John Coltrane picture book Introduces kids to jazz icon

A new book for children on John Coltrane was released last week (click here to buy). Here is the press release:

Sometimes, when you lose almost everything as a child, a lifeline appears that restores your faith and re-ignites your spirit. For John Coltrane, that lifeline was the saxophone, and the musical dreams it inspired. Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)—written by NY Times-bestselling author Gary Golio (JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow) and illustrated by award-winning artist Rudy Gutierrez—captures John’s struggle from lost boy to musical leader, from darkness to light. In words and images that reflect the depth of John’s joy as well as his yearning for inner peace, Spirit Seeker tells the story of how art and spirituality shaped one man’s talents, and gave him the courage to share those gifts with the world.

Drawn along by saxophone greats like Lester Young and Johnny Hodges, John’s life changed overnight when he first heard bebop master Charlie Bird Parker. Still, the sadness that had clung to him since childhood—and his father’s death—led to drinking and drug use that finally brought his early success to a standstill. In a moment of great courage, John remembered the words of his grandfather, Reverend Blair, and cleansed his body of the deadly habits weighing him down. Following a spiritual revelation, he set free his enormous talent to soar like an angel of sound. With the creation of his masterpiece A Love Supreme, he offered a timeless gift of gratitude to the Divine.

For young people, Spirit Seeker highlights the importance of goals and aspirations—particularly in the face of personal adversities—and showcases the value of the Arts in providing a guide or roadmap for the future. Golio’s sensitive, poetic text and Gutierrez’ intricate, expressive paintings portray Coltrane as the multifaceted musical genius he was, infusing his music with a new understanding of God and Spirit that should spark fresh thinking in young minds.

Gary Golio has been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition and the Michael Eric Dyson show, and featured on CBS-TV in New York City. He is the author of JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow – A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and When Bob Met Woody – The Story of the Young Bob Dylan (Little, Brown). Golio is a clinical social worker/psychotherapist who helps children, teens, and their families deal with the multifaceted problems of addiction, a subject addressed in an Author’s Note about musicians and drug use. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, author Susanna Reich, and is available for interviews. Visit him online at

Spirit Seeker illustrator Rudy Gutierrez’ art graces the cover of Carlos Santana’s “Shaman” CD, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, The NY Times, and Ms. He has been awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the American Society of Illustrators, and a Pura Bel Pre Illustrator Award. See his children’s book art at



Spirit Seeker – John Coltrane’s Musical Journey

Written by Gary Golio

Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

Published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

October 2012 • Ages 9 & up • 48 pages • $17.99 hardcover • ISBN 13: 978-0547239941

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Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. Glad Rag Doll by Diana Krall (Verve – October 2, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Diana Krall’s extraordinary new album, ‘Glad Rag Doll’ is an exhilarating and adventurous exploration of new sounds, new instrumentation and new musicians. It stars a singer and piano player, filled with mischief, humour and a renewed sense of tenderness and intimacy. The record reveals itself at that remarkable vanishing point in time where all music; swinging, rocking and taboo, collide with songs of longing, solace and regret. All are made new again in a vaudeville of Krall’s own imagining. It is at once a major departure and a natural progression for the gifted musician. Diana simply calls the album, “a song and dance record.”

2. My Muse by George Cables (HighNote – September 11, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Having absorbed a huge variety of sounds and styles and incorporated them into his playing — from harmonically adventurous post-bop to gospel-tinged blues — pianist George Cables mines the mother load of jazz elements on his 2012 HighNote release, fusing Bud Powell’s feeling, Fats Waller’s juke joint geniality and Art Tatum’s quick wit into his own persuasive utterances. Cables’ searching and intense interpretations use the source material as a jumping-off point for his unique and quirky improvisations, and his writing is more profound and more expressive than ever.

3. Where Do You Start by Brad Mehldau (Nonesuch – September 18. 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Nonesuch releases the Brad Mehldau Trio’s Where Do You Start, a companion disc to the critically acclaimed Ode. Whereas Ode featured 11 songs composed by Mehldau, Where Do You Start comprises the Trio’s interpretations of 10 tunes by other composers, along with one Mehldau original. Ode was widely praised, with London’s Daily Telegraph, in a five-star review, saying that it “shows Mehldau’s inventive powers are as fresh as ever…and the interplay with Ballard and Grenadier is masterly.”

4. Claroscuro by Anat Cohen (Anzic Records – September 25, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Anat Cohen – celebrated the world over for her expressive virtuosity on clarinet and saxophone, not to mention the sheer joie de vivre in her charismatic stage presence – presents the latest record of her evolution with Claroscuro, her sixth album as a bandleader. Claroscuro takes its title from the Spanish word describing the play of light and shade (chiaroscuro in Italian).

5. Manu Katche by Manu Katche (ECM Records – October 30, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Eponymously-titled album from Manu Katche. On his fourth ECM disc, Manus unique drumming sets the scene and direction, with compositions and arrangements radiating outward from its rhythm-patterns. His strongly propulsive yet relaxed groove is unlike any other drummers, and it lifts up the soloists. Personnel in the ever-changing Katche band currently includes Norwegians Nils Pettter Molvaer and Tore Brunborg, first heard together on ECM in the band Masqualero in the 1980s: they still play most attractively together. British keyboardist Jim Watson also makes a strong showing with minimalistically-insistent as well as lyrical piano and thick, swirling organ. Recorded March 2012 in the South of France, and issued on the eve of a major European tour.

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Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. The Mothership Returns by Return to Forever (Eagle Rock Entertainment – June 19, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Return To Forever are one of the most innovative and successful jazz/rock fusion bands. Originally formed in the early seventies, they had reunions in 1983 and 2008 before the current line-up got together in 2010 with the arrival of new members Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Gambale. This set contains a double live CD recorded in 2011 plus a bonus DVD containing the Inside The Music feature which combines live footage with the band discussing the tracks performed on the CD. Also included on the DVD are full live performances of After The Cosmic Rain and The Romantic Warrior and an extended trailer for the upcoming film The Return To Forever Story . / Line-up: Chick Corea (piano & keyboard); Stanley Clarke (electric & acoustic bass); Jean-Luc Ponty (electric & acoustic violin); Frank Gambale (electric & acoustic guitar); Lenny White (drums).

2. Across the Imaginary Divide by Bela Fleck (Rounder – June 5, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

2012 collaboration between banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck and Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio. Roberts’ Trio is known for its virtuosic style: a style that is strongly rhythmic, melodic, and filled with dynamic contrast. Fleck is often considered the premier banjo player in the world. He has virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations. “It was a lot of fun working with B‚la on this project. He has a limitless imagination and, like our trio, he is willing to do whatever it takes to make a great record. The recording brings our two styles together in a way that I think will be really enjoyable for the listeners,” said Roberts.

3. Seeds From the Underground by Kenny Garrett (Mack Avenue – April 10, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Seeds from the Underground is music people, past and present, who planted seeds Kenny Garrett’s life-directly and indirectly. It s not a dedication record, although there are songs dedicated to certain people. Kenny Garrett is also a member of the DownBeat Hall of Fame being a three-time Alto Sax winner.

4. Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You) by  Arturo Sandoval (Concord Jazz – May 8, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Arturo Sandoval releases his second album on Concord Jazz, Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You). The album is Sandoval’s tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, the mentor and friend who literally rescued him and his family from an oppressive existence and gave them a chance at an entirely new and better life. The album is a collection of classics from Gillespie’s massive body of work, each framed in big-band arrangements that throw the spotlight squarely on the elements of bebop that underscore so much of the iconic trumpeter’s work and set the tone for the music of his era.

5. Impressions of Curtis Mayfield by Jazz Soul Seven (BFM Jazz – April 17, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Curtis Mayfield’s impact on artists of all persuasions is incalculable, and jazz musicians have long found much in his words and melodies to inspire new interpretations. Impressions of Curtis Mayfield is a new collection of a dozen re-imaginings of some of the late, great soul man’s most potent compositions, recorded by a collective of jazz aces calling themselves the Jazz Soul Seven: Terri Lyne Carrington–-drums, Russ Ferrante—piano, the late Master Henry Gibson—percussion, Bob Hurst—bass, Wallace Roney—trumpet, Phil Upchurch—guitar, and Ernie Watts—saxophone.

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KPLU School of Jazz back in session

Several of Western Washington’s finest high school jazz bands and jazz professionals are showcased on KPLU School of Jazz-Volume 8, the station’s latest CD release which is the culmination of this year’s mentoring project.

In 2005, as part of its continuing support of music education in the schools, KPLU developed a mentoring program involving bands from 10 high schools and one middle school, and the participation of 11 local jazz professionals.  The fruits of this partnership yielded the first KPLU School of Jazz CD release.

Beginning with Volume 2 (2006), the project has included only high school jazz bands.  Each year, a core group of bands from the inaugural group is featured on the project along with one or two new participating school jazz bands and guest artists.

The complete list of participants on KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 8 (2012): Stadium High School (Tacoma), North Thurston High School (Olympia), Jackson High School (Mill Creek), Bellevue High School (Bellevue), Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie), Mercer Island High School (Mercer Island), Roosevelt High School (Seattle), Mountlake Terrace High School (Mountlake Terrace), Edmonds Woodway High School (Edmonds), Mount Vernon High School (Mount Vernon), Kentwood High School (Kent) and the advanced ensemble from Seattle JazzED under the direction of Clarence Acox.

Guests artists included on KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 8: Mark Taylor, Anton Schwartz, Matso Limtiaco, Jeff Hay, Greta Matassa, Stuart MacDonald, Syd Potter, Dawn Clement, Tracy Knoop, Jim Sisko and Steve Treseler. All proceeds benefit Western Washington school music programs.

 KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 8 includes songs by Joey Calderazzo, Radiohead, Fred Sturm, Cole Porter, John Green, Neal Hefti, Astor Piazzolla and Matso Limtiaco.

KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 8 will be available for purchase beginning May 29 at KPLU’s website,

Special edition jazz releases highlight Record Store Day this Saturday

This Saturday, April 21st is Record Store Day, the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.

This year there will be several unique and special edition jazz releases for collectors to look for on Record Store Day. The list includes:

  • Michael Buble/Ray Charles “Georgia On My Mind” split peach-colored 7″ single
  • Marco Benevento “This Is How It Goes” 7″ single
  • Dave Brubeck Octet “Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals” 10″ red vinyl reissue
  • Branford Marsalis “4 MFs Playin’ Tunes” double-12″ LP
  • Miles Davis “Forever Miles” 12″ compilation LP
  • Bill Evans “Selections from Live at Art D’Lugoff’s” 10″ cobalt blue vinyl
  • Larry Coryell “Spaces” 12″ reissue
  • Esperanza Spalding “Radio Music” 12″ vinyl version
  • Various Artists “Rough Guide: New Orleans” 180 gram 12″ LP

There are some interesting blues releases too, including:

  • Blues Project “Parchman Farm/Bright Lights, Big City” 7″
  • Aretha Franklin/Otis Redding “Respect” split 7″ gold vinyl
  • Mississippi John Hurt “Last Sessions” 12″ reissue
  • Buddy Guy “This Is Buddy Guy” 12″ reissue
  • Skip James “Devil Got My Woman” 12″ reissue

More details can be found at the official Record Store Day website: