photo: Raj Naik

Being True to Yourself

  This year’s Berklee High School Jazz Festival had the pleasure of hosting a clinic with trumpeter Sean Jones, who is also Chair of the Brass Department at Berklee. Aside from recording albums under his own name, he is known for playing with some of the finest living jazz musicians, including Marcus Miller, Nancy Wilson, [...]

Building a Career Beyond Just Playing Your Instrument (part 2)

What was one of the most important lessons you learned from Berklee? “It wasn’t anything music specifically but it was the work ethic. Being here at Berklee and seeing the standard and the quality of the other students calibrated my work ethic and it taught me that there were kids two years younger than me [...]

Building a Career Beyond Just Playing Your Instrument, part 1

In the beginning of October, Berklee held its annual Zildjian Artist in Residence series, this year with the legendary drummer Dennis Chambers. On the last day of Chambers’ visit, an all-star concert was held at the Berklee Performance Center featuring Mike Stern on guitar, Bob Franceschini on tenor saxophone, and Janek Gwizdala on bass. I [...]

Kris Funn here with Matthew Stevens at a Christian Scott concert

The Soulful Baltimore Sound part 2

How did the gigs with Kenny Garrett, Christian Scott and Warren Wolf come along? “Well Warren and I pretty much grew up with and with Kenny I just knew his drummer John Lamkin who also was from Baltimore. Christian came through Washington DC and often because of the state or the economy they can’t afford [...]

The Soulful Baltimore Sound, part 1

Kris Funn was in town recently to play with Christian Scott who he has played and toured with for quite a few years. In his early days he studied computer science at Howard University, later touring with jazz greats Kenny Garrett, Christian Scott, and Warren Wolf. Tell me about yourself. “I am 35 years of [...]

The Father of Drum Sticks

“Listening to teachers and young drummers they are obsessed with playing loud and fast and I hear nothing said about sound” – Vic Firth Everett Joseph “Vic” Firth was one of the most respected people in the drum industry. He was close to many of the world’s greatest drummers such as Steve Gadd, Steve Smith, [...]

The Bluesy Trio

This Oscar Peterson Trio showed the jazz world what the blues was all about. Aside from Peterson, the classic trio, led by Peterson, featured Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums. Before Thigpen joined, the Trio was without drums and instead featured Herb Ellis on guitar. During the beginning of the 1950s, Ellis [...]

Orrin Keepnews

Remembering Orrin Keepnews

Orrin Keepnews never wrote a jazz standard. He never led a band. He was never a sideman on an influential recording. And yet, Orrin Keepnews was one of the most important figures in jazz, founding multiple record labels, bringing many of the all-time greats into the spotlight, and producing a seemingly infinite quantity of classic [...]

Joey Alexander with Herbie Hancock

A Young Gentleman at the Piano

On a rainy December night, I headed to The Standard Jazz Club in Copenhagen, Denmark, co-founded and musically directed by pianist Niels Lan Doky (Berklee ’84) to see Joey Alexander, the 11-year-old pianist from Indonesia. I had arranged with his father Denny to come and see Joey play and talk to him before and after his performance. [...]

Bob Brookmeyer

Composer’s Spotlight: Bob Brookmeyer

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

          February 11, 2017