Clarinetist Anat Cohen’s transcendent appearances with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra last February are still resonating.
“I loved the trip to Seattle, loved meeting all the people there, the SRJO and other musicians, it was great time, and a wonderful hang,” she says. “Everybody there is so nice!”
Her latest CD “Luminosa” features a number of beautiful Brazilian melodies. Anat first encountered the varied styles of Brazilian music when she was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“I met some Brazilian musicians and they invited me to play in different shows with them, and I just fell in love with the music and the people, the whole culture and language. The language- everything about it sounded so mysterious and musical. Also, Brazilian people are very similar in their behavior to the Israeli people, very physical, similar expressions…I felt so comfortable. I wanted to be part of it and learn more about it, so I pursued it as much as I could, immersed myself in it for 15 years. I went to Brazil a bunch of times and learned the language. I fell in love with it.”
She’s always an exuberant player, but playing Brazilian music lifts her to higher level of joy. It’s something she’s started to recognize and think about.
“I wonder why it is, and how I can have this feeling everywhere, every time, in every musical situation and personal situation. It’s a challenge.”
Anat will be busy during this visit to Seattle for the Earshot Jazz Festival, starting with a recently added concert on November 9 at the PONCHO Concert Hall at Cornish College of the Arts. She’ll be doing a master class at noon on November 10 at Cornish, then she’ll bring her quartet to KPLU for a live Studio Session at 2pm, and finally the second (sold out) Earshot Jazz Festival Concert at PONCHO Concert Hall at 8pm.
Listen for some music from Anat Cohen’s CD “Luminosa” on this week’s Jazz Caliente, Thursday at 2pm on KPLU!
Born and raised in Cadiz, this remarkable Spanish pianist recently moved his family to Seattle, adding a flamenco touch to our outstanding musical scene. “I have played in so many places around the world and in the USA, and for me, Seattle is one of the most wonderful cities. We are very happy to be here,” he says.
“I grew up in a poor family in the south of Spain, in Andalusia. It was hard, because I didn’t have an instrument, and I cried every year for a flamenco guitar. I finally got a guitar when I was eight years old, and I started playing the music of the city of Cadiz, where flamenco was born. So that was my first instrument. But when I was a teenager, I discovered the music of Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Return to Forever, and I started to play keyboards and to transcribe from the records. They were my first jazz teachers.”
Chano was already a star in Europe when he made his appearance in Fernando Trueba’s 2001 film Calle 54, which introduced him to American audiences. He won a Latin Grammy for his part of the soundtrack for that movie, and his 2012 Blue Note recording Flamenco Sketches was Grammy nominated for Best Latin Jazz album.
“Flamenco Sketches was recorded in the Jazz Standard club in New York. It was a great experience for me to play the Miles Davis music I’d been listening to for 30 years, to play it in the way I like to play my own music, with the flamenco rhythms like bulería, soleá, tanguillo or tango, in the flavor of my childhood.”
His most recent recording is with flamenco guitarist Niño Josele. It’s a collection of melodic standards by Michel LeGrand, Henry Mancini and others “with the flamenco blend inside.” Another CD releasing soon is Chano with Europe’s premier big band, the WDR Big Band. Chano composed all new music for the band, and he’s very excited about the recording.
For his Earshot Jazz Festival première, he wants to “show the music I’m doing now as well as the music I’ve done in the last 30 years. So selections from my recordings from 1993 forward, selecting the songs that are most important to me.”
Chano is delighted to have talented Seattle musicians like bassist Jeff Johnson, percussionist Jose Martinez and saxophone master Hans Teuber in the band for this concert. “They understand my music very well,” he says. He’s also thrilled with the venue for the concert, the grand magical cabaret/circus tent of Teatro ZinZanni. “I love it!” And he let drop that there will be a surprise performance involving Chano’s son Pablo. I won’t say anymore…it’s a surprise, after all.
This concert will be recorded by Jim Wilke for a future Jazz Northwest program, which airs Sundays at 2pm on KPLU.
Listen for Chano’s music on Jazz Caliente this week, at 2pm on Thursday during KPLU’s Mid Day Jazz.
Hear the Chano Domínguez Quartet and more on Wednesday October 28 at Teatro ZinZanni, part of the 2015 Earshot Jazz Festival.
Saxophonist Charles Lloyd is a mystic, a nature lover and a sound-seeker. He seems to inhabit an enchanted space, and considers himself in service to the music, which he must share. “It changes the molecules,” he explains. “People seem to brighten up, and I brighten up, and we all get blessed.” He also has an uncanny ability to look backward and forward at the same time, which makes for some interesting conversations.
His latest CD “Wild Man Dance” resulted from a commission by a Polish jazz festival, asking for a large work utilizing a symphony orchestra and choruses, and whatever he wanted to do. Charles added a Hungarian cimbalom, a large dulcimer. “I’m a big fan of Hungarian music, Bela Bartok and all of that. (Guitarist) Gabor Szabo used to play with me, he’s from over there. I have this deep connection with that music,” he says. “The Wild Man Dance, that name comes from all those great wild men that I played with throughout my life. The Wild Men are the guys who go inside and face the mirror of their inadequacies, face the Creator and ask for the divine elixirs.”
“I started out in Memphis, my hero was Phineas Newborn, my first mentor; Booker Little was my best friend. I went to school with Harold Mabern and Frank Strozier…we were just dreamers and we were trying to get up into the heavens with the music.
“I also played these blues gigs with Howlin’ Wolf and Johnny Ace, Bobby Blue Bland, Junior Parker, BB King, Roscoe Gordon. That early information from Memphis was very powerful because those guys were great masters. Also coming through town were Duke Ellington and Count Basie and Lionel Hampton.” Charles’ mother had a big house and the bandleaders would stay there. “Duke did tell my mother, don’t let that boy be a musician, let him be a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief, this life is too hard, but by that time I was already bit by the cobra, and there was not much choice. They couldn’t talk me out of it. I’ve traveled around the globe and played with all the great musicians. I’ve been really blessed.”
For the Earshot Jazz Festival, he’ll be appearing with his latest crop of young musicians: Gerald Clayton at the piano, Reuben Rogers on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums.
“I’ve been coming to your beautiful area for a long time, I have lots of dear friends there, I’ve played the festival several times. I’ve been coming to Seattle since the 1960s…before you were born.”
I protest, “Not quite before I was born, but before I knew you,” which starts him on the “Younger Than Springtime” theme that he’s been using in conversations lately. “I have these young musicians who want to serve with me now, and I remember the time when I was the youngest musician, and all the elders were bringing me along.”
“I’m really enamored with this group, we just played two concerts in Memphis, and then I’ve been in the studio, mastering and mixing various things of mine. So I’m always busy, and I love that I can still find elevation in the music and I still love it and it makes me to be almost like you, younger than springtime. I just love to go on this journey of playing music.”
For his next project, Charles is working on recordings from a recent tour with guitarist Bill Frisell, which he expects to be released in January.
Journey with the Charles Lloyd Quartet this Saturday October 17 at 8pm in Seattle’s Town Hall, it’s part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.
Edmar Castañeda plays the arpa llanera, a traditional folkloric instrument from Columbia and Venezuela. Classical harps have 46 or 47 strings, but the smaller llanera has only 32. That makes it lighter, swifter and somehow more versatile…at least it sounds like it in the hands of this master from Bogotá.
Edmar comes from a musical family, and at age 7 started folkloric dance classes along with his sister. The thing he liked best about the classes was the music, and the harp in particular. “As soon as I heard it, I knew I was born to play the harp!” he says. When he was 13, he was given an instrument by his aunt, after constantly asking her to let him come over and play hers. He’s been playing harp ever since.
When he moved to New York in the 1990s, he delighted in the multi-cultural blend of music he found there. He studied trumpet and discovered jazz, and then decided to make his harp an instrument of exploration: mixing jazz and music from around the world.
When I asked him if the llanera requires any special care or maintenance, he laughed. “Just play it! The harp gets sad if you don’t play it. If you play it all the time, it knows you love it.”
Castañeda has also designed a harp that’s being produced by the French harp builder, Camac. He’s proud of the finished product and the innovations that have been adopted to the traditional arpa llanera.
Edmar will be playing solo for his first appearance in Seattle, showcasing his original music with influences from Columbia, Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil and New York. The concert is Friday October 16 at the PONCHO Concert Hall at Cornish College of the Arts. It’s part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.
Listen for Edmar Casteñeda’s music on Jazz Caliente this week, Thursday afternoon at 2pm on KPLU’s Mid Day Jazz!