Chris Smith

  • Pianist Ron Paley is a legend; he's got the trophy to prove it

    SO, it's official: Ron Paley is an icon in our music community. That's not news to anyone who has heard and seen Paley leading his big band for 38 years, heard him in smaller groups or solo, or who has been mentored by the pianist and composer.
  • Ahmad Jamal two-disc set a real treat for fans

    A new recording by Ahmad Jamal, especially after Blue Moon (2012) and Saturday Morning (2013), is a treat. So a twofer (including a DVD) of a 2012 concert at the Olympia in Paris, where the piano master revisits the Blue Moon repertoire on one disc and performs with multi-reeds player Yusef Lateef on the second is a treat extraordinaire.
  • Corea's adventures continue with new project

    PIANIST and keyboardist Chick Corea likes adventure, but that's no surprise for those who have experienced his music over his five-decade career. His musical life has included playing with the great Miles Davis as the trumpeter caused a shift in jazz with his electric bands. Corea is a renowned pianist leading acoustic bands and an innovative keyboardist with Return to Forever and the Elektric Band.
  • Charles brings calypso-tinged trumpet sound

    "Canada has a special place in my heart," Trinidad-born, New York-based trumpeter Etienne Charles says. "The reason I'm a trumpet player is a trip to Toronto as a three-year-old," the trumpeter, composer, band leader and teacher says in an interview from his home before he opens the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances series with three concerts Sept. 20 and 21.
  • Reykjavik fest worth the trip for pianist

    SOMETIMES booking two jobs close together, and worlds apart, makes for an arduous commute. You wonder why you accepted that jazz fest gig in Reykjavik, Iceland, just before you were due to teach at a weeklong jazz camp in Winnipeg.
  • U of M jazz camp adds some sizzle to summer

    JAZZ doesn't take summer holidays. So, from Aug. 17-23, jazz students will be studying, performing and absorbing the music they love at the annual University of Manitoba jazz camp.
  • Prize will help guitarist launch career

    ALEX Goodman was the first Canadian to win the Montreux Jazz Festival’s guitar competition earlier this month. The former Torontonian, now living in New York City, won first prize and the public’s choice award at the worldrenowned annual Swiss festival.
  • Different approaches, different sounds, produce solid results

    THREE new recordings -- two vastly different trios and a quintet augmented by four string players -- illustrate the versatility and ingenuity of jazz and help explain, yet again, why it is such a vibrant music.  
  • Who requested Stormy Weather?

    Into each life some rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary. -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Empire state of mind

    CURTIS Nowosad's life these days is like a tale of two cities. The drummer is studying for a master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music and performing in New York. He also will open the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival theatre series on June 16 with his quintet, featuring saxophonist Jimmy Greene.
  • Harp player rubbed elbows with legends, made history

    THERE'S a telling moment during the YouTube video of the great blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters performing Got My Mojo Working at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival, what would become the definitive version of the song. During an instrumental break, Waters walks over to harmonica player James Cotton, grabs hold of him and twirls him around in a dance.
  • Nu Sounds Series ends season with musical trip

    GOOD musical compositions, and improvisations, relate a story to listeners. And, sometimes, they'll take listeners on a journey from the tip of South America to Canada's North. The Longitude Project: Steve Kirby's Oceanic Jazz Orchestra offers both on May 25 as it closes Jazz Winnipeg's Nu Sounds Series at the Park Theatre.
  • Will Bonness gets an invite to all-star jam

    WINNIPEG pianist and jazz professor Will Bonness is heading back to the scene of one of his teenage triumphs. The skilled musician, in his late 20s, will return to the Telluride Jazz Festival in Colorado, Aug. 1-3, to perform in a 20th-anniversary all-star band comprised of seven musicians who made their debut at the fest as high school students.
  • Arizona jazz club 'galvanizing' community

    PHOENIX -- The Nash, a non-profit, mainly volunteer-run performance and educational venue, is helping change the face of jazz in Arizona. And that face is getting younger, a move that has "galvanized an otherwise fragmented community, so that everyone is benefiting," says Joel Goldenthal, executive director of the 37-year-old Jazz in AZ, the parent of The Nash, which, less than two years after opening, was named by Downbeat magazine as one of the world's top venues for jazz in 2014.
  • Biography tries to get to bottom of bandleader

    DUKE Ellington, the famous bandleader whose career spanned close to six decades, was a complex man who presented a deliberate image of himself to the public. Biographer and Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout looks behind the dual facade in his new book Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham Books, $31.50).
  • Early success doesn't go to jazz singer's head

    If Cécile McLorin Salvant seems to be leading a charmed life, well, she's earned it. The singer released her first album, Cécile, in Europe in 2009, won the Thelonious Monk jazz vocal competition in 2010, was courted by two serious jazz labels for her North American debut released in 2013 and was nominated for a Grammy for best vocal jazz album for that CD, WomanChild.
  • Loss of Vancouver jazz club a blow to fans and players

    VANCOUVER -- In just over a week, when the doors clank shut for the last time at the popular Cellar Jazz Club, the noise will be heard throughout Canada's jazz community and into the United States. On Feb. 27, alto saxophonist Cory Weeds will shut the doors on the jazz club/restaurant he has run for the past 131/2 years. Since he first announced it, musicians and fans from across the country and the U.S. have expressed their dismay at the loss and their gratitude to Weeds for featuring so much great music over the years.
  • Musical program promises romance

    If you want a singer to celebrate Valentine's Day and love, Denzal Sinclaire, with a honeyed voice that could charm the pants off a... (well, you know), is your man. The Canadian singer has appeared in Winnipeg a few times over the years, and is so popular the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra added a third concert this weekend to its usual two for My One And Only Love featuring Sinclaire.
  • Set captures Ella on way to becoming jazz legend

    Before there were a slew of one-named pop singers, there was Ella. The marquee or the club poster would read Ella Fitzgerald, but all you had to do was say Ella for fans of one of the swingingest singers ever to know whom you meant.
  • The shape of jazz to come in 2014

    Last year featured a lot of great jazz played in the city by local musicians and visiting artists alike, and the new year offers just as much promise, or more. So, it's time to look ahead at some of what 2014's lineup has to offer in the near future.
  • Home for the holidays? Join in the jam

    There's a jazz reunion in the works as young musicians, many of whom used to hang out at Monday night jam sessions about a decade ago, converge on the city from New York, Berlin, Toronto and Montreal for the holidays. And Winnipeg guitarist Keith Price has set up a Dec. 29 show combining the out-of-towners and local musicians in a rare chance to perform together.
  • Bird's turbulent flight begins in bio

    ‘CHARLIE Parker’s mind moved faster, and had a greater command of detail, than that of the merely gifted,” author and critic Stanley Crouch writes in the first volume of his biography of the great alto saxophonist who helped shake up the jazz world and give it a new language, bebop. Crouch's first instalment may not have arrived with the speed of a Parker solo, but the tale it tells of a young, although very troubled, genius is worth the wait.
  • Funeral home to get lively during Beatles-focused set

    With a first name like his, we're lucky Bjrn Thoroddsen chose to record a CD of tunes by the Beatles and not ABBA. But the Icelandic guitarist, like many jazz musicians, recognizes a great melody when he hears it, and can't wait to arrange it.
  • Bassist's world view hits suite spot

    Jazz is an open art form for bassist and bandleader Omer Avital, and he feels his mixture of jazz and world music doesn't need to be labelled. "For me there is not much difference between the styles, since I know and feel both worlds," says the New York-based, Israeli-born musician whose quintet performs here Nov. 19 as part of the Tarbut Festival of Jewish Culture.
  • Winnipeg-born pianist excited about return to city

    New York-based pianist Bryn Roberts is "thrilled to be coming back to Winnipeg to play," even in mid-November. But first he's taking his band on a tour of Spain where the sun will be decidedly warmer than in Winnipeg on Nov. 17 when he visits the city to play the West End Cultural Centre, leading a quartet performing music from his new album, Fables.

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