Blogs

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 [...]

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 [...]

Bob Gullotti

Master Class With a True Master

Throughout my years of playing the drums, I have had the privilege of attending clinics, master classes, and workshops with greats such as Peter Erskine, Jojo Mayer, Kenny Werner, the Joshua Redman Trio, and Dave Liebman. They all gave me something completely different: Erskine spoke about his career as a musician while Werner spoke about concepts from his well-known book, Effortless Mastery, which should be read by [...]

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Sitting Down with Willie Nelson

During the nights before Berklee’s Annual Commencement Concert at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, the huge group of student performers attended lengthy rehearsals. The band, backup vocalists, and featured vocalists had more than enough rehearsal time to perfect the performance of their tribute songs to this year’s honorary doctorate recipients. After walking into Agannis for the [...]

Lester Young

The Lester Young Tree: The Life and Music of “Pres”

One of the most heartfelt stories in all of jazz is that of Lester Young (known by many as “Pres”).  A calm, mild-mannered, shy and emotional person, Young secured a permanent place in jazz history and completely changed the sound of the tenor saxophone.  The Lester Young tree starts with Young’s work with the Count [...]

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Jazz and Eastern Practices: Part 2 – Yoga

ut two years ago I discovered Gretchen Parlato and I absolutely fell in love with her voice. She quickly became my favorite vocalist and a huge influence on my music, and I was so taken by her intense connection to the music and the intimacy of her sound. I discovered that she was an avid [...]

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Going To Concerts Solo: Why It’s No Big Deal and Totally Worth It

I’m an only child, so independence comes pretty naturally to me. That, paired with the fact that my hometown isn’t exactly a jazz-loving place, meant I ended up going to a lot of shows alone growing up. Our one and only jazz club had shows every weekend, and of course none of my teenaged friends [...]

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Five Vocalists Every Jazz Musician Should Know

A lot of times in jazz, vocalists can get stuck listening exclusively to vocal jazz, and instrumentalists get stuck listening exclusively to instrumental jazz. I believe that the best instrumentalists are the ones that listen to vocal jazz and understand singers and what it takes to accompany them. On the other hand, I believe that [...]

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Top Five Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Recordings

Art Blakey’s various groups under the name The Jazz Messengers had some of the most profound influences on modern jazz of any artists of the post-bop era.

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The Jazz Vocalist’s Survival Guide

It seems like no matter where we go, whether it’s a casual jam session or a professional gig, we vocalists are just not taken seriously! There is a stigma attached to vocalists: that we don’t know how to communicate with instrumentalists, that we don’t know the music, and that we aren’t as much a part [...]

          January 31, 2015