The jazz trumpeter who made his first recordings 50 years ago this summer might be his instrument’s least appreciated giant. Perhaps the trumpeter of the 1970s, Shaw was an icon for the generation that followed, as well as an innovator on his horn.
Few musicians today are as versatile as the bassist, keyboardist, bass clarinetist, film composer, producer … you get the picture. A veteran of Miles Davis’ last band, and the ethos of that pan-stylistic music tends to carry over into his own. It headlines day one on the main stage.
Should you ever meet Donny McCaslin, you’ll encounter an imposingly tall fellow who’s one of the nicest guys you’ll shake hands with — and who wields a sax like few others. They played a side stage in the morning. The audience didn’t know what hit ’em.
From church services to arguments at the table, the jazz musician finds himself drawn to the music of the everyday. His debut album, Live Today, is anchored in jazz grooves and layered with influences from hip-hop to gospel.
This year actually marks three dozen years since the first incarnation of the group coalesced to resurrect a then-disappearing tradition — and infuse it with both bebop and funk. One of the original new-school New Orleans brass bands ignites dancing in the aisles.
A 20-something singing pianist of the New Orleans virtuoso tradition, Jon Batiste has a natural entertainer’s charisma and chops to match. He met his band in school at Juilliard — and can do “modern jazz” with a metropolitan attitude. And yes, there’s a tuba.
One of the finest guitar players in jazz history — who made all those classic records with Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Ron Carter and so on — is still at it at age 82. He’s joined by a much younger guitar phenom in a cross-generational confab of guitar heroes.