Among contemporary fusion musicians, drummer Will Kennedy stands out as a legend in both the creative and commercial scenes. Growing up in the Bay Area, Will found music at the tender age of four. By his twenties, Will was working in the LA studio scene as the go-to guy for talk show TV orchestras and movie scores. In 1986, Will joined the legendary jazz fusion group “Yellowjackets”, remaining a key figure in the band for nine years and recording ten full length albums. I caught up with Will at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago after one of their first shows with bassist Felix Pastorius.
Ever the emphatic artist, drummer Dave King is most famous as a founding member of the contemporary trio “The Bad Plus”. Rooted in jazz, The Bad Plus has taken creative music to a new abstract height, examining reinterpretations of works by artists as diverse as Stravinsky, Nirvana and Tears for Fears. However, his re-definition of a performing musician’s role has not been limited to TB+, his personal side projects, or even the drumset. In this article, we’ll explore Dave’s love of comedy, visual art, and the creative process behind his music.
A few months ago, in the article "School Band Percussion 101" we discussed ideas for newbie drummers looking to purchase their first instrument. As we approach the holiday season, the opportunity to augment your drummer’s arsenal of percussion tools is a great way to encourage them to practice during those cold winter months. There are a lot of great options out there, and narrowing down the list can be daunting. Take a look at this guide for some suggestions on what to get to spread the holiday vibes.
Within the creative music world at large, trombone-led projects tend to occupy a niche within a niche. By far the least common among the three typical “jazz” horn types, ‘bone"players are forced to contend with an mid to low range instrument that does not tune easily and is usually cast in a supporting role within the band. It comes as no surprise that the list of well known projects by jazz trombone soloists/leaders is short, at least in comparison to the plethora of saxophone and trumpet innovators. However, many landmark recordings such as Carl Fontana’s “The Great Fontana”, JJ Johnson’s “Spirit of the Horn”, and Frank Rosolino’s “Fond Memories” represent a huge part of our jazz heritage’s foundation.
Chicago based drummer/percussionist/composer Juan Pastor's latest release Chinchano represents a successful fusion of traditional latin rhythms, and modern jazz sensibilities. Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Pastor made his way to Chicago after studying at DePaul University. Featuring equal amounts of cajon, drum set, and other percussion items, Chinchano briskly covers a range of latin inspired patterns including Afro 6/8, Lando, Waltz, Festejo and Cumbia. The opening track "Fina Estampa" features a cajon intro and some excellent traded solos by Marquis Hill and Richard Moore. "Chakana" features some interesting sus chord harmony by Stuart Mindeman and a solo by bassist Jorge Roeder.