Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dave Brubeck Was The Macklemore Of 1954

Dave Brubeck was embarrassed. It was 1954, and he was pictured on the cover of Time magazine — only the second jazz musician ever to receive that particular mainstream media recognition. The chagrin came, he said, because he felt that his friend Duke Ellington — who was also interviewed for the magazine’s feature on jazz in the U.S. — deserved it more. Many years later, Brubeck told PBS documentarian Hendrick Smith about it:

Duke and I were on tour together across the country and this night, we were in Denver. … And at seven o’clock in the morning, there was a knock on my door, and I opened the door, and there’s Duke, and he said, ‘You’re on the cover of Time.’ And he handed me Time magazine. It was the worst and the best moment possible, all mixed up, because I didn’t want to have my story come first. I was so hoping that they would do Duke first, because I idolized him. He was so much more important than I was … he deserved to be first.

This scene is reminiscent of the situation that the rapper Macklemore found himself in on Sunday night at the Grammy Awards. After winning the Best Rap Album Grammy, he publicly apologized to fellow nominee Kendrick Lamar, a heavily-tipped favorite for the award who Macklemore had publicly endorsed. Here’s what he sent Lamar as a text message and posted as a screenshot to Instagram:

You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you. I was gonna say that during the speech. Then the music started playing during my speech and I froze. Anyway, you know what it is. Congrats on this year and your music. Appreciate you as an artist and as a friend. Much love Continue reading

5 Donny Hathaway Covers By Jazz Musicians

Donny Hathaway‘s repertoire occupies a peculiar space in jazz. Though not a jazz artist, he has influenced a variety of jazz musicians through his work as a singer, keyboardist and composer. Still, jazz musicians have only skimmed the surface of his small but remarkable catalog.

During his run in the 1970s, Hathaway would see only five LPs released under his name. Bouts of mental illness sidelined his productivity, which came to an unexpected end in January 1979, when he leaped to his death out a window of a New York City hotel.

Rhino Records’ new four-disc anthology, Never My Love, captures and confirms Hathaway’s enduring legacy, particularly in the realms of R&B and jazz. It contains all the famous classics, as well as previously unreleased material (both studio and live) and one disc dedicated entirely to his timeless duets with Roberta Flack. These selections reflect some of the Hathaway treasures most frequently covered by jazz artists. Continue reading

Paquito D’Rivera: Live In Chicago

Paquito D'Rivera. Alberto Romeu/Courtesy of the artist

Paquito D’Rivera. Alberto Romeu/Courtesy of the artist

The reedman Paquito D’Rivera has made a career out of crossing genres. Born in Cuba, his larder is never out of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American sounds; he’s made a name for himself as a jazz virtuoso and classical performer. Chicago’s Latino Music Festival took advantage this year. Artistic director Elbio Barilari, himself a composer (and radio host on WFMT, and professor, and author), invited D’Rivera to headline his festival, including a performance of Barilari’s own “Musings on the Nature of Time” — a response to Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet featuring the Kaia String Quartet. Continue reading