A MONTH OF JOY!!! 






Match the artists below with their scheduled

 shows on the left!

Check them out and enjoy the sounds at www.modernjazztoday.com



READY FOR A NEW SOUND? I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard anyone play the baritone ukulele, particularly within a left of center jazz frame as performed by the artistic hands of Ryan Choi. He’s released a pair of eps, and they deliver an exciting new sound and direction for jazz. Check out my review at http://www.jazzweekly.com/2016/08/ready-for-something-new-ryan-choi-whenmill-three-dancers/

It’s definitely something fresh and bold. Isn’t it about time?







Yes, during this time of the year, things tend to get hectic and real busy. But, as my mom used to say, “You think it’s crazy now? Think how stressful the first Christmas was! Mary was expecting a child, not married, was forced to go on a long trip (probably on a donkey), had no reservation for a hotel, and then had a bunch of shepherds and people from all over the world come visit her right away. A crazy Christmas season seems part of the long-held tradition.

While sometimes traditions can be dangerous to hang on to for their own sake, they also serve a purpose of giving stability and security to a family, culture and country. The putting up of the Christmas (and Hanukkah) decorations after Thanksgiving, getting a Christmas tree and decorating the house with lights and Nativity scenes gives a nice closing for the year. Not to mention, the plethora of Christmas albums ranging from Bing, Frank, Nat and Elvis to modern pop, jazz and hip hop keep the sounds of the season intact. When is there another time of the year you don’t have to be afraid of singing about our Savior ruling “the world with truth and grace”? It’s a true joy.

Even if you’re not the religious type, it’s still possible to enjoy the Christmas season. Don’t forget that the most popular Christmas songs such as “White Christmas” and “Christmas Song” were composed by Irving Berlin and Mel Torme’, not exactly fundamentalist Evangelical Christians (Even this makes sense, since Jesus was Jewish, and not Teutonic, as most of the pictures dictate).  But, what they saw in America was the fact that this time of year deserved to be celebrated in a way they could grasp. This is the beauty of traditions, people can make them fit into their own lives.

The same with Christmas movies. For some, the various versions of A Christmas Carol delivers the true meaning of the season. For others, the snow and decoration of the holiday can simply serve as a backdrop, as on It’s A Wonderful Life or Shop Around the Corner. And then, there’s A Christmas Story which is my wife’s favorite. We’ve never been to a Chinese restaurant since without thinking about that famous chopping scene.

The idea of traditions applies to music fans as well. Just as there is a “Reason for the Season” in Christmas, mainly celebrating the most famous Jewish person ever in the form of God who came to save us from our sins and deliver us from evil, there is a “Reason” for various styles of jazz. Some is for dancing (my wife’s favorite), some is for singing along (which my daughters do to Ella and Chet) as well as simply tapping the toes and appreciating a swinging groove (yours truly). Others love the artistic creativity, amazing chops and technical wizardry, or simply some sounds to remove the daily stress of life.

The point is, find out which tradition you like, develop a mastery of it, and  pass it on to others. Traditions are for passing on. Just like our family reads the story of the Nativity in the Bible books of Matthew and Luke to remind us why we celebrate Christmas, so every musician, and every  person, should remind our “audience” of what we cling to and the purpose behind it. We don’t live for ourselves but to pass on blessings to others.

The two interview this month reflect the attitude of ways we can pass on certain traditions. Lenny  Pickett has created an atmosphere in his Midwestern jazz club The Dakota that is a feast for both the ears and mouth. Meanwhile, Tommy LiPuma has served music for decades, passing on sounds and creating new ones with artists, developing new styles in his lifetime that have actually turned into musical traditions. We therefore salute these men that have respected various traditions and have worked their lives to serve others in passing them on.
May this season remind you of the Blessing you’ve received, so you can pass it others in word, deed or song.


Hey George-

Funny enough after I was summarily fired from Verve Records back in ’97 I cooled my heels to get away from it all and moved to Sherman, CT. The real estate broker told me, ‘do you know Tommy Lipuma?” He’s your next door neighbor!” It was the house + barn where he recorded “Unforgettable.” Tommy had not taken over at Verve for another couple years and we somehow lived in peace, as he heard me in the distance banging my drums and driving my Ferrari at top speed (very loudly) on our rural roads in horse country. Super nice man. Love him. We even had Llamas next door too.

Thanks for the article,

Guy Eckstine


Hi George,
Thanks for the good notice for Dream Suite and the terrific placement in your column. Much appreciated. Glad that you enjoyed the work.
Happy Holidays and
Best Regards,

Dear George,

I tuned in here to your writing to read a review of my latest disc, but instead I found an article on giving thanks, faith, and perspective. I been struggling in near every area of my life for nearly a decade. In my tight little family I faced cancer, drugs, lost faith, Alzheimer’s, and the prospect of supporting us on a musicians wages. I have been overwhelmed with my loss and how complete it seemed. Someone can say right thing to you at the right time and suddenly your life can seem so much better. Thank you for the article.

Warm Regards
Bill Johnson
( o)==#


Hi George-

You inspired me to write the Thanksgiving Song !
Very good article, thanks

Hamid Cooper


Hey George!

Excellent Jon Anderson interview!

Guy Eckstine


Dear Jazz Weekly,

I ran into your 2014 interview with Larry Carlton. I’ve been a Steely Dan fan for 35 years but never knew anything about Larry. I loved hearing that Larry is a man of faith, even after the gun shot incident. Thanks!

Tom Moyer


Hi George!

Really great work, George. That was one heck of a conversation with Kirk Whalum!

Peace, Love and Joy,

Rick Scott


Hey, George.

I just loved your “Who Are You?,” especially the winsome way you witnessed with it without ever being heavy handed. Liked Sinatra losing his voice because of Ava Gardner, as well!
Tim Philen

Hey George,

thanks again for this great review!

All best,
Denny Zeitlin


Dear George,
“I’m still breathing..that’s what I do…”
 Great article on David Murray…If you follow your creative heart you may not see where your going but the Holy Ghost knows..Trust Him..Worship Him.  The pay off is not even comparable to what the world has to offer .  Music is like church…   Your  article was part of my devotion this morning.. Keep up the inspirational assignment..the payoff is huge.. Love you George..
         In His  Note,  Bob Gorton.


Great article. Thanks. I’Il share with the boys!

Philippe Saisse (Al Di Meola Band)