View more great pictures from the awards ceremony!

Mark you calendar for our 2017 awards ceremony celebrating Hot House Jazz magazine's 35th anniversary: Monday September 25th, 2017
 
 
 

Metropolitan Room / Hot House Jazz magazine 2016 award ceremony.

December 2016 Hot House Jazz Guide Now Available! 

 

 

 

Check Stephanie Jones' AFTER THE CALL podcast with guests Steve Wilson and Tivon Pennicott!


Jane Ira Bloom

Winning Spins by George Kanzler

Soprano, and alto, saxophones as well as trumpet and electronic effects appear on this month’s pair of Winning Spins, but what most characterizes both albums is the leadership of women. Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, a distinctive jazz voice for well over three decades, helms one, while the younger Canadian sisters, Christine and Ingrid Jensen, co-lead the other.

 

Early Americans, Jane Ira Bloom (Outline), is a departure for the soprano saxophonist, whose past format has usually been with a quartet featuring piano. Here she jettisons the chordal instrument, leading a freer trio with Mark Helias on bass and Bobby Previte, drums. She also avoids most of the live electronics she is known for employing, although there is some stereo panning, notably on “Dangerous Times,” and EFX-like echoes and looping used very discreetly and sparingly.

 

The result is a looser, freer ensemble feel, the trio interacting with an unpredictable spontaneity akin to, but not, free jazz. Known for her pure, burnished tone, Jane does not disappoint here, applying it while exalting in the added freedom of not being constrained by a chording piano. Adding to that feel is Bobby’s idiosyncratic rhythmic flexibility and Mark’s deft use of counterpoint eschewing most root chords, as well as his penchant for tossing in arco passages or comments.

 

A dozen of the 13 tracks are Jane’s originals, tunes she imbues with more distinction and memorability, even sometimes hum-ability, than most jazz musicians. The sequence is well planned, with tempos and thematic approaches contrasting from track to track. The opener, “Song Patrol,” uses syncopation and a bluesy line to develop a folk song vibe, Bobby contributing a patter-suggestive solo when Jane drops out.

 

“Dangerous Times” and “Nearly (for Kenny Wheeler)” follow. The former conjures the album’s title with Bobby’s tribally inflected martial beats and Jane’s soprano wafting between registers atop Mark’s arco backgrounds. The latter is an a cappella soprano tone poem evoking the suavity of the late trumpeter, with slight echo EFX.

 

The succeeding three tracks range from an opening mid-tempo piece with unison lines, “Hips and Sticks” to an up-tempo romp, “Singing the Triangle,”  suggesting early Ornette Coleman in its fluent interchanges; concluding with “Other Eyes,” a slow, lyrical sax and bass duo. “Rhyme or Rhythm” is a catchy tune with a Latin/Middle Eastern rhythmic flavor, Jane employing looping EFX to double her soprano lines.

 

Bobby’s toms and a swooping soprano inform “Mind Gray River” and the album’s most strikingly original track is “Say More,” a ruminative piece with a barely pronounced pulse, full of hesitations, and some of Jane’s and Mark’s most outré passages. “Big Bill,” the penultimate cut, begins with Jane and Bobby dueting, then swings into a rolling beat under an extended form melody and bright solos. Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere,” the signature ballad from West Side Story, finds Jane closing the album a cappella, on an elegiac note.

Jane Ira Bloom spotlights music from Early Americans with the CD’s trio at Cornelia Street Café, Dec. 11.

Photo Credit:  Fran Kaufman

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Christine & Ingrid Jensen

Winning Spins by George Kanzler

Soprano, and alto, saxophones as well as trumpet and electronic effects appear on this month’s pair of Winning Spins, but what most characterizes both albums is the leadership of women. Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, a distinctive jazz voice for well over three decades, helms one, while the younger Canadian sisters, Christine and Ingrid Jensen, co-lead the other.

Infinitude, Christine & Ingrid Jensen (Whirlwind), features the co-leader Jensen sisters on, respectively, alto and soprano saxophones and trumpet. The quintet’s electronic landscape sound is largely thanks to Ben Monder’s EFX-laden guitar and Ingrid’s occasional use of looping and other EFX. Rounding out the group are acoustic bassist Fraser Holland and drummer Jon Wikan.

The ethereal aspects of the sound are reinforced by the communal strategy of most of the tracks. One of them, “Swirlaround,” aptly describes the group’s approach. Improvised solos over rhythm section are largely eschewed for tandem soloing and fluid three-part exchanges among Christine, Ingrid and Ben. Eight of the ten tracks are originals by the co-leaders, with one each from Ben and the late trumpeter Kenny Wheeler.

“Old Time,” Wheeler’s tune, starts slowly with muted trumpet and guitar, then morphs into a rocking, tom-toms accentuated swing for interactive solos from Christine’s alto sax and Ingrid’s trumpet, joined by Ben’s guitar before brief trading takes it out. Of Christine’s five contributions, the most fetching is “Octofolk,” a jazzy waltz showcasing her alto sax solo in the forefront and in exchanges with Ben’s guitar culminating in tandem soloing.

Many of the tracks highlight the orchestral ensemble sound of the band, like Ben’s “Echolalia” and the arresting closer, Ingrid’s “Dots and Braids,” featuring looped trumpet lines, high-stepping odd rhythms. Two intimate pieces round-out the variety: “Duo Space” pairs Ingrid with Ben, whose guitar rises from ethereal to thunderous; and “Trio: Garden Hour,” Christine’s lyrical triptych for the co-leaders and Ben.

The Jensens have a CD release party for Infinitude Dec. 2-3 at Smalls. Ingrid also joins the cast performing Bending Towards the Light at Christ & Stephen’s Church Dec. 18.

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Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent: Jazz Storyteller by George Kanzler

Over the course of her career, vocalist Stacey Kent has recorded an album entirely in French, sung Portuguese bossa lyrics with Brazilian musicians, won awards for her work in Britain and France, and been nominated for a Grammy in the U.S.  Stacey, who originally comes from suburban New Jersey, can today truly be described as an international jazz chanteuse.

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of her first album, Close Your Eyes (Candid). She’s currently at work in Europe on her 12th: her first recording with a large orchestra, more than 50 musicians, which is due to be released next September.

After graduating from New York’s Sarah Lawrence College, Stacey moved to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. By the early 1990s, she was singing at clubs in London’s Soho, gigs that led to that first album in 1997. Stacey had always worked with her band: a pianist, bassist, drummer and tenor saxophonist-flutist (her husband and producer, Jim Tomlinson). But her current CD, Tenderley (Okeh/Sony), showcases her in a new setting.

“This album is a departure for me,” Stacey says over Skype from France, where she was on a fall European tour. “I love Brazilian music; and Roberto Menescal, one of the founders of bossa nova, became our friend and contributed a couple of bossas on one of my earlier albums. He asked me to make an album with him, and I thought we’d be doing Brazilian songs. But he wanted to do something completely different, an album of standards from the Great American Songbook. He was totally influenced by 1950s jazz but, as a big bossa star, he could only play it in his house, for himself.”

A big fan of Barney Kessel since his youth, the guitarist looked to the duets Barney recorded with singer Julie London as a model. “He wanted to have that intimate dialogue we would have done with bossas, but with standards,” Stacey says. “I told him those are songs I live in, so he could choose what we’d record. I only chose ‘If I’m Lucky.’ He was so excited about the repertoire, he was like a kid in a candy store and he’s such a romantic guy that all his picks were a total delight to do.”

Stacey and Roberto recorded Tenderley with bassist Jeremy Brown accompanying them on most tracks and Jim providing discrete solos on six. In this intimate setting, Stacey conveys emotions as award-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro once said of an earlier project, “never in primary colors, but always subtly shaded.”

“I’m very influenced by Brazilian music,” Stacey says. “The reason I love it so much is because I’m involved in lyrics and storytelling, I’m a word-oriented person. I don’t like to sing very fast because you lose the story, but I want the pace to be fairly fast, almost like double-time beneath me. That’s where Brazilian grooves are great, like riding the waves. Jao Gilberto can sing the most melancholic words but the propulsion going on behind him is, literally and metaphorically, pushing you forward when you listen.”

Very early in her career, Stacey heard Kazuo pick one of her songs on the BBC “Desert Island Discs” radio show and got in contact with the writer. She and Jim became friends with Kazuo and his wife and Stacey suggested that the writer and her husband compose some songs together. Stacey expressed certain frustrations with the very structured music of the Great American Songbook, saying she would like to break out of the formula and tell a complete story, not just return to reprise the same words after an instrumental solo.

“I feel very much like a folksinger in a sense,” she says, “and want to borrow the pace of a Joni Mitchell in terms of narrative. I wanted to tell complete stories in songs.”

Kazuo and Jim wrote a different kind of song for her, over a dozen now in a decade, a through-composed song that did not follow the repeating formula of classic standards. “Kazuo completely got it,” Stacey says. “He wrote me stories that were tailor-made to my sensibilities, but moving forward in a sense of optimism” highlighted by Jim’s use of such samba beats as the partido alto. Stacey says the songs Jim writes with Kazuo and other writers and poets are different in form but living in the same universe of emotions found in the Great American Songbook, a universe she has always inhabited.

Stacey Kent brings her band to Birdland Dec. 6 to Dec. 10.

Photo Credit:  Diane Sagnier

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Randy Weston

Another Reason to Celebrate by Elzy Kolb

Flying high

Randy Weston knows how to wrap up the year on a high note. Besides a three-night stand at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the pianist, composer and educator is looking forward to the release of his new double album, The African Nubian Suite (African Rhythms), in January. Plus, he’s basking in the glow of being honored by Harvard University at a November event celebrating the acquisition of his archives, including photos, scores, recordings and correspondence with the likes of Langston Hughes and Alvin Ailey.

“I’m so amazed,” the NEA Jazz Master says. “They took 80 boxes of things I collected. I’m so excited.” Randy credits his achievements to the lifelong influence of his parents. “They were giving, powerful, spiritual people who told me to be proud of myself, to be involved in the arts. They had no money, just love,” he says. “They made sure we had dance lessons, music lessons, that we were in the black church every Sunday. They taught us, ‘Respect yourself, know who you are, respect other cultures.’ That’s taken me all over the world.”

The lessons learned at home instilled Randy with an ongoing passion for African history and culture and its impact on music in the Western hemisphere, from blues to jazz to bossa to hip-hop. “The African pulse is a spiritual pulse. There’s an ancestral memory, though we don’t realize it. We think we’re doing something new, but the motherland will take you to school,” he says. “If I had a time capsule, I’d go back to when the first African saw a trombone and what they did with it, and what they did with other European instruments. To see the transition would be amazing.”

The African Nubian Suite was inspired by the discovery of Ardi, a 4.5 million-year-old fossil, in Ethiopia. The album features a large ensemble including musicians from Ghana, China and Cuba, plus vocals and spoken word in several languages, and arrangements by Melba Liston and T.K. Blue.

“It’s an educational piece; don’t call it jazz,” Randy advises. “The sister found in the Ethiopian desert, our oldest sister, shows how little we know about the place of creation, about ourselves. I never met my grandparents or great-grandparents, but they had so much to give the planet.”

At Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Dec. 2-4, Randy is likely to preview some of the material from The African Nubian Suite, and advance copies of the CD will be available. Joining the nonagenarian onstage will be his African Rhythms Band including saxophonists Billy Harper and T.K. Blue, bassist Alex Blake and percussionist Neil Clarke.

“We’re family,” Randy declares. “When we play, the focus is always Africa and our ancestors, whether it’s Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington or going back 10,000 years.”

The pianist celebrated his 90th birthday in April and laughs heartily at the suggestion that he doesn’t seem to change. “I didn’t run the marathon this year,” he says. “But my hands still work, my head still works. I love life and I’m proud to be a musician.”

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Sinne Eeg

Fresh Takes by Nick Dunston

Award-winning Danish vocalist and composer Sinne Eeg, who has earned much critical acclaim in New York City and around the world, hits at Jazz at Kitano this month. Born and raised in Denmark, Sinne’s fluency in English, jazz and the Great American Songbook is truly remarkable.

“Although there’s nothing like singing in your mother tongue, the phrasing of jazz songs is not as natural in Danish,” she says. “I learned these songs in English. At first I found it difficult to translate to Danish, but now, I am very comfortable and quite fond of singing in both languages.” This comes across clearly in all her albums.

Currently, Sinne is preparing for the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. “I’ve been listening to Sarah for as long as I can remember,” she says. “When you’re a little kid, too much information in music can be a bit frustrating. Sarah Vaughan’s voice was so beautiful and soothing to me. Years later I was shopping at the record store and heard Sassy Swings the Tivoli and it changed my life.” 

Sinne Eeg sings with pianist Jacob Christoffersen at Jazz at Kitano on Dec. 7.

Photo Credit:  Stephen Freiheit

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Jorge Luis Pacheco

Jorge Luis Pacheco: An eclectic luminary by Emilie Pons

“I dream of becoming completely universal,” Cuban pianist Jorge Luis Pacheco says.

That thought is possible today, but it wasn’t 50 years ago. Cuban artists have more opportunities than before “now that we have a better relation,” Jorge Luis explains. He adds that Cubans have a lot of influence on the music being played in the U.S. and on the arts in general. But it goes both ways: “Now the doors are more open for American musicians who travel to Cuba to perform,” he says.

This opening of the frontiers between Cuba and the U.S. has allowed the 32-year-old Cuban luminary to cultivate diversity in his music and limitlessness in his thinking. He is dreaming of a world where everybody knows and listens to his music. Jorge Luis would love to win a Grammy—but not only one, he immediately adds, “maybe two, three, five, four.”

The pianist’s ambition may equal his versatility. While he plays the piano with an unusual energy, he can also sing and he approaches many genres: “I am a musician,” the Cuba native explains. “I am a singer; I am a rapper; I am a pianist, percussionist, a composer.”

In the 2013 Negrita Mia music video, Jorge Luis is seen playing the piano in an elevator while different people—some musicians, some dancers—enter and start performing with him. His passion, vibrancy and talent clearly come through in the video.

The son of an opera singer and a choir leader, Jorge Luis grew up listening to classical composers like Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart and singers such as Pavarotti. “It gave me a lot of ideas,” Jorge Luis says. That knowledge can be heard in the pianist’s composing process.

Some of Jorge Luis’ compositions pay tribute to the history of his island. For example, “Rompiendo el silencio” is about the 1912 massacre which occurred in Santiago de Cuba. “In the mountains they were hunting black people,” he explains. “In one week they murdered 300 people.” Jorge Luis composed music for a film that was being made on that topic.

Jorge Luis’ playing stems from classical music but it is also steeped in Cuban and pop music. “I also play traditional Cuban music: son, salsa or whatever,” he says. “And jazz music; like Chucho Valdes or Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who are my idols among Cuban pianists.”

 

But Jorge Luis also likes Michel Camilo and he does not want to be labeled as belonging to only one genre. “I try to not say that my compositions are pop or jazz or Cuban music,” he explains. “I try to not put a wall. I just follow the music and I follow my heart and what I feel.” And Jorge Luis sometimes dreams of becoming a rock or a pop singer, he says. “Just a singer.”

Jorge Luis has already recorded two albums with the Jorge Luis Pacheco Quartet which features David Fye on bass, Renier Mendoza on drums and Edgar Martinez on percussion. And he did a live DVD with his sister, Marialy Pacheco, who is also a pianist. At Dizzy’s, he performs with his trio. Since he loves improvising, he may not know what he will play exactly—but it will surely have universal appeal.

Jorge Luis Pacheco performs with his trio on Dec. 7 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

Photo Credit:   Linh Pham

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Stephan Crump

Bridge Crossings by Cary Tone

A premier bass player, composer and adventurous musical conceptualist, Stephan Crump's ten critically acclaimed recordings and his live performances globally display a musician of magnetic pull, a powerful creative force and a leading light of his generation.

Q - You've just released your tenth recording as a leader, Rhombal, with four of my favorite current players. Tell us how this project came together? 

A- I put this band together around a body of work written for my late brother, Patrick, whom we lost to cancer just over two years ago.  He and I had a very troubled relationship, but certainly one of the most powerful things we shared was a love of music.  Patrick was a guitarist and drummer, and my first gig, at age 14, was replacing his power trio's bassist who’d gone away to college.

Although in principle I pushed back at the notion of writing an album for him (maybe it seemed too obvious), the music came.  

After years of exploring with my all-string Rosetta Trio and numerous duo projects, I knew I wanted to deal with drums and breath.  I also wanted the collective freedom and challenge that comes from omitting a chordal instrument, and at times to find how the band, itself, might be that instrument.  

Drummer Tyshawn Sorey and I have a deep musical and personal bond that reaches into more than a decade shared onstage and on the road, mostly with Vijay Iyer's trio and quartet.  I met Adam O’Farrill while on faculty at the Banff summer program in 2013 and immediately connected with him as a person, plus I couldn't get enough of hearing him play his horn.  Ellery Eskelin I'd admired from afar for years before introducing myself with this project in mind.  I thought he and Adam might make an inspired team and was drawn to the generational breadth they would bring to the group.  

The chemistry in this band is so rich and thrilling, and our studio journey was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

Q - You've also recorded and performed with three of the most identifiable and unique guitarists on the scene, Mary Halvorson, Liberty Ellman and Rez Abassi. What's the basis of those musical relationships?

A- Liberty and I have been playing for probably 15 years, and he’s a close friend.  We started playing in his trio, with a longstanding weekly gig at a now-defunct club in Manhattan, Ciel Rouge.

We had a lot of complicity developed by the time I asked him to join me and guitarist Jamie Fox to form Rosetta Trio, which I put together in 2005 and which is still growing.  We’re currently working toward our fourth album.  I met Rez a number of years ago at one of Vijay’s concerts, and we’ve played in a few different contexts but mostly in his RAAQ band with Eric McPherson and Bill Ware, which has been a great experience.  Mary and I met in 2011 and decided to get together and start with some duo playing at my studio.  I asked her if I might go ahead and set up the mic’s to document what went down, and she agreed.

I’m very thankful for that, as our first album, Super Eight, features music from three separate sessions we did but has much from that first day including the very first notes we ever played together.  We’ve kept at it with a good amount of touring and a second album, Emerge.  Mary’s now a good friend, and I love our duo project (Secret Keeper).  It feels like we can really go anywhere with the music.

Q - Tell us about your evolution in the bands of Vijay Iyer? 

A- Well, it started back in 1999, before there were even any gigs, haha.  We were just getting together as a quartet and working on his music.  The quartet did several recordings and tours, and it was a good experience, but while Vijay’s music was already starting to reach forward at that time, the functioning of the band was actually quite conservative.  For me the real growth began when it became a trio.  All of a sudden, this organic, shapeshifting creature emerged and I found the music was able to breathe and grow in many more directions.  My role became more expansive, multi-faceted, and challenging, so I’ve been able to grow a lot from that.  This coming year, we’ll be performing a lot and recording as a sextet with three horns.  That’s certainly a shift in role from the trio...more of an engine-room-type function of driving, and hopefully inspiring, the front line.  It’s a lot of fun…just an incredible band.

Q - Do you remember what was happening in your life when you left Memphis, where you were born and raised? Did you leave to come to NYC or study at Amherst College?

A- Memphis was a great place to grow up.  A child of the 70s, my formative years were during a period when there was still a lot of live music going on around town, and all other manner of creativity.

Even just within my family, there was a lot of art-making and exposure.  I was surrounded by books, storytelling, painting, sculpture, music and carpentry…people making things happen and creating with their hands and spirits.  But there were also problems, such as the aforementioned difficulties with my brother and in my home, in general.  Furthermore, on a societal level, there’s a lot of ongoing illness in Memphis.

I knew that I needed to get far away when it came time for college.  I looked at schools mostly in the northeast, and was really drawn to Amherst College, where I went.  It was a wonderful experience, which also included a year of study abroad in Paris.  At the beginning of my freshman year I befriended a great guitarist and classmate from Brooklyn, Ricky Quiñones, who had weekly gigs in NYC, mostly in the Village…the tail end of a great scene with a bunch of funk and R&B clubs, including Mondo Cane.  He started bringing me along and would hire a drummer and rhythm guitarist from the scene, here.  This was a thrilling and pivotal experience for me, as it gave me a taste of the level of music-making going on in New York, but also a clear sense that these musicians appreciated what I had to offer.  That helped give some confidence toward moving to New York and trying to make a life in music, which was clearly what I wanted to do as soon as I finished at Amherst.

Q - Your recent work has been inspired by a heartbreaking tragedy, the death of your brother. How do you translate, interpret such deep emotional sadness into sound? Is there a process you care to share? 

A- Well, I don’t consider Rhombal to be about sadness. Much more, it’s a commemoration of a death well-confronted, of a spiritual evolution I witnessed in my brother during our last days together, and of how close we left each other after what had been, for many years, a very troubled relationship.  And at the same time, yes, of course there’s tragedy and sadness at the root of it all.

As for process, it varies from tune to tune. For instance, “How Close Are You,” the ballad on the album, came very directly from a phone conversation he and I had during his last few weeks. At that point, with the tumors taking over his body, it was so much about pain management, about staying ahead of the pain without overdoing it with the drugs, as then he’d get manic and even hallucinate. This was one of those times, and when he picked up the phone he was really out of it and said, “Hey man, how close are you?” thinking I was in Memphis to visit him, but I was in Brooklyn at the time. It was at once really heartbreaking that I wasn’t there with him, then, but also beautiful that so clearly wanted me to be by his side (and I was fortunate to be there with him quite a bit). As soon as we got off the phone, I had these three phrases of melody that started to come at me. I jotted them down and thought maybe they’d be just that, three phrases, but a few weeks later I started hearing a counter melody weaving into it and then some harmonic implications from those lines. That’s what I eventually brought to the band.  Often, pieces will start as a feel or groove, a certain shape in my body maybe as I’m walking down the street, and I’ll try to write it down or sing it into my phone and work it out later at home. Or, as is the case for “Outro for Patty,” which is a sort a send-off for his spirit, that began as a late-night improvisation on the Rhodes piano in my studio which I recorded and later transcribed and adapted for the quartet.  

Q - What musicians or recordings have you been listening to lately? 

A- This summer I discovered Erik Friedlander’s 2013 album, Claws and Wings, with Ikue Mori and Sylvie Courvousier, and it really cast a spell on me.  Meshell Ndegeocello’s recent Comet Come to Me album has been knocking me out, too, as is her Nina Simone tribute album.  I can’t wait for the new Tribe Called Quest album.  I’ve been enjoying Mary Halvorson’s solo recording, Meltframe, as well as Ches Smith’s trio album, The Bell.  I’ve been digging into the Paul Motian box set that ECM released.  Also, the Charlie Haden & Jim Hall live duo album is just too good.  

Q - You moved to NYC in 1994. How has the jazz life here changed for you since then? 

A- Wow, so much has changed, but it all seems like a continuum for me.  I like to engage in many different modes of music-making, but I’d say it’s certainly focused a bit over the last few years.

I’m so thankful to be making music that I love with so many beautiful, inspired spirits.  It’s a constantly-shifting, challenging but very rich life.

I’m also very blessed with my family, my wife Jen Chapin and our two boys, ages 11 and 7, with whom I’m very close.

So, I’m trying to balance it all, keep challenging myself artistically, keep growing as a human and musician, keep a career afloat in the shifting sands of the music industry, and be a good husband and father.

Q - Name a few pieces of music that were formative for you, that made you the person and musician you are today? 

A- Individual pieces is going to be tough…there are so many.  My first musical love was Stevie Wonder…probably “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” cast a big spell on my as a child…but all of it!

Michael Jackson…Off the Wall and Thriller.  I started out on piano, studying Suzuki method and mostly classical repertoire.  Bach cello suites have been a regular part of my study for decades.  Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Yes were hugely important to me as a teenager, and inspired me to get started with the electric bass.  All along, my father was constantly spinning great jazz records, so every night I went to bed to, say, Django by MJQ, or some Monk or Coltrane or Miles.  One important album to me that my dad played all the time was Harlem Blues by Phineas Newborn Jr. with Ray Brown and Elvin Jones.  It’s all right there.  

Dave Holland’s Extensions album (among others) was also important to me, as was hearing him and that band, live.  

The Bootsy Collins stuff, from James Brown to Parliament to his solo albums…oof.  Then you can jump to Astral Weeks by Van Morrison…hearing Richard Davis’ approach in that context was hugely inspiring to me.    And so much of his other work, of course, including Heavy Sounds with Elvin Jones…oh, man.  This is too difficult a question, because I could go on for hours and still feel like I’ve neglected to shine a light on so many of my influences, my heroes.

Stephan Crump brings Secret Keeper, his duo project with Mary Halvorson, at Quinn’s on Dec. 8, and performs at Jazz Gallery Dec. 16-17 with Kris Davis on piano and Eric Mcpherson on drums.

Photo Credit:  Nathan James Leatherman

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