Reviews that mention Wynton Marsalis

April 27, 2019

Bucket of Blood

By Steve Potts with Michel Edelin
Lenka Lente (in French)

Best known for his quarter century as the second reed voice in soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s bands, American saxophonist Steve Potts had notable musical experiences before and after his stint with Lacy. Episodic and somewhat poetic this slim volume puts into perspective the career of the Columbus, Ohio soprano and alto player who has made his career in France since 1970.

Written in numerous short chapters framed by the frequent gigs Potts played at the legendary Rue de Rosiers Jazz club 7 Lézards, the narrative is more lyrical than linear, strung together like tales players would tell on and off the bandstand. Likely helped by the poetic sensibility of collaborator Michel Edelin, who is a French scholar as well as a first-class Jazz flutist, Bucket of Blood ranges through Potts’ lifetime experience and decision to expatriate to a country where his music could be appreciated with less of the racism and hustling that was endemic in the American Jazz scene, Related on his father’s side to the classic Swing tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate, who influenced Potts to start playing reeds, his appreciation of traditional sounds has means that Potts is comfortable working in mainstream situations with the likes of prototypical R&B honker Hal Singer as well as probing exploratory sounds with Lacy and others. MORE

November 10, 2011

The New York City Jazz Record Interview:

With Fred Ho
By Ken Waxman

Composer, bandleader, baritone saxophonist, political activist and cancer survivor, Fred Ho has forged a singular path since the mid-1980s. Known for his multi-media creations, evoking his Asian heritage alongside African-American influences, Ho has received numerous awards, while his fight with colon cancer is documented in a new book.

The New York City Jazz Record: Both of your big bands are being featured this month. What distinguishes one from the other?

Fred Ho: My core band is the Afro Asian Music Ensemble [AAME], founded in 1982. The AAME is a sextet often used as the instrumental ensemble for many of my operas, for example, Warrior Sisters, Night Vision, Voice of The Dragon Episodes 1, 2 and 3, etc. The Green Monster Big Band was founded at the end of 2008 just after my diagnosis of a third cancer tumor and I was only given 1 in 30,000 chances of living. I wanted one last venture with my favorite musicians so a big band was logical. Until The Sweet Science Suite: A Scientific Soul Music Honoring of Muhammad Ali which premieres this month and includes dancers-choreographed by Christal Brown, the AAME was the group that played the scores to my operas. The AAME celebrates its 30th season for 2011-2012. Before composing new works for the Green Monster Big Band I listened to all the important big band recordings of the 20th century in order NOT to regurgitate any of these influences, but to create a big band repertoire that would represent the apex of the African-American large form. MORE

July 2, 2008

Monk’s Music Thelonious Monk and Jazz History in the Making

By Gabriel Solis
University of California Press

Originally scorned, then patronized, yet eventually lionized, the career and compositions of Thelonious Monk (1917-1982) offer a lesson in the evolution of musical reputations. Today, both jazz’s neo-conservatives and its avant gardists claim the pianist’s as one of their own. Each makes its claim based on interpretation: fidelity to Monk’s scores or his ideas.

This volume synthesizes the situation, but except obliquely, comes down on neither side. Gabriel Solis, a professor at the University of Illinois, analyzes Monk in terms of sometimes bewildering academic theory, provides notated transcriptions of Monk’s records and compiles opinions of more than a dozen musicians. What emerges confirms his statement that “looking backwards and forward are not necessarily mutually contradictory.” MORE

March 24, 2003

ART BLAKEY: JAZZ MESSENGER

By Leslie Gourse
Schirmer Trade Books

Art Blakey was the hard bop drummer par excellence. The versatile percussionist could accompany anyone from Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver to Dr. John and Billy Eckstine, amplify their ideas and make them sound better. Furthermore legions of promising soloists passed through the ranks of his Jazz Messengers during its more than 30-year existence, honing their skills and being trained as potential leaders. You could almost say that the mainstream, neo-con version of jazz was created and nurtured by Blakey with many of its most prominent figures -- definitely including Wynton Marsalis -- former Jazz Messengers. MORE