With the fourth anniversary of the passing of Michael Jackson upon us, it’s a good time to pause, reflect and celebrate his life and his music. Celebrating Jackson’s music is something a number of contemporary artists, jazz musicians included, have done more constantly in recent years. I’m thinking of Joey DeFrancesco, Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, and the list goes on. Not only is it a popular thing to do, it’s a fine way to pay tribute to one of the most important entertainers of all time. Speaking of fitting tributes to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, BWB’s Human Nature — featuring trumpeter Rick Braun, tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and guitarist Norman Brown — was released by Heads Up/Concord Music Group on June 18. Continue Reading →
Welcome to 2013. “When you’re moving in the positive, your destination is the brightest star,” Stevie Wonder sings, and so there it is, the goal for 2013. Looking ahead, here are some news items to help usher in your 2013 in a terrific and positive way. Plus, my top albums of 2012.
It’s Miller Time — sort of
“Miller Time” premiered Sunday, January 6, on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Continue Reading →
MSR speaks with United’s new president, Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes
By Robin James
The United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is currently celebrating 50 years of service. Since July of 2012, Reverend Dr. Barbara A. Holmes has been the first African American woman at its helm. Her artist’s sensibility, imaginative approach to ministry, and creative problem solving are already being viewed as both inspiring and what’s needed to move the institution forward. Well known as an outstanding leader in theological education and an inspiring lecturer and teacher, Dr. Holmes hails from Memphis Theological Seminary, where she was professor of ethics and African American religious studies and served for five years as vice president/dean of academic affairs. Raised in the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church in New Haven, Connecticut, Dr. Holmes is an ordained minister recognized in the Disciples of Christ and also a member of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. Continue Reading →
When I think about the reasons I first fell in love with jazz, I think of tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Among some of my most prized recordings, signed copies of his albums Unconditional (Warner Bros., 2001) and For You (Warner Bros., 1998) are included. We met in Chicago. Whalum was kind enough to grant me an interview after one of his concerts. His sound has always come across to me as extremely soulful and honest. Continue Reading →