Guitarist Jim Hall, an understated yet profoundly influential presence on jazz guitar, died in his sleep Tuesday morning at his New York City home. He was 83.
Hall, whose career began in the '50s as part of the West Coast jazz scene with Jimmy Giuffre and Chico Hamilton, recorded with wealth of jazz royalty over his career, including Ben Webster, Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Evans and Sonny Rollins, who worked with Hall on his landmark 1962 album "The Bridge" as well as his celebrated 2011 live release, "Road Shows Vol 2."
The guitarist led his own trio since the '60s, and continued to maintain a busy recording and touring schedule. He appeared at this year's Newport Jazz Festival (joined by fellow guitarist Julian Lage) and was reportedly planning a duo tour of Japan with his frequent collaborator Ron Carter for January 2014.
The closer we get to Feb. 9 and the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first live performance on American television on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the more commemorations that are announced.
In New York, where the group first touched down at John F. Kennedy Airport on Feb. 7 ahead of the Sullivan show performance, four days of musical tributes have been slated from Feb. 6 through Feb. 9 for the NYC Beatles 50 celebration.
Participants have yet to be announced, but events begin Feb. 6 with “Twist & Shout: New York Celebrates the Beatles,” and the following day what is being described as an “all-star concert” is slated for the venerated Apollo Theater in Harlem.
On Feb. 8 and 9, dozens of bands will perform throughout the day at various sites around the city. The 50th anniversary theme is carried out by the use of 50 bands from 50 countries that have been invited to attend, with most tickets priced at $50. Proceeds are being...
Unlike many beat-scene producers, Flying Lotus takes his time between albums. That doesn't mean he's not making a ton of music in the interim, however.
Today, the L.A. electro-jazz savant posted a free zip file with several dozen outtakes, remixes and unfinished ideas that find one of the city's most imaginative musical minds working out his loose ends.
The tracks on "ideas+drafts+loops" aren't meant as any kind of coherent mixtape, but are more of a data dump of interesting ideas. It still boasts some major star power, however, with appearances from Earl Sweatshirt, Baths, Shabazz Palaces and more.
The centerpiece? A remix of Kanye West's "Black Skinhead" given some lovely instrumental treatments from L.A. bass lord Thundercat.
What can a king do with his power? He can flex it, run from it, consolidate it, abuse it.
Jay Z, the king of hip-hop, cycled through each of those options Monday night at Staples Center, where he brought his Magna Carter World Tour to a full house of loyal subjects.
It’s the swaggering road show behind “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” the studio album Jay Z released in July, initially through a smartphone app that guaranteed him sales of 1 million records before physical copies were even in stores. And the tour reached Los Angeles just days after the 44-year-old rapper (born Shawn Carter) was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, more than anyone else this year.
“World can’t hold me, too much ambition,” he insisted over a crunching rock groove from his four-piece band (which included producer Timbaland). “Always knew it’d be like this when I was in the kitchen.”
A long-ago shelved album that Johnny Cash recorded in the early 1980s while still at Columbia Records will be released on March 25 after being rediscovered by his son, John Carter Cash.
The only child of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash came across the tapes while organizing their archives in Hendersonville, Tenn. The album includes a dozen songs, including duets with Cash and his wife and with longtime friend Waylon Jennings. The record is titled “Out Among the Stars.”
"When my parents passed away, it became necessary to go through this material," John Carter Cash said in a statement. "We found these recordings that were produced by Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s … they were beautiful."
The early '80s were a difficult period for Cash. He’d lost much of the momentum he’d built a decade earlier hosting his ABC-TV show, and country music had moved into the “Urban Cowboy” phase of pop-leaning crossover material.
That's where R. Kelly made a surprise appearance with the French band Phoenix, delighting (and maybe befuddling) an indie-minded crowd only minimally aligned with the audience that's helped drive Kelly to R&B superstardom.
Since then the singer has been on a kind of outreach mission with performances at the Pitchfork and Bonnaroo festivals and hit duets with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.
Carefully planned, the activity has undoubtedly boosted Kelly's profile among pop listeners, a savvy strategy in the run-up to Tuesday's release of his new album, "Black Panties." But last week the attention took on a sour note with a bit on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in which the English actor Benedict Cumberbatch read lyrics from Kelly's song "Genius."
Donald Glover's newest album as Childish Gambino, "Because the Internet," is a self-aware portrait of a young man isolated by technology, celebrity and relentless introspection. Anyone who caught Glover's recent bloodletting Instagram session (in which he listed a barrage of self-criticisms on hotel stationery) might think that unplugging from the Web would give his brain a much-deserved break. But then he'd have lost his source material for this sometimes goofy, often sad, very capable laptop-rap album.
Trollish Web-culture jokes abound here (there's a song named after the indicted hacker Weev and the popular fight-video site Worldstar Hip-Hop), but it's all done in service of documenting the rootless, distracted millennial male mind. "3005" is a lush, electro-bendy production where he tries to muster up a commitment to fidelity; "Crawl" takes moves from Odd Future's gnarled, noisy goth-rap while "No Exit" nails the aimless night-driving of a guy who wants to be out late but suspects...
It’s official: Garth Brooks’ self-imposed hiatus from touring is over, and the country superstar will return to the road for a world tour in 2014, his first since he announced his plan to quit touring in 2001.
Brooks, 51, made the announcement Monday, Dec. 9, to “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts while discussing his new eight-disc box set “Blame It All on My Roots,” which grew out of his four-year solo residency at the Wynn Encore Theatre in Las Vegas.
He gave no specifics of when the tour would start or how extensive it will be. But he’ll likely provide a preview of what’s to come when he returns to the Wynn in January for two shows with his full band. He also said he’ll be joined on the tour by his wife, singer Trisha Yearwood.
Having a conversation about genre distinctions with an experimental band can feel like an experiment of its own.
Thankfully, Ryder Bach and Alina Cutrono of the L.A.-based Body Parts leave the daunting task of classification to their listeners when they open up about their pop-shaded debut, "Fire Dream," which came out a few weeks ago.
"I think it’s cool that two people can listen to the album, and they both walk away from it with one person thinking it's a dance album and another thinking it's experimental," Bach says. "The way I feel about genre is: All rules out the window."
However one chooses to categorize Body Parts, it works: The band's November residency at the Satellite saw a dance floor packed with revelers. The band's strong musicality, showcased in carefully selected harmonies and synth arrangements, flirts with an '80s groove on "Fire Dream," which was consummated on the Satellite floor.
On the first anniversary of the death of Mexican banda singer Jenni Rivera, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles reports strong attendance for its exhibit on the singer’s life and career that opened in May.
“Jenni Rivera, La Gran Senora” has become one of the most popular attractions in the museum’s five-year history, a museum spokeswoman said Monday, and the exhibit is being highlighted in Telemundo’s coverage of the anniversary of her death on Dec. 9, 2012, in a plane crash in Mexico.
It includes costumes she wore on stage, including the signature tan and lace dress she wore at the Teatro de Mexico, rare photographs of her on and off stage, video footage from live and televised performances, her own Bible and credit cards, awards she received and other items.
You can't talk about modern jazz without talking about Charlie Haden.
The bassist who forged a woodsy backbone for groundbreaking recordings with Ornette Coleman and later went on to found the jazz program at CalArts, Haden has been in poor health since the onset of post-polio syndrome in 2010 -- a disease that first struck him at 15 years old.
As a result, Haden hasn’t performed in public since 2011, but Tuesday night he conducts an ensemble of CalArts musicians through pieces from his invigorating Liberation Music Orchestra, a fiery venture into the politically charged side of the avant garde jazz the bassist formed in 1969. To whet your appetite, here’s a selection of recordings to remind us what we’ve been missing in Haden’s absence from the bandstand.
“Lonely Woman,” with Ornette Coleman(1959): What was so controversial years ago simply sounds like unmistakable yearning beauty today, and it all begins...