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Calendar, Night&Day Jazz for Kids

Jazz for Kids

Marcus Shelby is a great composer. He's a heavy-duty jazz bass player, a music historian, and an engaged political thinker; he's a sharp-dressed handsome bandleader who's held many a San Francisco audience rapt and happy. You probably already know all…
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Music, Hear This Yusef Lateef: Show Preview

Yusef Lateef: Show Preview

True story: When this writer was a student of Yusef Lateef's in the early '90s, there was a violinist who brought his dog to class every week. One week we played a blues, and the dog, which had been napping…
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Calendar, Night&Day Long, Shiny, Moves People

Long, Shiny, Moves People

In the lobby of the Cadillac Hotel waits a beautifully restored grand piano, an 1884 Steinway. The Cadillac is a place for down-and-outers to find a home when they have none, and the piano's part of the plan. If this…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Despite its ubiquitous use of all kinds of improv strategies, which carry the hope of fire and surprise, jazz is a dogmatic genre with its own brand of partisan restrictions. Mainstream players are expected to stick conservatively with the conventions…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Sam Rivers holds a rare place in the hierarchy of contemporary jazz. Since the late 1950s, he has shared stages with legendary figures across the spectrum, from one-of-a-kind vocalist Billie Holiday and bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie to chameleonlike bandleader Miles…
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Music, Cannonball

Cannonball

When bebop revolutionaries challenged the jazz status quo in the '40s, their melodic and harmonic ideas were considered musical anarchy. Despite being denounced by many critics, musicians, and listeners, players like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell eventually prevailed…
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Calendar, Night&Day Piano Man

Piano Man

With his fifth album as a bandleader, Motherland, Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez clearly displays the instrumental chops and melting-pot ethos that have made him a generational icon. Since his emergence in the mid-1980s with Dizzy Gillespie and Paquito D'Rivera, Pérez…
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Music, Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

The hipper-than-thou scholarship that fuels the jazz industry is both its savior and its bane. For self-styled hepcats and academics who long for comprehensive intimacy with a legendary figure like Charlie "Yardbird" Parker -- the postwar saxophonist largely responsible for…
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Music, Carlos "Patato" Valdes and Snowboy & the Latin Section

Carlos "Patato" Valdes and Snowboy & the Latin Section

Likely more influential than any other conguero in the annals of salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz, Carlos "Patato" Valdes pushed his instruments' presence to the forefront of the music. As a teenager, he had already earned a reputation as one of…
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Music,

Sworn to the Drum

Percussionist Francisco Aguabella is emphatic when asked whether anyone else can perform the types of rhythms he has been playing since he came to the United States from Cuba in 1957. "No," he says in his heavy Cuban accent,…
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Music,

Into the Maelstrom

The Rova Saxophone Quartet has been performing for 22 years, ever since organizers of Oakland's now-defunct Free Jazz Festival asked Bruce Ackley to put together an ensemble to play there in 1977. Together, they developed a secret language of…
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Music,

Hear This

Francisco Aguabella Afro-Cuban rhythms are now so ubiquitous in jazz that their influence is sometimes hard to discern. Listen to even the cheesiest cruise-ship combo for long enough, and sooner or later you'll hear a "Latin" tune that vaguely hews…
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Music,

Hear This

Ray Brown It was just after his 19th birthday that bassist Ray Brown, who had recently left Pittsburgh for New York, made his first recordings with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Later, he would participate in classic recording sessions with…
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