JazzWatch #14 | Cyrus Chestnut

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut has played with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Kathleen Battle to Betty Carter to James Moody. His blend of soul and swing has elevated him to become one of the most reliable pianists of his generation. His recent CD, Midnight Melodies from the newly-formed label, The Smoke Sessions, spent a month at the top of the JazzWeek chart.

On this week’s episode, we talk about his new professorship at Howard University – a long-held dream of his. He also has a new project in the works with David Williams and Victor Lewis. We talk about his ideas about passing the lineage of the music down to up and coming players.

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JazzWatch #13 | Mike Clark

On today’s JazzWatch, Greg interviews legendary drummer Mike Clark. You may know him from his tenure with Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, but he’s also put in time with Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Vince Guaraldi, Albert Collins and Jimmy Reed.

Mike discusses learning to play traditional jazz, blues, post-Bop in addition to being on of the innovators of linear funk drumming. Be on the lookout for his forthcoming CD with pianist Michael Wolff, and his new book with fellow drum icon, Lenny White.

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JazzWatch #12 | Mike LeDonne

Mike LeDonne has never been one to hold his tongue, and today’s interview is no exception. The pianist/Hammond organist discusses how he was first drawn to his instruments, and how he ascended to become one of the most in-demand jazz musicians working today. If you haven’t had the chance to hear his Groover quartet on Tuesday nights at Smoke Jazz Club in Harlem, NY, make that a priority.

He’s putting together a special celebration benefit concert for disability pride in NYC. It takes place on Jan. 8, 2015 at Quakers Friends Meeting House in NYC. Featured players will include Ron Carter, Benny Golson, George Coleman, Brad Mehldau, Harold Mabern, Jimmy Cobb and many more. For more information, visit http://www.disabilitypridenyc.com

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JazzWatch #11 | Jimmy Heath

Today, we talk to legendary tenor and soprano saxophonist, Jimmy Heath. Jimmy is a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master who recently turned 88, and is in better form than ever. He recently released a brand new big band recording called, “Togetherness,” his first live big band CD, recorded at the Blue Note. For this interview, Jimmy preferred to focus on his newer material, but he eventually discussed a few memories from his legendary career.

His autobiography, called, I Walked with Giants, is a great read.

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JazzWatch #10 | Stacy Dillard

On today’s JazzWatch, Greg welcomes internationally-renowned saxophonist, Stacy Dillard. They discuss everything from Stacy’s early days in Muskegon Heights, Michigan to his work as an in-demand sideman, to the 3 bands he fronts. We also listen to some samples of Stacy’s work.

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