Larry Blumenfeld on jazz and other sounds

Carla Bley at 80

As a pianist, Carla Bley plays exactly the right amount of notes. Needless to say they’re also the right note choices, except when they are gorgeously and intentionally wrong. Her hands seem to… More ›


When Esperanza Met Emily

  A few facts were striking after Esperanza Spalding took the stage of Brooklyn’s BRIC House in early March. Gone was the bassist and singer’s soft cloud of an Afro, tamed now into long… More ›


Now Playing (New and Forthcoming CDs)

Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow Andando el Tiempo (ECM, May 6): As pianist, composer and arranger, Bley, who turns 80 in May, has always exuded a stern authority tempered with obvious… More ›

radio hat

Obama In Cuba

It’s hard to believe that President Obama touched down in Havana yesterday—the first sitting president to set foot in Cuba since 1928, when Calvin Coolidge sailed into Havana aboard the… More ›


Can We Keep Up With Anthony Braxton?

Two years ago, when Anthony Braxton was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, he was was showcased in the awards concert as a composer. He didn’t pick up any of the reed… More ›

photo by Carolyn Wachnicki

A Message From Herbie and Wayne

From one angle, jazz is a story of exalted friendships. Think Bird and Diz. Think Herbie and Wayne. Pianist Herbie Hancock and tenor and soprano saxophonist Wayne Shorter share one of the great and… More ›

Herbie Hancock and Wayner Shorter. Photo by the US Embassy in Panama.

Now Playing (new & forthcoming CDs)

Snow flurries fight it out with waves of warm breeze. My in-box is brimming with new music. The latest: Allison Miller and Boom Tic Boom Otis Was a Polar Bear (Royal Potato Family, April 8): Drummer… More ›


At Home With The Morans

I got a chance to sit around the kitchen table at the Harlem home of pianist Jason Moran and singer Alicia Hall Moran, for this interview piece in The Wall Street Journal. The piece was ostensubly… More ›

Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran, as photographd by Dawoud Bey

Welcome to The New Quorum (Back in NOLA)

I’m back New Orleans, where I’m honored to be writer-in-residence with The New Quorum—an artist residency organization dedicated to bringing professional musicians and writers from… More ›

Photos by Kerry Maloney and Chrystal Nause ©Heirloom Collective