Jenny Scheinman And Bill Frisell Live From Newport
The violinist Jenny Scheinman and guitarist Bill Frisell have both developed reputations for flexibility — for being able to collaborate with any musicians from country rockers to straight-ahead swing barons. Appropriately, they've been working together in bands for quite a long time now, including in Frisell's John Lennon tribute earlier in the festival. This duo performance features the two alone together, working out stripped-down versions of Scheinman's fiddle tunes.
Buoyed by a Guggenheim Fellowship, the alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa made an album in 2008 which integrated his love of South Asian music and funk and hip-hop and electronic music and kitchen sinks. He's finally getting to tour the music of the record Samdhi now, and with guitar (David Gilmore) and bass guitar (Rich Brown), it's electric, literally and figuratively.
Some people are intimidated by the vastness of classical music. And while the prospect of more than 1,000 years of hits to consider may be daunting, just think instead of how many musical journeys of discovery can be made.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:12 pm
Drummer Lewis Nash is certainly no stranger to prestigious festival stages; he's served in bands led by Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis and Tommy Flanagan. (And that was relatively early in his career, too.) So it's a great move to give the supporting cast member, who truly innovates within jazz traditions, a share of the spotlight. One of the bands he leads features the front line of Jeremy Pelt (trumpet) and Jimmy Greene (tenor sax); it's a classic quintet lineup, and it's the first on stage on day two at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.
The drummer has had a busy year already, having accepted the NEA Jazz Masters award and having released a new album, Sound Travels. He continues his year-long 70th birthday celebration by assembling this ad hoc band of leading lights like guitarist Lionel Loueke and bassist Christian McBride, who are both leading their own gigs this year.
Even if you've never heard of Billy Edd Wheeler, you might recognize "Jackson," a song he wrote with the help of songwriting heavyweights Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller back in 1963. It was a Top 20 pop hit for Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra in 1967, and got to No. 2 on the country charts that same year in a version by Johnny Cash and June Carter.
" 'Jackson' is a fun song," Wheeler says. "It's been my most famous and most lucrative song. It helped build our house."
The name of the band refers to Ken Peplowski, a Swing-era specialist; Evan Christopher, a living historian of the New Orleans Creole clarinet; and Anat Cohen — what doesn't she do? They're not the only ones on stage, of course — they'll be backed by a band which knows the time-honored and broad-shouldered methods of swing. This reedy convocation on the state of the clarinet today was put together for Newport, and — on the birthday anniversary of Louis Armstrong — was filled with ad lib fireworks.
Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 7:43 pm
Bill Frisell is a soft-spoken guy who does a lot of talking with his guitar — and its pedals and effects. So perhaps it's appropriate that he recently issued an album called All We Are Saying, an collection of John Lennon songs. Though he's known primarily for working with other improvisers, he's of the Baby Boomer generation, and he doesn't hide his love for Beatles songs away. With a band including steel guitar (Greg Leisz) and violin (Jenny Scheinman), Frisell doesn't reinvent the wheel — but he certainly gives it a new spin.
After a sunny, warm afternoon on the Rhode Island shore, the first full day of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival has come and gone. If you've got a free moment, you can already replay many of the sets we recorded online. But starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, we'll be presenting eight more hours of live video from the festival at npr.org/newportjazz. Here's what's on tap: