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Kirk Silsbee

MONK'estra bandleader John Beasley; Credit: DL Media

John Beasley's MONK'estra Reinvents Thelonious Monk for the 21st Century

Jazz pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader John Beasley began his career in the early 1980s, around the time jazz’s Young Men in Suits proclaimed that bebop was the one true way of life. They spoke solemnly about “keeping the flame,” “honoring the tradition” and other such homilies. Record companies, clubs and......
Josh Nelson; Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ellis

Josh Nelson Turns Jazz Concerts Into Multimedia Performance Art

Booking jazz pianists and their ensembles is no novelty for Bluewhale proprietor Joon Lee. L.A.’s most consistent and prolific showcase for new and cutting-edge jazz is the favored venue for many young, forward-looking keyboardists. But when pianist and composer Josh Nelson brings one of his infrequent multimedia extravaganzas into the......
Jacob Szekely; Credit: Photo by Michael Roud

Jacob Szekely Uses His Cello to Push the Boundaries of Jazz

While cellist Jacob Szekely embraces his instrument as the lead voice in non-traditional settings, he’s consciously avoided the gimmickry often associated with such efforts. He doesn’t do anything as predictable as spit out transcriptions of Hendrix and Coltrane solos. Instead, he’s internalized their improvisational strategies and flourishes, developing a vernacular unique......