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Kris Bowers: - I don't really know who Kris Bowers is


Kris Bowers

 An article with Kris Bowers


   I don’t really know who Kris Bowers is. I am someone who is trying to be a musician.

   My parents got me started in music. They aren’t musicians, but they put me in lessons when I was 4 or 5. They let me try other things as well besides music.


 

Kris Bowers ''Wake the Neighbors'' live 2014

 

   I like keyboards for the simple fact that they are unique. They call a piano its own orchestra. With keyboards you have the range. You can play chords, melody, rhythm, all at once.

   Music is everything. It’s how we connect, both to each other and to our own emotions. Music reminds you of certain times and gives you a feeling instantly.


Kris Bowers

 

   Currently I’m touring with Julia Easterlin. We are doing concerts as a duo, and I’m excited about it. It’s just the two of us, and we experiment a lot on stage, with loops among other things, creating tracks on the spot.

   During the rest of the year I will be travelling and working on a couple of projects. I am starting my next album, and I’m making the music for a documentary about Kobe Bryant. A friend of mine is part of the production team, so that is how I got involved in this. And I love making music for television and film, so I enjoy doing this project.

 

Kris Bowers' record ''Heroes + Misfits'' (2014)

 


Kris Bowers was born in Los Angeles in 1989. He studied classical piano and jazz before he relocated to New York. He has earned undergraduate- and Master's degrees in jazz performance at Juilliard. He won first prize in the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, and appeared on Kanye West and Jay-Z's album ''Watch the Throne''. In 2014 he released his debut album ''Heroes + Misfits'' on Concord. Find out more HERE.

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Oz Noy: - What bores me in music is copying



Oz Noy

 

 

I’m excited about the same things with music now as I was thirty years ago. I’m even a bit more excited by them now. If I wasn’t I would probably drop dead. Music is like air really. A lot of us would be dead without it. Our soul will die! It sounds a bit dramatic but it’s true. What bores me in music is copying. You have to copy when you study, but when artists copy that bores me.

 

 

 

Oz Noy ''Cissy Strut'' with Anton Fig, Will Lee, John Medeski and Ralph MacDonald

 


New York has changed a lot since I first came here. The music business crashed, and the same thing happened in New York too. It hit the city hard. New York is still the jazz center of the world, but the scene has changed. A lot of clubs have closed. And now it’s a pretty set reality. There is still good music, but a lot less of it in a lot less places. The only thing that got bigger is the Broadway shows. That’s great for Broadway but it’s not great for real music in my opinion cause Broadway is not music , its theater.


When I first came to New York I played jazz and rock. I was looking for a funk & Blues scene and I couldn’t find one. But the jazz scene just blew me away. New York is about jazz to my mind.

 

 

Oz Noy at The Iridium with Will Lee and Dave Weckl

 


I have made six records and I usually think of the next one already when I finish an album. I have music for another album usually while I’m done recording a record. I get a concept and start to look for ideas, then I play it live, and after a year or two I record. Right now though I don’t have a plan, after my 6th album. I have some ideas tho but not sure what I’ll do next.


As for my plans for the rest of the year I have a tour in Asia just now, having finished a tour of the US. After that I am going to make another instructional video.

 

 


Oz Noy

 


People ask about my pedal work. The most important thing to understand is it evolved through me writing my own music. I only use certain pedals. In a trio setting I need to fill out a lot of space. The pedal work came through me playing on a song, and it is about musical ideas. I’m not the kind of guy who plays with pedals at home, it is part of the music.

- Oz Noy

 

 

The latest release, ''Twisted Blues Vol 2'' (2014)

 

 


Oz Noy is a guitarist and composer, who started his career as a professional musician at the age of 13. A decade later he was one of the most successful musicians in his native Isreal. Noy relocated to New York in 1996. He has since released six albums and worked with Richard Bona, Chris Botti, Gavin DeGraw, Harry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper, Clay Aiken, Akiko Yano, Wonder Girls, Toni Braxton, Phoebe Snow, Nile Rogers, Mike Clark, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Dave Weckl, Mike Manieri, John Patitucci, The East Village Opera Company, Roger Glover, Bill Evans, The Gil Evan Orchestra, Warren Hayes, The Allman Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Eric Johnson, Mike Stern, John Abercrombie, Steve Lukather, John Medeski, Don Was, Nelly Furtado, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips, Andy Grammer, Angelique Kidjo, Matisyahu, Jennifer Hudson, Henry Butler, Gart Hudson, Don Henley, Patti Austin, Take 6, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Phil Ramone, Paul Shaffer, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Sting, Steve Perry, Allison Krauss Foreigner, Patty Smyth, Wiz Khalifa, Shelea, Jordin Sparks among others. Find out more HERE.

 



 

Plattan 2 THE PERFECT CLASSIC HEADPHONE

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Will Calhoun: - Music is no different than life


Will Calhoun

 An article with Will Calhoun


Music is life. It is the things you experience. Life, love, stress, magic moments, moments that go down the drain. It’s no different than life.  I hear music when I’m not playing. I feel life when I play.

Music and spirituality came together in my life. Perhaps I wasn’t aware of the music at first.

The drums chose me. My influence was my older brother. He played very well and went professional at 13-14 years of age. There was a lot of musical talent in my neighborhood too. We lived in a two family house and my mother designated the first floor as a rehearsal- and performance studio. I saw my brother play all kinds of music there. I didn’t want to be a drummer at the time. But then my brother started to lose interest while I started to gain interest. In the beginning I played in my mother’s home and in the gospel choir.

I went professional at 16. I went to see Billy Cobham at the Bottom Line. It was a great venue. I was excited to see Billy Cobham. My uncle took me. He was a large man. He looked like a security guard, and he cleared the way for me. Suddenly back stage I saw Miles Davis. He hadn’t been for 6 years at the time. I was startled. My uncle told me to say hello to Miles, but I couldn’t talk. Miles said ‘’The young man who doesn’t speak’’, or something along those lines, to me. After that I went home and quit my sports teams, took a job, changed my life. My thought was ‘’I have to get to work now’’. Horace Arnold became my teacher, and he introduce me to the heroes of mine.

Last year I celebrated 25 years with Living Colour. I love working in that sphere of sound and in an environment affected by politics. Right now we are finishing a new CD. It is currently being mixed, and we plan on releasing it in the fall. We start touring again September 18.

With my band Will Calhoun Trio I have made a new recording titled ‘’Life In This World’’. I do a lot of music and produce, but jazz is my first love. And I love playing trios. I have travelled in the search for other percussive sounds and signatures. I have been to Mali, Senegal, Morocco. I bring a little of it to my live experience.

We have also started on the new Stone Raiders-record. Jean-Paul and Darryl have started ahead of me on that one.

 

Will Calhoun and Living Colour celebrating 25 years (2013)

Will Calhoun Trio: Will Calhoun, Marc Cary and Charnett Moffett at Blue Note

 


 

Having celebrated twenty-five years with Living Colour, Grammy Award-winning drummer Will Calhoun has also collaborated with a long list of the most established artists in music, been elected Best Drummer by Rolling Stone Magazine’s Critics Poll, and recorded solo projects.

Find out more HERE

 

 

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T.K. Blue on his nourishing journey


T.K. Blue

Music is spiritual nourishment for the soul. It’s a sacred art that brings all people together, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, or ethnic background.

There were several factors that influenced my early attraction to the saxophone. I used to listen to James Brown as a teenager and I love Maceo Parker on alto sax. I used to pretend that I was playing those sax solos with the “Godfather of Soul”.  Tenor sax man Billy Mitchell, who played with Count Basie, lived down the street from where I grew up. Once he saw my interest in jazz and the saxophone, he gave me lessons very early in my career. He was my teacher at the Henry Street Settlement on the lower eastside in NYC. Conrad Buckner, a famous tap dancer, inspired me as well. He also lived down the street from where I grew up in Lakeview, Long island. He loved jazz and played many albums for me. In fact, he played a recording, which featured Ray Charles on alto sax with Milt Jackson on piano. I never knew Ray played alto sax. John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders were huge influences. There is a fantastic organization in Harlem called Jazzmobile. They have a Saturday jazz program for young musicians. I was quite fortunate to study with Jimmy Owens, Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins, Chris Woods, and Jimmy Heath.

New York means a lot to me. Many great musicians come to NYC to live and perform. It’s a cultural center and a magnet. It gives me motivation and keeps me humble, as there are so many excellent musicians who play on a very high level. It motivates me to practice, practice, and practice!!!!!

In my studies I doubled in psychology and that probably means something to my musicianship on an esoteric level. I have thought about combining the two, of healing people with music instead of chemical drugs. Music therapy is a very viable avenue that I hope to explore one day.

I lived in Paris for some years and it was a fantastic experience. It allowed me to play with people from many countries and experience many different musical styles. The lines demarcating different styles of music can be less rigid in Paris than New York. I find Europe a little easier to cross musical boundaries without being pigeonholed into one particular style.

I teach a lot, and what I look for in students are discipline and consistency. I look for seriousness, perseverance, and a strong work ethic. There are a lot of distractions in life and a student must be disciplined to keep their practice regiment intact.

When recording a new project, I try to keep things as natural as possible in the studio. Eye contact is essential as well as a relaxed atmosphere. It’s really all about love and communication. When musicians love and respect each other, great beauty is created!!!

 

T.K. Blue

 

The latest album A Warm Embrace (2014)

 

 


TK Blue is a saxophonist and flutist from New York. His many collaborations include work with Don Cherry, Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy Weston, Benny Powell, Jayne Cortez, Jimmy Scott and Randy Brecker. Blue has released nine solo albums and devoted himself extensively to teaching. He is currently full-time professor and director of jazz studies at Long Island University. Find out more HERE

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Guitar-legend Mike Stern talks about his love and joy

Mike Stern

An article with Mike Stern. Photo Sandrine Lee

 

   If I could have a conversation with Johann Sebastian Bach I would ask him how he wrote all of that amazing music. He had like twenty kids or something. I would ask his wife ''What the hell is he up to?''. He wrote so much music, got so much done, it's insane.

I want to mention my wife, Leni Stern. She is the love of my life. We don't play concerts together because we prefer to stay married but we play music together all the time. She's a wonderful musician, very inspiring. We have been together for thirty-three years and she is my best friend.

I have about twenty black t-shirts with long sleeves. So when I look in my closet I think to myself ''Hmm, what am I going to wear today?''...

I am happy when I'm playing music. I get energy from other musicians by listening and watching them play. It's a great feeling. Music is a great place to put my energy. It keeps my mind off some of the other stuff in life that might not be so much fun

Maybe I'm just showing my joy in the music on stage a little bit more than others. Most people I know have a great time playing music.


Mike Stern

Photo Sandrine Lee


    On a very serious side music is food for the soul. I don't know what the hell I would do without it. There are times when I don't want to hear anything. At other times I hear music in everything, in the wind, in the traffic, in people talking. And I hear music in how people talk in different places, in India, Japan and throughout the world.

Guitarists ask me different stuff. Questions about equipment. Picks and strings. I ask other musicians about that stuff too. They ask how I get certain lines. I tell them that I listen a lot. I transcribe a lot of horn-players for example and try to come up with my own version of their lines, that is, not copy the licks but get the phrasings on the guitar.

I don't know when I knew what my sound was. It was something I heard in my head. I started out singing when I was little. My mom was a piano player, and she realized that I wanted to get into music. My sound is a less percussive sound and more of a legato sound.

The best way to find your own voice to me is to just play. It's a natural flow-process. Staying with certain things is a good idea. Perhaps someone is not the best guitarist in the world but he can still be the perfect guitarist for a specific act. A lot of musicians have their own voices though people don't necessarily hear it. I change what I do by learning new music. Always try to learn new music, it's endless.

It's an honor to have fans. Some people are musicians and maybe understand it more that I play horn lines for example. Of course I like that people are listening to my music and enjoy what they hear but I also like that people are just listening even if they don't like what they hear.


/Mike Stern


Mike Stern with Miles Davis


Mike Stern solo guitar+



Mike Stern with Eric Johnson in 2013



Mike Stern's legendary career includes work with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius and a very long list of the top players in jazz+. Stern has put countless amazing musical partnerships on stage, released a large number of solo-albums and received six Grammy-nominations to date for his work. In 2014 he plans to release an album-collaboration with Eric Johnson. Find out more HERE.