Oscar Perez: Blurring Lines of Afro-Cuban, Jazz and Classical


Oscar Perez at Piano
Oscar Perez


Born and bred in New York of Cuban and Colombian descent pianist Oscar Perez recently released his third album Prepare a Place For Me. His music has been called Post Latin although I get the feeling that he really doesn’t like the term. To him genre is a continuum that he uses to shape his music. More straight ahead jazz than his previous work the new album is infused with an afro-cuban feel in a more cooked down and basic way.

We talked about: genre, balancing his life and music, the musicians he plays with and large group playing, balancing entrepreneurship, music and creativity. Oscar is articulate and easy to talk to and we covered a lot of territory.


New England Vibraphonist Ryan Kowal

Ryan Kowal
Ryan Kowal

Ryan Kowal cover










Well known in the New England free improvisation community vibraphonist Ryan Kowal has assembled an amazing discography of ten recordings in the last six years. His most recent project is Hub Alignment with his group Meeting of the Minds, featuring noted boston saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase with Kit Demos, Phil Mazza and Ben Dicke. Another project is Dusty Frames a duo with guitarist Patrick Galagan.

This podcast includes a live recording of Meeting of the Minds from AS220 in Providence from June 2015.



Jack DeJohnette

Jack DeJohnette at Newport 2015
Jack DeJohnette at Newport 2015

There are few individuals who have had as large a role in shaping the history of Jazz in the latter part of the 20th century as Jack DeJohnette. He was a member of the AACM in Chicago and played with Charles Lloyd, Bill Evans and Miles Davis in the 1960s. He has had a musical conversation with Keith Jarrett that has lasted for over 40 years.

In 2016 he will be releasing a new vinyl only solo piano album. A new trio album with Ravi Coltrane on sax and Matt Garrison on bass will also be out next year.


Greg Abate: Dual Alto Album with Phil Woods turns into a Memorial

Greg Abate
Greg Abate

AbateWoods_KindredSpirits-coverThe release celebration of Greg Abate’s live album Kindred Spirits was supposed to reprise the original event where it was originally performed, at Chan’s in Woonsocket, Rhode Island featuring Phil Woods and the Tim Ray Trio. It will now go on as a quartet. Three weeks before the release Mr. Woods announced his retirement from music for health reasons followed yesterday by his death.

Greg sat at a piano and talked about Phil Woods, writing music, his next album and his career in general.


Jon Irabagon: Dual Album Release Takes Two Directions

Jon Irabagon
Jon Irabagon

Jon Irababon has two very different new albums. On Behind the Sky he shows off his skills and compositions in a more mainstream direction featuring Tom Harrell on several tracks. Inaction is an Action is an exploration of the solo sopranino saxophone and is in a much more avant gard vein. The juxtaposition of the two in a dual release covers much more area than either of them could alone showing off a versatile musical personality.

Jon has the virtuosity and vision to be a defining saxaphone figure of the twenty-teens. He is a regular member of: Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Barry Altschul’s 3dom Factor, The Dave Douglas Quintet, The Mary Halvorson Octet and more.


Josh Maxey: Celebration of Soul, Jazz and Blues

Josh Maxey
Josh Maxey

A Coloradan by way of Virginia and New York Josh Maxey has released nine albums in the last three years. Celebration of Soul released in August is his tenth.

The organ trio is the chosen vehicle for his guitar voice. He plays jazz infusing the feeling and power of the blues. His influences include John Coltrane and Jimmy Page and although he plays songs he loves to smear them together into extended suites.



Phil Haynes: A new Solo Drum Album and a Preview of Free Country

Phil Haynes plays with Free Country
Phil Haynes plays with Free Country

Most of the interviews I do are over Skype and some over the telephone. I’ve interviewed Phil Haynes twice before and I always end it with “If you ever get up this way you’re welcome to be on my radio show”. This summer he finally made it up to Rhody and took me up on it. Multiple interviews with an artist are great. They are relaxed and make it easier to get into the meat of a  conversation.

I’ve deliberately tried not to over edit this to keep the ambience of the radio show. Phil tells great stories and we laugh. We talk about solo drumming and recording in a large resonant room. He tells the story of the Corner Store a practice and rehersal space “and so much more” in Brooklyn that morphed into his label Corner Store Jazz.

On the air we played rough mixes of the upcoming Free Country. There are some edits included in the podcast and Phil waxes poetic about their meaning and resonance.


Eric Hofbauer: Deconstructing Modern Classics and Free Improvisation

Eric Hofbauer
Eric Hofbauer

images.duckduckgo.comPrehistoric Jazz is what Eric Hofbauer calls his deconstructions of modern classical music as he transmogrifies it into jazz. He is not content to simply reharmonize and jazzify the pieces that he chooses he reassembles them  from their DNA as he likes to put it. He is also a member of the free improvisation group Bolt.

This interview was recorded in April 2015 in a practice room in Fine Arts Building at the University of Rhode Island. It was wonderful to be able to interview someone in person and to be able to respond and develop a dialogue. Because I was able to record with mics in a controlled environment this is also the best sounding interview that I’ve ever done.

We talked about the Prehistoric Jazz series, the spiritual in jazz, humor in jazz and how he gets a sound that is an extension of himself.



Brian Blade to Record in Providence at Columbus Theatre, Eyeland Studio

1601595_10153086212533489_6957374537232473496_nmarquee 1One of the great pleasures of preparing for my interview with jazz drum virtuoso Brian Blade was going back and rediscovering some of the great music that he has played on with other artists over the years. (Check out St. Thomas from Joshua Redman’s Spirit of the Moment album)

Last month he played in Europe with Wayne Shorter and before that he was in Japan with John Patitucci. He also has a recent album with Ron Miles and Bill Frisell, Circuit Rider. Weather he is playing with A list jazz artists or with his own group the Brian Blade Fellowship his credo is “Serve the Music”. The group has developed it’s own distinctive sound that is evocative of the American landscape.

The Fellowship Group will be recording live on August 21st at the cooperatively run Columbus Theatre in Providence. The performance will be followed by a Talkback the following day led by WGBH host Eric Jackson.

This interview was recorded on August 10th and originally broadcast on WRIU in Kingston RI on August 11th.

Greg Abate back in Rhode Island for gigs at Chan’s and Aspire

Greg Abate
Greg Abate

Greg Abate performs about 250 days a year by his own estimate. Last week he finished a month of dates in California. A Woonsocket, Rhode Island resident Abate will play two gigs locally before traveling to New Mexico followed by a month long tour of the UK.

This podcast is a little different in that it was recorded on the air last Tuesday May 19th at WRIU where I host the Jazz Explorer program. The conversation was much more casual and relaxed than our last conversation. There is a lot to be said for body language and eye contact that is missing from an interview on Skype or over the phone.

Greg will be recording a new album this August and releasing a two CD live set recorded last year at Chan’s in October.

Upcoming Local Performances:

May 23 Chan’s Presents Greg Abate  Quartet A Motif Evening with Tim Ray, John Lockwood and Mark Walker

June 5 with The Joe Potenza Trio, Aspire Jazz Lounge  Hotel Providence

Aug 16 Jamestown RI Music Series, Jamestown RI on the green




Special thanks again to photographer Leslie Hollis.