The Bay Area used to be a second home for Scott Hamilton. In the mid-’70s, the brawny-toned tenor saxophonist signed to Concord Records and helped revitalize acoustic jazz at a time when young lions like Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard were still unknown cubs.
Articles by Andrew Gilbert
I know all of the complaints about Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Hell, I’ve made many of them myself. The organization is too conservative. It doesn’t reflect the dizzying stylistic diversity of the New York scene. It largely ignores the masters associated with the free jazz movement of the 1960s and later improvisers inspired by the avant garde legacy. There’s some truth in all of these charges, but every time I see Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform I offer silent thanks for the trumpeter and his extraordinary ensemble.
The Acoustic Africa tour started as a vehicle for introducing some of the continent’s most exciting artists to Western audiences. But it’s evolved into a showcase for Africa’s biggest stars.
Kim Nalley is one of jazz’s great spelunkers, a dedicated explorer who delves into forgotten musical crevices to emerge with long-neglected songs and stories. A major force on the Bay Area scene since the mid-1990s, she’s fruitfully investigated the lives and legacies of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone (the subjects of her acclaimed albums Ballads For Billie and She Put A Spell On Me).
Vienna Teng hasn’t lost faith in the power of music to change the world, but she’s not putting all her eggs in one basket.
The Saratoga-raised singer/songwriter has earned a passionate following over the past decade with a series of albums distinguished by her luminous voice, poetically evocative lyrics and incisive melodies. While her songs tend toward introspection and character study more than advocacy, she has sought to align her politics with her art, whether partnering with Habitat for Humanity on her 2007 Green Caravan tour or offering ecologically friendly merchandise.
Ken Emerson remembers a time when Hawaiian music was largely unknown in Santa Cruz. These days, of course, it’s easy to mistake Surf City for the 50th state’s easternmost outpost, but in the mid-1970s the ukulele was a novelty for lucky Santa Cruz tots rather than a highly expressive instrument embraced by hundreds of musicians around the county.
From prisoner and exile to pioneering pop star and government minister, Gilberto Gil’s musical career has taken him on an extraordinary ride. Since the mid-1960s, when he helped launch the psychedelic Tropicalia art movement, Gil has been at the center of Brazil’s teeming music scene as a composer, bandleader and iconic performer. Often referred to as South America’s John Lennon, Gil defies comparisons to artists in the Anglosphere.