and Manhattan School of Music studies, time on the road with his elders – his choice of music is not. Rather than concentrate on the Great American Songbook or record only his own compositions, Giorgi has adapted Georgia music, from folk songs to movie scores. This process comes to a new high ..read more
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Podcast 964: A Conversation with Nitai Hershkovits
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
2M ago
Following in the footsteps of the giants of solo piano who have recorded for ECM Records, Call on the Old Wise is Nitai Hershkovits’ first record as a leader for the famous label, presenting his powerful pianistic ingenuity in a largely improvised solo setting. A veteran of Oded Tzur’s quartet (he appears on Isabela and Here Be Dragons), Nitai was also a mainstay of Avishai Cohen’s trio from 2011 to 2016. The album is partially dedicated to Nitai’s former piano teacher Suzan Cohen, with whom he studied in Jerusalem and who according to Nitai is the mentor to whom the term ..read more
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Podcast 963: A Conversation with Buster Williams
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
2M ago
As 2023 comes to a close, Straight No Chaser posts a few conversations with artists who produced memorable albums this year. Today’s podcast features bassist Buster Williams, who released Unalome on the Smoke Sessions label this past winter. While the band on Unalome is familiar – drummer Lenny White, pianist George Colligan, alto saxophonist Bruce Williams and Vibes master Stefon Harris are all long-time running partners – the album adds vocalist Jean Baylor for covers and Williams originals that take his music in a less familiar territory. One of the most revered bassists of the last half ce ..read more
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Podcast 962: A Conversation with Dominic Miller
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
2M ago
Dominic Miller may be best known to the world as Sting’s “right-hand man on guitar” and co-writer of “Shape of My Heart,” among the ex-Police bassist's other pop hits. But the multi-faceted Miller has a completely different outlet for his improvisatory talents as well. Vagabond is the guitarist’s third recording for ECM, and might prove his most poetic tale to date. After Dominic’s debut Silent Light (2017), which captured the guitarist in solo performances with occasional percussive injections by Miles Bould, Absinthe (2019) found him expand his subtle instrumental sketche ..read more
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Podcast 961: A Conversation with Ralph Towner, Part Two
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
2M ago
On Part Two of our conversation, guitarist Ralph Towner talks about his growth as a guitarist from his early days playing trumpet and piano, through his time with influential bands like the Paul Winter Consort and Oregon, and then his many solo, duo and trio recordings. We talk about his work with Wolfgang Muthspeil and Slava Grigoryan (From a Dream and Travel Guide in 2008 and 2013) as well as his favorite duo recordings, especially those with bassist Gary Peacock. We also discuss some of his other collaborations, including his brief brush performing with Weather Report in 1972. At First Ligh ..read more
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Podcast 960: A Conversation with Ralph Towner, Part One
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
2M ago
At the age of 83, guitarist Ralph Towner continues to write, perform and improvise on the highest of musical levels. He has been an ECM artist for more than fifty years, appearing in many different contexts, one of the most important being a run of solo recordings which began with Diary in 1973. At First Light is the latest addition to the solo guitar series. Never one to be pigeon-holed as an interpreter and composer of a specific type of music, this release features new and old Towner pieces, as well as tunes from Broadway musicals and the much-covered Irish traditional a ..read more
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Podcast 959: A Conversation with Christine Jensen
Straight No Chaser Podcast
by Jeffrey Siegel
3M ago
One of the few positives of the horrid COVID pandemic that shook the music world to its core has been the release of musci composed during those uncertain days. Alton and soprano saxophonist Christine Jensen's lastest album, Day Moon (Justin Time Records) stands as a shining example of how a great musician turns struggle into art.  Recorded with her quartet of pianist Steve Amirault and her long-time collaborators bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer Jim Doxas, Day Moon is highlighted by the four-song suite Quiescence. Written for a commission from New York’s Jazz Coaliti ..read more
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