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The sixth Jazz FM Awards will take place at Shoreditch Town Hall in London on Tuesday, Apr. 30, coinciding with UNESCO’s International Jazz Day.

The awards are meant to highlight the range of talent across the worlds of jazz, soul, and blues, featuring both emerging artists and established stars. In the past, the event has recognized artists such as Quincy Jones, George Benson, Gregory Porter, Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, and Hugh Masekela.

The nominations, including U.K. Jazz Act of the Year, the Innovation Award, and Album of the Year, will be announced in the new year.

Some of 2018’s Jazz FM Award winners include Nubya Garcia (Breakthrough Act of the Year), Esperanza Spalding (Digital Initiative of the Year for Exposure), Evan Parker (Instrumentalist of the Year), Shabaka Hutchings (Jazz Innovation of the Year), and Cécile McLorin Salvant (International Jazz Artist of the Year).

“We’re thrilled to announce the return of the Jazz FM Awards in 2019,” Nick Pitts, content director of Jazz FM, the largest commercial jazz station in the world, says in a press release.

“Jazz, soul, and blues have continued to thrive over the last 12 months and have been bolstered further still by exceptional live performances and ground-breaking recordings,” Pitts adds in the release. “We’re excited to be returning to Shoreditch Town Hall for another celebration of the genre’s vibrancy and diversity along with many of our sponsors who make the awards possible and our new radio family at Bauer Media.”

The post Jazz FM Awards Return for Sixth Installment at London’s Shoreditch Town Hall appeared first on JazzTimes.

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JazzTimes Magazine by Madavor-titles-admin - 3w ago

CEOs will sneer, but the Great Recession hasn’t been all bad news for the musical-instrument industry. For one, the tighter times seem to be keeping the research-and-development departments in check. Over the past couple years at Winter NAMM, the industry’s big North American tradeshow, that’s meant more practical innovation and thoroughly planned product launches and fewer toys and baubles. Here are some of the best products heard at the 2014 show, held at the Anaheim Convention Center Jan. 23-26. (And in case you were wondering, the award for the most surreal impromptu NAMM band went to guitarist Alex Skolnick, heavy metal bassist Rudy Sarzo, drummer Scott Amendola and Robert Randolph, on lap steel.)

Hammond USA had a tremendous tradeshow, celebrating its 80th anniversary and the launch of the Hammond Hall of Fame-which I voted in-with an all-star concert at one of the main hotels. Getting the swing and groove going were jazz organists Brian Charette, Ron Oswanski (in a trio featuring saxophonist Tim Ries) and a couple genuine icons, drummer Bernard Purdie and Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Keith Emerson, a member of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class. (At a private Hall of Fame reception, Emerson brought Jack McDuff’s captain’s hat to the podium.) Also in the inaugural group (but not present in Anaheim) was Dr. Lonnie Smith, who received from Hammond a limited-edition Sk2 signature organ with a custom-engraved Jatoba side panel and the Dr.’s custom presets.

A staple of NAMM conversation is the question, “What have you seen?” It refers to a single game-changing product-for instance, Yamaha’s redesigned Silent Brass systems, for trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn and French horn. Essentially, Yamaha has created extremely lightweight practice mutes that, when inserted into a horn’s bell, make that instrument’s sound barely audible without dramatically changing playability. (On a noisy tradeshow floor, I couldn’t hear the trombone at all.) Yamaha’s brass resonance-modeling technology convincingly recreates the horn’s sound in the player’s headphones, adding levels of digital reverb. Simply put, these systems could change the way brass players live-no more angry neighbors and spouses, no more late-night treks to the practice room or studio.

Loud instruments made quiet or noiseless for rehearsal use was something of a trend at this year’s show. REMO showcased its solid-sounding and feeling Silent Stroke mesh drumheads, and Zildjian made NAMM news with its AE (Acoustic-Electric) cymbals, part of its Gen16 line. Perhaps the most important note here is that these are real cymbals, holed like mesh to reduce volume by 70 percent. But noise-reduction isn’t the endgame here; below each cymbal is a microphone that amplifies its signal and models it for sonic variations and definition that acoustic cymbals can’t achieve. Also noteworthy from Zildjian was the Kerope series, based on the company’s legendary K series from the 1950s and ’60s. Sabian introduced two wieldy, ingenious accessories in a new cymbal bag and Stick Flip drumstick bag.

Roots and blues player David Grissom demo’d the 30-watt version of his signature PRS amp-a 50-watt edition and an extension cabinet are also available-and proved how a finely wrought tube combo, opened up and given the breathing room it deserves, is still the best way to experience a great guitar. Another guitar-related breakthrough was BOSS’ special-edition OD-1X and DS-1X, much-better-sounding reinventions of two standard-issue stompboxes. In electric basses, Reverend Guitars exhibited its Meshell Ndegeocello “Fellowship” signature four-string, with a stacked volume/tone knob, single pickup, satin-black finish and reverse headstock.

Among the horn highlights was Greg Osby’s signature alto saxophone by P. Mauriat, based on the manufacturer’s System 76 series. The model features a cognac lacquered body and keys, a hand-engraved bell, bow, body and keys (a gorgeous dragon design adorns the bell) and gold-plated resonators. It ships with either a silver-plated nickel silver or sterling silver neck, and the run is limited to 100 instruments. Antoine Courtois brandished its AC402TRR B-flat trombone, featuring a .508-inch bore, fixed brass leadpipe, 8-inch hand-hammered one-piece bell available in yellow or rose brass, an ergonomic hand grip and a lacquer finish. In addition to redesigned mouthpieces by Theo Wanne, D’Addario‘s Select model and JodyJazz‘s JET series (covered in last month’s Gig Bag), Vandoren introduced new metal tenor mouthpieces into its popular V16 line-and you couldn’t get a better product demo than the annual VandoJam, where tenorman Ralph Bowen drew weighty, virtuosic bop lines. Some things in jazz are simply recession-proof.

For more photos from Winter NAMM, log on to JazzTimes.com.

The post Winter NAMM 2014: Gear, Not Gimmicks appeared first on JazzTimes.

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Saxophonist Logan Strosahl has been nothing if not prolific since releasing his debut, Up Go We, on Sunnyside in 2015. That was a septet recording, as was 2017’s Book I of Arthur; in between, the newcomer released a duo set, Janus, with pianist Nick Sanders. Each of the three was an ambitious undertaking, collating influences from Renaissance-era classical music to free jazz to songbook standards. Strosahl gave the impression, from day one, that he wasn’t about taking the easy way out.

Sure, his fourth release for Sunnyside, is a trio session, with Henry Fraser on bass and Allan Mednard playing drums. Strosahl, who has heretofore stuck to the alto, adds tenor sax and flute this time. What he doesn’t do, however, is simplify the music. A trimmer format, for him, is no excuse to coast. Even when Sure touches down where saxophone-led trios often go—a walking bass serves as the foundation of “Bark,” the lead track; nothing unusual about that—there’s almost always something unconventional going on elsewhere.

“Coming on the Hudson” is the shortest tune here, at three-and-a-half minutes, and rhythmically it’s rooted in the blues. But Strosahl doesn’t allow his horn to linger where the rhythm section suggests it should. He dives and darts, trills and weaves, flies ahead of and lurks behind the others. “Isfahan” is a conversational ballad suggesting exotica and intrigue; “Chacarera,” a flute piece, rarely stays on track for long, Mednard’s restlessness on the toms and Fraser’s deep plunges giving Strosahl carte blanche to make up new melodies as they occur to him.

Sure is less of a set piece than the Arthur extravaganza, but it’s satisfying for its own reasons, displaying another side of this young, impressive composer and musician.

Check the price of Sure on Amazon!

The post Logan Strosahl Spec Ops: <I>Sure</I> (Sunnyside) appeared first on JazzTimes.

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The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has just announced over 150 indoor concerts for its 40th edition, featuring roughly 3,000 artists from more than 30 countries.

Tickets will be on sale Friday, April 26, at 10 a.m. Lineups for hundreds of free outdoor shows will be announced on May 29. The festival takes place June 27 through July 6.

Performers and dates are listed below by venue. For more information, click here. 

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts
Rock, jazz, country and blues performers from the world over perform in the Événements spéciaux TD Series at 7:30 p.m.

June 27 / Norah Jones
June 28 / Blue Rodeo. Opening act: Elisapie
June 29 and 30 / Melody Gardot
July 1 / George Benson. Opening act: Kandace Springs
July 2 and 3 / alt-J
July 4 / Alan Parsons
July 5 / Peter Frampton Finale, The Farewell Tour
July 6 / Buddy Guy | Colin James

Series presented in collaboration with ICI MUSIQUE, CBCMusic.ca, La Presse+, Rouge FM, Boom FM, Virgin 95.9 and CHOM.

Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts
Les Grands concerts in the Rio Tinto Series start at 8 p.m.

June 26 / CBC/Radio-Canada Opening Concert: Richard Galliano/Ron Carter duo | Tribute to Michel Legrand with Richard Galliano and Quatuor Molinari
June 27 / Omara Portuondo, One Last Kiss Tour
June 28 / Madeleine Peyroux. Opening act: Yaron Herman trio
June 29 / Bebel Gilberto. Opening act: Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
June 30 / Ravi Coltrane Quartet | Antonio Sanchez & Migration 
July 1 / Dianne Reeves 
July 2 / Joshua Redman Quartet with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers & Gregory Hutchinson. Opening act: Alex Lefaivre YUL Quartet 
July 3 / John Pizzarelli trio, For Centennial Reasons: 100 Year Salute to Nat King Cole | Ranee Lee
July 4 / Alexandra Streliski. Opening act: Justin Wright
July 5 / Bahamas. Opening act: Emilie Kahn 
July 6 / Leslie Odom Jr. | Dominique Fils-Aimé

Series presented in collaboration with ICI MUSIQUE, CBCMusic.ca, 98,5 FM, CHOM and CJAD 800 AM.

Maison symphonique de Montréal
Shows in the Festival à la Maison symphonique Delta Air Lines Series start at 7 p.m.

June 27 / Brad Mehldau Quintet with Ambrose Akinmusire, Joel Frahm, Joe Sanders, Leon Parker
June 28 / Chucho Valdés, Jazz Batá. Opening act: Edmar Castaneda trio
June 30 / Stacey Kent Symphonique
July 3 / Rodrigo y Gabriela
July 6 and 7 / CBC/Radio-Canada Closing Concerts: Pink Martini

Series presented in collaboration with The Montreal Gazette, CJAD 800 AM, Rouge FM and NOOVO.CA.

MTELUS
Les Rythmes Series presented at 8:30 p.m.

June 27 / The Strumbellas. Opening act: Elliot Maginot
June 28 / Steel Pulse
June 29 / Bobby Bazini. Opening act: Matt Andersen
July 2 / Morcheeba
July 3 / Lou Doillon
July 4 / Mr Eazi. Opening act: Blinky Bill
July 5 / Courtney Barnett. Opening act: Pottery
July 6 / First Aid Kit. Opening act: Gabrielle Shonk

Series presented in collaboration with NOOVO.CA, CKOI 96,9, Nightlife.ca and Virgin 95.9.

Au Club Soda
Les Couleurs SAQ Series starts at 9 p.m.

June 27 / J.S. Ondara
June 28 / Jesse Mac Cormack | Land of Talk
June 29 / Nikki Yanofsky
June 30 / Voïvod. Opening act: René Lussier & Robbie Kuster
July 1 / Lee Fields & The Expressions
July 2 / Jacob Collier. Opening act: Madison McFerrin
July 3 / Jeremy Dutcher. Opening act: Eleni Mandell
July 4 / Connan Mockasin. Opening act: Helena Deland
July 5 / Alex Henry Foster. Opening act: Sheenah Ko
July 6 / Yungblud. Opening act: Saint PHNX

Series presented in collaboration with Virgin 95.9 and CISM.

Monument-National
Jazz Beat Double Tree par Hilton Montréal Series performances start at 8 p.m.

June 27 / Steve Gadd Band
June 28 / Youn Sun Nah
June 29 / Manu Katché
June 30 / Patricia Barber
July 1 / Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
July 2 / Nate Smith, KINFOLK | BIGYUKI
July 3 / Orchestre National de Jazz – The Invisible Man: An Orchestral Tribute to Dr. Dre   
July 5 / Kurt Elling and Danilo Pérez duo
July 6 / Yamandu Costa

Series presented in collaboration with CBCMusic.ca.

Lion d’Or
Four nights with Holly Cole and her original trio, in the vintage atmosphere of the Lion d’Or.

July 2 to 5 / HOLLY COLE TRIO

Cinquième Salle, Place des Arts
Reinterpretations and tributes in the RE: creation Series starting at 7 p.m.

June 27 / Nebraska Project: André Papanicolaou, José Major, Mario Légaré and Denis Faucher revisit Bruce Springsteen’s album 
June 28 / Lucioles with guests Marie-Pierre Arthur and Lisa Iwanycki-Moore: Nirvana
June 29 / Yannick Rieu: John Coltrane, The Lost Album
June 30 / Hichem Khalfa: The RH Factor
July 1 / Dummy: 25 Years of Trip Hop

Discover inspiring artists in the En concert Series, 7 p.m.

July 3 / Emrical: Viiivre
July 4 / Beverly Glenn Copeland
July 5 / Bears of Legend
July 6 / Juan Carmona 

Gesù
Invitation TD shows start at 6 p.m.

June 27 / ECM 50th Anniversary, Vijay Iyer & Craig Taborn
June 28 / 50th Anniversary, Tord Gustavsen trio
June 29 / Roberto Fonseca III with Erik Truffaz
June 30 / Roberto SOLO Fonseca
July 1 / Roberto Fonseca & Joe Claussell
July 2 / Biréli Lagrène
July 3 / Stéphane Wrembel, Django à gogo
July 4 / Django Festival All Stars featuring Samson Schmitt, Pierre Blanchard, Ludovic Beier
July 5 / ECM 50th Anniversary, Bobo Stenson solo
July 6 / Wray Downes

Series presented in collaboration with The Montreal Gazette.

A series for nighthawk jazzophiles at 10:30 p.m.: Jazz dans la nuit.

June 27 / Melissa Aldana Quartet
June 28 / Cyrille Aimée
June 29 / Donny McCaslin
June 30 / Makaya McCraven
July 1/ Vincent Peirani
July 2 / Butcher Brown
July 3 / Christine Jensen New York Quartet with Allison Miller, Helen Sung, Noriko Ueda
July 4 / ECM 50th Anniversary, Larry Grenadier
July 5 / ECM 50th Anniversary, Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin
July 6 / Kris Davis 

Series presented in collaboration with ICI MUSIQUE and CBCMusic.ca.

L’Astral (Maison du Festival)
A series dedicated to the local jazz scene: TD Jazz d’ici La Presse+ shows start at 6 p.m.

June 27 / Jacques Kuba Séguin, Migrations. With: Pilc, Rieu, Salazar, Vedady and Warren
June 28 / Samuel Blais Quartet with Ben Monder, Dan Weiss and John Hollenbeck
June 29 / Marianne Trudel and Karen Young, Portraits: Songs of Joni Mitchell
June 30 / Charles Papasoff, Darkly Bright, Conversations with Shakespeare
July 1/ Benoît Charest
July 2 / Effendi 20th Anniversary
July 3 / Jean-Michel Pilc Waves Trio
July 4 / Rafael Zaldivar, Afro-Cuban Revival
July 5 / Jim Doxas Quartet
July 6 / Donato-Bourassa-Lozano-Tanguay, Re: Bill Evans

Series presented in collaboration with ICI MUSIQUE.

Le Club Heineken Series starts at 10 p.m.

June 27 / Rodrigo Amarante
June 28 / Hailu Mergia
June 29 / Joep Beving
June 30 / Ifé
July 1 / Theon Cross
July 2 / Tamino
July 3 / PJ Morton
July 5 / Flying Hórses
July 6 / Mercury Rev

Series presented in collaboration with Stingray.

M2
M2: Les Concerts intimes shows start at 7 p.m.

June 27 and 28 / Black Legary
June 29 and 30 / La Force 
July 1 and 2 / Joe Bel, Dreams
July 3 and 4 / Thus Owls
July 5 and 6 / Hein Cooper

Series presented in collaboration with CISM 89,3 FM.

SAT
This immersive show features 360º projections and starts at 7 p.m.

June 26 to July 6 / Richard Reed Parry

The post Montreal Jazz Fest Indoor Lineup Features 150+ Shows appeared first on JazzTimes.

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On April 13, an Ivy League institution became an improvisational center as Princeton University welcomed an impressive roster of musicians to its main New Jersey campus for the university’s first jazz festival. Organized by Jazz at Princeton University—which is helmed by saxophonist and university jazz director Rudresh Mahanthappa—the day-long festival featured performances by students as well as (and sometimes alongside) Joel Frahm, Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, the Charenée Wade Quartet, the Pedrito Martinez Group, and the Donny McCaslin Quartet. At a ticketed evening event in Alexander Hall, bassist Dave Holland provided the final set of the festival, with help from the university’s Small Group I. Photographer Alan Nahigian was there both day and night, and captured the following images.

Joel Frahm, Princeton, N.J., April 13, 2019 (photo: Alan Nahigian)

The post Photos: Princeton University Jazz Festival appeared first on JazzTimes.

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Trumpeter Josh Lawrence is as straight-ahead as it gets—making it seem a little odd at first that he would dedicate a three-part suite to abstract expressionist Wassily Kandinsky. But then, jazz was at its most commercial when, like Kandinsky’s art, it was branded “degenerate” by the Nazi regime. Perhaps it’s appropriate after all.

“Lost Works” (labeled herein as “Compositions #1-3,” after lost Kandinsky paintings) is one of three suites on Triptych. It’s also the most cohesive. Two joyful swingers and a waltz ballad, all 32 bars, each have fine work by Lawrence, alto saxophonist Caleb Curtis, and pianist Luques Curtis. All three soloists submit album-best solos on “#2,” the ballad; drummer Anwar Marshall does the same on “#3.”

Another suite, “Earth Wind Fire”—inspired by the eponymous ’70s band—has one genuinely funky part (“Earth”). Lawrence even manages to sound eerily like EWF trumpeter Leslie Drayton. The other parts diverge. “Wind” uses Ahmad Jamal’s “Poinciana” groove, with a suitably sensitive piano part and quietly confident bass line; “Fire” is just that, hard-swinging postbop that Lawrence and Caleb Curtis set ablaze with their harmonized melody and forceful solos. This suite is a bit scattered.

The third suite, however, is deliberately scattered: Its three parts are the opener, the other two suites’ divider, and the penultimate track. Each has a breezy, melodic bounce, sounding for all the world like Gershwin standards—with Gershwin-esque titles like “We’re Happiest Together” to boot. In sequence, they would flow nicely; staggered, they seem incidental. Even more confusingly, its third movement, “Sunset in Santa Barbara,” is followed by EWF’s “That’s the Way of the World,” a faithful and soul-drenched rendition featuring organist Brian Charette but starkly distant from the EWF suite. Triptych is easily digestible and fun, if you don’t try to make sense of it.

Preview, buy or download Triptych on Amazon!

The post Josh Lawrence: <i>Triptych</i> (Posi-Tone) appeared first on JazzTimes.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center has opened voting for the 2019 Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame inductees as Jazz Appreciation Month comes to an end. The general public can vote online now for this year’s nominees by clicking here.

Voting ends on April 29 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Jazz at Lincoln Center will announce the four inductees of the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame 2019 class on April 30, recognized as International Jazz Day. They will be celebrated at curated sets on July 16–17, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club. The shows will also be webcast live at jazz.org/live.

The 2019 Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame nominees are: Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes, Freddie Hubbard, Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill, Cecil Taylor, Frank Trumbauer, Dinah Washington, Chick Webb and Teddy Wilson.

The 2019 Jazz Hall of Fame nominees were selected by a Jazz at Lincoln Center-appointed panel, which includes: Bill Charlap, Aaron Diehl, Jon Faddis, Will Friedwald, Ethan Iverson, Jerome Jennings, Renee Rosnes, Catherine Russell, Bobby Sanabria, Phil Schaap, Loren Schoenberg, Bria Skonberg, Terell Stafford, Helen Sung, and Ben Young.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame is located in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, on Broadway at 60th Street in New York City. For additional information, visit jazz.org.

The post Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame Voting Now Open appeared first on JazzTimes.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center has opened voting for the 2019 Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame inductees as Jazz Appreciation Month comes to an end. The general public can vote online now for this year’s nominees by clicking here.

Voting ends on April 29 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Jazz at Lincoln Center will announce the four inductees of the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame 2019 class on April 30, recognized as International Jazz Day. They will be celebrated at curated sets on July 16–17, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club. The shows will also be webcast live at jazz.org/live.

The 2019 Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame nominees are: Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes, Freddie Hubbard, Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill, Cecil Taylor, Frank Trumbauer, Dinah Washington, Chick Webb and Teddy Wilson.

The 2019 nominees were selected by a Jazz at Lincoln Center-appointed panel, which includes: Bill Charlap, Aaron Diehl, Jon Faddis, Will Friedwald, Ethan Iverson, Jerome Jennings, Renee Rosnes, Catherine Russell, Bobby Sanabria, Phil Schaap, Loren Schoenberg, Bria Skonberg, Terell Stafford, Helen Sung, and Ben Young.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame is located in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, on Broadway at 60th Street in New York City. For additional information, visit jazz.org.

The post Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame Voting Now Open appeared first on JazzTimes.

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Jeff Denson, the renowned bassist, vocalist, and composer, has been named dean of instruction at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkley, beginning in August.

He succeeds Susan Muscarella, who is the founder of the conservatory. She will continue on as its president.

“Jeff is one of the most talented artist-educators I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” Muscarella, who is a pianist, says in a press release. “He has deep and long-established relationships with our students and fellow faculty; he is the perfect person to step into this important role—especially given that our artistic standards are so fully aligned.”

Denson, the founder of Ridgeway Records, has played with a number of notable musicians throughout his career, including Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Jane Ira Bloom, Kenny Werner, Dave Douglas, and Giacomo Gates. He has released 12 albums as a leader or co-leader and will continue to perform and record in his new role.

“The California Jazz Conservatory is an exceptional institution, fostering the next generation of artists and educators—many on the cutting edge—performing, composing, teaching, and touring throughout the world,” Denson says in the release. “I am honored to be following in the footsteps of Dr. Susan Muscarella in this important role and I am excited at the prospect of working closely with CJC students, faculty, supporters, and friends to grow the institution in the future.”

Denson was already serving as a professor at the conservatory, and he will continue to teach as he takes on his new role as dean.

The post Jeff Denson Named Dean of Instruction at California Jazz Conservatory appeared first on JazzTimes.

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Like many teens who came of age in the 1990s, Adam Hopkins fell under the spell of indie rock bands like Pavement, the Dismemberment Plan, and Nirvana. Before long Hopkins picked up the bass guitar and started a band called Mr. Belvedere with his brother. Getting gigs in his hometown of Baltimore became easy when their drummer convinced his mother to let him open up an all-ages venue called the Small Intestine. “It was a pretty fertile development period where we were writing music and playing,” Hopkins says.

By his senior year, Hopkins had begun playing upright bass in his high-school jazz band. That’s when he heard Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life, featuring Jaco Pastorius. From there he immersed himself deeper in jazz, which felt far removed from the music he’d been playing. This began a gradual shift toward forward-thinking jazz and free improvisation that has now led to the release of his leadership debut, Crickets, on his own Out of Your Head imprint. In a way, he’s come full circle, merging his own approach to jazz with the DIY aesthetic that first inspired him.

During Hopkins’ sophomore year at James Madison University in Virginia, a professor encouraged him to attend a concert by Masada, John Zorn’s acoustic quartet. It proved to be an eye-opening event. “Hearing John Zorn for the first time, I realized, ‘Whoa, this isn’t actually that different from the stuff I was listening to in high school,’” Hopkins says. That feeling was reinforced when he heard Naked City, Zorn’s early-’90s band that played a collision of punk rock, straight jazz, surf, and virtually anything else.

Following graduate studies at Michigan State University, Hopkins returned to Baltimore and began studying at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University with Michael Formanek. Hopkins knew Formanek from recordings with Tim Berne’s Bloodcount, which had become one of the younger bassist’s favorite bands. Now he was learning that music. “One week, [Formanek] would say, ‘Let’s see how you would play in one of Tim Berne’s bands,’ and he’d put all these charts in front of me, and we would work on that for a week,” Hopkins recalls. “The next week it would be a different band.”

Formanek says Hopkins came to Peabody with a solid musical foundation in place, and remembers him as being a catalyst in the Baltimore music scene. “He’s a natural organizer and inspires people to get off their asses and do things without bullying them,” Formanek comments via email. “He generated a lot of energy when he was in Baltimore, which dropped off pretty suddenly when he moved to Brooklyn.”

That move occurred in 2011. Since then, Hopkins has performed and recorded with numerous artists, including Henry Threadgill, John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet, and Ideal Bread, baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton’s quartet that draws exclusively from Steve Lacy’s compositions.

Hopkins released Crickets last fall; along with Sinton, on both baritone sax and bass clarinet, the album features tenor saxophonists Anna Webber and Ed Rosenberg, who create textures steeped in both harmony and tension. Guitarist Jonathan Goldberger recalls the blunt delivery of indie rock, filtered through sharp technique and a battery of effects pedals. While Hopkins holds things together, drummer Devin Gray—like the rest of the band, a leader in his own right—thinks nothing of going off on a tear along with the horns when the spirit calls for it.

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The name of Hopkins’ label was taken from that of a Baltimore free-improv collective in the late ’00s. “It created this amazing scene, where people would come out and hang out,” Hopkins recalls. “I wanted to keep that name alive because it was such a special time period for a lot of us.” The label has also released Air Ceremony by guitarist Dustin Carlson, with a solo disc by saxophonist/pianist Michael Attias slated for early spring. Both come with stickers of the OOYH logo—cartoon quote bubbles with the name popping out of a skull—and artwork by T.J. Huff.

Despite the fact that the recording industry has all but declared the death of the compact disc, Hopkins isn’t concerned. “More people have bought [Crickets] CDs than have bought it digitally. I’m biased but I think the art is really cool, and I think there’s a thing to packaging and stickers that serves as an incentive to buy the physical product,” he says.

Hopkins might expand into other formats, releasing digital-only albums that come with T-shirts. Thinking back to his punk rock days, another idea occurs to him. “All of the skateboard companies in the ’90s did stickers and T-shirts. They all had this vibe to them,” he says, adding, “Maybe we’ll do a skateboard-only release.”

Top photo: Adam Hopkins and band (L to R) Anna Webber, Devin Gray, Ed Rosenberg, Hopkins, Josh Sinton, Jonathan Goldberger.

The post Adam Hopkins’ Passage to Indie appeared first on JazzTimes.

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