A toy sax and rugby launched Carpio Brothers

 THE FOXGLOVE, HONG KONG — One brother started playing a toy sax at the age of one and a half. Seriously. The other nearly gave up piano after two rugby-related shoulder surgeries. Today, the Carpio Brothers are rocking Hong Kong with some of the best, most creative jazz in the world. [WATCH THE VIDEO HERE]…

Herb Scott started with a pencil sax

MR. HENRY’S. — If you’re willing to start learning the saxophone on a pencil, you’re one driven musical son of a bitch! But that’s exactly how Herb Scott, one of Washington D.C.’s favorite saxophone players and the founder of the weekly Capitol Hill Jazz Jam at Mr. Henry’s, got started.  Over his career, Herb has performed…

Ian Trewhella’s first solo was an ambush

OSLO, NORWAY — Ian Trewhella learned how to play a saxophone solo the hard way: He was ambushed.  Ian was 14 years old and playing second tenor saxophone in a big band. His teacher, Sid Warren, was playing first saxophone. “It was very sneaky what Sid did, to be honest,” Ian told me. “He told…

My 30 favorite jazz photos – a video tour

I have been filming, photographing, and interviewing jazz musicians since 2016. Over that time, I have been privileged to meet: More than 50 musicians In 17 cities In 11 countries On five continents Here is a video presentation of just 30 photos out of more than 3,000 photos I’ve taken. These are my favorites. #jazz…

Cumbia music? You’ve got to try it!

THE JAZZ CAFE, LONDON — If you’ve never heard (or even heard of) cumbia music, do yourself a favor and watch the video with this post! La Yegros ratchets up traditional cumbia music several notches into wild, driving rhythms and sounds that stir the soul and the body. But before you watch the video of…

Playing riots, jam sessions to save a city

 THE TABOR, BALTIMORE — Every member of the Clarence Ward III Jam Sessions band said basically the same thing: The music saved their lives. “I would probably be in trouble honestly; I’d probably be running the streets if I didn’t have music at an early age,” said saxophonist Sam King, who was headed to college…

Why do what’s already been done?

Mathias Eick’s unusual style of jazz is both haunting and rocking, meditative and mesmerising. And his story about how he came to it is the essence of jazz: He rejected his father’s classical jazz style and struck out to create something new!

No congas at midnight? Something is wrong!

When Bobby Sanabria was growing up in the South Bronx in the Sixties,. if you didn’t hear conga drums in the parks and basketball courts at midnight…something was wrong. GRANT’S TOMB, NYC — Bobby Sanabria grew up with music in his blood. “I grew up in the South Bronx during a time period in the…

“I thought improv was impossible”

THE BLACK CAT, SAN FRANCISCO — What do you do when you’re only 11 years old, you think improvisation is impossible, and your teacher tells everyone in the class to stop playing until you do a solo. It was a make-or-break moment for young Irwin Hall, but it set him on the course to become…

Saving lives with his music

ANDY’S JAZZ CLUB, Chicago — Marques Carroll uses his trumpet to make music and to make change. Hundreds of young men in Chicago have found new lives through Marques and the music program he started in one of the toughest sections of the city. “What I’m seeing with the music is that it’s saving a…

If Sting married Roberta Flack & had an affair with Rickie Lee Jones …

THE 55 BAR, NYC — “I call my music ‘urban folk and jazz’. And when people ask ‘What’s that?’, I say if Sting married Roberta Flack and had an affair with Rickie Lee Jones, I’d write the music,” jazz singer extraordinaire KJ Denhert told me. “That’s the music that I write. “I first picked up a…

Outrageous, explosive, pounding piano

THE ZINC BAR, NYC — Eric Lewis opens by obscenely dissing jazz great Keith Jarrett. Then he reaches INSIDE the piano to bang, scrape, and pluck the strings. Lewis opens with a shocker: “The thing about Keith Jarrett is that, like a lot of those other guys, they do a lot of creative stuff, but…