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Marsalis at the MFA

Publication: Boston Globe
Author: Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein
Date: December 8, 2011

Grammy-winner Branford Marsalis was at the Museum of Fine Arts last night for the first of two performances of “A Language Beyond Language,’’ a program that includes a talk and concert with his piano-playing pal, Joey Calderazzo . The duo has a new album, “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy,’’ which features a cover shot in the MFA’s Art of the Americas Wing. Last night’s event was sold out. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 8th, 2011 — 10:09am

It's beginning to swing a lot like Christmas

Publication: Chicago Tribune
Author: Howard Reich
Date: December 6, 2011

It’s a Christmas miracle: Holiday music that’s actually worth hearing.

For reasons unknown, several major jazz artists have released seasonal recordings that don’t merely recycle music we’ve already been inundated with in the shopping mall. The best of these albums transcend cliché:

Harry Connick, Jr. Trio: “The Happy Elf” (Marsalis Music): Singer-pianist Connick penned the songs for the stage musical “The Happy Elf,” and here he reformats the score for a noble purpose: introducing young listeners to jazz. Connick narrates the tale in the opening track (which runs a little over 10 minutes), his jazz trio swinging in the background. After that, the album offers 12 tracks of unadulterated instrumental jazz, the music at once subtle and sophisticated enough for the connoisseur yet easily accessible to uninitiated ears. If young people are wooed by Connick’s opening recitation, perhaps they’ll let the record keep spinning. Here’s hoping. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 6th, 2011 — 03:59pm

Good Tidings to You: DownBeat’s Holiday Music Roundup

Publication: Downbeat
Date: December 5, 2011

Read the rest of Downbeat’s picks for holiday music here.

Harry Connick Jr. Trio: Music From The Happy Elf (Marsalis Music)
Music From The Happy Elf is a twofer. If you’ve got young children or grandchildren, The Happy Elf starts off with Connick reading his children’s story about Eubie, the happiest elf on the North Pole, with a sweet backing track by his trio. After that, you’ve got 13 Connick-penned tunes with some nice improvisation. With Neal Caine on bass and Arthur Latin on drums, the trio works out jazz instrumental versions of music written for the stage musical version of the book. And, for the first time, the music and the story are available in one neat holiday package. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 6th, 2011 — 12:22pm

Jazz notes: Sinatra at Count Basie, Billy Hart, Los Mas Valientes, Branford Marsalis

Publication: Star-Ledger
Author: Tim Wilkins
Date: December 6, 2011

Marsalis at Kean
Branford Marsalis’ concert on Friday at Enlow Recital Hall of Kean University is the best of both worlds: It presents the tenor saxophonist in the comfortable company of his longtime quartet, with Eric Revis on bass, Justin Faulkner on drums and Joey Calderazzo on piano, but Marsalis and Calderazzo will also perform as a duo (as they appear on their 2011 CD, “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy”). Marsalis is a musical modernist who values lyrical content in jazz, as well as classical music: The CD contains homages to Brahms and Prokofiev. Read more »

NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2011: Complete List

Publication: NPR.org
Date: December 5, 2011

The title of the article says it all- Miguel Zenón’s Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook is listed as one of NPR’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2011. Check out the full list here.

Submitted by Courtney on December 6th, 2011 — 09:16am

'The Happy Elf’ song now a children’s book Read more: The Herald-Sun

Publication: Durham Herald-Sun
Author: Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan
Date: December 3, 2011

“Eubie, Eubie, Eubie.” So says Santa Claus to his elf that breaks North Pole rules – but all for the good of children at Christmas.

Musician, singer, composer and actor Harry Connick Jr. can add picture book author to his list of talents with the new children’s book “The Happy Elf” (Harper Collins, $17.99).

It’s a fun Christmas story about Eubie’s love for Christmas, so much so that he must find a way for children on the naughty list in Bluesville to move over to the nice list. It turns out unburnable coal looming over the town brings the blues to Bluesville, but Eubie has an idea of how to shine and spruce it up. He used his elf hat to transport himself, which is against North Pole rules, but all in the name of kindness.

It’s a sweet story aimed at children ages 4 to 8, but this reviewer’s 3-year-old loved it, too, every bit of the story as well as the illustrations by Dan Andreasen. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 5th, 2011 — 04:18pm

Harry Connick, Jr. on The Today Show

Harry Connick, Jr. spoke about his children’s book, The Happy Elf, his newest Trio recording, Music From The Happy Elf, and his current Broadway project, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever on December 5’s The Today Show. Check him out here!

Submitted by Courtney on December 5th, 2011 — 11:46am

Zenón, Adasiewicz, Lage top best jazz list

Publication: Chicago Tribune
Author: Howard Reich
Date: December 3, 2011

The jazz year produced recordings of tremendous vitality, creativity and intellectual heft.

Miguel Zenón, “Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook” (Marsalis Music): Alto saxophonist Zenón has been exploring music of his Puerto Rican heritage for years, but with “Alma Adentro” he arrives at a remarkable musical nexus: the place where jazz improvisation, Puerto Rican popular song and quasi-classical orchestration converge.
Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 5th, 2011 — 10:45am

The holiday music preview

Publication: Toronto Sun
Author: Darryl Sterdan
Date: November 26, 2011
Harry Connick Jr.
Music From The Happy Elf

It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Connick’s Elf has grown from a tune to a TV special to a kids’ book — which comes with this swingin’ instrumental CD of bumptious NOLA jazz and post-bop.

DOWNLOAD: What a Night

2.5 out of 3

For Darryl’s other picks, please visit the original article here.

Submitted by Courtney on December 2nd, 2011 — 12:16pm

Bon Iver leads area's Grammy pack

Publication: News & Observer
Author: David Menconi
Date: December 1, 2011

David Menconi provides a roundup of North Carolina Triangle area related Grammy nominations.

As for other nominations of North Carolina interest:
Marsalis Music, the label of Durham jazzman Branford Marsalis, scored in the category of best large jazz ensemble album for “Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook.”

Read the entire article here.

Submitted by Courtney on December 2nd, 2011 — 10:37am