Part of what I love about my show, Somethin’ Else, on WOBC is that I am able to share music of relatively unknown, and certainly under appreciated, jazz musicians with a diverse audience of listeners. This past week I featured the profound music of Steve Lampert on the show.
Mr. Lampert has two albums out under his own name. The first, Venus Perplexed, was released on Steeplechase in 2004. The second, Music From There, was released on Bridge Records in 2007. I do believe that both of these albums are essentials in any jazz or new music collection. They are vastly unique and exciting pieces of music.
I was also fortunate to be able to be in touch with Mr. Lampert to ask him a few questions about his music, which draws on very diverse influences. He very willingly responded and I am happy to share this interview with the WOBC community.
-Aidan Plank via WOBC Jazz
Aidan Plank: Is there anything you’d like the WOBC audience to know about your music?
Steve Lampert: I’d like the audience to know that it really means a great deal to me that they would take the time to listen to my music and/or read this interview.
AP: Do you think of yourself as a trumpet player or a composer?
SL: I think of myself as a composer/trumpeter in that order.
AP: I love your music and it also perplexes me (which is part of what I love about it). I can’t pin you down. When I hear a lot of musicians play I can often say, “well, this person has listened to a ton of so-and-so’s music”. When I hear your compositions and your improvising, I can’t do that. So what I want to know is, who influences, or has influenced your music? Read More →
Top 30 is a weekly section of the blog where we show the 30 most played artists and albums on WOBC. Each entry links to the artist’s MySpace (or other free music player) so you can check out some of this music for yourself!
Tune in to WOBC this Thursday from 2-4PM for Sugar Ray Ballard’s live performance on “It’s About Time” with Mr. P, Baby Blue, and Betty Crocker. On Sunday Stella, Elissa, and I got a chance to see Ray bring down the house at Richard’s Premier Lounge in Lorain. We had a great time and can’t wait to hear him on the radio. Make sure to check out these videos of Sugar Ray on youtube.
Last month, Ohio native Jessica Lea Mayfield came out with a new album called Tell Me. And at only 21 years old, she has managed to produce a third release that brims with both candid sincerity and sophistication.
I think that it is first and foremost her voice—one moment shaking and vulnerable, the next conversational, the next smoky and wise—that makes every line of these songs so compelling. Her lyrics are fairly straight-forward, usually speaking to some variation of loneliness and/or confusion. But her delivery and melodies make simple observations such as “I waited for the sun, but it never came out” (as sung in “Sometimes at Night”) feel at once heartbreaking and deeply profound.
In terms of production and instrumentation, Tell Me is far more adventurous than either of her two previous releases. Vocals are layered, as distorted or reverb-drenched harmonies of Mayfield’s own voice intermingle with the clear melody lines. Almost smack in the middle of the album, we get “Grown Man,” which kicks off with a catchy synth melody that recurs throughout, sitting comfortably on top of the song’s carnival-inspired keyboard line. The title track, “Tell Me,” features what sounds like a bird-call along with rhythmic, heavy breathing. In “Trouble,” chords changes are announced with the ringing of church bells. Even with all this experimentation, though, Mayfield and producer Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) keep a consistent vibe throughout the record with grumbling electric guitars and swooping lap-steel lines that ground us in country and rock n’ roll.
You can get a free download of the single (and my personal favorite) from the album, “Our Hearts Are Wrong,” on her website, where you can also stream most of With Blasphemy So Heartfelt. Or, if I’ve already convinced you, click here to go straight to the store to buy either a digital download, a CD, or a vinyl copy of Tell Me.
Every Friday at 12:15 pm, the Oberlin jazz community gathers for Jazz Forum at the Cat in the Cream, where audience members are treated to short sets from 2 or 3 of Oberlin’s small jazz ensembles.
This week, freshman pianist Shea Pierre led his sextet in a set of demanding original compositions, all written by members of the group. Despite the challenging nature of the chord changes and arrangements, the group played with confidence and cohesion, resulting in a fantastic half-hour of modern jazz.
Pianist Julia Chen’s quintet followed with a fine set of more traditional pieces. The group showed off its large dynamic range, startling the audience with a classic Dizzy Gillespie bop composition at blazing speed, and following with the slow, rollicking blues that Roland Kirk composed for his own funeral march.