Billy Strayhorn

Composer’s Spotlight: Billy Strayhorn

“Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine.” – Duke Ellington Whenever one is asked to define jazz, it is tempting to cite great jazz improvisers, such as Bird, Trane, Hawk, Brecker, and countless others, yet [...]

Kenneth Dahl Knudsen in action with Thomas Oakman on trumpet and Karol Domański on drums

Groovin’ from Denmark to Berlin and ‘Round the World

On a beautiful Saturday evening in June, I sat down for coffee and a chat with the award-winning Danish bassist, composer, and friend, Kenneth Dahl Knudsen. A busy player on the European jazz scene, Knudsen had just finished playing with a Danish/Latvian group, featuring world-class pianist Aaron Parks and Berklee alum Christian Frank; Knudsen’s busy [...]

Composer and Arranger Don Redman

Composer’s Spotlight: Don Redman

Whenever one is asked to define jazz, it is tempting to cite great jazz improvisers, such as Bird, Trane, Hawk, Brecker, and countless others, yet such a view would seem to be shortsighted. Developing out of Western harmony and African rhythms, jazz reached the peak of its popularity in the 1920s and ‘30s with the [...]

Tomasz Stanko

Jazz Across the Pond: Tomasz Stańko

Despite its status as an American-born art form, the influence of jazz has spread throughout the world, and is especially popular in Europe. There are a number of fantastic artists from around the world who often do not get the attention that they deserve here in the United States. Among these artists is Polish trumpeter [...]

Pianist Geri Allen

2014 Berklee Honorary Doctorate Recipient Geri Allen

Biography Geri Allen is considered one of the greatest female piano players of all time, alongside Marian McPartland and Aretha Franklin. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, one of the many music capitols in the US. Greats such as Al Green, Stevie Wonder, John Lee Hooker, The White Stripes, and Eminem all came [...]

Jimmy Page

2014 Commencement Spotlight: Jimmy Page

Headlining the list of honorary doctorate recipients at Berklee’s 2014 commencement will be legendary guitarist Jimmy Page.  Best known for his role in the founding Led Zeppelin, Page is regarded as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. Twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Page has also been consistently [...]

Tenor Saxophonist Harold Land

Transcription Analysis: Harold Land on “Joy Spring”

In 1955, the then 25-year-old trumpeter Clifford Brown released the album Clifford Brown and Max Roach, which would not only come to be recognized as an iconic album of the hard bop movement, but also debuted tunes that would later become standards in the jazz repertoire, including “Joy Spring,” and “Daahoud.” The band included prominent [...]


Jazz & St. Louis: The City’s Influence on Jazz

St. Louis has had a unique and at times underappreciated effect on jazz music. Not many know that before the migration of jazz musicians from New Orleans to Chicago, many stopped in St. Louis for quite some time, developing a sound individual to the city before continuing north. There are many factors that contributed to [...]


Empathy and Music: Intertwined or Independent?

Recently, in one of my classes, we were asked to take an empathy quotient survey online. A lot of the questions pertained to social situations and how you react to them, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and many other human nature type questions. I found this survey to be pretty interesting, [...]


Ick… The Music Industry

I must admit that the music business has never been something I have taken much interest in. I have a lot of friends in the music business major, and when they talk about what they are learning in their classes, I really don’t find any of it compelling or exciting. Truthfully, I find it completely [...]

          February 8, 2014