Michele Rosewoman Re-Imagines New-Yoruba (Again)

Standing on the tiny stage area of Manhattan’s Zinc Bar, Michele Rosewoman’s New-Yoruba ensemble was packed in tight. This is expansive music and yet it’s also intimate. The musicians  were celebrating a new release, “Hallowed” (Advance Dance Disques)” but really they were extending a personal history that spans more than 30 years.  With “Oru de Oro,” an extended work on the new release (sections of which were  played at the club), Rosewoman has scripted an exciting new chapter of this story. Continue reading “Michele Rosewoman Re-Imagines New-Yoruba (Again)”

The History and Mystery of Bill Frisell’s Disarming (Disfarmer) Tune

I’ve been fascinated with guitarist Bill Frisell’s music for nearly as long as I’ve been fascinated with music. Or fascinated, period.

There are many points of entry into Frisell’s big, rich, bold, strange and varied recorded catalog, both under his own name and as collaborator and sideman with a mind-boggling range of musicians. Meaning your life gets enriched and your ears expanded if you dive in anywhere in his discography and work in any direction.

Two of Frisell’s albums—History, Mystery and Disfarmer (from 2008 and 2009, respectively; both on Nonesuch)—keep calling me back. Not because they’re his best work (though they’re terrific) and not because they represent something in particular (although Disfarmer is meant to convey something about the work of photographer Mike Disfarmer).

But simply because I find them mesmerizing in a meditative way, and of one piece.

When I heard the “single” “God’s Wing’d Horse” (above) from Frisell’s wonderful new Blue Note release, Harmony, I knew I’d heard it before.

Indeed I had. Continue reading “The History and Mystery of Bill Frisell’s Disarming (Disfarmer) Tune”

Kidd Stays in the Picture

Though I could not make it down to New Orleans for the event, by all accounts  “Honoring the Kidd,” a  musical tribute to saxophonist Kidd Jordan  presented by the New Orleans Jazz Museum in partnership with the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation, was a great success.

I’m glad my words, as part of the printed program, made the scene.

They were drawn from a piece I did for Artinfo. The full text is below.

Kidd Stays in the Picture

Saxophonist Kidd Jordan Gets His Hero’s Due

By Larry Blumenfeld

“We’ve got a pretty good crowd,” tenor saxophonist Kidd Jordan said from the stage of the jazz tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Friday. “Let’s see how many of you are left at the end.” He offered a bit of instruction. “For those of you who aren’t used to this music, I want to tell you: This is purely improvisational music.” Continue reading “Kidd Stays in the Picture”