John di Martino Post #2

Ah, the sweet bliss of a Friday afternoon. Nothing beats it. Except maybe this Friday feature with New York City based musician, John Di Martino. 

If you read last week’s feature, you’ll know that Martino is more than just a jazz pianist, he is also a composer, arranger and producer. But did you know that Martino also has worked in a wide range of musical genres? 

Martino has a long collaboration with percussionist and musicologist, Bobby Sanabria. Together in 2000, they produced the album “Afro-Cuban Dream: Live & In Clave!!!” which was nominated for a Grammy award and received critical acclaim for its progressive approach to the art of the big band. Martin is also active on the world beat scene, working with South African bassist Bakithi Kumalo. 

More recently, Martino has been exploring the fusion of country western and jazz music in the new album, “Cryin’ In My Whiskey.” Released by Night Is Alive, this album also features the vocals of Janis Siegel and the bass of Lonnie Plaxico. “Cryin’ in My Whiskey” is just what we need to be listeninng to right now in order to celebrate this (hopefully) post-covid era. The songs on this album tell the stories of country classics with a jazz twist. You won’t want to miss it! 

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available at https://nightisalive.com/portfolio/cryin-in-my-whiskey/ and all major online music platforms. 

What music inspires the versatile John Di Martino you may wonder? Well, look no further, we have the answers you’re looking for below:

  • Besides jazz, what genres of music do you like to listen to? 
    • I love to listen to classical music, world music—I really love all music!
  • Who are some other musicians that inspire you? 
    • I am inspired by Herbie Hancock, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gil Evans, John Coltrane, Bela Bartok & many others!
  • What is your favorite tune from Cryin’ In My Whiskey
    • I love all the tracks, but I will say: “Break It To Me Gently.”

John Di Martino Post #1

The weekend is finally here! Thank goodness! Now it’s time to have some fun and get to know this creative jazz pianist, John Di Martino. 

Martino was born and raised in Philadelphia, and as a teenager he spent most of his time at local jazz clubs, where he still returns to work on occasion. Martino eventually moved to New York City, where he is now based, and began his career.

Described as a “shape-shifter,” Martino is known for occupying many different realms as a composer, arranger, jazz pianist and producer. As a jazz pianist, he’s performed and recorded with famous musicians like Eddie Gomez, Kenny Burrell and James Moody. As a musical director, he has accompanied Dianne Schuur and Jon Hendricks. 

We’re lucky enough to feature this world-class pianist, who has performed in China and Carnegie Hall, on our newest album, “Cryin’ In My Whiskey.” Also featuring the vocals of Janis Siegel, this album is a blend of country western and jazz music that is full of classics you’re sure to recognize, like “Always On My Mind” and “I Fall To Pieces.” 

I know it’s Friday and we don’t want to think about next week yet, but the tunes from “Cryin’ In My Whiskey” will make your commute to work on Monday feel like a luxurious cruise.    

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available at https://nightisalive.com/portfolio/cryin-in-my-whiskey/

and all major online music platforms. 

#JohnDiMartino #CryinInMyWhiskey #jazz #feature #musician #pianist #composer #arranger #NightisAlive #countrywestern #album #crossgenre

We got to sit down and pick Martino’s brain. Check out his answers below!

  • What are you most looking forward to in the coming months? 
    • I look forward to the return of live gigs and touring, but much more recording in the meantime!
  • Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for young musicians? 
    • Find your unique ‘God-Given’ voice and trust in it! The practice of imitation is only a tool for learning!
  • What is your favorite tune from Cryin’ In My Whiskey
    • I love all the tracks, but I will say: “Break It To Me Gently”

Friday Feature Janis Siegel #2

What are your plans this weekend? Hopefully it includes getting to know the remarkably talented Janis Siegel! 

You would probably recognize Siegel’s silky voice from the swinging hits of The Manhattan Transfer, like “Boy From New York City” and “Operator,” but did you know that she also has a widely successful solo career and a reputation as a vocal arranger?

Siegel wrote five of the charts for The Manhattan Transfer’s acclaimed masterwork, “Vocalese” and seven charts for the group’s Grammy-winning album “Brasil.” And in 1980, Siegel won a Grammy for her arrangement of “Birdland”! All of this creative work led to Siegel receiving an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music in 1993 and induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. 

But Siegel didn’t stop there! She also branched out on her own to release multiple solo albums, including “An Experiment in White” and “At Home,” which earned her a Grammy nomination in 1987 for the Best Female Jazz Vocal. And over the years, Siegel has been adventurous in her collaborations with a diverse array of musicians, such as jazz pianist Fred Hersch, Turkish modern classical composer Ilhan Mimaroglu and Indonesian guitarist Dewa Budjana. 

Now, Night is Alive is proud to release Janis Siegel’s latest genre-bending collaboration with pianist John di Martino, bassist Lonnie Plaxico and saxophonist Harry Allen. “Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is an album that fuses country western and jazz music to create a delightful twist on many classics, like “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” Whether you turn on this album during a backyard barbeque, dinner party with friends or a relaxed evening alone on the front porch, these tunes will imbue your life with a soothing, yet energetic sweetness. 

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available at https://nightisalive.com/portfolio/cryin-in-my-whiskey/

and all major online music platforms. 

#JanisSiegel #CryinInMyWhiskey #jazz #feature #musician #vocalist #singer #NightisAlive #countrywestern #album #TheManhattanTransfer #crossgenre

We were lucky enough to sit down with this accomplished musician and ask her a few questions about her career. If you’re an aspiring musician, artist or performer, you’ll definitely want to read what Siegel has to say. 

  • Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for young musicians?
    • LISTEN. Learn the business aspect of music, work every day on something related to your craft and be persistent. 
  • What are you most looking forward to in the coming months?
    • Getting back to travel and a vibrant work schedule.
  • What is your favorite tune from “Cryin’ In My Whiskey”?
    • This week, it is “Where Do I Put His Memory.”

And what about you? What are you looking forward to doing most in the coming months? Comment below!

6 Tunes to Celebrate International Jazz Day

What better way to come together as a global community during a pandemic than to celebrate International Jazz Day on April 30th? Founded in 2011 by the United Nations, this day aims “to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.” And this year, with many of the events being streamed online, you can enjoy all the fun and learning that this special day has to offer from the comfort of your home. To gear up for the day, we’ve collected a variety of jazz classics and modern renditions that showcase the history and diversity of jazz.

Louis Armstrong – I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby

We’ve all heard of Louis Armstrong before—the widely influential jazz musician from New Orleans who’s most famous for “It’s A Wonderful World”—but have you ever listened to his first crossover hit from 1929? Featuring Armstrong on muted trumpet, as a vocalist and on open trumpet, this song really showcases the jazz legend’s multitude of talents. 

Miles Davis – “Walkin’”

At the first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954, Davis’s performance of “Walkin” announced a new subgenre of jazz—hard bob—to the world. Incorporating influences from rhythm and blues and gospel, hard pop has a rollicking, rhythmic feeling that offers an excellent backdrop for you to get ready for International Jazz Day. Turn on this song while you grab yourself a drink and queue up your virtual feast of jazz music from around the world.

Eliane Elias – So Nice (Samba de Verao)

Blending her Brazilian roots, her sensuous voice and her instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills, Elias creates a style that is uniquely hers. Her 2004 rendition of this bossa nova and jazz standard, originally composed by Marcos Valle, showcases her soft rhythms and silky, sultry vocals. This song will make you want to wiggle your hips ever so slightly to the beat.

Lwanda Gogwana – Ucing’ Uyandazi

Born in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, Gogwana is a trumpeter and composer who fuses traditional Xhosa music with jazz harmonies and contemporary musical elements. This song comes from his 2016 album, Uhadi Synth, which was inspired by the Uhadi musical bow, a traditional Xhosa instrument, and the electronic synthesizer.

Janis Siegal, John di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – Whenever You Come Around

Siegal, di Martino and Plaxico morph this country song into a funky, soulful version that evokes the style of Booker T. & the M.G.’s. Originally produced by A Vince Gill in 1994, “Whenever You Come Around” has direct message of love, which is something we could all use a bit more of in today’s day and age.

Lorca Hart Trio – Here’s That Rainy Day

Released in 2020 by The Lorca Hart Trio featuring Ralph Moore, this new rendition of the jazz standard creates a smooth, relaxed feeling that’ll help you wind down after the day’s excitement.

If those last two songs—Whenever You Come Around and Here’s That Rainy Day—caught your fancy, then check out the other songs on those albums! Cryin’ in My Whiskey and Colors of Jazz are both are available right now in our store.

Friday Feature with Drummer Tim Horner

Piano would be my next choice and I wish it had been my first, but I do absolutely love playing drums. After piano, I wish I played my violin (which I already play) better!

I honestly can’t say I have that one inspiration but so many great classical and jazz composers for me are very inspirational, from Ravel and Bartok to Duke and Gil Evans. As far as Drummers go, pick one of the greats and they inspire me. Freddie Hubbard inspires me, Pharoh Sanders inspires me, Bill Cunliffe and Martin Wind inspire me. I love most music and the musicians that play it well.

I’m not sure I have a great answer for this one as I’m on the 14th Floor in a 2 bedroom apartment with no terrace. It’s been quite tough, but I guess I’ve been trying to reflect on my life, my past, my future, what am I going to do if our industry doesn’t return, how to make a living. I’ve written a little bit of music and have been practicing some everyday but I’ll be honest, some of that has been tough. It’s easy to sit and play but much of the pure enjoyment of music for me has always been the free association with other musicians, ensemble playing, I really love and miss that!!!

Right now, wow anywhere!!!! Right when the lockdown hit, I was supposed to be going to Pakistan and Lebanon for the State Dept playing concerts and teaching. It’s safe to say I was really looking forward to that.

I wouldn’t mind having a small dog right now, but one that’s been trained, no training for me. I’ve had cats all my life, I’m allergic to them although I love them. If I had a bigger place with a backyard an Elephant or Water Buffalo would be nice lol.

Tim Horner,  and The Bill Cunliffe Trio can be heard on Night is Alive’s holiday album “Christmas in the Dog House”, available att https://nightisalive.com/shop/ and all major online music platforms.

5 Quarantine Questions with Jeff Rupert

Everything from Frank Sinatra to Harold Mabern.

Well, my hobby is yachting, but that’s on hold for a bit. I’ve just been practicing, writing new music for an upcoming album, and reading a lot.

I just smoked ribs for the family today. I enjoy cooking quite a bit. I like cooking a rib roast, and my boys love grilled lamb, and a creamed spinach dish. I recently started making filet au poivre that the family likes.

The chance to be a credit to society.

Billy Strayhorn, or my Dad.

Jeff Rupert has a new album, The Ripple, with fellow saxophone legend, George Garzone, available now!

Are You A True Jazz Lover? (QUIZ)

HEY JAZZ LOVER, HERE'S SOME JAZZ YOU MIGHT LOVE!

LOVERS AND LOVE SONGS

  1. I’ve Never Been In Love Before – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
  2. First Time I Saw Your Face – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
  3. I’m An Old Cow Hand – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
  4. Gee Baby Aint I Good To You- 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
  5. From This Moment On – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
  6. Here’s That Rainy Day – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
  7. Cry Me A River – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
  8. Jitterbug Waltz – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30

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Lovers and Love Songs is a distinguished collaboration written and performed by several of the jazz industry’s top musicians. This collection of heartwarming melodies is the soundtrack to a modern-age love story that swept the web prior to the album’s release. Though you may have forgotten about these iconic tunes before now, they have been brought back to life in a new and inspiring way by Willie Jones III and his All-Stars. Join these world-class artists on a romantic journey through the ages and discover your own personal love story, the music a backdrop to your imagination.
 
After selling out two concerts in Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers, FL, Ms. Salem suggested bandleader Willie Jones III and his All-Stars take their performances to the next level and create a studio recording. The group, made of big-name bandleaders in their own right, so thoroughly enjoyed playing together that they agreed, thus leading to the birth of Lovers and Love Songs.

Along with Willie Jones III (drums), the album features Terell Stafford (trumpet), Ralph Moore (tenor saxophone), Donald Vega (piano), Steve Davis (trombone), and Gerald Cannon (bass).

5 Music Software Must-Haves

The art of recording has developed alongside advancements in technology.  In fact, tech mixes so well with the art of recording that it is now the only way to make music.  To have an album released nowadays and not be from the digital realm is an oddity.  Thirty years ago, it took rooms of mixing boards, amps, booths, tape recording equipment, and trained professionals who knew how all that equipment worked and all the little tricks to get the sound right.  That is no longer the case.

Successful artists still use much of the “old ways” to make their albums sound perfect, but the advancement of home recording software has leveled the playing field for those who want a richly produced sound without the expense and expertise.

If you are looking for a music software system to create your own home recordings, here is a list to help you find what works and is the best fit.  This list was created after researching what systems are available in today’s market, how long the system has been a force in the industry, and what level of tech is required to get the job done.

 

5 Music Software Must-Haves

 

  1. GarageBand ( Apple)

The best thing about GarageBand is that it is free and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Simply purchase an iPad, download GarageBand, and you are ready to go.  Apple packs a ton of additions to the stock program, and beats, instruments, and live recording are also part of the package.  It will not get you the same studio quality as some other systems on this list, but for very little money and hassle it will make your music sound great.

  1.   Ableton Live  (Windows, Apple)

Ableton Live has been making a name for itself for years.  Released in 2001, it was one of the only software programs that could change the tempo of the music without affecting pitch.  The ability to have a music software system that can record and mix live performances placed Ableton Live in a league of their own.  The mixing capabilities are still some of the best-designed software on the market today.   

 

  1.   Image-Line FL Studio (Windows)

This software system gained popularity for its ability to create amazing loops.  First known as FruityLoops, FL Studio is used widely in hip-hop and electronic dance music (EDM). FL Studio is also a favorite with producers for its ease of use and editing capabilities.

  1. Logic Pro (Apple)

Logic Pro has been on the scene from the beginning.  Logic Pro is a full-feature music production system that can create professional-grade music.  Apple purchased Logic Pro in 2002. The extra add-ons and features that Logic contains make it easy to control while maintaining a conservative user interface.

  1.   Avid Pro Tools (Windows, Apple)

Pro Tools is the top music production software system used today in the music industry.  Avid, the creator of Pro Tools, is the movie industry standard for video production, so it was only natural for them to own the audio market too.  Pro Tools has a few different levels available depending on where you are starting.  (maybe include a sentence or two about the different levels that are available, i.e. Pro Tools First, Pro Tools, Pro Tools Ultimate.) They also make proprietary hardware for their professional level software system.

 

While there are many programs to choose from, this list represents the systems that have displayed longevity, a strong fan base, and the ability to consistently get the job done.  Pro Tools as our number one pick offers a level of depth and focus that has made it a mainstay in the music industry, but any of these Top 5 Music Software Systems will deliver.  

 

Post Written by Michael Brigger

Chet Baker: “My Funny Valentine”

From now until Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing some of our picks to get you in the mood.  Last time, we told you about “Our Love Is Easy” by Melody Gardot. Now, we’re giving you a jazz standard.

 

Chet Baker

“My Funny Valentine”

 

My funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine

You make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable

Unphotographable

Yet you’re my favorite work of art

 

Of course, this made the list.  C’mon, you can’t have Valentine’s Day without it!  The funny thing about it is that “My Funny Valentine” started as a show tune written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart back in 1937, and it was introduced by child star, Mitzi Green.  It’s since become a popular jazz standard and has been performed by more than 600 artists. Baker was able to turn the tune into a jazz classic when he recorded an instrumental version with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet in 1952, and then a haunting vocal version in 1956.  He then would go on to revisit the song a number of times throughout his career.

Chesney Henry Baker Jr., or Chet Baker, was known for the melancholic, fragile tone of his trumpet playing and singing.  He began playing the trumpet at 10 and later went on to play in Army bands while he was a soldier.  During the 50s, he played with Charlie Parker and joined Gerry Mulligan’s quartet in 1952.

In 1954, Baker beat out Miles Davis and many others to win the Downbeat Jazz Poll. Over the next few years, Baker was a frontman for his own combo He played trumpet and sang.  Baker’s good looks, vibratoless, soft tenor voice and cool vibe pretty much put him on the fast track.  But his personal struggles would end up taking a toll on his career.

Despite the troubles, it’s been said that the period between 1977 and 1988 were Baker’s most prolific musical years.  He’s pretty much an icon for the “cool school” style of jazz.

What’s your favorite song for Valentine’s Day?  Let us know in the comments.