Last month we talked about trees, referencing our fancy new paper stock. This month we'd like to discuss perennial grasses, specifically Arundo donax or the Giant Cane and its monumental place in the history of music in general and jazz specifically. You see, without this majestic plant, native to southern Asia, there would be no reeds to vibrate and create the sounds heard from saxophones, clarinets, oboes and even bagpipes. No Giant Cane, no "Giant Steps"...
Our feature subjects this month owe a great debt to Arundo donax. Alto saxophonist David Sanborn (Cover) wouldn't have been able to record his nearly 30 albums as a leader since 1975 without it. Alto/soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson (Interview) would be a silent partner in his new duo with drummer Lewis Nash. Clarinetist Jeremiah Cymerman's (Artist Feature) 5049 Records would still be waiting for its debut release. Tenor saxophonist Don Menza (Encore), now better known as a composer and arranger, would have far fewer instruments for which to compose and arrange. Tenor saxophonists Joe Henderson (Lest We Forget) and Cory Weeds (proprietor of Label Spotlight subject Cellar Live) would have been nowhere.
The latest batch of Arundo donax just flowered a few months back. Soon it will be in mouthpieces worldwide and playing music that we are proud to bring to you.
On the Cover: DAVID SANBORN
By Alex Henderson; photos by Jack Vartoogian
If there is one thing that David Sanborn's long history has taught us, it is that the veteran alto saxophonist is not shy about diving into a wide variety of musical situations. Sanborn, now 69, has backed countless R'n'B and rock vocalists over the years, but his own catalogue has generally favored instrumental music, be it soul-jazz or postbop. Indeed, the long list of musicians Sanborn has crossed paths with along the way ranges from Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Charlie Haden, Ron Carter and The Brecker Brothers to David Bowie, Paul Simon, Aaron Neville and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Sanborn is at Blue Note Nov. 20th-25th.
Interview: STEVE WILSON
By Ken Dryden; photo by John Abbott
Since his debut recording with O.T.B. (Out of the Blue) in 1987, Steve Wilson has become an in-demand alto/soprano saxophonist and flutist. The Virginia native has appeared on well over one hundred recordings, including sessions with Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Gerald Wilson, James Williams and others. He has made seven recordings as a leader, plus compelling duo CDs with pianist Bruce Barth and drummer Lewis Nash. Wilson's wide-ranging musical interests make each record date a new adventure and he continues to grow as a soloist, composer and arranger. The saxophonist is a veteran jazz educator who has served on the faculties of William Patterson University, The Juilliard School and City College of New York, along with serving as artist-in-residence at universities around the country. Wilson is at Jazz Standard Nov. 19th with Frank Kimbrough and 25th-26th and 28th-30th with Maria Schneider and The Jazz Gallery Nov. 22nd in duo with Lewis Nash.
Artist Feature: JEREMIAH CYMERMAN
By Wilbur MacKenzie; photo by Peter Gannushkin
Few artists so successfully conceive of and execute as diverse and equally enthralling endeavors as Jeremiah Cymerman who, in the last few years, has released two CDs on John Zorn's Tzadik label, started his own record imprint, launched a highly engaging podcast documenting the words of some of New York's most creative artists and published a treatise on his approach to using the studio as a compositional tool in the book series Arcana: Musicians on Music (edited by Zorn). Cymerman curates and is at The Stone Nov. 11th-16th.
Encore: DON MENZA
By Brian Charette
Besides his playing and teaching, Don Menza is also one of the country's most well-known arrangers and composers, penning tunes and arrangements for Buddy Rich, Doc Severinson's NBC Orchestra and Louis Prima's right hand gal Keely Smith.
Lest We Forget: JOE HENDERSON
By Stuart Broomer
When Joe Henderson emerged playing tenor saxophone in the '60s, jazz had never seen as many musicians of the first rank playing the same instrument. It's a testament to his industry and creativity that he established himself then, that he survived the lean years of the '70s to emerge anew as the figurehead of a creative mainstream in the '80s, finally enjoying widespread recognition in the '90s. A Joe Henderson tribute is at Birdland Nov. 18th-22nd.
Record Label Spotlight: CELLAR LIVE
By Marcia Hillman
In today's recording industry of fewer record labels and many self-produced CDs, Vancouver-based Cellar Live Records will record its 100th album this month. The label has garnered a reputation for a tasteful catalogue of straightahead jazz by a roster that includes both Canadian and international artists such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Joey DeFrancesco, Benny Golson, Louis Hayes and The Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, Jeremy Manasia, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Steve Kaldestad Quartet and others. Artists performing this month include Peter Bernstein at Fat Cat Nov. 9th and Smoke Nov. 11th, both with Cory Weeds; Champian Fulton at Saint Peter's Nov. 5th and The Garage Nov. 13th, 27th and 29th; Mike LeDonne at Fat Cat Nov. 9th and Smoke Nov. 11th, both with Cory Weeds, Smoke Nov. 21st-23rd with Vincent Herring and Tuesdays as a leader; Lewis Nash at Jazz Standard Nov. 19th with Frank Kimbrough, Smoke Nov. 21st-23rd with Vincent Herring and The Jazz Gallery Nov. 22nd; John Webber at Jazz Standard Nov. 1st-2nd with George Coleman, The Players Nov. 5th with Harold Mabern, Jazz at Kitano Nov. 8th with Cory Weeds and Smoke Nov. 20th; and Cory Weeds at Jazz at Kitano Nov. 8th, Fat Cat Nov. 9th and Smoke Nov. 11th.
(this month's performance venues in parentheses):
Sylvie Courvoisier -- Double Windsor Tzadik (The Stone; Roulette)
Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman -- Birdies for Lulu Intakt (The Stone; Roulette)
Boom Crane -- Eponymous Fresh Sound-New Talent (Cornelia Street Café)
Jeff Davis -- Dragon Father Fresh Sound-New Talent (Cornelia Street Café; Ibeam Brooklyn; SEEDS)
Duke Ellington -- Newport 1958 Columbia-Legacy
Duke Ellington -- Treasury Shows, Vol. 18 Storyville
Bobby Hutcherson/David Sanborn/Joey DeFrancesco -- Enjoy the View Blue Note (Dizzy's Club)
Bayeté (Todd Cochran) -- Worlds Around The Sun Prestige-Omnivore
Attila Zoller -- Jazz Soundtracks Sonorama
bAgg*fisH -- Eponymous Trytone
Andrew Raffo Dewar -- Interactions Quartet Rastascan
Roxana Amed/Frank Carlberg -- La Sombra de su Sombra Red Piano
Owen Howard -- Drum Lore Vol. 2: More Lore Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records (Cornelia Street Café)
Dave Liebman -- Samsara Whaling City Sound (Dizzy's Club)
Bobby Avey -- Authority Melts From Me Whirlwind (Dizzy's Club; Beethoven Piano)
Musette Explosion -- Introducing Aviary (Cornelia Street Café)
Michael Blake -- Tiddy Boom Sunnyside (Jazz at Kitano)
Carlo Costa -- Sediment Neither/Nor (Ibeam Brooklyn)
Natura Morta -- Decay FMR
Baloni -- Belleke Clean Feed
Hilary Gardner -- The Great City Anzic (Greenwich House Music School)
Frank Kimbrough -- Quartet Palmetto (Jazz Standard)
Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra -- Live in Ljubljana Clean Feed (Ibeam Brooklyn)
Torben Snekkestad/Barry Guy -- Slip Slide and Collide Maya (Spectrum; The Stone; WhyNot Bistro; Ibeam Brooklyn; 541 Argyle Road)
Nels Cline/Julian Lage -- Room Mack Avenue (SubCulture)
Jason Moran -- All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller Blue Note (Village Vanguard)
Jimmy Cobb -- The Original Mob Smoke Sessions (Blue Note)
Joëlle Léandre/Pascal Contet -- 3 Ayler (The Stone)
Joëlle Léandre/ Vincent Courtois -- Live at Kesselhaus Berlin 08.06.2013 Jazzdor (The Stone)
Derek Bailey/Joëlle Léandre/George Lewis/Evan Parker -- 28 rue Dunois, Juillet 1982 Fou (The Stone)
Monash Art Ensemble/George Lewis -- Hexis AAO (Roulette)
Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra/George Lewis -- Artificial Life 2007 FMR (Roulette)
Wadada Leo Smith/George Lewis/John Zorn -- Sonic Rivers Tzadik (Roulette)
The Minton's Players -- Live at Minton's, Vol. 1 s/r (Minton's Playhouse)