Chris Smith

  • Nowosad home to share new album

    MENTION to Curtis Nowosad that he seems to be keeping busy, and he tells you, "Busy is all I know!" On top of his master's degree studies and performing in New York, Nowosad returns home to Winnipeg this month for the Canadian launch of his sophomore CD, Dialectics, and to give master classes at the University of Manitoba, along with some private lessons.
  • Malone breaking rule for six-string heroes

    GUITARIST Russell Malone has been influenced by a number of players from a mix of genres, but usually avoids tribute shows. He's breaking that rule next month for three shows in the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances series, billed as a tribute to jazz guitar greats such as Charlie Christian, Charlie Byrd, Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery.
  • Cahn's lovely lyrics lifted local singer out of despair

    When singer and author Martha Brooks needed help to deal with her grief when her husband Brian died in 2012, she found it in musician/arranger Jeff Presslaff and composer Sammy Cahn. That resulted in a CD of Cahn's music, All My Tomorrows, and now she and Presslaff are reprising that project in a big-band setting with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra.
  • Musicians Dig first 'community' band gig

    If you think practising difficult music charts at home is hard work, try doing it in front of an audience of about 120. The newest big band in town attempted it last Thursday night and made it seem easier than it really was.
  • Top-drawer musicians blowing his horn

    IT really is a small world when a former Winnipegger teaching jazz in New Zealand has a CD of his music recorded in a New York studio by a group of top American musicians led by a former Russian. Trumpeter Dave Lisik has been busy teaching, performing and recording in Wellington, but when the opportunity arose to have a crack quintet record his new project he gladly put down his horn and took the producer's seat.
  • Saxophones dominate on recent Canadian albums

    IT'S time to catch up on some Canadian jazz recordings, ranging from duets to nonets, from Montreal to home. And if saxophones tend to predominate, don't read it as a trend; it just happened that way.
  • WJO takes suite liberties with Handel's Messiah

    It's December and that means Handel's Messiah will be performed throughout the city. But it gets a twist -- a big band twist -- in two concerts Sunday by the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, which coincides with the release of the band's third CD, Suite Messiah.
  • Devastated father Jimmy Greene crafts powerful musical tribute to murdered daughter

    Saxophonist Jimmy Greene's new CD, Beautiful Life, is his expression of the loss of his daughter Ana Márquez-Greene in the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School slayings, and a celebration of her life. "I want the music to reflect the way that Ana lived," Greene says.
  • Avant-garde theatre production result of coma-induced dreams

    Renowned jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch has turned a medical nightmare into a musical and theatrical production based on eight dreams he remembered after being in a coma. Hersch, who has HIV/AIDS, spent two months in an induced coma in 2008 after being rushed to hospital in New York while in near-fatal septic shock.
  • Wolf got good vibes from Ellington's legacy

    VIBRAPHONIST Warren Wolf immersed himself in the legacy of Duke Ellington thanks to saxophonist Joe Henderson's 1992 recording Lush Life, which focused on the music of Billy Strayhorn. If that seems like a circuitous route on the surface, it's actually very clear.
  • 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).


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