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Toots Thielemans (1922-2016)

I first was aware of the Belgian harmonica legend Toots Thielemans through Sesame Street—the harmonica playing in that theme music is amazing! I wasn’t sure who it was at first, but you could hear a fair amount of jazz in that folksy melody. Then I heard him on Quincy Jones’s Walking in Space. That’s some […]

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November/December 2016: Alicia Olatuja

Bobby Hutcherson (1941-2016)

Bobby Hutcherson is easily one of the most important vibraphonists of the twentieth century, an artist who really opened a new era for this instrument. Coming into his own in the sixties, Hutcherson helped modernize his instrument by bringing it into the world of hard bop and avant-garde jazz, with all the associated technical and […]

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September/October 2016: Robi Botos

George Reznik (1929-2016)

Pianist George Reznik, a pillar of the Winnipeg jazz community, died this August at the age of 86. He is perhaps best known amongst today’s listeners for his trio’s extended run at The Pemby Hotel. He and long-time friends Bob “Moose” Jackson and Bill McMahon played there every Saturday afternoon for over twenty years. He […]

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March/April 2016: Aaron Diehl

Natalie Cole (1950–2015): Unforgettable

When I was little my mother would play all types of music in our home, but what they all had in common was that they were, in her words, “feel-good music”—music that spoke to the soul, music that felt comfortable but also energizing. Natalie Cole, along with Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye and many other […]

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January/February 2016: Seamus Blake

Mark Murphy (1932–2015)

When I first heard Mark Murphy’s rendition of “You Go to My Head,” the lead track on Songs for the Geese, I remember being in absolute awe of his unique style and completely free rhythmic phrasing. His nimble voice jumps from low gravelly tones to soaring high falsetto with ease, leaving behind a trademark sound […]

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November/December 2015: Grace Kelly

Phil Woods (1931-2015)

Phil Woods was my first hero. I heard a recording of his when I was 16, and had that magic moment where I realized, “Now that’s why I’m playing this instrument!” I followed him around NYC to hear him and ask for lessons. But he told me he wasn’t teaching. So I pestered him over several […]

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you won’t forget me

Ken Epp (June 26, 1955–October 14, 2014)

On October 14, 2014, Winnipeg’s music education community lost one of its most dedicated champions. Through his work as a loved and respected high school band director at the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute, and then over two decades as the Executive Director of the Manitoba Band Association, Ken Epp mentored countless students and band directors. […]

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July/August 2014: Curtis Nowosad

“Little” Jimmy Scott (1925 – 2014)

“Little” Jimmy Scott—born James Victor Scott—had one of the most distinctive voices and styles in jazz. Both his small stature and his unusually high contralto sound were caused by a rare genetic condition, but he was not hampered by that. He rocketed to attention in the 50s and 60s, performing with Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, […]

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March/April 2014: Cécile McLorin Salvant

Yusef Lateef (1920-2013)

We’re in a period where many of the musicians who helped develop and refine the jazz art form are leaving us. On December 23, we said farewell to Yusef Lateef Dr. Yusef Abdul Lateef (born William Emanuel Huddleston) was a respected and influential multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator. He was best known for his work on […]

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January/February 2014: Neil Coligan

Jim Hall (1930 – 2013)

Jim Hall made a big impact on the world of jazz, with almost forty recordings as a leader, and countless others as a sideman. He continued to perform and tour into his elder years, including gigs at the Blue Note and other clubs in his home city of New York, and concerts at a number […]

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November/December 2013: Omer Avital

Edward “Butch” Warren (1939 – 2013)

Butch Warren was one of the most ubiquitous and irreplaceable voices of the hard bop era, yet not many people can quite place the name. He was the house bassist for Blue Note records in the late 50s and early 60s. His deep and thumping bounce helped catapult Herbie Hancock into stardom on his 60s […]

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September/October 2013: Vanessa Rubin

Cedar Walton (1934-2013)

The fact is, each era in the history of jazz has a canon of great pianists, and Cedar Walton was one of a stellar cluster in the hard bop era. He’s in good company with Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett, Bobby Timmins, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, and Kenny Barron. Cedar Walton had […]

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July/August 2013: Jon Gordon

Mulgrew Miller (1955-2013)

I first saw Mulgrew Miller almost three decades ago, playing with Tony Williams in a nightclub in St Louis. I remember thinking that was about the most elegant jazz piano playing I’d ever heard. The lines were smooth and swinging and flowing out like waterfalls cascading—gorgeous! Then somebody said his name was Mulgrew and I […]

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January/February 2012: Robert Glasper

Paul Motian

Paul Motian, drummer, composer, bandleader, and an important figure in the jazz world for over five decades, died November 22 at the age of 80. Motian is not known for flashy rhythm inventions or wild drum solos. I think of him as more of a tai chi drummer, understanding exactly what was necessary and never […]

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March/April 2011: Rufus Reid

Knut Haugsoen (1935 – 2011)

Knut Haugsoen, an architect and musician who made Winnipeg his home for almost four decades, died January 17 at the age of 75. Haugsoen was born in Norway. He pursued architecture as a career, but a passion for jazz was with him from childhood, and he began performing when he was still a teen. After […]

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September/October 2010: Allan Harris

Abbey Lincoln: Sorceress

Abbey Lincoln is one of those singers who makes an impression on you. It’s not just her throaty voice or her elegant musicianship, but a certain quality—like every song is an intensely personal revelation, an invitation to meet her where she lives. Like Nina Simone and Billie Holiday before her, you hear that disarming combination […]

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