18 episodes

Strictly Jazz Sounds (SJS) features the finest legacy and contemporary jazz musicians and beyond. Every episode will feature an in-depth interview with current jazz musicians and their music, or jazz music producers, music critics and writers and jazz music venue owners/operators. SJS is about all things jazz. Host Steve Braunginn was on the air 20+ years for WORT89.9-FM.

Strictly Jazz Sounds-SJS Steve Braunginn

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    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Strictly Jazz Sounds (SJS) features the finest legacy and contemporary jazz musicians and beyond. Every episode will feature an in-depth interview with current jazz musicians and their music, or jazz music producers, music critics and writers and jazz music venue owners/operators. SJS is about all things jazz. Host Steve Braunginn was on the air 20+ years for WORT89.9-FM.

    Episode 17-Yasushi Nakamura: The Shy Bassist with the Groove

    Episode 17-Yasushi Nakamura: The Shy Bassist with the Groove

    Yasushi Nakamura loves his music. And he truly loves laying down the groove lines behind a hot band like he does for almost a dozen bands. However, being one of today’s first-call bassists means frequent and long show tours that can take him away from his family of two-children and spouse for weeks, even months at a time. It has resulted in an impressive list and number of recordings made on both electric and acoustic or double bass.
    Pianist and longtime friend, Emmet Cohen, says that Yasushi “…is known in the music community for playing in over a dozen bands and is hardly ever seen reading music.” The reason, says Yasushi, is he has a photographic memory for the music. He takes one look at it and the rest he recalls. This allows him to internalize the music, a practice he highly recommends to young bassists today.
    Yasushi is a pretty shy guy on and off the bandstand. Watch a video of him and you’ll notice he kicks it like the good bassist he is but rarely engages in any dialogue. He says he likes to lay back, be the guy behind the sound. You wouldn’t know it, though, when it’s time for him to step out. Sometimes a big grin will shine, but Yasushi is mostly focused on delivering a ballad or driving his bass through the high pace sounds left behind by the pianist or the horns.
    His discography is already enormous. Yasushi has performed in and out of the studio with many noted jazz musicians including Cecile McLorin Salvant, Emmet Cohen, Christian Sands, Amina Figarova, Shamie Royston, Jon Irabagon, Rudy Royston, Vincent Herring, and Ulysses Owners Jr. I saw Yasushi at the 2023 Monterey Jazz Festival touring concert at Denison University near Columbus, Ohio. In that show he was part of an all-star billing with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Lakecia Benjamin, and good friends and long-time collaborators, Christian Sands and Clarence Penn.
    Yasushi Nakamura is sharing two compositions with the podcast so thanks to him for that. They are:“Yasugaloo”-A Lifetime Treasure, Yasushi Nakamura-bass, Lawrence Fields-piano, Clarence Penn-drums; 9/29/2016 (Atelier Sawano)-7:03“Awesome Beef”-Hometown, Yasushi Nakamura-bass, Lawrence Fields-piano, Clarence Penn-drums, Bigyuki-Synths; 11/10/2017 (Atelier Sawano)-3:56
    This episode is being released during Jazz Appreciation Month. What better person and humbler guy than Yasushi Nakamura to kick off this year’s celebration of jazz. 
    And thank you for listening to Strictly Jazz Sounds. Spread the word about this podcast and share it with others when you can. Finally, support live jazz wherever you are.
    Photo by Stephen Braunginn

    • 54 min
    Episode 16-Terri Lyne Carrington: Changing the Faces of Jazz

    Episode 16-Terri Lyne Carrington: Changing the Faces of Jazz

    Question: What would jazz music sound like if it had been born in a country without patriarchy; taught without bias and performed on a stage with radical inclusivity? That’s what jazz titan Terri Lyne Carrington says is the foundation behind Berklee College of Music’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. Terri Lyne is the founder and artistic director of the Institute and a professor at Berklee, her alma mater.
    In this episode of Strictly Jazz Sounds, I spend time with Terri Lyne Carrington, getting deep into this question along with how to lift women and nonbinary individuals in this historically male dominated industry, creating a new bandscape that reveals the multitude of different voices in jazz.
    Terri Lyne is a drum major for women and nonbinary individuals in the jazz ecosystem. She’s also a highly successful drummer/percussionist, a bandleader, composer and producer, an artistic director of a couple of organizations, a writer with two books, and an educator.
    On Terri Lyne’s website, she displays many photos of the extraordinary talent that she met through her musician father’s friends. You see her standing between drummers Roy Haynes and Tony Williams; Art Blakey is sitting on the floor next to Terri Lyne while she plays the drums; another has Buddy Rich next to her while she’s on the drums. Not your typical teenager’s hangout of friends nor upbringing experiences.
    She readily acknowledges her home environment was one of privilege and enriching for a young prodigy. Terri Lyne dedicates her life to reaching back to today’s young women and nonbinary individuals bent on changing the faces of jazz, on and behind the bandstand.
    We most certainly spend time on her 2023 Grammy winning album New Standards Vol. 1 on the CANDID label and the related book “New Standards Vol. 1: 101 Lead Sheets by Women Composers,” published by Berklee Press.
    Two tracks of music from the album are included in this episode. The personnel for the album: Terri Lyne Carrington-drums/percussion; Kris Davis-piano; Linda May Han Oh-bass; Nicholas Payton-trumpet; and Matthew Stevens, guitar. 
    Uplifted Hearts by Shamie Royston; featuring Ravi Coltrane-tenor sax; Val Jeanty-electronics; Elena Pinderhuges-flute; Negah Santos-percussion; and Shadrack Oppong-spoken word.
    Throw It Away by Abbey Lincoln; featuring: Somi-vocal; Melanie Charles-vocal; and Negah Santos-percussion.
    Terri Lyne Carrington’s portfolio is extensive, bold, and rich. If you are unfamiliar with it, I encourage you to check it out and listen to her music in her discography.
    The next episode of Strictly Jazz Sounds will be in early 2024. I’m taking some medical time off until then. This is the first year of this podcast. Thanks so much to all my guests and to you for making this a great year for me. If you have not subscribed, do so. You’ll be one of the first to know when a new episode is released. Support live jazz wherever you are. Be safe. Steve Braunginn
    Thanks to CANDID Records for the music. Photo of Terri Lyne Carrington by Michael Goldman

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Episode 15-Brandee Younger: Jazz Harp Meets Hip-Hop

    Episode 15-Brandee Younger: Jazz Harp Meets Hip-Hop

    In jazz, two legendary harp musicians come to mind. Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. Now, there is a third musician whose image immediately erupts into focus. For harp artist, educator, and Grammy nominated musician Brandee Younger, both Ashby and Coltrane made a tremendous impact on her. And with her latest recording, Brand New Life, on Impulse Records, Brandee Younger embraces Ashby and her impact on the harp.
    I caught up with Grammy nominated harpist Brandee Younger at the Spoleto Jazz Festival in Charleston, North Carolina.
    This was a major opportunity for me to learn how the harp, this extraordinarily large instrument, can be used in improvisational jazz. I am unfamiliar with how to play the harp so talking with Brandee Younger was a good time to learn how she does it. And learning about her major influence, Dorothy Ashby was an extra for me.
    Brandee’s latest recording, Brand New Life, finds her embracing Ashby’s compositions and styles as she crosses genres on this album. Chicago producer, drummer and bandleader Mikaya McCraven produced this album, infusing hip-hop and R&B influences in this recording. Some of the artists include Mumu Fresh (Maimouna Yousef), rapper, bassist and singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and Blue Note recording artist and vibraphonist and bandleader Joel Ross.
    She was nominated for a Grammy in 2022 for Best Instrumental Composition for “Beautiful is Black” from her 2021 Recording Somewhere Different becoming the first black woman to do so. That same year she was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award and named winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll in the category of "Rising Star" Miscellaneous Instrument. In 2023 Brandee Younger won in Jazz Journalists Association annual recognition awards in the category Rare Instrument.
    Brandee's discography includes Somewhere Different (Impulse, 2021)-composition Grammy nominated; Force Majeure (International Anthem Recording Co.) 2021; Soul Awakening (Self-Released) 2019; Wax & Wane (Disk Union) 2016; Prelude (Self-released) 2011.
    Brandee Younger is currently on the teaching artist faculty at New York University and The New School College of Performing Arts. She also serves as Symphonic and Jazz Harp Artist in Residence at the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts.
    The photo of Brandee Younger is by Erin O'Brien.

    • 46 min
    Episode 14-Roxy Coss: Students Are the Music

    Episode 14-Roxy Coss: Students Are the Music

    For tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader, educator and artist Roxy Coss, jazz education is everything. When we talked in July, she and her husband, saxophonist, educator and composer, Lucas Pino, just returned from their week-long session as co-directors of the Brubeck Jazz Summit, (yes, that Brubeck-Dave Brubeck) a week-long intensive emersion of jazz education and performance for talented students worldwide. To participate, young people must have exceptional capacity. To teach, your credentials must be superior. 
    In this episode, Roxy Coss shares her deep thoughts and intense feelings about two of her major passions: jazz education and creating an environment in the jazz ecosystem that values women and nonbinary individuals.
    Roxy also reveals a more personal side of herself as we talk about the socio-political-pandemic choked environment that has embraced our nation since 2016 and how these have influenced her compositions in all her recordings as a group leader.
    Roxy founded WIJO-Women in Jazz Organization in July 2017, a collective of over 500 professional jazz musicians and composers who identify as women or gender non-binary. WIJO is largely a New York-based organization, but it has made connections to other individuals and groups nationally and internationally to address the many inequities in the jazz music industry. Roxy currently serves as its president. It has various programs including a popular mentorship program, WIJO Mentors. It also sponsors concerts and jam sessions.
    In Roxy’s music education career, she had numerous outstanding opportunities since she was five years old. She actually composed at an early age when she was in third grade, writing her first award-winning composition in a city-wide contest called “Reflections.” Later, she attended Garfield High School (alumnae/i include Ernestine Anderson, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix), a rich and fertile place for Roxy’s jazz education. She was a member of the Garfield HS Jazz Band when they set a record in 2003 and 2004. It is the only band to win the first-place trophy in two consecutive years in the highly competitive Essentially Ellington contest. The band also placed first in 2009 and 2010. Roxy is also a winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.
    It is no wonder, then, that Roxy currently serves on the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Board of Directors and is a Jazz Faculty member at the prestigious Juilliard School.
    Roxy’s discography includes her self-titled recording, Roxy Coss, which is a self-released album (2010), Restless Idealism (Origin, 2016), Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-tone 2017), The Future is Female (Posi-tone 2018), Roxy Coss Quintet (Outside in Music 2019), and Disparate Parts (Outside in Music 2022). Roxy plays the same instrument she’s had since 2018, a P. Mauriat. 
    There are two tracks from Roxy’s latest album, Disparate Parts, thanks to Roxy and the record label, Outside in Music. The Lineup includes: Roxy Coss, saxophones; Miki Yamanaka, piano/Rhodes; Alex Wintz, guitar; Rick Rosato, bass; and, Jimmy Macbride, drums.
    Obviously, you’ve found this podcast, but I want you to know that you can find my podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music/Audible, Player FM, and iHeartRadio. Subscribe on my website and you will be one of the first to know when the next episode is released. Thanks for listening.
    Photo of Roxy Coss by Desmond White.

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Episode 13-Miki Yamanaka: Living Her Dreams

    Episode 13-Miki Yamanaka: Living Her Dreams

    Japanese jazz pianist Miki Yamanaka, born and raised in Kyoto and Kobe Japan, now resides in New York City with her drummer husband Jimmy Macbride. Her upcoming album, Shades of Rainbow is set to drop on September 8. Excitement explodes in Miki during this hour-long interview with this jubilant pianist who is a mainstay at New York’s prime jazz clubs for emerging talent, Smalls and Mezzrow, both found in the West Village in Greenwich Village in the lower west side of Manhattan.
    Miki’s been a New York resident since 2012. She did her graduate work at Queens College in Jazz Performance 2014-2015. Her street education occurred in New York City jazz clubs and concert halls before the COVID pandemic, performing with the likes of Antonio Hart, Peter Bernstein, Nicole Glover, Joe Farnsworth, Tivon Pennicott, Roxy Coss, Mark Turner and Fred Hersch. But all of that came to a grounding halt in March 2020 as COVID wiped the streets clean, leaving all jazz musicians jobless and at home with nobody to play with. This required inventiveness.
    Taking the cue from friend and fellow jazz pianist Emmet Cohen, Miki began to assemble ensembles in hers and Jimmy’s Harlem apartment and stream her show “Miki’s Mood” on the internet. Perhaps not as successful as “Live at Emmet’s Place” it became a place where Miki, Jimmy and friends could play and jam once more and make a little money. 
    In 2015 she was one of three pianists selected to participate in “Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead”, an intensive composition residency at the Kennedy Center. She earned her Master of Music degree from Queens College, receiving the Sir Roland Hanna Award. Recently, Miki was one of ten new talent identified by The Academy (Grammy) as top emerging jazz talent. 
    Shades of Rainbow is Miki’s fourth release, her second for Vancouver-based record company, Cellar Music. Her debut release, Miki, was also from Cellar Music. Her previous two recordings, Human Dust Suite and Stairway to the Stars can be found on the Outside in Music label.
    You can find this episode on all of the major podcast streaming providers. Support live jazz. Support women in jazz. Subscribe to be one of the first to receive SJS podcasts, news and information. Photo by Martina DaSilva.
    Thanks for listening. Steve Braunginn

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Episode 12-Julieta Eugenio: Music is Magic

    Episode 12-Julieta Eugenio: Music is Magic

    “Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”— Lao Tzu
    Music moves the soul in so many ways. It moves the spirit and inspires living beings to become one with the music. Argentinian Julieta Eugenio was just that person from a young age. She’s not entirely sure why. Her parents didn’t play an instrument though they played recordings around the house. As long as she can remember, music was in her life.
    Her personal interest wasn’t piqued until she saw a piano when she was about five years old. It was like magic, Julieta recalls. She was visually pinned to the piano. That’s love at first site. Music grabbed her and it hasn’t let her go since. Later, when she was in middle school, when she joined the school band, Julieta nonchalantly selected a saxophone when presented with a choice of instruments. A tenor saxophone.
    Julieta Eugenio hails from Argentina and now lives in New York city. She made this bold change in her life at 23 years old. Alone. No family or friends to accompany her. Julieta’s formal music studies began following high school in Buenos Aires at Conservatorio Manuel de Falla (Bachelor 2012) and the Conservatorio Nacional Lopez Buchardo (IUNA) where she studied jazz. In New York, Julieta attended Queens College where she studied jazz and performed in area clubs with the masters, including pianist Johnny O’Neal, David Kikoski and Pasquale Grasso.
    The mental journey Julieta took was immense. She loves jazz and knew she had to take the leap, leaving the familiar settings and family, the beautiful landscape of Argentina, and the comfort of her home country to challenge herself in New York City. It seems, though, to be paying itself off as Julieta was recently recognized as one of the top ten emerging jazz talents by the Recording Academy in their online publication, “Grammys.” In 2017, Eugenio won the International Women in Jazz Competition as a member of the SIJ Trio, which she formed with pianist Sarah Slonim and bassist Inbar Paz. With her own trio, she won the DCJazzPrix 2022, a competition presented by the DC Jazz Fest. 
    I think we all know what it’s like to be somewhere new, far from home and vastly different from home. Thrust a global pandemic into this formula. That’s what Julieta had to face, alone in New York. Then, good fortune showed up. One of her beloved sisters decided to immigrate to New York for work, which saved Julieta. And those are her words describing the arrival of her sister. Jazz also saved her.
    Thank you for listening to this podcast. Subscribing will make sure you’re one of the first ones to receive future episodes. Check out my website for other articles and photos. As usual, you will be treated to two complete tracks of music. These compositions will come from Julieta’s 2022 debut recording, Jump, which can be found on Greenleaf Music. Jazz Journalists Association president, Howard Mandel, gave the album a four-star rating in DownBeat Magazine. This features her trio with Julieta on tenor sax, Matt Dwonszyk on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums. 
    Upcoming episodes include saxophonist Roxy Coss, pianist Miki Yamanaka, who has a new album soon to be released, and harpist Brandee Younger. You can listen to this podcast on Spotify, Apple, Amazon and other streaming services. Thank you for listening.

    • 1 hr

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