When he was studying jazz in the ’50s and becoming a revered guitarist, Kenny Burrell vowed to teach the subject one day. Now, decades after his first class, he’s never committed more to music education.
Inspired by A.A. Milne’s 1924 book of poetry, When We Were Very Young, Cornelius presents a composition commissioned by Chamber Music America. It features Bill Evans-like voicings and Ellingtonian ideas.
The composer and bandleader mixes Argentine folk forms, New York’s jazz talent pool and a postmodern mash-up imagination. He returns to his alma mater, a core group of bandmates in tow, to coach a performance of his own uniquely beguiling music.
The pianist builds R&B with old-school values: singers who don’t need software, live improvising, hand-built beats. They’re jazz aesthetics, essentially — readily evident when members of his Grammy-winning Experiment band jam with singer Marsha Ambrosius.
The singer-songwriter remains influential in jazz, but improvisers have yet to fully mine his repertoire. Here are a few of the attempts so far, from musicians such as Kenny Garrett, Carmen Lundy and George Benson.
In the 1950s, New York’s Hickory House was known for its sizzling steaks and a swinging jazz trio led by a young female pianist with a British accent and a God-given touch. McPartland, along with bassist Joe Morello and drummer Bill Crow, held court at the Hickory House for more than a decade.
The highest federally supported award for jazz artistry goes to four individuals this year. In a live performance from Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, Anthony Braxton, Richard Davis, Jamey Aebersold and Keith Jarrett are honored.